we {finally} got a grill: a deliciously easy grilled (london briol) dinner

easy grilled london broil dinnersometimes all you (or i) really want for dinner is a nice piece of grilled meat. something about meat cooked on the outdoor grill that makes it just that much better. which brings me to the grill. i’m so happy to have one again! it’s opened up a world of new (culinary) options. we’d been planning to get one ever since our move a few months ago, but somehow it seemed complicated (as in we were being lazy)  and we basically procrastinated until the heat wave (it is literally in the 80’s and 90’s in san diego right now) hit-that’s when we had no choice but to get one-and fast. it would be a big shame not to take advantage of

rosemary marinated london broil

the unusually warm (even though san diego probably has the best climate, anywhere, the nights tend to be pretty cold year round) nights for grilling outdoors and dining al fresco. so we (or he, i should say) went out and finally got one, and there it was all shiny and new and ready to be put to good use-and we have been: we’ve had persian style chicken kabobs, grass fed new york strip steaks, tons of grilled tomatoes (because we all know how much i love those), and a spicy fire roasted eggplant salad. then this: rosemary grilled london broil, spaghetti aglio e olio with fresh tomatoes and basil, and a side of quick fired broccolini. tell me it doesn’t sound like an amazing dinner? all you need to make this meal a success  is really good  ingredients-quality organic (in this case local) grass fed beef, juicy ripe tomatoes, fresh vegetables & herbs. marinating the beef ahead of time helps. and you’re good to go:

sliced grilled london broil


for the marinade:


  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh rosemary
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • a touch of worcestershire sauce
  • red pepper flakes

make sure the grill is super hot before you start cooking. place the beef on the hot grill (on high heat) and sear one side (about 2-3 minutes) then the other. reduce the heat to medium and close the lid. allow beef to cook (cooking time depends on the size of meat and your serving preferences). ours was a smaller, thinner piece and cooked very quickly-it was served medium and slightly pink inside.

for quick fired broccolini:

  • wash and dry the broccolini, cut in half (optional)-spread on a baking dish
  • drizzle with 1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, move around to make sure oil is evenly distributed
  • sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, give it a good shake
  • cook broccolini on the grill in a grill-friendly skillet (my new spiffy grill has a built in skillet option) while the beef cooks-it takes just a few minutes-you’ll have to use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir it a couple of times
  • sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan chess, add a dash of fresh squeezed lemon juice

spaghetti with fresh tomatoes & herbs

for the spaghetti aglio e oli with fresh tomatoes & herbs combine in a bowl (4 servings):

  • easy dinner ideas4-5 ripe tomatoes, cubed
  • a good bunch of fresh basil, leaves rolled carefully together, then thinly sliced (chiffonade)
  • a few sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves separated and roughly chopped
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves

in a bowl combine tomatoes, herbs, sea salt & pepper and allow the mixture to rest for 15-20 minutes. in a small saucepan heat the oil and  garlic together (aglio-e-olio story and recipe here) until the garlic turns just golden before turning off the heat. remove garlic from the oil and pour the hot oil over the bowl of tomatoes & herbs. taste and adjust seasoning. add your just drained choice of pasta cooked al dente (per package instructions) to the sauce and toss. serve right away. don’t forget the freshly grated parmesan cheese! buon appetito!

easy dinner idea

my fragrant garden roses being recycled after wilting in the vase

my fragrant garden roses being recycled after wilting in the vase

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aglio e olio, (a love affair), and orzo salad with seasonal vegetables

i remember the first time i ever tasted linguine aglio e olio. i fell in love with it right there and then, and have been faithful ever since.  i was 18 at the time, and it was my first time traveling any where without my parents. we took off early in the morning by train, and when we arrived at limone piemonte, there was so much snow that we could see nothing but a white wall from the train window. it was a beautiful place, but it was so cold (and still snowing) that we huddled up in the small apartment (of a local friend) that night trying to figure out what to eat for dinner. there was dry pasta, garlic,  & olive oil-you know, staples in an italian household. so my (lovely italian) friends made us linguine aglio e olio. we topped it with amazing parmesan cheese. i could have eaten pounds of it. to this day, it is our go to meal at home when we are hungry and need to make a quick, easy, and satisfying meal. sometimes i chop up fresh tomatoes and basil (or any other fresh herbs i have) and pour the aglio e olio over them right before i add my pasta and serve (the hot oil cooks the tomatoes just enough where they are still fresh). often i use it in my pasta salads, such as the orzo salad coming up below.


  • 4-5 tbs (or so) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (peeled and smashed slightly)
  • pasta of choice
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 -1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ground pepper (to taste)
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • a few sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley or basil
  • small sliver of green bell pepper

this could not be any easier:

since you are using very few ingredients in this dish, the quality of your ingredients will make a difference- use good quality olive oil, fresh herbs, and parmesan cheese.

1. boil water with salt (1 tbsp) in a deep pot for your pasta. add the pasta and cook per package instructions (unless you are using fresh).

2. in the mean time, heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan. add the smashed garlic, red pepper flakes, (and optional bell pepper) before the oil gets too hot (should not splatter or sizzle too much when you add the garlic). as you can see, i add a few small slivers of bell pepper (this is something i learned from my friends-it keeps the oil from getting too hot too fast, and adds a touch of flavor). as soon as the garlic starts getting a little golden, turn off the heat,  leaving the garlic in the oil to continue cooking and flavoring your oil (the garlic should be a slight golden brown-otherwise it is burnt).

3. when your pasta is cooked al dente-which means cooked, but with a slight bite to it (my friends used to throw the pasta at the wall-supposedly it was ready when it stuck), drain, and reserve about a 1/4 cup of the water. remove the garlic (and bell pepper) from the olive oil, add the reserved water, chopped herb of choice, and sea salt and pepper to taste. coat your pasta with the aglio olio, give it a good toss, and top with parmesan cheese. you can use this basic recipe to make many variations of pasta sauces-add fresh tomatoes and herbs, mushrooms, ham, or seafood (like clams). yesterday i made a grilled vegetable and orzo salad using aglio olio as my base for flavor. the recipe {to serve 6-8} is below:

  • 10-15 mushrooms, cubed
  • 1 each of red, yellow, and orange bell peppers-cubed
  • 4-5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cooked orzo
  • aglio e olio- from recipe above
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus (about 20), cut into small pieces
  • 1 each of red, yellow, & orange bell peppers-cubed
  • 3 small tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • small bunch of fresh basil leaves (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 tbs toasted pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
  • sea salt &  freshly ground pepper
  • thinly sliced green onions

1. wash and cube all the vegetables, 

spread them on a baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil, add salt & pepper (to taste), and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 375 degree until tender.

2. cook (al dente) and drain orzo per package instructions, set aside. 
3. cube tomatoes
4. thinly slice green onions and basil.
5. make your aglio olio.
6. crumble feta cheese.
7. combine all your ingredients including pine nuts and pumpkin seeds together (making sure the vegetables have cooled off first), add salt & pepper
basil chiffonade
layering the ingredients: orzo, tomatoes, aglio e olio,
basil, & feta cheese…
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