Pan Fried Cauliflower with Garlic and Thyme

Pan Fried Cauliflower with Garlic and Thyme

Pan Fried Cauliflower with Garlic and Thyme

 

This recipe was born out of a pure need to get dinner on the table quickly.  I love cauliflower and on a normal day I would slice it and place it in the oven to cook, but time didn’t allow for me to do so recently.  Page was hungry and I did not have 20 minutes to spare.  The great thing about being rushed to get dinner on the table–yes there is a great thing about it–is that you need to keep it simple.  This recipe is exactly that–simple– it contains less than 5 ingredients and the best part? It only took 10 minutes!

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Ingredients:

2 cups of sliced cauliflower

2 cloves of garlic (smashed)

2 tablespoons of oil ( grape seed, or olive oil)

1 tablespoon of butter

5-6 sprigs of thyme

sea salt and black pepper to taste

 

Directions: Heat a cast iron skillet until it smokes.  Add in the 2 tablespoons of oil.  Add the cauliflower, and allow to cook for 5 minutes undisturbed.

Add the butter, thyme and garlic, take care when adding the thyme, the water in the thyme will cause the oil to pop.

Allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Once the cauliflower has browned and taken on some color,

Transfer it to a serving platter, season with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy!

 

How to make Dehydrated Watermelon

Dried Watermelon--How to make Dehydrated Watermelon

Dried Watermelon–How to make Dehydrated Watermelon

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at Page’s school.  Every day this week she is required to bring in a small gift to show how much she appreciates all that her teacher’s do.  The note that the room mom sent home said to send a sweet treat as a gift, knowing the kinds of sweets that most moms have sent in the past I thought why not send something semi-healthy.  So I marched down to my local Whole Foods and purchased an organic seedless watermelon.  Lucky for me it was on sale.   The result- a deliciously sweet watermelon snack.  It was so good, that I raced back to Whole Foods to get another watermelon to dry.  When I dry fruit I never add sugar to it.  I see many recipes that do and I never understand why.  There really isn’t a need to. In fact, the watermelon I chose was not at all that sweet in its natural form, but in its dried form it was highly sweet, almost like I had added sugar to it. So for this “recipe” all you need is a fresh watermelon, a dehydrator, or an oven set to low and time.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 6-8 hours

Ingredients:

Watermelon

Directions: Slice the watermelon and discard the rind. Keep in mind that the thinner you slice it the quicker it dehydrates.

Place the sliced watermelon on dehydrator sheets. Set it on 135F for 6-8 hours depending on how thick you sliced the watermelon.

The watermelon is done when it is pliable but dry to the touch.

If you don’t have a dehydrator–get one they are worth the money and the counter space–you can do this in an oven, set the oven to the lowest setting, and place the watermelon on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  My oven’s lowest setting is 250F.  If you are using your oven on a setting this high, keep in mind that the watermelon will dehydrate at a faster rate, so keep an eye on it, at the 4-5 hour mark, your watermelon will likely be done.

Lentil Soup With Cilantro and Lemon Gremolata

Lentil Soup with Cilantro Lemon Gremolata

 

My daughter loves lentil soup. It is one of her favorite meals. My version of lentil soup is not highly complicated, lentils, carrots, celery, onion, and a final squeeze of lemon at the end. When I ran across a recipe by Kenji over on the Serious eats blog adding a parsley and lemon Gremolata, I knew I had to try it! Let me tell you, hands down this is the best lentil soup that I’ve ever had or made! My daughter ate 3 bowls, (3 of her little mini bowls, but 3 bowls none the less), and she could not stop saying how yummy it was. I decided to use cilantro instead of parsley because I love the flavor of cilantro, lemon, and lentils—super yummy. If cilantro is not your thing, then by all means use parsley, this soup is good either way! If you know you’re putting this in your weeknight line up soak the lentils overnight, it will shave off 30 minutes of your cooking time.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45minutes-1hour

servings: 6

Here’s what you need:

Gremolata Ingredients:

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons lemon zest

4 tablespoons oil

1/2 cup cilantro chopped (sub parsley)

Ingredients for Soup

1 cup of lentils ( I used French green lentils)

1 cup carrots diced

1 cup celery diced

1 medium onion diced

4 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

5 cups of good quality chicken broth( sub with veggie stock if you want to make this vegetarian)

1 lemon cut into wedges for squeezing.

Directions: Add the ingredients for the gremolata to a small bowl,

Mix well and set aside.

Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven pan, add the onions, carrots and celery,

Sauté until onions are translucent about 5 minutes,

 

Add the lentils mix well,

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Add half of the gremolata. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes, your house should smell amazing at this point.

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Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

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Lower the fire and simmer until lentils are nice and tender around 45 minutes. Add water, if necessary, it wasn’t for me. Once lentils are tender, add the lemon juice, mix well then turn off the fire. Serve by ladling into soup bowls and topping with a dollop of the remaining Gremolata, a few squeezes of lemon juice, and enjoy!

 

 

 

If you don’t have it already, check out Kenji’s new book, The Food Lab, it’s full of useful cooking information backed by science.

Grilled Greek Chicken Bowls

Greek Grilled Chicken Bowls

Greek Grilled Chicken Bowls

After years of only getting a harvest of two or three lemons per year, my lemon tree is in full bloom.I finally have a bountiful harvest. In fact, I have so many lemons, I caught myself finally uttering words I thought I would never utter–I have too many lemons.  My motto is when life gives you lemons–cook with them! Luckily for me,  the Mediterranean flavor profile is one of my favorite flavor profiles.  I love a great greek chicken salad. I decided to switch things up a bit, by taking the same ingredients I might use to make a greek salad, and instead, make a warm and savory bowl.  The result–delicious! The best thing about this bowl is it can be eaten warm, or cold, it is delicious either way. Feel free to switch out the ingredients, using kale in place of spinach, grill the chicken on the barbecue instead of in the pan,  or add red bell pepper and marinated artichokes.  You can also switch out the grains, use basmati rice instead of quinoa.  If you want to make this vegetarian, replace the chicken in this recipe with tofu or just add more mushrooms. To make it Paleo omit the grains and add more spinach or kale.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

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Ingredients For Sauce/marinade:

4 large cloves of garlic minced

1 tablespoon of fresh Thyme

1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon of lemon zest

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

Ingredients for chicken bowl:

5 chicken thighs

1 cup of Persian cucumber diced

1 cup of tomato diced

10 ounces of sliced crimini mushrooms

12 ounces of spinach

1 cup of quinoa

1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled

4 Tablespoons of oil, split

sea salt to taste

Directions: Place the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a pan, cover and cook until water evaporates(about 10-15 minutes), then set aside.

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Heat the garlic, olive oil and thyme in a saucepan for 1-2 minutes.

NOTE: You do not want the garlic to brown. If it browns then you’ve cooked it too long.  The point of this is to infuse the oil with garlic and thyme and also mellow out the garlic.  The two-minute mark is usually long enough.

Transfer the infused oil to a bowl, add the lemon juice, sea salt, and lemon zest, mix well.

Season the chicken with sea salt, and pour half of the sauce/marinade over the chicken, set the remaining sauce/marinade aside.  Place the chicken in the refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Heat  2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan, add the mushrooms, season with sea salt and cook until brown–about 10 minutes.  Once the mushrooms are brown, transfer them to a plate and set aside.

Add the spinach to the same saute pan, cook until wilted about 3-4 minutes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a cast iron skillet. The skillet should be smoking hot.  Once it is hot, add the chicken and cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through.

Assemble the bowls by adding some quinoa, mushrooms, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta and chicken to each bowl.  Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the remaining sauce over each bowl, and enjoy!

 

 

Popcorn Balls with Peanut butter and Marshmallows

Popcorn Balls with Peanut butter and Marshmallows

Popcorn Balls with Peanut butter and Marshmallows

Now that Page is in school–two schools if we’re being technical–there are always opportunities for me to cook, or prepare treats for her classes.  This week has been particularly hectic because both schools are doing fundraising drives, and if you’re a parent then you know the schools require a lot of participation from parents in the form of raising money and volunteering to bring food and elbow grease.  Luckily for me none of the kids in Page’s class have food allergies, so I decided to make these popcorn balls.  Popcorn balls have always been one of my favorite Halloween treats.  They contain popcorn and marshmallows, really what’s not to love? These popcorn balls also have a yummy touch of peanut butter, you can omit it, or sub with sun butter or almond butter if you have a little one with allergies. If not–live a little–tis the season! You can make your own marshmallows here’s how, or you can buy a store brand.  I got a gluten free version from Whole Foods.

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Makes 12 medium popcorn balls

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

6 cups of organic Non-GMO popcorn (equal to 1/4 cup of unpopped popcorn)

3 cups of marshmallows

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1 tablespoon of organic peanut butter

Directions: Pop 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels then set aside in a large bowl.

To a sauce pan add the butter,

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let it melt then add the peanut butter, marshmallows,

Stir until melted,

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Working quickly pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn.

With a spatula work quickly to coat the popcorn in the marshmallow mixture.  Once all the popcorn has been coated, work quickly to form the popcorn into balls.

The mixture will still be quite warm so be careful and try not to burn your hands.  Once all the balls have been formed serve and enjoy!

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If you like this you’ll probably love my Caramel popcorn with Almonds and coconut recipe, it’s crunchy and oh so delicious!

Avocado and Cilantro Crema

Avocado and Cilantro Crema

Avocado and Cilantro Crema

 

We have a black bean tostada night once every 2 weeks.  It’s simple, and definitely a lazy girl dinner, because I open a can of black refined beans heat them then add them to a piping hot and crisp tortilla. I top the tortilla with cheese, sliced tomatoes, cilantro, and either a fresh guacamole or this Avocado Crema.  The result is a delicious and lazy dinner! Simple ingredients, but oh so good. My husband raves about this dinner every time we have it. The best thing about this is that you throw everything into a blender and a minute later the sauce is done. If you want to make this vegan, paleo or Whole 30 approved just omit the yogurt and replace with 1/4 cup of water.

 

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Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

1 large ripe avocado

3 tablespoons of yogurt–can sub sour cream

1/4 cup of cilantro

juice of 1/2 lime==more if you like

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

Sea salt to taste

Directions:  Add all the ingredients to a blender.

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Blend on high until smooth and lump free.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Peruvian Chicken

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I love California, as a matter of fact I’d be hard pressed to name a state within this union that I’d consider leaving California for.  One of the many great things about living here, besides the diversity here, is the weather.  On a great day, the temperature ranges between 78F and 82F.  Since we live by the beach, there is seldom a day without a cool ocean breeze.  Lately however, the temperatures have been 10-20F degrees above normal, and for the last two weeks temps have settled in around 89-98F—HOT!!!!!!  So hot that the last thing I want to do is to turn on the stove.  So we’ve adapted, I’ve been marinating meat in the morning for my husband to grill in the evening when things start to cool down a bit.  This marinade is super simple, and if you’ve ever had grilled Peruvian chicken you know how yummy and it can be.  The vinegar in this really gives this chicken a yummy tang and kick.  I’ve tried this with Rice vinegar and white wine, both are yummy, but plain white distilled vinegar is just as yummy.

 

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Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

1 lb of boneless skinless organic chicken thighs

1 tablespoon cumin powder

1 tablespoon of smoked paprika

3 cloves of garlic grated

1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar–can sub with white vinegar or rice vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil–can sub with oil of your choice

sea salt to taste

Directions: Generously season the chicken with sea salt and set aside.  Add the cumin powder, paprika, garlic, oil, and vinegar to a pan or a bowl big enough to marinate you chicken in.

Mix well,

Then add chicken,

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Toss to coat the chicken in the marinade.

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Cover with foil, refrigerate until you’re ready to grill.  Cook chicken on a hot grill for 15-20 minutes, or in an oven set on 425F  15-20 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!  I served this with a delicious Avocado and cilantro crema,  I’ll post the recipe for that soon–sooo yummy!  This chicken also makes for great chicken taco’s!

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