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!

 

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!

 

 

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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Korean Barbecue Chicken

Korean Barbecue Chicken

Korean Barbecue Chicken

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I love Korean barbecue, what’s not to love?  Grilled meat, pickled and fermented veggies…mmmh it’s a veritable umami bomb on a plate.  The fermented veggies alone are enough to get me into the door of a Korean restaurant.  I love banchan, savory sprouts, kimchi, cucumber kimchi, and daikon radish make the heaviness of the barbecued meats lighter.  I remember my first experience eating Korean food.  The week of my wedding my best friend suggested that we go to a Korean bath spa together.  She said it would be a great mini break for me to table the stress of planning a wedding, and at the same time get my skin nice and polished for the wedding.  I happily agreed, we had gone to many a spa together throughout our friendship, so why not make another happy memory with my best friend before I sailed off into wedded bliss, I thought.  The day before our appointments my best friend called to say that something came up at work and she could not join me, but she insisted that I go alone because I needed to destress, so I did.  The spa was unlike any other spa I had ever been to. After checking in, I was led on a guided tour of the steam rooms, jade rooms, and showers.  Everyone within the walls, except for the technicians, was completely naked and Asian.  I stuck out like a sore thumb.   First of all, I wasn’t at all prepared to be completely naked in front of anyone other than a technician. At all the spa’s  that I had ever been to everyone wore something, be it a robe, or bathing suit, but not this spa.  I also was not prepared to leave without having had my body polish.  I had read the Yelp reviews and this place was the best!  I wanted to sparkle and shine at my wedding and the only thing standing in the way of that happening was me getting naked, so I did.  I was sitting in the sauna with three women, and they could sense my unease.  They were so kind, they chatted me up, and when I felt comfortable one of them asked me how I found out about the spa.  I told them and they laughed.  I’m guessing that the spa didn’t get very many non-Asian patrons, which is too bad, nakedness aside, it was a great spa. The spa lacked the more polished elegance of a Burke Williams, but what it lacked in elegance, it made up for it other areas, namely the food area.  After getting my scrub, and detoxing in the sauna, I walked over to the jade rooms, and just beyond that was a bar and the scent coming from the bar was intoxicating.  The bar/restaurant had a full menu of soups with fermented and pickled veggies, JACKPOT! I grabbed a folded robe from a pedestal near the entrance into the bar–you didn’t think they would make us eat naked did you?–and sat down to a deliciously healthy meal.  If only all spa’s included this kind of service.  That was my first experience eating Korean food, and since then I’ve fallen in love with it.  This recipe is my take on chicken Korean barbecue.  I have to say that this chicken is delicious!  Better than the chicken that I’ve had at most restaurants that I’ve been to.  This recipe requires Gochujang–a spicy fermented chili paste. You may need to venture into an Asian market for the Gochujang.  I purchased a jar at my local Whole Foods, they had several varieties of it, I chose a garlic Gochujang.

 

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

1lb of boneless skinless organic chicken thighs, cut each thigh into 3 or 4 pieces

1.5 tablespoons of Gochujang

2 teaspoons of sugar–can sub with maple sugar or syrup

1 teaspoon of garlic grated

3 green onions chopped finely both whites and green parts

1 teaspoon of grated ginger

2 teaspoons of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of olive or grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

sea salt to taste

Directions: Season the chicken with sea salt and set aside.

To a large mixing bowl or medium size bake pan add the remaining ingredients,

combine and mix well,

then toss in the chicken, tossing to coat the chicken completely in the marinade.

Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.  Grill the chicken on a hot grill, 5-7 minutes on each side, serve and enjoy!

 

 

Ginger Garlic Fried Rice

Ginger Garlic Fried Rice

              Ginger Garlic Fried Rice

Ahh…rice. The staple food for many cultures.  In fact, rice is so important to my good friend Gina’s parents that they will not even travel without bringing along their rice maker.  It’s the first thing her mom unpacks in the hotel room. My husband and my daughter are huge fans of rice.  Page is a particular fan of basmati, and I can’t say that I blame her.  A good basmati  is aromatic, light and airy, like eating a cloud.     I don’t cook rice that often, so even a small bag could last us months.  Whenever I do make rice, as much as my husband and daughter love it, we always have leftovers.  I hate to throw it away so I always try to find a way to use it.   Page loves fried rice–who doesn’t?  She is a particular fan of my Crab Fried Rice.  But we don’t always have crab in the house.  So I use what I have, usually a few vegetables, and an egg.  One of the fish restaurants we frequent makes a garlic rice that Page just devours. So I decided to do my own take on the garlic rice which she loves so much.

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Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

2-3 cups of room temperature left over rice

1/2 teaspoon of tumeric

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

1 tablespoon of oil

sea salt or soy sauce to taste

Directions: Add the oil,  garlic,  tumeric and ginger to a saute pan and heat on medium heat until garlic and ginger slightly brown,

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add in the rice, toss until rice is heated.

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Transfer to a serving bowl, season with soy or sea salt, and a drizzle of sesame oil, garnish with cilantro, serve and enjoy. This is AMAZING with my Korean barbecue chicken, stay tuned for that recipe tomorrow!

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Berbere Spiced Lentil Stew (MISR WOT)

Berbere Spiced Lentil Stew

Berbere Spiced Lentil Stew

 

So I’ve decided that this will be my last post until the summer is over.  Mainly because we’ll be traveling for at least  three weeks in August, and today is Page’s last day in her summer program at school.  We have about a week of lounging around and playing in the back yard before she starts her Spanish immersion summer program.  I want to spend as much time as I can with her, without looking at my phone to do all that blogging requires of me.  I’ll be sure to update my Instagram account with all of my food adventures–as usual.  So if you aren’t following me on Instagram, click on the link to the right to do so.  Now to the recipe. Berbere Chicken was one of the first recipes that I shared on this blog.  It’s one of Page’s favorite chicken dishes–although lately it is getting some strong competition from Sous Vide Chicken Thighs with Thyme and Garlic. She still love this chicken nonetheless. After making the chicken the last time, I was so impressed with the flavors, I wanted to add it to something else, and then it occurred to me how awesome this seasoning would be on lentils, in a soup.  As I walked around my kitchen, grabbing ingredients and  formulating a recipe in my head, lentils, tomatoes–because my garden is overflowing with them, onion, garlic, lemon, and berbere spice, it occurred to me that I had these flavors before in a dish at an Ethiopian restaurant.  Sure enough there was a recipe for a stew by none other than Marcus Samuelson.  While I did not follow his recipe exactly, my own isn’t so far off.  I used some Organic Green French Lentils, which I sprouted.  His recipe and I guess the traditional recipe calls for red lentils. I added some of the preserved lemon salt  I made to my bowl as a finish.  If you haven’t made my preserved lemon salt yet, a little preserved lemon would be awesome with this.

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Ingredients

1 cup of sprouted organic green lentils

1 large tomato chopped

1 small onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of oil –your choice I used butter

2 tablespoons of berbere spice

1 lemon cut into wedges

3 cups of water

Ingredients for Berbere Spice

Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons of Paprika I used a smoked
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds or ground cumin
1teaspoon of ground turmeric
1teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of fenugreek powder, or seeds
1 teaspoon of coriander
6 cardmom pods or 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of allspice
1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns
8 whole cloves

Directions for spice blend:
Place all the spices in a dry cast iron skillet and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until toasted about 3-5 minutes. Cool completely  place all ingredients in a spice grinder or blender until finely ground. Transfer to an air tight storage container for up to 3 months.

Directions: Heat the oil along with the onion, and garlic and cook until onion is translucent.

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Add in the lentils and berbere spice.

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Allow the mixture to cook for 2-3 minutes, then add in the tomato,

 

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cook for another minute or two,

 

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then add in the water.  Bring to a boil, then allow the lentils to simmer for 20-30minutes, or until lentils are tender.

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You can serve at this point, by adding the stew to a bowl and squeezing a few lemon wedges over the soup.  I wanted a little more texture, so I blended a quarter of my lentils then added them back into the stew.

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It made the soup thicker and creamier.  Delicious either way!

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Herbaceous Grilled Lamp Chops

Herbaceous Grilled Lamb Chops

Herbaceous Grilled Lamb Chops

Last weekend I visited a Persian market.  The market filled me with all sorts of food inspiration, but it mostly left me with a strong desire to eat lamb.  I guessing that desire came from the cooked foods section, which had fresh lamb kabobs and shawarma. The market also housed a rather large meat department, it had lamb in every form, hooves, hearts, livers, basically every part of the lamb that a better cook than I am could possibly want to cook. A far cry from the selection at my local Whole Foods! I feel like I hit the lottery if they have stewed lamb meat once every 4 months.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous to be able to walk into your local market and find, um..choices?  Like ramps in the spring time, in California–but I digress.  Let’s just say, I left the Persian market with market envy.   I shop at Whole Foods so often that when I go into a conventional grocery store, I’m always amazed at how inexpensive things are.  Haha..call it reverse sticker shock! Thank you Whole Foods!  Surprisingly, I did not leave the Persian market with lamb.  I did find some great spices, some pomegranate molasses, and a few other great items.  I left with my new finds and a mission to cook these lamb chops.

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Ingredients:

1 lb lamb chops

2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon lemon powder, can sub with lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon of olive oil

Directions: To a small bowl add garlic, rosemary, lemon zest and oil, mix well.

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Dry lamb chops, season generously with sea salt. Rub the lamb chops with the herbaceous garlic paste.

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Place lamb chops on a hot grill, and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until lamb chops are cooked to your liking.  Remove from grill, serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon and enjoy!

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