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!

 

 

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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Miso Buttered Salmon

Miso Buttered Salmon

Miso Buttered Salmon

 

So now that you know how to make miso butter,  what do you do with it?  The truth is, there are a myriad of things that you could use miso butter on, one of my favorites is on veggies.  Especially corn.  Page loves corn, and I buy organic non gmo corn at the farmers market whenever it’s in season.  I shave it and freeze it.  Then I throw it in a pot with no water and allow the water to cook off, once it has I add in miso butter, and let the butter  brown.  The kernels get the nutty flavor from the brown butter, with an unami flavor from the miso–talk about delicious!!  Besides corn, I love it on green beans, sauteed spinach, asparagus, brussel sprouts, cabbage–just about any veggie you can think of, miso butter makes it better.   Do you know what else miso butter makes better?  Meat! Almost every kind of meat.  Steak with miso butter is a revelation! Seafood with miso butter is ascension!   This recipe is so delicious, I find it hard to eat salmon any other way.  Every bite of this deserves it’s own moment of silence, it’s own moment of indulgence.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10-12 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb salmon steak, patted dry

2-3 Tablespoons of miso butter

1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt more if you desire

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 425F.  Season salmon steak with garlic salt.

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Using a butter knife apply a thin layer of miso butter on the top and sides of the salmon.

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Place the salmon on a foil lined baking sheet, then place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through.  In my experience 10 minutes is usually the perfect time, you only want to go longer if you salmon steak is thicker than 1 inch.  Longer than 15 minutes and your salmon is probably over cooked.

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Remove the salmon from the oven.  It should be nice and caramelized on top.  Serve and enjoy!

 

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Crispy Pork Larb!

Crispy Pork Larb

Crispy Pork Larb

This is one of those dinners that is both healthy and delicious.  Trust me when I tell you when you take one bite of this you will be forever grateful that I started this blog–yes it’s that good!  For those of you who do not know, larb is a thai street food.  It’s so good that it’ll make you question how we do street food in America.  It’s bright, fresh, and full of the umami flavors that will make you go Mmmmmm… If you don’t fancy pork, no problem, you can try this with ground chicken, turkey, or even lamb and beef.  Check out my recipe for Chicken larb here.  This is one of my favorite ways to use ground meat, it’s so simple that this meal almost makes itself!

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground pork

3 large cloves of garlic thinly sliced

1/4 cup of diced red bell pepper

1/2 of a red onion, sliced thinly

1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves

1 head of romaine lettuce, leaves removed to use as cups

1/2 cup of sliced persian cucumbers

1/3 cup of fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon of a good quality fish sauce, I used red boat

2  tablespoons of soy sauce

1/4 cup of water

Sea salt to taste

2 tablespoons of cooking oil of your choice

red pepper flakes to taste

Directions: Heat oil, garlic and red bell pepper and cook until garlic is fragrant–about 15 seconds.

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Add in ground meat season with sea salt and cook until brown about 5-7 minutes.

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Once brown, add in soy sauce, fish sauce, water and red pepper flakes if using.

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Cook until liquid evaporates and pork is brown and crispy about 2 minutes. Add in lime juice, toss well, remove from heat.  Add the meat to the lettuce cups, top with a generous amount of the fresh herbs, cucumbers, red onion, red pepper flakes, and a squeeze of additional lime juice, enjoy! So good!

 

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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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Spice Rubbed Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce

Spice rubbed Salmon with lemon cream sauce

Spice Rubbed Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce

I love salmon, especially perfectly cooked salmon. When cooked correctly salmon is moist, tender, and oh so satisfying.  Most recipes for salmon include dill, lemon, garlic or some variation of those three ingredients. I’m a big fan of garlic and lemon, but dill is just not a flavor I’m in love with.  Besides, salmon is not a fragile fish, it can hold up to more bold flavor profiles.This particular salmon recipe is proof of that.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb salmon fillet

1/4 teaspoon of paprika

1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic

1/4 teaspoon of onion powder

1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2-1 teaspoon of avocado oil or coconut oil

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Lemon cream sauce (optional)

2 Tablespoons of sour cream –can sub with yogurt

1/4 teaspoon of tabasco

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

sea salt to taste

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 425F. Mix the ingredients for the lemon sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Dry salmon fillet with paper towels, drizzle with oil on both sides, then salt, place on a foil lined bake sheet and set aside. In a small bowl mix together the paprika, garlic, onion, and cumin.

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Sprinkle the spice mixture over the salmon,

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Place the salmon in the oven for 8-10 minutes depending on how thick your fillet is.  My fillet was about 1/2 inch thick and it was done in 8 minutes.  Remove from oven, drizzle with lemon sauce and enjoy!

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How to make Onion Powder–DIY Onion Powder

DIY Onion Powder--How to make Onion Powder

DIY Onion Powder–How to make Onion Powder

Recently I was chatting with some professional chefs online one of them was talking about using dried powders like garlic and onion in a recipe that he was playing with.  He wanted to know where he could find better quality powders.  The discussion quickly went from people being helpful, to people questioning whether any chef of good standing would ever use a dried product versus a fresh product. One person in particular, said absolutely not!  Others, said of course and then went on to make a case for when dried spices are needed, and in those cases how using dry spices make the dish better.  The discussion got me thinking about how often I use dried spices, and what dry ingredients I use.  The truth is that I am one of those cooks, who relies heavily on fresh ingredients.  The produce bin in my refrigerator is always stocked with, fresh thyme, parsley, mint, cilantro, basil, and whatever other herb is in season–ALWAYS.  I can’t imagine cooking without the use of fresh herbs.  At the same time, my cupboards are stocked with the dried version of all the fresh herbs that I just mentioned, and many, many other dry spices, like garlic powder, cumin, tarragon, onion powder…the list could literally fill this page!  If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I make many of my own spices.   When the person in that forum asked about sourcing onion powder, my immediate thought was, why not just make it? So I did.  It’s a simple process, but the onion powder that you get from this process is the best that you will probably ever taste–or smell–the smell had me salivating–this is the stuff that great onion dips, and soups are built from!

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 6-8 hours–

Ingredients:

2 large onions sliced thinly

Directions: Evenly spread the sliced onions on a dehydrator sheet.

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If using an oven, place the onions on a parchment lined bake sheet. Set the temperature on your dehydrator to 125F.  If using an oven, set it to the lowest possible setting 150F.  Let the onions dehydrate until brittle, then remove and let cool.

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Once the onions have cooled, place them in a spice grinder/coffee grinder and blend into a powder.  Stop here if you want onion flakes,

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Transfer to an airtight container until ready to use.

 

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