Veggies

Summertime Potato Salad

20130619-210011.jpg

20130619-210000.jpg

Potatoes, celery, lemongrass and herbs. Vinaigrette instead of heavy creamy dressing. Light and fresh and flavorful. This salad screams summer.

We welcomed in the warm weather with a backyard feast. We recently remade our patio with a chaise, love seat and fire pit. Polish sausage and hot dogs, cold root beers and this potato salad? We are ready to welcome in the longer nights and hotter days with delicious, seasonal meals. And this potato salad? Well, it’s just the first course. We’ll have many more summertime recipes in the upcoming months. So, pull up a seat, grab a plate, and watch out for ants!

20130619-210018.jpg

Summertime Potato Salad
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 stalk fresh lemongrass, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. walnut oil
1/3 cup olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Pierce potatoes with a fork. Boil in salted water until fork tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

Dice cold potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. In a large bowl combine potatoes, celery, lemongrass and garlic. Toss gently to combine. Add parsley, dill and zest of 1/2 lemon. Set aside.

Whisk together juice of 1/2 lemon, sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle in walnut oil and olive oil, whisking the whole time to emulsify. Whisk in sea salt and pepper. Pour over potato salad and toss gently to combine. Serve cold.

Serves 4-6

Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes

Sunchokes & Golden Beets

Hi!  How are you?!  I’ve missed you!  How was your Christmas/New Years/Chanakah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice?  Are you hungry?

Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes
Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  I used to, until I figured out that I feel into a shame spiral the second I broke them.  Which I always did.  Usually around the 6th of January.  I suck at resolutions.

So, instead I make goals.  Goals, as opposed to resolutions, seem a little more flexible.  A little less rigid.  You can break a resolution, but you can’t really break a goal.  You just keep working towards them.  You can stumble, go a little off track, but it’s a constant process, which works better for me personally.  Resolutions are either on or off; goals are a journey.

Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes
One of my goals, really a goal I try continue and build on every year, is to maintain healthy eating.  What is my idea of healthy eating?  No processed food, vegetable heavy, lean proteins, not too much sugar, healthy fats.  Basically, more food from the earth than from the factory.  Foods that give me energy instead of zapping it.  I can tell throughout my whole body when I’ve been maintaining a healthy diet; my skin is clearer, my energy is higher and cleaner.  I have a fairly sensitive stomach and have had a lot of issues with digestion, so when my system feels very clean and on track, I know that I’ve been eating healthily.  So, healthy food goals are a constant in my life. 

Golden Beets & Sunchokes
  

These galettes feel good.  Nutty whole-wheat and brown butter crust, golden beets and sunchokes marinated in sherry vinegar and good olive oil, a little thyme and a handful of pea shoots on top.  Very simple preparation, to allow the delicious root veggies to shine. 

I like golden beets best; they don’t have as much of that super-earthy (read: dirt) flavoring that red beets have, which could really over-power the sunchokes in this dish.  The sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes), like a light buttery cross between an artichoke heart and a potato, are so subtle and lovely.  I made chips from them and soup this week, and have many more plans for this fantastic winter veggie.  This dish is perfectly filling without overwhelming.  A side salad of arugula, watermelon radishes and pomegranate seeds will round out this little dinner perfectly.

Stay tuned for some more healthy eating recipes this month, including my first ever giveaway at the end of the month!  I’m so excited!!!

What are your goals and resolutions for the new year?  THG

Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes
Golden Beet & Sunchoke Galettes

Pastry crust:

6 Tbsp.  unsalted butter, divided

1 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/8-1/4 cup ice water

Filling:

1 golden beet, sliced 1/16” thick

2 small sunchokes, sliced 1/16” thick

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

pea shoots for garnish

In a small saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat.  Let cook until butter begins to brown.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sea salt and black pepper.  Add remaining 4 Tbsp. butter, cubed and cold.  Using a pastry cutter or your hands, mix butter into the flour mixture until broken down and resembling coarse crumbs.  Add cooled brown butter and mix to combine.  Add ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until dough begins to come together.  Turn out onto a floured surface and shape into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

While dough is setting, mix golden beet and sunchoke  slices with olive oil, vinegar, thyme, sea salt and pepper in a small bowl until well coated.  Let marinate until ready for use.

Preheat oven to 375 °F.  On a well-floured surface, divide dough in half.  Roll one half into a rough circle, about 1/8” thick.  Place on a ungreased baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.

In the center of each dough circle, place 5 beet slices, overlapping.  Place 5 sunchoke slices on top of the beets.  Fold in the sides of the dough over the veggies to form a crust, leaving a 2” or so opening.  Sprinkle pea shoots on top.  Bake in the center of oven until crust is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  Serve warm.

Serves 2

Radish and Goat Cheese Tartines

French Breakfast Radishes

A few musings on this chilly day:

– I could not be more sick of turkey.  Truly.  I feel as if I’ve been eating turkey non-stop for a year.  And still, there is turkey to be eaten.  I feel the massive levels of tryptophan that I have seemly consumed in the past week will launch me into full-on winter hibernation.

– I love the idea of winter hibernation.  Think about it: spending an entire season tucked warmly into bed, no where to go, nothing to do.  Just coziness and deep sleep.  Here’s hoping I get to be a bear in my next life.

– In my quest for any and all things NOT turkey, I have found myself eating much smaller quantities of food.  And that is not a bad thing; I feel like the rich, complex and hearty foods associated with the cooler seasons are better consumed in smaller portions.  It’s leaving me feeling very satisfied and well-fed, without that “stuffed to the gills” feeling.  Which is good, because, as I mentioned, I am sleepy enough this time of year without the added affect of the “food coma”.

Radish and Goat Cheese Tartines

– My new favorite farmer’s market discovery are these French breakfast radishes.  I haven’t been very exposed to radishes, never really ate them growing up, and I’ve generally found regular radishes to be a bit too peppery for my taste.  Not these little beauties.  Mild and crunchy, with just that little spicy zing right at the end.  Shawn’s been having them just lightly dipped in sea salt.  Very tasty.  I prefer them on this goat cheese tartine.

French Breakfast Radishes

There is no real recipe to speak of here: just toasted wheat sourdough bread with soft goat cheese, good olive oil, radishes, pepper and a little fresh mint on top.  Just assemble and eat.  You really don’t need anything more complicated than that with these little jewels.  They hold up wonderfully with the tangy goat cheese and cool mint.  I had this for dinner and then again the next day for lunch.  With the excess and overeating to come with the holidays, these are a great little palate break from all the sugar, starch and salt.  Bon appetite!  THG

Radish and Goat Cheese Tartines

Sautéed Mushrooms and Mashed Potatoes

Sauteed Mushrooms and Mashed Potatoes

I am definitely someone who enjoys their alone time.  I always have.  My mom tells this story about when I was around 4 years old and we were on a big snow trip with a group of family friends.  All the kids were together sledding and tubing and I was off by myself building a snowman, away from the group.  When my mom’s friend asked why I wasn’t joining in with the other kids, my mom said that I just needed to be by myself occasionally.  And it’s still true.  At work, I have to be very social, helping members with whatever they need and maintaining a friendly disposition.  So, by the end of the day and especially the end of the week, a little alone time is much needed.  Luckily, Shawn is someone who also likes his peace and quiet, so he understands my need to crack open a book or go online and just peace out.

Sauteed Mushroom Ingredients

Up until recently, Shawn had to work Sunday nights.  While I missed him (he’s my best bud; I always prefer to hang out with him rather than without!), I enjoyed my evening alone.  Why you ask?  Because I got to eat the things I can never make for him.  Roasted red peppers, tomato salad and sautéed mushrooms.

Mushrooms and Thyme

Oh Shawn, why can’t you like mushrooms?  Especially these mushrooms.  They are so delicious, so tender and flavorful and decadent without many ingredients and almost no effort.  Oh well, more for me.

I love to do a big pile of these buttery, wine soaked, herby mushrooms with a huge scoop of garlicy, creamy mashed potatoes.  Normally, I would make my own mashed potatoes, but for this particular dish, I did instant.  BLASPHEMY, you cry!  But these Idaho brand garlic mashed potatoes are completely yummy.  So buttons

Smile

Just a super quick, simple dinner for a night alone.  Warm, flavorful, delicious comfort food.

What do you like to eat on your nights alone?  THG

Sauteed Mushrooms and Mashed Potatoes

Sautéed Mushrooms

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 lb. button mushrooms, sliced

2/3 cup dry red wine

1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, minced

sea salt and pepper

In a medium sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add sliced mushrooms and toss to coat in the butter.  Cook until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.  Add half the wine.  Sauté, tossing frequently, until mushrooms absorb most of the wine.  Before the pan is completely dry, add the rest of the wine and cook down until thick and bubbling.  Remove from heat.  Add thyme, salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat.  Serve immediately over mashed potatoes.

Serves 2

Tomato and Lemon Cucumber Gazpacho

Last Sunday, I had this text exchange with my dad:

Text with Dad

Boo-yah!

In case you don’t speak Dad, “cucs and toms” translates to cucumbers and tomatoes.  Or, more specifically, garden fresh tomatoes and lemon cucumbers.  No way I was going to pass up an offer like that.

4 hours later, I was unwrapping these beauties:

Tomatoes and Lemon Cucumbers

Insert Homer Simpson drooling sound effect here.

Perfectly ripe and still warm from the sun, I could not wait to get dinner started, with these babies as the featured players.  Luckily for me, Shawn was a work that night and I was on my own for dinner.

See, the thing is, Shawn hates tomatoes.  I KNOW.  He hates tomatoes, and I married him anyway.  Well, at least he has some other redeemable qualities

Winking smile

So, I had a night all to myself and a table full of homegrown cucs and toms.  Too hot to cook.  Gazpacho it is.

Tomato and Lemon Cucumber Gazpacho

Cold, crisp tomato and cucumber soup.  The best possible way to enjoy those fresh garden veggies.  Garlic, fresh mint and a dash of cayenne pepper evens out the flavors, adding a bit of a bite to the sweet and smooth cucumber and tomato.  A drizzle of lemon and a swirl of olive oil.  This is summer in a bowl.  You can’t help but take a deep breath and smile a bit sipping on this icy soup.  Too good.

Tomatoes and Lemon Cucumbers

Cold roasted potatoes round out this meal perfectly.  Just roast the potatoes in the morning or the night before when it’s cool enough to have the oven on (if that’s even feasible where you live; I feel for all of you in 100ºF+ weather.  Stay hydrated my overheated friends).  This soup calls out for garden fresh produce; it just wouldn’t be the same with grocery store tomatoes or cucumbers.  You need the picked-ripe flavor to come punching through; the soup could be pretty bland with most mass-produced veggies.  If you don’t have a garden (or a dad with a green thumb), your local farmer’s market selection will do just fine.

What’s your favorite summer cool down meal?  THG

Tomato and Lemon Cucumber Gazpacho

Tomato and Lemon Cucumber Gazpacho

2 lb. assorted tomatoes, roughly chopped

3 medium size lemon cucumbers, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, smashed

1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped

1/2 lemon

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

sea salt

olive oil

In a blender, puree tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, garlic and mint until completely broken down and frothy (this may need to be done in batches).  In a fine mesh sieve, strain liquid into a large bowl.  Discard solids.  Whisk in lemon juice, cayenne pepper and sea salt to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least one hour.  Spoon into individual bowls and drizzle with olive oil.  Serve cold.

Serves 4

Wasabi Crab Cakes

Wasabi Crab Cake Ingredients

I love Japanese food.

Seriously.  If I had to decide to eat only one type of food for the rest of my life, Japanese would be pretty high up there.  It’s all in the flavor profile: ginger, sesame, lemon, garlic, soy.  Lighter and more subtle than other Asian styles.  And of course, the wasabi.  Ahh, wasabi.

Japanese Cole Slaw

I am, self-admitted, a HUGE wimp when it comes to spice and heat levels.  Chilies completely overwhelm me, curry leaves me sweating, and don’t even get me started on cayenne pepper.  BUT, when out to sushi, I load my soy sauce with wasabi.  You know why I can handle wasabi?  Because it doesn’t linger.  It hits you, WHAM!, and then it’s gone.  No burned tongue, no water-gulping.  It comes and just as quick, it goes.  I think that’s why I can handle the heat of wasabi.  That, and it’s an excellent sinus clearer

Smile

Wasabi Crab Cakes

One of the best uses I’ve found for wasabi at home is in mashed potatoes.  I don’t want to undersell these: THEY ARE THE BEST MASHED POTATOES.  EVER.  Just like regular mashed potatoes, creamy and buttery, and then that hit of wasabi spice.  Just so, so good.  I eat these like whipped cream, fingerfuls at a time while making them.  It’s amazing that any of these potatoes actually make it to the table, so in love with them I am.  Yum, yum, yum.

I also love crab cakes with mashed potatoes as their base.  These could not be simpler: wasabi mashed potatoes, crab, little special soy sauce, all rolled in black sesame seeds and panko crumbs.  Bake until golden.  Just perfect.

Japanese Cole Slaw

The soy sauce I used for the crab cakes and the coleslaw is incredibly flavorful and incredibly simple.  Just a few slices of lemon, a few slices of peeled ginger, and a few crushed garlic cloves.  Pour soy sauce over them and let it all sit and marinate in the fridge for a day.  The lemon, ginger and garlic flavor the soy sauce in such a brilliant way, I swear you will never have soy sauce straight out of the bottle again.  Delish.

This coleslaw is also based on the coleslaw at a sushi restaurant near my work.  They top theirs with dried ginger and fish flakes, which really add something extra to it.  Not having these on hand, I just tossed in some sesame seeds and dried seaweed; different taste, but still delicious.

What’s your favorite flavor profile?  THG

Wasabi Crab Cakes

Wasabi Crab Cakes

For mashed potatoes:

1 1/2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

1/4 cup low-fat milk

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

2 Tbsp. wasabi paste

salt and pepper

For cakes:

3 small cans crab meat, drained

2 Tbsp. lemon-garlic soy sauce

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds

In a large pot, bring potatoes and 1 Tbsp. butter to a boil in salted water.  Continue to boil, covered, until potatoes are fork-tender.  Drain.

Place potatoes in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium to break up potatoes.  While still hot, add milk and remaining 3 Tbsp. butter.  Beat on medium-high until potatoes are completely smooth and fluffy, without any lumps.  Mix in wasabi paste until combined.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Add crab meat and soy sauce to mashed potatoes and fold in gently.  Form potato mixture into 2” cakes, flattened slightly.  In a small bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds.  Roll cakes in breadcrumb mixture until well-coated, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in center of oven until cakes are golden-brown, about 20-30 minutes.  Serve warm.

Serves 4-6

Japanese Coleslaw

3 cups shredded green cabbage

1/4 cup lemon-garlic soy sauce

2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. sesame seeds

In a measuring cup, whisk together soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil until smooth.  Toss with cabbage.  Top with sesame seeds.

Serves 4-6

Mole Chicken Burritos

Mole Chicken Burrito Ingredients

I love slow cookers.

The idea that I can throw ingredients into a pot in the morning, simmer them all day, and in the evening have a ready-to-go dinner waiting for me is magical.  And with a schedule like mine, with club events and working until 8:00 some nights, not having to think about dinner is very handy.  And, if done right, what comes out of the pot is insane.  Super tender, super juicy, super flavorful.

Mole Chicken Burritos

This chicken is bursting with flavor.  Spicy, but not too hot, a rich bitterness courtesy of Guinness stout in place of chicken broth, and a smooth hint of chocolate.

Sidenote: I am loving using chocolate in a savory dish.  Seriously; it’s a pretty brilliant combination that I hadn’t tried up to this point.  Making this dinner, I was reminded of the scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when she talks about making rice and chicken with chocolate sauce, which then proceeds to explode out of her pressure cooker.  Oh, Holly Golightly, you’re such a kook.

ANYHOO, mole chicken.  This chicken cooked in the stout and spice mixture for about 9 hours, low and slow.  It was so tender, it quite literally fell completely off of the bone.  This, my friends, is exactly what you’re looking for.  Tender, tender chicken.  Awesome.

Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Sauce

I made a roasted tomatillo and avocado sauce to go with it.  Tomatillos roasted in the oven with a head of garlic, avocado, lime, yogurt and spices, all blended into a smooth, silky sauce.  Essentially, pureed guacamole; but the texture of this, with the creamy avocado and yogurt, is phenomenal.  I could eat gallons of this.  So good.

The idea that this meal cooked all day virtually unaccompanied is just the cherry on the pie of this dinner.  Or rather, queso fresca on the mole chicken burrito of this dinner.

What’s your favorite slow cooker meal?  THG

Mole Chicken Burritos

Mole Chicken

1 14 oz. can of Guinness stout

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 whole chicken, quartered

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large slow cooker, combine Guinness, water, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, sea salt and cayenne pepper.  Add chicken, flipping over once so that both sides are coated.  Cover and simmer on low for 8-10 hours until chicken is cooked through and tender.

Remove chicken from slow cooker.  Remove bones, skin and cartilage; discard.  Shred chicken meat.  In the slow cooker, add chocolate to the liquid.  Whisk until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Add chicken back in to mixture and mix to coat.  Cook over low another hour.  Serve hot on warm flour tortillas with black beans, spanish rice, queso fresca and avocado sauce.

Serves 6-8

Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Sauce

2 large tomatillos

1 medium head of garlic

2 medium avocados

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp. ground paprika

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Cut tomatillos and head of garlic in half across their equators.  Coat with olive oil.  Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, turning tomatillos halfway through.  Once roasted, remove garlic from the skins.  In a blender, puree tomatillos and garlic until smooth.  Add avocado and puree.  Once smooth, add lime juice and yogurt and blend to a smooth consistency.  Pour into a bowl.  Add paprika, black pepper and sea salt and mix to combine.  Serve immediately.

Makes approximately 3 cups

Zesty Grilled Chicken, Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad and Fried Polenta Cakes

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

I’ve prepared dinner for you all.  Just an easy, super flavorful, super delicious dinner.

Polenta Cakes

Start with polenta.  Sweet roasted garlic mashed into a paste.  Pecorino Romano cheese, sharp and salty.  Fresh thyme. sea salt and pepper.  A touch of olive oil for body and flavor.  You may want to just scoop this straight out of the bowl.  But wait.

Fry squares in a thin layer of oil; crispy and golden brown on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside.  This alone could be your meal.  Oh.  So.  Good.

Raw Vegetables and Quinoa

Roast some vegetables.  Potatoes, peppers, romaine lettuce; whatever you want.  Toss them in olive oil, a little ground mustard.  Roast them nice and crispy.  These would be great on their own; but we’re not done yet.

Roasted Vegetables

We’re making quinoa.

Now, I know that quinoa can sound very sort of “crunchy granola hippie”.  But trust me, it’s great.  Very similar in texture to couscous, but with an earthier, grainier taste.  Yum.

Zesty Chicken, Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa and Fried Polenta Cakes

Toss the vegetables and quinoa together while they’re both still warm.  A simple vinaigrette of roasted garlic paste, red wine vinegar, thyme and olive oil.  That’s it.  Simple, delicious.  Like good old-fashioned comfort food, but healthy.

Zesty Grilled Chicken

And the chicken.  This chicken is so juicy and flavorful.  A super simple marinade of equal parts Worstershire sauce and lemon juice.  Just douse those babies and let them sit.  When they’re ready, just plop them on the grill top.  Done and done.  And delish.

Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

This dinner is great to make ahead of time.  The chicken marinade and the polenta cakes can all be made the night before and refrigerated.  Very easy, very yummy and very healthy.  If you put that whole “fried and cheesy” thing aside.

Smile
  THG          

Empty Plate

Fried Polenta Cakes

1 whole head of garlic

1 package pre-made polenta

1 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped

Sea salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. canola oil

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Cut the head of garlic in half widthwise.  Coat the cut ends in olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil.  Roast in the oven until garlic is golden brown and soft, about 30-35 minutes.  Squeeze the garlic out into a small bowl.  Mash to a smooth paste. 

Microwave the polenta in a large bowl for about 30 seconds until softened.  Add 2/3 of the garlic paste to the polenta and mix well (reserve the remaining 1/3 for the salad vinaigrette).  Add the cheese, olive oil, thyme, sea salt and pepper to the polenta and mix well.  Brush the bottom of a baking sheet with olive oil.  Dump the polenta onto the baking sheet and press into the sides, spreading the mixture evenly across the pan.  Refrigerate to set for at least 2 hours.

In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.  Cut out two 2 1/2” squares of the polenta and add to the oil.  Fry until golden brown and crispy on the outside, about 3-5 minutes per side.  Drain on a paper towel.  Repeat with the remaining polenta.  Serve warm.

Makes approximately 8 cakes

Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

6-8 medium red potatoes

1 red bell pepper

1 head romaine lettuce

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp. ground mustard

2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, plus 1 Tbsp. minced thyme leaves only

Sea salt and pepper to taste

1 cup uncooked quinoa

remaining roasted garlic

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Dice potatoes and bell pepper into 1” pieces.  Toss, including full romaine lettuce head, with olive oil, ground mustard, 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, sea salt and pepper.  Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast in the middle of the oven until slightly soft, about 20 minutes.  Add the bell pepper and romaine lettuce to the baking sheet and roast another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup uncooked quinoa and 2 cups salted water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, covered, until water is completely absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.  Let stand off heat 5 minutes and fluff with fork.

In a small bowl, whisk roast garlic paste, red wine vinegar and fresh thyme leaves until smooth.  While whisking, drizzle in olive oil.  Whisk until emulsified.

In a large bowl, combine roast vegetables and quinoa.  Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

 

Zesty Grilled Chicken

1/2 cup Worstershire sauce

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts

 

In a small bowl, whisk together Worstershire sauce, lemon juice and garlic.  Set aside.

Rinse and dry chicken breasts.  Place between two sheets of saran wrap and pound thin.  Place in a shallow dish.  Pour marinade over top, making sure all chicken breasts are completely submerged.  Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  When searing hot, brush with olive oil.  Remove the chicken from the marinade, being sure to wipe off any excess garlic.  Grill until cooked through, about 7 minutes per side.  Remove from heat.  Slice on the diagonal and serve immediately over polenta cakes.

Serves 4

Green Curry Chicken with Inside-Out Samosas

Green Curry Chicken with Inside-Out Samosas

Confession: I love cooking Indian food.

All the spices and herbs, the infinite number of curries, the colors, the smells, it’s just too fun. That you can take the same ingredients and, depending on your ratios, can come up with a million different flavors and heat levels is awe-inspiring.

Green Curry Chicken Ingredients

I used to be really intimidated by cooking Indian food. Curry! So many spices! What if it tastes completely horrible? I pictured myself toasting cumin seeds to an almost burnt level, putting way too much cayenne or ginger in and singing all of my taste buds off. I thought that I would always have to rely on pre-mixed curry powder, that the spices in Indian food were way too exotic or expensive for me to get. I thought any Indian food I made would just taste like a bland, inappropriately spiced attempt at a complex and exciting cuisine. And what’s worse, I imagined my Indian-loving husband would take one bite of my Indian food and pronounce it “Blegh!”

But, one day, I decided to just bite the bullet and try my hand at it. Because honestly, how can you possibly learn how to cook something without ever attempting to cook it? I found a recipe for tandoori-style chicken (no source on this; I can’t remember where I got the recipe!) and got to cookin’.

The recipe was fairly simple: curry spices mixed together and added to yogurt, which the chicken was marinated in for several hours. From there, just broil the chicken.

After taking the crispy, blackened chicken out of the oven, I thought to myself “well, that LOOKS like tandoori chicken”. One bite, and I knew: I had successfully made Indian food. Yay!

Green Curry Chicken

I’ve become much more confident since then.  So much so, that I’ve begun to experiment and create my own curry recipes.  Like this recipe here: Green Curry Chicken with Inside-Out Samosas.

Green Curry Chicken with Inside-Out Samosas

Fresh mint and cilantro, garlic, ginger, lemon and all kinds of curry spices, ground together into a paste and folded into Greek yogurt.  So delicious.  The fresh herbs add a very refreshing flavor to the sauce; they cool down the spiciness of the garlic, ginger and ground spices.  The lemon adds a nice crispness to the sauce as well.  For the inside-out samosas, I did a mixture of Yukon gold, red and purple potatoes, just to add interest and color, as well as green peas.

Inside-Out Samosas

I marinated the chicken in the yogurt sauce for about an hour before cooking it.  One VERY important thing to note when making this dish, or any dish where you are using a sauce as a marinade: DO NOT TRANSFER THE SAUCE STRAIGHT FROM MARINADE TO TOPPING.  When you marinade meat in a sauce, you run the risk of cross-contamination and, most commonly, salmonella.  I used half the yogurt mixture to put on as a marinade for my chicken breasts, and reserved the other half to use as a sauce, so that it never came in contact with the raw chicken.  You can use a marinade as sauce after removing the meat, but you will want to boil the marinade for about 15 minutes to be sure that any and all bacteria is killed off.

If you haven’t yet tried you hand at cooking Indian, I highly suggest you give it a go.  Don’t be intimidated.  You’ll definitely be glad you did

Smile
  THG

Green Curry Chicken with Inside-Out Samosas

Green Curry Chicken

1” fresh ginger, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground paprika

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. ground mace

1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

1/3 cup lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

1 cup Greek yogurt

4 boneless chicken breasts

In a food processor, combine ginger, garlic, cilantro, mint, spices, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Pulse until ground into a paste.  Spoon paste into yogurt and mix to combine well.  Divide yogurt mixture in half.  Refrigerate one half.  With the other, coat each chicken breast completely.  Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour marinade over top.  Cover and let sit for at least 1 hour.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Brush with a small amount of olive oil.  When the pan is hot, add the chicken breasts.  Cook until grilled on each side and cooked through, about 7-10 minutes per side.  Serve hot with the reserved yogurt sauce spooned over top.

Serves 4

Inside-Out Samosas

1 1/2 lbs. potatoes, mixed variety

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2” fresh ginger, finely minced

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tsp.ground cumin

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1/2 tsp. ground paprika

salt and pepper to taste

juice of 1 lemon

Peel the potatoes and dice into 1/2” cubes.  Boil potatoes in salted water until just tender, about 8-10 minutes.  After draining the potatoes, blanch the green peas in the salted water for 1 minute.  Immediately submerge in ice water to stop the cooking.  Set both potatoes and peas aside. 

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add ginger and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add cumin, turmeric and paprika and sauté until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add potatoes and peas and toss to coat with spice mixture.  Remove from heat.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

Green Pea and Asparagus Ravioli

Green Pea and Asparagus Ravioli Ingredients
Green Pea and Asparagus Ravioli Ingredients

I’m tired.

Lethargic.

I started my new schedule at work this week.  A lot of work, a lot of meetings, a lot of training left.  It’s fantastic, but it has left.  Me.  Tired.

Green Pea and Asparagus Ravioli

So tired, in fact, that it is taking me forever to write this post.  I’m trying to be funny and clever and interesting, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening for me.  So, I’m sitting here, with a piece of blood orange/chocolate tart (later this week

Smile
), watching Curb Your Enthusiasm and waiting for the writing muse to strike.

I made this dinner a couple of weeks ago, after reading Joy’s post on her green pea pesto ravioli.  It sounded so good, I had to try it for myself.

Green Pea and Asparagus Ravioli

I decided to substitute half of the green peas for asparagus for a fresh, springy flavor.  I also omitted the breadcrumbs because, umm, I forgot them.  They turned out so fresh and green and bright, just completely delicious.  I made a very simple white wine/butter sauce to go with them; light and tangy and just perfect for these little springtime raviolis.  I tossed a few extra asparagus in with it, and topped it all off with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.  Yum.

I wish I had more to say, I wish I had a clever anecdote to share with you all today.  But this exhaustion is starting to seep in a bit.  So I’ll just leave you with this incredibly delicious meal.  Make it.  You’ll love it.

And maybe you’ll have a little more energy after making this dinner than I did. 

Smile
 THG

Green Pea and Asparagus Ravioli

Green Pea and Asparagus Ravioli

(adapted from Joy the Baker’s recipe here)

8 oz. frozen peas

8-10 asparagus spears

2 garlic cloves, minced

zest and juice of one lemon

1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 package wonton wrappers

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add in frozen peas and asparagus.  Blanch until bright green, about 2 minutes.  Immediately remove and drain.

In a food processor, combine peas, asparagus, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, sage and Parmesan.  Pulse until broken down and well combined.  With the food processor going, drizzle in the olive oil until contents become a smooth paste.  Salt and pepper to taste.

On a clean countertop, lay out a wonton wrapper with a point towards you.  Spoon on about 1/2 teaspoon of the pea and asparagus mixture right into the center of the wonton wrapper.  Dip your finger into a bowl of water and wet the two top sides of the wonton wrapper.  Pull the bottom corner up to the top corner and smooth to seal.  Be sure to push out any air trapped in the center.  Wet one of the folded corners and pull both over each other, wrapping around the center of the ravioli, like a diaper.  Smooth to seal.

Boil a pot of salted water.  Add the ravioli and cook until floating to the surface, about 3 minutes.  Drain and serve with white wine sauce immediately.

White Wine Sauce

1/2 bottle dry white wine

juice of one lemon

4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) salted butter

In a medium saucepan, bring wine and lemon juice to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half, about 10-15 minutes.  Whisk in butter, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until melted and emulsified. 

Serves 4-6