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whole wheat spaghetti with roasted grapes, chevre, and squash blossoms

27 Apr

1. my camera isnt working properly, hence the low quality photos. sorry.

2. i am currently in love with roasting grapes and i decided it was high time i made a pasta dish in which i could use them.

3. eat this. its really good.

oh 4. i actually hate whole wheat pasta, it always tastes like bird food pasta to me BUT there is ONE brand that i will eat (sorry its only available in Texas) but if you can find a whole wheat noodle that you like then use it because the nuttiness that it contributes to the dish is wonderful, if not, then use regular pasta.

What You Need for 2 Servings: (or one LARGE me sized serving)

4-6 ounces of spaghetti (take the bowls that you plan to serve your pasta in, fill ONE up with enough dried pasta so that it looks like the amount you’d eat (if you were going to be eating dried pasta) and thats going to be the amount you want to use total because it will double in size)

1 cup red seedless grapes

6 squash blossoms

1/2 c all purpose flour

dried italian blend herbs

cayenne or red pep flakes

3 T goat cheese

good olive oil

1 garlic clove, smashed

salt, black pepper

How To:

1) preheat your oven to 425

2) clean your squash blossoms. cut off the end and pull out the stamen (pollen parts) cut the blossoms into 1/2 inch rings

3) combine the flour, italian seasoning, a pinch of salt and some cayenne or red pep flakes in a bowl. toss the squash blossom rings in the flour.

4) heat up some canola or veg oil in a sauce pot over medium

5) put the grapes on a sheet tray with a drizzle of olive oil, big pinch of salt and black pepper. put them in the 425 oven for about 8 minutes, until they are darker in color and kind of blistery (taste one and see) they are like salty, sweet, warm wine gushers.

6) while your grapes are roasting drop the floured squash blossoms into the hot oil for about 2 minutes just until they start to turn golden. don’t expect a deep fried kind of coating on these, the flour is just to enhance the crispiness.

set the fried blossoms on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

7) your grapes are probably almost finished..

8) heat up 1.5 T of olive oil and the smashed garlic clove in a saute pan

9) goat cheese out of the fridge. crumble it up.

10) once your pasta is cooked, strain it and transfer it to your saute pan with olive oil and garlic (remove the garlic clove first) add in your grapes, squash blossoms and half of the goat cheese. give it a little shake shake to get the cheese melting and all the flavors hangin’. add a liberal amount of cracked black pepper, a pinch of salt and serve garnished with the remaining goat cheese.

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coriander and smoked paprika chicken tacos with peppers and onions and poblano pesto

20 Mar

i have fond memories of taco night growing up, seasoning packet ground beef, ice berg lettuce, tomato, shredded cheddar. looking back, ugh that was an abomination of a taco. with just a little more effort you can have a really rockin and way better taco night–sans seasoning packet!

my tacos tonight consisted of smokey coriander shredded chicken, poblano pesto, sauteed peppers and onions, melted cheddar jack and avocado. you could easily do something like roasted tomatoes and corn or grilled radicchio instead of the peppers and onions, just don’t do iceberg lettuce. also, the sauteed peppers and poblano pesto taste great with cumin spiced black beans if you want to make it vegetarian.

What You Need for 4 tacos:

2-4 bone in skin on chicken thighs (depending on the size you may need 2 or 4)

2 T smoked paprika (try to get smoked, not just plain sweet paprika. the smokiness makes a big difference)

4 T ground coriander

2 T salt

1-2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp black pepper

1 bell pepper, julienned

1 jalapeno, julienned

1 onion, julienned

2 garlic cloves, slivered into thin slices

grated cheese, (cheddar, monterey jack, queso fresco, whatever you want)

4 corn or flour tortillas or taco shells

1 avocado, sliced thinly

poblano pesto–roast 2 poblanos under the broiler until black and blistered. put in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let steam for 5 minutes. run under water and peel skins off. in a food processor combine the poblanos with a large handful of cilantro, 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 c toasted walnuts, 1/8 c parmesan cheese and olive oil. blend until it’s the consistency of a chunky pesto.

to make the chicken:

preheat the oven to 350.

peel the skins almost completely off the chicken, but leave it attached, you are going to lay it back over the chicken while you bake it so it stays moist–we aren’t actually eating it though.

season each chicken thigh, top and bottom, with 1/2 T of salt, 1 T coriander, 1/2 smoked paprika, a pinch of black pepper and a small pinch of cayenne. (you can add a dash of cumin too, its yummy)

lay the fat back over the top of the chicken and bake for 20-30 minutes, until fully cooked. move the chicken to a cutting board to rest.

you can do all the rest of the cutting and cooking while the chicken cooks and rests. once you are ready for the chicken, remove the skins and shred the chicken using 2 forks.

for the peppers and onions:

heat 1 T of canola oil over medium heat. add  in the red bell pepper and jalapeno. saute about 5 minutes until just beginning to get tender.

add in the onions and saute on low heat about 10 minutes, until the onions are fully translucent and just beginning to turn light caramel colored

so, to build the tacos!

on the bottom of the tortilla, spread a bit of the poblano salsa/pesto. next pile on the chicken, the peppers and onions and the cheese. set under the broiler for 1 minute just until the cheese is melted.

top each taco with some avocado and a bit more of the poblano pesto

 

gnocchi with mushrooms, peas, and turkey bacon

4 Mar

this happened because i had mushrooms, peas and turkey bacon. and was in the mood for gnocchi. its hearty and yummy and comforting in all of its saucy starchy glory.

 

What You Need for 2 servings:

1 package of gnocchi (or you can make your own if you’re feeling up to it) you can find it in the refrigerator section at the store

1.5 slices of turkey bacon (or regular bacon, or pancetta but i used what i had)

2-3 large cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/3 cup of frozen or fresh peas

1/3 cup of chicken stock

2 T butter

2 sprigs fresh thyme or fresh lemon thyme

salt and pepper

parmigiano reggiano (optional for garnish and cheesey yum yum)

 

How To:

cook the bacon over medium heat until really crispy. remove from the pan, slice into 1 inch strips and reserve.

add a small bit of butter to the same pan. add in the sliced mushrooms, cook over medium heat about 7 minutes until really browned on both sides.

pour the chicken stock into the pan and turn the heat up to medium-high. (a splash of white wine here would be great too!)

(this would be a good time to put your gnocchi into boiling salted water)

let the stock reduce a bit so that it thickens.about 4-6 minutes. at this point, add in a tablespoon of the cold butter. (this helps thicken the sauce)

add in the thyme

taste the mushrooms/sauce and adjust seasonings as necessary. it should taste mushroomy saucy yummy.

add in the peas and bacon. let it all come together for a minute before adding the gnocchi.

add a nice pinch of parmesan, give it a nice big toss! add more butter or chicken stock if necessary. adjust seasonings, garnish with more cheese and more fresh thyme if desired.

 

prepare for a photo shoot….sorry i was a little obsessed with the goodness of this dish.

“blackened” chicken with rainbow chard and salsa cruda

19 Feb

since i am totally incapable of just eating salad and almonds every day, i am eating a lot of what i regularly would just without oil and in a more modest portion size. as such, this dish is 1/2 chicken breast per person which is actually an adequate amount of protein. american consumerism has created a market where only steroid injected HULK style chicken breasts look normal to us. weigh out your chicken breast next time you buy it- i bet it weighs like 8 oz, we actually only need about 3-4 oz of protein per meal.

this is rainbow chard. its beautiful. no, but really it is. big green leaves with hot pink, bright orange, and deep red stems. the stems are edible and really look wonderful on a plate. trade this up for spinach once in a while, its yummy and great for you.

For the Chicken: for 1 serving

1/2 chicken breast

spice rub

in a small container combine 2 T of salt, 1 T each of black pepper, paprika, chili powder. 1/2 T each of garlic powder, onion powder. a pinch of crushed red pepper. mix it up. this is your spice rub 🙂

preheat oven to 350. heat a pan over medium-high heat. let it get REALLY hot. coat the 1/2 chicken breast with the spice rub. spray the pan with pan spray. put the chicken breast down, you should hear a sizzle. let it brown about 3 minutes on each side. then place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. bake about 8-10 minutes, until fully cooked (obviously.)

For the Rainbow Chard for 1 serving:

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1/2 head of rainbow chard, cut up and washed. (doesn’t need to be dried, just shake it off)

1/8 c veg or chicken stock

pinch of crushed red pepps

in a sauce pot, heat the stock and smashed garlic and crushed red pepper over medium heat. once hot, add in the chard, stir and cover to let it steam for about 6 minutes. uncover and check the tenderness of the greens, they should be soft like sauteed spinach or ralph lauren bedding. the stems, however, will still have a bit of a crunch to them, thats okay. adjust salt and crushed red pepper as needed. add a dash of hot sauce if you want!

For the Salsa Cruda:

i just make a big batch and let it sit in the fridge, it lasts about 1.5-2 weeks and it gets better as it sits longer.

1/4 c boxed (or canned, if you must) chopped tomatoes

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 of a cucumber, seeded and diced

10 kalamata olives, chopped

5 basil leaves, chiffonaded

salt and pepper

combine ALL ingredients in a bowl and mix. thats it. literally.

if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

22 Jan

sometimes you just need a good old american classic on a sunday night. chicken, mashed potatoes, and a vegetable medley. its simple, it’s straight forward, it’s honest and real and familiar.  and the reason it’s an American classic–it’s pretty dang yummy.

 

pan roasted chicken, garlic rosemary mashed potatoes, easy veggies and a nice white wine and stock pan sauce.

 

For The Chicken::

You Need:

1 piece of chicken per person, thigh or breast, skin/bones on or off.  i like bone in, skin on of either cut. you don’t actually have to eat the skin but it definitely keeps it moist during cooking. (and its less expensive)

1 large pinch of salt

a pinch each per piece of chicken of paprika, black pepper, italian seasoning

 

How To:

Season both sides of the chicken liberally with salt and then a pinch of the other seasonings.

heat a skillet over medium heat, add 1/2 T of butter and 1/2 T olive oil.

once the pan is HOT HOT HOT. add the chicken, skin side down.

let cook like this until the first side is really brown, good and crusted, about 6 minutes. flip the chicken and let it get a nice hard sear on the back side. then turn the heat down to low and let it cook for about 15 minutes, or until fully cooked. OR stick it into a 350 degree oven for about 9-12 minutes.

For the Pan Sauce::

You Need:

1/4 cup//a large splash of dry white wine (if you woulnd’t drink it, don’t cook with it)

and about 1/2 c of chicken stock

1 T of cold butter

you may also need 1/2 T of flour but maybe not..

How To:

drain the excess oil from your chicken pan DO NOT RINSE, OR WIPE.

immediately, while the pan is still hot from the chicken (but with the heat turned off) pour in the wine. it will smoke A LOT. thats ok. using a whisk, whisk up all the nice browned bits on the bottom of your pan. turn the heat up to medium, pour in the stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until it thickens..about 3 minutes.

whisk in the butter. after about 1 minute the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. if not, you can add in a little sprinkle of flour while whisking and this will thicken the sauce up. just be sure to add a little flour at a time while constantly whisking so that you don’t get lumpy sauce.

For the Mashed Potatoes::

for 2-4 (depending on your appetite for carbs) servings

You Need:

2 lbs of baby red potatoes, cut in  half

1 T of fresh rosemary, chopped

3 garlic cloves, roasted (don’t use raw garlic, its too bitter/spicy)

1/8 c heavy cream

3 T of butter, cut up into pieces (or melted)

salt

How To:

bring a pot of salted water and the potatoes up to a boil (dont put the potatoes into boiling water, start them in room temp water). put the roasted garlic cloves into the boiling water also (weird i know, but its great) cook for about 9 minutes after boiling or until the potatoes are fork tender (take on out and see if you can mash it easily with a fork, thats when they are finished)

drain the potatoes (and garlic cloves) and then put them back in the same pot. with the heat off, add in all of the ingredients and mix together, mashing the potatoes with a fork or a potato masher. Thats all!!

 

the way i like to cook vegetables is to either steam them using a collander suspended over boiling water OR to just drop the vegetables into a pot of boiling salted water for about 2-3 minutes and then drain! both methods bring out really vibrant colors and use no fat. also, they are the best methods for preserving the nutrients of the vegetables.

 

and thats my take on a classic!

sesame peanut chicken with fresno chili and basil

21 Jan

What You Need for 2 Servings:

4 Chicken legs or 2 chicken breasts, bones and skins removed

1-2 fresno chilis (they look like red jalapenos), sliced thinly (seeded or not, depending on your heat preference)

1 shallot, minced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

a handful of basil leaves, chiffonaded

2 T creamy peanut butter

1/2 T of rice vinegar

chili garlic sauce (optional)

1 T sesame oil

i intended to add broccoli to this but i forgot it, you can use any kind of vegetable in this stir fry.

How To:

In a wok or large skilled heat the sesame oil. add the shallot and chilis and let them infuse the oil with their glory for a few minutes.

add in the garlic and the chicken and cook until the chicken is browned on all sides and cooked through. about ten minutes depending on the cut of the chicken and the size of the pieces.

while the chicken is cooking, combine the peanut butter, vinegar, and chili garlic (if using) in a bowl.

stir fry in half of the basil

 

pour in the peanut butter mixture and stir to coat all the chicken. garnish with the other half of the basil! thats it!

serve with rice or on noodles 🙂

 

green chili “pesto” baked chicken

16 Jan

a few notes:

YES THIS CHICKEN IS GREEN. NO APOLOGIES. COOK IT FOR ST PATRICKS DAY IF YOU WANT. OR JUST EAT IT ANY DAY AND GET OVER THE GREEN.

i took almost no pictures, sorry.

you can use any part of the chicken you like, i used legs because they were on sale. you can use bone in skin on or boneless skinless-whateva!

 

What You Need for 4 Pieces of Chicken:

2 poblano peppers, roasted and chopped.

TO ROAST: if you have a gas stove, just set the peppers over the open flame and char on all sides until blackened. immediately put them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let them sit for ten minutes. then using a wet cloth, remove the blackened skin. if you do not have a gas stove: put them under the broiler of your oven until the skin is blackened, rotating throughout so that all the skin chars. then follow the same bowl/peeling steps as described above.

1 large handful of grated parmesan cheese

1/4-1/3 c toasted pine nuts, pecans or walnuts (whatever you have on hand or is cheapest)

1/8 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped

3 cloves of garlic

salt and pepper

olive oil for streaming

4 pieces of chicken..(obviously)

 

the raw garlic adds a good amount of front of the mouth heat but if you want that spicy kick in the back of the throat feel free to add some cayenne peppps.

 

Tha Way:

combine all the ingredients except the chicken and in a blender. turn it on and stream in the olive oil until its moving and liquifying. taste it and add salt and pepper to taste.

preheat your oven to 350.

salt and pepper your chicken really well (always. i actually do it before i make the sauce so that the salt can begin to make a quick little brine-ing action on the chicken to make it extra juuuucccay)

add about 1 T of sauce under the skin of all the chicken (if you are using skin on chicken, if not-ignore this) then add about 2 T of  sauce on the skin.

bake the chicken on a cookie sheet covered in parchment for about 20 minutes (but this time will depend on what cut of the chicken you use). just cook it until it is no longer raw. the outside will get crispy and green chili sauuucalicious and the inside will be super moist and delicioso. ENJOY!