Saturday, November 26, 2016

Spicy Oven Roasted Harissa Eggplant & Chicken


It was absolutely wonderful to have the whole family together to celebrate Thanksgiving! Jennifer and Allison have been traveling and working in Australia since January, so we were especially thrilled.  All the festivities got kicked off in Chicago where Caroline and her fiance Adam live.  Although at different times, both our little Aussies flew into O'Hare.  It continued back home through Thanksgiving when we all enjoyed traditional, but very rich seasonal dishes.  After a few days, we were ready to get back to eating easy to make and a little more healthy food.  I got the inspiration for this dish from Bon Appetit Magazine only their version featured chickpeas.  Jennifer loves eggplant and Harissa packs a huge flavor punch.  However, this dish is very spicy!  For a less fiery option, substitute tomato paste for the Harissa and add 1/2 teaspoon each of oregano and rosemary.  It's equally as yummy! 



Ingredients for Four Servings:



1 pound chicken pieces such as breast, thighs or legs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced or put through press
1 cup chicken broth, divided into 1/2 cup portions
1 medium egg plant
Heaping 1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup harissa sauce 
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
1 lemon, quartered
1 cup plain Greek yogurt


Directions:



Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix salt and pepper together and rub into the chicken pieces. If desired, cut large pieces such as chicken breasts up. Heat oil in oven proof skillet over medium heat. Brown both sides of the meat, about 5 to 7 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and set it aside.



Using the same skillet, saute the onion until it is tender and soft. This will take about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 30 more seconds. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth. Stir and scrape the bottom to loosen the fond, or residue that might have collected at the bottom of the pan. Remove pan from heat.



Wash off the egg plant and cut off the ends. Cut into cubes. 



Put the egg plant into the pan with the onion and garlic. Add tomato paste, harissa sauce, and remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Gently stir to combine the vegetables are coated.



Nestle the chicken pieces among the egg plant and onion mixture.



Place skillet into preheated oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until eggplant is nicely browned and easily pierced with a fork.



Remove skillet from oven. Divide mixture between four serving plants. Sprinkle each portion with 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Place a lemon quarter on each one along with 1/4 cup dollop of Greek yogurt. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Colorado Creamed Corn

One of the states we visited this fall in our travels west was Colorado. We spent time in Denver, then explored Pueblo and the area around Durango. Besides being absolutely beautiful, it has a rich history, and a lot of yummy food!


The Chile & Frijoles Festival was going on the weekend we were in Pueblo. 



Huge bags of green chilies were carried over by forklifts to giant roasters. Workers turned a device that looked like a giant raffle wheel while flames roasted the chilies. What an aroma! People stood in line to buy large bags of the charred chilies which they would take home to divide up and freeze for use throughout the year.  



Of course there were vendors selling food as well! I was intrigued by the "Corn in a Cup". It reminded me of the humita, a filling for Argentine empanadas, that Allison's dear friend had taught me how to make.  



Later, when we were in Mesa Verde National Park, I saw how important corn was to the history of the area. We took a guided tour of one of the cliff dwellings and the park ranger pointed out how floor was decorated with imprints of corn cobs.


Roy has always loved creamed corn, so I got the idea of combining corn and green chilies together to create a Tex Mex side dish which is slightly spicy, salty, and sweet. I have to tell you that it tastes amazing served with shrimp or chicken that has been rubbed with my favorite seasoning mix, and then grilled. It could also become a south-of-the-border chowder with a bit more broth and the addition of some cooked & cubed red skinned potatoes. 



Ingredients for Four Servings:





2 ears of fresh corn or 2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 medium tomato
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1/4 cup diced poblano pepper, seeds and membranes discarded
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup table cream
1/2 cup Monterey pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt



Directions:



Husk the corn and remove the silk strands. Hold the cobs straight up and down, and use a sharp knife to remove the kernels. Set aside.



Place the cooking oil and diced tomato, pepper, and onion in a skillet. Over medium heat, saute until vegetables are tender soft but not brown. This will take about five minutes. Then add the broth and corn. Let the mixture simmer for about seven minutes.



Take the skillet off the heat and add the cream along with the Parmesan and Monterey Jack cheeses. Gently stir to combine. If necessary, return to low heat to allow it to come to a warmer temperature, but don't let the dish come to a boil - or it will curdle.


Serve as a side to accompany Tex Mex food and enjoy!



Want to see more things we ate and did when we went west? Visit:
https://orangesandalmonds.com/2016/09/29/what-we-ate-when-we-went-west
and
https://yatesrvadventures.com



Thursday, September 22, 2016

Montana Carol's Potato Salad



In our travels this summer and fall, we have had the opportunity to reconnect with friends from years past. Since Facebook was not available during the time we were busy raising kids and working, we didn't have contact with a few folks who, for one reason or another, were not in our daily lives anymore. It has been so, so fun to rekindle some old friendships and I am awed that people took time to see us in the middle of their busy lives! Jim and Carol were one wonderful couple who went out of their way to show us the gorgeous area around Missoula, Montana.



Missoula, the home of the University of Montana, has lots of things to do and see. It's rich in history and scenery. One thing I really enjoyed was going to the Saturday morning farmer's market. I had a ball seeing all the varied produce. Later that evening we met up again with Carol and Jim for dinner at their house. Carol had made a really different but absolutely delicious potato salad from stuff she had gotten at the market. It had radishes as well as green onions in it, and it's just too good not to share! I think it would be perfect to pack in an iced down cooler for a tailgate!



Montana Carol's Potato Salad




Ingredients for Eight Servings:

4 medium red skinned potatoes
4 eggs
1/4 cup chopped radishes
1 bunch green onions, roots removed and sliced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Wash the potatoes, trim off any bad spots, puncture them several times with a fork,  Microwave them five minutes, then turn them over and microwave five more minutes. They should pierce easily with a fork. Allow them to cool for a few minutes and then peel off the skin. Chop them into cubes and allow them to fully cool down. (I actually placed them in the freezer for a few minutes to speed up the process)
While the potatoes are cooking in the microwave, hard boil the eggs. Place them in a small pan and cover them with water. Turn the stove on high and set the timer for 20 minutes. Once the pan has reached a boil, turn down the heat just a notch, but leave the timer alone. When the timer goes off, run the eggs under cold water to cool them down. Then peel the shells off while the eggs are still warm. Chop the eggs and allow them to cool completely. (I placed them in the refrigerator.)
Once the potatoes and eggs have cooled,  place them in a serving bowl with the cut up the radishes and sliced green onions. Add the mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, mustard, salt, and pepper. Gently stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.






Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Swap a Sandwich for a Power Salad!


Quinoa & Edamame 


Mediterranean Lentil


Black Rice & Chickpea Salad


This past summer we traveled around the western United States in our motor home. I had been to Colorado over 30 years ago and to California in recent years, but in both cases I flew by plane. I really had no idea how breathtaking the terrain of North & South Dakota, Wyoming, and especially Montana is. We tried to hit every major tourist spot in our path and visited the iconic national parks of Theodore Roosevelt, Glacier, and Yellowstone. (For commentary & pics visit Yates RV Adventures) Roy and I would get up in the morning, pack a lunch, jump in the little red jeep we tow, and head out for a day of discovery. After a while, I found myself getting pretty tired of sandwiches. The processed meat we were buying from Walmart and the bread surrounding it probably wasn't too healthy and I felt myself getting a bit more fluffy than I felt comfortable with! A chit chat with my friend Kathy back home gave me the idea of packing a power salad to put in the cooler instead of a sandwich. She was asking about a good dressing to put on quinoa and the three favorites I gave her are in this post. It actually wasn't hard to take one of these power bowls with us while we saw the sights; I just quickly cooked some kind of grain while we were eating breakfast and assembled the salad in the time it took to make a sandwich. As you can see, the variations are endless - the recipe for the ones I've most enjoyed are below.


Start with a grains or legume.

Clock wise from the bottom - black rice, red lentils, black lentils, brown lentils and quinoa.



Perhaps add a canned legume.

Clockwise from the bottom- chick peas, black beans, and cannellini beans




Quinoa and Edamame Salad - Serves Four


Ingredients:


1 cup quinoa
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cucumber, quartered and sliced
2 cups mixed greens such as spinach and arugula, washed and drained
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Directions:


Rinse and drain in a fine mesh strainer quinoa it is not already pre-washed. Place in pan and cover with 2/3 more water than the level it reaches in the pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower heat to let it gently simmer for 20 minutes. It is done when "tail" is visible and it is soft to the bite.All the water should be absorbed but if not, leave it behind when removing from the pan.
Place into bowl and add all the remaining ingredients except the greens and gently toss.
To serve, divide greens among four salad bowls. Evenly spoon quinoa mixture on top of each portion.


Mediterranean Lentil Salad - Serves Four


Ingredients:


1 cup lentils
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup diced bell pepper: any combination of green, red, yellow
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups spinach leaves, washed and drained
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Directions:


Using a strainer wash and drain lentils. Pick out anything that doesn't look like a lentil. Place in pan and cover with 2/3 more water than the level it reaches in the pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower heat to let it gently simmer for 20 minutes. They are done when soft to bite, but not mushy.
Leaving any extra liquid behind, place in a bowl along with bell pepper and green onions.  Set aside. Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Pour enough of the resulting dressing over the lentil mixture to coat it well. Divide the spinach leaves between four serving bowls. Spoon the lentils evenly over the spinach and top each serving with two tablespoons of crumbled feta.


Black Rice and Chickpea Salad - Serves Four


Ingredients:


1 cup black rice
1 (16 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 ripe avocado, skin removed and chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half if large
1/2 large cucumber, sliced and quartered
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Directions:


Place rice in pan and cover with 2/3 more water than the level it reaches in the pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower heat to let it gently simmer for 20 minutes. It is done when soft to bite, but not mushy. Leaving any extra water behind, place rice into bowl and add all the remaining ingredients except the greens and gently toss.
To serve, divide greens among four salad bowls. Evenly spoon rice mixture on top of each portion.







Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Asian Tostadas


This recipe was born out of a happy problem. Roy's brother's wife's sister's husband (isn't that a hoot to follow?) raises grass fed cattle and we had a freezer full of delicious organic hamburger that we needed to use up, After several rounds of tacos, spaghetti, chili, etc., I needed to think of something else to do with all that delicious beef. So, I crossed over to an Asian verve for something different. I have to confess, I've also made this with ground chicken which Roy says he prefers. However, this is a fast and easy recipe when all that's at hand is a pound of hamburger.

The hardest part to the meat mixture is dicing the carrots and celery. If someone is in the mood to go the extra culinary mile, one thumb sized piece of ginger which has been peeled and diced along with two cloves of minced garlic could be substituted for the garlic and ginger powders. Frying the egg roll wrappers could be ditched for an actual tortilla - or for nothing at all - just enjoy this concoction as a salad!

If anyone tries this out on their family, I would love to hear about it! Please leave me a comment!




Ingredients for Meat to Top Tostadas:


1 pound lean ground beef or chicken
1 medium sized carrot, diced
1 medium sized celery stalk, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons oyster sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Ingredients for Salad Underneath Meat Mixture:


4 cups sliced cabbage
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 loosely packed chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Ingredients for Garnishes Above and Below:


4 egg roll wrappers
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying
1 avocado, diced
Extra cilantro sprigs


Procedure:


Place the meat, carrot, celery, and onions in a skillet and brown over medium low heat. Drain off any grease. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, oyster sauce, orange juice, and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook over medium low heat for five more minutes.

While the meat is cooking, prepare the cabbage mixture by combining cabbage, cilantro, cucumber, and red onion together in a bowl. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, pepper, and garlic powder. Pour over the cabbage salad and gently toss.

Heat oil in pan over medium high heat. When a tiny piece of the egg roll wrapper sizzles when it is dropped into the pan, the oil is ready. Fry one egg roll wrapper at a time, about two to three minutes a side, or until it becomes light golden brown. Drain on paper towels.


To Assemble:


Place an browned egg roll wrapper on each plate.


Top each egg roll wrapper with a cup of the cabbage salad.


Distribute the meat mixture by evenly dividing the meat mixture between the four plates.


Top with each Asian tostada with 1/4 of the diced avocado and a spring of cilantro.



Saturday, July 9, 2016

Spicy Summertime Slaw: Coleslaw with Cilantro & Lime


Summer, with its many opportunities for cookouts and picnics, is definitely the time for coleslaw. Every family seems to have their own special version.  In our family we have several; Caroline loves the classic variety while Adam's favorite has chipotle peppers in it. When we were recently at our little lake cottage, we had the opportunity to share a dinner with extended family. Aunt Lynn has the cottage next door and after a day of having several workmen at our cabin, I really appreciated her offer to have us over. I've been making this recipe all summer and luckily I had the ingredients I needed to throw it together quickly. My sweet niece Laura and her boyfriend Dan grilled up the best batch of buffalo wings I've honestly ever had. This Cilantro Lime Coleslaw went really well with it and Laura even asked for the recipe. This post is for her and anyone else loves cilantro like we do!




Ingredients for Eight Servings:



4 loosely packed cups of sliced or shredded cabbage- green, purple or a combo of both
1 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
1 large carrot, grated or match stick
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
1/2 jalapeno pepper, membranes and seeds removed, diced
1 lime, squeezed to yield 2 tablespoons juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon marjoram (optional)

Procedure:



Toss the cabbage, cilantro, carrot, onions, and jalapeno together in a bowl.



Whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and marjoram (optional) together. Pour over the cabbage mixture and gently stir to mix the dressing in. 




Thursday, May 26, 2016

Chicken & Waffles Appetizer




A couple of months ago as we were traveling home from Florida, we stopped in Charleston, South Carolina for a few days.  We enjoyed seeing many of the historic sites in the area (visit this post on the RV blog to see where we went!). Of course, I loved the regional food! When I got back home, I needed to bring an appetizer to a gathering but I didn't have much time to put it together. I got a flash of inspiration from my southern food sampling and with the help of convenience food, was able to put together these yummy morsels very, very quickly. All of the ingredients could be made from scratch and if there were, I imagine the results would be spectacular. But I didn't have time to make 10 waffles from scratch of fry up a batch of homemade chicken! Instead I used frozen waffles, boneless chicken wings from the grocery deli, and store bought pimento cheese spread. I have included a recipe for pimento cheese in this post just in case someone was curious, but if pre-made is used, this appetizer is a snap to put together!



Ingredients for 40 Appetizers



10 pre-made frozen waffles such as Eggo brand
Enough popcorn chicken to cut into 40 (1/4 of waffle size) pieces, Tyson brand or from deli
1 1//2 cups pimento cheese spread, recipe below or from local grocery store deli
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup


Pimento Cheese Spread


Pimento Cheese Recipe from Cook's Illustrated Magazine - yields three cups


2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 oz.) jar pimentos
1 (8 oz.) package finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 (8 oz.) Package regular shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
14 (or less) teaspoon cayenne pepper


Procedure:
With an electric mixer, gently combine all ingredients together just until spreadable.
Use as a sandwich filling or cracker spread.


Procedure for Assembling Chicken & Waffles Appetizer:



Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If using pre-made frozen popcorn chicken such as Tyson's, follow the package directions for cooking except cut off five minutes of the baking time. Set aside. If using pre-made chicken from the grocery store deli, just set aside. Line baking sheet with foil. Cut each waffle into fourths and place on baking sheet. Spread each waffle piece with two teaspoons of pimento cheese. Top with a chicken piece and bake for 5 minutes. The cheese spread on the waffles should be melted, bubbly, and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and place on serving platter. Drizzle each appetizer with 1/4 teaspoon of maple syrup and serve.