Vegetable Slaw with Jalapeno-Lime Dressing

A fantastic go-to side dish. It is also great on tacos, especially fish tacos. The recipe makes a ton so it is especially great for a big group. As an extra bonus, the dressing itself makes a great sauce to add freshness and tang to many things, it even works as a salsa for tortilla chips.

Enjoy!!!

Adapted from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook

Ingredients 

Dressing

  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 cup buttermilk plus 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Salad

  • 1/2 small head green cabbage
  • 1/2 small head purple cabbage
  • 1 small jicama
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1/2 cups minced chives

Directions

Combine the ingredients up to coriander in a bowl or food processor.  Whisk or blend while slowly drizzling in the oil.  If using buttermilk and mayonnaise, simply whisk together all of the ingredients to blend well.  Adjust seasonings and set aside.

Core the cabbages and finely shred them.  If using jicama, peel it, cut it in half and slice into thin, even rounds.  Julienne slides into long, thin matchsticks,   Peel carrots and slice thin, diagonal coins.  Julienne each coin into long matchsticks.  Seed peppers and slice into fine strips.  Slice thin slivers of onion.  Roughly chop the stemmed cilantro.

Toss all of the vegetables in a large bowl and mix in the dressing.  Let the slaw sit at least 30 minutes, then toss again before serving. 

Roasted Carrots with Parsley Yogurt

Here's an easy way to elevate your carrot dish. Simply roasted carrots dressed up with some fresh parsley, mint, lemon yogurt sauce and feta - an excellent side dish or vegetarian dish (I would add some seeds if a vegetarian main). An extra bonus is that the carrots can be room temperature which eases the always tricky part of cooking a meal - having everything ready (and hot) at the same time. It would be excellent as a BBQ side to add some light freshness in contrast to grilled meats. Another reason I love this recipe is that it is so easy to scale up for a larger group - just get whatever amount of carrots you think would be good for your group and scale the rest up accordingly. If you need to, split the carrots across 2 baking sheets so they are not too crowded. The sauce is even delicious on raw carrots! 

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, recipe published in the April 2016 issue. 

Ingredients 

1 1/2 pounds thin carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise if thick
Extra-virgin olive oil (Shopping note: you should buy carrots with their tops still on, they will be sweeter. Look for pretty bunches for a pretty end result!)
Coarse salt
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, plus optional whole leaves for serving
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint, plus optional whole small leaves from serving
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

Carrots

Preheat oven to 450°F. 

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots with olive oil to coat and season with salt. Roast carrots, until tender and beginning to brown slightly, about 20 - 25 minutes. Flip carrots once in the middle of roasting. Let cool.

Sauce

Process 3 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, mint, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a fine paste in a food processor. Add yogurt and puree.

Platting

Spread some of the yogurt sauce on the a platter, place carrots on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with feta. If you wish, drizzle with a little more olive oil (I don't think this is necessary). If you saved any small fresh parsley and/or mint leaves, sprinkle them on top. Put some of the yogurt sauce in a small condiment bowl with a little spoon so your guests can add more sauce to their carrots right on their plate. Serve!  

Simple Roast Chicken

There is something so satisfying about a freshly roasted chicken. My husband improved upon it for me by sharing that his grandmother used to make roast chicken for him as a child and she would serve it with rice and gravy. I made gravy one day with our roast and have never skipped making gravy again. The addition of gravy and rice make this the ultimate comfort food. 

Now you too can make this easily at home for your family and friends. Thanks to my father-in-law who's recipe this is based on. 

Simple Roast Chicken

Ingredients 

3 - 4 lb chicken (preferably pasture raised)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
soy sauce
garlic salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Let chicken sit out to come to room temp, pat dry, about 1 - 1.5 hours. Also, leave the butter out to come to room temperature. 

Douse with soy sauce, let it sit for 2 minutes and then sprinkle garlic salt over the entire chicken. Let sit for another 15 minutes or so to dry a bit. Then rub butter onto chicken, take your time with this, the butter will not want to adhere to the chicken at first. Continue to try to work it in and it will start to stick. 

Put in a baking dish and bake for 1 - 1.5 hours. Take the chicken out and test for doneness. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and any juices run clear (the legs of the chicken should wiggle easily from the sockets too.)

Cover loosely with foil and let sit for 15 minutes before cutting.

Chicken in the oven

Chicken in the oven

What it will look like when done

What it will look like when done

What to serve with this dish?

Best served with white rice and gravy. Other nice choices would be roasted potatoes or Yorkshire pudding also with gravy. Of course, you should also have a side of any vegetable to you like. 

Gravy recipe to come soon! 


Super Simple Pancakes (Egg-free)

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Our daughter is allergic to eggs so use an easy egg-free pancake recipe in our home. The recipe is straightforward and results in delicious pancakes. Feel free to experiment with add-ins! Our daughter's must have is chocolate chips. Chopped strawberries are also great.

We have also crafted a modified version which swaps out some all purpose flour for almond flour to add nutrition. Find that recipe here: Pancakes with Almond Flour (Egg-free).

Ingredients

1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1.5 Tablespoons Sugar
1 cup Milk
1.5 Tablespoons Vegetable/Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup mini-chocolate chips (Optional. A must as far as my daughter is concerned. Quantity is really up to you!)

Directions

Sift flour and baking soda and powder and salt in a bowl. Add sugar and whisk just to blend. If you do not have a sifter, just whisk these together.

Add vanilla, oil and milk. Whisk together. An optional addition: stir as many mini-chocolate chips you you'd like.

Heat a pan on medium-low heat. Add a little butter to the pan and spread it around. This will prevent sticking and add flavor.  This recipe works best with smaller pancakes (3"-3.5" in diameter). A ~1.5 tablespoon ice-cream scoop portions the perfect amount (see note below on scoops). Scoop batter onto the pan. Cook on one side until it starts to bubble slightly on the edges. Check the bottom, if dark enough then flip and finish cooking on remaining side until desired color is reached. Slightly darker pancakes tend to taste a little better. Add a little more butter between batches. Keep a close eye on your heat if subsequent pancakes are darkening too quickly (i.e. before any bubbling begins), lower the heat. 

Serve fresh! We love them with a little maple syrup and blueberries or strawberries. My daughter eats them plain, with fruit on the side. 

A note on ice cream scoops

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It is worth investing in a couple high quality stainless steel ice-cream scoops with a scraper in the bowl to help the filling come out with ease. They have so many uses in the kitchen! They are so handy for scooping out perfect amounts of cookie dough, cupcake batter,  pancake portions and even meatballs. You should get a few different sizes to cover all these uses. 

We recommend Piazza scoops. They are really top-notch. They look and function as they did when we first got them years ago. They feel great in your hand and work really well. A bit pricey but worth the investment since you'll use them over and over again for years to come. 

We used the #40 scoop for these pancakes. For reference the scoop is 1 1/2" in width and it holds about 1.5 tablespoons of liquid. You can purchase if from Amazon: Piazza 1/40 Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop. But one slightly larger or smaller will work as well.


Pancakes with Almond Flour (Egg-free)

Our daughter is allergic to eggs so use an easy egg-free pancake recipe in our home. The recipe (find it here) is straightforward and results in delicious pancakes. However, it is no nutrition powerhouse, so I have been experimenting to add more nutrition into the recipe. First up was replacing a portion of all purpose flour with almond flour/meal. The results were even more delicious than the original recipe! Enjoy! 

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Ingredients

2/3 cup All Purpose Flour
1/3 cup Almond Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 cup Milk
1.5 Tablespoons Vegetable/Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup mini-chocolate chips (Optional. A must as far as my daughter is concerned. Quantity is really up to you!)

Directions

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Sift flour and baking soda and powder and salt in a bowl. Some of the almond flour/meal will likely be left in the sifter, just dump what remains into the bowl. Add sugar and whisk just to blend. If you do not have a sifter, just whisk these together.

Add vanilla, oil and milk. Whisk together. An optional addition: stir as many mini-chocolate chips you you'd like.

Heat a pan on medium-low heat. Add a little butter to the pan and spread it around. This will prevent sticking and add flavor.  This recipe works best with smaller pancakes (3"-3.5" in diameter). A ~1.5 tablespoon ice-cream scoop portions the perfect amount (see note below on scoops). Scoop batter onto the pan. Cook on one side until it starts to bubble slightly on the edges. Check the bottom, if dark enough then flip and finish cooking on remaining side until desired color is reached. Slightly darker pancakes tend to taste a little better. Add a little more butter between batches. Keep a close eye on your heat if subsequent pancakes are darkening too quickly (i.e. before any bubbling begins), lower the heat. 

Serve fresh! We love them with a little maple syrup and blueberries or strawberries. My daughter eats them plain, with fruit on the side. 

Feel free to play with these. Some chopped strawberry would also be delicious stirred into the batter. 

A note on ice cream scoops

It is worth investing in a couple high quality stainless steel ice-cream scoops with a scraper in the bowl to help the filling come out with ease. They have so many uses in the kitchen! They are so handy for scooping out perfect amounts of cookie dough, cupcake batter,  pancake portions and even meatballs. You should get a few different sizes to cover all these uses. 

We recommend Piazza scoops. They are really top-notch. They look and function as they did when we first got them years ago. They feel great in your hand and work really well. A bit pricey but worth the investment since you'll use them over and over again for years to come. 

We used the #40 scoop for these pancakes. For reference the scoop is 1 1/2" in width and it holds about 1.5 tablespoons of liquid. You can purchase if from Amazon: Piazza 1/40 Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop. But one slightly larger or smaller will work as well.

 

 

Jamie Oliver's Chicken Korma

Inspired by the to die for curries at G’raj Mahal we enjoyed on a trip to Austin, TX and the amazing pasture chicken we used to get from Surfside Chickens when we lived in California, we decided to try our hand at making an Indian dish a few years ago and it is now a staple. We landed on Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Korma from his Food Revolution cookbook. The recipe is straightforward and easy to shop for. It does use a curry paste, but still has plenty of freshness. 

There is a wonderful depth of flavor (surprising considering it doesn’t even cook for that long!), great texture and flavor contrast from the mix of soft onions, tender chicken meat and buttery chickpeas. And while we love Indian food, it can often seem a bit oily and heavy. This dish is not. It is comforting yet not heavy or greasy. We serve it over a pile of brown basmati rice. Yum.

If you are not familiar with Indian curries, this is a wonderful one to start with. It is mild (I’m a wimp when it comes to hot spices) with only a hint of heat yet has great flavor.

I have never had chickpeas in Korma before but I like it. They took on a wonderful flavor and buttery smooth texture and it is a wonderful way to help stretch out the chicken since they add to the heartiness of the dish.

We actually halved the recipe since it was just the 2 of us and it worked out perfectly with the portion of chicken breast we were able to get from that week’s Surfside Chicken. I divided up the rest of the chicken too, so we had vacuum sealed packs of 2 chicken thighs, 2 wings, 2 drumsticks and the body in the freezer waiting to be turned into another meal.

This is a great dish to make for company since you can make it before your guests arrive, leave it on the stove and simply warm back up before serving. In fact, the first time we made it, my husband finished cooking it by 5pm, we left it on to simmer for a little longer and then turned off the flame, and left it covered on the stove. We warmed it back up at 7pm when we were ready for dinner. I bet the curry flavors developed even further with the extra time. Our brown basmati rice was also just waiting for us to be ready sitting piping hot in our rice cooker.


CHICKEN KORMA

From Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution cookbook with notes from our experience.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 3/4 pound skinless boneless chicken breast, preferably free-range or organic

2 medium onions

optional: 1 fresh green chile (we left it out since I’m a wimp)

a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger

a small bunch of cilantro (an easy herb to grow in your yard!)

1 15oz can of garbanzo bean (chickpeas)

peanut or vegetable oil (We used olive oil. Using Ghee would probably be delicious as well)

1/2 cup korma or mild curry paste, such as Patak’s

1 14oz can of coconut milk

a small handful of sliced almonds, plus extra for serving

2 heaping tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut

2 cups natural yogurt

1 lemon

Directions

To prepare your curry

Cut the chicken into approximately 1-inch pieces or thin slices. I find slices will result in more tender and flavorful chicken.

Peel and finely slice the onions.

Halve, seed and finely chop the chile if using it.

Peel and finely chop the ginger. If you don’t like eating ginger, be sure to chop it finely so that it melts away in the dish or cut slightly large pieces/slices so you get the flavor but you can easily opt to not eat the ginger pieces themselves.

Pick the cilantro leaves and finely chop the stalks. (love that both stalks and leaves are used!)

Drain the garbanzo beans.

To make your curry

Put a large casserole-type pan on high heat and add a couple lugs of oil. Once hot, add the onions, chile, ginger, and cilantro stalks with the butter. Keep stirring it enough so it doesn’t catch and burn but turns evenly golden. Cook for around 10 minutes. Add the curry paste, coconut milk, half the sliced almonds, the drained garbanzo beans, unsweetened shredded coconut and chicken breasts. Half fill the empty coconut milk can with water, pour it into the pan and stir again. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on.

Check the curry regularly to make sure it’s not drying out, and add extra water if necessary. When the chicken is tender and cooked, taste and season with salt and pepper – please season carefully. I did add a fair amount of salt, you’ll want to taste, add some salt if needed, stir and let cook for a few minutes, then taste again to see if it still needs more or not. Better to add little by little than overdoing it.

To serve your curry

Jamie includes various recipes for making rice as options to serve with this dish. Good old plain basmati rice works well. In fact, we used brown basmati rice and thought it was perfect.

Jamie also suggests: Add a few spoonfuls of natural yogurt dolloped on top and sprinkling over the rest of the sliced almonds. Finish by scattering over the cilantro leaves and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over. 

We served individual plates, since it was just 2 of us. I put a heafty scoop of rice on my plate (really a pasta bowl), hollowed out the middle and filled it with a few serving spoons full of korma. Very pretty. We skipped the yogurt, even though we had gotten a small container of Greek yogurt for the dish. We found the dish rich enough that we didn’t feel it needed the yoghurt. We did sprinkle on the cilantro leaves (we chopped them a little first) which made the dish look extra pretty and added nice fresh flavor. We completely forgot about the lemon wedges since we were hungry and excited to eat! It was still amazing, so if you don’t happen to have lemons, don’t sweat it.

Lentils and Sausage

Great for: Cozy dinner, company/groups

Ever since I had the pleasure of enjoying (going totally gaga for!) the lentils and sausage entrée at Les Pyrenees in Old Montreal I have been on the hunt for a recipe to try to replicate the sublime cozy tastes of that dish. After trying a few, this one is my current favorite. I just made it again last week and decided I had to share with you.

The dish is incredible silky and texturally interesting with layer upon layer of intense flavor. It is such a warm and hearty dish it will make any chilly gloomy day better…in fact you may look forward to such days so you have an excuse to make this dish! Not that you really need an excuse. It is also fairly easy to make and lasts well in the fridge for days! I like eating it with fresh bread, such as a french batard.

The original recipe is from a blog, Becks & Posh, and I have tweaked it just slightly as I found the original slightly acidic and I like to cook my lentils slightly longer, requiring more chicken broth. I also like extra sauce for mopping up with bread. I do use Toulouse sausage as she suggests in the original recipe – it is a mild garlicky sausage. Given how she touted the amazingness of Fatted Calf sausages, I made sure to get some to try with my first batch along with some of their bacon. Just hunting them down was part of the fun. However, I have to say, I was not thrilled with the sausages, there was something about their flavor that I didn’t love but the overall dish was still heavenly. I have since tried Toulouse sausages from Fabrique’s Delices which I can get at our local Palo Alto farmer’s market. They are the winner, the sausages have amazing flavor and are perfect for this dish. If you can’t find Toulouse sausage, mild Italian sausage would be a fine substitute. That said, Fatted Calf bacon has completely won me over, its deep flavor and thick cut stand up so well with this preparation adding another layer of great flavor. If you can get your hands on some, you really should! If you are in the San Francisco area, they have a stand at the Ferry Building farmer’s market and the Berkeley Farmer’s marketing on Saturdays and let you place special orders through their website.  They have store fronts at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa, and in Hayes Valley. We had a great time visiting it on our trip up to Napa a few weeks ago, and we of course, brought home some bacon.


Lentils and Sausage

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/2 cup diced carrot 
1 medium onion, decided 
5 cloves garlic, roughly minced 
1 cup green lentils 
2 bay leaves (if using fresh, use 3) 
a few fronds of parsley tied together 
2 cups low sodium chicken stock + another 2 cups to add in later as needed 
1 cup tomato juice (tomato sauce works fine too) 
1 tsp salt 
1 1/2 cups red wine 
4 fat sausages 
6 rashers of bacon, cut into bite-sized portions 
salt and pepper to season 
chopped parsley to garnish

    Directions

    Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion and garlic and cook slowly until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the washed lentils and stir for a couple of minutes until they are fully coated with oil. Add the tomato juice, salt, first 2 cups of chicken stock, parsley, bay leaf, parsley and red wine. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for an hour. Remove the bay leaves and parsley.

    In another large skillet fry the bacon and sausages in their own fat until lightly golden. Slice the sausages into fat, bite-sized chunks and add them, the bacon and all (or some) of the fat they rendered to the lentil mixture. Add however much fat you feel comfortable with. I never add all of it as I feel it will make the dish too greasy, but I do add a generous amount since it is full of great flavor. Cook for a further 15 minute. Add some more chicken stock if you want to loosen up the mixture and continue cooking for another 15-30 minutes. Keep adding chicken stock if you feel it is getting too thick. Just go with your gut on how much stock you need to add, the recipe is very forgiving. If you add too much, just cook it a bit longer to reduce. If you do let it reduce a lot be sure to taste it and add some water if it gets too salty – that is also why it is important to use low sodium chicken broth.

    Check again for seasoning and add salt or pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley to serve up with some great bread.

    This is also a great recipe for company since you can make it ahead and leave it on the stove on simmer until you are ready to serve. Just be sure to have some of that extra chicken stock nearby to top it off if it gets dry and check for seasoning, adding a little water if it starts to get too salty.