February – Quick and Easy Stir Fried Vegetables

February – Quick and Easy Stir Fried Vegetables

Sometimes you need instant food and this fits the bill. The title is boring, but it exactly describes this no carb dish and vegetable stir fry. You could always add some leftover rotisserie chicken or baked tofu to make it a one dish meal. Wrap it in a tortilla or serve it over rice if your current diet allows it.

I used some time saving ingredients; a package of riced broccoli and cauliflower, and a package of angel hair cabbage. All that is needed in addition is a large onion, a knob of fresh ginger, a clove of garlic, some tamari or soy sauce, plus a little oil to start the stir fry. This is very quick, maybe 10 minutes in all.

Stir Fry Veggies

Stir Fry Veggies

Ingredients:

  • I large onion, cut in half top to bottom and cut into half moons
  • 1 package of riced cauliflower or riced broccoli or one with a combination – I used Earthbound Farm organic Cauliflower and Broccoli riced veggies (16 oz package)
  • 1 package of finely shredded green cabbage (mine was 10 oz)
  • 1 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • about 2 – 3 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, I used coconut

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large fry pan on medium heat
  2. When shimmering, add the ginger and fry until light brown on each side
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so, you want a golden brown
  4. Add the onion and stir to mix, cook (stirring every so often) until wilted and starting to brown.
  5. Add the riced vegetables, cook for 2 – 3 minutes
  6. Add the cabbage and continue to cook until it is softened, a couple of minutes
  7. Add the soy sauce to taste

It’s almost embarrassingly easy.

If you have some mushrooms laying around you could add them. Slice them thinly and add them with the sliced cabbage.

Vegetable Stir Fry

Vegetable Stir Fry

I served it with a few slices of medium rare steak cooked on the grill.

Steak with Stir Fried Veggies

A perfect no or low carb quick meal.

Do you think the folks at Fiesta Friday would like this? This week it is Fiesta Friday #314 hosted by Angie and co-hosted by me. Drop on by to read the great recipes and craft ideas.

January – Greek Chicken

January – Greek Chicken

Greek chicken ready to bake

Greek chicken ready to bake

This low calorie, vegetable heavy, colorful casserole is just what is needed during the grey days of winter. It’s a riot of colors and flavors, quick and simple to make and perfect for company. All you need is some crusty bread and a green salad, your dinner is complete. You can even assemble the dish ahead of time and bake it in the oven at the last minute.

Customize it to your tastes. The first time I made it I left out the onions and black olives, it was delicious. If you want dairy free, don’t add the crumbled feta at the end. It’s still absolutely delicious and even better for lunch the next day.

Greek chicken - this time without the artichokes. onion or olives

Greek chicken – this time without the artichokes. onion or olives

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 each red, orange and yellow peppers cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 pint of multicolored cherry tomatoes, leave whole
  • 3-4 small zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 red onion, cut into 8 sections
  • zest of 1 large or 2 small lemons, save juice for the end
  • 1 large sprig of fresh oregano (leaves chopped) or 1 – 2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 large sprig of fresh rosemary (leaves chopped) or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • About 1 teaspoon of salt (salts have a differing amount of ‘saltiness’)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small package of frozen artichoke hearts or canned artichoke hearts, defrosted if necessary (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of pitted kalamata olives (optional)
  • Juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small – split in half
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled feta (optional)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped to garnish (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine all the ingredients (except the feta and half the lemon juice) above in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Pour into a large casserole dish and bake (uncovered) for about 40 minutes or until the chicken is done. Breasts might be done in 30 minutes.
  4. Crumble the feta on top and give the dish a good squeeze of the lemon

 

You can assemble this a few hours ahead, cover and store in the fridge.

Greek Chicken

Greek Chicken

Greek Chicken

Greek Chicken

Greek Chicken

Greek Chicken

I have also made this with bone in chicken thighs (skin on or off). Ingredients are the same. Put the chicken thighs, skin side up, in a large shallow casserole. Sprinkle them with salt. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, mix them with the herbs and lemon zest, pour around the thighs. Bake for about 40 minutes.

Greek Chicken with Whole Thighs

Greek Chicken with Whole Thighs

I think the folks at Fiesta Friday #313 will enjoy this. Fiesta Friday is hosted by Angie, it’s a virtual collection of blog posts about cooking, gardening, and crafts. Click on the link to read all the amazing things that are going on in the world of blogging.

 

In My Garden – January 2020

In My Garden – January 2020

The rain has finally stopped for long enough for me to take some photos. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the rain and am very grateful on many levels. I’ve pruned most of my perennials back and even more have died back, the garden looks a bit bleak. I remind myself that it could be worse, we don’t get snow and a frost is rare. Our yard is only about a half mile from the Pacific Ocean and the weather is more similar to the Pacific Northwest than it is to the rest of California. In addition we don’t get the summer heat because of the fog. When the interior of the state warms up, it pulls the fog into the coast. But like the rest of California, our summers are dry and the winters wet.

Although the garden looks bare and dreary, there are signs of spring. Bulbs are emerging and there are some small native annuals coming up. Those are self sown from last year’s plants. They eventually find the place in the garden where they are happy and come back each spring.

 

The winter blooming hellebores are starting to bloom.

Helleborus

The vegetable garden contains mostly kale which loves the cooler weather.baby kale

It’s a struggle to keep the slugs and birds from devouring the peas (both snap and sweet flowering).

The Cupheas are still going strong, they seem to bloom non-stop whatever the season. So the hummingbirds have a year round source of nectar. These are grown as annuals in the colder parts of the country but they are perennials in our milder climate.

As well some of the salvias are still blooming, more nectar sources.

Here’s a quick peak at the whole garden…

Looks a bit sad right now. But spring will be here soon, meanwhile we love the rain. Happy gardening everyone, it’s time to explore the new 2020 seed catalogs.

In My Kitchen – January 2020

In My Kitchen – January 2020

Happy New Year everyone, wishing you all a peaceful and joyous year. We had a lovely Christmas, Casey and Quinn were especially pleased with their gifts.

Aussies with their new 'babies'

Casey and Quinn with their Christmas gifts

They do love their stuffed toys and carry them around in their mouths to greet us.

The flags on the front of our home spell out Happy New Year in international flag language. It’s the picture at the top of this post as well as this one.

Happy New Year with Casey and Quinn

The flags spell Happy New Year in international flag language

This January posting of In My Kitchen (also known as IMK) is part of a monthly gathering of posts from kitchens around the world. It’s fascinating to read what is new and notable from the Southern Hemisphere as well as the U.S. and Europe. Please do click on the link to Sherrys Pickings to read them all.

So what’s new in my kitchen? These nifty silicone egg cups are designed for using in the Instant Pot to make a copy of the Starbucks sous vide egg bites. I have made a version sous vide, which turned out ok. Butt there are a lot of recipes online and I am looking forward to trying them all. The egg cups came with a lid and a carrying tray to make it easy to remove them from the electric pressure cooker.

Silicone Egg Cups

Silicone Egg Cups

Silicone Egg Cups

Silicone Egg Cups

I will post the recipe if it turns out to be edible.

In my kitchen I have one last pear from the boxes my brother and sister-in-law sent for Christmas. They came from Harry and David in Oregon and are the best pears in the world, absolutely delicious.

Pear from Harry and David

Pear from Harry and David

It’s a tradition that we send each other pears before the holiday. This year I put one in the fridge and it delayed the ripening enough that we enjoyed each and every one. They are delicious with some cheese and walnuts for dessert.

In my kitchen I have some black rice.

Italian Black Rice

Italian Black Rice

Have any of you tried it? Do you have any recipes? The rice came from a small Italian deli and shop that just opened in town. The rice looks a bit like wild rice and they told me it cooks up nutty and a little firmer than regular rice. I’ll let you know how it turns out. They have lots of very interesting imported items. I also bought a jar of sun dried cherry tomatoes in olive oil and some lovely anchovies.

Sun Dried Tomatoes and Anchovies

Sun Dried Tomatoes and Anchovies

I find most sun dried tomatoes, even the ones in olive oil, rubbery and unpleasant with hard bits. I have made them myself and prefer them just before they are completely dried. I look forward to sampling these.

I was intrigued by these new products I found at the grocery store…

RightRice

RightRice, made from vegetables

RightRice is a blend of lentils, chickpeas, and rice. There were several varieties but these looked the most interesting to me. They claim to be more nutritious and higher in protein than regular rice.

The farm stand down the road was open today and I purchased these lovely carrots and a bunch of dino kale.

 

Another product to try is this organic sprouted blend of brown rice, millet and quinoa. One of my resolutions for 2020 is to add more whole grains to our diet.

Earthly Choice

Sprouted Brown Rice, Millet, Quinoa

And what would the holidays be without at least one new cookbook? This one about exploring the South of Italy. We listen to podcasts on our way back and forth from Fort Bragg to our apartment in Oakland. Katie Parla was featured on one and had fascinating stories about the food of Southern Italy as well as the history. It’s a cookbook to read as well as cook from.

Food of the Italian South

Food of the Italian South

And lastly I will leave you with some wonderful pictures from a Christmas walk. In the hills above Oakland there is a marvelous system of parks and trails. Each year at this time the ladybugs migrate and congregate in one area. It’s always magical to come across them. If the sun is warm and shines on them, they will fly into the air as a swarm and you can hear the clicking of their wings.

 

Again, Happy New Year to you all, and prayers to my blogging friends in Australia for their safety.

 

 

 

In My Garden – December 2019

In My Garden – December 2019

The rain is here at last, long awaited and very welcome. In fact it has been difficult to find a nice day to take some pictures. I’m happy to take a break from the necessity of watering. This will be a brief post as there hasn’t been much going on and plant growth has slowed or stopped altogether. We don’t get a lot of frosty days and snow is almost unknown so plants just go dormant.

The work this month has been to prune back the roses and other perennials, and seed sweet peas for next spring. Now is the time to put seeds in the ground so they can develop strong root systems by May and June.

Last month I also seeded snap/snow peas, two varieties. One is a wavy purple podded strain and the other green, they should be beautiful intertwined on the trellis. They just started coming up in the last week. I ordered the seeds from ROW, they are a trial experimental snow pea mix.

Snap Peas

Snap Peas

Baby kale and purple mizuma are a couple of inches tall.

baby kale and purple mizuma December 2019

Baby Kale and Purple Mizuma December 2019

The winter greens will grow slowly in the cooler temperatures but I should have greens for salads and stir fries by next month.

Fort Bragg Vegetable Garden December 2019

Fort Bragg raised bed garden December 2019

There are only a few flowers still blooming, with the exception of the cupheas.

You can see why they call this variety candy corn. The hummingbirds like it; which is good since the rain has knocked off the flowers of most of their favorite plants.

Here’s a quick look around the other flower beds.

Newly planted perennials

Another bed with another cuphea, this time pink and lavender

More established bed #2

The potted lemon tree continues to product, although the lemons are smaller than normal. I pruned it back and trimmed some of the lemons off the tree in hopes they would grow in size. Maybe I see a little difference but not much.

Potted Meyer Lemon

The big surprise is the strawberry plant growing in the pot. I know no idea where it came from, most likely the birds.

Strawberries in the lemon tree container

So far there are no strawberries but the plant is very healthy. Our cat likes to nibble on the leaves.

And that’s all right now. Have a wonderful holiday everyone.

2019 Christmas Tree

2019 Christmas Tree