April – Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Cherry Tomato Salad

April – Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Cherry Tomato Salad

That’s a big mouth of a title!  But it belies the ease and absolute deliciousness of this dish. The tahini-marinated chicken thighs finish baking with a crisp coating  and the tomato salad is a preview of coming summer salads. I am finding very acceptable cherry tomatoes at the grocery store right now, even though summer tomatoes are months away. Even nicer, they are often of different types and colors, a good stand-in while we wait for that first amazing local vine ripened tomato.

Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Cucumber Tomato salad

It’s been awhile since I have had a blog worthy recipe, but this is it folks. I am not sure where I originally found this recipe and apologize for not giving credit. It has been in my files for quite some time, at least a year.

We have been eating very simply lately and I don’t think the blogosphere needs another post for grilled chicken or clean out your refrigerator salad. But it does need this delicious and interesting marinade for chicken. I bet it would be wonderful on fish as well, maybe I’ll try that next time. But back to this one, I used chicken thighs, skin on. You could also use it with breasts or skin off thighs. Keep the bone in though, I think it really does make a flavor difference especially with an overnight marination.

I do recommend that you marinate the thighs overnight, which take a bit of planning. The deep rich taste will make it worthwhile. Use a good brand of tahini, the one I use was highly recommended. It was not in any of my local stores but I found it on Amazon. A good tahini sauce will make a big difference both to this recipe and others such as hummus.

Tahini Sauce – this is the brand I use. Recommended by Yotam Ottolenghi

I made a couple of small modifications from the original recipe. I substituted lime zest and juice for the lemon and used sliced red onion in the salad. Feel free to use lemons if they are handy. I had used up all my lemons making preserved lemons a few weeks ago and forgot to buy them at the market. The ones on my backyard tree are still green.

Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup of tahini
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons of parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated (I used a microplane)
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion (microplane again)
  • 6 chicken thighs, bone in

Method:

  1. Dry the chicken thighs with a paper towel. You could remove the skin if you want, I didn’t. Place them in a ziplock bag or bowl.
  2. Combine all the marinade ingredients, pour 3/4 of the mix into the bag or bowl with the chicken. Scrunch everything together so the marinade coats each thigh, this is easy to do in a ziplock bag. Keep in the fridge overnight. When I thought about it, I turned the bag over to remix. Reserve the remaining tahini mixture separately in the fridge.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade but try and keep as much sauce on them as possible. Place them on a foil lined baking sheet or in a roasting pan, try to leave a little space between each thigh. Sprinkle them with a little coarse salt. Discard any leftover chicken marinade from the bag or bowl.
  5. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until brown and done, the time will depend on the size of your thighs.
  6. Let the thighs rest while you make the salad.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded if necessary
  2. 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, different colors and types if possible
  3. 1/2 small red onion, sliced
  4. 1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  5. 1 tablespoon mint, roughly chopped
  6. 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  7. 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  8. coarse salt to taste

Method:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together and give them a toss.
  2. Serve with the chicken.

Drizzle the extra tahini sauce over the chicken when serving.

Tahini Marinated Chicken Thighs with Tomato Cucumber Salad

The thighs were tender but lightly crisp.

Tahini Marinated Chicken Thighs with Tomato Cucumber Salad

And the tomato salad could be a stand in for this summers coming tomato salads. In the bay area we often have to wait until August or September…a long way away. It wouldn’t hurt to add a chopped avocado if you happen to have one laying around, just saying.

Tahini Marinated Chicken Thighs with Tomato Cucumber Salad

This is a Fiesta Friday worthy recipe. It has been a few months since I joined the party and I think this is one the group will enjoy. This week is is Fiesta Friday #221.

What is Fiesta Friday? It is a gathering of bloggers with links to their posts, all hosted by Angie on her Fiesta Friday site. you can think click on any links that interest you. Angie usually have one or two co-hosts and this week it is Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes.

Each week Angie and her co-host select four outstanding recipes or posts from the previous week’s group to feature. There are some amazing blogs out there!

Please stop by the party.

 

 

January – Week 4, phase 1

January – Week 4, phase 1

Here we go again, only one more week. A friend made an interesting comment about this diet. He said that even though it sounds complicated, it is actually easier. It’s easier because you don’t have to stick with any one way of eating for months on end. On this diet you have your high carbohydrate days (2 if them), you have your low carbohydrate days (2 of them), and then you have 3 days of, what I would call “intelligent eating”. What does that mean? Healthy fats and lots of vegetables, moderate meat and carbohydrates. I know it’s the way I should eat most of the time. Once the diet is over, I will add a little dairy (I miss cheese, especially goat) and a little wine (I miss that as well). But, the defining word is “little”. I have gone without them for over 3 weeks and lived! I don’t miss sugar (I know that makes some of you shake your heads) but that is probably the only one of the five items (caffeine, alcohol, wheat, dairy, sugar) that I will not add back into my diet except on a very rare occasion.

So what has today looked like?

Breakfast – sprouted wheat toast and raspberries

Snack – mixed fruit and herb tea (I met a friend at a cafe)

Lunch – sprouted wheat tortilla, toasted in a skillet with sliced chicken, tomatoes, onion, and arugula

Snack – tangerine

Dinner – Fast Metabolism Buddha Bowl – 1 cup brown rice, steamed Brussels sprouts, roast winter squash, steamed to reheat deli rotisserie chicken (take out). Yes, I do take out…deli chickens are a wonderful convenience especially if you know the chickens are organic and came from a good source.

These kind of bowls are very easy to put together for either phase 1 or phase 3. All you need is a grain of some sort (brown rice in these examples), something green (broccoli or Brussels sprouts in the pics), and something contrasting in color and texture like sweet potatoes or winter squash.

Steamed Brussels sprouts only take 4 – 5 minutes, the delicata squash was roasted with a spray of olive oil (sorry it was a minor cheat), deli chicken, brown rice…an entire dinner in a bowl. Tamari for flavor.

Here is a picture of the phase 3 bowl:

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Phase 3 dinner bowl

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Phase 1 dinner bowl with tamari

These are perfect dinners, easy if you have any extra steamed rice and veggies on hand. Remember that steamed rice freezes well and reheats in the microwave in glass containers or plastic bags. Why pay exorbitant prices for frozen brown rice at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods? Simply make more than you will need and freeze the rest in serving sizes that are appropriate for your family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This bowl was a phase 3 dinner, I used a spritz of olive oil when roasting the squash

 

January – Phase 3, Fast Metabolism

January – Phase 3, Fast Metabolism

This is the last day of week 3, only one more week to go. I missed posting about phase 2 this week. I find phase 2 the most challenging, and frankly boring. Eating just lean protein and greens is “ho hum”. Phase 3 food seems positively decadent after phase 2, allowing moderate amounts of  “healthy” fats such as avocado, nut butter, hummus,  and coconut milk.

In phase 2, I frankly don’t care much about food. I eat because I have to, not because I am interested in what is on my plate. In fact, one day last week I forgot to eat entirely. Not good actually according to the diet. But I was super busy and occupied, I forgot to take food with me, and eating never occurred to me. That is until it got to be dinner time and I was at a friend’s house. By then I was hungry, really hungry. I did ‘cheat’ and have some phase 3 salmon and raw almonds because that was what was there. Really, I had to eat something!

My new scale is supposed to arrive today. Because my old one was rusted and corroded, it was a victim of our downsizing. After my friend (who has lost over 9 pounds in three weeks and feels amazing) raved about her new digital scale, I broke down and ordered one from Amazon.

I am not going to be able to tell you how much weight I have lost because I didn’t weigh myself at the beginning. I will tell you that my clothes are loose and my stomach is flatter. For me the weight loss was secondary to the overall reset. It’s a reset of habits, of taste buds, and overall approach to food. After three weeks I can tell you that I consider that part of the diet a success, the next week will only cement it. My friends who joined me on this adventure say the same thing.

So, what does my last day in phase 3 for this week look like?

Breakfast – fresh raspberries, sprouted wheat toast with almond butter

Snack – raw almonds

Lunch – Buffalo Chicken Chowder from Dishing Up the Dirt, (modified by using coconut oil instead of ghee and a sweet potato instead of russet); with celery sticks on the side and a tangerine. You can follow the link to the recipe, I found it had good flavor but the sweet potato didn’t thicken the chowder the way a russet would have. IMG_7093

Much to my surprise, on doing some research on the wild wide web, I came across another recipe which is very close to how I modified it. They used rice flour to thicken it a little, a good idea. I may like this one better from the blog Easy and Delish, Buffalo Chicken Chowder. I will try it this week and let you know. Changing the chicken breast to thighs would add more flavor (unless cooked sous vide I find chicken breasts too dry). The Frank’s Hot Sauce in the Dishing Up the Dirt recipe was good, keep that if you like spicy things.

My husband wanted something a little more substantial and added a can of pinto beans and some baby spinach. That is also a good option but it is coming closer to something else (chili?) and further away from Buffalo Chicken. IMG_7095

Look for a post, later in the week. Sometime when I am closer to phase 3 again, I will combine the two into something I a bit more to my own taste.

Snack – raw walnuts

DinnerSpicy Lamb Soup-Stew with Garbanzos 

Follow the link if you would like the recipe.

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January – Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

January – Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

My family is very fond of what I call soup/stew. It’s not really a stew, more like a very substantial soup. it’s a soup that is a full meal, and it perfectly describes this Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash. You could serve it with a salad or throw in some baby spinach to wilt just before serving. Ta Da greens., nothing more needed.

This is a phase 3 dinner, 2 cups equal one serving.

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Lamb, Winter Squash and Chickpea Soup/Stew

Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

4 servings – 8 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin or cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamon, or cardamon seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander or coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus more to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more as needed for taste
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 teaspoons grape seed oil
  • 1 medium red onion, half diced and half sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large delicata squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 3/4 inch cubes; or other winter squash – about 4 cups
  • 1 can of garbanzo (chickpea) beans drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium
  • optional – handful of golden raisins or roughly chopped dried apricots
  • For garnish – chopped cilantro, flat leaf parsley, mint, or chives…or combination of all

Directions:

  1. Combine the cumin, cardamon and coriander in a small heavy skillet and toast until slightly brown. This will happen quickly if using ground spices. Watch carefully. If whole spices, cool and grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. IMG_7099
  2. Heat the grape seed oil in a large skillet or pot on medium heat, add the ground lamb and brown (drain if there is a lot of fat and return to the skillet or pot).
  3. Add the onion, garlic, and spices. Stir until blended and smelling aromatic, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the bell pepper, squash, garbanzo beans and stock.
  5. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and flavors blended. Add the optional dried fruit, taste for salt, and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
  6. If not on the Fast Metabolism Diet, I would recommend the optional dried fruit.

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    Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

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Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

This recipe is adapted and modified from one in the NY Times.

January – Turkey Chili

January – Turkey Chili

Okay, I know there are about a million recipes out there for chili. I have a whole Pinterest folder full of them. Why do you need one more? Well…what about easy, almost fat free, delicious, full of healthy vegetables, suitable for both phase 1 and phase 3 of the Fast Metabolism Diet, and lastly an insurance policy in the freezer. Chili is the answer for the question “what shall we have for dinner?” frequently posed at 6 pm when everyone is tired, hungry, and grumpy. That’s the kind of insurance I’m talking about. It’s good with rice, with cornbread, poured over a baked potato, garnished with cheese or avocado or chips or cilantro or chopped onion or sour cream, use it in a burrito bowl or rolled in a taco. Whew! And it is delicious just as is, perfect for lunch or dinner on a chilly day. You have lots of options.

This recipe makes a big batch, four quarts of chili. Enough for to put a quart or two in the freezer.

2 cups of chili are a phase 1 meal, garnish with half a sliced avocado for phase 3. Because of the large amounts of legumes, it counts as a starch as well as a protein.

Turkey Chili

4 quarts of Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili

Makes 4 quarts – 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (depending on how spicy you like your chili)
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained
  • 4 cups of chopped zucchini
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 1 32 ounce can of chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste

Directions:

  1. Brown the turkey over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pot, add a tablespoon or two of water if it sticks.
  2. Add the onion, herbs, chili powder, cumin, garlic and red chili flakes to the pot. Cook on until the onion softens, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the 2 cans of black beans with their liquid, the drained pinto beans, and the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat. Simmer 40 minutes.
  4. Add the zucchini, red pepper and salt, simmer for another 40 minutes to an hour.
  5. Taste for salt.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro, thinly sliced cabbage, avocado, sour cream, cheese, etc.

    Turkey Chili

    Turkey Chili

This recipe is adapted from one in the Fast Metabolism Diet.