May – Cinco de Mayo Tacos, Cauliflower and/or Chicken

May – Cinco de Mayo Tacos, Cauliflower and/or Chicken

I am not sure which might be more difficult to obtain these days, boneless chicken thighs or cauliflower. If you are using food delivery, you might not even know what you will be receiving or what will be missing from your order. You could easily go with all thighs or all cauliflower in this recipe if you only have one of them. With both it’s a perfect way to stretch a few thighs into a larger meal. If you want a vegetarian meal, this would be delicious made with a large head of cauliflower or two smaller ones.

Serve the tacos with soft corn tortillas, flour tortillas, or crisp ones from a box. Or give your family a choice of vehicles for transporting the spicy meat-cauliflower combo plus garnishes. My tastes geared towards a tostada and I decided to fry a flour tortilla (did you know they puff up and get wonderfully crisp?), spread some grated cheddar on it and warm in a low oven until the cheese melts and use that as a base.

Flour Tortilla with Melty Cheese

Flour Tortilla with Melty Cheese

Chipotle chicken and cauliflower

Chipotle chicken and cauliflower

The inspiration came from Week Light by Donna Hay. I did modify it slightly to make it much less spicy, and because not all the ingredients were available in my fridge or pantry. The original recipe called for an entire can of chipotle chillies in adobo sauce (OW!!!!), I used 2 chilies with a little of the sauce.

It was plenty hot enough for our family.

Chipotle Chicken and Cauliflower

Chipotle Chicken and Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce from a can, finely chop them
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or put through the press
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into 1 inch florets
  • kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Grated cheese of choice
  • Garnishes – sliced avocado, salsa, finely shredded cabbage, sliced red onions, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, thinly sliced red pepper, pickled vegetable salad…whatever you have on hand

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the chopped chilies and a couple of tablespoons of adobo sauce in a large bowl. Add the maple syrup, garlic and oil. Mix to combine.
  3. Place the chicken in another bowl and top with half the chipotle mixture, mix together.
  4. Add the cauliflower to the remaining chipotle mixture, turning to coat as much as possible.
  5. Transfer the chicken and cauliflower to separate baking sheets. Roast the chicken for about 20 minutes, the cauliflower needed a little longer. You want a nice char on the cauliflower.

I put the chicken and cauliflower in separate bowls, surrounded by the garnishes, and let everyone make their own.

Donna Hay recommends a lime dressing which consisted of:

  • 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

I didn’t have any yogurt on hand so we used a bit of jarred taco sauce.

Chipotle chicken and cauliflower

Chipotle chicken and cauliflower

Did you know that limes will turn the color yellow if left on the tree? That is why the limes in the pictures are yellow and look like lemons.

Do you have plans to celebrate today? Maybe a margarita is on the calendar?

 

 

May – Spiced Toasty Potatoes

May – Spiced Toasty Potatoes

Spicy toasty potatoes, full of flavor. Easy as well.

Spicy Toasty Potatoes

Spicy Toasty Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds fingerling, red, or small Yukon gold potatoes scrubbed and halved or quartered lengthwise (you want small wedges).
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

 

Toasted Seeds

Toasted Seeds

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place a small pan over medium heat for a minute or two, until hot. Add the coriander, mustard and cumin seeds and swirl the pan over the heat for 30 to 60 seconds, until fragrant. Remove to a small plate to cool before grinding into a powder in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. You can also use already ground spices. Toast them for a much shorter time to bring out the best flavor.
  3. You will need 2 tablespoons of the spice mix, keep the remaining mixture in a small jar for the future.
  4. Put 2 tablespoons of the toasted spice mixture, olive oil, salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the potatoes and toss to evenly coat.
  5. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking sheet, spreading in a single layer. Bake, turning occasionally, for about 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden brown.
  6. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the potatoes and add a squeeze of juice.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Mustardy Chicken

Mustardy Chicken – and Spiced Toasty Potatoes “Don’t Touch”

This recipe adapted from one in the The Healthy Mind Cookbook by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson.

May – Pickled Vegetable Salad, A Cure for Covid-19

May – Pickled Vegetable Salad, A Cure for Covid-19

Okay, so maybe mislead you with the title of this. Sorry. I don’t really have a cure for the virus. Don’t I wish! But maybe I have a partial cure for the extra inches on your waistline and hips as a result of the stay-at-home order. I know I have been entirely too comfortable, wearing only what I call my comfy clothes. What the heck, eh? Cooking and eating have sustained me these last six weeks, no guilt. But maybe an occasional lunch of something a little healthier would make me feel a little less guilty. The best thing about this dish is that…

  1. You can make it ahead
  2. It keeps for days without losing any flavor
  3. There are almost zero calories
  4. It’s full of nutrition and roughage
  5. It makes for very satisfying chewing, it takes longer to eat so it fills you up
  6. It tastes great
  7. It can be used in many recipes (salads, taco topping, garnish, etc.)

My favorite is a big bowl of these vegetables with a scoop of cottage cheese or half an avocado (or both). For fancy you could add a sprinkling of feta and add some black olives (a drizzle of olive oil)…call it Greek salad.

This is perfect for hot days. It’s cooling and light as well as healthy.

Pickled Vegetable Salad

Pickled Vegetable Salad

Use whatever ingredients you have on hand. I used:

  • 3 sweet peppers (one of those packages with a red, orange and yellow one) – thinly sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, cut in half and then into half moons
  • 1/2 of a large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 of a green cabbage, thinly sliced

Brine:

  • 1 cup of mild white vinegar, I used unflavored rice vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt

Method:

  1. Mix the brine ingredients together in a large bowl until the sugar and salt are dissolved
  2. Add the vegetables to the bowl and mix to coat
  3. Refrigerate at least an hour or up to a week

The salad will become more pickled over time.

Other vegetables to think about adding

  • carrots
  • celery
  • red cabbage
  • cauliflower
Pickled Vegetable Salad

Pickled Vegetable Salad

 

Another healthy and vegetable heavy idea would be Salad Soup. See the post from August 2018 on the link. It’s still one of my standard summer lunch go-to’s.

Salad Soup

Salad Soup

Enjoy, be safe.

In My Kitchen – May 2020

In My Kitchen – May 2020

This post is part of a monthly catch up from kitchens around the world. The bloggers are passionate about food and cooking and there are always lots of new things to learn. You may find a new ingredient or technique or tool you can’t live without. The world seems a smaller place right now and it’s inspiring to read how others are coping. You will find the link to In My Kitchen at the end of this post.

We nearing the end of week 6 of stay-at-home orders in California. Both the world and my kitchen look very different. Without the usual busyness of life, I find I am more introspective and thoughtful. And more appreciative of small things.

We have, in this time of social distancing, permission to be comfortable. That word, comfortable, has special meaning right now. It’s actually two words, comfort and table. Both of them are especially important in this moment of time.

We have permission and maybe the requirement to take comfort, and much of that is taking place around the table. My current wardrobe consists of only those things that replace the hugs I am missing from friends and family, clothes are soft and cozy and oversized and baggy and worn. I wear them unselfconsciously since no one will see me. The silk shirts, pencil skirts and skinny jeans in the closet hold no attraction. Maybe the kitchen and table are partly to blame.

Comfort is homemade sourdough with a crackly crust, thickly smeared with rich unsalted European butter.

Sourdough

Sourdough

Comfort is macaroni and cheese, the rich smooth creamy center contrasting with crusty brown burned cheese edges. Comfort is tomato soup (Campbells please) and grilled cheese sandwiches, the extra sharp cheddar oozing out when it is cut in half.

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese with Leftover Chicken and BBQ Sauce

We have permission to be deliciously unselfconscious about what gives us pleasure without worrying about what we will look like to others. Maybe this is something we should keep.

In my kitchen I have flowers, spring is here and I pick exuberant bouquets from the garden.

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers

Rhododendrons

Rhododendrons and Azaleas

They make me smile.

In my kitchen I have three new cookbooks. The grocery stores are a little short on ingredients, but I am looking forward to preparing and posting some of the delicious new recipes once the supply chains are up and running again. Reading a cookbook feeds my imagination and allows me to be an armchair traveler. That’s about all the traveling any of us will be making in the near future. We had to abandon our planned trip to New Zealand in March.

Two of them, Neighborhood and Week Light, are written by Australians and are vegetable centric. Melissa Clark (Dinner in French) is a frequent contributor to the food section of the NY Times, I enjoy her articles and recipes.

In my kitchen I have the first CSA box from Nye Ranch, just down the road from us. I really appreciate the ability to support small, local agriculture. This is a new venture for them and makes up for the lost income from restaurant customers. The box contained lovely fresh and very local produce.

Nye Ranch CSA

Nye Ranch CSA – Week 1

In my kitchen I have resurrected my sourdough starter from the freezer.

 

My family thinks I am missing the microbiology lab too much. It has been a challenge to bake sourdough bread. Do not in any way think that the beauty of the loaf pictured above is indicative of my success. It was an anomaly. Bread flour is not to be had anywhere, so I am working with whole wheat and sprouted wheat flour and a small amount (I am conserving my 2 lb. bag) of all purpose flour. Most of my efforts are better used as croutons or hockey pucks. But I am still trying. Thankfully the starter is happy and bubbling away (I was a pretty good microbiologist). I have been searching the internet for tips when working with heavier flours. It seems everyone is baking, flour is as scarce at toilet paper. If any of you have some suggestions, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

The “In My Kitchen” is hosted monthly by Sherry, from Sherrys Pickings. Please do come on over, it’s lovely reading with a cup of tea or coffee and may inspire you.

(Note: I do not receive any renumeration from Amazon or any other supplier/source I may mention in a post. Any link is for your interest and information only.)

April 2020 – Down to the Dregs, Pizza Rice

April 2020 – Down to the Dregs, Pizza Rice

Many of us are down to the dregs of our fridges and pantries right now, I haven’t been to the store for a couple of weeks and the cupboard (not to mention any semblance of creativity in the kitchen) is pretty bare. A yen for pizza had hit but not too much in the way of pizza makings were in sight. Does this sound like your house right now? We are all making do with what we have on hand.

This recipe is vegetarian and gluten free.

I found a couple of large tomatoes and a handful of cherry tomatoes (just about to go bad), some stale flour tortillas, rice, and cheese…pizza rice casserole was born. My pantry did have an onion and some garlic plus oregano in the spice drawer.

Make the rice, white or brown, whatever you have on hand. I made about 3 cups finished.

Saute an onion in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil for about 5-7 minutes until soft, add the garlic, some red pepper flakes, and a rounded teaspoon of dried oregano. Continue to cook until everything mingles into a soft tomatoey mess.

Heat your broiler and put a rack near the top.

Heat a good glug of olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet on medium heat. Layer the tortillas in the bottom of the pan, tearing them to cover the entire surface. Cook long enough that they start to puff and brown on the bottom. Spread the rice on top, then the tomato mixture, cover with grated cheese.

Put under the broiler to melt the cheese and heat the tomato/rice layers.

Cut into rough wedges to serve with a salad on the side (there was some lettuce in the garden to harvest).

Pizza Rice

Pizza Rice

Pizza rice is born.