May – Mustardy Chicken Thighs

May – Mustardy Chicken Thighs

For me?

This couldn’t be easier, faster or more delicious. Juicy mustardy flavored dark meat chicken with a crisp skin. Of course you could also do this with breasts as well if that is what you have. The secret is a simple paste you put both under the skin and over it. You can either cook this in the oven or on the BBQ.

Mustardy Chicken

Mustardy Chicken

In a small bowl combine:

  • 6 green onions – finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large clove garlic – pressed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 large chicken thighs – bone in/skin on and trimmed of excess fat
  • olive oil for oiling the BBQ grate if cooking that way

Method: 

  1. Whisk onion, mustard, lemon juice and garlic together in a medium bowl. Using hands, loosen chicken skin on each thigh, making sure to leave 1 side attached. Spoon about a teaspoon of the mustard mixture under the skin of each thigh covering the meat evenly as possible and dividing equally among thighs (use about half the mustard mixture). Fold skin flap over to enclose mixture.
  2. Sprinkle thighs with salt and pepper on both sides of the thighs. Spread remaining mixture atop the thighs, spreading evenly. (Chicken can also be prepared up to 6 hours in advance, and stored covered in the fridge.)
  3. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat)  Brush grill rack generously with olive oil. Grill chicken until golden brown and cooked through, turning chicken occasionally and moving to cooler spot on grill if browning too quickly – about 40 minutes.
  4. Or, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until firm to the touch and the skin is browned.
  5. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Mustardy Chicken

Mustardy Chicken Thighs

I served these with spicy toasted potatoes and a green salad. The potatoes and chicken both cook at 450 degrees F so it was very convenient.

I am going to take a bunch of these over to Angie’s place to celebrate Fiesta Friday #327. Check out the posts from bloggers around the globe. You will find great recipes, craft ideas, and other tips. Please vote for your favorite 5.
In My Garden – May 2020

In My Garden – May 2020

May has to be the best and most beautiful Northern California gardening month. Everything is starting to bloom, there is color everywhere. It’s lovely to sit in the evening with a glass of wine and soak in the view of the back garden.

I find my mood changes depending on the weather and if the sun is shining. Blue skies bring optimism and quiet joy, grey ones bring lethargy and sadness. The exuberance of the spring garden ignores all those effervescent and shifting moods. The flowers bloom without knowledge of the crisis in the world. The bright colors make it seem aflame, a riot of orange poppies, tangerine geum, marmalade heuchera, and yellow lupines.

I can sit quietly, listening to the buzz of bees and the songs of sparrows. In the distance I hear the sounds of breaking surf on the beach. I let the peace of the garden wash over me, a private timeless world…no schedules, no appointments. The world is on pause and I sit in the middle, quiet and serene for the moment.

Exuberance

Exuberance of colors and textures

The bees are especially active in the pollinator garden. This is the second year and survival of the fittest is definitely taking place.

Pollinator Garden May 2019

Pollinator Meadow May 2019

Last year we had a lot more rain.

The bearded irises and Spanish lavender plants edging the driveway are in bloom.

Spanish lavender and Bearded Iris

Spanish lavender and Bearded Iris

In the vegetable garden I have planted summer squash, cucumbers, winter squash, basil and determinate tomatoes this month. My husband (and partner in any hardscaping project) helped construct supports to make mini hoop houses. The microclimate of the property has not been kind to tomatoes in the past and I hope, by warming the beds, I will have better luck.

Raised Bed Veggie Garden

Raised Bed Veggie Garden – May 2020

A peak under the plastic

A peak under the plastic – tomatoes, basil and summer squash

 

Last year’s pole beans are coming back, they are about an inch high. I will plant bush beans later this week in a newly prepared bed.

Ready for Bush Beans

Ready for Bush Beans

The snap peas and sweet pea flowers are finally taking off. It was a challenge to keep the sparrows from eating the new shoots. I finally unearthed some old netting from the depths of the garage and that has helped a lot.

Snap Peas and Sweet Pea Flowers

Snap Peas and Sweet Pea Flowers

I have company in the garden, if not helpers.

Quinn

Quinn – “Mom, I will just watch you working while I relax here in the sun”

 

Casey

Casey – “Sunny days are made for napping unless you see a squirrel.”

Be well everyone, be safe. And happy gardening.

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.