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.

 

November – Roast Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots and Citrus Dressing

November – Roast Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots and Citrus Dressing

Roasted Brussels sprouts, sliced pickled carrots, walnuts, cilantro and a citrus vinaigrette. Is it a salad? Or a side? In fact, it is both as it can be served warm or at room temperature but not cold. If you make it ahead, pull it out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before serving. It might qualify as the perfect side for your holiday dinner, make it a few hours ahead to free up your oven. Add roasted cooked farro or another grain for a vegetarian main meal. It’s pretty as well with the fall colors of orange carrots and bright green sprouts, roasted to dark caramelized perfection.

This recipe came from Six Seasons, A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden. I love the inventiveness of his recipes and am slowly cooking my way through the book. The premise is that there are actually six seasons, not just four…spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, fall and winter. I think farmer’s markets and our own gardens would support that idea.

Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Walnuts, Cilantro and Citrus Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Walnuts, Cilantro and Citrus Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Walnuts, Cilantro and Citrus Vinaigrette

(serves 2-3 but can be easily doubled)

Ingredients:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
  • 3/4 pound of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • About 1/3 cup roughly chopped or sliced pickled carrots, either store-bought or home made
  • 1/2 cup of chopped toasted nuts, walnuts or pecans or hazelnuts
  • 1 bunch of scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (white and light green parts)
  • 1/4 cup of citrus vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup of lightly packed and chopped cilantro leaves (I was able to find baby leaves)
  • 1/2 cup of lightly packed and chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and the garlic, cook until the garlic is soft and golden brown, watch carefully and reduce the heat if it is browning too quickly. Garlic turns bitter if allowed to burn.
  2. Scoop out the garlic and set it aside.
  3. Increase the heat and add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down. Season well with salt and pepper and cook until the sprouts are cooked all the way through, browned but not mushy. This will take about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Return the garlic to the pan, crushing it to break it up and mix with the sprouts.
  5. When the sprouts are cooked to your liking, remove the pan from the heat and add the pickled carrots, half the nuts, and all the scallions. Toss to mix and warm the new ingredients.
  6. Spoon the vinaigrette over the sprouts and toss again. Add half the cilantro and parsley.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  8. Right before serving, add more vinaigrette if needed, along with the rest of the nuts, parsley and cilantro.

Citrus Vinaigrette:

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  1. Zest all the citrus with a microplane or small rasp style grater into a bowl.
  2. Halve the fruit and squeeze all the juice into the same bowl, removing any seeds.
  3. Whisk in the honey, vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt and several turns of your pepper mill.
  4. Taste and adjust, if needed.
  5. Whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. For a more emulsified and creamy vinaigrette do this in a blender, drizzling in the olive oil as the machine is running.
  6. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Walnuts, Cilantro and Citrus Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Walnuts, Cilantro and Citrus Vinaigrette

I am taking this one to Fiesta Friday #305 over at Angie’s place. Please come join the party with lots of ideas about crafts, food, and travel. This week is is co-hosted by myself.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, hard to believe the Christmas holiday is only a few weeks away. Whew!

November – Palm Tree Leeks

November – Palm Tree Leeks

I’ve never been impressed by leeks unless they are in a potato leek soup. Generally, give me onions or scallions or shallots. That is until I saw this unusual recipe in Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over by Alison Roman. Alison is a regular contributor to the NT Times food section and this is her first cookbook. She shared my opinion, having ignored them for years.

She says “Here, leeks sizzle in a spicy olive oil mixture, the wild tendrilly ends crisping up like they have been deep fried, looking like an extremely festive and delicious party decoration. The pale green centers become creamy and tender.”

This is preparing leeks in an entirely different way! In a way it’s like roasting kale, who would have believed you could take this vegetable and turn it into delicious chips even the youngest child would love. Even better, they look like palm trees which is really a hoot.

Spicy Caramelized Leeks with Fresh Lemon

Spicy Caramelized Leeks with Fresh Lemon

Ingredients:

  • 4 large leeks, dark green parts removed, washed and halved lengthwise with roots still intact
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 fresh lemon, seeds removed and finely chopped (I used a preserved lemon, white center removed and rind scraped, then the rind finely chopped)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Pace the leeks cut side down and, without cutting through to the root, slice them lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips. They will look like a palm fan. Place the leeks on a parchment lined half sheet pan or baking dish.
  3. Whisk the olive oil and harissa paste together, then massage into the leeks, getting into all their layers. Season with salt and pepper and lay them straight-ish.
  4. Roast, without disturbing too much until they start to fry and sizzle and brown at the ends about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Top with the lemon and flaky salt before serving.
Leeks

Palm Frond Leeks

Roasted Leeks

Roasted Leeks

You can roast these several hours ahead of time, they won’t loose their crispness. Cover them at room temperature. There is no need to reheat them unless you want to.

Crispy Leeks

Crispy Leeks

This is such an interesting twist on preparing an often ignored vegetable that I think the folks over at Fiesta Friday #302 will enjoy it. Fiesta Friday is a virtual blogging party hosted each week by Angie, this week it is co-hosted by none other than myself. Please do click on the link to read blogs from around the world of food, crafts, and travel.

 

May – Middle Eastern Herb and Cauliflower Salad

May – Middle Eastern Herb and Cauliflower Salad

What is that grain in the salad? Is it rice, is it cracked wheat, is it couscous? Nope, none of that. This salad is grain and gluten free. It’s my favorite substitution, cauliflower! And this salad is wonderfully delicious as well as healthy; it’s full of chopped herbs plus cherry tomatoes and toasted almonds with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. It keeps well so you can make it ahead.

I can find already riced cauliflower in the grocery store, both Trader Joe’s and Safeway carry it. But it is easy to make at home in your food processor if you need to start from scratch (or have cauliflower growing in your garden…lucky you). I don’t recommend using the packaged already riced cauliflower if you are making mock mashed potatoes I think it has a high percentage of stem. It won’t result in a creamy rich amazing mashed potato substitute. You need to have mostly florets for that recipe. But, it is perfect for use in this recipe. The kernels hold their shape and crunch once cooked.

I roasted the cauliflower for extra flavor before mixing it with the other ingredients.

Middle Eastern Herb and Cauliflower Salad

If you are starting with a head of cauliflower, slice the head in half and remove the tough core. Roughly chop the florets. Working in batches, add the cauliflower to your food processor and pulse until the consistency of ‘rice’. Transfer to a large bowl.

Ingredients:

Cauliflower:

  • I head of cauliflower or a package of pre-riced cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons of fruity olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad:

  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped flat leaved parsley
  • 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped mint
  • 4 scallions white and light green, chopped
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced to make about 1/4 cup of juice
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 3/4 cup of sliced almonds

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the riced cauliflower in a large bowl and add the olive oil, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Spread the cauliflower on the baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes until tender and browning around the edges. You may need to leave it for a few additional minutes but check it so it doesn’t burn. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool on the parchment paper.
  4. Spread the almonds on a small baking sheet and toast in the same oven for about 5 minutes, again check constantly as they will turn from nicely toasted to burnt in seconds. Remove and cool.
  5. While the cauliflower is cooking you can make the herb salad. Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a bowl and let the herbs and tomatoes marinate until the cauliflower is cool.
  6. Once cool, add the cauliflower to the bowl with the salad and mix well. The parchment paper works well as you can just lift it off the baking sheet. Taste to see if you need to add any additional lemon juice or salt or pepper.
  7. Chill until ready to serve, garnished with the toasted sliced almonds.

I found this salad kept well and was still good the next day for lunch.

You could turn this into an entire meal by adding some sliced feta or leftover chicken to the salad. It would be an excellent side with lamb chops or kebobs.

Middle Eastern Cauliflower and Herb Salad

I’m taking this to share with fellow bloggers at Fiesta Friday #274, over at Angie’s place (where she is feeling the need for spring cleaning). Please click over to meet other food, garden and craft bloggers. And guess what, I am co-hosting with Antonia @ Zoale.com

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

December – Leftovers in a Toasted Bread Bowl

December – Leftovers in a Toasted Bread Bowl

Do you have a lot of leftovers from this week’s holiday? My contribution to the big dinner was roasted vegetables: carrots, onions, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. This was a large gathering and I made a lot, no one should go home hungry from the big dinner. Most of it was consumed but there are still some leftovers and I have been searching for ways to use them up. Their time had come, it was use or toss or compost day. My usual solution to leftover veggies is to make a stir-fried rice dish, or a soup, or just toss them all into a salad with an interesting salad dressing. But, then in my search, I happened upon this recipe from Nagi at recipetineats for Christmas Leftovers Toasted Bread Bowl. Can you say melty cheese? It’s my personal achilles heal. Leftover turkey (or rotisserie chicken), veggies, any antipasti you happen to have around, and cheese. The mix could be anything and you don’t need to wait for Christmas or Thanksgiving leftovers.

My mouth was watering.

This sandwich is based on a traditional Italian sandwich, Muffuletta, usually made in a round loaf and served cold. It’s a big favorite for picnics because it can be made ahead and the flavors only blend and become more delicious with made ahead. It is quite famous in New Orleans as well where an olive salad is a requirement and they use deli cold cuts.

Serve it hot with crispy bread and melty cheese, or room temperature. Weigh it down and let the flavors melt together for a couple of hours if serving at room temperature. If it is cold, let it warm up a bit before serving.

At Nagi says on her blog post, it’s the perfect food to take on an international flight.

Use whatever you have on hand but start with a good bread with a hearty crust, a sourdough or artisan type would be perfect. I used a ciabatta from a local bakery which I cut in half horizontally, removing most of the crumb in the middle of of the top and bottom, leaving about 1/2 inch of the crust. You want all that extra room for the filling.

I don’t have a real recipe for this, it is really about what you have lurking in your fridge. I can see it with stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, and mozzarella. One of my personal post holiday combinations..

There was a package of prosciutto that never made it onto the antipasto platter, some roasted garlic cloves, and the remainder of a jar of sweet relish I had served with cheese. I even found some deli chicken meat that needed to be used. Everything is a possibility. Add some slices of cheddar and gruyere cheese (also leftovers) and it looked like the beginnings of a feast.

Note: you will need something heavy to weigh down the sandwich. I used a cast iron skillet.

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 2: Slice the bread horizontally and tear out most of the bread from the middle, leave about 1/2 inch inside the crust. Lay the bread on a large sheet of foil on a baking dish.

Step 3: Brush the inside of each half with olive oil.

Step 4: Place a layer of baby spinach, baby kale, arugula, or other greens on the bottom half.

Step 5: Start layering, veggies, meat, antipasto, more deli meat, then top all with cheese.

Step 6: Place the top on the sandwich and brush the whole with more olive oil, wrap in the foil tightly.

Step 7: Place the sandwich in the oven with the weight on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, then remove the weight and the foil and bake for another 10 minutes to crisp the bread.

Step 8: Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then slice and serve. Or, rewrap in the foil for later.

Delicious!

 

 

The season of leftovers is here! Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now New Year. I bet the folks at Fiesta Friday have a lot of them judging from the delicious goings-on in their kitchens. Come visit with Angie at Fiesta Friday #256 and my co-host  Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau

Please add your own link but be sure to read the guidelines if you would like to be considered for the “Post of the Week”.

Happy New Year everyone!