Friday, February 29, 2008

Chicken (and pork) Posole

A nice easy night that only involved defrosting our leftover posole and preparing all the loverly toppings. I need to figure out what I did to make this concoction, since I married several recipes for posole as well as throwing in some leftover roasted pork from the carnitas we had a few weekends ago.

Posole is a Mexican thick, hearty soup made with pork, or chicken meat and broth, hominy, onion, garlic, chilies, etc. My photo just shows the toppings, but just under the surface lie a ton of goodies...big hominy kernals, tart tomatillos, and chunks of roasted chicken. Comfort food that's filling and easy to make. Freezes very well too.


2 Tbs canola oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 Tbs cumin
a pinch of dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh if you have it
kosher salt and pepper
1 cup beer
1 lb (I used about 14) tomatillos, peeled and coarsely chopped, or coarsely processed in food processor
1 can hominy (original recipe called for 15 oz. can, but I used a 30 oz. can...look for hominy without any weird preservatives.)
~6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2-2 lbs of cooked chicken (roast whole breasts coated with olive oil, s & p at 350 for ~40 min. debone and remove skin after cool, then pull apart with your fingers)
I threw in ~4 oz. of leftover pork just cause I had it.
1 lime, juiced

Optional toppings:
2% Greek yogurt
diced avocado
crumbled cotija cheese (or shredded jack, etc.)

Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add canola oil, then onions, garlic, jalapenos, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper (to taste). Cook 5-6 minutes to soften onions then add beer and cook it off, ~3-4 min?. Stir in tomatillos and cook 5 minutes more, then stir in the hominy, chicken stock, and chicken. Heat through, adjust salt and pepper and simmer the posole 10-15 minutes over low heat. Stir in the lime juice and remove from heat. Garnish soup with cilantro and any other optional toppings.

Not-so-Rustic Onion Tart, Arugula Salad

This delicious savory tart recipe was gleaned from the gorgeous (and highly reliable!) food blog simply recipes.
I had leftover store-bought pie dough in my fridge this time, but I've vowed to make my own the next time I have need for a crust! Not to denigrate the store-bought...quick, easy, and always works. But, I'd like to have more control over what goes into my bod. Better butter than some hydrogenated crap. Usually this looks more least it did the last time I made it. Think I just had too much filling to make a funkier hex-shaped tart this time.
The only changes I made were adding a tad more balsamic vinegar and a little agave nectar in the last 10 minutes of carmelizing the onions. Oh, and maybe more cheeeeese! I also brush the top of the crust with an egg wash before sprinkling the cheese over the top.

I like to serve this with a pile of organic arugula tossed simply with lemon juice, olive oil, s&p, and topped with a poached egg (from Monster's collegue's daughter's chickens :-)), sliced avocado, orange segments, and a few toasted almond slices.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Meatloaf, Mashers, and Kale

There's nothing better on a cold night than a nice big plate of comfort food. And, when it's healthy to boot, it's even more comforting. This moist meatloaf is made with lean turkey, lots of veggies, and uses oatmeal in lieu of breadcrumbs. Served up on a bed of mashers and a side of beautiful organic kale and you can't go wrong.

Herb-and-veggie Meatloaf (adapted from a Cooking Light magazine recipe)

1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup pasta sauce (I used primavera sauce)
2 lbs. lean ground turkey (I used 93/7)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup uncooked regular oats
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (I like to use Herbes de Provence instead)
2 teaspoons kosher salt (use less if using regular table salt as it doesn't measure the same)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Olive oil

Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes. Add carrots, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until onion is tender; cool slightly.

Combine onion mixture, 1/2 cup pasta sauce, turkey, and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Shape mixture into a 10- x 5-inch loaf. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet coated lightly with a little olive oil.

Spread ketchup over loaf and bake at 350° for 55 min-1 hour, or until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers ~160-165°. Cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with additional ketchup, if desired.

Calories 203 (25% from fat); Fat 5.6g (sat 1.5g, mono 1g, poly 0.6g); Protein 26g; Carb 12g; Fiber 3.3g; Chol 82mg; Iron 2.4mg; Sodium 884mg; Calc 83mg.

Makes 8 servings

Mashed Potatoes

I realize you probably don't need a recipe to make mashers, but since tonight's were superb I thought I'd write up what I used. I only used one huge potato and that made plenty for 2 with leftovers for lunch.

1 large russet potato, scrubbed but not peeled, halved and sliced about 3/4" thick
~1/4 cup or more 2% greek yogurt
a pat of butter
chicken broth
salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add sliced, unpeeled potato and some salt. Boil til fork tender, drain and mash with butter, Greek yogurt, and as much chicken broth as you need to get a consistency you like. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Braised Kale with Garlic

I make any number of sturdy greens with this same it kale, collards, swiss chard, it's something we eat at least once or twice a week. Delicious and fast nutrition.

~1-2 TBS olive oil
~3 cloves garlic
2 bunches of kale (collards, swiss chard, etc.), de-ribbed, chopped, washed and dried
chicken broth
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a skillet (that you have a cover for) on high heat. Saute garlic in hot oil for 20-30 seconds, add greens, toss until coated and beginning to wilt. Add the stock when it looks like the garlic may burn. Add s/p, and about 1/3-1/2 cup chicken broth then lightly braise (cover and reduce heat to simmer) for about 10-20 minutes, depending on how done you want the greens. I cooked ours for about 14 minutes tonight. Toss in a splash of balsamic and/or tabasco to taste. I tend to use both.

I've started serving this with a can of black-eyed peas rinsed and drained added at the end and cooked just til warmed through. I serve over Central Market Organics short grain brown rice cooked in their CMO veggie broth in lieu of water. Just make sure you add a little more liquid than usual, since it's a pretty thick broth. I make a Cajun marinated tofu to go with many times, as it makes a great easy meal.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crawfish rice with veggies

Let me just say that I had the most wonderful 37th birthday weekend and day! All of it due to my family driving up to visit, and to my sweetest of monsters (that would be my husband) for taking yesterday off to keep me from cleaning out the fridge on my birthday. :-) We spent a wonderful day out so dinner was a mere afterthought. We were nicely sated with movie popcorn and M&M's, so had we skipped an evening meal altogether it would have been of no real consequence. But, if you have a few veggies to use up in the fridge and a rice cooker, the following meal is a no-brainer. I had a 1 lb. package of cooked and peeled crawfish tails in the freezer that I thought I'd use up and thus was born the following dish. You can make it with any combo of stuff you need to use up in your fridge.

Crawfish Rice with Veggies

Organic short-grain brown rice
Organic veggie broth (Central Market's is gives a really beautiful color to the rice)
1/2 cup dry white wine
~1 Tbs butter

Take your frozen peas and crawfish out of the freezer to thaw on the counter while the rice cooks.

Use whatever amount of rice you'll need to feed your brood. I make the least amount my rice cooker will make, and that provides about 4 servings for the Monster and myself.
Just toss in the rice, wine, and then top with veggie broth to get close to the appropriate liquid level. Now top with water and make sure it's over the usual liquid level by a bit. This will provide a little softer tooth to the rice. The Central Market veggie broth is really heavy on carrots, etc. and the rice seems to need more water to get tender enough. Cook the rice as per your machina's instructions. Now go do your nails, or catch up on the latest Project Runway you have taped. When the rice is done, add butter, a little salt, and set aside. I made the rice earlier in the day and just let it sit on the counter til dinner yesterday.

olive oil
1/2 a large red onion, diced
a pinch of thyme
green onions (I had 2 to use up)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
chopped Italian parsley
Cajun seasoning
1 lb pack of cooked, ready-to-eat crawfish tails, thawed (freezer section at the grocery store)
frozen peas, thawed (as much of the package as you want to toss in)
diced fresh tomato (2?)
black pepper
Tabasco sauce (optional)
organic arugula, or some other baby greens (optional)

I set my lovely new birthday giftie (enameled cast iron pot) on the stove and tossed in a little olive oil. Saute up your red onion, garlic and thyme for a few minutes, then add the red bell pepper, scallion whites, and parsley. Saute til you're happy with it. Sprinkle some Cajun seasoning on your crawfish and add 'em to the mix along with the peas, diced tomato, scallion greens, black pepper. Cook ~1-2 min. then add all your rice. Toss to warm and you're done! Adjust seasoning to your tastes with more Cajun seasoning, pepper, or anything else you'd like to toss in. You could also add some grated cheese if you wanted to be really gnarly. Pepper jack?
I served this on a bed of arugula, but a nice handful of any kind of salad greens would be great.
My serving was doused liberally with Tabasco. :-)

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.
- Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Salmon with Mango Chili Salsa

Tonight we'll be having a great salmon recipe that I got from I'm making it exactly as written, but for the grilling. I bake the salmon on a foil-lined sheet instead. I also took them up on their suggestion of serving with a cumin flavored pilaf and grilled zucchini (used a stove top grill pan for this). I'll try to remember to take pictures before we scarf it up.

Salmon with Mango Chili Salsa:

Servings: Makes 2 servings; can be doubled.

1 10-ounce mango, peeled, pitted, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons minced seeded serrano chili
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil ( I might have forgotten to put this in the salsa :-) . Don't think I put quite as much oil on the salmon as they did either. )
2 6-ounce salmon fillets

Preheat oven to 450. Combine first 7 ingredients in small bowl; mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Season salsa with salt and pepper. Brush salmon with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil, season well with fresh cracked black pepper and kosher salt. Bake on foil lined baking sheet for 12-15 min. dependent on thickness. Serve topped with salsa.

Cumin Pilaf:

Servings: Makes 6 servings.

~1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large bunch scallions, white part thinly sliced (1/4 cup) and enough greens finely chopped to measure 1/3 cup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cups quinoa
2 cups water
salt to taste
pepper to taste
~1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cook quinoa, cumin seeds and white part of scallions in 1 tablespoon oil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until scallions are softened. The quinoa will start to pop, about 3-4 min. Add water and cook as per quinoa box instructions, simmering covered for about 15 min. (I had to pour some water out at the end of you might cut the water by a 1/4 cup). Fluff with a fork and add salt, and pepper, green onions tops, parsley, and a remaining TBS olive oil.

Grilled Zucchini:

I just sliced the zukes into slightly less than a 1/4 inch lengthwise planks. Dabbed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, garlic powder and a tiny little bit of oregano and grilled in my oiled stove-top grill pan until done.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day Dinner

No photos today, since I decided this blog would be a fun thing to try AFTER we'd dissected the heart-shaped plum galette. But, I'll go ahead and list the simple Valentine's day meal we ate nonetheless.

Order of bidness...Marinate the chicken earlier in the day. About 2 hrs before dinner, make the galette then set aside to cool. With oven still at 400, start baking the squash. When done with initial baking, set aside on baking sheet. Pop the chicken in and while that's cooking, prep and grill your veggies. When the chicken comes out and rests, turn on the broiler and finish off your squash. Everything will be done about the same time.

Scottie's favorite Cardamom Roasted Chicken Thighs:

4 cloves garlic, smashed whole cloves
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 TBS honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (I grind the pods in a spice grinder so it’s nice and fresh)
1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and cardamom in a resealable plastic bag. Place chicken thighs (I trim off as much fat as I can first) in the bag, and squeeze to coat. Press out most of the air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Remove the chicken from the marinade, and discard the marinade. Place chicken on a broiling pan or baking sheet (lined with aluminum foil). Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Roast in the oven for ~30-35 minutes, or until chicken is browned and a thermometer registers 180.

Baked acorn squash with butter and brown sugar:

Acorn squash (1 for 2 people, or more as needed)
brown sugar

Pre-heat oven to 400
Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and place cut side down in a casserole with 1/4 " water.
Bake for ~35 min or until soft. Remove from water and place on a foil lined baking sheet, cut side up this time. Sprinkle with salt, add a pat of butter, and sprinkle brown sugar inside and around cut egdes. Broil on high for ~5 min.

Grilled zucchini and red peppers:

2 Zucchinis (for 2 people), sliced lengthwise about 1/8-1/4" thick.
1/2 large red pepper sliced ~1" thick
lightly oil with olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

I cook ours in a stove top grill pan til done with nice grill marks on both sides.

Heart-shaped plum galette (can serve 4)

1 prepared pie crust
almond meal
flour (I used spelt flour)
~4-5 plums, sliced about 1/2 inch or thinner
whipping cream; made with agave nectar, vanilla and a touch of amaretto. (or however you like your whipped cream)

This by no means has to be heart-shaped, but it was perfect for Valentine's Day.
Pre-heat oven to 400.
Unroll the pie dough onto a sheet pan lined with parchment. Mix ~2Tb. almond meal, 2 Tbs. flour, and a 2 Tbs. of sugar together, then sprinkle onto the opened pie dough. I think I only used about 1/2 of this mixture though. Just use as much as you think you need. I sprinkled it on in a heart shape, so I'd know where to lay the plums. Artfully, lay out the sliced plums on the dough leaving about a 1 inch border of dough, then sprinkle with more sugar. I think I went a little light on the sugar...don't get me wrong, it was super yummy anyway, but I think I'd use a little more next time. Fold the 1" border of dough over the plums. I pleated mine. Then pop in the oven for about 40 minutes.