Real California Milk Charcuterie Board

Say cheese! I am a BIG fan of Real California Cheese! As a Californian, I am proud to partner with Real California Milk to promote local cheese artisans who have perfected the art of cheesemaking.

I eat cheese in everything from salads, to sandwiches, and tacos because it’s not only delicious, but it is also a nutritionally rich way to add calcium, protein, and minerals that help support strong bones and a healthy body. One of my favorite cheesy meals is actually the most simple: a charcuterie board! I built this charcuterie board with three amazing Californian cheeses: a dry jack, a blue cheese, and a triple creme cow’s milk cheese.

With any charcuterie board, I recommend selecting your favorite Real California Cheese first - check for the Real California Milk label! Then I recommend heading to the deli for charcuterie with a mix of textures, such as cured ham, pate, or salami. After, take a stroll down the produce aisle and select what’s in season! Finally, finish off your board with condiments like pickles, jam, and honey.

This week, Black Mission figs, raspberries, and strawberries were off the charts delicious, so I had to add them to my board. Boy did they pair well with the cheeses!

Visit the Real California Milk website’s Product Locator to find out where you can by artisanal cheeses made in California! 

Real California Milk Charcuterie Board

[Sponsored]

Time: 10 Minutes
Serves 2-4

Ingredients

Real California Cheeses
2 oz Real California Milk dry Monterey Jack cheese, cut into small slices
2 oz Real California Milk blue cheese, crumbled
2 oz Real California Milk triple creme cow’s milk cheese, sliced into wedges

Charcuterie
2 oz Italian prosciutto, sliced thin
2 oz milano salami, sliced thin
2 oz duck liver mousse

Fruit and More
4 fresh Black Mission figs, sliced in half
4 large strawberries, sliced
1 small handful raspberries
2 tbsp blackberry jam
4 caperberries
Small baguette, sliced

For Garnish
Fresh sage leaves
Fresh rosemary
1 tsp honey

Directions
Arrange cheeses, charcuterie, fruit, jam, caperberries, and baguette slices on a cheese board. Garnish with fresh herbs. Spoon honey over fruit and cheese, if desired. 

Mix and match fruit, cheese, and charcuterie with baguette slices. Enjoy!


If you loved this recipe, you will love my recipes for  Easy Chicken and Blue Cheese Salad, The Real Deal Greek Salad, and Beet Rueben Sandwich!

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Low-Carb Loaded Cauliflower Soup

When you think about summer meals, I bet you don’t always include soup on your menu. Soup can actually be the perfect meal for when there are cooling patterns in the temperature that leave us hungry for a warm and comforting meal. This is what the week of 4th of July looks like here in the San Francisco Bay area.  

I love cauliflower soup because cauliflower paired with bacon is the perfect blend of comforting and fresh. They’re a dynamic duo that’ll leave you wanting more, but also feeling good about yourself - and your waistband!

I am a huge advocate for the ‘all foods fit’ mentality towards eating, but as a Registered Dietitian, some clients, especially those with glucose intolerance, need to watch their glycemic index closely. Many studies show that low-carb diets can be beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes, particularly those suffering from blood sugar dysregulation and insulin resistance.    

Incorporating low carb/high healthy fat meals into your diet can also greatly increase satisfaction.  Where some people go wrong with high fat diets is that they forget to include nutrient dense foods like vegetables. Cauliflower is the perfect way to add some extra nutrients without sacrificing flavor.  

Cauliflower is also a great vegetable because it is high in fiber, antioxidants, and choline. Choline is mostly made in the liver, but many Americans lack the extra choline needed from diet to help healthy brain development, muscle movement, and liver function.  

Throw this together for your next summer dinner, and you won’t be disappointed. If you’re not ‘low carbing’ it up, try pairing with a side of crusty bread.  The best is day old sourdough. YUM! 

Low Carb Loaded Cauliflower Soup

Time: 40 Minutes
Serves 4


Ingredients

10 slices thick-cut bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp butter
2 large heads cauliflower, cored, cut into ½-inch florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 small bunch chives, roughly chopped


 
Directions

In a large unheated skillet, lay out half of the bacon slices without overcrowding too much. Cook bacon slowly over medium-low heat, flipping the bacon occasionally to allow browning on all sides. Pan-fry until crispy, about 8-12 minutes, and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining bacon. Allow to cool, and then chop into ¼-inch pieces.
 
In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir butter until melted. Add cauliflower florets and pour over broth. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Allow soup to cool slightly and then add whipping cream.
 
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to reach your desired consistency, from very smooth to slightly chunky. Stir in ¾ of the bacon pieces and 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese. Adjust seasonings to taste.
 
Garnish soup with remaining bacon, cheese, and top with chives. Serve immediately!
 


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Kickin' Slow Cooker Carnitas

Slow cooking might sound intimidating, but it’s actually an easy and foolproof way to pull of a delicious meal with little effort!

For instance, if you braise carnitas over the stove, you’ll be tending to your Dutch oven for at least 3 to 4 hours. With a slow cooker, you simply just throw in your ingredients, close the lid, and let those ingredients become flavorful on their own, freeing you up to do whatever you want. By the time it’s done, your house will be smellin’ like your favorite Mexican restaurant. 

Slow cooking is seriously one of the easiest ways to add flavor that will taste as if you’ve been cooking for hours!  

Fun fact: Choosing to use pasture-raised pork can help to incorporate healthy levels of monounsaturated and saturated fats. Healthy fats are said to help sustain your energy better than sugars and carbohydrates.       

To make this carnitas recipe paleo friendly, try pairing with a coconut or almond flour tortilla. Or, if you’re just looking for a low carb and crunchy alternative, try serving with romaine lettuce cups!

 

Kickin’ Slow Cooker Carnitas


 Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 8
Serves 6-8


 
Ingredients

1 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 radishes, thinly spiced
2 medium jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
½ tsp black peppercorns
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1-2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, finely chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 (3-pound) boneless pork shoulder
 
To Serve
12-16 corn tortillas
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges
Pepper Jack cheese


 
Directions

Combine water, sugar, and 1 ½ tsp kosher salt to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add red onion, radishes, jalapenos, and black peppercorns. Cover with apple cider vinegar and allow the pickled onion mixture to sit in the refrigerator overnight.
 
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 2 tsp salt. Rub the pork shoulder with the spice mix.
 
Add the onion, chicken broth, chipotle chili, lime juice, and bay leaves to a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir to combine. Set the pork shoulder on top of the onion mixture, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.
 
Add the pork to a large bowl or plate and shred. Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt if desired. Set aside.
 
Reserve ½ cup of broth from the slow cooker. Freeze remaining broth for a later use.
 
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Transfer the pork to a rimmed baking sheet and broil for 8 minutes, until lightly crisped. Pour over ¼ cup of the reserved broth and cook for another 5 minutes, until the meat is crispy. Pour over remaining broth and remove from heat.
 
Serve carnitas over corn tortillas. Top with avocado, pickled onion mixture, cilantro, cheese. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
 


If you loved this recipe, you will love my recipes for Chicken Mole Verde Tacos, Fish Tacos with Chipotle Crema and Cilantro Lime Rice, and Chicken Tikka Masala Enchiladas!

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Braised Chicken with Artichokes and Fava Beans

I’m convinced that when you cook with homemade and homegrown ingredients, your meals turn out even more satisfying and unique! Case in point: making this braised chicken dish with garden-grown fava beans! 

This last December, Adrian and I reserved a huge patch of our garden for favas, also referred to as a “broad bean.” We usually like to mix up the areas we plant in order to diversity our garden, but this year we decided to see what would happen if our favas had their own designated area. 

Let me tell you, our fava field did not disappoint when it matured in April! We harvested at least a few pounds, which we definitely couldn’t eat all in one sitting. So we preserved them instead.

How did we preserve our fava beans? The first thing we did was blanch them. Blanching beans preserves their vivacious color and smooth texture and allows them to retain up to 1300% more vitamin C than they would unblanched. After letting the favas cool, we vacuum sealed them and put them in the freezer. 

When I need them for recipes like this, all I have to do is take out my desired quantity of beans, thaw, peel, and throw them into whatever I’m cooking! Easy peasy.

Fava beans have the power to add a fun texture to any dish, especially when paired with chicken and artichokes. Fava beans also contain a high concentration of potassium, magnesium and zinc. 

In this dish, paring favas with artichokes is neat because they are said to help detoxify the body and aid with digestion discomfort. When put together, artichokes and chicken are a match made in heaven. Combining all of these ingredients and adding wine really allows for the flavors to be fused together and lends a very Mediterranean flavor to the dish!

This meal is perfect for a warm summer night. With it’s Italian influence, it’ll send you to sunset in Tuscany. Pair with a dry Sauvignon Blanc and voila, dinner is served. It’s even great as leftovers the next day!   

Braised Chicken with Artichokes and Fava Beans

Adapted from Bon Appétit Test Kitchen 

Time: 1 Hour
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 cup fresh fava beans (from about 1 pound pods)
Kosher salt
2 lemons, halved
3 pounds baby artichokes (about 16)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 3 1/2 pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces
8 shallots, peeled, halved
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Directions
Cook fava beans in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a colander set in a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain, remove skins, and place beans in a small bowl. 

Squeeze lemons into a large bowl of cold water. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, remove tough dark outer leaves. Using a serrated knife, cut off 1" from top, then trim stem, leaving at least 1/2" intact. Using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove dark outer layer from stem. Cut artichoke in half lengthwise, scoop out choke with a spoon, and discard. Transfer artichoke to lemon water to prevent it from turning brown.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Drain artichokes and pat dry. Add to pan; season with kosher salt and pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, until brown and crisp in places, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet. Wipe out pot.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with kosher salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook chicken, skin side down, until brown and crisp, 6–8 minutes (do not turn). Transfer to baking sheet with artichokes.

Reduce heat to medium, add shallots to pot and more oil if needed, and cook, stirring often, until golden brown and beginning to soften, 8–10 minutes. Add wine, vinegar, and broth, and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot; cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add artichokes and chicken, skin side up. Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes. Mix in fava beans.

Serve chicken and vegetables topped with chives and parsley and seasoned with sea salt and pepper.


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Zuchetti alla Puttanesca

If you’re ever craving pasta, but trying to watch your waistline, I have the recipe for you!

This Zucchetti alla Puttanesca recipe, a.k.a. Puttanesca with Zucchini Noodles is a low-calorie pasta option! 20 oz of zucchini noodles will only set you back 30 nutritious calories per serving versus 400 calories in 1 lb of spaghetti. 

Are you still following?! That is an insane calorie difference.

Luckily, this spicy puttanesca sauce pairs extremely well with the zoodles. Adding some oil, olives, anchovies, and parmesan cheese bumps up the calories to 400 per serving, which is perfect amount for many of us to stay satisfied!

What’s even more exciting is that I produced my first cooking video! Check out the step-by-step process for Zuchetti alla Puttanesca at my new IGTV channel! Note: the video is best watched on a mobile device!

Zucchetti alla Puttanesca

Inspired by Epicurious
 
Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4
 
Ingredients
1 ¼ lb zucchini (about 5 medium) or ¼ lb store-bought zucchini noodles
5 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes in puree with basil
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved, pitted
2 tbsp anchovy fillets in oil, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped, divided
1.25 cups parmesan cheese, grated, divided
 
Directions
Using a spiralizer, cut Zucchini into thick spiral noodles.
 
Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, olives, anchovies, and capers. Break up tomatoes up with a spoon and simmer for 15 minutes, until thickened.
 
Meanwhile, in a separate large skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and cook until Zucchini is soft, but still al dente, about 2-3 minutes. Drain excess water.
 
Transfer Zucchini to the puttanesca sauce and simmer until combined, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in 2 tbsp parsley and 1 cup parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on plates and garnish with additional parmesan cheese and parsley.


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Rockfish with Orange, Fennel and Cannellini Beans

Get ready for the perfect light summer dinner that tastes great and will make you feel amazing! Fish in general is a perfect choice for a light and flavorful dinner. There are so many different ways to cook rockfish, but broiling your fish is an almost effortless and easy way to get the job done...yet still be full of flavor.  

Rockfish has a mild flavor with a flaky medium-firm texture. Not only is the fish on the sweeter side, but the fillets are packed with iron and vitamin B-12. Rockfish also provides a decent amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which our bodies cannot produce on their own. Did you know that omega-3s are thought to contribute to brain function and may reduce the levels of harmful inflammation in your body? That’s why the American Heart Association recommends eating two 3.5 oz servings of fatty fish each week!

Rockfish and oranges compliment each other quite nicely as the the fish already adds its own subtle sweetness. Cara Cara oranges and their unique red-tint bring a vibrant color pop to this dish. They also add an extra Vitamin C and A boost. Absorbing all of the flavor, the sliced fennel brings the ingredients together and the thyme intensifies these flavors even more.  

While you may have not tried Rockfish before, it is delicious! Give it a whirl and prepare to be dazzled.  


Rockfish with Oranges, Fennel, and Cannellini Beans

Time: 45 Minutes
Serves 4
 
Ingredients
Extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped + additional thyme leaves to garnish
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup mirin

2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¾ cup chicken broth
1 medium cara cara orange: ½ thinly sliced, juice and zest of ½ orange
1 cup fennel bulb, thinly sliced, divided
4 (6 oz) rockfish fillets
1 medium navel orange, thinly sliced
1 large fennel frond (optional)

Directions
Set an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat broiler.
 
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add red onion and stir until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add mirin and continue stirring until reduced, about 3-4 minutes. Add the cannellini beans, garlic, and chicken stock and stir until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add the cara cara orange zest, half the sliced fennel, and cook over medium-high heat until the fennel is soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.
 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly coat fish on all sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, add half of the fennel and 2 tsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine. Top the fish with the remaining sliced fennel, cara cara and navel orange slices, and a large fennel frond. Squeeze cara cara orange juice over the fish and vegetables.
 
Broil the fish for about 10-12 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145F. Remove from heat.
 
Serve the beans on plates and top with the rock fish and orange slices. Garnish with thyme leaves if desired.


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Not-So-Basic Sweet Potato Hash

I’m excited to collaborate with Alite Designs' Outside 101 on recipes that are perfect for this summer’s camping season.

To showcase one of the many ways I like to make my camp breakfast anything less than basic, but easy at the same time, I brought my ‘Not-So-Basic Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash’ to life. If there’s one thing I can tell people about eating a well-balanced breakfast, it’s to make it easy, but more importantly enjoyable! You won’t be enticed to eat something if it feels like a chore.

 Can you tell that my #1 tip for spicing up breakfast is to be bold and to add color?

I consistently have more of a savory palate, but every now and then I crave something sweet. This is my “sweet” take on the classic breakfast potato hash. It features spicy Indonesian flavors and is a unique and delicious way to start your day.  

When cooking at camp, I love adding some cultural flare, just as I do in my kitchen. So I found some Indonesian inspiration by using sambal bajak. Sambal bajak is basically an Indonesian condiment. It’s made with chilies and salt and is accompanied by spices like palm sugar, lemongrass and tamarind, then blended together in hot oil.  Can you say YUM?!

If sambal bajak isn’t available to you, you can also use sambal oelek or sriracha. Basically any fiery chili sauce will do, but sambal bajak does round out the hash's flavors the most! Hint: You can easily find the spice paste on Amazon.

Another way to make camp breakfast easier is to do your homework! We all learned growing up that coming to class prepared sets you up for success, right? This can absolutely be applied to your camp cooking as well.

Buying your veggies pre-cut saves so much time and takes the prep right out of the equation. Sometimes buying pre-cut veggies can be expensive, so another alternative is to chop and slice them before your trip and then pack them in your cooler, ready-to-go.  You’ll for sure be set up for success in your camp kitchen!

The variety of veggies in this dish are packed with vitamins and minerals that taste good and are even better for you! This is why sweet potatoes and kale are two of my favorite ‘superfoods.

Sweet potatoes, one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, are filled with antioxidants that promote anti-inflammation while kale is filled with vitamin B, which is key for brain development.  The sausage and eggs add the protein as well as a healthy fat boost, which will keep you full and energized.

Long story short, these ingredients compliment each other so well and will make a colorful and hearty meal that is guaranteed to leave you satisfied.

Pro tip: don’t overcrowd the pan when cooking, or the potatoes and sausage won’t brown evenly.  Either use a large skillet or pan to cook them in a separate batches!

Not-So-Basic Sweet Potato Hash

In Collaboration with an Alite Designs recipe for Sweet Potato Hash

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
Extra virgin olive oil
1 chicken apple sausage link, cut into ¼ inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, sliced
1 small jalapeno pepper, diced
1 small green bell pepper, cut into ½-inch dice
1 small red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch dice
1 cup kale leaves, ribs removed, chopped
1 tbsp chopped thyme
1 tbsp sambal bajak or oelek
1 tbsp paprika
4 eggs

Directions
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add potatoes and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in an extra large skillet over medium heat.

Add sausage and sweet potatoes in an even layer, and cook on one side until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

Season with ½ tsp kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook in batches, adding additional olive oil, to avoid overcrowding if necessary.

Stir in garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add shallots, jalapeños, bell peppers, kale, and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and sausage are browned on all sides, about 10 more minutes.

Season hash with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in sambal bajak and paprika and cook for about 2 minutes, until well combined. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large frying pan and heat oil over medium-low heat. Crack about 4 eggs into the pan at a time, spooning oil over the whites. Fry until the whites are firm, but the yolks are still runny.

Serve hash on plates and garnish with a fried egg!

Enjoy your ‘Not-So-Basic Breakfast Hash’ :)


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Chicken Mole Verde Tacos

Green mole, a.k.a salsa verde, is a quick and easy mole that is light, yet flavorful. Similar to other moles, such as roja and negro, mole verde has a diverse amount of ingredients ranging from several dried spices and aromatics, to tomatillos, epazote, and fresh chilies. 

Depending on the traditional recipe, the list of ingredients varies. One of those varying ingredients is one that I am very excited to share with you today: hoja santa! 

Hoja santa is a Mexican herb that looks like a large leafy green with a taste similar to root beer. Funky, but it’s able to add amazing and certainly unique flavor to anything. 
    
I found out about hoja santa watching the Travel Channel years ago. It was featured in a Brazilian stew and sounded super exotic. I saved several recipes that utilized the herb, but never got around to trying one because I couldn't find hoja santa in any Mexican or South American markets in the Bay Area.

Funny enough, I remember reading message boards at Chowhound about this problem and found out that hoja santa grows on the side of the Interstate 280 between San Francisco and San Jose.

You can trust me that the freeway is not where I grabbed these greens! Looking for seeds on Amazon, I instead found a live plant. So I ordered it, planted it, and it is now thriving in my own garden! 

I am proud to say that I can make mole verde with hoja santa, epazote, chiles, tomatillos, and corn (turned into masa) from my garden! 

If you live in California or the Southwest, why not grow your own Mexican and South American ingredients that you can't find in store??

So what are you waiting for? Get this stuff growing in your garden if you can (otherwise use the dried leaves), and check out the recipe below for Chicken Mole Verde with Homemade Corn Tortillas. It's scrumptious and will cure any craving for authentic Mexican or South American food!
 
P.S. These corn tortillas were made with corn that was grown in my own garden :) 

Chicken Mole Verde Tacos


Adapted from Epicurious and Saveur

Time: 45 Minutes
Serves 6 

Ingredients

Chicken
1 (3–4-lb.) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro stems
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf

Mole
8 whole cloves or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 jalapeño chiles, tops removed
6 large tomatillos, husks removed
1 small onion, cut into chunks
4 sprigs fresh thyme
5 garlic cloves
1 cup (8 ounces) masa, either fresh or reconstituted by mixing 6 tablespoons masa harina to a smooth paste with 1 cup of water
1 medium bunch Italian parsley
8 (6-inch) sprigs fresh epazote or 1/4 cup dried, crumbled
3 large or 5 medium-size fresh hoja santa leaves or 6 dried leaves
2 cups cooked Great Northern or other white beans
1/2 handful cilantro, roughly chopped, to garnish
1 red jalapeno, finely sliced, to garnish
Mexican crema, to garnish

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Directions
Place chicken, cilantro, salt, peppercorns, garlic, onion, bay leaf, and 12 cups water in a 6-qt. saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken from saucepan and strain liquid through a fine strainer; reserve 6 cups and save remaining liquid for another use. Set chicken and liquid aside.

Meanwhile, grind the cloves and cumin together in an electric coffee or spice grinder, or with a mortar and pestle. Place the ground spices in a blender with the jalapenos, tomatillos, onion, thyme, garlic, and 1/2 cup of the strained stock. Process until smoothly puréed, about 2 minutes on high.

Return the remaining strained stock to the pan; bring back to a boil, and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Add the puréed mixture to the hot stock and cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes.

Thin the masa by mixing with 1 cup water. Whisk the thinned masa into the stock mixture; whisking constantly, let the sauce return to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. If lumps form, pass the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve (pushing with a spoon to force through the lumpy bits) and return to the heat. The mixture should thicken to the consistency of whipping cream; if necessary, increase the heat slightly to reduce and thicken it.

Place the parsley, epazote, and hoja santa in a blender or food processor. If using a blender, add a few tablespoons water to facilitate blending. Process to a smooth purée. Add the cooked beans to the masa-thickened sauce and let return to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pot along with the puréed herbs. Taste and add more salt if desired. Cook until just heated through, 4 to 5 minutes.  Serve pieces of chicken over tortillas and drizzle over mole. Garnish with cilantro, red jalapeños, and Mexican crema.


If you love this recipe, you will love my recipes for Chipotle-Spiced Bean TacosHealth(ier) Chicken Enchiladas, and Mushroom Tacos with Fried Eggs!  

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Roasted Chicken with Apples and Leeks

Are you ready for one of the easiest, but still healthy recipes ever? Look no further than the recipe below, adapted from Real Simple!

Adrian and I have been making this recipe for years. It's best for a weeknight when you're too pooped to prep a lot of ingredients or wash a lot of dishes. We keep it in the back of our minds when we're on our way home from work and realize our refrigerator is lacking in the dinner department!

Luckily it isn't too hard to find the ingredients at the store. With 10 minutes of shopping, 10 minutes of prep, and a short wait while the oven does all the cooking, you will have yourself one very satisfying, gourmet meal!

Roasted Chicken with Apples and Leeks

Adapted from Real Simple

Time: 50 Minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 small crisp apples (such as Empire or Braeburn), quartered
2 leeks (white and light green parts), halved crosswise and lengthwise
6 small sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 small chicken thighs, about 2.5 lbs

Directions
Heat oven to 400° F. In a large roasting pan, toss the apples, leeks, rosemary, olive oil, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste and nestle, skin-side up, among the vegetables.

Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the apples and leeks are tender, about 40 to 45 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
 


If you enjoyed this recipe, you will love my recipes for Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with OrzoOne Pot German-Style Chicken, and Moroccan Chicken Tagine

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Cheesy Chickpea Pasta with Spring Greens, Tomatoes, and Olives

What's better than making pasta with your own olive oil and home cured olives? Not much! Except maybe making pasta with garden grown spring greens and red pepper flakes. In another year or two, our caper plant might even produce fruit, which will make this recipe homemade times a million!

Last Christmas, my family and I went out olive picking near my sister's house in an abandoned orchard along Folsom, CA's Pioneer Express Trail. Between the six of us who foraged for these Mission olives, we picked at least 40 pounds, and didn't even make a dent in any of the lush trees! My husband Adrian and I took half of the bounty, determined to cure olives successfully for the first time and make our own oil.

After week of some intense labor where we pitted olives by hand for days, Adrian fashioned his own olive oil press, and we processed every last olive we picked! By the end of January, we had a few jars of the yummiest olives and olive oil, although a little less oil than we hoped. Next year we'll just buy a press!

The whole process was quite a labor of love, but we are so proud to be able to use our olives and oil in our home cooking. 

My pasta recipe below was the perfect medium for our homemade/homegrown ingredients. I used Banza's chickpea rotini pasta, which is gluten-free, and was actually very impressed how well their pasta mimics wheat pasta! The chickpeas add tons of additional protein and fiber and have less net carbohydrates than traditional pasta. [Full disclosure: Banza sent me free product to sample]. An addition of spring greens from my garden (kale rabe, kale greens, and watercress) made this pasta not only extremely yummy, but pretty darn healthy!

Whether or not you're making this recipe with your own home-cured olives, you will certainly enjoy it! The flavors are on point and the pasta is so very comforting.

Cheesy Chickpea Pasta with Spring Greens, Tomatoes, and Olives

Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz Banza Chickpea Rotini
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
2 oz canned anchovies in olive oil
½ cup mission olives, halved, or Kalamata olives
3 tbsp capers
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
8 oz mixed spring greens, such as kale, rapini, watercress
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated, divided

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add rotini and cook until al dente, about 6-7 minutes. Drain and return the rotini to the pot. 

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, anchovies with oil, olives, capers, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Simmer the sauce for four minutes, crushing the tomatoes with a spoon. Slowly add spring greens to the sauce and stir until all of the greens have wilted. 

Transfer pasta to the skillet and gently toss with ¾ cup parmesan cheese. Reduce heat to low and stir until pasta and cheese are well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.

Serve pasta in bowls and garnish with remaining parmesan cheese.


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