Archives for posts with tag: Gluten Free

Ribs, Paleo Meatloaf, asp veggies 071Every time I make this dish it is always a little different.  The flavor combinations of green chile, creamy white beans, tender chicken and earthy cumin come together perfectly in this light summer chili but my earlier versions of this dish were good but not great and I wanted  to keep tweaking the recipe until it was amazing.    I have finally found the perfect combination of meat, beans, smoky veggies, spicy chile and flavorful cumin with this latest version.

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The first change I made was to use ground chicken instead of diced chicken.  This chili recipe is good with diced grilled chicken thighs  but the cumin permeates the ground chicken and creates a  chili  with an amazing taste.

The next change I made was to brine my beans before cooking.  I  like the flavor and texture of  beans from a can where the beans have a whole structure with a creamy interior and great flavor.  When I cook dried beans to get them as tender as canned beans I would usually have to cook them until they fall apart.

Then I found out about brining  beans before cooking.  I often brine meats before cooking especially if you buy free range chickens or fresh heritage pork.  These meats are not commercially brined and can turn out tough if not cooked  carefully.   Brining  will also distribute flavor through out the meat and help your meat  stay tender.  Same technique evidently works with dried beans as well.   The bean will stay whole and the interior is creamy and perfectly seasoned.

This is a link to an earlier post on brining meats.

 Cider brined chicken and the trans-formative power of salt.

Brining beans is a new technique for me and  is one of those kitchen skills that is useful for making perfectly cooked foods and saves money.  Cooks Illustrated has this great video on the how and whys of brining beans.  I highly suggest you try it next time you cook dried beans.

You are welcome to use canned beans but I just wanted to share this bean cooking revelation so when you do have extra time or want to save money you can cook dried beans perfectly.

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Amazing White Chicken Chili with Grilled Veggies, White Beans and Poblano Chilies

Serves 8-12

2 lbs ground chicken (I use a combination of thigh meat and breast meat)

1 large red onion cut into large circles

3 medium zucchini sliced lengthwise in half

3 bell peppers cut in half (I like to use a combination of red, yellow and orange)

4 poblano chilies or 1 cup fire roasted green chile from a can like Hatch Fire Roasted Green Chile

3 carrots peeled and cut in half lengthwise

2 15oz cans of white beans or 1/2 lb white beans brined and cooked ahead of time

1 24 oz can of Muir Glen fire roasted and crushed tomatoes

2 tbs avocado oil, canola oil or olive oil

1 tbs ground cumin

1 cup chicken broth, stock or water

fresh cilantro, sour cream and jack cheese to garnish

Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Heat the grill to cook the veggies.  While your grill is heating start browning the ground chicken in a dutch oven or heavy bottom pot with 1 tbs avocado oil and season with sea salt the pepper.

If you do not have a grill you can use a grill pan, roast your veggies in a hot oven or buy them grilled at Whole Foods or your local specialty store that has such wonderful luxury items as grilled fresh veggies.

Toss the veggies in  1 tbs avocado oil and season with salt and pepper.  When you grill your veggies for the chile make sure your grill is very hot because you will just be marking the veggies and getting a good smoked flavor in them.  The veggies do not necessarily need to be cooked through on the grill since they will finish cooking in the chile and if you under cook your veggies on the grill they will hold together better in the chile.

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The  poblano chiles should be cooked much longer than the rest of the veggies since you want to get the outside skin blackened over at least 60 percent of the chile.

While your veggies are cooling add broth, beans, cumin, roasted tomato, to the ground chicken.

Dice the zucchini, onions. bell peppers and carrots into a small dice.  Peel the black skin off the poblano chilies and dice into a small dice as well.  Here is a good article on roasting and peeling bell peppers and chilies.  How to peel poblano peppers.

Add diced veggies into your chile and taste for seasoning.

Add salt and pepper as desired.

Let chile simmer for about 10 minutes and serve hot topped with cheese, fresh cilantro or sour cream.

 

Just a quick note on a new pantry item that I cannot do without.  I buy this tasty oil at my local Costco.  Hope you can find it in your local store or buy it at Chosen Foods online.  Avocado oil makes perfect salad dressings and is also great for high heat cooking.  Popcorn turns out sublime when made in avocado oil.  It does not have a strong flavor but adds a nice creamy flavor to foods.

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frittata 4 lemon chicken 099My last blog post was titled “Self Hosting Fun”  and it was not fun at all.

This is why I have not been blogging.  I regret it.  I have blog posts swirling around in my brain all of the time.  I still have not been blogging.

Why?

Fear of failure.  It really is that simple.  I tried to jump over to self hosting with a new template and failed at being able to figure it out.   I have used many different types of templates and have been pretty successful at figuring  out how to work with templates, but not this time.  I have met my match and lost the fight.  The template I chose was not something I could figure out.  I failed.

I have a quote on my fridge that says, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.”  -Winston Churchill

It is on my fridge! I see it everyday but I was not approaching this particular failure with enthusiasm.  Instead I was hiding from it.  My goal with the self hosting and new template was to create a more professional looking blog.  How could I go back to blogging until I succeeded?

My failure was not in being unable to figure out my new blog template but by not continuing to blog while I solved the problem.

I was talking on the phone to my lovely sister Shelley over the holidays and she said, “My mother in law, Doris and I love cooking the recipes from your blog.”

That was it.  That was all I needed to hear.  This is why I write this blog.  It has nothing to do with professionalism or how the blog looks.  It is about getting people to enjoy being in the kitchen and cooking healthy, scratch-made meals for family and friends.

I have not given up on making the change to a more professional looking blog but will continue to post while I approach the transition without fear and with lots of enthusiasm.

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Lemon Chicken Thighs with Thyme and Garlic

Simple and delicious, this entree is easy to make and tastes great.
Gluten Free and low carb as well as Paleo,  I love to make this dish on any night since it is quick and easy.

4-6 servings

10 minutes prep and 20 minutes cooking, but remember to let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes after baking for the lovely juices to redistribute in the chicken for the most tender and moist results.

Start heating your oven to 425 degrees for at least 20 minutes before baking the chicken.

Total time:  40 minutes to delicious chicken.

6-12 Good quality Chicken Thighs with bones and skin.

4 large good-looking lemons, preferably organic as you will be using the whole lemon with skin and all.

1 generous handful of fresh thyme chopped lightly with the woody stems cut off or 1 tbs dried thyme (if I am using dried I like to use the French thyme from Savory Spice Shop)  Remember to save your fresh thyme stems for stock, just put them in a zip lock bag in the freezer for later use.

2 large cloves of fresh garlic minced.

2 tbs good quality unsalted butter softened. 

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

Cracked pepper to taste

Get your oven really hot.  Pre-heat to 425 degrees for at least 20 minutes while you are prepping your ingredients.

Smash together in a small bowl, the garlic, ½ tsp of kosher salt and ½ of your fresh thyme and your softened butter.  Use a fork to get it all mixed together by smashing it with the tines of the fork.  

Slice your lemons into thin circles.  Remove any seeds. 

Lay the chicken out on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.  Give the thighs a little room for the heat to circulate around them and allow for the skin to get crispy.

Lift up the skin of the chicken thighs and insert a small amount of butter mixture and one slice of lemon.  If you are making 6 thighs you will put in more butter mixture than if you are make 12 thighs.  Just use you judgment on how much you should put in.  You can measure out the butter mixture ahead of time so that you can see how much to use on each thigh.  I usually use around ¼ tsp per thigh.

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Season the top of the chicken with the rest of your kosher salt and cracked pepper.  Liberally sprinkle the rest of the thyme over the top of the chicken and bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches around 170 degrees and the skin is crispy and browned.

Let chicken rest for about 10 minutes.

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Great served with roasted Brussels Sprouts or steamed fresh broccoli.

Pad ThaiLast week I cooked for the folks at the Unreasonable Institute again.  You gotta love catering for a group of people where most of them give you a big hug when they see you!   Makes the job so much nicer.

I decided to make Pad Thai.  This is one of my favorite foods.  Quick and easy, Pad Thai is a great week night supper.  This dish may seem complicated with its unique Thai flavors but is actually a pretty simple dish to make.

Since Pad Thai makes use of the veggies you have on-hand and eggs it is a simple and inexpensive dish.  Eggs are a great source of cheap protein.  You can also prep your ingredients up to a day before and assemble and heat the day you serve the dish.  I will make up a bottle of Pad Thai sauce and keep in the fridge for 2 weeks to make salad dressing and other Asian dishes.

To further simplify this dish you can buy a roasted chicken at Whole Foods or one of those yummy cheap ones from Costco and even go so far as to buy the pre-cut veggies in the produce section.  This way you can  cook the noodles, saute your veggies and make sauce.

How to cook rice noodles:

Rice noodles cook differently than wheat noodles.  They are more delicate.

Bring a pot of about 4-5 quarts of water to a boil.  In another pot add your noodles.  Pour hot water over noodles and let sit for about 8 minutes.  You want to under cook your noodles a little bit as the noodles will finish cooking in the sauce when you stir fry your Pad Thai together.

Give your noodles a taste after 5-6 minutes and drain when they are tender but still seem a bit underdone.  Toss with sesame oil, canola oil or olive oil and set aside.  Make sure to toss noodles well in oil as you do not want them to stick together in a huge clump!

Prep what ever veggies you may have on hand.  I shred carrots on a cheese grater with the big holes.  Thinly slice celery, onions, bell pepper, mushrooms or bok choy.  If I add broccoli I will par cook the broccoli ahead of time until just tender crisp and pull apart the broccoli to make small pieces.  Wash your mung bean sprouts, cilantro and fine dice some cucumbers before cooking.  Toppings on Pad Thai give it bright flavors and intriguing crunchy bits like fresh cucumber or chopped peanuts.

I like to use chicken thighs in Pad Thai.  Roast bone-less  skin less  chicken thighs in the oven and dice them in a small dice.  This step can be done up to 1 day ahead of time.  I will usually plan to make a dish with chicken the day before and reserve 4-5 thighs for the Pad Thai the next day.

You can use shrimp, roasted chicken, sautéed and diced cooked chicken breasts or any other protein you enjoy like diced extra firm tofu.   Pad Thai is a great dish to clean out the fridge and just use what you have on hand.

Recipe yields about 3 cups sauce.  Use within two weeks or freeze for later.

1/4 cup Yoshida Sauce or other sweet teriyaki sauce

1/4 cup chunky peanut butter

1/4 cup good tomato paste

2 tbs soy sauce

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

2 tbs fish sauce

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

1/4 cup minced fresh green onions

1/4 cup white sugar

1 tbs good toasted sesame oil

1/4 cup canola oil

1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce (just one chili not the whole can!) This adds a nice smokey and sweet taste to your pad thai sauce.   It is not traditional but very yummy.

Put everything in a blender or food processor and pulse until blended but still a bit chunky.  I will add the cilantro and green onions at the end and just pulse a few times after adding the herbs if I use a food processor.

Pad Thai Recipe

1 box thick rice noodles like Annie Chung brand.

4 eggs lightly scrambled

Veggies diced all the same size if possible up to 4 cups

I will use bell peppers, mushrooms, celery, carrots, onions, chard, cabbage or anything else  you have on hand.

4 cooked chicken thighs diced

2 tbs canola oil

Cook noodles as per directions on box and set aside.  Make sure to toss noodles in 1 tbs oil so they do not stick together.

Sautee veggies in 1 tbs oil in wok or large skillet.  When veggies are tender crisp but not fully cooked add chicken and sauce.  Stir to mix.  Bring to a simmer and add noodles.  Toss to coat and serve.

I like to serve Pad Thai topped with ground peanuts, mung bean sprouts, fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges and diced cucumber.

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Last weekend I catered a lovely little party in Jamestown.  My friend Andy had asked me a couple of months ago to cook for his birthday party.  I knew it was coming up but did not realize that he didn’t have my phone number.  I was in Jamestown the friday before dancing at Town Hall to a great line up of local bands including the Gasoline lollipops.  I went out on the porch to cool off because the place was packed and the music had us all dancing and started talking to Nolan Farmer.  Andy rents a room in Nolan’s’ beautiful house nestled in the mountains above Jamestown.  Nolan asks if I am coming to Andy’s party on Sunday.  SUNDAY!  I told Nolan I better call Andy in the morning because I am supposed cater the party for him.  I called Andy in the morning a we worked out a quick and healthy menu.  Andy is committed to eating healthy and he is doing a great job.

Andy B-day in Jimtown 109Here is the birthday boy telling a joke.

I arrived at Andy and Nolan’s on Sunday and had a great day cooking with Andy and listening to the talented Nolan Farmer playing his guitar and singing some of the wonderful bluegrass songs he has written.  Does it get any better than that?

I made a kale and cabbage slaw with oven dried apples.

Andy B-day in Jimtown 056A light platter of salami and olives with some delicious fresh oranges.

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My whole wheat carrot cake cupcakes were a hit.

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Andy made a fantastic guacamole.

Andy B-day in Jimtown 089I also made some yummy goat cheese and veggie flatbread.

Andy B-day in Jimtown 088The center dish was an oven roasted salmon fillet with marinated baby heirloom tomatoes with garlic and fresh basil.

Andy B-day in Jimtown 040The guests loved the food but I think I had the most fun just watching my friends enjoy food cooked with love.

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Oven Roasted Salmon with Marinated Tomatoes

This dish is simple and delicious

2 lb Fresh Salmon Fillet

1 Pint heirloom Grape Tomatoes or Regular Grape Tomatoes

1 Garlic Clove Sliced Thinly

8-10 Fresh Basil Leaves

1 Lemon Sliced into Rounds

Sea Salt

Cracked Black Pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

8 Hours before cooking marinate Tomatoes slice in half, Garlic and Basil with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Slice the salmon fillet down the center and then slice into the salmon about 1 inch on each side of the center cut so that the salmon will open up.

Rub the salmon with olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Open the top and pile in the tomato mixture.

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Top with slices of lemon and bake until salmon is fully cooked.  About 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Serve hot or cold.  The roasted tomatoes take on a bright and sweet flavor.

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Mothers Day is coming up and this dish would be a hit.

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I have catered hundreds of events.  To have a smooth catered event you need a strong team.  Last summer I catered a small wedding in the mountains.  My great friends Ben Bell, Mike Deel and Dominic Daledia helped with this event.  The catering went smooth and easy.  It was a fun night and did not seem like work but having a party in the kitchen.  If only all of my catered events could go this smoothly.

The big difference with good food and great food comes when the people who are cooking love what they are doing.  That love comes through in the quality and flavor of the food.  This post was started last summer and I was reminded of it when I was looking at one of my favorite books Like Water for Chocolate.  This wonderful story is about the power of love coming through in food.  Read it if you have not gotten the chance yet.

When a group of cooks comes together, who love what they are doing, the food is always amazing.  I could not have done this event without the team that I worked with.

The bride wanted a cupcake tower and Dominic got out his chain saw and went to work creating this lovely platform for the cupcakes.

July 2012 118Mike was manning the grill and he can always grill up a piece of meat to perfection.  I  always trust that putting Mike Deel on the grill will result in perfect food.

July 2012 104Ben Bell is such a perfectionist that the detail work is where I task him.  He once topped some pizzas before going in the oven and I swear it looked like he had used a ruler to space the pepperoni evenly.  I love to watch this guy work.  It is beautiful how he is meticulous and artistic.

July 2012 102It really is all about the team when catering and this group of guys are always a pleasure to work with.

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I was reading a post from one of my favorite blogs, Things my Belly likes this morning and she asked if anyone had a cheese and maple recipe.  I thought about how this post has been languishing in my drafts folder and decided it was time to get it out and dust it off.

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Endive Spears with Goat Cheese and Maple Glazed Pecans

This is the most popular appetizer that I use when catering.  The crisp endive spears and creamy goat cheese topped with a sweet pecan and fig jam just fly off the tray when I serve them.

Endive spears separated and washed.  Let them dry on a towel for at least half an hour upside down to drain the water.

Toast pecan halves tossed in maple syrup until crispy.  This will take 8-10 minutes.   Let them cool completely before removing from the tray.

Mix 1 lb goat cheese with 2 tbs heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer with whisk attachment.

This will make the goat cheese easier to spoon into the endive spears.

Scoop a small amount of goat cheese into the endive spears.  Top with fig jam, one pecan, a sprig of fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper.

You can make your own fig jam or pick up a jar at the market.

Here is a great recipe for fig jam from Kiss my Spatula.

Yesterday was bright and sunny when I woke up.  There was a bit of a chill in the air but overall it was sunny and clear.

I went up to the lodge and got the grill ready.  My mother in law, sister-in-law and nephew were coming up for Sunday brunch.

It was a perfect spring day.  I was even thinking we may set up a table on the deck and eat outside.  Was I wrong.   Weather can change fast in the mountains.

I starting grilling and decided to take some pictures from the deck.

It was warm and sunny.  Next thing I know I spot a white mass out over one of the hills.  It almost looked like smoke.

As the mass began to move and drift toward the lodge I realized the it was bringing a chilly wind.  It began to spread out and when it reached the lodge I realized it was snow.

Snow….in May.  Well I do live in the Rocky Mountains.

So here I am standing on the deck in cut offs and sandals grilling in the snow.  It made me laugh because almost every time I pull out the grill it starts raining.  I should grill more often since we are having a dry spring.

Thankfully I was done grilling and could move in a light the fireplace and relax with my family.

Ok, so back to the food….I was planning on featuring a summer salad.  This is a salad that we make nearly everyday during the summer.

But how can I feature a salad when it is snowing?  Shouldn’t I feature a stew or soup?  Well since the rest of the country is not blanketed in snow I will go ahead with my summer salad.  It kept snowing all night.  Most of the snow melted on impact but we got some great precipitation that was needed.

In the warm spring and summer months my  family enjoys salads nearly every dinner.  Sliced ripe red tomatoes, rich and creamy cheese, and bright fresh herbs is our favorite combination.

This salad is made with tomatoes (Compari vine ripe tomatoes from Costco), fresh mozzarella, balsamic, extra virgin olive oil and fresh thyme.

Fresh Tomato, Mozzarella and Balsamic Salad

The key to getting the best flavor from this salad is to thinly slice the mozzarella which can be done if you freeze it for about half an hour or until slightly firm but not hard.  With the thinner mozzarella you can marinate it with balsamic and olive oil and the flavor will permeate the creamy cheese.

8-12 vine ripe compari tomatoes (I used the tomatoes from our local Costco but the salad is best with fresh tomatoes in season)

1 lb fresh mozzarella ( I used Bel Gioioso brand)

1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar (I used my trusty Kirkland Signature Brand from Costco, yes I know I love Costco..)

1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove minced finely

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (you can also use basil, oregano or mint)

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Slice your mozzarella thinly and marinate with balsamic, olive oil and garlic.  Let marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours in your refrigerator. 

Slice tomatoes and arrange tomatoes, mozzarella with marinade and fresh herbs on a plate.  Drizzle a bit more vinegar and olive oil and top with fresh herbs.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.   Serve as a first course with crusty fresh-baked bread or as a side dish with a nice piece of grilled meat.

Here are a few variations on this salad:

Fresh tomato, feta cheese, mint and kalamata olives

Fresh tomato, feta cheese, oregano and kalamata olives

Fresh tomato, blue cheese and bacon and arugula

Fresh tomato, brie cheese and pancetta

More great tomato salad recipes:

This one from Jamie Oliver. (I just love how he uses tomatoes of different sizes and shapes.)

Or try this one from Martha.

Here is Elsies’ beautiful version of the tomato mozzarella combo.

I enjoy to just sitting and watching my tomato starts and dream that this season will be long enough for us to actually harvest some tomatoes.  Last year our crops froze before they had a chance to ripen.  We are much more prepared this year.  Wish me luck!

If I am not successful I will have the Boulder Farmers Market at my disposal and in late summer the farmers in the area will have a dizzying array of tomatoes to choose from.

Now I will resume my fresh tomato dreams…..

I love grilled food.  Anything really…pizza, meats, fruit, veggies…you name it  I will grill it.

This weekend I was cooking for a church retreat at Cal-Wood.  Columbine Unity Youth Group.  What an absolutely charming group of teenagers.  No less than 8 of these great kids asked me if I needed any help in the kitchen.  They were so eager to lend a hand.  While these teenagers were visiting Cal-Wood half of the group stayed on site to help our forestry manager Angie with some physically taxing outside volunteer work while the other half went to one of our neighbor camps Colorado Mountain Ranch to help with the ongoing clean up from the devastating 4 Mile Canyon Fire.  This was the most destructive forest fire in Colorado history. Colorado Mountain Ranch lost many cabins and much of their land was burned during the fire.  The clean up will go on for years.

The volunteer work done by the kids of Columbine Unity Youth Group was not easy and when they came back to camp they were tired and hungry!

Since the weather was as warm as a summer day I decided to dust off the grill and make some bbq chicken.

I wanted to make sure the menu was both filling and healthy.  I was making my famous baked mac and cheese and wanted to lighten up the rest of the meal.

I used boneless skinless chicken breasts for the bbq and grilled up a bunch of fresh veggies.

For the chicken I made sure to paillard the chicken breasts and marinate them in balsamic vinegar, garlic, sea salt, cracked pepper and canola oil.  This deeply flavors the bland chicken breast and helps to  caramelize the chicken for more flavor during grilling.  I made my own bbq sauce that simmered most of the afternoon on the stove.

I  cut my zucchini lengthwise down the center, toss in some sweet red bell peppers cut down the center in halves and de-seeded and large red onion slices.  I used the same marinade as the chicken and let the veggies marinate for most of the afternoon.  I tossed them on the grill first and then chilled the grilled veggies before cutting.

I blanched broccoli spears separately on the stove and let them chill for at least 1 hour

For the chicken I grilled it until I had good grill marks on the meat and finished it in the oven.  Often when you cook chicken breasts on the grill they dry out before they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.  When I finish the chicken in the oven it helps keep the moisture in and lets the meat cook slowly without drying.

When the teenagers of Columbine Youth Group tucked into this meal there is very little left over.  Nearly everything was devoured from the green salad, veggies, mac and cheese and chicken.

Grilling Tender Chicken Breasts

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breast

1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar (I use Costco Balsamic)

1/4 cup canola oil

1 minced garlic clove

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

Paillard your chicken breasts to flatten them out and make sure the meat is evenly flattened.  This will ensure that the chicken will cook quickly and not dry out.  If you pound the chicken thin you may not even need to use the oven to finish it.

Marinated the chicken in balsamic, canola, sea salt, pepper and minced garlic for at least 1 hour.

While your chicken is marinating prep your veggies for the grill.

Grilled Balsamic Marinated Veggies

4 zucchini cut lengthwise into 2 pieces

4 sweet red bell peppers cut in half and de-seeded

2 sweet red onions cut into third horizontally with the skin removed.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (again I used Costco Balsamic)

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

1 tsp dried thyme (I used my lovely French Thyme from Savory Spice Shop)

Marinate veggies for 15 minutes and cook on the grill until slightly charred.  I usually take the zucchini off a little under done as they finish cooking after removing from the grill.  I like my veggies to have a slight crunch and not be soggy.

Reserve the marinade and pour back over the veggies.  Never do this with meat marinade but you can with clean veggies.

To add another element to the salad I blanched 1 head of broccoli in salty boiling water until al dente.  Chill and add to grilled veggie before adding marinade.

Chill veggie for 1/2 an hour to 45 minutes.  Cut and serve.

Pre-heat the grill and when it is hot place the chicken on the grill.  It will only take about 4-5 minutes for each side of chicken to be cooked.  The balsamic vinegar will help create nice grill marks and caramelization on the chicken adding great flavor.  This step can be omitted if you are using bbq sauce but I feel it makes the chicken much more flavorful.

Coat with BBQ sauce and put back on the grill for 3-4 minutes.

Let chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

The first time I tried milk roasted cauliflower was on my foodie day out with Maddie.   We stopped by Brasserie Ten Ten in Boulder Colorado and snacked on some of the wonderful happy hour items they offer.  One of the dishes was milk roasted cauliflower.  I am hooked.   This is perhaps on of the best ways to prepare cauliflower I have ever tasted.  Since cauliflower is one of my favorite veggies this is saying a lot!

While I was in California recently I made it for my family.  They loved it.  Here is the recipe and I encourage you to try it.  It is super simple and very delicious.  You will not be disappointed.

Milk Roasted Cauliflower with Pancetta, Parmesan, Lemon and Rosemary

1 head fresh cauliflower preferably organic

1 cup whole milk

3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan

1 tbs fresh lemon juice or white wine

1/4 cup thinly sliced pancetta pan-fried crispy

Cracked pepper and sea salt to taste

Cut up the cauliflower in florets. Arrange in a baking dish.  Make sure the dish is not too big so that the milk spreads out too thin.  I used a small rectangle pan.  Pour milk over veggie.

Add lemon juice, herbs and salt and pepper.  Roast at 425 degrees until cauliflower is slightly browned on top.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until veggie is tender but not too soft.

To serve place veggie on a plate and spoon over the milk mixture.  The milk mixture should reduce and become slightly curdy.  This tastes delicious.  Top with parmesan and pancetta.

At Cal-Wood we literally go through hundreds of granola bars each week.  Since I first started at Cal-Wood a year ago I wanted to make the granola bars from scratch.  I started a few recipes last year but they were either too thick or fell apart.  I needed something that would hold together in a back pack but was not hard on the teeth.  My first trial recipes were also time-consuming and I had to keep labor costs down as well as cost of ingredients.  I scrapped the plan when we started getting busy for spring and summer and vowed to come back to it in the new year.

This year I have had success.  I researched different granola bar recipes on the internet and finally came up with one that was both chewy and sturdy.  This is a healthy snack treat that will keep the kids going with energy while out hiking.  My family loves these granola bars as a mid-afternoon snack while home-schooling.

The best part about these granola bars is that they are gluten-free and dairy free.  They taste great and kids on special diets do not feel like they are missing out.

Inspiration from Smitten Kitchen, King Arthur Flour and Ina Garten.

Granola Bars

1  2/3  Cups Whole Oats

1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/3 Cup Oat Flour (process oats in food processor for 2-3 minutes until finely ground)

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

2 Cups Dried Fruit and Nuts (optional)

6 Tablespoons Canola Oil

1/4 Cup Corn Syrup, Maple Syrup or Honey

1 Tablespoon Water

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8 inch baking pan with foil or parchment and coat with non-stick spray.

Stir together dry ingredients in a bowl.

In a separate bowl. wish together oil. liquid sweeteners, vanilla and water.  Add to dry ingredients.

Stir until combined.  Spread mixture into baking pan and press down until firmly molded into pan.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool for 3 hours or overnight before cutting.  Store in the freezer for best results.

Tasty Variations:  Add 1 cup dark chocolate chips and 1 cup coconut shreds to replace fruit and nuts.

Add 1 cups sliced almonds for fruit and nut mixture and substitute corn syrup for all maple syrup.

Add 1 cup dark chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons orange zest.

Add 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds with 1 cup dried cranberries and substitute cinnamon for all spice.

Add dried mango, apricot and pineapple for 2 cups fruit and 1 cup coconut shreds for a tropical bar.

 

 

 

 

 

I will frequently go through a phase where I will make a frittata at least once a week.  I use lovely farm fresh eggs and what ever I have in the fridge.  I never get tired of eating fritattas.  In my house we will eat them for breakfast, lunch with salad or even as a light dinner with salad and crusty fresh-baked bread.

Making fritattas is a wonderful way to clean out all of those little bits of cheese, cooked meats or veg you may have in the fridge.  I have made grilled skirt steak, sharp cheddar and green chile, or ground beef with taco seasonings, salsa and jack cheese combinations.  Kalamta olive, feta, sun-dried tomato and spinach is also a good flavor combination.  You can keep it simple with a classic combination of Ham and Swiss.  You really can’t go wrong.

My favorite is roasted bell peppers, sausage and goat cheese.  When I purchase goat cheese I will often buy Laura Chenel Chevre.  Laura’s goat cheese dairy  is the gold standard of American made French style goat cheese.  The dairy is located in Sonoma California and uses primarily local dairies so you can really taste the terrior of the Napa and Sonoma regions.  Terrior is a delightful French word meaning the flavor of a certain region or land.  We do not have a similar word in English but we should.

In Boulder we are lucky to have a local dairy that produces some excellent goat cheese. I have been purchasing Laura Chenel Chevre for years but lately will frequently purchase Haystack Mountain goat cheese for cheese boards or appetizers.  Haystack makes a goat Camembert that is the best cheese I have ever eaten.  The Queso de Mano is also delightful.  They have a large variety of artisanal goat cheeses.  This is a thriving local business that has grown steadily during the economic downturn and continues to produce excellent cheeses that win awards every year.   I could consume buckets of the Applewood Smoked Chevre.  Seriously….this cheese is light with just a hint of smokiness.  I made a quesadilla with the applewood smoked chevre and roasted green chile.  Very delicious.

Fritatta with Goat Cheese, Roasted Sweet Bell Peppers and Sausage

10 Large Eggs

1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream or Milk (You can use low-fat milk for a lighter taste)

1/2 lb good quality Breakfast Sausage Crumbles (I used Jimmy Dean all natural)

1 Sweet Red, Orange or Yellow Bell Pepper Charred on the grill or gas stove, cleaned of black bits and rough chopped

4 oz Fresh Soft Chevre (Goat Cheese)( I used Laura Chenel fresh soft chevre)

1/4 Tsp Thyme (If you use fresh use 1/2 tsp)( I used some of the lovely French Thyme I bought at Savory Spice Shop.)

1/2 tsp Corn Starch

Sea Salt and Pepper to taste.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray pie pan or cake round with non-stick spray or rub with butter.  Beat together eggs, heavy cream and corn starch.  The corn starch will help the frittata stay light a fluffy during baking.  You can omit the corn starch if you are eating gluten free or low carb.

Cook sausage in a pan and drain off excess fat.

Put sausage, peppers and cheese in the pie pan.  Pour over egg mixture and top with thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until custard is set in the middle.  Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.  Can be served either hot, cold or room temperature.

You can also use the classic italian method with a cast iron pan instead of a pie pan.  Elsie from Simply Recipes has good instructions on how to make a frittata by starting it on the stove top.

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