Sunday, March 31, 2013

Curried Chick Peas & Chicken with Kale

Curry Chick Peas & Chicken

At the end of a long weekend the last thing I wanted to do is spend a lot of time cooking on a Sunday night, so I came up with this dish using only a few ingredients- quick and healthy.

Curried Chicken & Chick Peas with Kale
Chick peas, cooked
Chicken thighs, boneless, diced
Kale, washed and chopped
Yellow onion, diced
Garlic, peeled and chopped
Mustard seeds
Olive oil
Cumin, ground
Chili Peppers, optional for more spicy
Curry paste or powder
Water or chicken stock
Kosher salt 

1. Saute the onion, garlic, mustard seeds till soft and light brown.
2. Add chicken, chick peas and spices, cover with liquid, bring to a simmer.
3. After about 30 minutes add the kale and cook till it wilts, check seasoning.

Note: Serve with a dollop of Nonfat Yogurt or Spicy Indian Pickle Vegetables

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A taste of Spring at work

Spring Salmon Salad

This week at work I was inspired by all the Spring produce that's beginning to appear on the market now. I chose to make a salad using salmon because of its mass appeal and health benefits. Also in this recipe I prepared freshly shucked English peas, locally grown asparagus, orange segments and tender butter lettuce. The dressing that tied it all together, was a citrus and tarragon with shallots. The salad was very well received by all the guests, and that makes everyone happy.

5 oz Salmon fillet, boneless, skinless
1 orange cleaned and segmented
5-6 English peas, shucked
3 medium asparagus, cut into bite size pieces 
1/2 head butter lettuce, washed and dried
Kosher Salt/Pepper
1 dash Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Orange Juice
1 tablespoon Lime Juice
1 Pinch fresh Tarragon, chopped
1/2 Shallot, fine chopped

1. Season the salmon with the salt and pepper, Sear in a hot saute pan with a dash of olive oil.
2. Place pan in oven till just cooked through, remove and cool.
3. In lightly salted boiling water place the peas and asparagus in, cook till tender but firm, plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process, drain well*
4. Blend the bottom ingredients to make the dressing, a pinch of sugar can help if too tart.
5. Lightly dress the greens and place in center of plate, top with the Salmon, Orange Segments, Asparagus and Peas, drizzle more dressing over fish.

*Note: This method of cooking is whats known as "Blanching and Shocking"

First of Spring Asparagus from my Garden

Spring asparagus They are here and starting to emerge from the much warmer soil,  I have had a few fat ones coming up now and it looks like its going to be a good crop this year. For my first taste I just gently sautéed them with a dash of butter and olive oil and a shaving of Parmesan cheese, amazingly good.

First of the Season Asparagus

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's getting to feel a lot like Summer

The days are now longer and the sun is feeling warmer, with that comes the warm weather foods I like to make. This past weekend I made a few recipes with foods I bought from my local farmers market in Marin County, California. They included a variety of citrus fruits, fennel bulb and some amazing Gigantes beans. To start, I marinated organic boneless chicken thighs with fresh picked oregano, chopped garlic, Meyer lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. While the chicken absorbed the flavors, I slowly cooked the beans till tender and creamy soft. I then tossed in more extra virgin olive oil and then added olives and grilled red onions. A side salad was made of shaved fennel, parsley, grapefruit and tangerine segments. After the chicken is grilled, it's all arranged on a platter and served room temperature. Easy, with big bold flavors and a good start to the warm weather season.

Shaved Fennel and Citrus Salad

Gigantes Bean, Olive and Grilled Onion Salad

Grilled Marinated Chicken Thighs

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Little Neck Clam Pasta

Little Neck Clams

Simple Clam Pasta

I had the opportunity to buy some beautiful Northwest Little neck clams the other night and I immediately thought of serving them simply in a pasta dish. There are many varieties of clams available but I like these best, they are small and tender with fast opening shells that release their briny liquid into a sauce. The whole cooking process is fast and can be done in the time it takes pasta to cook. The term little neck comes from the name Little Neck Bay in Long Island, New York, many years later the name became used more as a size category regardless of origin. Sadly that bay was closed to harvesting due to a increase in pollution.

Little Neck Clam Pasta

2 pounds fresh little neck clams, cleaned 
1/3 pound Spaghetti or linguine pasta
1 Roma tomato, diced
4 Cloves garlic, diced
3 Strips Smoked Bacon, diced
1 Splash White wine
1 Splash Extra virgin olive oil
A Pinch Chili flakes
Parsley, chopped

1. Scrub and wash the clams well till water runs clean, discard any open or broken shells.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, season with kosher salt, add pasta.
3. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil, add bacon, garlic and chili flakes.
4. After a minute or two add the tomato saute till soft, add the wine and the clams, cover.
5. Cook the clams till they all open, add parsley.
6. Drain the cooked pasta and add to the clams, toss to mix all the ingredients.

Yield = 2-3
Note: Serve with a extra bowl for the shells and crusty bread for the juices.