Spring Asparagus

I'm so happy the season has tuned! Finally we get to see some green again. Summer fruit and veggies will start tasting better and the green of romaine hearts creep closer to the root. I can't wait to sink my teeth into them all!  

But today, it's all about asparagus. 

While it can be enjoyed all year, asparagus can get quite boring if you don't know what to do with it. Luckily for you, you're reading this! (Haha.) 

There are a million ways to serve up these delicious spears, but this one final step in most preparations will set your soul ablaze. Yes, I actually mean it. So instead of talking about it, let's be about this business.

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Gather these goodies:

1 bunch of asparagus spears

1 TBS of olive oil, ghee or other oil

1 tsp of seasoning or salt & pepper

1/2 lemon, to juice later

1 minced garlic clove (optional) 

Directions: 

Trim your asparagus.

To do this take one spear and gently bend until it naturally snaps. This should occur somewhere near the bottom. Following, lay that spear next to the others and cut down the rest to the same size. Boom! You're a professional.

Heat your oil in a medium sauté pan, big enough for your spears to lay flat, to medium high heat. Add your garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes before adding your asparagus. Continue moving your garlic around the pan so it doesn't burn. 

Add asparagus and continue cooking for 6-7 minutes for thicker spears and 4-5 minutes for the thinner ones. You want it with a little bite to it and not limp like a wet noodle. Lower heat and continue cooking for 1 minute.

This next step will make all the difference:

While everything is still in the pan, juice your lemon over the asparagus, stir and serve immediately. And I mean IMMEDIATELY! This is where your skills of timely cooking will come into play.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! 

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Posted on May 20, 2015 .

Summer Relish

Oh my goodness I couldn't wait to share this with you! I was on my way home yesterday thinking about what I wanted to eat. Consulting my taste buds, I settled on something light but still ran the items of my refrigerator through my mind. Okay, so I have a huge watermelon and cantaloupe that I haven't cut yet, a few mangoes, some random leftovers, a bushel of flat leaf parsley and cilantro and two gallons of almond milk.

What am I supposed to do with those? And then it hit me like a Mack truck. I'm going to make a fruit salsa! No, relish! Wait, oh who cares. It sounds right in my mind so I need to get it on a plate ASAP. I swung by Whole Foods, picked up a hefty piece of salmon, two tiny jalapeños and rushed home to create. Get yourself ready to have your life changed forever. Here we go:

Gather these goodies: 

1 1/2 cups diced watermelon

1 1/2 cups diced cantaloupe

1/2 cup diced cucumber  

1-2 diced jalapeños  

1 handful of cilantro, then chop

1 small lime (juice) 

Directions:

The prettier you want this to look on your plate, the more time you need to spend dicing all of your ingredients. Let's scratch "pretty" and use presentable. I've never looked at a jacked up plate of food and said "Oh this looks delicious!" I'm just saying.

Moving on.

Combine everything into a bowl. For less heat, remove all the seeds from your jalapeños before dicing them. Lastly, juice your lime over the combo and carefully mix with a spoon or spatula. You don't want to injure your gorgeous cubes of fruit. Set aside while you prepare your fish. 

I won't go into the instructions on how to sear your salmon, because I've posted about it before. However if you would like to see a new post all about salmon, just let me know! 

Serve with fish only, with brown rice or any other starch of your choosing. Your plate is your playground!

Now sit back and wait for your life to change and all your dreams to come true.

Posted on May 14, 2015 .

Sriracha Spanish Chicken

I love chicken. My son loves chicken. All kinds of preparations: baked, fried, sautéed, roasted, doesn't matter.. We LOVE chicken.

So when I put some thighs and drumsticks out to thaw before I left for work, needless to say, there were many options for what I was going to do with it. I knew that I had a taste for something comforting, mealy and just something that would make you feel GOOD..... 

I planned to look around online and consult my taste buds thoroughly by the end of the day and come home with a decision. Never happened. 

I stood over and at the chicken, tapping my fingers on the edge of the sink. It stared back. Nothing. I opened my spice cabinet and looked in there. Still nothing. I tried leaving the kitchen to reset my brain. Maybe that might work. Nope. Nothing.

Finally, I went and stood directly in front of my commercial shelving that housed all of my dry goods. My eyes roamed from top to bottom, searching, seeking something to inspire me. And then I saw it. One lonely can of Rotel and all my problems went out the front door! Although I didn't know what to name the meal forming in my mind, nor did I know how I would use the can of diced tomatoes & chilies, I just knew it was going to be delicious!

Okay, here it goes!  

Gather these goodies: 

8-10 chicken thighs and/or drumsticks  

1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes

2-3 TBs Sriracha Sauce

2 cups chicken broth  

2 TBs vegan butter

Goya seasoning or any seasoning mix  

salt & pepper

Let's get cooking: 

Directions:

Season chicken with salt, pepper and seasoning mix. Set aside. In a large pan, use olive oil, ghee butter or other oil just as long as it's not too fragrant in a large pan and sear your chicken skin side down. And I mean CRISP those bad boys up!

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After you've seared your pieces, set them aside. I know, I know, they're not completely cooked. We were just taking the step to not only make it juicy when you eat it later by letting the juices redistribute throughout, but it will LOOK delicious on your plate when you're finished cooking.

In the same pan, add the butter which should start bubbling up nicely as it reacts to the remaining bits of favor from the chicken. Use a flat wisk to loosen them if needed. Yum. 

Following, add the Rotel and half of your chicken broth. Reserve the rest for later when your sauce reduces.  Add the Sriracha. Add more if you want it even spicier. Bring to a boil under medium heat and return chicken skin side up to the pan. 

Simmer for 15 minutes uncovered and allow to reduce. At this point you should taste your sauce. Let the flavors hit your tongue and see what it tells you back. Need more salt, less salt? Adjust by adding a pinch of salt or use the remaining broth. 

Cover the pan halfway - to keep the steam from destroying the crispy skin you worked so hard on - and continue on low heat for another 10 minutes. 

Serve... We ate ours with rice. You can make this whole meal in less than 30 minutes as long as you start your sides on time to end with your chicken. I will do a post one day to explain/teach it. Let us know if you're interested! 

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Posted on November 25, 2014 .

Herb de Provence Spicy Chicken

So now I know: Write things down as you create them. Because I swear, every time I make something fantastic and I just KNOW that "I will never forget to make this!" and then later.... I mean like 5 minutes later. I forget. Like, literally 5 minutes. 

Anyway, one random week day I was feeling fancy and decided that as long as the name sounded fancy, the meal would ultimately turn out fancy, right? Not exactly, but this was fairly delicious. You can choose to use the calypso sauce if you want but what's the point of calling it spicy if you're going to chicken out and not use it? Be brave.

Gather these goodies:

8 chicken thighs (skin on/skin off - you choose)

5 garlic cloves, minced

Juice of 2 lemons

1-2 cups Chicken Broth

2-3 TBS (or more) of Calypso Sauce or your favorite hot sauce (optional)

1 TBS Herbs de Provence 

1/4 cup Cilantro to garnish and added flavor

 1TBS Ghee or Vegan Butter

Directions:

Combine lemon juice, calypso sauce, herbs, garlic and pour over chicken thighs in a zip lock bag to marinate for AT LEAST an hour to overnight. 

Remove chicken and season liberally with salt & pepper. KEEP REMAINING MARINADE. In a separate pan, melt butter and sear (brown) chicken skin-side down first. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to do this in batches. Either way, finish it and keep moving to the next step.

Keep your pan on medium to high heat and deglaze with 1 cup of chicken broth. Add remaining marinade and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan and either bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or cook stove top with a lid for 25 on medium.

Now if you're like me, I like the skin on my chicken to be crispy so after baking or stove top, I will broil the contents (skin side up of course) until deliciously crispy. 

The sauce will concentrate after cooking, so use the additional cup of chicken broth, at your discretion, to lighten the depth. Serve with whatever sides you prefer. I hope you enjoy.

Posted on October 1, 2014 and filed under Recipes.

Clean Salsa & Other Secrets

Okay, so this took me a long time to get right and perfect. At times I was making salsa that tasted like shredded onions because I overdid the onions. Other times it was so tart from all the lime AND lemon (what was I thinking?) that my jaws hurt from the stinging in the back of my mouth. And then there was the time that I put so much cilantro that it was looking more like green mash!

The good thing is that while I have a taste for good food, I had a coworker who is quite literally OBSESSED with salsa. I don’t think she can live without it. Seriously. So obviously I used her for all my taste testing and thankfully, with her input, helped me perfect this amazing recipe.

This recipe will yield about 2 of the larger 30oz Mason jars of salsa. Feel free to half or double it to your heart’s desire. Here it goes. Since this is a clean recipe, you’ll need to get everything organic. If you chose not to, that’s fine.

Gather these goodies:

12 Roma tomatoes

½ Large white onion (use whichever you prefer)

1 Bunch of cilantro (however your store packages it)

2 Limes

1 TBS Sea Salt

½ of each: Red, Yellow & Orange Bell Pepper

2 Jalapeños (one seeded, the other whole)

Before you even begin, please take note of the following IMPORTANT step: have chips ready so you can constantly taste your salsa as it develops and takes shape!

I like to make my salsa in stages. I learned this after throwing everything in the food processor only to realize that I couldn't take out something I put too much of in! Boo. Nobody likes that.

Start with your tomatoes first. Cut into large wedges and pulse them in your food processor to desired chunkiness or if you’re like me, blend the mess out of it, because I like it restaurant style. Following, place tomatoes in a sieve and drain over a large bowl. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with a morphed version of salsa soup gazpacho in the end. No thanks.

Meanwhile, work on your other ingredients: cilantro, bell peppers, jalapeño and onion, which I pulse in my food processor all at one time. Don’t forget to wash your hands after handling the jalapenos otherwise you’re in for a fire-filled night but not in a good way. By this time, your tomatoes should be ready so add the rest of your ingredients. Juice your two limes and add salt a little at a time.

Let your salsa rest for about 10 minutes and if needed, drain again because the salt will cause the tomatoes to render additional juices. This should come out as a MILD salsa. If you want it hotter, start by adding the stem of the second jalapeño. If you want it even hotter, well I'll say a prayer for you while you add more....

Refrigerate and enjoy over and over until it’s all gone. Any questions?

Secret Tip: Dying for some guacamole? SUPER EASY. Mash up two avocados and spoon in some of your delicious salsa and a dash of ground cumin to taste. You can thank me later.

Posted on July 26, 2014 and filed under Recipes.