Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chicken Cutlets with Lemon Garlic Sauce

This past weekend was Pickle Fest 2014.  Again my mother and I went to the Beaverton Farmer's Market to gather all of the pickles, dill, and red peppers we needed.  This year we even came across white pickles, I haven't ever seen or heard of them but they were perfect size for pickling so we bought several pounds.  This year we ended up only pickling 25lbs because we have so many left over from last year, so hopefully we don't run out!  After a long, boring, taxing, and uneventful Tuesday I decided I needed to go to the gym and then go home and cook a lovely meal.  No matter how lame of a day I have when I go home and cook and create a delicious and healthy meal it always turns it around.  Creating a meal isn't only an accomplishment, it is immediately satisfying, and a way to express love to your significant other.  I adapted this recipe for the chicken, as for the wilted 4 cups of spinach and 1 cup tomatoes in 1 1/2 Tbsp. pesto...well just do exactly how it sounds and add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.

Serves 2

The Ingredients
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup arrowroot powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 egg
1/3 cup almond flour
1 tsp. paprika (or Creole seasoning)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 Tbsp. bacon fat (or olive oil)

1/4 cup broth or stock
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed
Italian parsley to garnish

The Process
1) Pound the chicken breasts to about 1/2 in. thick using a meat mallet.  Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt and fresh cracked pepper. Set aside.

2) Get out 3 shallow bowls and line them up next to the stove. In the one furthest from the stove, mix the arrowroot powder with the garlic and onion powder. In the middle bowl, lightly whisk the egg. In the bowl closest to the stove, mix the almond flower with the paprika, thyme, and salt.

3) In a bowl or measuring cup, mix the broth with the lemon juice and garlic cloves. Set aside until the chicken is cooked.

4) Melt 2 Tbsp. bacon fat over medium-high heat in a large non-stick pan. Lightly dredge the chicken in the arrowroot mixture, shaking off any excess. Dip it in the egg, then dredge it in the almond flour mixture, again shaking off any excess, and lay it carefully in the hot pan. Do the same with the other chicken piece.

5) Cook chicken for about 5 minutes each side until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through. If the pan is dry when you flip the chicken, add the additional bacon fat. Once cooked, remove to a plate.

6) Quickly add the sauce ingredients to the pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom. When the sauce has reduced a little, this takes about 30 seconds, pour it over the chicken, sprinkle on the Italian parsley, and serve.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Spaghetti & Meatball Soup

I have been on a soup making kick!  Soups are by far my favorite thing to make because they take time, effort, and lots of love.  Yesterday I went to a conference put on by the Greater Portland Postal Customer Council and the USPS and it was pretty darn interesting, a whole world away from my librarian roots.  I was surprised at how formal everyone was and there were long gaps of nothing to do.  This surprised me because in the conference planning that I've done we always run out of time.  I'm excited to relax this weekend and go out on date night tonight with my man.  We are going to the awesome St. Johns Theater to see Sin City 2, drink beer and eat pizza, all of which sounds easy and fun to me.  I adapted this recipe and found this soup to be delightful.

Serves 6

The Ingredients
1 lbs ground beef
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons almond flour
1 ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 medium carrots, grated (I used a box grater)
1 small zucchini, grated (I used a box grater)
½ medium onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper
32 oz chicken broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
24 oz jar of marinara sauce
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup uncooked broken wheat spaghetti pieces (1 inch sticks)
1 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

The Process
1.  In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, garlic powder, tablespoon of grated Parmesan, almond flour, ¾ teaspoon of the Italian seasoning, and egg. Using your hands (or a spoon), mush all the ingredients together until well combined. Roll meat mixture into 30 separate (3/4” – 1”) mini meatballs.

2.  In a large stock pot bring 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the oil and cook them, stirring occasionally until all sides are browned. Remove meatballs to a dish and set aside.

3.  Add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the pot and continue to heat to medium. Add the carrots, zucchini, onion and garlic and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened.

4.  Add the meatballs, chicken broth, marinara sauce, red pepper flakes, balsamic vinegar
 and remaining ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning to the pot with the vegetables. Stir together and cover. Bring the mixture to a boil, uncover and lower the heat to a simmer. Add the spaghetti pieces and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the pasta and the meatballs are cooked through. Add the Parmesan cheese in the last couple minutes of the simmer and stir in.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ginger Chicken and Vegetable Soup

It is still summer how are my boyfriend and I sick?...He is definitely sicker than I am, so I decided to do the cooking and I'm making sure we flush all the bad stuff out.  We have been busy and going out of town for the last month and a half on fun adventures so I guess this was bound to happen.  Luckily we are staying in town this weekend and it also happens to be Pickle Fest 2014 with my mom.  Every year my mother and I (sometimes my aunt too) get together and make our secret batch of about 40lbs of pickles and it is by far one of my favorite things.  It appears that I forgot to post about Pickle Fest last year but here is a post from two years ago.  Onto my recipe it is healing and delicious, so whether you need it now or in the winter I hope it helps cure whatever ails you too.

Serves 5

The Ingredients
8 cups of vegetable broth

3 tablespoons of fresh ginger root, grated

4 garlic cloves, pressed

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup green beans, snapped in half

1 cup zucchini, chopped

2 cups cooked chicken breast

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (I like things acidic)

2 tablespoon sriracha

1/2 teaspoon nature's seasoning (or any of your favorite simple spice mix)

3 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped

pepper to taste

The Process
1.  Add broth, garlic, ginger, carrots, and green beans to a pot and bring to a boil.  Then turn heat down to about medium (so that there is a rolling simmer).

2.  Add zucchini, lemon juice, nature's seasoning, sriracha, and pepper.  Let simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes.

3.  Add pre cooked chicken and cook for about 5 more minutes (I like my veggies crunchy so if you don't cook longer).  Add chives and take off heat to serve.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tomato Basil and Cheddar Soup

As many people know there is an awesome Tomato Cheese Soup made in Eugene, Oregon at a restaurant called the Glenwood.  I often crave this soup and find myself wishing I could magically have the recipe, but oh no the restaurant is super tight lipped about who even knows the recipe.  So instead of driving to Eugene every time I want this soup I made my own version which resembles it enough to satisfy my cravings.  Speaking of Eugene my boyfriend and I attended a beautiful wedding on Mt. Pisgah Saturday evening, I met a lot of awesome people and we all had a wonderful time.  I will keep this post short because it's Monday and who isn't tired?

Serves 5

The Ingredients
½ yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup of tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
14oz fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup pesto
¾ cup half and half
5oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper
The Process

1.  Brown onion in butter over medium-high heat until slightly browned. Add tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, tomato paste, garlic, sugar, ketchup and pesto. Cook for about 10 minutes.

2.  Use blender to make the soup slightly smooth.  Over medium heat stir in half and half.
3.  Add cheese to soup and stir until just blended.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Japanese Cucumber Salad

This last extended weekend was full of fun, we floated the Clackamas river for 4 hours on Saturday and then Sunday - Tuesday we were camping up at Timothy Lake on Mt. Hood.  We went canoeing, crawdad-ing, and swimming (the water was so warm it was heavenly).  This weekend we are headed to Eugene again for our last wedding of the summer which I'm sure will be a blast because food and dancing always are.  Now lets talk food, I made this salad with the Chinese Egg Drop Soup last week during a warm Portland summer day and they both hit the spot perfectly.  One of my lovely coworker's garden is producing a ton of Persian cucumbers that she brings in to share and boy are they tasty.  I slightly adapted this recipe.  Enjoy!

Serves 2

The Ingredients

1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced (I used a mandoline)

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons tamari

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar (or sugar substitute)

The Process
1.  Combine cucumber, onions, rice wine vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, and sugar in a bowl and toss until evenly coated and serve.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chinese Egg Drop Soup

I am very excited for this weekend because we leave on a camping trip to Timothy Lake on Sunday with my whole family.  My family has made this trip happen every year since I was very very young and it is something I look forward to every single year.  If you haven't ever been up on Mt. Hood in Oregon and gone to Timothy Lake you really need to check it out.  So bring on my 5 day weekend!!!  Now to the food, I have been craving this soup for quite some time and even though it has been in the 90s in Portland for going on 3 weeks I couldn't wait any longer to make it, so yes I ate hot soup on a hot day.  I have a recipe for a tomato egg drop soup on my blog that is also very tasty, but I was going for the authentic recipe here.  I adapted this recipe.  I accompanied this soup with a tasty Japanese salad that I will blog about next.

Serves 4

The Ingredients
6 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced

6 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (or to taste)

2 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 6 tablespoons water (substitute cornstarch for arrow root powder to make it paleo)

2 large egg

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

The Process
1.  In a medium saucepan over high heat, add the mushrooms, chicken stock, dry sherry, rice vinegar and ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the salt and pepper.

2.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the simmering soup and stir until the soup has slightly thickened (enough to coat the back of a spoon).

3.  In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and sesame oil lightly with a fork. Take your pot off the heat. Slowly pour the egg into the soup in a steady stream while continuously stirring with a ladle. The egg should cook immediately. Sprinkle the green onions on top and serve.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Paleo Chicken "Parmesan" with Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Summers are always so so busy, but in the midst of it all I somehow find time to still blog once in a while.  Two weekends ago we went to a beautiful wedding out on a farm in Aurora, Oregon and had the most fabulous pit roasted pig.  That night ended with copious amounts of dancing and a campout in the woods.  Last weekend we went down to Eugene, Oregon to visit my boyfriend's family and they took me out to Thistledown Farm, a farm very similar to one you would find on Sauvie's Island near Portland, Oregon.  The farm had some of the most amazing looking shallots I had seen in a long time and lots and lots of tasty fresh corn.  I concluded my weekend by going to see Portland's major league women's soccer team the Thorns, and we won!!!  If you haven't attended a Thorns game yet I really suggest you do, I find them much more entertaining than the Timbers and they are a good price.  Onto food, I recently received a mandoline for my birthday and have been using it for all sorts of things from fries to "noodles."  Last night I decided I wanted chicken parmesan with zucchini noodles in order to use up all the large awesome zucchinis that my garden is producing.  I adapted this chicken parmesan recipe and created the pesto zucchini noodles on my own.  Enjoy!

Serves 2

The Ingredients
2 Chicken Breasts
1 ½ cups Almond Flour
2 Tbl Italian Seasoning
1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp Black Pepper
2 Eggs
1/2 jar Marinara Sauce
2 cups zucchini noodles, shredded by mandoline or peeler
1 Tablespoon pesto
A couple fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden, sliced in half

The Process
1.  Preheat oven to 375 F & line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Pound out the chicken breasts to allow for even thickness throughout the cut.

3.  In a wide rim plate (i.e. pie dish), beat two eggs together.

4.  Mix the almond flour, seasoning, salt, and pepper together and lay out on a plate.

5.  Dip each piece of chicken in the egg wash first (both sides), then the dry batter (both sides, then repeat. This will allow for a nice thick crust.

6.  Lay the battered chicken on the baking sheet and bake at 375 F for ~35 minutes. Add more time if they don’t look crispy.

7.  In the mean time heat up your marinara and shred up your zucchini into noodles and cook for 4 minutes in a pan right before your chicken is done.  Then toss zucchini with pesto and add fresh tomatoes.

7.  Let the chicken cool for at least 5 minutes before you plate. Don’t fret if the bottom part of the batter sticks to the foil. Do your best to scrape it up with the chicken.  Plate the chicken, pour sauce over top and serve.