Main Dishes

Utterly Delicious Thai-Inspired Chicken

January 3, 2020

I woke up with an oddly urgent hankering for Thai food. I honestly can’t explain this, since I have rarely tasted Thai food and never been to Thailand. Usually, when I have a strong craving, it relates back to some nostalgic time in my past but, well folks … Not Today!

Now that I’ve prepared this dish, only an hour before this post, I can’t stop eating it. And, as I was cooking, a friend dropped by exclaiming “Oh it smells so good in here!” then happily waited until the Jasmine rice was ready so he could take a batch of this dish home with him.

This dish wasn’t at all complicated!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Boneless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Can full fat Coconut Milk
    (The cream will settle on top. Do not shake!)
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth (I had home made but any will do).
  • 2 Tbsp (6 teeth/cloves) Minced Garlic
  • 1 Heaping Tbsp Fresh Ginger
  • 2 Heaping Tbsp Thai Curry Paste (does not taste like yellow curry powder)
  • 1/4 Tsp Chili & Garlic Sauce (Hey… red pepper flakes will do just fine!)
  • 1 Tsp. Fish Sauce
  • Zest of a whole lime
  • Juice of a whole lime
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro
  • 2 Cups of Steamed, Jasmine rice

PREPARATION

Partial ingredients. Not shown: garlic, ginger, fish sauce, chicken & broth.
  1. Sear Chicken Thighs in some hot oil for a few minutes, skin down, until skin is brown and crispy. Remove and set aside.
  2. Open the can of coconut milk and skim off the creamy, oily top into your medium hot saucepan.
  3. Into the creamy coconut oil, Sautee Thai Curry Paste, Garlic Chili Sauce, Ginger, and Garlic on medium heat for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the remaining coconut milk.
  5. Add the chicken broth.
  6. Add the zest of the lime.
  7. Add the chicken and simmer for 1/2 hour, until chicken is tender.
  8. When you are ready to serve, toss in 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro and the juice of the lime. Reserve cilantro and lime wedges for presentation.
  9. Spoon 1/2 cup Jasmine rice into a bowl, add 1 chicken thigh, coconut broth and garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedge.

Comfort Food

Chickpea Love, My Version

December 13, 2019

When I came across Alison Roman’s NYT-Famous Chickpea Stew, I thought “Ohhh … I’ll try this one!” Alas, and as usual, I found I had neither the patience nor temperament to read a complete recipe or to follow anything or anyone. But you can find Alison’s recipe here. Famous Chickpea Stew.

I took my own path to delicious (USING double the Turmeric; adding Nutmeg and Curry, Carrots, Celery and the option of adding chicken or shrimp). The result was a hearty, gorgeous soup with a beautiful, golden color. Here is what I did, from me to you, With Love and Butter!

A note to meat eaters!: Look for the notes in Bold below, if you are adding Shrimp or Chicken..

.

THE INGREDIENTS

  • 1, 29 ounce can of Chickpeas, or 2 15 oz cans Rinsed Well!
  • 2 15 oz cans of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 Cube of vegetable or Chicken stock
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped Kale or Mustard Greens.
    This is optional. The soup is also very good without the greens!
    Spinach or Arugula are ok, but not sturdy.
  • NOTE TO MEAT EATERS: Option: If you want to make this meaty, have some raw chicken Breast Chunks OR Fresh Shrimp at the ready.)
  • 3 Sticks Celery, diced small
  • 2 Carrot Sticks, diced small
  • 1/2 a Medium Onion, diced small
  • A knob of fresh, minced ginger (about as big as your whole thumb)
    (I keep mine in the freezer)
  • 3 Teeth of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Yellow Curry
  • 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp (or more) Red Pepper Flakes (Cayenne will work)

PREPARATION

  1. In your favorite a sturdy soup pot, heat 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil plus 1 tbsp butter.
  2. Toss in the chopped Garlic, Onion, Ginger, Celery & Carrots.
  3. Sauté over medium heat, adding a bit of water to prevent sticking or burning, until the onions are clear and becoming soft.
  4. Add the Turmeric.
  5. Now add your rinsed Chickpeas. Stir.
  6. After the Chickpeas are in the pot, add all the coconut milk. Stir.
  7. Into this mix, add the remaining spices:, Nutmeg, Salt & Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes. (Gentle with the pepper flakes. You can add more later.)
  8. Cover and simmer on low for 30 – 45 minutes.
  9. IF YOU ARE USING GREENS, this is when you add your chopped Kale, or whatever greens you prefer. I served some of this dish before adding the Kale! It’s optional, really. See my photos at the end. I have pictures of this soup with and without the kale!

    IF YOU ARE ADDING MEAT, this is the point when you add your Chicken Chunks or Fresh Shrimp!
  10. Cover and cook on low for another 20 minutes.
Celery, Onion, Ginger, Garlic, Carrots
Add Chickpeas, Rinsed!
Here, with Coconut Milk, Turmeric, Nutmeg, Pepper Flakes.
Now, the chopped Kale or Greens.

SERVING & GARNISHES
Ladle into a bowl and garnish with any of these:

  • Sour Cream or Yogurt
  • Fresh Mint OR Cilantro Leaves
  • Chives
  • Orchid, Hibiscus flower or any edible flower (Pansies are nice!)
Here, without the Kale. Garnished with Yogurt & Fresh Mint Leaves.
With the Kale


My Daily Kitchen

Zest Up your Cauliflower Rice!

August 24, 2019

I’m never in the mood to give up rice, but if I”m going to get my blood sugar in place and lose about 15 pounds, the rice has got to go. I confess, I’m on an unhappy mission to exchange rice for vegetables and if I am going to be successful, I will have to come up with a satisfying alternative.

As a teen, I spent eight months in the Philippines where rice is eaten as an absolute staple. I got a kick out of being able to eat rice — at the table — by hand using thumb, pointer and middle fingers!  More acceptable, and a habit that stuck with me, is eating rice with other ingredients using together a large spoon and  fork.

My love of rice continued when, a decade later, I spent a few years in Mexico and then,a few decades later, nearly eight years in Panama.  It’s a hardship for me,  this idea of relinquishing my comforting, gluten-free, beloved rice. But I was feeling committed so here is what I came up with.

By now it’s common to use “riced” or finely processed cauliflower in place of real rice dishes.  “Ricing” cauliflower is easy. You can purchase it in the store pre-ground, but it’s costly. I buy a head of white cauliflower, break it apart, pulverize it in a processor to about the consistency of rice.  I store this in an air tight bag in the freezer or fridge.  But cauliflower has to be jazzed up to be satisfying and I have found that Lemon or Lime Zest is a terrific addition that brightens up many dishes.

Below is how I prepared this zesty, and surprisingly satisfying “rice alternative” dish. Vegans will want to replace my use of parmesan cheese with a vegan alternative. But other than that … have at it! It’s fast and easy. Use it alone, as a side dish, play with it by adding meats or even a gravy.

ZESTY RICE ALTERNATIVE

  1. Into a hot, large-bottom pan with good surface area, and using no oil or water so it won’t get mushy, stir 2 Cups “Riced” cauliflower on high heat until most of the moisture vaporizes, about 4 minutes. You will be able to watch the steam rise up and away.
  2. Turn off the heat and then add:1 tsp lemon juice or about the juice of half a lemon.
    1/8 to 1/4 grated lemon or lime rind (I used lime rind). This adds so much brightness!
    Salt to taste
    1/4 cup flaked or grated parmesan cheese (vegans use a substitute)
    8 – 10 Loosely chopped, fresh basil leaves.
  3. Mix all this together, add a little Earth Balance vegan butter (or the real thing) and eat it up!

TIPS:  For kids, try adding mild cheddar and Half & Half to give it a Mac ‘n Cheese feel. Mix in grill chicken bits. Play with it. It’s versatile!