Mediterranean Smothered Chicken

I have a great affinity for Mediterranean food and thought I should expand my repertoire of Mediterranean dishes. I didn’t stretch myself much with this one, but it was an eye opener.

One thing I realized is that I’d limited the entire culinary Mediterranean to a single country. How did I cook all these years and never consider more than Greece?! I had thought of Italy, but summed them up as primarily a pasta place.

There’s an entire eastern Mediterranean region that I’d never considered. When I did, I stumbled upon something resembling a spicy Yemeni chimichurri sauce known as Schug. As I researched the sauce, I learned a bit about the Eastern Mediterranean. In retrospect, it only makes sense that there is an Eastern and Western Mediterranean cuisine. My mind had never considered the idea. *shame*

Armed with my newfound recognition of cuisine from another region of the Mediterranean, I set out to combine the familiar flavors with these new flavors to create this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large Chicken Breast, halved
  • 10 oz. serrano chiles, seeds removed and halved
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Black Olives
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes in oil
  • Lemon
  • ½ red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz jar artichoke hearts, roughly chopped

Schug Inspired by Tasting Table

  • 1 cup parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 10 oz. Serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, halved
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • Feta cheese, crumbled

Salt your chicken breast and set in the refrigerator about an hour ahead. This helps to make the chicken more tender.

In the meantime, prepare the Schug. Add the serrano chiles, parsley, lemon juice, cardamom, coriander and salt into your food processor and puree. Adjust salt and serrano chiles to your preferred taste.

*If you aren’t a tremendous fan of heat, I suggest you cut back about 2 oz of the serrano chiles.

Remove chicken from oven and slather your chicken in the green sauce. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 F. Place chicken in a pan and cook in oven for about 30 minutes or until fully cooked.

While the chicken is cooking grab a large cast-iron skillet and place on medium to high heat. 

Toss in the red onions and garlic and cook until fragrant.  Then add in the sun-dried tomatoes with about 1tbsp of the oil, artichoke hearts and olives.

Remove chicken from oven and pour the sundried tomato mixture over the chicken breasts.

Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top along with some crumbled feta and serve.

I served it on top of this Mediterranean Orzo Salad from Foodie Crush.

F&P Takes on Mexicanish Street Corn

Me: “What should I make?”

The Not So Little Littlest Sisters: “Mexican street corn!”

Me: “OK” *insert shoulder shrug*                 

We could never have imagined the battle that would ensue. Sure and certain of its simplicity, we walked into the stadium as if the battle were already won. We were holding steady, until it came time to skewer the corn. “Nothing to it!” or so we thought.

With our skewers at the ready, we went in for the strike. Alas, the corn cob proved tougher than we thought. One of the Not So Little Littlest Sisters went for it again, nearly losing the corn as it deflected her jab. There wasn’t much at stake so with persistence, we overtook the cobs in the end.

They proved no match for our “skewers”. Our skewers were in fact discarded chopsticks, and not an ideal choice. With great ingenuity and skill, we managed to skewer our cobs beautifully. It was a battle for the ages and for the books, but I encourage you to come prepared with the appropriate weapons. Otherwise, you may not be as fortunate.

Recipe for Mexican Street Corn
Ingredients
– Corn cobs, halved
– Lime Juice
– Lime Zest
– Sour Cream
– Mayonnaise
– Cotija cheese
– Cilantro, fresh
– Paprika
– Skewers (real ones)

Instructions
Heat a cast iron skillet to medium high heat and place the cobs in the skillet to heat and brown it a little, turning as appropriate.

In a bowl, combine the lime juice, zest, sour cream, and mayo. Smear it all over the corn. Crumble the cotija over the corn, cover with paprika to your desired preference and top with some roughly chopped fresh cilantro.

Frogmore Stew aka Low Country Boil

Frogmore Stew, more popularly known as Low Country boil is simple to make and fun to eat with a large group. I don’t need a special occasion to have a large group because my immediate family is big enough to consume this entire meal.

We’d been wanting to try it for a while. When we saw that Publix had crab legs on sale, we  figured this was the time.

Unfortunately, it was raining so we had to make it all happen on our stovetop and pour everything out onto the dining room table.  We thought about using newspaper but with this whole virus ordeal, that seemed like a bad idea. So, we got a hold of some butcher paper and spread it lengthwise on our long dining table.

I was raised to always serve a vegetable with a meal. Corn and potatoes do not count.  I thought the green beans would be the perfect addition.

  • 2 bags of Zatarain’s Crab Boil
  • 12 c water
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • Beer (Dark Ale) 12 oz
  • 2 Lemons
  • 2 lbs. small red potatoes, halved
  • 4 ears of corn, halved
  • 26 oz andouille sausage, 1-inch slices
  • ½ lb.  green beans
  • 2 lbs. shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 lbs. crab clusters
  • 8 oz Butter, melted for dipping
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic

Fill a large pot with water and a bottle of beer. Pour the content of the Zatarain’s Crab boil bag in the pot. Allow the water and beer to come to a boil, then add in the potatoes and cook for 7 minutes. Next, add in corn and string beans, let it boil for about 5 additional minutes, then add in the sausage and boil for about 3 minutes. Lastly, add the crab legs and shrimp and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Be sure not to overcook the shrimp.

Strain the entire pot and dump all your contents onto your paper. 

Vegetarian Version:

Vegan Cajun Sausage Link (1 in. pieces)

Boil the potatoes for 8 minutes, add the corn and let it cook for 7 minutes. Then add string beans and cook for about 4 minutes.

In a skillet cook up the vegan Cajun sausage, add it to the strained meat free vegetables, and serve.

Strain the vegetables in the pot and pour the contents on the paper and add in the sausage.

Flourless Cardamom Chocolate Cake with Chai Ganache

Have you ever had a list of things you intended to try or do? No, I’m not talking about a bucket list. I mean reasonable and attainable tasks that don’t require exorbitant amounts of time or money. You know. That herb garden you said you wanted to grow, or trying that jam you were gifted for the holidays. Perhaps it’s a recipe that requires everything you already keep on hand anyway?

For me, it’s the famous, flourless, chocolate cake. I’ve marveled at its wonder on Pinterest and cooking shows, all while thinking, “I’ll try that one day” Well, that day has come, and it is done.  I took it up a notch by adding cardamom and a chai ganache. They give it more depth of flavor. Be warned: this cake is rich! You could go for a “weaker” chocolate (i.e. 70 %+) to achieve a more moderate chocolate flavor, but I think you can handle this just fine.

Cake

  • 8 oz. 60% cacao chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ c of butter
  • ¾ C. coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • ½ Tbsp vanilla

Ganache

  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • Black tea
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Cardamom
  • ¼ tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Line an 8” round baking pan with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, combine the roughly chopped chocolate and butter. Heat on medium-low until chocolate is completely melted. Remove pan from heat then add coconut sugar, cardamom and salt to the chocolate-butter mixture. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

In a separate bowl, beat your egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Add egg yolks to the cooled chocolate mixture in the saucepan along with the vanilla. Fold in the egg whites and pour the mixture into prepared baking pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake is set.

While the cake is baking, prepare the ganache. Combine the chocolate and butter in a saucepan and heat until just melted. Open a tea bag and pour the contents into chocolate mixture along with the cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. The measurements for the spices in the ganache recipe are my preference and recommendation, but feel free to adjust them to your preference.

Once cake is out of the oven, allow to sit for about 30 minutes, then pour over the ganache over.  Allow the cake and ganache to cool completely.

Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Curry Vegetables over Cauliflower Mash

This light, healthful dish is full of flavor, and also leaves lots of room for creativity. If you prepare it, you’re not limited to the vegetables I used in my recipe. Tailor to with your favorite vegetables. You could try eggplant, broccoli, or spinach.

Because it’s a light meal, you might seek a bit more heft, like some of my family.  Ground turkey meatballs is a perfect complement to this dish. I included the meatball recipe below.

Curry Vegetable

  • roasted chickpeas
  • 1 can 15 oz coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp green curry paste or to taste
  • 1 large white sweet potato, thinly sliced
  • carrots, thinly sliced
  • bok choy
  • kale, roughly chopped
  • salt
  • pepper

Cauliflower Mash

  • 1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. sour cream or dairy-free sour cream
  • salt
  • pepper

Optional Turkey Meatballs

  • ground turkey
  • cayenne
  • paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • curry

In a skillet, pour and combine coconut milk and green curry paste. Allow milk mixture to come to a simmer, then toss in the sweet potato and carrots.

Cook for about 7 minutes or so. You don’t want the carrots and sweet potato to get to tender yet. Add in kale and bok choy and cook for about 5 minutes more.  Add in salt and pepper to taste.

Steam cauliflower just until soft. Puree the cauliflower in a food processor, then add sour cream and pulse until you reach your desired consistency.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

To plate, scoop a hefty serving of cauliflower mash into a dish and top with the curried vegetables and roasted chickpeas (or meatballs).

*This dish is great as a vegan dish. However, if you would like to add some extra protein grab about a ½ lb. of ground turkey and add in the cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, and curry powder.  Grab about 2 oz. of meat and shape into a ball. Brown the meatballs in a light oiled skillet and cook thoroughly in an oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes.

Oven Roasted Chickpeas

Not much to say here. This speaks for itself. Few ingredients yet flavorful. You can do anything with these. I’ve made sweet and savory ones.

Toss on a salad, in a curry or as a snack. This is perfect for an avid muncher like me because it isn’t doing any damage that a chocolate chip cookie would. 😉

  • Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne
  • Oil

Mix in a bowl and place on a pan in the oven at 400 F for about 20 minutes.

Candied Pecan Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I am about to expose a little about myself, but it’s the truth. Cookies are my go-to for many reasons, but I’ll narrow it down to three:

  1. Versatility
  2. One bowl preparation
  3. High volume with minimal cooling time, which means I get to eat them sooner.

It might sound overly voracious, but I don’t care! Cookies are a true gift, and I give gift cookies often.

I was feeling fancy when I made these, so I added the flaky salt. The humble cookie is so underestimated.  A cookie can be cakey, chewy, or crunchy. It can be a simple, frosted sugar cookie, or whatever else you can think of.

Can you imagine a world without cookies?! Would you even want to? Not this self-proclaimed cookie connoisseur.

  • 1 ¼ c sugar
  • 2 tbsp molasses*
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3 ¼ c flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cornstarch, optional
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 oz 60% Dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • Candied pecans, chopped
  • Flaky Salt

*If you don’t have molasses, don’t sweat it. You can just substitute the granulated sugar for brown sugar instead.

Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper

In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar and molasses and until fluffy. Add in eggs.

In a separate, medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch and salt.

Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until combined.

Fold in candied pecans and chocolate chunks.

Use about 2 tbsp. of dough for each cookie. Drop them on baking sheet. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

Bake for 9 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with flaky salt. Allow to cool completely.

Grab 3 or so and go on your merry way!

Candied Pecans

A quick, simple way to satisfy a sweet tooth. The combination of spice and toasted flavors accompany the sweetness perfectly on these pecans. I lean on these when I am trying to do right but honestly, they are good in general. And on ice cream?! I digress.

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 oz pecan halves
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine the sugar, salt and cinnamon, then set aside.  Whisk the egg whites until they are a little frothy and bubbly. Add the water and vanilla to the beaten egg whites, then add in the pecans until all the nuts are coated in the egg white mix.

Next, pour in sugar mixture and stir until all pecans are coated. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, put into a 400ᴼ oven, and. bake for 20 minutes, flipping the nuts halfway through to ensure even baking on both sides.

Remove from oven and cool completely.  You’ll have a sweet and crunchy snack to enjoy.

Cinco De Taco Tuesday

I don’t know why some people make a big deal out of Cinco de Mayo. Well I have an idea, but that’s a topic for another day. Happy Cinco De Taco Tuesday! This year it seems epic enough to acknowledge since most of us can’t go anywhere, and I suggest you try making your own taco buffet!

Kimchi Chicken Tacos

Meat
·        1 lb. Ground Chicken
·        2 tbsp Soy Sauce
·        Salt, to taste
·        Pepper, to taste
·        Garlic Powder, to taste
·        1 tbsp Paprika
Topping
·        Spicy Kimchi, roughly chopped
·        Tomatoes, diced
·        Green Onions
·        Cilantro, roughly chopped
·        Sour Cream
·        Lime
Tortillas
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes
·        2 cups masa harina
·        2 ¼ c of hot water
·        2 tsp salt

Grab a large skillet and turn the stove on medium-high heat. Cook and break up the ground chicken until fully cooked. Add in the soy sauce, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Be sure to taste and season according to preference.

Tortillas

Mix masa harina flour and salt in a medium sized bowl.  Add hot water until it comes together enough to make a dough.

Divide the dough into two ounce balls dough balls. I chose 2 oz. because I wanted mine to be the size of a street taco.

Use a Ziploc bag to line the tortilla press then place a dough ball in the middle and press until about 5” in diameter.

After making sure your skillet is on medium- high heat, place your tortillas in the pan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until there’s a little char. Move cooked tortillas to a plate and repeat making tortillas until the dough is used up.

Assemble

Grab your tortilla and fill with the ground chicken. Top with tomatoes, kimchi, green onions, sour cream and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on top.

Enjoy!

I also got to flex my carpentry skills by making the taco stand you see in the photos. I’m part of a large family so a stand that fit about 15 tacos was a “necessity”. My stand was modeled after this one on Curbly. I really impressed myself with this meal.