Slow roasted chicken with barbeque sauce

Fridays are usually a night where we take the kids to pizza or grab burgers, but recently I have found going out to be inauthentic, not meaning like in a “procedure” kind of way but in “experience” sort of way. Most things that are promoted are based from revenue paid to advertisers of newspapers and those who are the most “well connected”. I’m so sick of what someone else’s (usually compensated) opinion of something is, that honestly I have given up on pursuing the “hot spots”. Continue reading “Slow roasted chicken with barbeque sauce”

Tahini Noodles

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I really love this recipe, like it in a unhealthy almost obsessed way….why? Because it so damn tasty! If you bring this to a potluck, I promise there will be nothing left over! With a few things that stay great in your fridge or pantry and a few items I bet you already have on hand, you are 20 minutes away from tasty! Did I mention it’s vegan? Well it is and it is tasty enough to show off for company with the ease of buying all the items in a decently stocked grocery store.
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Roasted asparagus and beet panzanella

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The best cooks in the world know how to get the most bang for their buck. Italian panzanella is a prime example of repurposing ingredients. Panzanella utilizes leftover, even stale bread and makes it a showstopping salad.
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If you can’t beet em’ eat em’.

So it always amazes me how much the quality of ingredients affect how good a dish is. You can spend all day making a dish with great technique and plating, but if your produce is old was it worth your time? I love beets they are delicious, sweet, healthy and turn into heaven when roasted. The farmer’s market in my hood, had the most amazing beets! I grabbed two bunches not really thinking much about it, when I went to prepare them for my dish, I noticed that one bunch were the most beautiful tiger stripped beets i’d ever seen!
I peeled them and set the oven to 400 degrees, the stripped beets I sliced with mandolin, the red beets I cut into quarters. They cooked for about twenty minutes, while they cooked I prepared the beet greens, by rough chopping and boiling in salted water for about six minutes. Beet greens are delicious and many folks just throw them out! Lightly cooked the leaves are similar to spinach and the stalks almost have an asparagus flavor to me. After they boil, I toss them in a little red wine vinegar. I decided I would serve the roasted beets with their greens and top with some local goat’s feta and some fresh dill, both that I had purchased at the farmer’s market. To get my daughter excited to eat her veggies, I did a few different plating options and let her pick her favorite. Getting kids involved and making it fun helps to motivate them to try new things….Ava loved the whole thing and cleaned her plate, as did my two year old, and my husband. Beets are always a winner at our house!
Go out and have a veggie adventure, grow your own, or buy from local farmers who use organic growing methods, use good ingredients and you are sure to have something you will be proud of, regardless of how simple it is!
Kid approved!

French onion tarts with balsamic dressed spring mix


tart 3



So I’ve been totally wanting French onion soup lately, but it’s not soup weather. When it’s sunny and bright outside and the house is muggy soup isn’t the most appealing thing to serve. So I decided to make a French onion tart, with all the flavors of its soupy rival, but in a portable, can be served room temp with salad alternative. This recipe is totally easy and my whole family loves it! Great for meatless Monday, and no one will miss the meat!
Softball sized onion, I got a Texas sweet onion, use what you like, but I would suggest a sweet variety. Slice all the onions and place in a heated sauté pan (medium) with 1 tbsp olive oil. Let sauté till light brow (15 minutes), add 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 tsp pepper…cook 5 more minutes, and add 1 Tbsp. butter, 1 Tbsp. parsley, 1 Tbsp. Soy sauce (great for richness and color, turn off heat. Set aside. Pre heat oven 400 degrees.
Cut one box of thawed puff pastry into eight squares, pre bake for 10 minutes….push down centers when they come out of oven. Top with even parts onion mixture and 1 oz of gruyere chesse, bake twenty minutes or until brown and bubbly, like a bowl of French onion soup! Serve with salad, mine was comprised of Organic spring mix, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. ground pepper, 2 Tbsp. pecorino cheese….salad is so easy and fresh! My kids love this salad and it so simple you can make it in 5 min, but elegant and tasty enough to serve at a dinner party!

Guam inspired Lumpia, this aint yo momma’s egg roll!

Back to “normal” for spring here in Portland….rainy! Doesn’t really bother me all that much to be honest…and back to cooking for rainy weather, it’s a different process completely. This recipe was inspired by the most amazing dish at PDX 671, they are a food cart in the pod by my house and they serve amazing lumpia! I’ve eaten my share of eggrolls/spring rolls but these lumpia (Guam version) are outta this world! They are light, crispy, and served with the most amazing sweet and sour sauce, not the red stuff you get on your sweet and sour chicken, a light vinegar based sauce with fresh chilies. Recently, PDX 671 was featured on “Diners, Drive in’s, and Dives” and ever since then they have had weird hours, sold out, and aren’t open for dinner hours. Great for them, bad for the locals who now have to fight the tourists to get their Guam food craving. So in defiance I decided to make my own, this is my recipe and my journey. Pretty damn good, but not as good as my homie up at the Rose City Carts…damn you Guy Fieri, leave my carts alone…haha!
My delicious, but inferior lumpia:
1 ½ lbs ground pork or chicken
1 cup grated jicama
1 carrot, grated
2 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp fish sauce (Three Crabs is the best, I’ve found)
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 egg
1 package Egg roll wraps, the thinner the better, I got the run of the mill thicker ones, I was on foot and couldn’t be picky so I had to get what was available at my local Wholefoods, which were fine but thinner would be way better.
Vegetable or peanut oil for shallow frying
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all ingredients, except wraps, in a bowl. Open wrapper and place about a golf ball sized amount of meat filling on to wrapper, form meat into a cigar shape, roll like a burrito (there are instructions on the back of the package, practice makes perfect!). Repeat till out of filling, mine made about 20, and they all got eaten…haha! Heat a few inches of oil in a frying pan over medium high heat, when lightly smoking add four lumpia at a time and brown on all sides. We are shallow frying here, to get the color then finishing off in the oven, a little less oil is absorbed so they are slightly more healthy….these are in no way heath food….but healthier food. As you brown all your lil buddies add them to the sheet pan in the oven, when all are finished give the rolls about 10 min in oven and they are good to go!
For the dipping sauce, I kinda did a Vietnamese version, it of course got a lil fusion action as this is not exactly the most authentic, but more inspired by the awesome spring roll sauce that I have eaten in the past.
Not that authentic, but delicious dippy time express:
½ cup sugar
1 cup hot water
¼ cup red wine vinegar, you can use what you have, not balsamic, but white, cider, rice would all be great
¼ cup fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thai chili, feel free to use fresh or serrano or whateves this is what I had on hand.
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
Put sugar in with hot water and dissolve in a mason jar, add other ingredients, combine. If using the same day serve as is, if waiting till later refrigerate, this recipe makes a bunch and can be stored in the fridge as long as needed.
I served my eggrolls wrapped in lettuce leaves and topped with the sauce. Try to find the thinner wrappers I think it will help with the crispy factor…..still great, but as with most things in life could be better!

Spring Asparagus flatbread with Marcona Almonds

IMG_4586Asparagus season is full bloom! Aside from all the nutritional value, asparagus is beautiful and the perfect way to celebrate the blooming of spring and end of winter (I’m over it). My go to way to serve asparagus is to just use a lil olive oil, salt, pep, and roast them, sometimes, though you may just want to make something a little more special without a bunch of time consuming prep work…here in Portland, when the sun shines you get out in it as much as you can! Well yesterday was “meatless” Monday so totally inspired by a flat bread that I had at New Seasons market, I decided to make my own version. I usually don’t drive during the week so I walked down to the Wholefoods and picked up some ingredients. I love the fresh made whole wheat pizza crust at Wholefoods, it has five ingredients, and it’s delicious and a bargain at $3! Honestly, it’s made in house and knowing that it’s made with good ingredients makes it a great short cut and saves me a load of mess and time, some pizza joints will sell you dough, or of course you can make your own…but avoid anything that pops in tube….full o’ nasties. I got some asparagus from Cali at the grocery outlet for 99cents on Sunday (that place is a goldmine!) and I had some Spanish Marcona almonds, pecorino, olive oil, and red pepper flakes at home.
Preheat oven to 450.
Roll out your dough into a rectangle, or the shape you like, you can even make individual flatbread if you so choose. Brush the dough with some olive oil, add asparagus (raw), almonds (press them into the dough), sprinkle with pecorino or parm (I like the tang and saltiness of the sheep milk pecorino, it’s a romano cheese and I think you can use a lot less and get a lot more flavor, add fresh ground pepper and throw it in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden. When it done use some citrus zest to add a punch of freshness! Seriously who knew almonds and asparagus were so delicious together? Easily made vegan friendly without the cheese and still delicious! It will look like you slaved away in the kitchen, does anyone remember that rice crispy treat commercial from the nineties, where the mom put a bunch of flour on her face so it looked like she had been slaving over the no bake treat? Kinda like that but way better! Enjoy!

15 minute Pad Thai

Faster then picking up take out.
Faster then picking up take out.

Have you ever ordered Pad Thai and ended up with a clumpy, soggy, orange mess? I have. This isn’t always the case but I have tried many a bad pad if you know what i’m sayin. There is the most amazing Thai cart downtown and they make great food on the cheap, we are talking $5 for fresh made, authentic food. I can’t always make it down there so I have started experimenting with my own version. Using and utilizing what is best of the season and using a stir fry technique it all comes together fast and with a little practice quite easily. Get familiar with your local Asian market, talk to the shop keep, get to know the products, research and then you can make a fast and easy meal for you and your family that is restaurant quality, without the extra salt, and expense
Fresh rice sticks, you will need a couple of handfuls for 4 portions
Fresh rice sticks, you will need a couple of handfuls for 4 portions

For the sake of ease, this is a sauce I found at the market by my house its real good and you can control the amount.
For the sake of ease, this is a sauce I found at the market by my house its real good and you can control the amount.

Wild caught shrimp
Wild caught shrimp
Tofu, is an option if you like it, you can sear it, fry it, or leave it plain
Tofu, is an option if you like it, you can sear it, fry it, or leave it plain
In a medium hot wok, add a few tablespoons canola or peanut oil, add fresh rice sticks and stir fry till golden
rice sticks getting browned in wok first
rice sticks getting browned in wok first
add a few tablespoons of the sauce or to your preference, stir it around and add just enough water to make noodles tender. Add 1/2 cup of green onions, I also added one green garlic since it is in season and I am a big fan. Remove noodles and put onto serving plate, in the wok add shrimp and cook till pink and firm (not to long or they will be bubble gum), you can also heat your tofu at this time. Add those to the noodles, sprinkle with mung bean sprouts, and peanuts (I used cashews, cuz i’m makin it mine), cilantro, and a squeeze or three of lime. Like it spicy? Sciracha will be your ticket to heat! Here again this is just a guideline you can add what you like to meet your diet needs or preferences. You can freeze the rice sticks and keep the sauce in the fridge and keep some things on hand and make this fast,fresh and easy!IMG_4534

Oven braised Corned beef and Roasted Cabbage

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Another Saint Patrick’s day has come and gone, the classic dish was boiled and served to the masses.  Now I don’t really like food coloring in my beer or an entirely boiled till its gray mass entree.  Maybe i’m no fun, but if I am going to take three hours to make something I want it to be beautiful and tasty at the end.  When I was kid, we had a bar/restaurant and my mom always served this dish, every year, then later she would make it for the family.  I love her version, she makes colcannon with kale, and she boils the cabbage and beef.  Many people don’t like cabbage because the only way they’ve had it, is in boiled form.  I like it boiled, but I love it roasted.  As with most natural foods, cabbage has natural sugars in it, this gets lost when you boil it….not to mention the slippery texture offends the pallets of some.  When it’s roasted cabbage becomes a whole new experience, texture, and flavor.  I picked up a beautiful, all natural, locally sourced and brined brisket (no flourescent pink finish on this one).
To braise beef:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, in a large dutch oven place corned beef fat side up with seasonings, cover half way with water, cover, cook three or so hours, the last 45 minutes or so the cover can be removed so that the fat side caramelizes and gets a golden brown color, you can add potatoes the last hour or make colcannon with some organic “dinosaur” kale.
For cabbage:
2 lbs of organic cabbage….I cut it into wedges,placed it on a half size sheet pan, and seasoned it with salt, pepper, garlic, and a nice smokey Spanish paprika, add herbs….add what you like in the amounts you prefer, if you try to avoid salt etc, drizzle with oil (I used olive oil) add butter if you want a richer dish, and put in the oven, mine was at 325 cuz that was the temp I used to braise my corned beef.  Check the cabbage after about 20min it should be golden and beautiful.  This method can be used for all types of veg…..I think I will roast a head of cauliflower next and top with capers and lemon.  I hope you will try this method with some of your less then favorite veggies and realize how great they can be….gluten free, low carb, vegan….it can really elevate all diets and its easy!

Best cabbage ever
Best cabbage ever