Salsa Verde Chicken

 Salsa Verde Chicken 2

Inspiration: So. The first several months after having a baby? Those were some crazy times. When I think back, I remember eating in a very specific way. 1)We ate previously frozen meals. 2)Family brought us food. 3)Brandon picked up take out from some favorite local places – namely, street tacos or gyros. Or…..4) I whipped up some quick meals like this one. There definitely wasn’t any fancy-schmancy paella making back then. And though I’m so happy that we’ve finally begun to fall into a nice little routine as a family, there’s definitely a part of me that is nostalgic for those insane, eating-on-the-sofa, baby-in-our-laps days. This little recipe (and a few others like it that I’ll share at some point) takes me back there in some tiny way. And that makes me smile.

What We Loved: This recipe gives you quick, delicious Mexican flavors without much time or any fuss. Time and again we’ve said that Mexican foods are our favorite cuisine, and we appreciate anything from tiny little recipes like this all of the way to the most authentic, time-consuming recipes that we’ve eaten or made. For how easy this one is, it’s pretty darn tasty. The best part is letting the onions and chicken get nice and browned in the pan, and then scraping all of those brown bits up into the salsa verde sauce. That makes for some delicious and rich flavor. The sour cream thickens everything up nicely, and some sliced grape tomatoes and cilantro add a great freshness to the dish.

Tips: Make this on a weeknight. It’s easy peasy. And do use chicken thighs. Chicken breasts are just so tough when cooked this way. Using chicken thighs = tender, more flavorful chicken.

Salsa Verde Chicken

Salsa Verde Chicken
Source: Original Recipe

Olive oil or butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
~1 lb chicken thighs, diced
Salt and pepper
8 oz salsa verde (I use jarred)
About 1/3 cup sour cream
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Diced grape tomatoes, for garnish

1. Heat the oil or butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until softened. Stir in the garlic.

2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan, and stir everything together. Saute until the chicken is cooked through and everything is getting nice and browned. The browning is important – it makes the sauce so much richer.

3. Add the salsa verde. Scrape the bottom of the pan, incorporating all of the brown bits into the sauce.

4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sour cream. Stir to combine, and cook until heated through.

5. Serve garnished with cilantro and tomatoes.

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Chorizo, Chicken, and Tomato Paella

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Inspiration: We’ve been living in the same city for about eight years now, so we’ve got our favorite haunts around town. One of those places is a wine/beer/deli/fine foods store that is just fantastic. We’ve been shopping there for years and can always count on them for good advice on a bottle of scotch, help picking out the perfect wine for whatever meal we’re making, or a sampling of all kinds of cheeses and salamis and anything else that we’re looking for. It must have been a couple of summers ago (I remember that I was pregnant at the time) that we went to a pretty awesome paella demo there where we got to sit around a Big Green Egg outside, learn how to make paella, and then sample the results. Ever since then, we’ve been hooked on the idea of making paella at home. For Christmas this past year, Brandon bought me a fantastic paella pan and all of the ingredients to finally try our hands at making paella. We’ve been honing the recipe to our liking for the past several months, and we’ve finally gotten it just right.

What We Loved: As I said, we’ve been fine-tuning this recipe, so we pretty much love everything about it. The whole dish has a gloriously rich, smoky flavor due to the smoked chorizo (we use this kind and adore it – it’s our favorite single component of the meal), the smoked paprika, and the saffron. Add to that some tender, fall apart chicken; lovely bites of sweet tomato and pimiento peppers; a wonderfully rich base of delectable rice that just soaks up all of the spices and flavors of the other ingredients; and a fresh, citrusy sprinkling of cilantro to top things off, and there’s not much else that you could ask for. We crave this weekly.

Tips: We’re waiting for the weather to warm up a little bit more so that we can make this recipe on the charcoal grill outside. That will be perfection. So if you have access to a charcoal grill, I’d highly recommend cooking it that way versus on the stove top. Also, this is not a cheap or an easy meal to make, but in our opinion, there are upsides that outweigh those factors. For one, it’s such a fun dinner to make, especially for company. And secondly, this recipe makes a lot of paella. The last time that we made this, we didn’t have any guests, so Brandon, Ben, and I ate it for five dinners straight. That stretches the dollar a bit, right? And I might add that we didn’t tire of eating it for five days in a row, either.

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Chorizo, Chicken, and Tomato Paella
Source: Original Recipe

12 cups chicken stock
1.5 oz saffron
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, diced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 onion, diced
1 lb dried smoked chorizo, sliced into rounds and then into half moons
1 lb chicken thighs, diced
2.5 cups calasparra rice
4 tomatoes, sliced into thick wedges
1 8 oz jar pimiento peppers, sliced into strips

1. Heat the stock in a large pot until simmering. Toast the saffron in a dry saute pan until it begins to release its aroma. Mix the saffron into the stock and keep warm over low heat.

2. Heat the oil in your paella pan. Add the garlic, and toss to coat. Add the diced tomato, paprika, a pinch of salt, and the tomato paste. Stir together and cook for 1-2 minutes. This is called the sofrito.

3. Move the sofrito to the side of the pan. Saute the onion until it softens and begins to brown, and then move it to the side of the pan.

4. Add the chorizo to the pan, and saute until it begins to brown. Move it to the side of the pan.

5. Add the chicken to the pan, and saute until it begins to brown.

6. Add the rice to the pan. Mix everything together, and distribute everything evenly around the pan.

7. Add as much chicken stock as will fit into the pan. Season generously with salt. It is important to season well with salt at this stage, because you won’t have another opportunity to incorporate the salt. At this point, do not stir the paella any further.

8. Arrange the tomatoes in a circular fashion atop the stock. Let cook for 15 minutes on medium-high.

9. Reduce the heat to low. As the paella cooks, continue adding stock until you have used all of the stock.

10. When the stock is completely absorbed and the paella begins to sizzle on the bottom of the pan, the paella is done. Add the pimiento peppers shortly before this point, so that they have time to warm.

11. Remove from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes in order for all of the flavors to meld and for the dish to cool. It is important not to skip this step.

12. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

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We’re Back!

Hi, readers. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? We’ve been busy. Our little boy has been growing so fast. He’s a running, playing, crazy adorable, wild and endless source of energy. And we bought a house, which brought with it a billion projects, repairs, and improvements. We’ve been working so hard to settle in and make it our home.

But, we’ve also been worn out. Let’s just say that it’s been a long winter. We unexpectedly lost one of our cats a few months ago, our furry little buddy Boots who had been a part of our family for eight years. And we’re finally out from beneath the record-breaking two billion inches of snow that Mother Nature dumped on us this year. Phew!

We’ve still been cooking and making our favorite meals, but we haven’t had the energy, time, or desire to search for new recipes, try them, photo them, blog them, etc. Until now! We’re finally settling into a new kind of normal, and after a good break from blogging, the itch is creeping back up to return to one of our favorite hobbies. There are new recipes to be made! Old recipes and photos to be improved! Food to eat!

If you’re still reading this out there, thanks for sticking with us. And if you’re a new reader, we’re so looking forward to sharing some of our new favorite recipes with you. We’re working on some redesign around here, and we have so many improvements in mind. We”ll be back with new recipes next week.

Sauteed Chicken with Blueberry Peach Salsa

Sauteed Chicken with Blueberry Peach Salsa

Inspiration: We sure have been piling the fresh fruit into our basket at the grocery store lately. I think it’s the best thing about summer eating – all of the lovely, fantastic fruits and vegetables. I’m all for great, earthy, comforting stews and soups in the fall, but while summer is here – bring on the peaches!

What We Loved: This is one of those recipes that’s great for people who love the meat and fruit combination. The salsa is sweet from the peaches and blueberries, but it’s also nice and savory with the addition of tomatoes and earthy basil. I wouldn’t say that the salsa would be nearly as good on its own – it needs that chicken as a buttery, savory complement to the earthiness of the basil, which really is a characterizing flavor of the salsa as a whole. This is a great dinner to enjoy as summer winds down before all of the great peaches and blueberries are gone!

Tips: We had some leftover salsa that I saved and ate on its own the next day, and I really didn’t care for it leftover or without the chicken complement. So I’d suggest eating it all up on the first night.

Sauteed Chicken with Blueberry Peach Salsa
Source: Original recipe to serve 2

2 chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half
Kosher salt and black pepper
Olive oil
2 peaches, pitted and diced
Handful blueberries
Handful grape tomatoes, sliced in half
Handful fresh basil, minced

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add a good drizzle of olive oil to a saute pan. Saute the chicken until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.

2. Meanwhile, add the peaches, blueberries, grape tomatoes, and basil to a bowl. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix well.

3. Serve the chicken topped with the fruit salsa.

Grilled Pineapple Guacamole

Grilled Pineapple Guacamole Compressed

Inspiration: You simply can’t have too much guacamole in our house. That much is a fact. And while we love our standard guacamole recipe best, it’s always fun experimenting and throwing some new flavors into the mix (like pumpkin seeds or tomatillos). I have quite a list of add-ins that I’d like to try – bacon, bleu cheese, and goat cheese, to name a few – but grilled pineapple seemed the perfect summery add-in for our Fourth of July dinner when we were throwing some steaks on the grill.

What We Loved: This guacamole is really an interesting treat. It is completely and totally characterized by the sweet pineapple. Each bite, whether you get a bunch of the pineapple chunks or none at all, is defined by a slightly charred sweetness. It’s a really interesting and refreshing flavor, and certainly a different and unique spin on standard guacamole. Delicious, refreshing, and so very summer.

Tips: We ate this guacamole with tortilla chips as a treat, but I’m thinking that it would be fabulous atop grilled chicken, paired with some sunny side up eggs, stuffed into an omelet, or even just eaten as a side dish with a spoon.

Grilled Pineapple Guacamole
Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from Christina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love

2-3 slices of cored and peeled fresh pineapple
3 small ripe avocados
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, ribbed, and minced
Juice from 1/2 lime
Kosher salt, to taste

1. Place the pineapple on the grill, and cook until slightly charred on both sides. Remove from the grill, allow to cool, and dice.

2. Pit the avocados, scoop the flesh into a bowl, and mash with a fork.

3. Mix in the onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, salt, and pineapple chunks. Reserve a few pineapple chunks to add on top for garnish. Serve.

Flounder with Pineapple Avocado Salsa

Flounder with Pineapple Avocado Salsa

Inspiration: So we’ve been making all of Ben’s food since he started eating solids about four months ago, and I usually puree or finely dice up some sort of fruit as part of his breakfast. I just grab whatever’s on sale/in season at the grocery store, but toward the end of winter, there really just wasn’t much to choose from. So I grabbed some random bags of frozen fruit, among them a nice bag of pineapple. We’ve found that it’s a little to early for the highly acidic/citrusy fruits for him, though (not gonna risk anymore just yet after a rash on his face from kiwi), so that frozen bag of pineapple was just calling our names.

What We Loved: This is a very light and summery meal. I always love the pairing of seafood and fruit, and this meal was no exception. The flounder is so light and flaky, and the creamy avocado and sweet pineapple complement that fresh seafood flavor so well. Plus there’s a nice kick of heat, some fresh cilantro, and some sweet and juicy lime juice to tie everything together. Refreshing and delicious. We paired this with Brandon’s favorite coconut ginger rice for a lovely meal.

Tips: Flounder (or any very thin, flaky white fish) cooks up very quickly, so keep a close eye on it. Ours really only needed about two minutes per side. If you want a heartier fish, something like cod would also work well. With the flounder, I certainly did not end up with any whole filets after cooking. They flake apart so easily while cooking/flipping! I’ll say to be careful while flipping, but if the filets break apart, no matter. They’ll still taste great.

Flounder with Pineapple Avocado Salsa
Source: Adapted from Pink Parsley, originally from Everyday Food

About 3/4 lb flounder filets
Kosher salt and black pepper
Olive oil
1/2 avocado, diced small
3/4 cup pineapple, diced small (I used frozen)
1 serrano pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1/8 cup fresh cilantro, minced
Juice 1/2 lime

1. Combine the avocado, pineapple, serrano, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.

2. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the fish, and saute until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, just a few minutes per side.

3. Top the fish with the salsa.

Black-Eyed Pea Curry

Black-Eyed Pea Curry

Inspiration: Another day, another curry, right? We’re just fine with adopting that philosophy.

What We Loved: We’ve found that curries with a lot of turmeric and coconut milk tend to have a pretty specific flavor profile – they’re somewhat sweet, yet they’re full of that earthy, rustic turmeric taste. They tend to be nice, mellow curries that are mild in spice but sweet in flavor. We both really enjoy that flavor, and in this particular curry, we both enjoyed how nice and creamy the black-eyed peas were. Plus, all of the cilantro thrown in was awesome. If you are familiar with our blog, you know that we love our cilantro. As always, it added such a bright and fresh herbal taste. This is a nice curry if you’re looking for a curry that’s a little lighter and a little less spicy and intense than a lot of curries can be.

Tips: As often happens with me because I’m impatient, I photographed this dish too early, before it really had a chance to meld together and get nice and creamy. After it has been off of the heat for a little while, this really comes together and is much creamier than it looks in the photo. So I would suggest letting this one sit for just a bit before serving.

Black Eyed Pea Curry
Source: Slightly adapted from Girl Cooks World

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup diced tomato
2 15 ounce cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, plus extra for garnish

1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the onion, and cook until starting to brown.

2. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne. Cook until the mixture is fragrant, about a minute.

3. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the tomato, and cook for a few minutes until the tomato begins to break down.

4. Add the black-eyed peas, salt, and coconut milk. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken.

5. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve with additional cilantro for garnish.