Marinated Mediterranean Chicken

DISCLAIMER: This recipe doesn’t take 48 hours to COOK – it’s a 48 hour marinade so don’t run off quite yet! 😉

If you enjoy tender, delicious meat – this recipe is for you! If you need to take a short cut (e.g. cutting down the marination time to 4-6 hours, or even 24), do it and you will still be glad you tried this out! Simple but satisfying flavors that are beautiful cooked on the grill (or on a grill pan), but you can just as easily oven-roast the chicken in your oven.

Do notice that I prefer using skin-on chicken simply because the chicken ends up being more succulent. Often times the skin will come off/burn off during the grilling period anyway, but having that extra layer to lock in the marinade while in the fridge is essential. Stick the marinated meat on a hot grill, get a beautiful char on it, and there you have a scrumptious meal.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe!

NOTE ON MY PICTURE: This recipe is the line of chicken that is second from the left. If you add paprika and chili powder to the below recipe, you will end up with chicken looking like the line of meat all the way to the left 😉 The cedar-planked salmon and Korean style beef are just accessories at my grilling party! 😉

Yields: 8 generous servings

Ingredients

14-16 chicken thighs (skin-on) or 8 chicken breasts

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
the zest of one lemon
3 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme
1 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (or onions)
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

Directions

Mix all ingredients except chicken together into a large and deep bowl and whisk until well-incorporated.

Add your chicken and toss so that the meat is well coated with the marinade.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let marinate in refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours (The meat is just blissfully delicious after a 48 hour marinade!! Do it on a Wednesday (like today!) for a Friday meal! :))

Halfway through your marination period, use tongs to toss the chicken in the marinade once to evenly distribute the marinade.

1 days later (or 2 days after marination began)….

Drain meat and grill on a hot grill, basting with marinade until meat is cooked through. Serve hot and use leftovers to make exquisite quesadillas, salads, burritos, and more! 🙂

Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles with Ground Chicken and Vegetables)

For those of you who enjoy Thai food, you must have ordered Pad Kee Mao or Pad See Eew (a.k.a. ‘Drunken Noodles’) at some point. Hopefully you enjoyed them as much as my husband and I do!

Pad Kee Mao literally translates to ‘Drunken Stir Fry’ in English, and there are numerous variations on these ‘drunken’ dishes that are very often sold by street vendors in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand.

Rumor has it that the ‘drunken’ description comes from the fact that it originated in late-night revelers’ kitchens after stumbling home from the nightclubs in the wee hours of the morning. 😉 I suppose after a night of partying, nothing soothes the stomach like some starch and meat! 😉

Pad Kee Mao typically has sliced pork in it, however this is my rendition of it with ground chicken and vegetables! However, feel free to omit the chicken and replace with 1/2 cup of thinly sliced pork (of any cut), or use both meats and have a flavor party! I wanted to re-create what I had at the Thai restaurant (but without the MSG and loads of oil that made my noodles super shiny), so I hope you enjoy my healthier version of Pad Kee Mao.

This dish seemingly has a lot of ingredients, but if you have what’s needed on hand, this can morph into a wonderful weeknight meal and your go-to recipe for a weekend get together. Just pair it with one of my curries Panang Curry ;-), steamed white or brown rice, and you have a gourmet meal waiting for you and your loved ones! And if you feel like going the whole nine yards, serve this menu along with Nobu’s Miso Black Cod, and your meal will be talked about for many weeks after! 😉

Menu Idea: Chiang Mai Panang Curry, Pad Kee Mao Noodles, Miso Black Cod, steamed white/brown rice.

Enjoy! 🙂


Ingredients
1 (14-ounce) package wide rice noodles (you can use thinner pad-thai noodles too!)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup of finely diced or sliced white onion or shallots
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound ground chicken
2 medium red or green bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 cups of broccoli florets (the broccoli head, no stem), washed
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/8 cup oyster sauce
1/8 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 limes)
1 medium jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (remove the pepper seeds if you don’t like spice!)
1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves (or regular basil if you don’t have access to Thai basil)
Optional: red chili powder, to taste (if you want it more spicy!)

Directions
Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for about 15-20 minutes until loose and almost completely to your liking. Drain and set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a large wok over medium-high heat, and add chopped onion and garlic stirring with a wooden spoon or tongs for about 2 minutes until softened (careful to only soften them – do not brown or burn!)

Add ground chicken and break into small pieces. Continue to cook until chicken is white and almost cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Add bell peppers and broccoli florets, stir-frying until the vegetables are softened.

Push chicken mixture to one side of the pan and add eggs to the center. Scramble with a your wooden spoon until eggs are set and don’t run, about 1 minute.

Push scrambled eggs to the side and add in: oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, and sugar. [Note: If you feel like there is not enough liquid in the pan and the noodles are too dry, feel free to add a little chicken broth].

Once the sauce and vegetable mixture is boiling, add the drained noodles and toss to coat. Remove from heat, add jalapeños and basil, and toss to combine; serve immediately. Top with roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted), chopped green onion, and enjoy! 🙂

Maple Mustard Grilled Salmon

There are many recipes out there that call for salmon to be basted with a simple maple syrup and mustard glaze. However, I have tested my recipe below many times and have found the perfect balance of sweet and savory in this more complex taste profile for beautifully grilled fish. I hope you enjoy this in the summer on an outdoor grill or in the winter on an indoor grill pan! Either way, you will end up with a delicious meal fit for royalty! 🙂

If you have a little extra time to whip up the perfect accompaniment (as pictured), serve this exact dish on top of a bed of my spiced butternut squash and nut cous cous! The tang and sweetness of the maple mustard glaze pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the butternut squash and crispy nuts and spiced cous cous – it’s a pairing that I love putting together for a fun date night at home or even a dinner party you are hosting! 🙂



Ingredients

Glaze:
3/4 cup maple syrup
4 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves (or dried thyme leaves)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried dill (although fresh, chopped dill is always the best!)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salmon:
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on
Vegetable oil, for oiling the grill and fish
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high (about 350°F to 425°F).

Meanwhile, place all of the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and whisk until combined. Cook over a medium-high flame, whisking for 3-4 minutes until vinegar evaporates and the consistency becomes more glaze-like.

Meanwhile, pat the salmon dry with paper towels (make sure it has been scaled and cleaned of bones). Brush both sides of the fillets with vegetable oil and season both sides generously with salt and pepper, per your taste.

Rub the grill grates with a towel dipped in oil (or, if you are using an indoor grill pan, brush vegetable oil on the pan).

Place the salmon on the grill skin-side down and cook undisturbed until grill marks appear and the skin is starting to crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, brush the glaze onto the side facing up. Then, using a fish spatula, carefully flip the fillets over and brush the skin-side that is facing up with the remaining glaze, reserving a few spoons to serve with the finished dish. Continue to cook the salmon until it is just opaque in the center, about 2 to 4 minutes more.

Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately, passing any remaining glaze on the side and drizzling lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil around the fish. Serve on top of my Spiced Butternut Squash and Nut Cous Cous for the perfect pairing of flavors!

Piquillo Pepper & Chickpea Soup

I tested Food & Wine’s recipe, and have made a few measurement adjustments and added some new garnishings which I think are amazing with this soup. I actually prefer the recipe without rice and without chicken, but feel free to add those if you wish! If you do end up adding rice and/or chicken, it becomes a very satisfying one-pot meal!

Vegetarian or not, this is a fabulous recipe. I was taken aback by how QUICK it is. With the BlendTech blender I use, this is actually a no-cook recipe (also goes for VitaMix users), since these blenders heat up the soup so much while blending it’s not even necessary to reheat. I timed myself and it took a total of 6 minutes to make this recipe start to finish. It takes me more time to drive to Whole Foods and pick up a ready-made soup from there!

I hope that those of you who don’t have much time to cook try this out and make this a regular on your recipe rotation – I know I have!!! And lastly, if you like your meat, use chicken stock instead of vegetable, and top it with shredded chicken!

Enjoy! 🙂


Ingredients
1 cup drained piquillo peppers, reserving a 1/4 cup on the side, thinly sliced for garnish
1 cup store bought plain hummus (or you can make your own homemade hummus – my recipe is so easy!)
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Garnish:
high quality extra-virgin olive oil, drizzled
habanero hot sauce (Trader Joe’s)
cubed avocado
fried chickpeas
thinly sliced piquillo peppers
store-bought rotisserie chicken, shredded

Directions
In a blender, combine piquillo peppers, hummus, and stock. Puree until smooth and season according to taste with salt and pepper. Heat in microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat until desired temperature. Serve hot in bowls garnished with drizzled olive oil, piquillo peppers, and any other garnish ideas I’ve given that tickle your fancy. Enjoy! 🙂

Chiang Mai Spicy Curry (Panang Meat or Tofu Curry)

[NOTE: This recipe can be made vegetarian!]

Living in the Bay Area allows me to indulge in a large lot of Asian dining options – the diversity here is immense and incredible. Part of that, however, leads to people like me to be utterly confused about the true origin of certain dishes. For example, one of my all-time favorite Asian eateries is called ‘Mingalaba‘ in downtown Burlingame, California. I find every and any excuse to drag my friends and family there for a meal :). However, go figure, they are a ‘Burmese-Mandarin’ restaurant. Now shoot, last time I checked, those are two very different cuisines with incredibly different ingredients and spices.

My favorite two dishes there are their ‘Tea Leaf Salad’ – it’s incredible and one of these days I will try and recreate it. Once I perfect it, I PROMISE to post the recipe. 🙂 The other is their ‘Ong Noh Kaw Soi’, or their Coconut Chicken Soup.

This Panang Meat Curry recipe, my friends, is my attempt, to recreate what they have at Mingalaba.

For those of you that are of Thai background, you might wonder why I ate this typical Thai curry at a Burmese and Mandarin style restaurant. To be honest, I can’t answer your question and am at a complete loss. The further research I do on this curry , the more I am lead to a Thai and Malay heritage for the dish. Perhaps over the ages, cultures merged from a culinary perspective, or there were a lot of similarities – I don’t know.

But either way, here is my rendition of one of my favorite curry soups of all time – it’s creamy, spicy, crunchy (with the right garnishes), and extremely satisfying. It is traditionally served over fresh hot noodles, however this is a low-carb version without (but feel free to serve this soup over freshly cooked noodles (spaghetti, linguine, chinese noodles, or any other long, slender noodle that you fancy or have in your pantry). Also, you can make this curry vegetarian if you wish by using firm tofu instead of the meat, and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

And lastly, if you are in a rush (like I often am), don’t fret! Pick up a fresh rotisserie chicken from the market and add the cooked chicken at the very end! This will cut your cooking time down from 30 minutes to about 8-10 minutes TOTAL! It’s an incredible ONE-POT weeknight meal, yet fancy enough to serve to guests.

Enjoy! 🙂

PS – If any of you wonderful readers of mine can shed any light on the heritage of this curry or your experience at home with it, would love to hear your thoughts! 🙂


Yields: 6-8 generous servings
Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons panang curry paste [Note: this yields a pretty spicy curry – if you want a milder flavor, cut back on this paste]
3/4 lb boneless chicken, cut into big bite-sized chunks (Variation: can also use 3/4 lb boneless beef such as tri-tip or flank steak sliced thinly. To cut down cooking time, use cooked rotisserie chicken. VEGETARIANS: Use firm tofu instead!)
2 15 oz. cans of unsweetened coconut milk (can use light coconut milk for a lower-calorie result)
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 teaspoons ground turmeric or 2 teaspoons curry powder
3 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Garnish ideas:
cooked noodles
chopped shallot
chopped red onion
chopped fresh cilantro
thinly sliced green onion or chives
lime wedges
fried onions
a dollop of sour cream
boiled eggs, sliced


Directions:

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and panang curry paste at the same time, mashing and stirring it constantly to soften it in the oil (I prefer using a wooden stick in order to avoid damaging my pan). Do this for about 1 minute. [Note: Use a splatter screen or be VERY careful! The hot oil and ingredients can jump up out of the pan and stain your clothes or worse, burn you!].

Add the chicken (or beef or tofu) and brown for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing using tongs. Allow them to brown evenly and incorporate well into curry paste and garlic mix.

Add the coconut milk, chicken (or vegetable) broth, turmeric (or curry powder), soy sauce, sugar and salt, stirring well. Bring to a gentle boil and adjust heat, maintaining a simmer. Cook about 10-15 minutes until meat is cooked through.

Stir in lime juice, remove from heat and serve HOT! Garnish with some (or all!) of the ideas I’ve given. Or get creative and garnish with whatever you enjoy 🙂

Chicken Adobo

I got inspired to cook this traditional dish from the Phillipines after a friend of mine posted her recipe on her blog ‘Just One Cookbook‘. I hope all of you check out her blog – she does such a beautiful job with her photography and I love all of her recipes (she focuses on Asian recipes!). 🙂

The thing I love about this recipe is that it is healthy! Traditionally, Chicken Adobo involves browning the chicken in hot oil before simmering it in the vinegar marinade to finish the cooking. However, this is a no-fry recipe and just as delicious! You get the same crispiness from the broiling in the oven that you would from pan-frying it!

I did change a few things in the recipe a bit by adding some sweetness to the sauce through pineapple juice (but you can use brown sugar or even honey if you’d like), increasing the garlic amount (I love my garlic!), and adding peppercorns and bay leaves to the cooking liquid. However the original recipe is also just as delicious and involves less ingredients if you are looking for a more simple recipe.

Ingredients

6-8 chicken drumsticks (skin-on) or 6 chicken thighs (skin-on)

1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
8 cloves garlic, smashed lightly with a wide knife and sliced (Did you know: smashing garlic brings out the flavors!!)
1 tsp. black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
Either 3 tablespoons brown sugar or 1/2 cup pineapple juice

Directions

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a large pot and bring to boil. Add chicken pieces in a single layer and lower heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, turning chicken over once halfway through.

Heat oven to the ‘broil’ setting (or 550 degrees F).

Remove the chicken pieces from the pot and turn up the heat on the reserved cooking juice until it reduces and thickens a little more. (Discard bay leaves at this point if you want).

Place the chicken pieces on a wire rack on top of an aluminum foil-covered baking sheet on the center (or upper-middle) rack of your oven. [Note: putting them on the wire rack allows the juices from the chicken to drop down onto the aluminum for easy clean up later!]

Broil each side of the chicken for 3-4 minutes until browned to your liking. When the chicken is in the oven, be sure to watch it carefully so it does not burn! The ‘broil’ setting can get very hot!

[Note: You can bypass the broiling of the chicken and finish them off on a hot grill for a nice variation and some beautiful grill marks!]

Serve hot out of the oven by brushing the reserved (and reduced) cooking liquid over each piece of chicken liberally (I personally love eating this dish with a little bowl of the reserved cooking liquid and dip my chicken in it for every bite!). Finish your preparation by sprinkling Kosher salt over the chicken, also liberally and to your taste.

Best served on top of a bed of rice or quinoa (as pictured!) and make it a meal by adding a side of steamed or pan-cooked vegetables!

Enjoy! 🙂

Oprah’s Chocolate Pot de Créme A La Mode

This recipe is not my own – it is from a December 2005 issue of the Oprah Magazine. It’s perfect the way it is and probably the most decadent, yet DELICIOUS dessert I have EVER had. Trust me, I have had my load of chocolate lava cakes, chocolate mousses, etc. But this one takes the cake in terms of being my all-time FAVORITE. I have also never seen dessert be devoured SO quickly around me 😉

I haven’t changed much in the recipe (and I wouldn’t if I were you!) except I added 2 ounces of chocolate because I think it could use a little more chocolate. I also have taken the liberty to make the instructions a little more clear and easy to follow.

There are such few ingredients which make this recipe EASY! And if you try it, you (and your family) will not be able to stop at making it just once – that is how good it is! Trust me on this one. 😉

I have doubled the recipe since I don’t think it’s worth making less than 10 servings (I can eat 2-3 on my own!), but feel free to make 5 servings by halving the recipe.

Enjoy!

PS here is a link to the original recipe.

Yields: 10 servings
Ingredients

10 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate (can be coarsely chopped from a block or chocolate chips!)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk (3% fat preferred)
8 large egg yolks (preferably room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar

Garnish:
fresh raspberries
vanilla ice cream, to taste

Directions

Tip: Before you start, take your eggs out of the refrigerator and keep them in a bowl so they can come to room temperature by the time you will use them.

In a small saucepan, bring heavy whipping cream and milk to a boil. Take the pan off of the heat once boiling and add in the chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is melted and the ingredients are well-incorporated with each other.

Cover the saucepan and let cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (alternatively, you can transfer the mixture to a glass bowl, cover with a plate, and refrigerate)

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Place 10 ramekins (or other small cups such as oven-safe espresso cups) in a large roasting pan that has depth (I like to use large ceramic oven-safe pans, but either way is great!).

In a large bowl, whisk together yolks and sugar until well-incorporated (no need to over-whisk!). Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture until well blended.

Strain custard through a sieve or a strainer into a glass pitcher for easy pouring into ramekins.

Fill each ramekin until it is about 3/4 full with the chocolate mixture and place in your pan. Now fill the pan with hot water until the water reaches halfway to the top of each ramekin (be careful not to get water INTO the ramekins with the chocolate mixture!).

Bake until custards are set in center, about 35. Transfer custards to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature (about 30-45 minutes). Finish the process by cooling the ramekins in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Top with raspberries and ice cream and ENJOY! 🙂