Italian · Poultry · Salad · Sides

Saffron Chicken, Lemon and Green Bean Salad

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INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lemon (preferably unwaxed), scrubbed well
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • Pinch saffron threads, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • About 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (tenderloins removed), trimmed of visible fat
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Use a fork to prick the lemon in 3 or 4 places. Place in a small saucepan along with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cover with water; bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 50 minutes or until quite tender. Drain and cool.

Meanwhile, whisk together the saffron, mint, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the oil and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a gallon-size plastic zip-top bag. Add the chicken and seal. Massage to coat; let it marinate (at room temperature) while you prep the beans.

Set up a steamer over a few inches of barely bubbling water (over medium heat). Place the beans inside; cover and steam for 4 minutes or until crisp-tender and a brighter shade of green. Cool, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces, transferring them to a mixing bowl as you work.

Grease a large skillet with cooking oil spray and place it over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the marinated chicken. (It’s okay if some marinade remains on the chicken; discard any remaining marinade.) Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, then turn the chicken over and cook on the second side for 6 to 8 minutes or as needed, until the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned. Cool, then cut into bite-size pieces, transferring them to the bowl of green beans.

Slice off and discard the ends of the lemon, then cut the fruit in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the flesh and pulp. Cut the remaining peel (with pith) into thin slices, then into 1/4-inch pieces, adding them to the bowl as you work. Add the thyme.

Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the honey in a liquid measuring cup, then whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to form an emulsified dressing. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the lemon-chicken mixture and toss to incorporate. Serve at room temperature.

Fish Course · Salad · Sides

Pesto Shrimp Salad with Roasted Artichokes, Fennel and White Beans

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A warm salad for a cool summer evening.  if you are not a fan of shrimp or allergic to shellfish, chicken would be a great substitute. It would be perfectly fine without any animal protein at all ! Eat it like a salad for lunch, side dish for something off the grill or toss is with pasta, this is a light and lovely meal !

Ingredients:

1lb cooked shrimp

1 package frozen artichokes, thawed and drained

2 bulbs of fennel, sliced

1 can of white beans

juice of one lemon

10 basil leaves, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Tbsp of minced garlic

2 tsp of red pepper flakes

1/4 store bought basil pesto

salt and pepper to taste

Methods:

Preheat oven to 375F

Toss oil, fennel, artichokes, basil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic in a bowl and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet

Roast for 45mins till fennel and artichokes and brown.

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In a pot, heat pesto and toss in beans and shrimp.

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Add the roasted vegetables and toss to coat all the ingredients together.

Serve hot or warm !

 

 

French · Italian · Lunch · Salad

Nicoise goes Italian

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Recently I met up with a dear friend of mine who happens to be from Italy.  Of all the things that she gave me were  two cans of really good italian tuna packed in good olive oil.  I looked through my pantry and some ingredients called for a traditional French Nicoise salad, but then some of the others screamed Italian, so this is what I can up with.  Barely no cooking involved, just a combination of good ingredients and super healthy.  Should you choose to be a purist I am attaching a link to Julia Child’s Salade Nicoise recipe.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/recipe/julia-childs-salade-nicoise-8255829

For my rendition you will need:

Hard boiled eggs

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Flash steamed green beans (I would go for fresh beans, even though I used canned beans)

Artichoke hearts

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Sundried tomatoes

Good Tuna packed in good Olive oil.  You could also get adventurous and poach tuna fillets in olive oil and then flake them.

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capers

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salt and pepper for seasoning.

Now assemble according to your taste.

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Salad · Sides

Pear, Fennel,walnut, cranberry salad

Roasted fruits and nuts tossed with peppery arugula and fresh baby spinach makes for a decadent an elegant salad fit for guests and a humble lunch box ! My salad for my Autumn Brunch.

Ingredients:

8 Bartlett pears, diced

1 whole fennel bulb chopped

12 oz dried cranberries

8 oz of walnuts

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp brown sugar

8 oz baby spinach

8 oz arugula

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar.

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

Toss butter, sugar with fruits and nuts and roast till tender and brown.

Toss with salad greens and balsamic vinegar and serve warm !

 

Lunch · Salad · Sides

Roasted Acorn-Squash Salad

This was my first time cooking Acorn Squash so I am quite excited about this salad.  My lunches are going to be delightful this week ! The beauty of this recipe is that once the squash is roasted you could add it to a salad, like I did or make some soup out of it.  It will also be a great side dish to any sunday roast dinner.  I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients:

1 lb acorn squash cut up into wedges

1.5 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

1/2 tbsp of dried rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

1, 7oz bag of arugul greens mix

Your choice of Nuts and dried fruit to dress up the salad.  I used pecans and cherries !

Method:

Toss the wedges of squash with the oil, vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper and roast for about 35min at 350F.

There will be some dressing left after coating the squash which could be used to dress the salad.  If not, feel free to make extra dressing or use a dressing that you would use otherwise.

Add the squash to the leaves, add the nuts and berries and serve warm !

Note: Bacon, chickpeas, apples and pears would also make excellent additions to the salad.  Enjoy !

Dinner · Meat · Salad

Steak Salad Platter

I did not grow up eating beef.  As a result, I am really shaky about cooking steak and even buying the right cuts of meat.  But I still try.  I think I have nailed down the beef stews, mostly because I get a lot of help from the slow cooking process.  So this past week I took the challenge of cooking steak.  I cheated and bought 1lb of shaved steak (the cut you would use for steak sandwiches) and tried to work with it.  Much to my pleasure it came out really good ! Also, the roasted vegetables made their last appearance in this recipe.  Enjoy !

Marinading the steak:

1 lb of shaved steak

1/8 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1Tbsp of thyme (dried or fresh)

a few dashes of garlic powder and black pepper

Use all of the above ingredients and marinade the steak for about 2hrs.  Marinade in a ziploc bag and rub in the marinade into the meat.

While the steak marinades, cut up 1 medium onion and 1lb of mushrooms and saute them till deep brown.

Season with salt and pepper at the very end, this way the water will not come out during the cooking and the mushrooms and onions will get a chance to brown up.

Next in a wide frying pan, fry the steak to desired doneness, I like it well done.  Once the steak is almost done, add the mushrooms and onions and fry together

I like to serve the salad on a big board with the ingredients separately so that you can build it according to your choice.  There is plenty on flavor and juices in the steak and the roasted vegetables so I did not use a dressing but feel free to use you favourite dressing.

Serve warm or at room temperature.  Garlic bread and glass of red wine would make it a complete dinner !

Lunch · Salad

Grapefruit and Fennel Salad

A speedy summer salad.  Refreshing, crisp, cool and really good for the waistline (till I reach for a the plate of cookies).

Ingredients:

1 ruby red grapefruit, cut into segments and save the juice

4 ribs of celery, sliced

1 fennel bulb sliced

1 Tbsp of olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

salt, pepper and parsley to season

Method:

The only thing you really need to do for this salad and chop up the fruit and veggies.

Save the grapefruit juice and mix it with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley.

Toss and serve cold–a perfect salad for a quick lunch on a hot summer day !