Appetizers · Sides

Oven Roasted Okra

IMG_1667

A side dish or snack—simple, healthy and pays tribute to fried okra.  I like it hot from the oven with some spicy salsa.

Ingredients:

1lb of fresh okra, diced (frozen does not crisp up well)

1 tbsp of water, cornmeal and white poppy seeds

2tbsp of oil

salt, pepper and chilli powder according to taste

spicy, chunky salsa for serving!

Method:

Chop the okra and put in a bowl.

Add water, cornmeal, poppy seeds and seasonings.  Toss to combine and coat.

IMG_1663

Coat a cast-iron skillet with oil and add the okra.

Roast for 20 mins at 400F.  Halfway through roasting, stir and toss the okra a little bit.

IMG_1664

Serve hot!

IMG_1665

Appetizers · gluten-free · Mexican · Sides

A fresh snack – Tomato Avocado Salsa

image

I am obsessed with avocados! Sometimes I get sushi just for the avocados.  Just because it’s winter does not mean I am not going to eat something summery.  It is a really healthy snack and it goes great as a topping for tacos–look at my previous post for pulled pork tacos.

image

You will need:

1 avocados, chopped

2 tomatoes chopped

1 jalapeno, minced

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1 (or 2) limes

1tsp of cumin

1tsp of garlic powder

salt to taste

Mix, everything !!!

image

I like to eat it by the spoonful, but for a more civilized take on it, you could include some chips to the party

image

 

Lunch · Sides

Saffron Quinoa with Black Beans and Sage Roasted Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

1 cup tri-colored quinoa, rinsed

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 pinch of saffron

1 can of black beans

3 cups of cubed butternut squash

2 tsp of dry sage

1 tsp of chilli powder

2 tbsp of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Add rinsed quinoa to chicken broth and saffron and pinch of salt.  Cook quinoa.

Once quinoa is cooked, add rinsed black beans.

In the mean time toss squash in olive oil, salt, pepper, sage and chilli powder and spread on a cookie sheet

Roast at 400F for 20mins, till cooked through and golden.

Toss squash with quinoa and black beans and garnish with chopped scallions.

Appetizers · Classics · Dinner · Indian Food · Italian · Pastry · Poultry · Sides

International Potluck !

I am very fortunate to work with a great group of people.  Not only are they smart scientists, they are thoughtful and kind friends.  The cherry on the sundae is that we all love FOOD !!! Eating food, talking about food and cooking food !  We will sit around, eat lunch together and make plans for the next meal.  Call us gluttonous, but if that is a sin–it sure tastes great !  To make matters more interesting, we all identify with various regions of the world.  It took us while to get organized but we finally had out Lab International Potluck !

10850665_10100732475425218_1922881892_n

Menu:

American: Shrimp and grits and apple pie

French Canadian: Meat pies

Sweden: Swedish Meatballs and Sauerkraut

Poland: Kielbasa

Italy: Stuffed Shells

France: Floating Islands

Turkey: Grape Leaves and Figs stuffed with sweet rice and soaked in syrup

Indian: Jhalferezi and saffron rice

Vietnam: Chicken buns

Talk about a feast !!!!

Italian · Poultry · Salad · Sides

Saffron Chicken, Lemon and Green Bean Salad

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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 · lent · Salad · Sides

Pesto Shrimp Salad with Roasted Artichokes, Fennel and White Beans

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

Serve hot or warm !

 

 

Dinner · Meat · Sides

Pork Chops with Blackberry Balsamic Sauce and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My mom had never had sweet potatoes and that needed to be changed.  This is more of a fall menu, perfect on a crisp October evening, but since my mom was visiting, August just had to do.  This meal would pair well with a nice red or even with some pumpkin beer.   I hope you all enjoy this meal–I know my mom loved it !

Blackberry Balsamic Sauce:

1 pint of fresh blackberries
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp good quality aged balsamic vinegar
1 sprig fresh rosemary
optional – about 2/3 tsp cornstarch in 1 Tbsp water

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pork chops:

Sprinkle with salt pepper and Chinese five spice and grill till cooked through.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sweet Potatoes:

2 pounds sweet potatoes, about 3 large ones

1/4 cup olive or other vegetable oil

1-2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp salt

1-2 Tbsp spice or spice combination of your choice: chipotle powder.

Preheat oven to 450°F. (For more crispiness, preheat your oven to 500°F.)

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut off the ends. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then, if they are very long, in half crosswise. Cut each piece into cubes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Put the sweet potatoes into a large bowl and add the oil. Mix well to combine. Sprinkle with salt, sugar and spices of your choice. Use your hands to mix well, so all pieces are coated with oil and spices.

Spread the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet; the oil they are coated with should keep them from sticking to the pan. If you are trying to cut fat, reduce the oil to 2 Tbsp and use a non-stick coating on the baking sheet.

Bake for a total of 25 to 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn over all of the sweet potato pieces. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until they are well browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA