Chicken Peanut Sauce Burrito

Chicken Peanute Sauce Burrito

I got some peanut butter from Harvest Share last month and discovered that it actually is pretty good on celery. When the jar was close to empty, I thought it might be interesting to toss some rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, lime juice, and dried red pepper flakes, shake it up so the peanut butter sticking to the sides of the jar did not go to waste. I tried it on some lettuce and it was delicious. So this is the peanut dressing I made.

  • 2 TBSP peanut butter
  • 2 TSBP seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lg. clove of garlic, crushed and macerated with salt
  • Juice from 1 lime, squeezed.

I thought it might be good with some chicken. So I sauteed a chicken breast with just some salt and pepper in olive oil. While it was cooking, I chopped 2 TBSP of yellow onion,   thawed out 2 TBSP of frozen peas by running them in cold water, toasted 6 pecans in a dry pan and chopped them up.

I removed the chicken breast and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then I heated up my burner and with the air vent on high, charred two flour tortillas against the coils of the stove. If I had a gas stove, I would grill, but this is my “electric grilling.” Just lay them on the medium-high coil with half hanging off the edge so you can grab them.  Flip with your fingers as soon as it begins to char, I generally “grill” on each side a few times to grill the whole tortilla. You cannot be doing anything else when you do this because you don’t want to start the tortillas on fire.  It adds a really great flavor and makes delicious tortillas.

Chicken Peanute Sauce Burrito

I compiled my dish with a small handful of lettuce, the sliced chicken breast, onions, pecans and thawed peas. I then added the peanut dressing and rolled them up.

This is delicious. Chicken is such a mild ingredient that it embraces nearly anything you do. I liked the peas (And yes, fresh would be better, but needs must,) They added a bit of texture and freshness. It all went together so well. It’s zingy and spicy from the lime and red peppers and then the peanut adds this kind of hearty sweetness.

 

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Pear Quick Bread with Buckwheat Honey, Apricots & Pecans

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I had three pears that were so ripe that eating them would have been a mess, so I peeled and mashed them with a fork and decided to try making a pear-based quick bread. I decided the molasses that I usually use for quick bread would overpower the pears and decided to use buckwheat honey instead. I also thought dried cranberries would not work well and opted for dried apricots, a milder flavor.  This takes no special equipment other than a bread pan.

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed pears
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat honey
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots (chopped small)
  • 1.3 cup chopped pecan

Preheat to 300°

First cream 1/2 cup of butter with 1 cup of sugar. I use a whisk, but if you have a mixer, use it. I used room temperature butter, but you can take cold butter, cut it into pieces and then cream it with the whisk. Once the sugar and butter is light and creamy, fluffy even if you have the energy, add the eggs, one at a time, whisking them into the batter.

In a bowl, mix the mashed pears and buckwheat honey together. If you don’t have buckwheat honey, use regular honey, but use a little less. Buckwheat honey is not as sweet tasting.

In another bowl, mix the flour and spices.

Add the pear mixture and the flour mixture about 1/3 at a time, so you blend thoroughly, first the pears, then the flour, pears, flour, pears, and flour.

Finally gently fold in the pecans and the dried apricots.

Pour the batter in the greased bread pan and bake for about 90 minutes. Test with a knife after an hour or so and see if it comes out dry. My bread pan is one of those very thick insulated ones, so I need 90 minutes, but a thin bread pan will cook faster.

Plum Tostada

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I got about 5 pounds of fresh plums from Oregon Food Bank’s Harvest Share a few weeks back. I have been waiting for them to ripen, but decided to just try cooking one to see what happened. I was really not sure what I wanted to make. Well, I wanted to make a cake but I don’t have a mixer or blender and it’s hot and I didn’t want to turn on the oven, so I stood in front of the fridge hoping something would leap out at me. I saw some fresh rosemary a friend gave me from her garden and wondered how plums would taste sautéed in a bit of butter with some onions and rosemary. I have some tostadas from WinCo, so decided to try something crazy.

So, I melted

  • 1 tsp of butter in a small sauce pan and added about
  • 1 tbsp of finely chopped onions. I tossed in about
  • 1 inch long piece of fresh rosemary. I cut up
  • 1 large plum into about 8 segments and then chopped them in half. I added them when the onions were tender. I sautéed for about 8 minutes on a low heat. I added about
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar (I have a vanilla bean in my tea sugar and used it instead of my cooking sugar.) I added about
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Stirring everything, I thought about adding lemon, but thought the unripe plum was so tart on its own, I didn’t really need the lemon.

I spread it on the tostada, added some sour cream and lightly toasted pecans.

This was so good, I washed out the pan and made myself a second one. Who knew rosemary and plums were divine? That is a flavor combination I am going to try again. Perhaps in a cake when it’s not so dang hot.

Makes one serving, darn it.

 

Oatmeal Scones with Dried Cranberries and Pecans

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These are incredibly easy scones that take less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Most recipes start with preheat and your oven is heated up long before your recipe is mixed. Not with this, even starting to preheat before you mix one thing, you might have to wait to get to 425.

In a large bowl, mix the following dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Combine the following wet ingredients in another bowl. Pour them into the dry. You can make a little well in the dry ingredients to pour the wet in as that makes it just a bit easier to mix.

  • 1 egg, beaten until frothy
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup of melted butter

Note: This recipe is so forgiving it does not care whether you melt the butter and add it with the milk and egg or if you mix cold butter into the dry mixture by hand until it is crumbly. You can choose. Either method has the same result. It is just slightly easier and faster to melt the butter in the microwave for 45 seconds or so.

Mix the ingredients so all the dry is incorporated. It will be a wet, sticky dough.

Put parchment paper on cookie sheet.

If you are ambitious, you can flour a board and roll it out into two circles about 1/2 thick and cut each circle into 4 pie-size wedges. I think it is just easier to roll out eight balls of dough and press them into 1/2 thick little rounds. Separate them so they are not touching.

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until risen and browned.

You can serve warm with some butter, jam or cream cheese, but I like them plain with nothing else, warm or cold.

Makes 8 scones.

Brussel Sprouts with Fried Onions & Lemon Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprouts Salad

This tasty little salad was inspired by Kathryn LaSusa Yeomans salad with shallots. I used onions instead of shallots because that was what was on hand. I used more lemon juice and less olive oil than she does because that’s my personal preference. I wanted to try it with walnut oil but could not unscrew the top. I think it will take pliers! I also substituted pecans for walnuts because that is also my personal preference. Still, with all the changes, you can see her original inspiration in the final product.

First I sliced a small yellow onion into 1/4 inch slices and patted them dry and let the rest a bit so they could dry some more. I heated up peanut oil to 350° and fried the onions in the oil. Removing the onions to rest on old paper bags so the oil could be absorbed, I salted them lightly while still hot so the salt would stick.  After they were all fried and patted clean of oil, I let them rest.

Then I cleaned one pound of brussels sprouts. This preparation was different than usual. I cut off the stems and cleared away the outer leaves that were browned or blackened with age. Then I peeled the leaves off, one by one, until they were too tight to peel away. This central core, I chopped thinly with a knife. I tossed the leaves and chopped sprouts in a bowl. Frankly, this part was tiresome and made me long for a sous chef. However, the separate leaves add a lighter, loftier texture to the salad and the individual leaves are perfect for holding dressing. It was worth the effort. One thing made it easier. After peeling off a bunch of leaves, it was easier to peel off the middle leaves by cutting off a bit more of the stem.

Next I put some pecans in a dry pan on med-high heat to toast.

While the pecans toasted, I took a fresh lemon and grated the zest into the bowl with the brussels sprouts. I added a generous amount of grated black pepper and some salt. Then I squeezed the lemon, adding all the juice. I drizzled 2 tbsp of olive oil on top and mixed them together.

I removed the pecans from the heat and chopped them up just a bit.

Then I placed a bit of the salad in a bowl, sprinkled some of the crispy, fried onions and toasted pecans on top and there it is – a light, flavorful salad for Christmas dinner.  This made four salads.

There is something about  the flavor of toasted nuts and lemon vinaigrette that is just wonderful. The brussels sprouts with their sharp, tangy flavor blended right in and the pepper added a delicious mellow heat. It was just a perfect blend of flavors with the wonderful umami of the fried onions.

 

Grapefruit and Pecan Salad

Grapefruit & Pecans Salad

This is a delicious dinner salad. Rinse and chop about half a head of romaine lettuce, making a bed for the rest of your salad. In a dry skillet, lightly toast pecans. Supreme one grapefruit, using a knife, cut the skin off a red grapefruit and segment it. Cut thin slices of red onion and break into circles that you quarter into small strips. Take 8 olives or so and chop them. Toss all on the lettuce. Splash with some walnut oil and balsamic vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste.

It’s kind of amazing how delicious grapefruit and olives are together. Adding toasted pecans just makes it heavenly.

Pork Chop with Spicy Pear Sauce

Pork Chop with Spicy Pear Sauce

First I started the rice, rinsing one cup in a strainer to wash away the starch before putting in a pan with 1.5 cups of water to cook. I added a bit of salt, put a lid on it and put it on high heat. As soon as it was boiling enough to rattle the lid a bit, I turned the heat off and let it sit. In 15 minutes it would be perfectly done.

In a medium heat skillet, I added a bit of olive oil to coat the pan and when it was hot, I put on 1 pork chop and sprinkled some salt and pepper on it and let it begin to cook, flipping once so it cooked on both sides.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, I sauteed 1 TSBP of finely chopped yellow onion and 1 clove of garlic, minced with some salt and pepper. While they cooked to tender, I sliced 2 mushrooms finely and chopped. I cut 1/2 of a Bosc pear into slices and cut them in half again. I finely chopped 1 tomato. When the onions and garlic were done, I added 1/4 cup of mild green salsa, the sliced pears, mushrooms and tomatoes and let simmer until tender. Then I squeezed the juice of 1 lemon on and added about 10 pecans cut in half vertically.

I dished up a 1/2 cup of cooked rice with the pork chop and served the sauce on both. The sauce had lovely heat with a bit of sweet and sour flavors balancing each other. It was good on the rice, but magnificent on the pork chop giving an entirely new approach to sweet and sour.

Chicken & Olive Melt Sandwich with Chop Salad

Sauteed Chicken Sandwich & Chop Salad

Today’s lunch was the third meal from the salad fixings I made day before yesterday. I finely chopped 1 celery stalk, 1 Pink Lady Apple, 1/2 cup of pecans, 2 tbsp of yellow onion, a handful of dried cranberries and 1 cup of fresh cilantro. This made three times as much as is needed for one sandwich or salad, so I did not mix it with the chicken or dress it with any salad dressing so I could use it as a base for different options – a far easier solution than cutting up 1/3 of an apple, etc. etc.

I had about 4 oz of the reserved white meat from my chicken soup remaining, so I cut it up and sauteed it in a small pan along with 6 chopped olives and 1.5 ounces of pepper jack cheese. I used about 1/2 tsp of olive oil just to keep it from sticking while it heated, with low heat and watching stirring, it won’t stick. While it cooked, I toasted a ciabatta bun, putting a bit of dijon mustard on the top. When the chicken was heated and the cheese melted, I put it on the bun.

I chopped up three leaves of romaine lettuce, spread the final third of thesalad fixings I had reserved on top and added a bit of raspberry vinaigrette. It makes a yummy vegan salad with plenty of bite.

Chicken Salad Sandwich & Mushroom Soup

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This was a super-simple lunch to make since most of it was prepared before. The mushroom soup was merely reheated from the soup I made on Wednesday. It’s a soup with dairy in it, so it will not keep for long and needed to be finished up. The sandwich was made with some of the fixings from yesterday’s lettuce wraps.

I had reserved about 2/3rds of the salad mix for future use. The thing is, when making up a salad mix, it’s well and good to say 1/3 apple, but it’s not realistic. So I am fine with mixing up a decent batch of mixed veggies that I can then use for different purposes.

Today I took another third of that mix of chopped apple, celery, onion, cilantro, pecans and dried cranberries. I added 2 TBSP of crumbled feta cheese and about 3 oz of chopped chicken saved from the soup. To dress it, I just tossed on a couple tablespoons of caesar dressing from the store. An italian, oil and vinegar or other slightly acidic dressing would work as well. With the cheese, you would not want anything too creamy and sweet. I toasted a ciabatta bun and spread the mix on it and there I had a tasty lunch that feeds the eyes as well in less than 5 minutes.

Curried Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Curried Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I made this is three separate parts that I only mixed together for the lettuce wrap so that they can be used for other meals. First I cooked the base for chicken soup last night – putting a whole fryer in a stew pot with a chopped onion and 3 bay leaves, salt and pepper and let simmer for a.5 hours until the chicken was thoroughly cooked and just shy of falling off the bone. I removed the chicken from the broth and let it cool. After it cooled, I pulled all the meat off the bone, putting the dark meat back in the soup broth and reserving the white meat for salads and sandwiches.

Today I mixed up a delicious batch of Curried Yogurt Dressing, taking 1 cup of yogurt, two teaspoons of curry, salt, pepper and a dash of lemon juice and blending together.

For the salad fixings, I finely chopped 1 celery stalk, 1 Pink Lady Apple, 1/2 cup of pecans, 2 tbsp of yellow onion, a handful of dried cranberries and 1 cup of fresh cilantro. This makes about three times what I need for the chicken salad sandwich wraps, so I reserved the rest of it in a plastic container for another salad or whatever I decide to make with it.

I took three romaine leafs, using just the green tops, I ran my knife down the center of the stalk to keep the from cracking when rolled. I put on a plate and heated in the microwave for 10 seconds. They will still be cool and crisp, but will be just a bit more malleable. I mixed about equal part salad fixings and chicken in a bowl with enough curried yogurt dressing to pull it together and spooned the salad on the lettuce and served.

The apple’s sweetness really counter the bitterness of the celery, so that together they taste better than they do apart. The dried cranberries add a tart surprise and the pecans add some crunch and meatiness. It’s tasty and fresh and a great lunch option.