Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Oven fried Fish for dinner

So we are having our fish dinner tonight instead of our usual Thursday. Last week our SLO Veg delivery got delayed due to a new driver on the route. I guess one of my neighbors got an unexpected delivery of fresh fruits and vegies. Anyway, I contacted SLO Veg right away by email, and our box was dropped off the following day. You know how things work out they way they should...we just had pizza that night. We were both pooped from work and all, so it was no problem. 

It just changed our dinner schedule a bit, because on Friday I made a big pot of pasta because our 20-year-old had friends over and we didn't want to share our fish with them. Then on Saturday after I did the Miracle Miles 10K walk, I couldn't move and Lee had to make a reheated dinner. On Sunday, it was barbecue at the brother's house, and on Sunday my daughters came over for dinner and we barbecue pork tri-tip. So fish is for tonight, for me and Lee, and Taylor if he's lucky. 

This recipe is from Cooking Light, with a few changes. Their recipe called for Panko breadcrumbs, but I just make my own from old bread ends I have in the freezer. I chop them up in my mini-chopper and toast them a little in the toaster oven. I made tartar sauce from the leftover lemon-mayo dip we had last night with our grilled artichokes. Got to use up those leftovers, you know? 

I watched several cooking shows today as I lazed around nursing my foot. Giada did something with spinach, so I think I will look that show up and see what it was exactly that she did to it...maybe I will give it a try. 


Crispy Fish with Lemon-Dill Sauce



  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten 
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless cod fillets 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise 
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • Lemon wedges

Grilled artichokes and Pork tri-tip

We tried grilling artichokes for the first time Monday night. I had heard of grilling them, but never tried it myself. My daughter says they do them that way at the restaurant she works at and they are great. So Lee found me a recipe from Emeril and luckily it was early enough in the day I could give it a try.

You first steam the artichokes for about 15 minutes according to the recipe, maybe 20 is better? When I am cooking artichokes in a pot of water, I usually give them about 30-40 minutes of cooking time. Emeril says just steam them until the bottom leaves pull off easily. Then they get drained and cooled down (I put them into a cold bath of water), and marinated in an olive oil-Balsamic mix with parsley and garlic. They go onto the grill just long enough to heat them back up and char the edges a little. I think next time I will steam them for another 10 minutes or so because they were tougher than we are used to, but the flavor was awesome.

Lee also barbecued pork tri-tip. He fashioned a rub out of Caribbean seasoning, sea salt, garlic salt and pepper and it was really tasty. One daughter brought a baguette of Asiago sourdough bread that she sliced lengthwise, buttered, browned in the toaster oven and topped with Parmesan cheese. We just inhaled that stuff! My other daughter brought homemade zucchini bread that we topped with sliced kiwi and whipped cream. All in all, it was a pretty decadent meal!

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon-Mayonnaise from Emeril Lagasse



4 large artichokes, rinsed well, top third removed, and leaf tips trimmed
1/4 cup salt, plus 1 teaspoon
2 lemons, cut in 1/2
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces herbed goat cheese, crumbled
Grilled Lemon Mayonnaise, recipe follows


Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water. Add 1/4 cup of the salt and bring to a boil.

Rub the cut sides and bottoms of the artichokes with the lemon wedges and carefully add them to the boiling water. Weight the artichokes as necessary with a heavy dish or bowl, and simmer, partially covered, until the bottoms are just tender and can be pierced with a sharp knife and an outer leaf pulls out easily, about 15 minutes. Drain the artichokes upside down in a colander until cool enough to handle.

Cut the artichokes into quarters and discard the prickly purple leaves and hairy choke.

In a bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the artichoke quarters and toss to coat. Let marinate for 2 to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Remove the artichokes from the marinade and grill, turning, until warmed through and lightly charred around the edges, about 5 minutes. Place on a platter and top with the crumbled cheese. Drizzle with the grilled lemon mayonnaise and serve additional mayonnaise on the side for dipping.

Grilled Lemon Mayonnaise:

2 lemons, halved
1 large egg*
2 to 3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne

Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Place the lemon halves, cut sides down, on the grill and cook until charred, about 1 minute.

Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl of a blender or food processor. Add the egg and 1 tablespoon water and process for 20 seconds. With the processor running, slowly pour in the olive and vegetable oils through the feed tube and process until emulsified, adding additional water 1 tablespoon at a time to thin the mayonnaise to drizzling consistency. Add the salt and cayenne pulse to blend.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Miracle miles...

So you know about that weight I've been trying to lose? Well, part of my plan is to walk and every year there is this 10k fundraiser for Family Care Network that raises money for counseling services for foster care kids. The cool thing about it is it goes along our beach from Morro Rock to the Cayucos Pier, a distance of 6.2 miles--how perfect is that?
A group of people from work signed up so I joined the team and invited my sister to do it, too. I shared my page on Facebook and was humbled to receive enough donations to reach my $100 fundraising goal. So cool!
So I set out with a couple thousand other people to do the trek at 8:35am last Saturday. I almost had to give it up about halfway because the arches and heels of my feet were killing me. I figured my only options were to get picked up by an ambulance on the beach or keep going, so I opted for the latter. I discovered if I did a jogging step I could put more weight on my toes and thus relieve the pressure on my heels, so I did the last three miles in that manner. We finished the race in just under 2 hours and were greeted by my sister-in-law Judy, a seasoned runner who entered as an independant. Her time was 49:59...placing 142 overall! Go Judy!
Needless to say I could barely walk for 48 hours following the race, but at least I crossed another item off of my bucket list! I had been wanting to do this walk for quite a while and I will do it again hext year, but I plan to be slimmer then and have better walking shoes.
I went home and soaked my feet and then went layed in bed all afternoon. I enlisted Taylor's help with dinner by asking him to peel potatoes and boil them in a pot. When Lee got home, he mashed them up and made gravy and we had leftover meatloaf with that for dinner. I tried to get Lee to steam some broccoli, but he was tired out so it was all meat and potatoes for this meal. Well, maybe not all...if you remember I put shredded carrots, diced celery and onions into the meatloaf. ; )

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Smoothies for Breakfast

I have been making good use of all those beautiful strawberries that past couple of weeks.
I just mix them in the blender with some greek yogurt and a banana and a scoop of whey protein powder. Sometimes I add a kiwi or two, some honey and juice or milk. This week I had a can of coconut water , which tastes weird by itself but seems to work well in these smoothies. I just kind of dump it all in, give it a whirl and then taste a spoonful. If it needs sweetening, I add honey. If its too thick I add milk. I like to drink my fruit because I can get my daily servings in quickly and feel good about it all day long.


The bottle of olive oil is so cute! It's from Wind Dance Farms and I can't wait to try it in the poached cod recipe.

Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 04/22/2013 - 04/26/2013

First Harvest "Organic" Artichokes, Spinach, Snow Peas, "Organic" Carrots, Red Leaf Lettuce, Broccoli Crowns, Leeks, Haas Avocado's, Cilantro, Vine Ripened Strawberries, Bloom Microgreen Radish Shoots, Tangerines, and "Organic" Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Wind Dance Farms in Avila  

THIS WEEK'S RECIPES (http://www.sloveg.com/recipes.cfm):Fire Roasted Artichokes with Herb Aioli; Artichokes Stuffed with Lemon-Garlic Breadcrumbs; Grilled Chicken and Avocado Napoleon's; Balsamic-Glazed Salmon with
Olives and Golden Raisins; Spinach and Strawberry Salad; Carrots Au Gratin; Chilled Carrot and Orange Soup; Carrot Slaw; Avocado's with Strawberry Salsa and Crispy Tortilla Strips; Shrimp, Mango, and Avocado Salad with Chili-Ginger Vinaigrette; Lemon Broccoli; Roasted Broccoli and Feta Salad; Crunchy Snow Peas with Toasted Almonds; Shrimp and Snow Pea Salad 

Bautista Farms, Bloom Microgreens, Cal Poly Organic Farms, Canyon Ranch Farms, Dr's Veggies, Fair Hills Farms, Garcia Farms Produce, Green Family Farms, Mallard Lake Ranch, Pepper Creek Family Farms, The Fruit Factory , Wind Dance Farms 

See: sloveg.com/recipes

Monday - Tuesday Fresh Fish: Albacore Tuna. View recipes @ www.slofreshcatch.com Wednesday - Friday Fish: Black Cod. Recipe: Poached Cod in Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

See: slofreshcatch.com

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TV dinner

Well, truth be told, they're all TV dinners these days...
At least, that's become the norm for us lately due to my work schedule. When you don't walk in the door until after 7 p.m., its all a rush to make dinner and get some relax time before bedtime, so I try to plan ahead and have things prepped the day before.
On my day off, I took a 3 pound package of ground beef and made 12 meatballs using Italian seasonings and mixed up a meatloaf with the rest of the package. The meatballs when into the freezer after being baked, while the meatloaf went into the frig for cooking the next night. When I got home from work, I first put the meatloaf into the oven at 375 degrees, then started some quinoa in the rice cooker.
Our vegetables would be a crisp dinner salad topped with shredded carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, green onions and sliced fennel with ranch dressing, and roasted asparagus seasoned with olive oil and sea salt. Asparagus is so tasty done this way! That didn't need to go into the oven until 20 minutes before the meatloaf was done, so it allowed me a few minutes to sit and chat with Lee about our day before we ate.

Fava beans and pasta

My friend Donna warned me about those fava beans last week when she got them in her box...you have to peel them twice. They come in a long pod that you pop open on one end, pull out the string along the center and split the pod open to get the beans out. But they need another step, because the real bean is hidden inside a tough outer layer, so you have to blanche them and then slip the tender bean out of the skin. I figured it's my day off, so I have time, so why not?
I prepped the beans by shucking them out of their long green pods. The fava beans are pictured here on the far left of the photo. You can see how big the pods are in comparison to the almonds and the green onions near them. I think I got about 4 or 5 beans out of each pod. This whole baggie of beans netted me about 2 cups of beans, shucked. I put them in the frig until it was time to prepare dinner. 
I brought a pot of water to a boil, then added the beans. I let them boil for just a couple of minutes, then drained off the water and dumped the beans into another container of iced cold water. Now to slip off the outer skin. 
Actually, Lee came along at just the right time to rope him into it. I said, "Hey check out these beans, see how the skins come off and there is another little bright green bean there?" So he checks it out. Then I asked if he thought he could skin the rest of them. "Sure", he said, knowing he got sucker into this one. 
After all, I had a sauce to make and pasta to cook. I had added the spaghetti to boiling water and attempted to follow the directions from the SLO Veg recipe for "Fettucine with Fava Beans".
Lee was reading me off the recipe as I was cooking some bacon and trying not to burn it all up. I didn't have any heavy cream, so I substituted buttermilk. It immediately curdled. I see now I was just supposed to add it to the spaghetti along a bit of pasta water, but I still had the heat on when I mixed it with the water without the noodles in there. I stirred it like crazy, then added some Parmesan cheese, which clumps together in a gooey mess. Oh well, its cheese balls now. I sauteed some of the beet greens I still had in the frig and added some onion and garlic, then the fava beans. It all cooked for a couple of minutes with a scoop of pasta water, then I drained the pasta and mixed it all together. Well, it tasted fine even if I did mess up the sauce. I swear next time I will just use a jar of Alfredo...
I had also cook some Italian sausages, so the pasta was served with sliced sausage and a glass of Chardonnay. The fava beans were sweet, buttery-like morsels in the dish, an accent really. They were a bit of work, and next time I think I will just boil them and serve them as a side with a little cheese on top.

Recipes through SLO Veg

Fettuccine with Fresh Fava Beans and Pancetta (Fava Beans) 

Servings: 4-6   Level: Easy   Cook Time: 15 Minutes.

2 pounds fresh fava beans, in their shells 
1 pound dried fettuccine 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1 medium onion, chopped 
1/4 pound thinly sliced pancetta, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1/2 head escarole, torn into bite-size pieces 
2 tablespoons heavy cream 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for 
passing if desired
Directions: Shell the fava beans and blanch in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, slip off the tough outer skin of the beans. Discard skins and reserve beans on the side. Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the fettuccine, stirring often, until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pancetta and cook until the onion is soft and the pancetta begins to crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the favas and escarole to the pancetta and cook until the beans are tender, about 5 minutes. When the pasta is al dente, drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta, reserved cooking liquid, and heavy cream to the fava mixture and cook, tossing to mix thoroughly, until everything is heated through. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with 2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano and serve immediately. Pass the extra grated cheese at the table.  

*****I had to google some information on Fava beans, since I saw a note one one of the recipes warning about a sometimes fatal food allergy reaction people of Mediterranean descent have had to raw fava beans. Since I basically cook the beans twice, I guess I needn't worry about it. There is a lot of information here. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Albacore, the meaty fish

We got two big chunks of albacore. I decided to slice them into one-inch thick steaks and grill them in a pan with butter and olive oil. I used a Spice Hunters seafood blend that had citrus notes and added sea salt for a quick seasoning. The fish went into one pan, and some Swiss chard went into another. I cooked the fish for about 5 minutes on each side, which might have been a bit long. You can serve albacore on the rare side, but ours was well done, and it was delicious! A radish and a kiwi were added to compliment the meal and make it more complete.

I used the Swiss chard recipe from SLO Veg:

Box 4/18

Got another lovely box full of fruits and veggies this week from SLO Veg. Two bunches of asparagus, one I will either grill or steam, the other I want to chop and use in a pasta. Nice orange carrots, english peas, celery, green onion, sprouts, lettuce, radishes, strawberries, oranges, kiwi, almonds! I am thinking anout some Asian dishes here!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Simple salad w Romaine

Romaine lettuce, fresh and crisp, makes the best dinner salad, especially when paired with a few morsels of roasted beets. I had to use grated Parmesan, however. I wish I had some shaved Parmesan on hand, but that will be on a rare visit to the grocery store. Topped with a scattering of diced green onion and homemade Ranch dressing, the salad was inviting and satisfying.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

English Peas, Braised Red Cabbage with Meat Loaf and Baked Russet Potatoes

I had all day to think about dinner. I knew I was going to cook the red cabbage, but I needed an onion. Usually I buy a bag of onions and they seem to last forever, but the thing is, with SLO Veg delivering a box of vegetables to my doorstep every week, I don't hang out in the grocery stores as much anymore. When I did make a run on Sunday, it was just for beer and cat litter.

Also this morning, I took out some chicken legs and defrosted them, then put them in a green chili marinade (the same one I made the other day for our company dinner, the Tex-Thai one). Then I spent part of the afternoon (it's my day off) browsing recipes and blogs and such. There are soooo many recipes I want to try. I need to plan my week of dinner menus. Thursday is easy, it's fish night. But what else? A fennel and grapefruit salad, hmmm. English peas with bacon--wait! English Peas? I still have some of those, too.
Look at those beautiful green pearls!
They have to be shucked, so I sat down and did it while I was browsing the internet and watching cooking shows. What I got was big, beautiful green peas! Oh, my! I tasted one raw. It was sweet, just a little too green tasting. I will boil them and slather them in butter and some tarragon or something, I thought...and lemon zest!

Okay, scrap the chicken for tonight. I can pan-fry it tomorrow, or bake it...might take an hour, but it will be easy after I work a 12 hour day. Tonight we will have meat loaf, baked potatoes and peas, and braised cabbage. That's a better plan, so we can have leftover meat loaf in our lunches. So I defrosted a chunk of ground beef and then ran down to the corner market for an onion and some baking-sized potatoes. I didn't feel like going into a huge grocery store for a couple of items, so I stopped in at the Mexican Market. It wasn't crowded and I could park right in front of the entrance.

Their produce was clear in the back, past the meat counter. Their variety of meats looked appealing. I will have to remember that. I came to the corner with all the fresh produce: cilantro, peppers, Mexican onions, tomatillos. Oh, there was a box on large white onions, and a box of yellow ones. I think I will get a couple of yellow onions. Another box had some nice Russet potatoes, so I selected four largish ones for baking. No prices were listed anywhere near the produce. When I sent to the check out counter, I was surprised it cost under $2. The onion was .71 and four potatoes cost just 1.21...wow! The farmers can't be making anything on those potatoes!

Green peas, meatloaf, braised red cabbage and russet potatoes.

I got home and scrubbed up the potatoes, then dried them and rubbed softened butter all over. A little dab o olive oil went on top of that, and I coated the top in coarse salt and ground pepper. Those went into a 375 degree oven and would need at least an hour to bake. The meat loaf mixing came next: 1/4 cup each of chopped onion and chopped celery (shhh! don't tell the boys--they hate celery), minced mint and basil leaves, five or six shakes of Worchestershire sauce, a sprinkling of garlic salt, lemon pepper and dried oregano, an egg, a half cup of bread crumbs, and a squeeze of ketchup. That's it, and I didn't measure a thing. I put it into the oven just 5 minutes after the potatoes went in and it was just now 5:35 pm. I figured an hour and it would all be done.

I sauteed some sliced rings of the onion in olive oil and then added the chopped cabbage on top. I let it cook down for a few minutes, stirring to coat the cabbage with oil, then added a cup of chicken broth and a quarter cup of red wine vinegar. The lid went on and that was that. Just toward the end of the cooking time, I added one sliced apple and seasoned it with salt. The peas went into a saucepan and were covered with water. I brought the water to a boil and turn the heat to low and let them simmer for 10 minutes. Then I drained off the water, added a sliced of butter and some lemon zest for good measure.

The menfolk came home and dinner was just coming out of the oven. The meat loaf was browned and the potatoes were perfectly flakey inside their crisp skins. We dressed the potatoes with sour cream and SLO Veg green onions. How perfect is that?

Apple Crisp!

We have been getting some delicious apples each week in the SLO Veg box, beautiful Gala apples, I think. But for some reason, they were still hanging out in my fruit basket. This morning I thought, I'd better make something with those apples before they turn to mush!

Pie? No, I didn't feel like making a crust. Apple Ambrosia? Well, maybe. I am making pork chops for dinner, and that would go well with them. But I was already planning to saute an apple to serve with the chops. Then inspiration hit me! Apple crisp! No crust, just apples, cinnamon and sugar and a crumble crust. So easy. So I started peeling apples. I put a cup of cold water and a tablepoon of lemon juice into my mixing bowl and sliced the peeled apples into the bath. When I had peel and slice about 6 apples, I used my hands to mix them around, coating them in the lemon-water. Then I drained off the water and stirred in some sugar (about a quarter cup) and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

I made a crumble topping out of a cup of brown sugar, one stick of softened butter, another teaspoon of cinnamon and a cup of oats. I mixed that up thoroughly and then dropped it on top of the apples. The dish went into a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. It is really good served with vanilla ice cream!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Roasted Red Beet Salad

There is a little Mediterranean cafe in town that makes a delicious beet salad that is sweet and tangy and minty and so refreshing! I have made it my mission to recreate that salad as best I can. I began by roasting the beets in a foil packet after they had been scrubbed and trimmed off the tops and bottom root. Four beets were drizzled with olive oil and coarse salt, then roasted in a 400 degree oven for an hour. That was yesterday. I took the packet out and let it cool, then I slipped the entire thing into a plastic bag so it wouldn't leak all over the refrigerator and let it chill overnight. 
This morning I researched some recipes in search of inspiration. I found one on the Food Network site for Roasted Beets with Lemon, so I mixed up their dressing in a jelly jar and tasted it. Lemon, sugar, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Mmmmmm...pretty good, but I wanted a bit more tang. I looked at my vinegars: Balsamic, White, and Apple Cider. Ooops, the cider one was down to the last drop, so let's move on to the white vinegar. I added about a tablespoon, put the lid back on my little jar and gave it a shake. Not Bad! 

Okay, so I opened the packet of beets and slipped off their skins, then quartered them on a plate to contain the juices. The beet quarters were beautifully firm and tempting!

     I went outside to my box planters and plucked a sprig of mint that has faithfully survived despite my neglectful attendance to it. I gave it a quick rinse in the sink and plucked off each leaf, about a dozen in all. It might be a little heavy on the mint for four beets, but I am using it all anyway.

     I poured out a little bit of dressing onto the beets right on the plate and stirred it around with the mint. I guess I made a little too much dressing, but I can save it for another salad this week in my jelly jar. I put the beets into a glass dish, juices and all, where they can marinate a bit and we will eat them for dinner tonight. I just had to taste one!


4 red or yellow beets
olive oil
coarse salt

Trim the tops and bottoms of the beets and scrub them with a vegetable brush, the dry them with a paper towel. Put the beets on piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle salt on top. Wrap the packet up tightly so it won't leak. Put it on a baking sheet or dish and baked in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Chill and then slip the peels off the beets. Quarter the beets and then cut each quarter in half for some nice bite-sized morsels.

Lemon Dressing
Zest and Juice of one lemon
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbs white vinegar
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp fresh mint leaves, chopped

Put all ingredients in a jelly jar and tightened the lid, then shake vigorously for a several seconds. Pour over beets and stir in the mint leaves. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator. 
*Note: you can cook the beet greens later or feed them to your Bearded Dragon, if you have one. We used to, but she got old and passed on. I got so many greens this week, the beet greens are going into the compost pile.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Leftovers make a tasty breakfast!

Leftover brats, leftover sweet potato slices...perfect combo for a breakfast scramble!
All I had to do was cut the sausage and potatoes into smaller chunks, then heat them in a pan with a little dab of coconut oil and the tail end of my large green onions, sliced thin. We have been experimenting with coconut oil for a couple of months now, and it sure adds a nice flavor to everything. I had some coconut milk leftover from this week's cooking conconctions, so I whisked a dollop of milk into my 4 farm-fresh eggs and scrambled them in another pan. I finished it off with a few shakes of coarse salt and fresh ground pepper. This slightly sweet and savory dish was the result!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Collard Greens! Its not our Friday Night Pizza in a Box!

Collard greens and beer brats, that's what this is. We still had some Collard Greens, so I figured what better to pair with the brats than that? Lee came in from work and sat down at the computer, so I enlisted his help. 
"Find me a recipe for collard greens, honey." He obliged me, and first one up was Melissa D'Arabian's Braised Collard Greens. 
"It takes a hour for this one, pass," Lee says. 
"By the time you take a shower, it'll almost be ready", I promised.

So I browned the brats in a little oil, then added a bottled of beer and let them simmer in a covered saucepan. I tried to follow the collard recipe, but first of all I didn't have any bacon, but I did have some reserved bacon grease in the frig. So I heated a generous dab of grease (for flavor!) and set about getting the greens cooked. The grease melted and I added red pepper flakes (the same kind you get with a box of pizza) and some smashed garlic. The recipe didn't call for onion, but I had a half of one in the frig so I figured why not? Next I added the sliced up collard greens and let them wilt. A half cup of chicken broth went into the pan, then I put the lid on and set it to medium-low heat.

About that time I got to thinking that we need some spaghetti noodles or something else to go with the brats. Hmmmm, I found some red lentils in the pantry. Reading the directions on the packet, it said 12 minutes. That will work! So I mad a batch of lentils, incorporating more red pepper and some red wine in the dish. 

By the time my husband came downstairs, dinner was ready to be dished up. I served it in pasta bowls and sliced the brats on top of the lentils and greens. Lee found a movie on the telly and we sat down to enjoy "Dark Shadows" with Johnny Depp.


2 strips bacon, cut into small lardons
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 large bunch collard greens, stemmed and sliced into 1-inch strips
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the bacon in a deep saute pan on medium-high heat until crisp, then set aside, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic and lemon zest, and saute until fragrant. Add the collard greens and cook until they begin to wilt. Add the chicken stock and 1/2 cup water and cover, lowering the heat to a simmer. Let cook until the greens are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover, add back the bacon, raise the heat to medium-high, and reduce the liquid by one-quarter, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.

1 cup Red Lentils
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 c red wine
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

heat oil in pan; add lentils and toss to coat, about one minute. Add broth, wine and seasoning. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat until tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes. 

This week's box has some new surprises!

The most exciting thing this week is Asparagus! We will eat it right away with the fresh fish. We also got big, juicy strawberries, some grapefruit, kiwi, apples red beets, swiss chard, English peas, Romaine lettuce, green onions and a special treat, Pistachios! Mmmmm, just wanted to eat those up, but I want to use them in a recipe, so I hid them from the boys right away.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Poaching Cod and Asparagus

I had been thinking about poaching fish as a quick and easy preparation of our weekly offerings from SLO Veg and SLO Fresh Catch, so when I discovered that some asparagus would be included in this week's tote, I had just the recipe lined up. I found it on EatingWell.com, a website that has become my favorite go-to recipe resource online. Poached Cod and Asparagus was perfect! The hard part is making the beurre blanc, and technique-wise, I failed. Thing is, I don't think the boys knew that, so definately, what they don't know won't hurt them!

First things first, though. I still had cauliflower from last week that needed to be cooked, so I broke it down into florets, gave it a dousing of olive oil and put it into a 375 Degree oven. Then I started on the beurre blanc sauce. I used the Hearst Ranch Chardonnay, because that's all we had. I mean, it was perfect, but seriously I'd rather drink it than cook with it. I was just in too much of a hurry to get done and relax tonight. I wanted to sit down and enjoy American Idol!

So I put my slaves to work for their food. I gave Lee a basket of kiwi, which was actually last week's fruit. We got more this week. I am going to have to start making smoothies with them. Anyway, Lee figured out an inventive method for peeling the kiwi--he cut off each end, then slipped a spoon between the skin and twisted it around in a circle. A perfectly peeled kiwi popped out! Taylor's task was to wash and quarter the strawberries. He was drooling over them, so I told him to eat one if he had to...we got two baskets! Lee added a quartered orange and a fruit salad was born. All the dressing it required was a little dash of lime and some honey. Now our fish and cauliflower wouldn't look so pale all alone!

The recipe below from Eating Well details the steps. I think I used too much cornstarch because I had to thin it down with water (I wasn't about to use more wine--that went into my glass). I put the butter in before I strained it, also--dumb! Oh well, i 'll do better next time when I am not so rushed. The aspapragus and fish was easy. I basically layed it in the pan, put a lid on it and forgot about it for 5 or 6 minutes.

I missed the opening of American Idol, but we DVR'd it so no problem. I got to eat some delicious food and have a stellar wine, so no complaints here. Bon appetit!



Poached Cod & Asparagus
In this recipe,we poach the cod right on top of the asparagus. The result is perfectly cooked cod and tender-crisp asparagus. The sauce is our take on beurre blanc—a traditional French sauce made with wine and lots of butter. Ours uses a little cornstarch for thickening and a judicious amount of butter for flavor.
From EatingWell: March/April 2011 Yield: 4 servings Active Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes Ingredients
1 lemon,divided 1 cup dry white wine 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon thinly sliced shallot 1 bay leaf 5 whole black peppercorns 1 1/4 pounds cod (see Tip),cut into 4 equal portions 1/2 teaspoon salt,divided 1/4 teaspoon ground white or black pepper 4 sprigs fresh tarragon 1 1/2 bunches asparagus (about 1 1/2 pounds),trimmed 1/2 cup water 2 tablespoons butter
1. Juice half the lemon into a small saucepan; reserve the other half. Whisk in wine and cornstarch until combined. Add shallot,bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook,stirring occasionally,until thickened and reduced by about half,10 to 12 minutes. 2. Meanwhile,sprinkle cod with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place a tarragon sprig on each portion. Thinly slice the remaining lemon half and lay the slices over the tarragon. 3. Place asparagus in an even layer in a large skillet. Add 1/2 cup water. Place the cod on top of the asparagus. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and cook until the asparagus is tender and the fish is cooked through,4 to 5 minutes. 4. Strain the reduced sauce through a sieve into a bowl. Return it to the pan. Over low heat,swirl butter into the sauce 1 tablespoon at a time until melted. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remove from the heat. 5. Serve the fish and asparagus topped with the sauce.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Southwestern Thai Chicken Salad

Tonight is salad night utilizing some chicken breasts leftover from Monday's company dinner. My two grown daughters came over for dinner, and I always try to make something special for them. I also made Sweet and Sour Pork, which I have featured earlier in this blog, so I won't go into that now. I served the grilled chicken and the sweet and sour pork with white rice as an additional entree and had steamed edamame pods for an appetizer. I had planned to grill some sweet potatoes, as well, but decided there was already enough on the plate. Then I just had so much fun visiting that I forgot to take any pictures of the food, so here is the remake, salad style.
I also wanted to use my sweet potatoes, so I peeled a couple and sliced them into about a quarter of an inch thick slices. (Actually, I asked Lee to peel them--I wanted to sit down to eat in time for American Idol. Love that Amber!) I boiled the sweet potatoes in a small amount of water for 5 minutes, just until tender, then grilled them on a stovetop griddle with olive oil for a couple of minutes to mark them. I transferred the potato slices to a plate and sprinkled them with a Thai seasoning blend from Spice Hunters.
I tore about half a head of Romaine lettuce from the SLO Veg box into smaller, bite sized pieces and rinsed them in the salad spinner basket and spun them dry. Then I arranged the lettuce on our dinner plates. I heated up bowls of rice and canned kidney beans and canned corn in the microwave, then spooned that out in layers on the lettuce. The chicken breasts, already cut into cubes and warmed for a minute in the microwave, went on top of that. I mixed up some more of the green chili-coconut marinade to use as salad dressing and drizzled it over the entire plates of salad, the topped it all with a shredded Mexican cheese blend (Jack and Cheddar).

The hardest part of this meal was peeling the kiwis. (If anyone knows an easy way to do it, please let me know!) Some sliced kiwis dressed up one side of the plates in lieu of mango suggested in the Tex Thai Chicken recipe. I think that was a perfect substitution given that we received so many kiwis from the tote lately...not complaining at all! I put sweet potato slices and some tomato quarters on the other side for a balance of fruit and vegetables.
The sweet potatoes added a nice savory touch to this meal. The Thai seasoning was a nice compliment to the green chili-coconut dressing, which could become a favorite in this house! See below for how it's made--same thing as the marinade. Also, I used mint from my planters out front in the marinade. It's the one herb that is tough enough to survive my neglect.
Anyway, here is how you make the chicken breasts. I cut mine in half lengthwise, and then quarters, more like chicken strips. The breasts were so large they were more than one person could eat and also I wanted more marinade on all the surfaces. This is one recipe the boys say, "Never make this again!"

Tex-Thai Chicken Breasts ingredients from the BHG.com recipe website:
3/4 cup bottled green salsa
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 green onion, chopped (2 Tbsp.)
1 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon green curry paste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1-1/4 lb. total)
Chopped mango
Chopped cucumber
Fresh mint (optional)
1. For marinade, in a blender or food processor combine salsa, coconut milk, green onion, lime peel and juice, cilantro, mint, curry paste, ginger, soy sauce, and garlic. Cover and blend or process until nearly smooth. Remove 1/3 cup of the mixture for sauce; cover and chill until serving time.
2. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Pour remaining marinade over chicken; seal bag. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, turning bag occasionally. Drain chicken, reserving marinade.
3. For a charcoal grill, grill chicken on rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F), turning once and brushing with reserved marinade halfway through grilling. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and grill as above.) Serve chicken with mango and cucumber. Drizzle with reserved 1/3 cup marinade mixture. If desired, garnish with mint. Makes 4 servings.

Not Exactly a Tuesday Night Pot Roast

Well, I roasted vegetables and a big slab of beef, but not in a pot. I did it in the oven. I had a top sirloin roast, about two inches thick, and I knew it need a little bit of time to cook and tenderize. So that went into a small, rectangular Pyrex baking dish (7X11), seasoned with oliv...e oil, coarse salt, fresh ground pepper, Italian seasoning blend and a can of Italian stewed tomatoes poured on top. I added several shakes of Worchestershire sauce and then covered the dish with foil and popped it into the oven set at 350 Degrees. It was already 5:30 in the evening, so I was just hoping for the best.

Next I prepared my vegetables. I covered a baking sheet in foil and smeared some olive oil on it. Then I washed and dried some small red potatoes, fresh carrots and turnips, and a few stalks of the gigantic head of cauliflower from the SLO Veg box. (I still have about half of the cauliflower left for another meal!) The vegies were layed out on the baking sheet and drizzled with more olive oil, then seasoned with coarse salt, ready to roast!

By now it was 6 o'clock and I figured I would start the roasting process with the vegies in about 15 more minutes, so I washed up they day's dishes. A few minutes later, into the oven went my vegies on a lower rack. No hurry today...I poured myself a glass of white wine and waited for Lee to walk through the front door.

"Yay! Daddy's home!" The kitties go running to the door before I even realize Lee is home. I swear they are more like dogs as they demand his attention, following him around the kitchen and upstairs where he showers and changes before dinner. "'Meow! Meow! Pet me, Master!" They wail at him until he complies with their wishes.  All this fuss, and I'm the one who cleaned their litter box earlier today!

At 7 o'clock, I check things out. Time to remove the foil from the meat and let it brown up on top. My cauliflower has browned on the tips, and the carrots look done as well, so I remove them to another platter and cover them with some foil (the same piece of foil I just took off of the pot roast!). Another 15 minutes...then I take the meat out of the oven and put it on a serving platter. The potatoes and turnips still can stay in the oven for a little longer while I make some sort of a gravy from the meat juices. I start the gravy with a generous pat of butter and sprinkle in about a quarter cup of flour and stir it with a whisk. When it smooths out, I pour in the pan juices and bring it to a boil. I taste it and think it needs something more, but what? I know! I have just enough white wine to refill my glass and then I pour about a quarter cup, maybe almost a half cup, into the gravy as I drain the wine bottle completely. A few swirls with the whisk, a taste test, and voila! Dinner's ready!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Getting Our Veg On with Turkey Chop Suey

Leftover turkey + lotsa vegies = Turkey Chop Suey, just like Mom used to make after Thanksgiving! Just in time for Taylor's game night, too.

I had cooked a small turkey earlier in the week with chop suey in mind later on. So on the way home from work this afternoon I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some mushrooms and sweet red peppers to augment the vegies I already had, plus the required bean sprouts. I shopped at Spencers, which always has good produce, and they didn't disappoint me today. Peppers and mushrooms were on sale! I might mention I am spending much less in the grocery stores lately, partly because I make fewer trips, and partly because I have such a great supply of vegies from SLO Veg! Today's foray into the grocery store took me over to the meat counter, where I found chicken and pork on sale. I stocked up on pork chops and country-style ribs, boneless chicken breasts, ground beef and a beef pot roast. I envision a pot roast with carrots and turnips in our near future! But back to the leftover turkey! I carved and picked off what was left of the breast meat and put the rib carcass into my large stockpot and set it to boil. As I cleaned off the legs and thighs, I separated meat from bones, adding more bones to the pot. I ended up with a nice bowl full of cubed meat, about 3 cups worth, and put it aside while I prepared the vegies. I sliced celery and carrots on a diagonal and put them into a wok. I also sliced a whole red pepper into strips and put that into the wok. To that I added about 3 Tbs grated fresh ginger, 2 cloves minced garlic, and one of those big green onions. Using 2 tbs of coconut oil, I stirfried the vegies for a few minutes. Then I removed all of the bones from the stockpot and disgarded them. Mmmmmm, that broth smelled good. To put it all together, I dumped all the stirfried vegies into the pot of broth, then added the mushrooms and bean sprouts. I also added on can each of water chestnuts, bamboos shoots and baby corn, drained of course. I turned the heat off, because the broth was already so hot and the vegies didn't need anymore cooking. Okay, now I was ready to give my attention to the meat. Since it was already cooked, I just wanted to warm it up and give it some Asian infusion. I put the meat into the same wok as I had used for the vegies and added about a half-cup of soy sauce. I stirred it around so the juice could soak into the meat, then seasoned it with ginger, garlic and Chinese Five-Spice--just a few light shakes! I have learned to not over-indulge in the five-spice! When the turkey meat was heated through, I put it into the vegie pot, and after a quick check of the rice in the steamer, announced to the boys that dinner was ready.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Perfect! Chocolate cake in the microwave, and I have strawberries for that!

Five-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake - iVillage

Here is tonight's dessert: the 5 minute Chocolate Mug Cake topped with Strawberries. It hit the spot, even though I lacked the garnishes (whipped cream or vanilla ice cream).

I sliced up some of those delicious Bautista Farms strawberries and stirred in a little brown sugar while the microwave worked magic on the cakes.

I used almond flour in place of wheat flour, and coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. I also didn't have any chocolate chips to add, but it hit the spot anyway. In all, not a bad 5 minute dessert!

Single Serving Chocolate Mug Cake:
4 Tbs flour
4 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs cocoa
1 egg
3 Tbs milk
1 Tbs oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Using a coffee mug, mix dry ingredients, then stir in egg, milk and oil, then vanilla. Place in microwave and cook on high for 3 minutes. The batter may rise to the top, but it will drop down as it cools. Top with sugared strawberries and your favorite accompaniments and enjoy!

Getting Our Green On!

Yep, we got our Greens this week!
Our box includes
 Collard greens, Turnip greens, Fennel greens...

Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 04/01/2013 - 04/05/2013
Spinach, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Sweet Onions, "Organic" Carrots, "Organic" Purple Top Turnips, Green Leaf Lettuce, Garnet Yams, Fennel, Vine Ripened Strawberries, Naval Oranges, and Tangelo-Tangerines 

THIS WEEK'S RECIPES (http://www.sloveg.com/recipes.cfm):
Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing; Spinach, Strawberry, and Hearts of Palm Salad; Egg, Ham and Spinach Pizza; Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette; Cauliflower Goat Cheese Gratin; Brisket with Carrots and Onions; Braised Carrots and Fennel; Grilled Fennel Salad with Oranges; Blue Cheese Coleslaw; Pot Roast with Caramelized Carrots and Onions; Turnip Gratin; Glazed Carrots and Turnips; Braised Cabbage and Turnips; Yams with Toasted Spice Rub; Roasted Yams with Crème Friache and Chives; Strawberry Shortcake; Strawberry Panna Cotta with Strawberries and Honey; Citrus Muffins; Angry Shrimp with Citrus Spinach Salad

Bautista Farms, Cal Poly Organic Farms, Dr's Veggies, Martinon Farms, Rocking Chair Ranch, The Fruit Factory  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

So sometimes I cheat a little....Alfredo from a jar

This is not exactly what I came home to tonight. This is definately the cleaned-up version. I walked in to last night's greasy roasting pan in one side of my sink and this mornings dishes and all of our lunchbox containers in the other side. I must confess: I can't work like that. I mean, I just don't have any extra counter space to spare. Normally, I jump right in and clean things up, then start dinner, but tonight I had an inspiration. "Hey Honey! How about you wash up these dishes and then I will make dinner?" Luckily, my Hubby knows which side his bread is buttered on. He washed the dishes with minimal protestation. I helped myself to a glass of Merlot. 

I had cooked a small turkey yesterday with the plan of leftovers in mind. We had turkey, mashed red potatoes, gravy and peas for dinner, and again for our lunch today. But there was plenty of leftover turkey meat. I had put about 1-1/2 cups of turkey trimmings into a ziplock baggie last night, and that would be the basis of tonight's meal, although that SLO Veg broccoli would be the star. Tonight I made Turkey-Broccoli-Mushroom Alfredo. 
I started with one head of broccoli, cutting it in to florets. Then I decided, twice as much broccoli is better than one, so I cut up another head. I had about a half basket of mushrooms left, so I sliced  them up, along with a small end of an onion, about a quarter cup.

I felt like it was cheating a little bit because I used a store-bought Alfredo sauce. I  know, I know, I could have made it from scratch, but some times you have to go with convience and economics. A jar of Classico Alfredo was on sale 3 for $5. Yeah. Oh well. I used fresh vegies, so there is the balance. I started with a bit of onion, diced up. That went into a saute pan with some butter. I smashed and minced a small clove of garlic, too. After they wilted a bit, I stirred in the sliced mushrooms and saute it for another minute or so. The brown rice pasta went into a boiling pot of water, and after about 5 minutes I threw the broccoli into the bath. I let it cook for about 3 minutes while I poured the Alfredo sauce and the leftover turkey into my mushroom and onion mixture, added just a little bit of water (1/2 cup?) and heated it all up. 

When the pasta was al dente, I drained it in the sink and poured the noodles and broccoli into the Alfredo mixture. My pasta dishes come in so handy for nights like this: I served it in these cute bowls and topped it with some fresh Parmesan cheese. Delicious, hearty pasta dish with a fresh component. Nobody was cheated in this deal!

Green Salad and Turkey leftovers: Last night's dinner is today's scrumtious lunch

Last night's dinner was today's scrumptious lunch: Roasted turkey, mashed red potatoes, gravy and green peas.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Fruit, Vegetable, Herb, and Juice List for 04/01/2013 - 04/05/2013 THIS WEEK'S TOTE INCLUDES:
Spinach, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Sweet Onions, "Organic" Carrots, "Organic" Purple Top Turnips, Green Leaf Lettuce, Garnet Yams, Fennel, Vine Ripened Strawberries, Naval Oranges, and Tangelo-Tangerines 

THIS WEEK'S RECIPES (http://www.sloveg.com/recipes.cfm):
Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing; Spinach, Strawberry, and Hearts of Palm Salad; Egg, Ham and Spinach Pizza; Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette; Cauliflower Goat Cheese Gratin; Brisket with Carrots and Onions; Braised Carrots and Fennel; Grilled Fennel Salad with Oranges; Blue Cheese Coleslaw; Pot Roast with Caramelized Carrots and Onions; Turnip Gratin; Glazed Carrots and Turnips; Braised Cabbage and Turnips; Yams with Toasted Spice Rub; Roasted Yams with Crème Friache and Chives; Strawberry Shortcake; Strawberry Panna Cotta with Strawberries and Honey; Citrus Muffins; Angry Shrimp with Citrus Spinach Salad

Bautista Farms, Cal Poly Organic Farms, Dr's Veggies, Martinon Farms, Rocking Chair Ranch, The Fruit Factory 


This week's box is especially exciting, because we are getting Fennel and Yams. I will have to pick up another ham before they go off sale. We had a ham dinner for Easter at my sister's house, and I made a yam casserole with brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and orange slices. The orange sort of infused into the dish while it baked, resulting in a savory syrup and tender yams...yummo! I need to try that again when we get more than just one serving! Also want to try the suggested grilled Fennel Salad with Oranges. Spinach salad with Bacon dressing is one of my favorites, and I am sure a few strawberries tossed into the mix won't hurt a bit. Might try the Citrus muffins and substitute some almond flour for an experiment. Cauliflower Goat Cheese Gratin sounds intriguing, as well. Lots of possiblities this week!

Killer Strawberry Vinaigrette, stir fried Bok Choy and Sugar Snap Peas, with Basil Butter Chicken

So I was browsing through the SLO Veg recipe file, looking for something to do with strawberries. I found a strawberry green salad with a strawberry vinaigrette and decided that was the ticket. That, and some stir fried sugar snap peas with bok choy. Oh, yeah, and the main entree thing: whole chicken legs. Probably better start them first.

So I lined a baking sheet with foil, drizzled the chicken with olive oil and seasoned it with a blend of salt, pepper and garlic powder (Santa Maria seasoning). Then I read a grilled chicken recipe and decide to brush the chicken with melted butter and diced fresh basil, and lemon pepper. Into a 375 degree oven you go.
Strawberry vinaigrette gets a little help from the Hearst Ranch "Julia" Rose wine.
Now it was time to play with the vinaigrette. The recipe called for 2 teaspoons Strawberry jam, 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar, 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper to taste. So that how it started out. I put the jam into a saucepan and tried to melt it down. I decided it needed some liquid, so I added a splash of water. When it had dissolved into a syrup of sorts, I put it into the blender and whisked it up. Then I drizzled in about a 1/4 cup of EVOO while the blender was running to emulsify it, added some a shake or two of Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Now for the taste test: Lee? He tried it, thinking. More vinegar, I prompted? Mmmhummmm. Okay, so I added another shot of Balsamic vinegar and whirred some more, then tasted. I think I need some mustard, Dijon mustard. So a squirt of mustard went into the blender and I whirred some more. Taking a teaspoon, I offered another taste to the hub. "That's good," he proclaimed. It might be missing something, but I can't place it. The color was a mocha brown, also. Oh well. Okay, I will add a splash of lemon juice. How about that? "It's good, don't mess with it anymore," Lee said. Of course I didn't listen. I thought it was still a little blah...well, not exactly blah, just not quite zingy enough. Oh, maybe some of this delicious Rose wine I have been sipping on would help it out, so I poured in a generous splash of that, and added a couple shakes of dried Basil, for good measure. Now what does he think? KILLER! Should've used wine instead of water with the jam in the first place, I am thinking.In all, it made about a cup of vinaigrette, enough for more salads this week.

Both ends of the snap peas are cut off along with the strings.
Next, I rinsed my bok choy in the salad spinner, after cutting off the bottoms of the bunches. I cut the stem parts up into 1/2 inch pieces and the leafy parts into 1/4 inch ribbons. Next, I rinsed and trimmed the sugar snap peas, tearing out the strings. I pulled Lee's wok pan out of the back of the cabinet and added a small amount of oil to the pan. Then I diced up two slices of onion, two cloves of garlic and a couple of slices of fresh ginger. Those would infuse into my oil when the time comes.

Now, the salad: I rinsed a basket of strawberries and cut the top off, then quartered each berry. I took about 6 leaves of curly leaf lettuce and rinsed it in the salad spinner, then tore each leaf into bite-sized pieces. Then lettuce went into individual salad bowls, topped with the strawberries. The vinaigrette would go on top just before serving.

Salad spinner is my best friend for rinsing all the greens!
I check the chicken which has been baking for almost an hour. Needs a little more browning and crisping of the skin, I decide. Perfect. Time to start the stir fry. So I heat the oil and scoop the onion, garlic and ginger that I had pre-diced into the wok. I let that cook for about 2 or 3 minutes, then I scooped it all out so it wouldn't burn. Then I added the chopped stems and sugar snap peas and let them cook in the oil for a couple of minutes. Next, a generous pour of soy sauce and then I put the onions and garlic back into the mix, but I discard the ginger. I just didn't want to dice it up finer. I let the vegies cook in the juice for about 3 more minutes, then turned off the heat. A little grind of pepper and shake of sea salt finished the dish. I check the chicken, using the meat thermometer...170 degrees, just right! Dinner is on!
Green salad and strawberries with Strawberry Vinaigrette, stir fried Bok Choy and Sugar Snap peas, and Baked Basil Butter Chicken

2 tsp. Strawberry Jam, plus a splash of water
2 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 C Rose or White wine
Sea Salt and fresh ground Pepper, to taste

Melt jam over low heat, adding a splash of water to thin. Pour into blender and add Balsamic vinegar, mustard, lemon juice and wine. Blend for a minute, then while still blending, add the olive oil in a thin drizzle until emulsified. Stir in salt and pepper and taste, adjusting if necessary.
Serve with fresh salad greens and quartered strawberries.