mexican chicken noodle soup

April 30, 2015 § 50 Comments


Incredible wonderful Mexican soup.  I found this recipe while scrolling through photographs on Food52 and  just in time for Cinco de Mayo.  It’s a matter of fact we cooked two different Mexican soups this week and I will be sharing the other one soon.  Once again I am preoccupied and slightly obsessed with Mexican food.  We have a tendency to get on this kick once or twice a year and it usually involves spicy soups, enchiladas, molé and various other spicy latin influenced foods.


This is such an invigorating soup.  A bit spicy, but not too much.  It’s very simple to put together once you have the ingredients prepped and ready to go.   The recipe calls for the seeds to be remove from one jalapeño pepper but we removed only 1/2 the seeds to allow a little more heat, feel free to keep them all if you like it hot.  The heat was just enough to linger for a moment until the next spirituous bite. Quinoa pasta may be used to keep it gluten free.  If you do so we found it was best to pre-cook the quinoa pasta and rinse before adding to the soup just to prevent too much starch in the broth.  Oh, and the three of us finished the whole pot of soup in one sitting.  Yes, it’s delicious.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • cup chopped carrot
  • garlic cloves finely chopped
  • pound skinless chicken breast
  • cups chicken stock
  • 1 – 28 ounce can of roasted tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups vermicelli noodles,  angel hair or quinoa pasta broken in small pieces
  • jalapeno pepper (remove seeds) and mince
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
  • teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
  • limes juiced
  • cotija cheese

In dutch oven or soup pot, heat oil on medium heat and add onion, celery, carrots until onions are translucent. Add chopped garlic and jalapeño and stir about one more minute.  Add tomatoes and stock and chicken and bring to boil. Once chicken is cooked, remove from pot, let cool and shred.  Simmer on low heat and put chicken in pot and add noodles (pre-cooked and rinsed if using quinoa pasta), dry spices (salt, pepper, coriander, turmeric and cumin) and juice from two limes. Keep on low heat or remove from heat when noodles are cooked, about 5 minutes.

Serve with  cilantro leaves, slices of lime and crumbled cotija cheese.


shaved asparagus salad with feta and peas

April 27, 2015 § 58 Comments

After taking one bite of this shaved asparagus salad my eyes lit up and despite what I learned as a child I spoke with my mouth full.  Oh my gosh, this is the best salad I’ve ever had… is what I said. DSCN3412 Rarely do I get taken aback with salad.  And honestly I hesitated to even put it together because the thought of eating raw asparagus didn’t really appeal to me. But something about the combination of arugula, peas, feta and pistachios felt right on a warm spring evening.  Don’t let the idea of eating raw asparagus keep you from preparing this salad.  It’s wonderful and enjoying it in the woodshop while the sun was setting deepened the charming appearance of the salad and crisp garden-fresh spirit of the new season. All credit given to Kendra Vaculin for her Food52 recipe. What you’ll need:

  • bunch asparagus, washed and well-dried  (tough ends removed)
  • big handful arugula
  • 1/4 cup green peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
  • 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) deshelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • ounces feta, crumbled
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Good olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Flaky sea salt

Using a potato peeler shave the asparagus into ribbons. Holding the base of the stalk with one hand, run the peeler down to the tip.  I allowed some small tips to remain whole.  Continue, rotating the asparagus 90° each time you shave, until each stalk is shaved through.   Keep the ends to toss in to a stir fry or soup the following evening. Toss asparagus ribbons with arugula, peas, pistachios, and feta. Dress with lemon juice and a generous drizzle of olive oil, and season with fresh ground pepper and a hit of flaky salt. Serve right away.  Shaved asparagus means a lot of vegetable flesh surface area exposed to the elements, which can make your salad soggy if left alone. Don’t assemble this until right before you want to serve.

whole roasted spiced cauliflower

April 23, 2015 § 80 Comments

DSCN3303 I know some of you are thinking not another roasted cauliflower recipe. How many different recipes do we really need for the same vegetable?  But please give me your attention for just a second because I am here to tell you the many wonders of this particular version.  Not only is it in the oven lickety-split to free you up for your other high maintenance dishes you may be preparing, but you could just forego the other dishes and have this for dinner, period. DSCN3307 Other than simplicity of putting this together there are a couple of things  you’ll love about this.  One is the crispy aromatic outer layer.  We went a little heavy on the olive oil  just to achieve this result.  And with the lovely spices there is no denying the alluring aroma that will fill your kitchen – or in our case, the entire house.  Spicy crispy outer layer, soft nutty tender inside, this is why I posted another cauliflower recipe.  The lovely cream sauce kept us dipping until the whole head of cauliflower was finished.

This recipe comes from the beautiful blog An Edible Mosaic.

What you will need:  

c a u l i f l o w e r

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or more to coat the entire head of cauliflower
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground yellow mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • small handful of coarsely torn parsley – for garnish
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, dry roasted and coarsely chopped – for garnish

c r e a m y    s a u c e

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse mustard
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the outer green leaves from the cauliflower and use a paring knife to cut out the core, leaving enough core intact so that the florets stay together. Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and rub generously with the olive oil. Combine all the spices for the cauliflower in a small bowl, and evenly rub the spices onto the oiled cauliflower. Cook until the cauliflower is tender inside and golden outside, about 1 hour 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once halfway through. While the cauliflower is roasting combine creamy sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Cool for 5 minutes and transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish.  For serving either slice the cauliflower into “steaks” or separate the florets. Serve with the creamy sauce for dipping.

enchiladas with red chard and turkey

April 20, 2015 § 47 Comments


It’s unbelievable how often we have enchiladas for dinner.  I’m at the point where start to oven only takes 30 minutes and then after 30 minutes of baking, dinner is on the table.  Most likely the efficient process of putting these together is the reason we have them so often.  No, it has to be because this is a succulent supper and it is sure to satisfy your soul.


When preparing enchiladas it is very helpful to have all your ingredients ready to go.  Prep work is a must.

There are so many ways to fill an enchilada and we switch around the ingredients quite often.  Although these may not be what you would find in Mexico, they are certainly tasty and you’ll love to find them on your dinner table, especially with homemade enchilada sauce.  Once you make your own enchilada sauce you’ll never buy it in a can ever again.  The recipe below is a mild version and you may spice it up with cayenne, chili’s or add jalapeños in chipotle sauce.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 pound ground turkey, chicken or beef
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, or more to your liking
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 bunch red chard, cleaned and diced
  • 3 cups shredded cheese, your choice
  • 1 cup black or green olives, sliced
  • 5 or 6 scallions, sliced
  • 6 – 8 good quality tortillas, corn or flour
  • homemade enchilada sauce or 28 ounce can if you are pressed for time

Prepare homemade enchilada sauce first and set aside.

h o m e m a d e    e n c h i l a d a    s a u c e

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (dried or fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cups vegetable stock

Sauté onion until soft. Add garlic and spices and cook 2 minutes then stir in the flour and and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and whisk until smooth. Add tomatoes and honey and cook 15-20 minutes. You may use your sauce chunky or smooth.  If you would like it smooth either use a hand blender and whizz or transfer ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

e n c h i l a d a s

Preheat oven 350°F.  Heat your choice of oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onions and cook until soft.  Add garlic and spices and cook for one or two minutes.  Add ground turkey, chicken or beef and continue cooking until browned.  Taste and season with sea salt to your liking.  Turn off the heat.

Warm tortillas are easier to work with, they become pliable and will not break when you roll them. Either warm the tortillas individually in a hot skillet and place them in a folded kitchen towel or stack them in foil and place them a 350°F oven for 8-10 minutes.

Rolling your enchiladas. Using one tortilla at a time, layer two large tablespoons of choice meat, sprinkle cheese, olives, and scallions on top and roll.  Place the rolled enchilada, folded side down onto a large baking dish.  Continue the process until you have 6-8 enchiladas packed in tight.  Pour enchilada sauce over the top drenching them all.  Top with the left over olives, scallions and a sprinkling of cheese.  Cover with foil, bake 30 minutes in a 350° oven.

butter leaf lettuce wraps

April 16, 2015 § 49 Comments

DSCN3205 If you are considering cutting out carbs for an evening you might want to consider this for dinner.  We have been working our way through a new cookbook Clean Eats by Alejandro Junger.  This collection of recipes focus on whole organic foods prepared in a simple manner using good fats and healthy cooking techniques. DSCN3206 Clean eating is about enjoying organic unprocessed foods that taste good and nourish you.  And these butter leaf lettuce wraps are a perfect example of eating clean, well combined whole foods.  Although this recipe did not call for spicy ingredients I think it would be lovely with red pepper flakes or finely diced jalapeños. DSCN3198 I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 16 Boston or butter lettuce leaves
  • 1 pound organic pasture-raised ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (recipe included below)
  • 1 – 8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

for the teriyaki sauce

  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup coconut nectar (I omitted this)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons brown rice miso
  • 2 tablespoons water

First, make the sauce.  In a small saucepan, combine the balsamic vinegar, coconut nectar, ginger and pepper.  Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let it cool before stirring in the miso and water.  Set aside. Rinse the whole lettuce leaves and pat them dry, being careful not to tear them.  Set aside. In a medium skillet, brown the chicken or turkey in 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil, stirring often.  Reduce the heat if the meat starts to brown too fast and turn too dark.  With it is cooked through, set it aside to cool. In another skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and sauté the onion, garlic, tamari, ginger and vinegar, and add 1/2 cup of the teriyaki sauce.  Stir until everything is well mixed and turning tender and slightly browned.  Add the water chestnuts, scallions, sesame oil, and browned chicken.  Continue cooking for about 2 minutes. Arrange the lettuce leaves around the outer edges of a large serving platter, and pile the filling mixture in the center of the plate.  Serve allowing each person to spoon a portion of the filling into a lettuce leaf and wrap the leaf around the filling like a burrito.  Dip your wrap in leftover teriyaki sauce.

grilled oysters

April 13, 2015 § 48 Comments


We picked up a dozen Penn Cove oysters the other day and they were beauties. We are very fortunate to live here in the Pacific Northwest where fish and shellfish are fresh and abundant.  I found this little bit of information on the online oyster guide. “Beach-cultured in Samish Bay, then hung in the deep waters of Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove to purge, Penn Cove Oysters are one of the quintessential Northwest oysters, eternally popular. They always have a nice size—four inches or so—gray-green shells, and the crunchy freshness of a salted cucumber.”  What’s not to love?


We placed our oysters cup side down on the hot grill.  In approximately 5 minutes they began to open up and we topped them with a tiny dollop of herbed butter.


Recipes from Bon Appetit Magazine

Knowing a whole stick of herb butter was going to be too much for the three of us I reduced the Bon Appetit recipe by half and made a few other changes:

h e r b    b u t t e r

  • 1/2 cup fresh herb leaves (such as flat-leaf parsley & chives)
  • garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick)  unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt, freshly ground pepper

o y s t e r s

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Scrub oysters. Place, cupped side down, on grate, cover grill, and grill until oysters begin to open, about 5 minutes. Transfer opened oysters to a platter (discard any that do not open). Let cool slightly, then use an oyster knife or screwdriver (we just used a fork) to pry shells open, keeping cupped side down and retaining as much liquid as possible. Using an oyster knife or paring knife (we just used a fork), cut muscles connecting oysters to shells. Serve warm with butter, lemon wedges, and hot sauce.

celery root mash & sauteed cremini mushrooms

April 9, 2015 § 38 Comments


We had a fabulous dinner the other night and I am here to share two side dishes to serve with grilled steak.   It’s not often we sit down for a steak dinner and this time I wanted to change up the menu a little.  For years I have heard that beef and potatoes are not the best food combining choice, but no matter because I keep fixing frites, twice baked or mashed potatoes with our steak. I just love those salty starchy tubers and seriously can not get enough of them.


However, at the market the other day I saw some very fresh and gnarly looking organic celery root and decided to act on my food combining knowledge and make a celery root mash with our steak instead of mashed potatoes.


The preparation is exactly the same as mashed potatoes.  Peel, dice, boil, drain, mash with butter and milk, add a little salt.   Simple cooking and much lighter than mashed potatoes.


c e l e r y    m a s h

  • 2 lbs of celery root (I bought 3 roots), peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • sea salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the celery root and cook until tender, approximately 30 minutes.  Drain and return to the pot to the stovetop on low heat.  Allow the extra bit of water to steam out.  Add the milk, butter and a generous pinch of salt and mash with a potato masher until it is as smooth as you like it.

The second side to enjoy with your steak…


Sautéed cremini mushrooms.  Cook these for a long time!   We have sautéed crimini mushrooms quite often with chopped thyme and wine, which is wonderful.  My son prefers them without the wine so I usually leave it out.   This recipe is simple and slow, the flavor is vibrant and the texture is soft and delicate.

c r i m i n i    m u s h r o o m    s a u t é

  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • chopped thyme (optional)
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)

Heat the butter and oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter’s foaming, add the mushrooms and stir. Cook, allowing them sit in the pan for the first 5 minutes to brown, and then stirring occasionally until they soften.  If you are using wine add it now and allow the liquid to evaporate.  Stir in the garlic and parsley (or thyme) and continue to cook for 30 minutes on low heat until caramelized.