Tag Archives: lunch

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

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I recently discovered the magic of one-pot meals and I’m a little bit obsessed. They are perfect for cozy winter nights where leaving the house is not an option.

This dish is combines complex spices with fresh ingredients – and it’s guilt free! It tastes so divine you will think it has butter and cream in the recipe. If you are an aspiring chef, or just want to explore with different flavors in only one pot, than chicken tagine is a must try. Just make sure you’ve allotted a few hours for prep work and cooking time. I can’t wait to try braised beef for my next one-pot recipe, so get ready for that one. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Adapted from In the Small Kitchen

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Serves 10

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each halved

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

3 medium yellow onions, diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices

One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

About 1 quart chicken stock

1 pound of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 pound of butternut squash, peeled/seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 cup dried turkish apricots, chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Note: You can make the stew through step 5 and then refrigerate it overnight. Just reheat it for 30 minutes over medium-low heat until you are ready to eat, and continue with the remaining ingredients.

1. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Coat a large pot or Dutch oven with a thin layer of olive oil. Heat it over high heat and brown the chicken, in batches, making sure not to crowd the pot. If the chicken sticks to the bottom, don’t worry — this will help develop the flavor of the sauce. Remove the browned chicken from the pot and set it aside in a mixing bowl.

2. Add the onions to the same pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and saute until translucent, making sure to scrape up any remaining drippings from the chicken, about 7 minutes.

3. Stir in the garlic, cumin, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Cook until the spices are fully incorporated and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot, and add the tomatoes and chickpeas. Toss to combine.

4. Pour in enough stock to submerge all the contents (this may be less than 1 quart, depending on the size of your pot) and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat back down to low and cook, uncovered, for at least 2 hours, the longer the better.

5. During the last 45 minutes or so of cooking, add the sweet potatoes and butternut squash, submerge them in the liquid, and cook until tender.

6. Add the apricots, half the cilantro, and the lemon juice. Simmer for 10 minutes.

7. Spoon the tagine into individual bowls. Garnish each bowl with some of the remaining cilantro, sprinkle with the almonds, and serve with some rustic crusty bread or cooked quinoa.

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Crab Salad with Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette

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Living by the coast has its perks, one of them being same day fresh dungeness crab. It’s something I look forward to every winter, perhaps even more than the holiday season. Best of all, making crab is a great excuse to stay indoors and entertain with friends.

This salad is light, yet full-bodied enough to satisfy your hungry boyfriend. I followed this recipe to cook the crab (make sure to ask your seafood purveyor to crack and clean the crab; Whole Foods will do it for free), which is a great meal for dinner itself. Truth be told, this salad was created because of leftovers from the aforementioned dish. And it was so good.

To make the salad, I combined the cooked lump crab meat with arugula, grapefruit slices, carrot ribbons, green onions and toasted walnuts. Toss it together with a fresh lemon-tarragon vinaigrette, and you have a gourmet crab salad made to impress even the most discerning eaters.

Crab Salad with Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette

You will need:

2 cups cooked lump crab meat (roughly)

4 cups organic arugula

1 grapefruit; cut into slices

1 cup walnuts; toasted with olive oil and a hint of brown sugar

1 carrot; shaved into thin ribbons (use a potato peeler)

3 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves

2 cloves of garlic; whole

2 tsp minced green onions

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp honey

1. To make the dressing, combine tarragon, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and honey. Blend until smooth using a food processor.

2. Combine lump crab meat, grapefruit slices, toasted walnuts, carrots, and green onion. Serve on top of a bed of arugula and lightly toss with dressing.

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Sauteed Chard and Gruyere Grilled Cheese

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It’s been raining for days and I couldn’t be happier. Since the weather in San Francisco is so unpredictable during the winter and summer seasons, I get excited when it actually meets my expectations. I spent the majority of this weekend indoors alongside my cozy fireplace, in awe of the storm outside my windows. When it came to dinner time, or any-time snack time, I couldn’t resist this unforgettable grilled cheese recipe from my favorite blog-of-the-hour Sprouted Kitchen. I served this grilled cheese with a mug of carrot-ginger soup, which I picked up from the local grocery store. The combination was heaven, and I spent a total of 15 minutes in the kitchen. Perfect.

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The Wine Picnic that Welcomed 27

Considering this post is about two weeks late, you can imagine the repercussions of such a fun, memorable birthday celebration. I’m excited to share one of my best birthday events to date, although I don’t know how I’ll ever top this (maybe spend my 30th at St. Barth’s?)

While a lot of work for the hostess (i.e. me), this event was affordable for the quality delivered. Wine tasting for large groups will add up quick, so it’s important to cut costs; yet take it up a level so it’s over-the-top-birthday-special.

On top of paying for transportation and tasting fees, you can either opt to pay a winery for boxed lunches (it’s not cheap and yields little)…or make your own. I decided to cater the lunch myself, that way I could control the menu. I wanted to serve cold, picnic friendly foods that would compliment summer wine tasting in the Sonoma heat.

Most wineries will not let you bring a picnic lunch (and your own silverware/table decorations/serving platters…yes, my mother went there.) so you have to do a little digging. Surprisingly enough, there are some beautiful, large wineries in Sonoma that specialize in Pinots and welcome an outside picnic: Sebastiani was so great and set us up with a private, seated tasting under a grove of shady trees to enjoy our lunch.

It was a perfect day, with the best group. I think 27 is shaping up to be a great year, and couldn’t have been welcomed by a better celebration.

The Wine Picnic Menu

Sweet Corn Ceviche

Pasilla Chile + Lime Cabbage Slaw 

Roasted Rainbow Beet Salad with Feta, Mint, and Fig Vinaigrette

Roasted Red Peppers, Roma + Cherry Tomato Salad with Olive Oil + Basil

Cheeses: Goat, Brie, Gouda, Blue

…don’t forget the crackers

Mint Chutney (to compliment the goat cheese)

Two types of freshly sliced Italian salami

Freshly baked breads (we picked them up that morning)

Grapes

Of course, I had to post the “silly” pic (the expressions are priceless, really)

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Omelet Wraps: A New Take on Lunch

I am always on the hunt for dishes that are both nutritious and outside the box. It’s the perfect combination: your palette experiences new flavors and your body loves you for it. When I stumbled upon Beatrice Peltre’s La Tartine Gourmande cookbook, I was immediately captivated by her recipes’ expressions of joie de vivre. Her style is inspired by France, but the creativity on each page is what brings her food to life.

I recommend trying everything in this cookbook, as you will be addicted to Peltre’s fresh take on otherwise simple recipes. I attempted Omelet Wraps for lunch this weekend — so crunchy and light, they have quickly become my meal of the moment. I love to play favorites!

Omelet Wraps with Nori and Crunchy Vegetables

Makes 2 thin omelets; serves 4

For the omelets:

6 large eggs

2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsely

2 tbsp chipped chives

2 nori sheets, thinly sliced (use a pair of scissors)

Sea salt and pepper

About 3 tbsp olive oil

For the vinaigrette:

Sea salt and pepper

1 tsp French Dijon mustard

1 tbsp Banyuls vinegar

2 tbsp hazelnut oil

For the filling: 

2 heaping tbsp walnuts

2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and julienned

1 Belgian endive, heart removed and thinly sliced lengthwise

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced, drizzled with lemon juice to prevent discoloration

1 tbsp finely chopped chives, plus a few more long pieces to tie the omelets

2 oz crumbled French feta cheese

1. To prepare the omelets: In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add the herbs and nori and season with salt and pepper. In a 14-inch non-stick frying pan, heat 1 – 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add half of the egg batter, swirling quickly to coat the bottom of the pan, and cook for a few minutes, until the omelet is set. Carefully transfer the omelet onto a plate or cutting board. Repeat with the rest of the egg batter to prepare the second omelet, adding more oil as needed.

2. To prepare the vinaigrette: Add the ingredients to a bowl in the order listed. Whisk to emulsify the dressing; set aside.

3. To prepare the filling: Toast the walnuts in a frying pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly brown. Remove from the heat, let cool, and coarsely chop; set aside.

4. In a bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, endive, avocado, and chives. Dress with the vinaigrette and add the walnuts and feta. Dress with the vinaigrette and add the walnuts and feta. Place one omelet flat in front of you and add half of the filling at one end. Roll the omelet tight and cut in half. Tie each half with a long piece of chive. Repeat with the second omelet.

Enjoy for lunch…(I wish I could eat this everyday), and don’t forget to brighten your day with a fresh bouquet. 

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