Cardamom Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Apples

This Whole30 eating experience hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Well at least so far. I’m only on day four, but I already feel like by pre-planning and prepping meals that are delicious and packed with nutrients, I’ve avoided the anxiety of eliminating certain foods from my diet. Instead of going out to eat, I’ve been inviting friends over (which is my favorite thing to do anyway) and making feasts of veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds and quality meat for everyone to enjoy. I love all the colors an fall flavors I’ve been bringing to the table. This chicken dish is my favorite recipe creation of the month (maybe the last few months) and it is just pure, whole foods of the best quality and packed with fall flavors. The key is cooking it on low heat for a good chunk of time so the flavors really have time to come together. In case it hasn’t been apparent, I have a bit of an obsession with cardamom. I think it makes most things more delicious, especially in the fall and winter when a warming spice is really a welcome addition. That being said, if cardamom isn’t your cup of tea, you can make this recipe with less cardamom pods, or substitute more cinnamon and some fresh ginger. I ate this chicken with a side of baked sweet potatoes and a salad topped with pumpkin seeds to really cover all my bases of fall foods.

 

 

Ingredients:

4 bone-in organic chicken thighs

3 Tbs. coconut oil or olive oil

1 medium yellow onion

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 medium fuji apple, peeled

1 tsp. cinnmon

1 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

6 cardamom pods

1/2 tsp. red chili flakes

sea salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup thompson or golden raisins

3/4 cup chicken broth (preferably home made)

Heat 1 tbs. oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Thinly slice onion and add to the pot. Stir well. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium and let onions cook down for 10 minutes. Thinly slice peeled apple and stir into the onions along with the balsamic vinegar. The vinegar will help the caramelization process. Allow to cook down for another 3-4 minutes. Then remove the apples and onions from the pot. Add the remaining 2 tbs. of oil and brown chicken thighs, 3 minutes on each side. Also season each side of the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the onions and apples back into the pot and stir in the rest of the spices. Stir in the raisins. Add the chicken broth, bring to a simmer and then turn the heat down to medium low, cover the pot and let cook 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to disperse spices. It’s hard to over cook a chicken thigh because they have a lot of moisture. If it starts to look like the apples and onions are sticking to the bottom of the pot, turn the heat down and add a splash more broth. If you have large pieces of chicken you might need more time. Use a small knife to cut into one of the thighs to make sure no part of the meat is translucent or stick in a meat thermometer to make sure the temperature of the meat is at least 165 F. Taste the apple, onion and raisin mixture surrounding the chicken to see if it needs more salt and season to taste.

Enjoy!

 

Serves 4

 

 

 

 

Creamy Spiced Oatmeal with Pumpkin Seeds and Figs

Here’s a perfect breakfast for a late fall morning. The days are getting so short up here in the north and we haven’t even changed the clocks back yet! I guess the plus side of turning back the clocks is that we’ll have a little more light in the mornings. For the past few weeks, I’ve found it difficult to adjust to waking up in the pitch dark. In the summer I forget that the flip side of  the long long days of a Northwest July are the dark days of fall and winter. But warm breakfasts and my vitamin D lamp are doing wonders. Plus, I appreciate this drastic change of seasonal light and the rainstorms rolling in when I think of the constant summers of my drought-stricken home state. This is the time of year when I start to miss California sunshine, but I have to be grateful for the well-hydrated town I live in and for the brilliant afternoon pauses in the rain when the sky opens up to reveal snow-capped Olympics over the sound. I get to visit L.A. soon enough. I only wish I could bring some rain with me.

Now, back to the food at hand. I am actually beginning the Whole 30 challenge today (basically paleo eating for a month–yikes) in an attempts to nip my seasonally typical bad eating (rainy weather + holidays= sugar consumption for me) in the bud. I’m also determined to prove that I can walk the walk of the program in Nutritional Therapy I just completed last week. This program trains practitioners to work with clients on the foundations of nutrition in order to support balance, health and holistic well-being. I am very excited to be starting my journey as  Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, but don’t feel like I can very well suggest to a client that they cut out all white sugar, when I can’t seem to mange that successfully in my own life for any extended period of time. So I’m more motivated than I’ve been in the past.

That’s not to say I won’t still be making delicious food this month. On this particular whole food challenge, it is suggested that you not eat grains of any form. So I’ll be trying that and won’t be having this oatmeal for a while. But in everyday life, I would suggest this oatmeal recipe to any client as a whole food alternative to sugary cereal, yogurt and granola (which can often be very sweet) or toast. The fiber in oats sustains you throughout the morning, and toasting them in coconut oil add an extra satisfying, stick to your ribs element that provides essential, healthy saturated fats that keep you full longer.

In the upcoming months, I’m going to be incorporating more nutritional advice into my blog and recipes and transitioning my recipe and cooking lesson mini business into a Nutritional Therapy Practice that includes recipes and cooking advice along with a client based practice focused on helping others discover vitality through food.

I’m excited to share with you.

Ok. Finally–the recipe!

 

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Ingredients:

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (preferable organic)

2 tsp. virgin coconut oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cardamom

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 cups water

1 1/4 cups milk, cream or coconut milk

2 tsp. honey

4 figs, fresh or frozen (organic)

2 Tbs. raw pumpkin seeds

Melt coconut oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add in oats and spices. Stir with a wooden spoon until spices are aromatic and oats just start to brown. Pour in water and cream or milk. Turn heat down to medium low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes, until oats are tender but not mushy. Chop up figs and stir them in. Remove from heat and stir in honey. Divide among 2-3 bowls, depending on how hungry your family or guest are. Or, if it’s just for you, take you fair share and save the rest to be reheated later! Top each bowl with a sprinkling of cinnamon and pumpkin seeds.

Serves 2-3.

 

Curried Veggie Stew for a Fall Day

This is my take on curry made with whatever seasonal vegetables I have, coconut milk or coconut cream (depending on how decadent I’m feeling), some raisins and an apple for a bite of sweetness and warm spices that are perfect for a chilly day. About 5 years ago, I ate a coconut curry at the Drift Inn in Yachats, Oregon that had raisins and toasted coconut and pear. That dish has stuck with me ever since because of the balance of sweet and spicy that made it so comforting and it’s been an inspiration for my curry-making ever since. My version has more vegetables and I don’t use toasted coconut, though you certainly could throw some in at the end. I almost hesitate to call this curry because it doesn’t have actual curry powder in it, yet it has many of the spices that make up curry powder, so I figure that counts for something! Mostly it is something simple, inexpensive and unique that I wanted to share as autumn settles in. I think the vibrant color of the turmeric must work as a replacement for vitamin D for the day!

 

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Ingredients:

1 tsp. coconut oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

4 yukon gold or ozette fingerling potatoes, cut into half moons

4 medium carrots, cut into half moons

3 small zucchini and/or pattypan squash, cut into half moons

1 medium fuji apple, peeled and diced

1/4 tsp. chili flakes

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. salt (plus more to taste)

1/3 cup thompson or golden raisins

1 can coconut milk or coconut cream

1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts (optional)

2-3 cups cooked rice or quinoa

Melt oil in a large frying pan. Sauté onions 5 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, and zucchini and cook, covered, over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the apple and the spices (through salt) and the raisins and stir well. Cover and let cook 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk or cream (milk if you want a lighter dish, though I really suggest you go for it with the cream because it’s just that good) and cook, uncovered for another five minutes. Stir in the walnuts and taste to see if you need to adjust the spices. It might need more salt or you might like it a little spicier than I do. Poke a potato with a fork to see if it’s tender. If not, turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered for 5-10 more minutes until potatoes are tender.

Serve over rice or quinoa. Make sure to serve this dish piping hot.

Serves 4.

 

 

Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Chèvre

For the weekend– this is the quickest, easiest crowd-pleasing appetizer I know. Top it with a little balsamic honey glaze, and you’re golden!

 

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Ingredients: 

20-30 large medjool dates

16 oz. plain goat cheese (chèvre)

20-30 piece high quality, center cut bacon

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 375. Use a pairing knife to slice each date open on one side and remove the pit. Make sure you keep half of the date intact (so it looks a little like a hot dog bun). Take a teaspoon full of goat cheese, roll into a ball, and stuff into each date. It’s ok if it overflows a bit. Next Wrap each goat cheese stuffed date with a piece of bacon, making sure it wraps all the way around. It is so worth it to splurge on the bacon. Really, it makes all the difference. If you’re in the Seattle area, go to the Ballard farmer’s market on Sunday and get bacon from Skagit River Ranch. It tastes like candy.

Arrange dates on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until bacon is crispy.

Meanwhile, heat balsamic in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Once it begins to simmer, stir in honey, reduce to medium low, and let cook about 8 minutes, until it thickens. When dates are done, arrange on a platter and drizzle with glaze.

Serves 12-16 as an appetizer.

 

Roast Whole Chicken and Bone Broth

Fall has come to Seattle. While it fills me with childlike wonder to see the leaves changing color and go for runs in the biting evening air, I also sense the return of the melancholy that comes over me each autumn. I see fall as a time for reflection, for patience, and for setting limits and caring for oneself. After summer, which is full of possibilities and often travel, the shift of the seasons is, for me, a welcome time to remember to put extra effort into nourishing my body with warm dishes and forgiving myself for whatever lofty goals I wasn’t able to accomplish during the summer, while remaining grateful for those I did accomplish and for my community, my space, my little corner of the earth. October is a season of birth and death in my family and I try each day to honor or celebrate a memory of days gone by through music, through food and through conversation.

It’s nesting time. The smell of roast chicken stirs up thoughts of the holidays to come in the next few months and it’s an easy way to give nourishment to the body and soul for days. Making a simple bone broth with the chicken carcass minimizes waste and provides vital nutrients and layers of flavor to all your fall soups.

Chicken:

1 organic, free range chicken (6-8 lbs)

1 large lemon, cut in quarters

3 sprigs rosemary

5 sprigs fresh thyme

5 sprigs fresh oregano

2 Tbs. butter, room temperature

2 Tbs. olive oil

salt and pepper

2 cups apple cider

2 cups dry white wine

Preheat oven to 375 F. Rinse the chicken and remove any organ meats from the inside cavity if the chicken came with any. Pat the chicken dry inside and out. Inside the cavity, stuff 1 Tbs. butter, the lemon quarters and the herbs. Drizzle the inside with 1 Tbs. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub the remaining butter and oil over the outside of the chicken and sprinkle the outside generously with salt and pepper.

Place, breast side up, on a roasting rack positioned in a roasting pan. Use twine or a silicon band to tie the feet together at the base of the cavity. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, until the skin starts to brown. Turn the oven down to 350 and pour the cider and wine into the bottom of the roasting pan. Use a baster or a brush to coat the skin of the chicken with the mixture every 10-15 minutes. Continue to cook the chicken for another 1.5-2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165- 170 F.

Remove from oven and let rest 10-15 mins before carving.

Serves 6-8

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Broth:

The bones and carcass from one chicken

1 large onion

4 carrots

3 stalks celery

salt and pepper to taste

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. oregano

1 Tbs. butter

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 clove garlic

1-2 corn cobs (optional)

1/2 cup fresh parsley

Filtered water

Make sure all the meat is removed from the bones ( you can use the leftover chicken meat to make stew or chicken salad!). Heat the butter and olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high. Roughly chop the onion, garlic and celery and add to the pot. Sauté until onion begins to turn translucent. Add the carrots, roughly chopped, along with the spices, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well. Add the corn cobs if you want. This will make a bit of a sweeter stock. Add the chicken bones and carcass. Add enough filtered water to cover all the veggies. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to the lowest temperature and let cook, partially covered, for 2-3 hours.

Turn off the heat and strain out the bones and veggies. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

 

Garlic Toasties and Back to Blogging

It’s been over a month since I posted a recipe. This has been the longest hiatus I’ve taken from blogging recipes since I started at the beginning of the year, but it certainly doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking and eating. I spent three weeks out at Quillisascut Farm School, and came back to Seattle to start piecing together the next phase of my life. In the nearly two weeks since I’ve been back, fall has come to the northwest and I’ve been putting my cooking energy into canning and freezing summer fruits and veggies to preserve for winter. Nothing fancy– just hoping to bottle up some sunny flavors for dark winter days ahead. I’ll post my applesauce recipe in a few days, since this is the perfect time to go apple picking and come home with fresh inspiration, but for now I wanted to post the recipe for what I call my garlic toasties. I’ve been asked about these by  multiple people and a friend pointed out yesterday that I’ve never posted the recipe, so I figured I’d get on it before it slipped my mind. The more detailed name of this appetizer and crowd pleaser would be “Mascarpone and Garlic Oil Toasts with Balsamic Honey Reduction,” but “Garlic Toasties” makes me laugh and is a lot easier to remember. They are a simple and inexpensive way to start off dinner for a crowd or to serve as a side to soup or salad. Words of advice: make way more than you think you’ll need because these fly off the tray!

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Ingredients:

1 large loaf good quality ciabatta bread, thinly sliced

1 (8 oz) container mascarpone cheese (you can also use a large log of goat cheese)

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

sea salt and pepper

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. thyme

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs. honey

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high. Add the garlic, herbs and a dash of salt and pepper. Heat garlic, stirring every 30 seconds, for about 3 minutes, until it starts to brown. Turn off the heat and pour into a bowl. Set aside. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Add the balsamic and heat over medium high. When it starts to bubble, stir in the honey. The honey is key here. It adds an extra sweetness that compliments the savory garlic oil and the tang of the vinegar and it thickens the consistency of the balsamic so you don’t have to reduce it for as long. Once you’ve stirred in the honey, turn the heat down to low and let reduce 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400. Line bread slices on two baking sheets. Spread each slice of bread with 1 Tbs. of mascarpone or goat cheese. Next, use a pastry brush to brush the garlic oil onto each piece. Make sure you get plenty of delicious garlic pieces on each slice. Once the balsamic glaze is thick but not sticky, remove it from the heat and use a small spoon to drizzle it across the top of each toast. You’re making Jackson Pollack style abstract art here!

And that’s it! Pop the toasties in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted (goat cheese won’t fully melt, but mascarpone will) and serve warm!

Serves 6-8.

 

 

 

Easiest Garlic Salmon

I’m a big believer in garlic. If you follow my recipes on this blog, this fact has probably become pretty clear. If it’s not dessert, it usually has garlic in it. That being said, this salmon is an extreme version. Garlic is front and center and this recipe is not for those who are not wanting their breath to smell at least a little bit like garlic the next day. But it’s worth it–so good for your immune system and the perfect amount of bite to balance out the buttery flavor of a quality piece of salmon.

 

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Ingredients:

3/4 lb. wild caught salmon ( I used a particularly delicious piece of wild alaskan sockeye that I got at whole foods in Seattle- if you’re local, go get it!!)

3-4 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 Tbs. soy sauce or tamari

1 Tbs. Olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 medium lemon

Preheat oven to 350. Use 1 tsp. of the olive oil to oil the bottom of a pyrex baking dish. Unwrap your salmon and pat it dry with a paper towel. You could definitely use the soy sauce, garlic and olive oil to marinate the fish, but I’ve found it to be unnecessary when the quality of the fish is good. Instead, simply lay the salmon in the oiled pan and rub the remaining olive oil on top. Pour the soy sauce on top of that and rub that in as well. Finally, press the chopped garlic on top of the salmon and sprinkle with as much pepper as you like. Bake for 20-30 minutes until flaky all over. Take out of the oven and top with a squeeze of lemon. Serve with mustard or aioli.

Serves 2 generously.

 

Turmeric Eggs with Tomatoes and Caramelized Onions

I love eggs. I love them for breakfast, for brunch, for lunch, for dinner. I love them prepared any which way. My go to breakfast is a fried egg over potatoes and other veggies or a scramble with whatever I have in the fridge. Yesterday morning I mixed up my usual plain eggs by adding turmeric. I didn’t mean to put in as much turmeric as I did (the spice jar didn’t have a shaker top and my attempts to gingerly shake out just a bit failed), but it turned out to be a happy accident. The eggs turn a deep yellow orange and the caramelized onions and tomatoes really balance the unique nuttiness and warmth of the turmeric. With the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, the healthy fat from the avocado and good quality eggs, this is a fast and simple meal that feels good any time of day!

 

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Ingredients:

1/2 medium onion, thinly slice

1 tsp. olive oil

salt and pepper

1/4 tsp. chili flakes

3/4 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. honey or sugar

1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 medium tomato, chopped

2 eggs (preferably organic and free range)

2 Tbs. cream, half and half or milk

1/2 large avocado

 

Heat olive oil over medium high in a medium frying pan. Add onions and cook 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until they start to become translucent. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper, the chili flakes and turmeric. Stir well. Add honey or sugar (whichever flavor you prefer–I use honey) and the balsamic. This will help with the caramelization process. You might be wondering if the flavors of turmeric and balsamic vinegar clash. I get it. It sounds weird. But I promise it isn’t. Cook down for 2-3 minutes and add the tomato. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, add the dairy of your choice (or a dairy alternative if you want) and whisk well. Pour the eggs over the onions and tomatoes in the pan. Let sit for 30 seconds before beginning to scramble gently. Fold the eggs around for about a minute, or until done. Top with avocado. Enjoy!

 

Serves 1. Or 2 as a snack :).

 

Whole Grain Mustard and Onion Coq au Vin

This is my favorite chicken dish right now and one I’ve been perfecting for a while. It can be warm and wintery but it’s not so stew-like that it won’t work for a summer night alongside a green salad. I really enjoy the way this meal tastes with quinoa, especially because it’s a little hard to tell where the whole grain mustard stops and the quinoa begins, but you can serve it atop rice or cous cous or another favorite grain, or skip the grain altogether. I think the best part about this is that it is basically as easy to make for four people as it is to make for eight. So an instant dinner party is next to effortless!

 

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Ingredients:

4 large chicken thighs (preferable organic and free range)

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

sea salt and pepper

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

3/4 cup white wine (whatever you have on hand works. even red will work in a pinch)

2 Tbs. water

3 heaping Tbs. whole grain dijon mustard

2 Tbs. whole milk yogurt

2 cups cooked quinoa

In a large stock pot over medium high heat, meal 1 Tbs. butter and 1 Tbs. olive oil. Brown the thigh for 3-4 minutes on each side until they begin to turn golden. Salt and pepper generously on each side. For my measurement inclined friends, I would say about half a teaspoon of each, distributed between the four thighs. Remove the thighs with tongs and set aside on a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and 1 Tbs. oil to the pot and let melt. Add the onions and stir well. Add the thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes along with salt and pepper to taste. Let the onions cook down over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Then add the balsamic and sugar and stir. Let cook another 5-7 minutes, stirring every minute, until onions become translucent and start to caramelize. Pour in the wine and stir well to cook off anything that might be sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Add the chicken thighs back in to the pot with the onion mixture. Add the water. Bring to a simmer then turn down to low, cover and let cook 30-35 minutes until thigh meat is dark and well cooked. Remove the lid, turn up to medium, and simmer slightly for an additional 2-3 minutes. Turn down to low and stir in the mustard and yogurt.

Turn off the heat. Serve over quinoa, making sure to get plenty of the saucy onions!

Serves 4.

Nectarine Sauce with Limoncello and Lavender

Happy August!! Stone fruit is in its full glory here in Seattle. This is a quick and easy dessert that can stand alone or go atop vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream. It also pairs well with my favorite lemon curd tart! Impress your friends with the sultry summer flavors of lemon and lavender.

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Ingredients:

6-7 large organic nectarines (except not those varieties that were recalled from California!–though hopefully this is no longer an issue)

1/4 cup limoncello (you can buy this at specialty liquor stores or you can make your own)

1 Tbs. slightly dried lavender, chopped (go walk around your neighborhood and find a big lavender plant. If you’re in Seattle this will only take approx. 2 minutes. Bring home a few sprigs and tie them up to dry a big–just for about a day.)

 

Wash your nectarines and use a paring knife to cut them into bite-size chunks. Place the chopped nectarines in a medium sized pot over med-high heat. Add the limoncello. Bring the mixture to a slight boil. Stir in the lavender and turn the heat down to med-low. Cover and let cook 15 minutes. Remove the cover and cook another 5 minutes. Let cool.

Et voilà!

 

Serves 4-6.