Spicy Chicken with Black Bean, Cranberry, and Sweet Potato Salsa

I loved this dish, and it’s incredibly simple and easy to make. “Spicy” is debatable, but you can certainly add more cayenne if you want some extra heat. Start by dusting the chicken with cumin, cayenne, chili powder, and salt to give it plenty of flavor. Butterflying and broiling the chicken makes it cook quickly, although you can also sauté it if you prefer.

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I enjoyed the sweet potato and black bean salsa so much that I made a second batch to eat for lunch. The salsa is a healthy and hearty mix of sweet potatoes, black beans, onions, and cranberries tossed with garlic and lime. The spices in the chicken blend with the salsa to create a Mexican-inspired meal. The result is a light dinner that is also satisfying. Brightly colored sweet potatoes and cranberries also make it a beautiful dish.

a light dusting of cilantro on top would add some pretty green

a light dusting of cilantro on top would add some pretty green

If you’re looking for an easy appetizer to serve with this meal, I recommend making blistered padron peppers. Be careful–one out of every eight or so is surprisingly hot! Generally they are mild peppers with a texture so rich and smooth, they almost taste like butter. Don’t be afraid to really let them blacken, and be sure you have Maldon salt to season them properly. The triangular shape of the salt flakes makes the flavor pop.

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Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken with Black Bean, Cranberry, and Sweet Potato Salsa

Fine Cooking            Issue 131

Pineapple-Glazed Chicken with Jalapeño Salsa

I recently went on a trip to Kauai, and returned with a lingering hunger for tropical flavors. The pineapple salsa in this dish made it the perfect recipe to satisfy my craving. I tweak this recipe ever so slightly, but it truly is a happy combination of sweet, spicy, and savory.

fruit stand in kauai

fruit stand in kauai

First things first, this recipe can be made with any cut of chicken. I typically just use bone-in and roast until the meat thermometer hits 160. This time I chose all bone-in chicken breasts and set the oven at 375 instead of 400. Although the light char on broiled or grilled chicken can enhance flavor, the glaze is delicate enough that I prefer a simple roasted version for this recipe.

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The glaze is light and makes a delicious sauce for after the chicken is cooked, so I tend to make two to three times the amount of glaze called for in the recipe. I like to use canned pineapple for the salsa, which means I end up with about ¾ cup of pineapple juice anyway. Since pineapple juice is already so sweet, I cut the amount of brown sugar down just a little. With ¾ cup of pineapple juice, I used 4 tablespoons of dark brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of yellow mustard. The lower sugar content means it’s necessary to boil the glaze for a few extra minutes to get it to thicken, but the consistency isn’t as important as the flavor. Just remember to salt and pepper your chicken and your glaze before they go into the oven!

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The salsa is easy to prepare, so you’ll have plenty of time to put it together once the chicken is in the oven. This time I used a fresh jalapeño, and you can even use fresh Serrano peppers if you like a little more heat. As is, this salsa tastes fresh and sweet, with just a little tang and heat from the red onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Again, adding salt and pepper to the final salsa is key.

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I serve this dish with some steamed green beans on the side. It’s bright, colorful, summery, and delicious!

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Pineapple-Glazed Chicken with Jalapeño Salsa

Bon Appétit            March 2010

Chicken Thigh Kebabs with Chile-Yogurt Sauce

Summer isn’t over yet! I wanted to get at least one more meal on the grill before Autumn hits, and Labor Day seemed like the perfect opportunity. Since it was just me and my husband Ben, we kept things simple and tried this recipe for grilled chicken with chile-yogurt sauce.

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a 15 minute marinade keeps this recipe quick and easy

I’ve made yogurt-marinated chicken before, and although it keeps the meat tender, all of the flavor is lost in the cooking. Instead, this recipe marinates the chicken in spices and keeps the yogurt on the side as a flavorful sauce. You only need to let the chicken marinate for 15 minutes, making this dish a possibility even on a weeknight. The sauce is a mix of Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and spices. I added a little extra lemon to give the mixture a tanginess I enjoy. I was out of crushed red pepper, so I daringly used my Uncle Carl Buck’s “Bucking Hot Sauce” instead. If you don’t mind some heat, and you have a favorite dried pepper blend, feel free to substitute. I used a little less than was called for and the sauce still had some lingering heat.

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Instead of skewers, I used bone-in thighs and legs, increasing the grill time to about 18 minutes on our mesquite charcoal grill. The chicken was good, but the sauce really made the dish. Grilled zucchini was a fantastic accompaniment. This was a delicious and easy way to close out the summer. Happy grilling!

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Chicken Thigh Kebabs with Chile-Yogurt Sauce
Food and Wine September 2014

Chicken Marbella

This may be the best chicken you ever eat! This recipe is a crowd pleaser, and perfect for picnics because it tastes best at room temperature. The recipe serves 12, but it’s easy to halve or even quarter. It keeps well, so there is no harm in making the full recipe and enjoying leftovers all week long.

pre-oven

pre-oven

It’s important to marinate the chicken at least overnight, and up to 48 hours. This step tenderizes the chicken and infuses it with flavor. When you’re ready to bake, just sprinkle it with brown sugar and pour white wine on top. I typically cut the brown sugar in half, but that’s a matter of personal preference. Capers and olives balance the sweetness of the brown sugar and dried prunes. I substitute Kalamata olives because they’re my favorite, but really any good olive will do.

it's great for guests because all the work is done in advance

it’s great for guests because all the work is done in advance

This dish is beautiful and smells mouth-watering as it comes out of the oven. Sprinkling some fresh parsley over the chicken after baking adds some freshness and brightens up the other flavors. I typically serve this with rice just so I can make the most of the sauce. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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Chicken Marbella via Epicurious

Silver Palate Cookbook

Frozen Fruit Smoothie & Baja-Style Rosemary Chicken Skewers

Welcome to the first full day of summer! As the season warms up, I like to add some cold dishes to my regular rotation. For breakfast that means making a frozen fruit smoothie. I love how the richness of the yogurt keeps me satisfied all day long. You can use whatever fruit you like, but make sure to have some sweeter fruits to balance out the tartness of the yogurt. I used ½ cup frozen blackberries, ½ cup frozen mango, and ½ of a large frozen banana. To that I added ¼ cup whole milk Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons of almond milk. You can add honey if you like, but I found the mango and banana sweet enough on their own. Lastly, I added a hearty dash of cinnamon. The result was thick, decadent, and delicious! This recipe makes enough for two smoothies, and they also store well in the freezer. Just give it a few minutes to soften before diving in.

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For summer dinners, I am perfecting the art of grilling. It’s so pleasant cooking outside when the sun doesn’t set until 9 o’clock! These Baja-Style Rosemary Chicken Skewers couldn’t be easier. I started by cutting some fresh rosemary from our garden and removing all but the tips so the woody stem could be used as a skewer. The stem holds a ton of flavor, infusing the meat with rosemary as it cooks.

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Next, I prepared the marinade. The chicken only needs to marinate for thirty minutes, which gives just enough time for the grill to heat up. Fifteen minutes on the grill created succulent, flavorful chicken. I served this with grilled zucchini, corn on the cob, green onions, and squeezed fresh lime over the entire plate. I hope you enjoy this summery feast as much as I did!

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Baja-Style Rosemary Chicken Skewers

Food and Wine            June 2014

California Chicken Tacos with Corn and Red Cabbage Slaw

In a moment of confidence I decided to master the grill. Last weekend I made my first-ever attempt at grilling and it was a success! Bolstered by my ability to grill simple vegetable and pre-made chicken skewers, I felt undaunted by this recipe, which calls for a whole grilled chicken. I may have been overconfident. This required an entirely different level of grilling skills, but with a second chance and some coaching from my dad over the phone, the end result was a smoky, tender, perfectly grilled chicken.

the lime and salt tenderize the chicken

the lime and salt tenderize the chicken

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First let me say that the recipe gives you the option of oven roasting or grilling. I chose to grill so I could improve my skills and because I think the smoky flavor is an essential flavor in tacos. The preparation of the chicken is very simple—just slide some lime zest beneath the skin, pour lime juice on the outside, salt and pepper liberally and stuff with the used limes. If you go for the grilling method, you can separate your heated coals to make them line the sides of the grill. Place the chicken in the middle of the grill so it cooks over indirect heat. After the coals are nice and hot, cover the grill with the lid making sure to leave the vents open. A five-pound chicken might take about an hour to cook with this method, and using a meat thermometer will ensure your meat is cooked all the way through. Taking the lid off the grill is the same as opening the oven—it dramatically drops the temperature and will increase cooking time, so try to be patient!

grilled green onions are a tasty side dish

grilled green onions are a tasty side dish

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Heating the tortillas on the grill for about 30 seconds will make them warm and pliable. The simple red cabbage slaw adds freshness, color, and crunch to the tacos. I left out the corn because I used it my black bean and corn salad, which I served as a side dish. A few dashes of Cholula brought a pleasant heat to the meal and brought the other flavors together. I have to say, these were some of the best tacos I’ve ever eaten! 0608141947_resized 0608141947b_resized

California Chicken Tacos with Corn and Red Cabbage Slaw by Linda Burkhart

Food 52            May 2014

Chicken Paillards with Asparagus, Lemon, Garlic, and Dill

This simple recipe is surprisingly flavorful! Lemon, garlic, and dill are a reliably delicious combination. Paillard refers to meat that has been pounded flat. I’m tempted to prepare all of my chicken this way, because it tenderizes the meat and ensures even cooking. If you don’t own a meat mallet (I don’t), a sturdy rolling pin will also do the trick. I used a gluten-free flour blend for the light dusting of flour on the chicken breasts, but you could easily use rice flour instead. Be cautious about other flours on their own—the textures and flavors may create an undesirable result. Chicken broth is used to deglaze the pan. Deglazing can be done with any liquid, but you need cold liquid hitting a hot pan to effectively draw the browned ingredients (also known as fond) from the bottom of the pan.

trim off the woody ends at the base of the asparagus

trim off the woody ends at the base of the asparagus

Adding fresh lemon juice and dill at the end of cooking brightens the dish, and a small amount of butter gives the sauce a silky richness without making it heavy. This healthy one-pan meal only takes thirty minutes to prepare. Fresh asparagus is the perfect ingredient to celebrate Spring. Enjoy!

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Chicken Paillards with Asparagus, Lemon, Garlic, and Dill

Fine Cooking            Issue 129

Lemony Chicken Stir-Fry

This simple stir-fry is a healthy version of Chinese take-out. I mean that as a compliment! It doesn’t have the complexity of an authentic Chinese recipe, but it draws flavor from some of the cornerstones of Chinese cooking–fresh ginger, scallions, sesame oil, and soy sauce (or in my case, gluten-free Tamari.) The addition of lemon zest and juice makes this a perfect meal for Spring.

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I followed the recipe almost exactly, with the minor addition of dried red pepper flakes to lend some spice. Next time I might let the chicken brown a little more before adding the tamari and sesame oil just to enhance the color and texture. I served this dish with a side of brown rice and asparagus sauteed in sesame oil. It wasn’t knock-your-socks off amazing, but it was simple and satisfying, and definitely more nutritious than take out. Be generous with the scallions–they are a key ingredient, not a garnish!

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Lemony Chicken Stir-Fry via Fine Cooking

February 2014

 

Asian Turkey (or Chicken) Noodle Soup with Bok Choy

After eating corned beef and cabbage for two nights, I was craving something light and simple. This soup was just right! It took less than half an hour to make, although I admit to taking the lazy-cook’s approach and not cooking the ingredients separately. Next time I will follow the recipe more closely because the noodles could have been a little firmer. Glass noodles should always be gluten free because they are made out of mung bean starch. Although not tremendously flavorful on their own, they pick up the flavors of broths and sauces well.

pre-soaking the noodles means they cook in 3-4 minutes

pre-soaking the noodles reduces their cooking time to 3-4 minutes

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Asian is a pretty broad food category. In this case the recipe is described as Hawaiian comfort food with Chinese roots. Instead of soy sauce, I use gluten free tamari. Otherwise all of the ingredients were naturally gluten free! Simmering the chicken stock with some sliced ginger, smashed garlic, and soy sauce creates a fragrant, tasty broth. In the future I might try adding something spicy, like a sliced pepper, or an herbaceous ingredient like lemongrass. The broth was good on its own, but with a little imagination it has a lot of potential to become great. The bok choy just needs three or four minutes to steam and become tender. After adding the cooked chicken, top each bowl with sliced scallions. Scallions are sometimes treated like garnish, but in this recipe they should be plentiful. They lend an essential acidity and bite to this simple soup.

simmer broth with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce

simmer broth with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce

I poached the chicken a day in advance in order to put the soup together quickly after getting home from work. It honestly couldn’t have been easier, and was a healthy and satisfying way to end my week. Enjoy!

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Asian Turkey Noodle Soup with Bok Choy by Dabney Gough

Fine Cooking Issue 119

 

Smoky Beans and Greens

This dish is a great way to say goodbye to winter. It’s simple and healthy, but almost achieves the heartiness of a rich winter stew. The trick is in the smoked paprika—a couple of teaspoons bring a complex smoky flavor to the whole pot. I add spicy Italian chicken sausage while I’m sautéing the onions, which is delicious but entirely optional. Kale, cannellini beans, and tomatoes are a common combination in Italian cuisine, and they rarely disappoint. This recipe is no exception!

flavor-filled ingredients

flavor-filled ingredients

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To make this vegan, simply leave out/substitute the cheese. To ramp up the flavor, add extra garlic, red pepper flakes, and use fire-roasted tomatoes. Good on its own, this recipe can also handle a fair amount of improvisation—so if you come up with a brilliant twist, please share!

pictured here with a quinoa corn muffin

pictured here with a quinoa corn and cheddar muffin

Smoky Beans and Greens via Epicurious

Bon Appétit            November 2009