Allspice Chronicles

Entertain like a Queen, Think Lean and Live Green! A personal collection of recipes,anecdotes,and good old fashioned advice…

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Crisp Chicken Tenderloins With Curry and Lemon

by Danica Waters

“Necessity is the mother of invention”. Amen.

And where there is a whole lot of necessity, there you shall find a whole lot of inventing goin’ on.  Let’s just say I happen to be on a roll these days;  indeed, I am one inventin’ so-and-so.  Happily, much like the FML day I concocted the Queen’s Rings, it seems to be working in my favor.  Happy for all the wonderful folks who follow my blog, I like to share.

You know THOSE nights when you realize too late that the grill is out of gas, everyone is starrrrrrrrrvinnnng, and dinner just needs to be UBER-delicious because even the dog appears to be out-of-sorts?  Yep. It was one of those.  (We are all down with nasty colds this morning, so that explains it.)

For some odd reason, when the mood is afoul, I seem to reach for turmeric and curry every single time.  (Probably because it works every single time.)  This time was no exception.  These crispy chicken tenderloins are not only visually stunning, with a rich golden color from the turmeric, they are just plain addictive with their crispy texture, the round, deep flavor of curry graced with the tang of freshly squeezed lemon and a hint of cilantro.

I am happy to report that the evening finished out with rave reviews of dinner, fresh blackberries over ice cream, and a healthy session of  “laugh-’til-you-almost-pee-your-pants”.  All’s well that ends well.  Thank you, Necessity.  You rock.

 

 

Crisp Chicken Tenderloins With Curry and Lemon

(Danica Waters)

 

8 chicken tenderloins, thawed

½ C flour

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp curry powder

¼ tsp cayenne, or to taste

Salt & pepper to taste

Chopped fresh cilantro

Fresh lemon slices

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

Combine flour, turmeric, curry powder, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl.  Rinse chicken tenderloins and immediately dredge in flour mixture; set on separate plate to rest.

Bring large (12”) frying pan to temperature over medium high heat.  When ready, add enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan and heat until oil is hot but not smoking.

 

Using cooking tongs, add coated chicken tenderloins to hot oil.  Fry until golden brown; turn and repeat on other side.  After turning, sprinkle remaining flour mixture over the tenderloins and turn once more to brown.

 

Remove tenderloins to serving platter; sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro and serve with lemon wedges.

 

Note:  These are fantastic served with Flash-Cooked Green Beans and Garlic Mashed Potatoes (recipes forthcoming), or chop them up and serve them in a pita with lettuce, tomato, and tzatziki.

 

Posted September 29th, 2011.

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The Romanesco: Roasted with Garlic, Onion and Almonds

by Danica Waters

Is it a modified American version of broccoli? A Roman Cauliflower? A German Cabbage? No one knows for sure. Only one thing is certain about this almost alien-looking annual: The Romanesco is a fabulous fractal, pleasing to nearly any palate, and guaranteed to grace any table to which it happens to be invited.

First documented in sixteenth century Italy, the Romanesco is a mild-tasting hybrid between broccoli and cauliflower, packed with important vitamins and minerals that support vision and overall immunity. What makes it even better is that it’s FUN to look at, and FUN to eat. Tell your kids it’s Martian food at Halloween, or that they’re feasting on miniature Christmas trees plucked from a fairy forest.   Its mild, mellow, and somewhat nutty flavor makes it equally effective served as crudites’ as it is when cooked ’til crisp-tender and incorporated into other dishes or served as a side.

Here’s a tasty, more grown-up way to enjoy this exotic vegetable.

Enjoy!

 

The Romanesco: Roasted With Garlic, Onion, and Almonds

(Danica Waters)

1 head Romanesco Broccoli/Cauliflower/Cabbage/Whatever, trimmed and cut into sections approximately 1 inch in diameter, larger sections cut appropriately to ensure even cooking
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced to 1/4 inch
5-6 large cloves fresh garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 C sliced almonds
Olive oil
White Balsamic Vinegar, to taste
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

In large, heatproof saute’ pan, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add sliced garlic and cook until pale golden brown. Add onion slices and cook until soft and translucent; add Romanesco, White Balsamic Vinegar to taste, and 2 Tbsp water. Reduce heat, cover and cook until Romanesco is crisp-tender, approximately 7 minutes, or until it has reached desired texture. (Be careful not to overcook – it turns to mush and isn’t as palatable!) While Romanesco is cooking, preheat your broiler.

Remove from heat and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with almonds and grated Parmesan or Asiago; place pan, uncovered, under broiler until cheeses have melted and turned golden brown.

Serve immediately.

(Serves 4)

Posted September 26th, 2011.

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Zucchini: Grilled and Stuffed Southwestern-Style

by Danica Waters

After spending a happy, busy weekend experimenting with different variations of stuffed grilled zucchini (so far I’ve done it Italian-style, Asian-style, and with green chiles and Parmesan cheese – yum!), this variation nearly got me a standing ovation.  Folks were placing dibs on leftovers for lunch the next day.

 

The secret ingredient is the tequila in the marinade.  It gets ‘em every time; it deepens the flavors and mingles well with all things grilled.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Zucchini:  Grilled and Stuffed Southwestern-Style

 

4 medium-sized Zucchini

 

Marinade:

¼ C extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp chili powder

Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp tequila

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

 

 

Filling:

1 – 15 oz can black beans

½ red bell pepper, seeds removed, cut to ¼” dice

2-3 diced green onions

1 ear fresh corn, kernels removed from the cob

½ C cold cooked jasmine rice

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1 tsp whole cumin seed

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

½ C shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

1 fresh jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, finely minced

 

 

 

 

 

Trim ends from each zucchini; cut in half on the bias (crosswise).  Cut each zucchini section in half lengthwise.  Using a teaspoon, scrape seeds and pulp from the center of each zucchini section, leaving about a quarter-inch border on all sides.  Marinate zucchini in tequila mixture; set aside.

 

Heat grill to medium.

 

In a small sauté pan, sauté minced jalapeno with diced red pepper in a bit of olive oil until soft.  Add cumin seed, allow to cook for a minute to release the flavor of the cumin, and remove from the heat.

 

In a medium bowl, combine filling ingredients with peppers and cumin and mix well.  Fill zucchini sections; drizzle any remaining marinade over each stuffed zucchini section.  Grill zucchini 3-5 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly charred and cheeses are thoroughly melted; remove from grill and arrange on serving platter.

 

Allow zucchini to rest another five minutes before serving.

 

Enjoy!

Posted September 1st, 2011.

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Zucchini: Grilled and Stuffed Green Chile Parmesan

by Danica Waters

Based on a recipe for squash casserole handed down from my Nana, this version of stuffed grilled zucchini features a surprisingly delicious combination of flavors.  It makes a perfect side dish.

 

Enjoy!

 

Zucchini:  Grilled and Stuffed Green Chile Parmesan

 

4 medium zucchini

Olive oil and salt and pepper to marinate zucchini

 

½ C cooked jasmine rice

1 medium onion, diced.

1 small yellow crookneck squash, diced

¼ tsp fresh minced oregano

1 small can diced green chiles

2 Tbsp heavy cream

1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese

Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Olive Oil to bind mixture

 

Trim ends from each zucchini; cut in half on the bias (crosswise).  Cut each zucchini section in half lengthwise.  Using a teaspoon, scrape seeds and pulp from the center of each zucchini section, leaving about a quarter-inch border on all sides.  Marinate zucchini with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper; set aside.

 

Heat grill to medium.

 

Saute onion until soft and translucent; add yellow squash and oregano and cook until crisp tender.  Add green chiles, heavy cream, and jasmine rice; cook until mixture is heated through; remove from heat. Season to taste with Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

 

Fill the cavity of each zucchini with rice mixture. Grill zucchini 3-5 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly charred and cheese is thoroughly melted; remove from grill and arrange on serving platter.

 

Allow zucchini to rest another five minutes before serving.

 

Enjoy!

 

Posted August 31st, 2011.

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Zucchini: Stuffed and Grilled Asian-Style

by Danica Waters

Smitten with the results of my first spontaneous attempt at grilling stuffed zucchini (see Zucchini; Grilled and Stuffed Italian Style), I excitedly devoted the rest of my weekend towards developing several variations on the theme.  You would think “la familia” would be picketing outside with large signs that read “SQUASH THE SQUASH” or “IT’S X-NAY THE ZUCCHINI DAY”, but surprisingly, that’s not what happened.  Because zucchini has a relatively neutral flavor, it acts as a nearly perfect culinary canvas for all sorts of world cuisine.

 

Today’s variation has an Asian flare; the flavors and textures on this little gem will set your taste buds on fire. (Or was it the chili sauce?) It’s my personal favorite; I think I could live on this variation, like, forever..

 

Enjoy!

 

Asian Grilled Stuffed Zucchini

 

4 medium-sized Zucchini

 

Marinade:

2 Tbsp chili sauce

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

 

Filling:

1/2 small can diced water chestnuts

½ C diced roasted and salted peanuts

¼ C chopped fresh cilantro

½ C cold cooked jasmine rice

3-4 chopped green onions

Chinese Chicken Salad dressing or other Asian-style dressing ( I use Trader Joe’s Spicy Thai Peanut Dressing) to bind.

 

 

 

Trim ends from each zucchini; cut in half on the bias (crosswise).  Cut each zucchini section in half lengthwise.  Using a teaspoon, scrape seeds and pulp from the center of each zucchini section, leaving about a quarter-inch border on all sides.  Marinate zucchini in chili sauce mixture; set aside.

 

Heat grill to medium.

 

In a medium bowl, combine filling ingredients and mix well.  Fill zucchini sections; drizzle any remaining marinade over each stuffed zucchini section.  Grill zucchini 3-5 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly charred; remove from grill and arrange on serving platter.

 

Allow zucchini to rest another five minutes before serving.

 

Enjoy!

 

Posted August 30th, 2011.

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Zucchini: Stuffed & Grilled Italian-Style

by Danica Waters (photo courtesy of www.buckcooks.com)

The end of summer quickly approaches, and gardeners across the Northern Hemisphere are getting the first tastes of their soon-to-be-overly-prolific zucchini vines. 

 

While this versatile garden favorite is an old stand-by in stir-fry dishes, minestrone soups, and of course, sweetbread, I must admit I have discovered a new all-time favorite way to adore zucchini: 

Grilled and Stuffed. 

I have recently discovered that zucchini, filled with fresh, flavorful ingredients and ever-so-slightly charred, takes on an entirely different persona;  it is smoky, delicious, and wonderful warm or cold. 

 

This week The Allspice Chronicles will happily feature four variations of Grilled Stuffed Zucchini.  They’re terrific for buffet tables and lunchboxes alike; I hope you find them as addictive as I do.

 

Enjoy!

 

Zucchini:  Grilled and Stuffed Italian-Style

 

6 medium-sized Zucchini

Italian dressing or olive oil and salt and pepper to marinate zucchini

 

½ C dry bread crumbs (substitute gluten free bread crumbs if desired)

2-3 fresh Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and diced to ¼ inch.

2-3 diced green onions

1 Tbsp fresh minced parsley

2 tsp fresh minced oregano

1/3 C shredded Parmesan

1/3 C shredded mozzarella

Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Olive Oil to bind mixture

 

(Note:  To make a heartier version of this little gem, add some cooked Italian Sausage or Italian-seasoned Vegetarian Crumbles to the filling mixture.)

 

 

Trim ends from each zucchini; cut in half on the bias (crosswise).  Cut each zucchini section in half lengthwise.  Using a teaspoon, scrape seeds and pulp from the center of each zucchini section, leaving about a quarter-inch border on all sides.  Marinate zucchini with your favorite Italian dressing or simply coat with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper; set aside.

 

Heat grill to medium.

 

In a medium bowl, combine diced tomato, diced green onion, oregano, parsley, bread crumbs, shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and olive oil.  Fill the cavity of each zucchini with bread crumb mixture.  Drizzle any remaining marinade over each stuffed zucchini section.  Grill zucchini 3-5 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly charred and cheeses are thoroughly melted; remove from grill and arrange on serving platter.

 

Allow zucchini to rest another five minutes before serving.

 

Enjoy!

Posted August 29th, 2011.

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Linguine Frittata With Clams

by Danica Waters

In the big wide world of recipes, the pasta frittata has to be one of the best make-ahead-and-freeze-for-later meals out there.  Like its cousins Vermicelli Frittata with Eggplant or Capellini Frittata with Asparagus, Linguine Frittata with Clams is an elegant entrée easily dressed up or down depending on the occasion.  Pair with a crisp white wine (try a California Albarino) and a simple salad for a quick and easy late summer meal.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Linguine Frittata With Clams

Gourmet Magazine, April 1994

6 garlic cloves, minced

6 Tbsp olive oil

¼ c minced fresh parsley leaves (preferably flat-leafed)

¾ tsp dried hot red pepper flakes

24 small hard-shelled clams, shucked, reserving liquor, and chopped

½ pound linguine

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

 

In a small heavy skillet cook garlic in 3 Tbsp of oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened but not browned.  Add parsley and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.  Stir in clams and ¼ cup of reserved liquor and cook 1 minute.

 

In a kettle of salted boiling water, cook linguine until al dente and drain.  In a large bowl toss linguine with clam mixture and salt and pepper to taste and cool 2 minutes.  Add eggs and combine well.

 

In a 12-inch skillet heat remaining 3 Tbsp oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the pasta mixture and with 2 forks, spread across the pan evenly.  Reduce heat to moderate and cook frittata 3 minutes.  Shift skillet so that one fourth of frittata is directly over center of burner and cook1-1/2 minutes.  Shift skillet 3 more times, cooking remaining fourths in same manner.  Put a heatproof platter over skillet and invert frittata onto it.  Slide frittata, browned side up, back into skillet and cook other side in same manner.  Slide frittata onto platter and cool to room temperature.

 

Cut frittata into wedges.  Serves 6 – 8.

Posted August 24th, 2011.

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Southwestern Chicken and Pasta Salad

by Danica Waters


For all you pasta salad lovers out there, hold on tight, because this just might be the best pasta salad you’ve ever eaten.  My eldest daughter, who is a pasta salad fanatic, claims this as her very favorite.  She loves it so much she’s requested it for every single birthday dinner she’s had over the last ten years.  Today is no exception.  And in honor of her birthday, I am sharing this with all of you.

Enjoy!

 

 

Southwestern Chicken and Pasta Salad

(from Better Homes & Gardens Hot & Spicy Cooking)

 

In stockpot, cook per package directions:

 

4 oz rainbow rotini

 

Drain; rinse with cold water to stop cooking process and drain again.  Place cooked noodles into large bowl; set aside.

 

Mix dressing:

 

¼ C salad oil

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 Tbsp lime juice

½ tsp chili powder

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp dry mustard

Several drops Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce

 

Mix well and pour over pasta in bowl.  Add:

 

3 fresh or canned jalapeno or Serrano peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced finely.

 

To pasta & pepper mixture, add the following:

 

1 C chopped cooked chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper

1 ear fresh corn or 1 8-3/4 oz canned whole kernel corn, drained (fresh preferred!)

½ medium avocado, seeded, peeled, and cut into bite sized chunks

2 oz Pepper Jack cheese, cubed

¼ C sliced pitted ripe black olives

2 Tbsp sliced green onion

1 – 2-oz jar diced pimiento, drained

 

Toss all ingredients together well.  Cover and chill for several hours or overnight.

 

Serves 4.

 

 

 

 

Posted August 15th, 2011.

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Brandied Pears

by Danica Waters / image courtesy of wikipedia.com

Don’t forget:  tomorrow is National Can-It-Forward Day!  If you haven’t already signed up for the live webcast coming from Seattle’s Pike Place Market, you can sign up here.

Be sure to check out the schedule of events – there’s a great lineup of recipes, tips and tricks ready and waiting on Canning Across America’s website, as well.

 

At 25 cents a pound, there was no way I could pass up the opportunity to try this recipe.  Like the Kentucky Bourbon Peaches featured yesterday, Brandied Pears are deliciously elegant served warm over vanilla ice cream or left all to themselves.  Try adding the leftover brandied syrup to a white wine spritzer, or simply pour over ice cubes and top with soda or mineral water.

Happy Canning!

Enjoy!

 

Brandied Pears

(from the Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving)

6 lb pears

2 lemons

1-1/2 C water

2-1/2 C sugar

1 piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and thinly sliced

1-1/2 C brandy

 

Fill boiling water canner with water.  Place 6 clean pint jars in canner over high heat.  Bring to a rolling boil; reduce heat and keep jars hot until ready to use.

In separate saucepan, place lids in hot but not boiling water; keep hot until ready to use.

Peel, halve, and core pears;  place in color protection solution (1/4 C lemon juice to 4 C water) and set aside.

With vegetable peeler, remove rind (yellow part only) from lemons in continuous spiral.  Squeeze juice from lemons and strain into measuring cup; add sufficient water to make 2 cups.

In a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan, combine water, rind, juice, sugar, and gingerroot.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain pears and add to hot liquid; heat to a boil.

Pack hot fruit snugly in overlapping layers in hot jar to within 3/4 of an inch of top rim.  Pour 1/4 C brandy over pears in jar.  Add boiling syrup to cover pears to within 1/2 inch of top rim (head space).  Remove air bubbles by sliding rubber spatula between glass and food; readjust head space to 1/2 inch.

Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth, removing any stickiness.  Center hot lid on jar; apply screw band just until fingertip tight.  Place jar in canner.  Repeat with remaining pears, brandy, and syrup.

Cover canner; return water to a boil and process for 20 minutes at altitudes up to 1,000 feet.  Remove jars.  Cool 24 hours.

Check your jar seals:  if the center of your lid springs back when pressed, your seal is broken and the contents must be refrigerated immediately and used promptly.  If the center remains firm when pressed, your seal is good, and contents can be kept in a cool, dry place for up to a year.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted August 12th, 2011.

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Mum’s Famous Delectable Corn Relish

by Danica Waters

The recipe for Mum’s Famous Delectable Corn Relish comes from my Mother-In-Law. (I affectionately refer to her as “Mum”; she’s a nicer, Scottish version of Martha Stewart, an artist, a savvy but unassuming perfectionist, and an absolute wonder at everything she touches.)  I will never forget the year she sent this relish in a care package, because I’ve never seen anything disappear so fast in my entire life.

 

We put it on ham sandwiches.  I’d never tasted anything so over-the-top delicious.  We put in on turkey sandwiches.  Truly knocked our socks off.  Then Mum mentioned that one of her friends put the relish in a foil package with some wild-caught salmon and a bit of olive oil and threw the whole lot on the grill.  It blew the taste buds off of everyone at her dinner party.  Of course we tried it; it was magnificent.

 

This recipe yielded nine half-pint jars of corn relish.  Yes, it involves a lot of chopping.  It is worth every minute.

 

Enjoy!

 

Mum’s Famous Delectable Corn Relish

(adapted from the Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving)

 

7 ears fresh corn

1-1/2 C chopped celery

1 large sweet red pepper, chopped

1 small sweet green pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1-1/4 C sugar

2 tsp celery seed

3 C white vinegar

2 Tbsp dry mustard

2 tsp turmeric

1-1/2 C water

 

Remove husks and silks from the corn, trim the ends.  Place ears in a large kettle of boiling water and simmer 10 minutes.

Remove corn and immediately plunge into cold water to stop cooking process.  When corn has cooled, cut kernels from the cob.  You should have about 4-5 cups of corn.

Fill canner with water.  Place nine clean half-pint jars in water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and keep water hot until you need to fill the jars.

In a large saucepan (stainless steel or enamel work best) combine corn, celery, peppers,onion, sugar, celery seed and vinegar.  Cover the pan and bring to a boil; remove cover and boil 5 minutes.   Skim any foam that rises to the top.

 

Combine mustard and turmeric with water.  Stir into vegetable mixture and return to a boil.  Boil uncovered for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

Place lids in hot but not boiling water to soften sealing compound.  Keep hot until ready to use.

 

Remove hot jars to a surface lined with clean kitchen towels.  Ladle hot relish into the hot jars, taking care to maintain ½ inch head space.  Using a non-metallic spatula, remove air bubbles from jars by sliding spatula between glass and relish; readjust to fill to the ½ ‘ headspace.  Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean damp cloth to remove any stickiness.  Center lids on jars,  screw on rings just until fingertip tight.

Replace jars into hot water bath in canner; bring to a boil.    Process jars 15 minutes at altitudes up to 1,000 ft.

 

 

when pressed, the seal is not good, and the contents must be refrigerated immediately and used promptly.  If center remains depressed, label and store for up to a year in a cool, dark pantry area.

 

For best flavor, allow jars to sit in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks before using.  For even better texture, refrigerate prior to serving.

 

Be sure to keep refrigerated after opening.

 

Posted August 10th, 2011.

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