6.6.16 Saffron Chicken and Herb Salad

I’m excited to share that I am now cooking for a startup in Los Alamos. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to cook for! Happy and grateful.

Today I made a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi from his book Jerusalem. IMG_4959

First I cut the oranges in wedges and put them in a sauce pan with saffron, vinegar, honey and covered it with water – it was a beautiful sight and a lovely aroma. I let it cook for an hour or more.Then I gathered all the beautiful greens and herbs I bought from the Co-op – mint, basil, cilantro, kale, butter lettuce and romaine. Washed and chopped them. I made the dressing by chopping up a couple serrano chiles and added fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt and olive oil. You can see the whole recipe in a clear format here. It ended up being a delicious and beautiful lunch. The color of the orange saffron sauce with the all the colors of green was a perfect summer day lunch.

3.30.16 Lunch at the Leafy Greens Kitchen Pho Ga with Chef Nicholas Toll

Today was an extra special lunch because chef Nicholas Toll joined me in the kitchen.  It was great to have an extra pair of very talented hands!Processed with VSCO with 4 presetWe started by charring the yellow onions and ginger for the broth, which is a great way to get extra flavor. I learned this technique from my favorite food blog smitten kitchen – check out her recipe, which we loosely followed.Processed with VSCO with 4 presetA glimpse of the beautiful pho broth – anise, cloves, cinnamon and a bay leaf. We left the onion skin on which gives the broth a golden hue.Processed with VSCO with 4 presetNicholas made a quick carrot and radish pickle! He flavored the brine (he used apple cider vinegar) with cilantro stems, cloves, a star anise, salt and pepper. The pickle added a much needed splash of red and orange. Processed with VSCO with 4 presetOh and how can I forget to mention that we fried shallots in lard for a crispy flavorful garnish (insert heart eyes). Lard is the perfect frying oil, it’s a hardy fat that can handle high heat unlike vegetable oil, that is easily damaged. The lard did not smoke. The mainstream is finally catch up the notion that lard is in fact good for you. Check out this article by Food & Wine “Lard: The New Health Food?”. And if you’re ready to learn all about fat and oil check out the article “Oiling of America”. Processed with VSCO with 4 preset

Folks from the neighborhood were happy to arrive to such a cozy scene. A kitchen warmed with a stock cooking for hours and a community coming together.

3.10.16 Lunch at the Leafy Greens Kitchen Peanut Noodles with a Cucumber, Basil and Mint Salad Topped with Wok Chicken

Today the weather is warmer here in Santa Fe. Since I grew up here, these warm spring days remind me of when I was younger and I love it. In the spirit of Friday and feeling 16 again, we enjoyed some cold beer with our noodles.

Before my hungry eaters arrived, Brian Eno, David Bowie and Lou Reed joined me in the kitchen giving the food some extra good vibrations – here’s the play list.  Processed with VSCOcam with 4 presetHere is the recipe for a very simple and tasty lunch. A bowl of pad thai style noodles in a peanut sauce with the flavors of umami, tang, sweet and spicy. Processed with VSCOcam with 4 presetTopped with a simple salad made with sliced cucumbers, cilantro, mint and basil dressed in a little toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar for a bright note to complement the nutty flavor.Processed with VSCOcam with 4 presetI marinated the chicken in the peanut sauce from the noodles before frying them in the wok with hot toasted peanut oil. The chicken browned nicely – and well… it’s just fun to use a big wok sometimes. On the table were peanuts and chili/garlic paste, for a touch of red and heat. We eventually brought everything to the table to keep filling our bowls.

Each week I meet more of my neighbors in this industrial Siler Midtown District community who come in search of lunch. Today Shehan joined us. He has a studio across the way where he makes beautiful knives. He kindly sharpened my knives as a trade for today’s lunch. Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

 

3.2.16 Lunch at the Leafy Greens Kitchen Ruben’s Ceviche

If you can’t escape from the windy game of tug of war between winter and spring here in Santa Fe to a Caribbean vacation, just make ceviche.

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If I get the timing right I stop by my sister and brother-in-law’s restaurant Paper Dosa when the kitchen staff is on break eating, an always delicious, lunch. One day when I conveniently stopped by, Ruben, one of my favorite people, had made ceviche. It reminded me of how much I love this dish. It was silly of me to think it was only to be enjoyed by the ocean with the feel of salt on my skin while also sipping a Dos Equis. When I looked outside this morning at the windy day ahead I thought to myself “I wish I was on a beach in Mexico”. Then I thought about lunch, naturally, and said – today I’ll make Ruben’s ceviche. Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

At lunch we all were teleported to a table under a shady palapa for at least a little while while we ate. The ceviche was so easy and simple to make. I topped off the ceviche with avocado, lime, tostada shells and Valentina Salsa Picante. And alongside the ceviche I served a side salad made with cabbage, carrots, radishes, cilantro and red onion marinated in a lime vinaigrette.

Here’s Ruben’s Ceviche recipe, give or take:

Get a pound of tilapia, cut in medium sized cubes, and marinate in salt and fresh lime juice (about 10 limes) for an hour. The fish will turn white and you’ll be able to see the grain of the fish. Then finely dice 5 tomatoes, 2 jalapenos, 1 white onion and 1/2 bunch of cilantro. When the fish is done marinating mix it all together. Enjoy with hot sauce and tostada chips! Oh and a cold light Mexican lager.

2.29.16 Lunch at the Leafy Greens Kitchen Asian Almond Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles

One of my favorite food blogs is the Smitten Kitchen. I look at her blog to find inspiration for what to make. This Leap Day Monday morning I looked around and found this tasty-looking recipe.

SmittenKitchen

At lunch time we all gathered around the table with our bowls of vermicelli noodles marinated in savory almond sauce topped with moist and delicious chicken with the fresh and crunch of carrots and cucumbers with sprigs of basil and cilantro. On the table was almonds, if the eaters wanted more crunch, a spicy cilantro and lime fish sauce for more tang, umami and spice. The more I ate the better it got, and to make it last longer I added more veggies and eventually a second serving of the those vermicelli noodles. Yum.

Note, I substituted the peanut butter for almond butter, because almonds are a healthier choice.

See the recipe here.