Chicken cauliflower curry

Alas, this dish has no cute story to go with it.  Just a fantastic flavor profile, and lots of textures.  It’ll make your home smell wonderful and you’ll be wanting to sample straight from the pan all the while it cooks.  And that’s not a bad idea either.  This way you can track the progress of the flavor meld of the ingredients.  It’s great to witness that happening.

I call for the chicken to be added back in nearer to the end of the cooking time because if it sits in the pan throughout then it will get tough and chewy.  That would be a horrible thing to do to a perfectly good chicken breast 😉

Ingredients:

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

5 small red potatoes, cubed, with the skins on

½ head of cauliflower, trimmed into bite-sized pieces

3-4 Tbsp hot curry paste

1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

1 cup cooked lentils

Directions:

  • Sauté the chicken breast, then remove it from the pan and set aside
  • Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the potatoes and cauliflower and sauté for another 5 minutes
  • Stir in the curry paste and cook for a minute
  • Add tomatoes and water and simmer for half an hour
  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add that and the cooked lentils to the mixture and let simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered
  • Season with salt and pepper to your taste.  Serve in large bowls.  Naan makes a great accompaniment

J

Simple citrus beet salad

To go along with our chicken-pesto sandwiches on flax foccaccia I made this very simple citrus beet salad.  Beets are fantastic for you and offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support for your body (according to WHF), plus they’re great for your colon.  And who doesn‘t love a healthy colon, right?  Beets are also easy to grow.  And they have the advantage of having edible greens which are great raw in salads, steamed, sauteed, stewed, or even tossed into a smoothie.

Ingredients:

5 medium-sized, fresh beets

1 naval orange

5 large basil leaves

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Give your beets a good rinse and scrub in a water bath to remove all dirt and particles
  • Cut the beets in half (top to bottom).   Then turn them onto their cut sides and slice to your desired thickness (mine were about 1/8″)
  • Steam the beat slices to your desired doneness (for the love of food-this should be no longer than 10 minutes)
  • Put the cooked beats in a medium-sized mixing bowl and drizzle them with olive oil
  • Zest about 1/2 of the orange onto the beets, then peel the orange and break it up into segments, cut the segments in half, and add them to the beets
  • Slice the basil into ribbons and sprinkle it over the beets and oranges
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately, or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for a few days

This recipe yields about three 1/2 pint servings.

J

Flax Focaccia

Last year I went on a bus trip with my Gram to Tanglewood to see a show and a bagged lunch was part of the package provided by the Senior Center.  I can honestly say that I ate my bagged lunch and disliked it greatly.  I informed my Gram then and there that if she ever invited me to go on this annual trip with her again that we would not be eating the bagged lunch.  So when this year’s trip was booked, she invited me to accompany her, and I accepted, with one stipulation- I get to pack the picnic.  She accepted and the planning began.

In an effort to eat more primal foods (fresh, organic, unprocessed- read more here) I recently pulled conventional breads from my diet.  This is not to say that I will never eat bread again, because that would just be silly.  I simply find that it is necessary to shake things up a bit every once in a while, and now is that time for me.  I didn’t just change my eating habits, my exercise routine goes hand-in-hand thus that has changed as well.

So when it was time to plan the picnic menu I wanted to keep things simple.  Whatever we ate, drank, and served with had to be carried into the venue, used, carried around the venue for the entirety of our stay, then carted out with us.  Sandwiches really fit the bill here as they can be hand-held, but since I am currently omitting bread I was stuck.  Then I found a recipe for a lovely foccaccia which uses flax meal rather than flour.  The recipe is rich in protein and omega 3s which both fit well into my diet, and it made for a bread which didn’t look strange enough to make Gram & Neil question why I was feeding it to them 😉

This foccaccia is moist and rich and dense.  You can eat it as-is once it’s baked, or you can make sandwiches out of it, or you could top it with herbs and bake it again to make a crunchier version like this blogger did, or you could slather it in fresh pesto (as I did) and snack on it.  The foccaccia holds well in the refrigerator for several days in an air-tight container, or can be frozen for longer storage.

Ingredients:

2 cups flax meal

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon agave nectar

5 eggs, whisked

½ cup water

⅓ cup olive oil

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • In a medium bowl combine the flax meal, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the agave, eggs, water and olive oil
  • Stir dry ingredients into wet, mixing well, then allow to stand for 2-3 minutes so that batter thickens
  • Give the batter a quick stir and pour into an oiled 9×13 inch baking dish
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean
  • Remove from oven and cool.  Once cooled, I would recommend slicing directly in the pan, then removing individual pieces so as not to tear the center out if it’s stuck to the pan at all.

For our Tanglewood sandwiches, I cut 5″x5″ squares of foccaccia and sliced them in half- the skinny way, then slathered on some fresh pesto, added a thin chicken cutlet, fresh tomato slices, and a bit of baby greens.  Very tasty.

J