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One Pot Salsa Chicken with Mock Caesar Salad

Posted: April 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dinner | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

It’s been a busy weekend: Devon’s mom came to visit for two days and we had lovely food at Tartine (morning buns), the Slanted Door (imperial rolls, chicken claypot, and halibut with spicy gingered fish sauce), and Cheeseboard Pizza (pizza and salad of the day). At the bookstore, Alice Waters was here to sign copies of her new book ‘In the Green Kitchen’ on Saturday. And then on Sunday I hosted food trivia when Cynthia Nims came to talk about her book ‘Gourmet Game Night‘.

For the past few days I’ve been coming home from work exhausted. Which is, of course, the case for most people in the real world. I admit that the recent dinners have been a little bit neglected – pasta with butter and parmigiano and grilled asparagus on Sunday night, and nothing but a bowl of pea puree yesterday. Tonight I vowed to eat well. I settled on One Pot Salsa Chicken with Mock Caesar Salad. Which took me all of half an hour. I started the chicken dish right when I got home, and the salad came together while everything was cooking. Dinner was well received.


This salad was inspired by Canal House Cooking, Volume 3, although I forgot to actually take the book home with me, so it’s more loosely what I remember from the recipe, and limited to what I had in my own kitchen. This makes about double the amount of dressing, but the leftovers easily go in the fridge for another day.

Mock Cesar Salad:

1 clove of garlic

1 tablespoon anchovy paste

1 teaspoon Maille whole grain mustard

juice of one lemon (I used a Meyer)

salt and pepper

about 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano

1 medium romaine lettuce, washed and chopped

In a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic, anchovy paste, and mustard into a smooth paste. Add the juice of a lemon, season with salt and pepper, and pour in the olive oil. Transfer to an old jar, and give a really big shake. Just before serving, pour half of the dressing on the lettuce, grate on the cheese, and toss. I didn’t actually have enough parmigiano, so I supplemented with a tiny bit of Saxon Creamery Big Ed’s, a hard cheese that I picked up at Rainbow.


One Pot Salsa Chicken:

In my big Le Creuset pot, I put some olive oil and sauteed three cut up chicken thighs (about a pound of meat) on medium heat giving them a good seal. I like them to crisp up a bit, and let them fry for about 3 minutes on each side.

Now for my seasoning – I won’t lie, I rarely measure when I’m tired. I added about a tablespoon of cumin (several really good shakes of my new supply from Rainbow grocery), some freshly ground black pepper, and a good pinch of sea salt. By which I mean, almost enough sea salt to sustain an ocean-based ecosystem, because rather than being intelligent and shaking it into my hand, I shook it directly into the pot. After spicing, I gave the pot two more minutes of cooking.

I then added one can of pinto beans (no salt added) including the liquid, and a jar of Trader Joe’s Salsa Authentica. I also added 3/4 cup of bulgur wheat, turned the heat down to low, and simmered for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the bulgur to fully cook.

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Weekly Meal Planning

Posted: April 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Dinner, Lunch | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

[Happy photo of the day: Pepper, getting a belly rub.]

For the past few days I’ve been making more concerted efforts to plan my meals so that I know what I’m going to eat for dinner before 4:30 pm. Cutoff time of doom. So at the beginning of the week I sat down with a big stack of magazines and cookbooks to gather some ideas for some good home made dinners.

Sunday Night: Curried Red Lentil Soup.

I decided to make myself some lentil soup. In a medium soup pot, over medium heat I added a few tablespoons of olive oil, and a small pat of butter. I sauteed 1/2 a red onion, the white part of a leek, about 1/2 a link of chorizo that was in my freezer, and 3 small roughly chopped carrots in the pot, for about 20 minutes, until everything was starting to get brown and soft.

At that point I added 1 cup of red lentils, and 1/2 cup bulgur wheat. I added in a pinch of red pepper flakes and a small knob of ginger. I then added four cups of water, brought it to a boil, and then turned it down to simmer for 30 minutes. Stirring every ten minutes or so.

At the end, I lightly toasted a tablespoon of curry powder, and added a tablespoon of tomato paste. I added this into the soup, and a can of light coconut milk, and a heaping teaspoon of sea salt. It’s lovely when you put the salt in, because it goes from a very boring dull soup, to something absolutely delightful. I let everything simmer on low for about 20 more minutes, until I couldn’t wait any longer to eat. I topped my bowl with some chopped cashews and grated coconut.

Lunch next day:
This soup only got better on day two. I also brought some fennel and celery salad, with fresh parsley, dill and lemon dressing.

Monday Night: Grilled Chicken Pita Salad adapted from Sunset Magazine’s “30 Fast and Fresh Weeknight Dinners” from this months’ issue. Devon’s mom gave me a subscription to Sunset this year, and it’s grown to be one of my favorite magazines. I grilled a chicken breast and the asparagus on my griddle pan, got the bulgarian feta and kalamata olives from the cheese shop on 24th, and made my own pita chips by popping a pita in the oven at about 400 for 8 minutes. Easy peasy.

Lunch the next day:
I brought the second chicken breast that I grilled, and a few of the leftover spears of asparagus, extra cherry tomatoes, and a lemon. I also brought an apple for snack.

Tuesday Night: Braised Swiss Chard, and Mac + Cheese Ever since trying Tori Ritchie’s braised swiss chard with cannellini beans, I’ve been meaning to go back and recreate this recipe. I did it last night as a nice complement to some Annie’s Mac and Cheese which I’ve been craving for weeks. I didn’t put the cannellini beans in this batch, and I used spring onions, carrots, and chard from my farm box.

No leftovers today for lunch, because I have the day off!


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