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I was pretty indecisive about dinner tonight. At first I was going to do go for some chili, but I have been eating a lot of mexican type food lately. So I did a little investigating online and went to one of my fav food blogs, www.glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com. I was thinking I needed a little chicken curry in my life, and sure enough I found some inspiration on Gluten Free Goddess: chicken tropicale — an amazing mixture of chicken, pineapple, coconut milk, veggies, and curry. Sure enough it didn’t disappoint. The recipe uses a slow cooker, but I just cooked everything in a pot on the stove.

Ingredients:
 
A dab of olive oil, as needed
4 split happy free-range organic chicken breasts
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
1 Bermuda red onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 zucchini squash, cut into half moons
1 large red pepper, cored, cut into chunks
1 15-oz can pineapple chunks with juice
2 cups organic chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1-2 teaspoons curry- mild or hot, to taste* (I used red curry)
1-2 teaspoons paprika (I’d love to try smoked paprika)
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
2 teaspoons organic brown sugar, or raw organic agave nectarLater:

1 14-oz can coconut milk
1/2 cup sliced black olives
Juice from 1 large, or two small, limes

To serve:

2 1/2 to 3 cups cooked rice
Silvered almonds, if desired

Directions:

Drizzle a touch of olive oil in the bottom of the pot.
Add onions and garlic.
Sautee a few minutes.
Add the onion, garlic, red pepper, and pineapple chunks with juice.
Add the broth, spices, and brown sugar or agave.
Add chopped cooked chicken.
Let boil and simmer for half an hour. A few minutes before serving, add the coconut milk, sliced olives, and lime juice; stir a bit.
Serve- with all the broth- over hot cooked brown rice.
Serves 4.
 
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May 1 brought with it the nicest day of the year. I spent the day lounging in the sun in shorts and actually remembered to put on sunscreen. It was the first day my knee scar had seen the light of day. Hello world!

I of course had to welcome the sun with a flavorful recipe — nothing other than pineapple pilaf and firecracker red beans. And yes, both recipes were from Molly Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven. Her recipes have the most amazing, unique flavors that meld together to take your taste buds on an adventure. It sounds kinda corny but it’s true.

 Here is the Spiced Pineapple Pilaf recipe:

2 tb Butter
2 ts Mustard seed
1-1/2 tb Minced ginger; fresh
1-1/2 tb Minced garlic; fresh
1-1/4 ts Salt
1/2 ts Turmeric
1/4 ts Allspice
1/4 ts Nutmeg
20 oz Crushed pineapple in juice;
-canned
2 cups uncooked basmatic rice
3 tb Cider vinegar; or rice
-vinegar, (3 to 4 tbs)
Cayenne pepper; for the top

Begin by cooking the rice. Prepare the spiced pineapple while the rice is cooking. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and ginger, and cook over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, turmeric, allspice and nutmeg and saute for about 1 more minute, or until the garlic is just about to turn golden. Add 1-1/2 cups of the pineapple (including its juice) and cook for about 5 minutes longer. Transfer this mixture to the cooked rice, add the vinegar and remaiing salt, mix everything in well. The rice is ready to serve at this point, but it tastes even better if heated through with the seasonings mixed in. Just cover the pan tightly with foil and place in a 350F oven for about 30 minutes. Serve hot or warm, topped with remaininng pineapple and a fine dusting of cayenne.

This was a beautiful shade of yellow and I couldn’t believe how colorful it was.

The other part of the meal was Firecracker Red Beans. Also, amazing and unique flavor.

Here’s what you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil

• 3 cups minced onion

• 2 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot

• 2 teaspoons fennel seeds

• 2 tablespoons minced garlic

• 1/2 teaspoon allspice

• 1 teaspoon dried thyme

• 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt

• 1 cup dry sherry or vermouth

• 2 tablespoons prepared mustard (I used dry mustard)

• 1/4 cup ketchup (1 used tomato paste instead)

• 1 teaspoon minced chipotle chilies, plus more to taste

• 2 cups water

• 1/4 cup almond butter

• 2 tablespoons brown sugar

• 2/3 cup boiling water

About 6 cups cooked small red beans and/or kidney beans (three or four 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained)

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven. When it is really hot, add the onion, ginger and fennel seeds, and saute over strong heat for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the garlic, allspice, thyme and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes over medium-low heat.

Stir in the sherry or vermouth, mustard, ketchup, minced chipotle and 2 cups water. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

Place the almond butter and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add the 2/3 cup boiling water, and mash with a spoon until the mixture becomes uniform. Stir this mixture into the sauce, and cook uncovered over low heat for about 5 minutes.

You can leave sauce as it is if you like it textured, but if you like it smooth, transfer to a blender and puree. (I kept it textured)

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the beans in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish (or an equivalent casserole) and pour in all the sauce. Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, still tightly covered, so the beans can continue to absorb the liquid.

Whew….. That was a long post. Hope you can get through it all. If you can, trust me it’s worth it. Tomorrow I’m heading up to P-town for physical therapy and to drop off my hefty work sample I taught last term for my student teaching. I hope it goes ok!

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Gettin’ corny

It seems like this blog has been more about cooking than anything else, but that’s just what I’ve been into lately. Tonight I made some amazing corn chowdah’. It was another recipe from www.glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com. I had never tried it before but it was so delish I can’t even tell you! I didn’t have any green chiles, so I subbed in some cayenne powder and used frozen corn in place of fresh corn (not really the season for that). I served it with cornbread, southern greens, and salad. I am soooo full right now! The coconut milk made the chowder extra creamy.

Here is the recipe:

Roasted Corn Chowder with Chicken & Cilantro

 
If corn is in season use fresh ears of corn- if not- roast thawed frozen kernels on a baking sheet.1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry or chili powder or paste, mild or hot, to taste
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 ears of corn, roasted, kernels removed
1 large sweet potato, peeled, diced
1 14-oz can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles
1 cup seeded, chopped fresh heirloom tomatoes- I used yellow and pink
4 oz. chopped roasted green chiles
1 quart vegetable broth
1 14-oz can coconut milk or plain hemp milk
2 rounded cups cooked chicken pieces
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
A quick drizzle of organic raw agave, to tasteTo serve:
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Fresh lime juice from 2 limes

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and stir in the cumin and curry or chili powder; cook for one minute to infuse the oil with spice. Add the chopped garlic and onion. Stir and cook for five minutes. Add the roasted corn, sweet potato, canned fire roasted tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, green chiles; stir for a minute. Add in the broth. Cover and bring to a high simmer. Lower the heat and simmer gently, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about twenty minutes or so. Add the coconut milk and cooked chicken pieces. Stir and season with sea salt and ground pepper; and add a drizzle of organic raw agave to taste. Heat through gently- please don’t boil it. Just before serving, add the chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice. Stir. Taste test. Adjust seasoning. Note: The lime juice brightens the taste and accents the spice. Agave cools the hotness.

Garnish with a lime wedge and pass out the spoons. Slurp! Serves 6-8.

This chowder works well cooked slowly in a Crock Pot; add the coconut milk and cooked chicken 30 minutes before serving and heat through. Add the lime juice and cilantro just before serving.

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Yesterday marked my reintroduction to the world.  I drove the Jetta up to Portland for the day to catch up with some friends. I hadn’t seen any of them since the accident (over a couple months ago) so I was ready to get out of the house and back into society. My knee was a kinda sore from the drive but I made it up there. I met a friend for coffee and although it rained a little bit, was actually pretty dry for Portland.

I couldn’t stay off of the swings.

Later we had some delicious food at Pok Pok. Their portions are a little small and you have to buy your own rice, but the five of us went family style and with four entrees (one was a whole fish), I left stuffed.

Check it….

  

Poor fish……. But we enjoyed it in our bellies:)

Followed by a visit to a Kava bar that recently opened up in Portland. I’d never had Kava before. The taste was “earthy” and not necessarily good, but apparently Pacific Islanders drink it for its effects. According to the all knowing Wikipedia, “Kava is sedating and is primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity.” Hmmm… I didn’t have enough to be able to feel the effects, but my fellow diners told me this description appeared to be correct. I wonder if this is the next phenonemon?

And just for randomness… a photo I took of my knee at the bar while we waited for a table at Pok Pok. Can you tell which knee is bigger?

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