Chicken with Tarragon, Grapefruit, and Olives

June 23, 2015

I wanted to continue my little streak of cooking and eating citrus fruit, peel and all, so I came up with an easy, simple chicken recipe and tried it out on a couple friends who came to dinner. My recipe is inspired by a delicious meal my friend Katherine made in Sweden, which in turn was inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe. Leave it to me to mess around with Martha’s perfection!

It starts with Read the rest of this entry »

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Cordon Bleu Toasts

July 8, 2012

Health-conscious. Figure friendly. Guilt-free.

I made an appetizer for my cousin’s birthday party that’s ALL OF THE ABOVE! Best of all, it tasted good. Really good. Wanna see how I made it?

Hope you said ‘yes’, because that’s what this post is about!

Read the rest of this entry »


Tuna “Noodle” Lunch

April 20, 2012

I’m gearing up for a weekend of healthy eating. Are you? You should be. Do it.

Sorry – it’s been a long week, that’s all I got in me in terms of a pep talk.

I thought I’d kick off the weekend by sharing one of my healthy meals from earlier this week. To call this a “recipe” would be a stretch, because there was no planning or forethought – I just grabbed what I had and threw something together. It’s actually quite easy to do, and it’s really freeing to putz around a kitchen without being tethered to a recipe. I work without recipes more than I do with them. Of course, working without a recipe means that there’s a chance that the final dish won’t turn out spectacularly, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

This meal began the same way many of my meals begin: with vegetables. I pulled out what I had and chopped it up:

That’s red onion, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and red pepper.

I heated my big skillet, slicked it with some non-stick spray, and threw in the veggies so they could start to cook. I wanted to add some protein, so I pulled a can of tuna from the cupboard, drained it, and tossed it in there as well. The dish needed a sauce or something, so I pulled from the fridge a salad dressing (I often let salad dressings double as sauces), and this one had red pepper in it, so I knew that would go well with the red pepper I had already chopped up. The bottle was almost empty, so I finished it off. It couldn’t have been more than a 1/4 cup – just enough to coat everything and add flavor without being gloppy.

If you were wondering why the word “noodle” in this post’s title is in quotes, it’s because of my final ingredient: tofu noodles.

Fake pasta! It’s tofu, shaped and formed to look like pasta. They sell it in different varieties, like spaghetti and angel hair – I actually blogged about the spinach fettuccini kind a few months ago. You’re not going to be fooled into thinking you’re eating actual pasta, but it’s not bad, and reminiscent of asian-style noodles. And it’s a great swap, because that entire bag – which is 2 servings – has 40 calories and is fat-free. You drain it and rinse it, and either heat it in boiling water (like you would cook pasta), or, if you’re like me, you add it to the big skillet in the final minute and let the heat of the other food warm it up.

Voila! A delicious, healthy meal!

I kinda wish the tuna was in bigger pieces, but that was out of my control, as it came from a can and it broke apart from the stirring. Otherwise, my meal was tasty, and it only took about 15 minutes, from start to finish.

Don’t let anyone tell you eating healthy takes time or is too difficult!

Keep it up, David!


Buddha’s Hand

December 12, 2010

Get ready – this post is gonna be a bit on the long side.  But there’ll be lots of pictures!

I went back to Plum Market today, like I said I would in my post the other day, and came home with a Buddha’s Hand!  I had never seen or heard of this fruit before seeing it at Plum the other day, but it might just be the coolest thing I’ve ever picked up in the produce section.

It is so cool that I need to show another picture of it, from another angle:

Here’s the skinny:  A Buddha’s hand is a variety of citron, which means it’s a citrus fruit.  It dates back thousands of years, and was originally cultivated in the lower Himalayas, in what is now northeastern India and China, where it is still considered a symbol of happiness and good fortune.  This particular specimen, however, was grown in California, and cost me a cool $5.99.  Buddha’s hand is very fragrant, smelling like a very pungent lemon, and a lot of websites out there advocate using it for purely ornamental reasons, as the aroma can fill a room for weeks and I know I could stare at it for hours.

But today I wasn’t interested in staring at it.  I wanted to eat it.  I read that you can eat it raw, peel, pith, and all, and a lot of people online recommended steeping it to make tea, infusing vodka with it, or making jelly or jams out of it.  But all that kinda bored me, so I decided to build a dinner menu around it, which I mostly made up as I went along.

First up: A side dish.  Baby red and gold potatoes, coated with a quick spray of Pam, tossed with fresh thyme and dried rosemary.  Here they are, ready to go in the oven:

Next I started a sauce.  First 1/2 an onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic went into a pot with 1 tablespoon of olive oil:

Then I started mincing up some of the Buddha’s Hand.  Here’s another fun fact: a Buddha’s Hand doesn’t really have any flesh – it’s all rind and pith.  Here’s what the inside of one looks like:

A few tablespoons of the minced Buddha’s Hand and some mushrooms went into the saucepot:

After it had cooked for a few minutes, I added a cup of white wine, although I forgot to photograph that step.

Meanwhile, I prepped a steamer to make the rest of the meal.  I cut up some more Buddha’s Hand to flavor the water I was using underneath the steamer basket:

Next the steamer basket went into that pot, and first, I steamed three boneless skinless chicken breasts:

After they were done (about 9 or 10 minutes), I pulled them out and piled in some broccoli:

The broccoli only took about 5 minutes to cook, and then, everything was pretty much done!  I pulled the potatoes out of the oven (they were in there for about 30 minutes total):

Then I started plating.  Everyone got a chicken breast, some potatoes, and some broccoli.  Some of the sauce, which had simmered and reduced the entire time the chicken and broccoli was steaming, went over the chicken and broccoli.  I garnished with some parsley:

Finished plate:

The verdict?  Very lemony!  If you didn’t know better, you’d probably have no reason to think lemon wasn’t used.  The sauce was good, but not great – I think I used a little too much wine in it, but my dad didn’t think so.  My mom was not a fan of the Buddha’s Hand in any way whatsoever.  She said she liked every component of the meal except for the sauce, and was a sport and ate most of it, and then had a small bowl of soup to cleanse her palate from the Buddha’s Hand taste!  My dad, meanwhile, had only compliments about the meal.  He and I also tried pieces of the Buddha’s Hand raw, and it was very crisp and crunchy, like a lemony piece of jicama or something.

Oh!  I never mentioned anything about the wedding I went to last night!  It was a fantastic evening.  My friend Laura, the bride, looked beautiful, and her new hubby Chad is a really nice, personable guy – I actually met him for the first time last night.  All the people at my table were old friends, a couple of whom I haven’t seen in a few years, and there was great food (most of which I sampled, calories and fat be damned) and great music.  After the reception was over, there was a little after-party in the bar at a local hotel where the out-of-towners were staying, and there was a little after-after-party in one of the hotel rooms.  It was a late night (out until 4am), and a wonderful one.  I’m ecstatic for Laura and Chad, and was so happy I could be there to celebrate.

I slept in this morning until 10am, and shortly thereafter I hit the gym, and for the first time since my sophomore year in high school (1995!), I had an all-swimming workout.  Here’s what I swam:

  • 2 x 200 yards freestyle (400 yards total)
  • 2 x 200 yards IM (individual medley – butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle) (400 yards total)
  • 200 yards kicking with a kickboard
  • 5 x 50 yards freestyle sprints, with 10 seconds rest in between (250 yards total)
  • 200 yards freestyle (cool down)
  • TOTAL YARDAGE: 1450 yards (that’s 58 lengths of the pool, as the pool is 25 yards long).

I sorta made up this workout as I went along, and I failed to note what time I started, so I don’t really know how long I was in the pool altogether (although I suspect between 45-60 minutes).  And while I felt sluggish and sloppy compared to when I was at my swimming peak 15 years ago (which is no surprise), I did feel wonderful afterwards.  I was exhausted and felt loose all over, and even a little sore.  I hit the hot tub for about 5 minutes, then headed back to the locker room.

Keep it up, David!


Cauliflower Mash

November 11, 2010

I’m being held hostage in my own home, by my dryer:

On Tuesday night, when I turned on my dryer, I could hear the motor whirring, but the drum wasn’t spinning.  Then, yesterday, the motor didn’t seem to be working at all.  Fantastic! I scheduled a maintenance visit, with the technician coming between 8am and noon today.  It’s now 12:20, and they haven’t come yet.  I just called, and they’re saying an arrival time now around 1 or 1:30pm.  We’ll see how that goes.  Oh – here’s the kicker!  Who has two thumbs and a dryer warranty that expired about 2 weeks ago?  THIS GUY. Just my luck.

One of the things I need to do today is go grocery shopping.  My fridge and cupboards are practically bare.  For breakfast, I polished off the last of the personal watermelon I bought last week (about 3-4 cups worth), a kiwi, some wheat toast, and I juiced an orange.  Lunch was a trickier matter.  I have a head of cauliflower that’s been staring at me from my vegetable drawer for the past few days, but I’m kinda sick of cauliflower.  I’ve bought 3 heads over the past month or so, and ended up just chopping the first 2 into florets and eating them raw.  But I gotta make do with what I got – so I decided to whip up a make-it-up-as-I-go-along cauliflower mash.

Breaking News: The technician is here!  I’ll resume this post shortly.  Thank you for holding.

Breaking News Part Two: Guess who has a broken belt on his dryer?  I do!  Apparently it’s not uncommon on Samsung dryers like mine.  The parts needed aren’t in stock (of course) and they’ll take 5 business days to arrive (of course), so I better string up a clothesline until then.  I think I’ll manage just fine – luckily the dryer broke just as I had finished a couple loads of laundry.  And I was really hoping to spend $200 right now on one of my appliances, so I’m just elated that it’s all working out for me.

Back to the cauliflower mash.  I broke down the cauliflower and steamed it:

Then the cauliflower went into my food processor.  I wanted to add a little protein, so I added in half a can of garbanzo beans:

And pretty much the rest of the cilantro in the fridge:

Once my food processor did its magic, this is what I had:

I wanted to add something creamy, and this is where my bare cupboards didn’t help me.  Some nonfat Greek yogurt would be perfect, and skim milk would do fine also, but I was out of both.  I have lite mayo, but that didn’t seem like a good idea.  So I settled on about 2-3 tablespoons of Lite Caesar Salad Dressing:

For a flavor boost, I also added about a teaspoon or so of this salad dressing mix that I had bought for a recipe I made a few months back:

Mmm… garlic and herbs.  I mixed it all up, and served me up a bowl, with a few cilantro leaves as garnish:

It was pretty good, especially given the impromptu nature of it, although if I had to do it again, I’d maybe swap out the Caesar dressing for some Greek yogurt.  I’m glad I liked it, because I have enough left over to last me a couple days.

Tonight I’m going to Latin Jam class for the first time in about a month.  I didn’t make it for a few weeks due to the craziness of my most recent job, and last week I had another conflict, but I’m really looking forward to tonight!  And since one of my favorite supermarkets, Super King, is in the neighborhood, I think I’ll stock up there.  No cauliflower, though.

Keep it up, David!