Orange-chili tacos are yummy

The light in my kitchen is weird.

Yes, these are chicken tacos made with a sauce that is orange juice based. Yes, they are delicious. We tend to make them on the weekend because they take just enough time to be annoying after a long day of work.

5 medium guajillo chilies
1.5c orange juice
5 peeled garlic cloves
2T white vinegar
2t coriander
2t honey
1t dried oregano
1t kosher salt
2lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

Heat chilies in large skilled over medium-high heat, pressing with spatula and flipping halfway through cooking until fragrant. Transfer to blender, add orange juice. Let stand for ~10 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, vinegar, coriander, honey, oregano, and salt. Puree until smooth. Pour back into skillet and bring to a boil.

Nestle chicken thighs into sauce, cover and cook over medium-low, flipping halfway through, for 20 minutes. Set chicken on a plate; once cool shred into bite sized pieces. Meanwhile, simmer the sauce over medium-high, stirring, until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Stir chicken into sauce.

Serve with tortillas, radishes, and quest fresco (though we usually just use Monterey Jack).

Once again, this is a Milk Street recipe. If you don’t subscribe, why not? You’re missing out on all kinds of deliciousness. They’re not even paying me to say that, I just like them.

Tapas? This might be a tapas dish

This gem of a weeknight dish is known around our house as “pork bites” and often gets paired with some sort of potatoes (roasted, french fries, probably even tater tots once) for an easy-ish weeknight meal. It has the added bonus of being way more delicious than it should be.

1.5t coriander
1.5t cumin
1.5t smoked paprika
0.75t each of salt & pepper
1lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1″ squares
1T lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
1T honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2T olive oil
1T chopped fresh oregano

Mix spices together, add pork and toss to coat evenly until no more spices remain in the bowl (that is, they’re all stuck to the meat and not sitting in the bottom of the bowl). Let the pork sit for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. In another bowl, mix the lemon juice, honey, and garlic.

Heat 1T olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the meat in a single layer and cook without moving until deeply brown on one side (~3min). Then flip pork until cooked through and browned all over, another 2-3 minutes.  Off the heat, toss with the lemon-garlic mixture until evenly coated. Move to serving platter, sprinkle the oregano and drizzle the last 1T olive oil.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Milk Street Magazine, a cooking magazine I’d HIGHLY recommend, if for no other reason than their Tuesday night section where they give you about a week’s worth of delicious recipes that truly only take 30 minutes to make.

A simple easy dinner for an August weeknight

It’s summer. It’s probably hot, or is going to be hot in the next couple of weeks. It’s also tomato season and if you’re a gardener, you may have too many tomatoes. May I recommend something as simple as throwing some pasta into your next caprese salad?

Our ratios:
1.5 lbs ripe tomatoes, chopped
0.25c extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2T fresh basil, chopped
6oz fresh mozzarella
1lb pasta, cooked
salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a large serving bowl except the pasta, while the pasta is cooking. Add once it’s done. Mix. Eat. Enjoy.

Lime sherbet + graham crackers = key lime pie sherbet? Work with me here.

Many answers to “what am I going to cook?” tend to involve a follow up question: “what food is about to go bad?” In this case, it was limes. It’s summer, we had extra limes that were looking a bit sketchy, and there was leftover heavy cream. Lime sherbet it is!

It turned out fairly well, if a little on the sweet side. So I threw some graham crackers into the bowl and called it Key Lime Pie Sherbet instead.

Lime Sherbet

1T lime zest
1c+2T sugar
pinch of salt
0.666c fresh squeezed lime juice
1.5c water
2t vodka
0.666c heavy cream

  1. Process the sugar, salt, and zest in a food processor until the sugar is damp. Turn processor on and add lime juice and water. Leave on until sugar is fully dissolved, about a minute. Put into bowl, add vodka, cover and refrigerate until mixture is 40F (30-60 minutes).
  2. Once it’s cold, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Then slowly add the mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Immediately start ice cream maker and put juice/cream mixture in. Churn for 25-30 minutes, until it has the texture of soft-serve ice cream.
  3. Transfer from machine to storage container and freeze for 3 hours. (If you don’t do this, I’ve found that the mixture isn’t really cold enough to eat. It melts quickly and you end up drinking more than you eat.)

 

Crepes make delicious snacks

Gluten-free bread is expensive, and flavor is always kind of a crapshoot. It’s never really going to taste exactly like bread and different flours taste different. I like the bread I make from scratch.

But here’s the thing: making bread from scratch takes forever. Even (especially?) gluten-free bread. I’ve got a good recipe – that’s another post though.

So a couple of weekends ago, I was craving peanut butter. Normally, I’ll cut up an apple or cut a celery stalk and have some peanut butter. That was not going to work this time, because it turns out that I was craving a peanut butter sandwich. And of course – no bread in the house. (There’s almost never GF bread in the house.) Peanut butter tastes terrible on corn tortillas – don’t try it, just trust me – and so what to do?

The answer, my friends, is crepes. Crepes are quick to make, quick to cook, easy to eat (I had one with peanut butter while I was finishing cooking the batch, thus sating my craving), and then you have extra crepes around! At least for a bit until everyone else eats them. They go fast.

Gluten-Free Crepes

5.5oz ATK GF flour blend
1.5t sugar
0.25t salt
1.5c milk (the recipe calls for whole, we never have whole in the house, 1% works fine)
2 large eggs
2T unsalted butter, melted & cooled

Start heating a 10″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. We actually have a crepe pan, so if you have one, please use it instead. A skillet is a fine substitute and not having a crepe pan should not stop you.

Whisk the dry ingredients (which includes the sugar this time!) into a medium bowl. Mix the wet ingredients into another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, whisk until all the lumps are gone.**

Once the pan is heated, pour about 0.25c of batter into the pan and swirl to get a thin, even layer of batter. (This is easily the hardest part of making crepes, and your first crepe is often kind of a mess. It’s ok, even if it looks bad, it makes a nice snack while you’re cooking the rest of them.)

Cook the crepe without moving until the edges are brown (about a minute). Gently slide a spatula around and under the crepe, loosening and then trying to flip. Cook until second side is lightly spotted – only about 30 seconds or so. Then transfer to a waiting plate. Repeat until your batter is done, placing one crepe on top of another.

This is the crepe recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s How to Be Gluten-Free, which is a cookbook I HIGHLY recommend if you’re a gluten-free person like myself.

** Aside: I often mix the wet ingredients together in to a 4c pyrex measuring cup and then put the dry into the wet, to make the batter easier to pour into the pan.

Snack time: granola

One of my big life hacks, it seems, is “make a big batch of something and then eat it bit by bit!” Turns out you can do that with granola as well as soup. I make a batch on Sunday, and then it’s my work snack all week long.

3c rolled oats (Not instant. Instant bad.)
3T brown sugar
0.5t ground cinnamon
0.25t kosher salt

Mix these all together in a big bowl. Heat the oven to 300F.

0.33c honey
0.25c olive oil
1t vanilla

Whisk these ingredients together. I usually do it in a measuring cup, but a small bowl will work too. Pour into oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is well mixed.

Spread it all on a cookie sheet. Cook for 15 minutes, pull it out and stir. Put back in the oven for 5-15 minutes, until it’s golden brown.

Cool the granola on the sheet for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The granola hardens as it cools; also, if you don’t stir it the liquified sugars will cement the granola to your pan. Stirring. It’s important.

1c total various assorted add-ins: peanuts, dried fruit, seeds, tree nuts, whatever

I usually use peanuts, pepitas, and dark chocolate chips. (One-third cup of each, totaling 1 cup.) Put them in a super big bowl. Once the granola is dried, put that in the bowl and mix until well-blended. Store in an air-tight container.

It’s like a pasta-y stir fry

Because I am a working parent, quick dinners are a must. I’m a big fan of making a big pot of soup on the weekends and storing it in individual sized containers.

I’m also a big fan of stir-fries and pastas. This drunken noodle recipe is a bit of a hybrid. It’s an asian-style stir fry that uses rice noodles. Like any stir-fry, it requires some chopping, but it cooks quickly. It’s probably 45-ish minutes from pulling out the recipe to setting the serving dish on the table.

12oz rice noodles
12 oz chicken breast (the packages of chicken breast at our grocery store are 1lb, we just use the whole thing)
1T + 0.25c tamari or gluten-free soy sauce (or heck, if you’re not gluten-free, regular soy sauce is probably fine!)
0.75c packed brown sugar
0.33c lime juice (~3 limes if you’re juicing your own)
0.25c water
0.25c Asian chili-garlic sauce
0.25 c vegetable oil
0.5 head Napa cabbage, cut into 1″ pieces (~6c)
1.5c coarsely chopped cilantro
4 scallions, sliced thin

  1. Cover noodles in very hot tap water. Leave until pliable (~35 minutes, which, if you do this first and then chop the chicken & veggies, is conveniently about how long until you’ll need them again).
  2. Slice chicken breasts into strips 0.25″ thick. Toss with 1T tamari sauce.
  3. Whisk together remaining tamari/soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, water, chili-garlic sauce. Set aside.
  4. Heat 2T oil in 12″ nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook for ~3 minutes. The strips should be nearly cooked through. Transfer to clean bowl.
  5. Add 1T oil to skillet. Add cabbage and cook until spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with chicken.
  6. Wipe out skillet, add 3T oil, heat over medium-high heat. Add drained rice noodles and tamari mixture, tossing gently until sauce has thickened and noodles are tender. (This typically takes ~5 minutes, but the recipe claims it could take as long as 10. That’s never been my experience.) Add chicken-cabbage mixture and cilantro. Cook until chicken is warmed through. Sprinkle scallions & serve.

Tuna salad is yummy

I wish I had something more interesting to say about tuna salad other than: it’s delicious! Some spread on a piece of toast makes a good protein-y snack! It’s easy to make a double-batch and then leave it in the fridge for the week! All of these things are true, of course. They just aren’t great insights. OTOH, what would an insight about tuna salad look like?*

To make your own yummy tuna salad:
2-6oz containers of tuna packed in water
2T lemon juice
0.5t salt
0.25t pepper
1 rib celery, minced
2T minced red onion
2T minced pickle
1 small garlic clove, minced
2T fresh parsley, minced
0.5c mayo
0.25t dijon mustard

Thoroughly drain the the tuna and shred with fingers. Put in bowl along with all ingredients on the list up to the mayo. Mix well. Then add the mayo and mustard. Mix again. You’re done!

* “The history of tuna salad goes back the court tradition of giving a large fish to your lover during the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine…” Yeah, no.

 

Mmm…. guacamole

a bowl of homemade guacamoleThere’s really only one thing to do when you have a bunch of avocados that are about to be too squishy to use: make guacamole!

This is the Alton Brown guac recipe, and yes, it controversially uses tomatoes. I like extra veggies.

3 Haas Avocados (I had a bunch of small avocados from Trader Joe’s – I just used the 4 or 5 I had since they were on the teeny side)
1 lime, juiced
0.5t kosher salt
0.5t cumin
0.5t cayenne (yes, you can lower this amount if you find it too spicy)
0.5 onion, diced
0.5 jalapeño, diced (I remove the seeds – the cayenne gives it enough kick)
1 roma tomato (the recipe calls for 2, but that always seems like overkill to me)
1T chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

Scoop out the avocado pulp and put it in a large bowl with the lime juice, toss to coat. Add the spices, then use a fork (or your potato masher if you have one) to mash everything together. Fold in all the other ingredients. Let it sit for an hour, then serve.

Corn muffins: better than you remember

Corn muffins, in my world, are a breakfast food. Hot from the oven, broken into pieces, butter and some maple syrup on them? They’re a pretty good breakfast food. Bacon is a fine accompaniment, if you want a little protein. They’re also good with chili, if you want them for a non-breakfast meal. Between my husband, my daughter, and myself, a dozen lasts less than 24 hours in our house.

Corn Muffins

7.5oz GF flour (I use ATK’s GF flour)
6.67oz corn meal
1.5t baking powder
1t baking soda
0.5t salt
0.25t xanthan gum
1.33c sour cream (we were short of sour cream, so I substituted plain whole fat greek yogurt – worked like a charm)
5.25oz sugar
0.67c milk
2 large eggs
10T unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  1. Mix dry ingredients (not the sugar, which is a wet ingredient) together in a medium bowl. Mix wet ingredients (but only 8T of melted unsalted butter) in another. Add wet ingredients to dry, mix until no lumps remain. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 500F. Spray muffin tin with vegetable oil spray. Portion batter evenly into muffin tin, brush tops with last 2T of butter. Bake for 7 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven temp to 400F, and bake for 7 more minutes.
  4. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan, and on wire rack for 10 more minutes. Serve warm.