GRILLED CHICKEN WITH SESAME ROASTED CARROTS

This is a complete meal, with main protein, veggie and salad served together in total harmony. It might very well go into the Hall of Fame of the Bewitching Kitchen because we both gave it enthusiastic two thumbs way way up. Two small details took the meal to Nirvana: high proportion of vinegar to marinate the chicken, and sesame oil to roast the carrots. Inspired by The Flavor Equation and Skinnytaste: One and Done.

GRILLED CHICKEN WITH SESAME ROASTED CARROTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the chicken:
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
amchur to taste for serving

for the carrots:
6 large carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs sesame oil
2 tsp black sesame seeds
Urfa pepper and salt to taste
Fine sea salt

for the dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp agave nectar
salt to taste

lettuce and tomatoes for salad

Marinate the chicken. Mix all the ingredients except the amchur, whisk well. Add to the pieces of chicken and leave for 4 hours or more. Remove from the marinade, grill until done, about 8 minutes per side on a hot grill. Cut in small pieces to serve.

Make the carrots. Mix the two oils together, coat the carrots with the mixture, add sesame seeds and spices. Roast in 425F oven until golden brown at the edges.

Make the dressing by whisking all ingredients together. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce and tomatoes with some of the dressing. Place carrots and chicken on top, still warm, drizzle a little additional dressing, and sprinkle amchur over the chicken pieces. Serve right away.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was delicious, I truly urge you to give this recipe a try. As you may have noticed, I am in a phase of enjoying contrast of hot and cold, and this will go into our rotation for sure. I think a shredded cabbage salad will go particularly well with it too. Amchur is optional, but it adds a nice brightness without any additional liquid. It does the job of a lemon, more or less, but in dry format. You could add some lime zest instead. Sesame oil to roast veggies is a new thing to me. For some reason I never thought it would work but here I am to admit I was wrong. I’ve been using it on cauliflower, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and every time it adds a wonderful flavor.

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TURKEY TACO SALAD

When we go to Mexican restaurants, my default request is taco salad, in part because most other offerings are pretty heavy and the portions huge. At least when I have a salad the risk of getting into a food coma are a bit lower. The inspiration for this version came from many sources, and I must say I’m pretty happy with it. What made it special for me was the inclusion of red cabbage and jicama. Full disclosure: julienning the jicama was not particularly pleasant. A small price to pay.

TURKEY TACO SALAD
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the dressing:
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro (no need for precision here)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
juice from 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup grape seed oil

for the salad component:
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cups shredded red cabbage
3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 large jicama, peeled and julienned

Make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a blender or small food processor and puree until as smooth as possible.

Add the red cabbage to a large bowl and add half of the dressing to it. Leave it in the fridge for an hour or so.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, add the turkey and salt, and cook for a few minutes. Add the chili, cumin, mix, and drizzle about 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Cover, simmer gently for a few minutes, the remove the lid and allow most of the water to evaporate. Reserve.

Assemble the salad: Place the cabbage (already seasoned) on a serving platter, add the lettuce, jicama, toss gently. Add the cooked meat on top, and the additional reserved dressing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you want to turn this into a vegetarian meal, omit the turkey and add roasted garbanzo beans instead. Or maybe sweet potatoes. The red cabbage gives it a very nice texture, and the jicama also contributes a lot. I just wish there was an easy way to deal with jicama, I am always afraid I’ll lose one or two fingers whenever I prepare it. But it has such a nice, fresh flavor. Totally worth the trouble.

I love this dressing. Definitely not for the cilantro-haters out there. Finally, what makes this perfect for me is the contrast of hot and cold. I’ve been planning many meals now with this in mind. We had a very small amount leftover and as usual, I was the lucky one who enjoyed it the following day. My husband is a real gentleman.

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LEMONY GRILLED BONELESS CHICKEN THIGHS

One of our favorite main dishes, boneless chicken thighs cook on the grill very fast and always turn out moist and tender. For this marinade, make sure you leave it several hours in the fridge, the acidity in the lemon won’t affect the texture and the flavor will be much more pronounced. Yes, that is a lot of meat for two people, but we always cook with leftovers in mind.

LEMONY GRILLED CHICKEN THIGHS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

8 boneless, skin-less chicken thighs
for the marinade:
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/4 cup avocado oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Make a marinade whisking well all ingredients in a bowl. Add to the pieces of chicken, preferably inside a large plastic bag. Place in the fridge for several hours.

Heat the grill and remove the chicken from the marinade. Pat it dry, and if you like it to be a bit more salty, season each piece lightly with additional salt (we do like that).

Grill on both sides until done, in our grill it takes a total of 16 minutes, 8 minutes per side.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: We cook boneless chicken thighs all the time, I like to use a yogurt-based marinade, and smoked paprika is almost always part of it. There’s something about its flavor when you grill the meat that I find irresistible. This marinade is considerably brighter, so to speak. More intensely flavored. For this meal, I paired the juicy chicken thighs with air-fried cauliflower, and snow peas sauteed with lemon plus a touch of soy sauce. Apparently, I can never had too much lemon around. Excellent dinner! And, pretty light too.

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GUATEMALAN CHILE RELLENOS

I love a nice Chile Relleno but talk about a heavy dish! It is basically cheese, more cheese, a coating of egg and flour, and a nice bath in hot oil. I wanted to profit from the beautiful Poblanos from our garden, by making some type of stuffed chile that could act as a full meal. In my world, that calls for meat. Google University showed me that there is a concoction from Guatemala that is not too far from my goal. However, it is loaded with potatoes and I wanted something a little lighter. This version was born. Using the air-fryer made it even lighter. Mission accomplished.

AIR-FRIED “GUATEMALAN” CHILE RELLENOS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

6 Poblano chiles
olive oil spray
1 pound ground turkey
8 oz mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 celery stalk
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, preferably Fire-roasted
fresh cilantro leaves, minced
Panela cheese or another cheese of your choice

Start by making the filling. Heat the olive oil, add mushrooms, celery, garlic (if using), season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute until fragrant in medium-heat, increase the heat to high and add the ground turkey. Add the chili powder, cumin, and the teaspoon of salt. Cook until the meat is golden at spots, at the canned tomatoes with their liquid and simmer for 10 minutes, pan covered, in low-heat. Remove the lid and let the excess moisture evaporate. Add the cilantro. Reserve to cool.

Prepare the poblanos. Cut their tops, carefully scoop out seeds. Spray olive oil and place them in the air-fryer, cut side down. Cook for about 5 minutes at the highest temperature your fryer reaches (mine is 390F). When the skin blisters at points, they are done.

When poblanos and meat are ready and cool enough to handle, fill the poblanos 3/4 of the volume, then add pieces of Panela cheese on top.

Air-fry for about 12 minutes, until cheese is golden brown.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I don’t know if home-grown poblanos might pack more heat than store-bought, but I can tell you that the few little seeds I left in them were spectacularly hot. As you can see from the picture, our air-fryer was not even half full with the filled peppers, I was afraid it would make a mess during cooking, but everything turned out fine. I don’t have any container that would fit in the basket and keep the peppers standing up. It might also be easier with bigger poblanos, we wanted to use the average size from our backyard, and keep them more or less uniform.

It is hard to beat the speed and convenience of the air-fryer for this type of preparation. Everything browns nicely with just a small amount of oil. No frying, no dealing with leftover oil and the messy process of the coating with egg-flour. I admit it is not authentic, and many Mexicans will consider sending me hate mail… but it was really a delicious meal. If you don’t have an air-fryer, just use the oven at 425F, for a slightly longer time.

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TURKEY MEATLOAF

Here I am to share another recipe that tasted wonderful but would not be invited to participate in a Beauty Contest. Meatloaf is not easy on the eyes but this one in particular was a showstopper for the taste buds. Lower in carbs than most versions, because it relies on almond flour instead of breadcrumbs. Quite loaded with veggies. We both gave enthusiastic thumbs up, so ignore the looks. They are skin-deep, after all…

TURKEY MEATLOAF
(inspired by Life is But a Dish)

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 large carrots)
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach (not baby spinach)
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 egg
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper, ground

for glaze:
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add all the ingredients into a large bowl (minus the ingredients for the glaze). Using a fork or clean hands, mix until everything is fully incorporated.

Mix ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and reserve.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and pour meat onto pan. Use your hands to form into a loaf shape, trying to keep it level so it cooks evenly. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove and brush glaze all over. Place back in the oven for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: What do tomatoes and avocados have to do with the meatloaf? They were the side dish, and I absolutely must share the picture because the tomatoes came from our own backyard, thanks to the gardening efforts of the husband… Aren’t they gorgeous?

The meatloaf has a very delicate texture, and cooked perfectly in our small Breville oven, so there was no need to even heat the kitchen up. Leftovers were around for a couple of days and tasted as good if not better than the first time. I made it again the following week, and you know how it goes: for a food blogger, repeating a recipe right away is a huge endorsement. It goes to our regular rotation, a nice change from our default turkey burgers.

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