Wanted a quick, easy, and satisfying dish for lunch. Decided on hard-boiled eggs on a bed of garlic asparagus. Paired same with servings of summer’s sweet/juicy tomatoes and creamy avocado. Made sure to sprinkle with black pepper and pinch of salt.
With a few crispy whole-wheat crackers (not in pic) on side, lunch was served.
Felt like I was transported to a tropical paradise for lunch. My palate and I couldn’t wait to devour a sweet, tart and mouth-watering serving of mango salsa. My protein of choice was heart-healthy salmon.
This omega acid fish was seared on both sides in a drizzle of olive oil. Then a lime-butter sauce was spooned on. Chopped olives and capers were used for topping. Servings of steamed Jasmine rice along with garlic-flavored asparagus completed my tropical dish.
The flirty days of spring are once again in our midst. Gone are the cold and dreary days of winter (well, except for some territories). Spring is the time when we store the bulky clothes and adore ourselves with light and easy clothes.
And, when we go light on our garments, we can’t help but to simultaneously do so with our diets. The marketplaces remind that it’s spring as well. Some of the signature produces for the season are: green peas/beans, okra, and of course asparagus.
One of the great advantages of buying seasonal is that the prices are relatively competitive. Thus, I got somewhat of a ‘steal’ with one of my favorites (asparagus). It is said that these spears help the body to produce hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone which in turn circulate to the bloodstream.
I made a quick blanche with some of my spears. To blanche is to cook quickly in liquid (water, oil, broth, etc) and then cease the cooking process in an icy bath. In addition, blanching brings out the natural hues in produces.
After drying my long and slender asparagus, I dried on a dish clothe and placed same in garlic-flavored olive oil. As you can observe, they retained their brilliant green that says ‘spring’. Moreover, they were crispy and delicious.
When you have a beautiful canvas to work with, it makes things so much easier. And, that’s what happened with my North African inspired dish. I borrowed one of their popular staples (couscous) and allowed same to be a nest or bed for my citrus chicken drumsticks.
Couscous is uncooked semolina balls (likened to fine pasta). It has virtually no saturated fat and is loaded with potassium, protein, fiber, etc. A little goes a far way. Moreover, it is a a quick and easy dish to prepare.
In a stockpot, I added water, oil, bouillon, a pinch of salt and fresh thyme. Allowed same to come to a boil. Then, stirred raw couscous. Lid was added and this remained for five minutes, then couscous was fluffed with fork. To enhanced and flavored couscous roasted veggies and dried cranberries were added.
I served couscous with roasted citrus drumsticks along with garlic-flavored asparagus and broccoli.
With the cool and windy weather on the outskirts, I decided to fire-up my oven for a comforting meal. Had all the ingredients on hand and decided to make an orange-roasted chicken with onions.
The Florida oranges were at their peak and ready to be had. So, I sliced and placed them on my chicken thighs and drumsticks that were previously seasoned with crushed garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Chicken was roasted for approximately 45 minutes at a temperature of 365 degrees fahrenheit. The orange slices released its citrusy juice which was absorbed by chicken parts. An orange glaze was placed on chicken. This consisted of a little ketchup and a sprinkle of sugar and of course freshly squeeze orange juice.
An additional 10 minutes was given to cooking time at an increased temperature of 400 degrees. This move provided a brown exterior to chicken and caramelized orange slices and onions.
No chicken should stand solo. Thus, I served orange chicken with a creamy polenta simmered in coconut milk. I also tossed in a few loose crispy corn and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
In addition, I served dish with garlic-flavored asparagus and broccoli.
My palate and I were in a seafood kind of mood for supper. It was quite a delightful change to place a hold on the feathery one (chicken) and indulged in a light yet satisfying seafood meal.
On my last shopping trip I secured a couple Mahi mahi steaks. Mahi mahi are commonly known as dorado or dolphin fish; but, they’re no way related to dolphins. These are found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide.
After seasoning with salt, black pepper and crushed garlic, I allowed them to sit for about half an hour. Remnants of garlic were removed and fish dried with paper towel. In a hot skillet, olive oil was added with a few sprigs of thyme. Steaks were pan-seared on both sides for approximately six minutes per side and set aside.
Chopped onions were then added to pan along with a pat of butter. Onions were softened and a splash of water and fresh squeeze of lemon to make up a butter/lemon sauce. Under low heat, steaks were added back to pan to soak up all the flavors. Steaks were topped with a few capers to finish.
I served pan-seared Mahi mahi with pan-roasted grape tomatoes, garlic-flavored asparagus spears, a slice of nature’s butter (avocado) and a herb rice.
That’s it! I’m the queen of left-overs. I was super-delighted to have an encore performance with my balsamic pork steak. And, performed it did. You see, I’m a huge consumer of the feathery one (poultry) and seafood in general.
However, over the week-end, I indulged in a dish of pork steak along with some herb-roasted potatoes and asparagus. It was loaded with amazing flavors and spices. I reserved a portion for another day which happened to be this afternoon.
Instead of potatoes, I decided to serve steamed whole-grain rice along with garlic-flavored asparagus and broccoli. The balsamic vinegar provided a tendering effect to the pork. Moreover, it also aided in the rich brown hue to the dish. The serving of the crispy greens (asparagus/broccoli) gave my dish a fresh balance.
Asparagus has been around the block for hundreds of years. It is said that this super food has aphrodisiac effects; and for me, that’s music to my ears. The fact is that nutritionists have stated that these perennial vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, folate, fibers, vitamins, and diuretic effects and more nutritious properties that are beneficial for the body.
I was super-excited when I fetched approximately a pound from the produce aisle the other day. Moreover, the price was relatively inexpensive $3.94. I can eat these spears at anytime of the day; breakfast, lunch and dinner. They were slender in body so they were very quick to prepare and cook. After snipping the woodsy tip, I blanched asparagus for approximately one minute in salty boiling water. Blanching is cooking quickly in liquid (water, oil, alcohol,broth, etc) and then shocking in a cold bath of water.
With a quick dry with paper towels, my asparagus spears were ready for my hot skillet. A drizzle of olive oil was placed in same under low heat along with a clove of crushed garlic. Asparagus was tossed in the garlic oil so as to absorb the aromatic flavors. With a squeeze of a little lime and a sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper my spears were ready for consumption.
As you can observe, asparagus retained their natural green hue. I served asparagus with a couple fried eggs cooked in olive oil with the yolk still a tad runny and creamy. They provided a perfect balance to my still crispy asparagus. In addition, toasted whole-grain English muffin with strawberry spread (not in picture) was a side dish.
Sunday’s supper was quite a treat. Actually, I must have consumed this popular Jamaican dish hundreds of time since childhood. Now, that’s a lot of chicken going on! Anyway, when I laid eyes on my skinless and bone-in chicken thighs, I knew exactly how I was going to prep and cook same.
The previous night, I chopped my thighs in bite-size pieces. Then, I marinated them with a drizzle of coconut oil, salt, black pepper, cumin, curry powder, crushed ginger, garlic and pimento. Fast forward to cooking time, I made sure to bring chicken to room temperature.
In a sturdy skillet, a small drizzle of olive oil was added on medium heat. Chicken was placed within and a quick sautay was done in order to coat chicken pieces and seal in flavors. To that I added chopped onions, celery, a couple of sprigs of thyme along with a splash of house vinegar.
Cold water was used to cover chicken and the lid was placed on skillet. Chicken simmered for approximately 30 to 35 minutes under low to medium heat making sure to turn over pieces. In addition, extra liquid was added as needed. Chicken was cooked until fork tender. The aromas were very intoxicating and filled my space. And, the flavors of the spices and herbs were bold and beckoned me in.
After gravy was reduced to the right consistency, I allowed chicken to rest for a few minutes; then, this was served with a garlic steamed asparagus
and left-rice whole-grain rice. Me and my palate were taken on a trip to a familiar place in culinary history. We were extremely happy.