A delicious meal from a few weeks ago and some other stuff

First thing’s first: a satisfying meal I made early this summer with green pea couscous, a thyme roasted tomato, some creamy humus, and an awesome seared fennel dish with radishes, olives, red onion, feta cheese, raisins, fresh parsley and lemon juice. I served this with a nigella seed pita bread, which is so good. I need to learn how to make different breads…

I’m currently listening to Michael Pollan, of The Omnivore’s Dilemma fame on Heritage Radio Network, a great radio station that focuses on “the full breadth of the food industry.” Their shows hosts range from chefs, to critics, to farmers, to influential food and agriculture advocates; it’s amazing.
Check it out: http://www.heritageradionetwork.com/

A bit of culture:

Last night I watched the Polanski film Carnage. The film is based on a play that was written by the writer Yasmina Reza, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Polanski.

I was going to add a link to the trailer but I think it reveals too much. It’s better to watch it without any knowledge of what the movie is about. The acting and script are phenomenal. It might not pack quite the punch it would like to, but it’s nonetheless a well developed satire about 2 deliriously entertaining couples trying to arrive at a mutual understanding over a violent even that took place between their sons. I, personally, was mesmerized by the unfolding action and the actors. Jodie Foster in particular is a knock out. It’s fun, short and unlike anything I’ve watched recently.

Advertisements

Fragrant orange, sage and bay leaf chicken dinner.

beautiful colors

We’re enjoying a brilliant November here in Montreal. This morning, the 14th, a usually grey and cold period of the year, my mom(in town visiting) as well as Carolina and I went jogging for 45 min in t-shirts… Carolina is still fantasizing about a snow-less winter. AH! Frankly, as I’ve written before, I’d rather a grey-less winter than a snow-less one. Let me soak in the brightly reflected sunlight while skating, cross country skiing and whatever other outdoor activity I might indulge in. I’d rather the moonlit nights than the dark ones that start oh so early(despite the warm weather, the nights are still starting at about 5…these things don’t change.).

Anyways, I had some fresh bay leaves and sage as well as some small oranges in the fridge last night and wanted to use them favorably. I succeeded. The following meal was wonderful.

I went out bought some organic grain fed chicken, with its skin still on: a key element of the recipe in my mind. Sacrifice a bit of your healthy behavior and do so. I highly recommend it.

Here’s what you’ll need if you want to follow the exact meal I made:

Chicken
oranges
fresh sage and bay leaves
sherry, or sherry vinegar
A large teaspoon of both smoky paprika and regular paprika
: preferably good quality paprika. I converted to buying more expensive paprika last year and its changed my life. Drop by a good spice shop in your neighborhood if there’s one.
Garlic: ideally local. Chinese garlic isn’t very good.
Pearl onions
Fennel
Fennel seeds

Potatoes
Olive oil

salt and pepper

I started by marinating the chicken pieces in sliced oranges, roughly chopped sage, bay leaves(fresh), roughly cut garlic, both kinds of paprika, and olive oil.

savory and slightly smoky chicken marinade

I followed this by prepping my potatoes, which I skinned, quartered and steamed. Ideally you want a sharp knife to go through with a bit of resistance. The rest of the cooking should take place in the oven when all of the ingredients bake together.

I also prepped my pearl onions, which I skinned by cutting the root of the onion bulb and by then blanching the onions quickly and transferring them to ice water where I could then just squeeze the onion out of its skin. This process makes it easier and faster to do so. You can also skip this but the skin and onion juices are kind of sticky…

potatoes ready for a steam bath...
pearl onions

After prepping this, I then seared the chicken pieces to crisp the skin and use its fat to fry the potatoes, fennel, pearl onions and fresh herbs that were in the marinade.

seared chicken pieces

After taking the chicken out of the pan and returning it to the marinade, I added a bit of olive oil(chicken doesn’t produce as much fat as a duck magret does, so it depends on how much fat you want in your food) and added some of the fresh bay leaves, sage, pearl onions, large garlic chunks, fennel seeds and potatoes.

Following this, I quickly seared my fennel slices on both sides.

searing fennel

When the searing of the vegetables was done I put them in a deep oven dish and then added the seared chicken as well as its marinade and finished it off by sprinkling the whole thing with some sherry.

veggies ready to the oven
ready for the oven

I had preheated the oven to 350 degrees. I let the whole thing slowly cook, every so often basting everything with the juices that accumulated in the bottom of the dish. When the chicken was cooked, I turned my broiler on and ever so slightly burned the chicken pieces for additional flavor.

ready to eat

Voila!

Food Detox day 3

Day 3 was a good day!

I managed to work on some video projects, make boiled buckwheat, a roasted garlic black bean dip, a tomato, green pepper and fennel salsa and babaganoush! I also made a lovely fennel salad for lunch, and a berry quinoa salad for breakfast.

I’m missing pictures of the breakfast(I seem to remember taking them, but my camera doesn’t…) but it wasn’t that complicated. I had made a vegetable quinoa salad on day 2 of the detox and had kept quinoa on the side to make another salad for both Carolina and I. So, yesterday morning, having bought great big quantities of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, I mixed them in with the quinoa, some mint, grated ginger(too much actually, aha), freshly ground black pepper, some lemon juice and olive oil. It was a nice way to start the day; with some complete protein and minerals in the form of the quinoa and lots of antioxidants and vitamins from the fruit.

Before going off to edit some video footage I put an eggplant in the oven at 350° for about 45 min for it to roast while I did some work. I also put in a head of garlic covered in some olive oil and wrapped in aluminum foil in order to roast that as well. I simmered some dried black beans and made sure to check on everything every 15 minutes or so. (I once left a pot of boiling barley to cook while I left the house and almost burned the place down…)

Having done some work and snacked on an apple, I went to prep for lunch and dinner. While the eggplant and garlic cooled down, I cut tomatoes, green pepper, fennel, onion, garlic, parsley and toasted cumin seeds for the salsa. I cut it into small even pieces because I prefer the texture that way. I also took out the moist interior of the tomato and put it aside to be used in one of the dips. If you don’t do this I find the salsa contains too much liquid.

I then boiled some buckwheat at a 2 to 1 ratio of water to buckwheat and found out that buckwheat cooked this way really isn’t that great… haha. **It’s been growing on me since, but I’ll need to find some new ways of preparing it. This took not time at all and I left it to rest while going about other business.

I cut my eggplant in half and took out the flesh using a spoon. I squeezed some of the sweet roasted garlic into my food processor, added the eggplant, sunflower seeds, parsley, toasted fennel seeds, chilli powder, turmeric, paprika, lime juice and lots of olive oil. Blended, it made for a sweet and nutty dip with a touch of middle eastern flavors.

After having taken out the eggplant “babaganoush” of the processor, I added the rest of my roasted garlic and added the black beans I had boiled earlier. I also put dried ancho and chipotle peppers in half a cup of boiling water in order to add it to my black bean blend. I added parsley to this as well, some fresh garlic, and the moist tomato insides I kept. Blended, this is my favorite of the dips or salsa I made yesterday. It’s got a biting hot finish from the dried peppers that really complements the pungent roasted garlic that is kept in check by the soft neutrality of the blended black beans…

To all of this I added some store bought humus that fit the parameters of my diet, and I had a wonderful but “mooshy” dish of different foods to feast on. I kept this for dinner at work, where I brought it in a large Tupperware and enjoyed it throughout the dinner service(for those who don’t know, I’m a waiter).

For the fennel salad, I took out my prized sharp chef’s knife and thinly sliced the fennel. I also sliced paper thin pieces of fresh rhubarb and some apples. I toasted some walnuts and mixed all of the ingredients together. I finished it off with fresh mint, some parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. I made myself a dish of the fennel salad, the vegetable salad from day 2, and some of the boiled buckwheat that I had.

Before going to work, I prepared my dips and buckwheat, enjoyed a berry smoothie and had some toasted almonds for good measure. One of the benefits of eating the dips, and things like smoothies are that their soft and liquid forms accelerate the calorie intake and facilitate the body’s use of its energy.

Next up, day 4!