Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One Pan Meal: Rosemary-Garlic Chicken Thighs with Sauteed Greens


Chicken thighs.They're what's for dinner.

This recipe is so simple. And, it involves only one pan and just a few ingredients. Which means, less dishes. How can you argue with that?

This is a meal that should be cooked while sipping a glass of Pinot Noir and listening to this playlist. Unfortunately, this girl can dream, because I'm still on my liver cleanse. So, keep the playlist, nix the alcohol.

You take the chicken thighs, rub em' with some herbs, brown each side, add some sliced onion, and stick them in the oven. 15 minutes later, you have your protein.

Take a sip of wine.

Take the chicken out, put it on some plates, and saute some greens in that very same skillet. In the delicious herbs and juice left over from those thighs.

Take another sip.

If you really want to push the multi-tasking, roast a sweet potato in the oven while you're cooking. Sweet potato, optional for you. It's never optional for me...I consume them year long (just like wine). Nature's candy, folks.

Take a gulp of wine.

In the words of my roommate, "wabam." Dinner is served. And no, I'm totally not going through alcohol withdrawal on this cleanse. I don't know where you got that idea.

You're welcome.

Rosemary-Garlic Chicken Thighs with Sauteed Greens
Serves 2
2-3 chicken thighs, boneless
1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
ground black pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, optional
1 medium yellow onion

1 bunch of Dinosaur Kale
3 handfuls of spinach, optional

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pat the chicken thighs down with paper towels, making sure they are dry. Combine the garlic powder, sea salt, oregano, and rosemary in a small bowl, and rub on each side of each chicken thigh. Sprinkle with black pepper and cayenne pepper (optional).

2) Heat your oil of choice in a cast-iron skillet (if you don't have one, any ole' pan will work); turn to medium-heat.  Place the spice-covered chicken thighs in the skillet and brown on each side for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, sprinkle the sliced onions in, and place in the oven. If you aren't using a cast-iron skillet, make sure to place the chicken and onions in an oven-safe baking dish. Put the timer on for 15 minutes.

2) While your chicken is baking, wash the kale and tear the leaves off into large pieces; tear away from the stem. Tear imperfectly, go on. It's okay. Wash the spinach, if you're using, and set aside both the greens.

3) Check to see if the chicken is done after 15 minutes; ensure that the middle is no longer pink. Remove the skillet from the oven, and scoop chicken and onions out. Place on plates for serving. Do NOT wash the skillet.

4) Over medium-heat, in the same skillet, add in the kale first, stirring for a minute or so. Then, add in the spinach and mix both together until slightly wilted. Garnish with ground black pepper and remove from heat. Serve aside the chicken and onions.

I was too impatient to snap a decent picture of the entire plate. To be honest, I was famished and it smelled so good. This meal is healthy, low-carb, and high-protein. It's the perfect fast, go-to weeknight meal. I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Liver Cleanse - Week 1

So I'm doing this cleanse...thing. Now, this is not what one would normally think of as a cleanse; I'm not drinking lemon water with cayenne or juicing all my meals for a week.

Because this girl's gotta eat. I mean, lets be real. I do not enjoy being hangry.

This cleanse is a 2-3 week liver detox, supervised by my Nutritionist/Registered Dietitian, who is amazing. Everyone has been asking what I'm allowed to eat and drink. So, let's get the no's out of the way first.

Week 1
The No's: No (limited) caffeine aka no coffee. No wheat/gluten. No alcohol. No dairy. No soy. No nuts. No SUGAR.

The Yes's: lean meats, white fishes, fruit (1-2 servings daily), vegetables galore, legumes, gluten-free grains (2 to 3 servings daily).

As you can see, it's not a very restrictive type of cleanse at all. When I look at what I can eat, I think, wow, this is how I should be eating normally.  For me, the point of doing something like this, is two-fold.

1) Re-engage my mindbody connection and pay attention to how I feel emotionally, physically, and psychologically when eating whole, organic foods.

2) Get un-addicted to sugar. Oh man. I have the most wicked sweet tooth of anyone. Don't fight me on this one. Heaven, to me, is melted peanut butter and chocolate on a spoon, raw chocolate chip cookie dough, and a handful of Hershey's (don't judge the cheap chocolate) nuggets in my mouth. [My Nutritionist is cringing right now] But that's the truth. And the other truth, is that the more I eat sugar, the more I crave it.

This cleanse also implements some Chinese Medicine principles, which I am finding simply fascinating.  I've picked some particularly interesting liver-related ones, below:

  • The liver's main job is detoxification
  • Alcohol can inflame the liver. You can tell if someone drinks a lot if the tip of their nose is red. (Don't be lookin' at my nose)
  • Your liver can manifest in your nails; for example, if you look at the top of your nail and underneath, see a dark red line across, or have brittle nails, it could be a liver issue.
  • The liver and gallbladder work together in decision making. Thus, if your liver is stuck, your Chi is stuck.
  • Different locations of a headache indicate which channel is stuck. For example, if the pain is in your forehead, it's related to your stomach. 
Recipe posting will resume next week, as well as an update on week 2 of my liver cleanse. 

If you're interested in talking with my Registered Dietitian (in SF bay area), please email me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Snack Attack: Roasted Chickpeas

Time totally escaped me this weekend.

I feel as though I bounced from one event to another, and while it was all very lovely, it made me crave some downtime. Otherwise known as kitchen-time, in my world.

Saturday night, a special dinner at Jasper's Corner Tap to celebrate my fabulous roommate's graduation from Pastry School. My roommate and I are a unique pair. It's highly likely that we have at least 4 pounds of unsalted butter and 3 cartons of heavy whipping cream in our fridge at all times. But that's totally normal for two women in their mid-twenties...right? Right.

Anyways, dinner at Jasper's was fun and very San Francisco. One of the bites we ordered to start with was espellete (chili pepper varietal) chickpeas. I've had roasted chickpeas before; after tasting these, I knew I must create my own version. Chickpeas are such a great source of protein...and anyone who knows me knows that I am very protein-focused in my diet.

I finally got my kitchen-time late Sunday evening. I turned on some music and whipped up my own roasted chickpeas. Oh! And I have the perfect Sunday night soundtrack to listen to while preparing these (waiting for them to cook with a glass of wine): Ryan Adam's latest album, Ashes & Fire. I finally got around to downloading it and am listening to it non-stop. How could I deprive myself of this album for the past 5 months (released last October)!? I love every single song; those types of albums are always the best.

These roasted chickpeas are super simple to make, quick, and healthy! That's a winning combination in my book. They will satisfy those salty cravings too; totally addicting!

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
1 15-oz can chickpeas
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (if you're sensitive to spice, make it 1/4 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.

2) Drain can of chickpeas and rinse. Set the chickpeas on layers of paper towels and pat-dry thoroughly, until they are dry as can be. It's important to get the water off of them so that they can cook to be crunchy.

3) Combine the spices and olive oil in a bowl and mix together. Add the dried-off chickpeas and mix together, coating the chickpeas evenly. Spread onto the cookie sheet.

4) Pop the cookie sheet in the oven and roast the chickpeas for 30 to 35 minutes, or until they are crunchy. Stir every 10 to 15 minutes to avoid burning. Enjoy them warm or me, they'll be eaten very quickly.

Cheers to Sundays, good tunes, and roasted chickpeas!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hong Kong Part 2: Uyghur Food

Now that I'm no longer a jet-lagged zombie, I can finally properly answer the question everyone has been asking me about my trip to Hong Kong...

Did you eat amazing food?

Yes. I did. In fact, I ate my way through China. We wore spandex 7 out of 12 days, people. And that is not because we did so much hiking. Unless by hiking, you mean eating. We planned each day's activities around our meals. Miriam, Julie, and I know what life is really about. We're big girls. And we live to eat, not the other way around.

My favorite dining experience in Hong Kong was most certainly our Uyghur Food meal (pronounced kind of like "way-grr"). I had never heard of Uyghur prior to Hong Kong. I quickly learned that Uyghur refers to an ethnic minority living in Central and Eastern Asia; most are Sunni Muslim. The Uyghur language is considered Turkik, which is fairly similar to Turkish.

Onto the food. Oh! The food. A group of us enjoyed this meal, served family style, with hot lavender tea. I can still taste all the flavors of each unique dish. Spices reigned, especially cumin, salt, pepper, and endless numbing peppers!

Cold cucumber salad with garlic, fresh tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers

Fresh tofu with preserved/Century egg. Isn't this dish just picturesque? A Century egg is an egg preserved for months, usually, in a mixture of clay, among other things. In the photo above, the whites have turned to those jelly-looking blocks, while the yolk turned to a dark green color. This is due to the alkaline in the clay. Nowadays, you can also brine the egg for days at a time to try to emulate the Century egg produced through the preservation method mentioned above.

Warm potato slivers, garnished with cucumbers and red bell peppers; this dish was a lovely palate cleanser in between the intense flavors of the other dishes. It was perfectly salted and I almost didn't recognize that I was eating potatoes; the thin strands were so smooth!

 Sauteed zucchini in light garlic sauce

Deep fried lamb leg. To. Die. For. Encrusted with a cumin-salt rub. Each piece was boneless and the meat was so tender. I have never, ever, tasted anything like this...and I've never loved cumin more; look at all that cumin! My favorite dish of the entire trip, perhaps. 

 Camel sauteed with vegetables. Yes, camel. I was immediately intrigued. No, this wasn't the hump meat. Hump meat is light. Yes, I just typed that. Promptly after dinner, I read up on camel. Apparently, it's been compared in taste to beef and has a reputation be dry. However, this camel meat was very dark and tender; it reminded me of very thick slices of non-spicy pastrami. It was mild in flavor, and not gamy at all.

 Fried beef topped with cumin and ginger, onions, bell peppers. I loved how the beef was fried yet didn't taste greasy at all. 

Numbing pepper! These little guys showed up in many dishes. At first, they are deceiving, as they aren't spicy, but after a while, your mouth literally begins to feel numb and starts to water. Sneaky little guys.

 Fresh yogurt with strawberries on the bottom, topped with blackened sesame seeds. These were not too sweet, but had an almost tart taste to them.

 Happy bellies.

Now seriously. Can someone please take me to Uyghur food in San Francisco? If you know of a place to get Uyghur food, I will buy you dinner there. I'm going through cumin-lamb withdrawals.

Help a girl out.