Arabian Egg Salad (serves 4)

Arabian Egg Salad (serves 4)

Za’atar is the secret ingredient here. Za’atar is a blend of spices often used in Middle Eastern cooking. I have been hearing of it more frequently recently though I first encountered it at the home of a Saudi acquaintance who was dipping his bread in olive oil and then dipping his bread in the Za’atar – delicious as a twist on bread and olive oil. In this egg salad the Za’atar is in the dressing (and I imagine the dressing would work with Herbes de Provence aswell). I found Za’atar in one of my favorite stores – Williams Sonoma.

4 x boiled eggs – chopped
1/4 cup of pitted green olives – chopped
2 tbsp. red onion – chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. Za’atar

Place eggs, olives and red onion in a serving bowl.
Mix together oil, lemon juice and Za’atar.
Pour dressing over egg mixture

Tandoori Chicken (serves 4)

Tandoori Chicken (serves 4)

I have been experimenting with substituting lite coconut milk for yoghurt in Indian curry recipes and it seems to do the trick. Today I marinated chicken breasts in lite coconut milk along with spices, ginger and red wine vinegar. I cooked the spices first – very briefly, just so I could smell the spice blend. The chicken breasts were marinated in the fridge for some 6 hours, then I put them in the oven for approx. 30 minutes – just the breasts. I threw out the marinade before cooking and you must too as it has had raw chicken in it. The tandoori chicken is also good cold in a salad.

1 1/2 tbsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tbsp. ginger – freshly grated
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 x can lite coconut milk
4 large chicken breasts

Combine spices and ginger.
Heat olive oil and when sizzling add spices and ginger and cook until you can smell them – a minute or less.
Combine red wine vinegar and coconut milk in a shallow bowl or Ziploc bag
Add spice mixture.
Add chicken breasts and put in fridge for 6 hours.
Before cooking, discard marinade, then place chicken in oven for 30 minutes or until cooked.

Mediterranean Cauliflower (serves 4)

Mediterranean Cauliflower (serves 4)

Cauliflower is quite bland as a vegetable by itself. Hence, cauliflower cheese, cauliflower with a white sauce. If I have it by itself I usually roast it so it has both crunch and extra taste from the browning. For this recipe I combined it with spinach sautéed in olive oil and garlic salt and I mixed it all together with 2 tbsp. of tapenade (see my tapenade recipe). I served it with boneless pork chops. I think it would also go well with a firm white fish, which would make it even more Mediterranean.

2 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 small cauliflower – cut into florets
8 oz. fresh spinach
2 tbsp. tapenade
Salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic salt

Toss cauliflower florets in 1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast in oven for 30 mins. until just tender.
Saute spinach in remaining olive oil seasoned with garlic salt.
Mix cauliflower and spinach with 2 tbsp. tapenade.

Potato and Pea Curry (serves 4)

Potato and Pea Curry (serves 4)

Think of Vegetarianism and you think of India where although many people do eat meat and fish there are millions of vegetarians and consequently many delicious spicy vegetable dishes to choose from. A lot of Indian recipes call for yoghurt but as that is off the list of things I can eat, I substituted lite coconut milk. The potatoes in this recipe are new potatoes as they don’t fall apart. I donned latex gloves to chop the red chillies, not wanting to get itchy hands. I used 2 red chillies and the curry was quite hot though the hot taste didn’t last long in the mouth. Depending on how you like your curry you could increase/decrease the number of red chillies. Amongst the spices is turmeric which is getting a lot of publicity at the moment due to its supposed medical properties.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion – finely chopped
2 red chillies – seeded and very finely chopped
2 inch piece of ginger – grated
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes – halved
1 x can lite coconut milk
10 fl.oz. vegetable broth
Juice of 1 lime

Put oil in a metal based casserole dish and when sizzling add onion, turn down heat and cook until
softened (about 10 mins.)
Add red chillies, grated ginger and spices.
Stir and then cook for a few minutes.
Add potatoes, coconut milk, veg. broth and lime juice.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 mins.

Brussels Sprouts Salad (serves 4)

Brussels Sprouts Salad (serves 4)

I love Brussels sprouts as a Fall/Winter veg and turkey for Thanksgiving/Christmas wouldn’t be the same without them, but raw in a salad – not so sure. However, I tasted this raw sprouts dish in a restaurant and was nicely surprised but thought I would substitute the raw for cold roasted sprouts with their more dense, nutty flavor. Along with the sprouts goes parma ham – a nice pairing – celery, cranberries and finely sliced walnuts served on a bed of arugula/rocket. As a dressing honey mustard is a must.

1 pound of Brussel sprouts (before cleaning off outer leaves) – quartered
2 slices Parma ham – cut into slivers
3 oz celery – diced
Small handful dried cranberries
1 tbsp. walnuts – finely sliced
Arugula/rocket

Honey Mustard Dressing

1 tbsp. cider vinegar
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp. honey

Put all ingredients in a screw top jar and shake well to emulsify.

Manhattan Clam Chowder (serves 4 +)

Manhattan Clam Chowder (serves 4 +)

For years I have been under the (false) impression that Manhattan Clam Chowder is difficult to make. Partly because I am nervous of cooking fresh clams, mussels, etc. in case I give anyone food poisoning and apparently food poisoning from these types of shellfood is particularly bad. For years I much preferred New England Clam Chowder with all its milk/cream and thick consistency. The first time I tasted it was at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco back in 1978. I loved it so much I had it as an appetizer for the remainder of the vacation if it was on the menu! Obviously, New England Clam Chowder is a no-no for me now so I have changed allegiance. I make my Manhattan Clam Chowder with canned clams and add a little bit of fire to it by using V8 Juice (Spicy Low Sodium brand). I was so happy with the way it turned out that I have (immodestly) described it as restaurant quality.

The base of the soup is like many others – onion, garlic, carrots, celery and potatoes. Make sure the carrots, celery and potatoes are cut into same size pieces and small. I used new potatoes as they don’t go mushy. Cook the veg. until they are just tender but still have a little crunch. With the V8 and the clam juice being quite salty, wait until the end to see if you need salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 oz carrots, celery and onion – diced into small pieces
1 large clove garlic – minced
Pinch of Herbes de Provence
16 fl. oz clam juice (Bar Harbor brand)
12 fl. oz V8 (spicy hot, low sodium brand)
2 x 10oz cans clams, including the juice (Flora Fine Foods brand)

Put the olive oil in a cast iron casserole dish.
When hot add onion and garlic and soften a little.
Then add carrots, celery and Herbes de Provence.
Cook until just tender.
Pour in the clam juice, V8, canned clams and their juice.
Bring to boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Spiced Chicken (serves 4)

Spiced Chicken (serves 4)

Love it, love it, when I eat something new and find out what ingredients I need for my take on the recipe. Was in a Mexican restaurant the other day – love Mexican food but have to avoid tacos and fajitas and am confused when cooking by the different peppers and how much of them is needed – and ordered Achiote Chicken (could also be shrimp, steak or chicken wings). Didn’t know that achiote is a spice (also called annatto) and can be applied as a dry rub (along with other spices) to create a delicious and mildly spiced dish. Basically, I mixed together some achiote, garlic salt, cumin and dried oregano and popped it in a Ziploc bag with 2 chicken breasts and put it in the fridge for an hour before cooking. After an hour I took out the chicken and wrapped each breast in aluminum foil and cooked them in the oven for 30 minutes. The result was a very moist chicken breast with a mildly spicy taste (think if I hadn’t wrapped the chicken breasts in foil they would have been very dry). I sliced the chicken (it is good hot or cold) and served it with slices of avocado, fine slices of red onion and cherry tomatoes and a lime cilantro dressing – OMG!

RUB RECIPE (for 1lb meat)

2 tsp. ground annatto/achiote
2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano