Muhammara Recipe at Epicurious.com

I’m always looking for healthy recipes that don’t taste healthy but just taste good.  There are plenty of healthy dishes that leaving me feeling virtuous but don’t leave me wanting more.  This isn’t one of them.  And did I mention that it’s fast and easy? Muhammara is a spread/dip made from roasted red peppers (beta carotene), walnuts (omega3 fatty acid) and pomegranate molasses (anti-oxidant).  I really recommend finding the pomegranate molasses.  It adds a depth of flavor that is unique.  I buy it at Whole Foods.  I’ve also found it at an ethnic market that carries Middle Eastern foods.  I’ve also made it buy simmering pure pomegranate juice (no sugar added) over a low heat until it becomes the texture of maple syrup.  The time depends on the amount of juice you start with.  You want to reduce at least a cup.  Stir occasionally.  Just be careful not to scorch it.  If finding pomegranate molasses becomes more than you are willing to do, I recommend balsamic vinegar as a substitute over lemon juice.

Muhammara Recipe at Epicurious.com.

Guacamole

I went to a Mexican restaurant with some friends last night and we concluded that you can never have too much guacamole.  So today I was inspired to use the overripe avocados in my kitchen to whip up some of my own.  And since avocados are a widely touted super-food, guacamole makes for some guilt-free snacking.

In the recipe I’ve given you some measurement ranges so you can make it to your liking.  Two tips before we start.  The first is to wear rubber gloves when chopping the jalapeno and cleaning up the remains.  If the juice from the jalapeno gets on your hands and then you touch your skin or eyes it can be painful.  The other is to save one or two pits from your avocados if you are going to store the guacamole.  Place the pits on top of the guacamole in the storage container and they will slow down the oxidation process.

Guacamole

  • 3 very ripe Haas avocados
  • 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced jalapeno
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

Cut the avocados in half length-wise and remove the pits.  You can do this by smacking a paring knife into the pit and twisting gently.  The pit should come away on the knife.  With a spoon, scoop out the avocado halves and place them in a medium bowl.  Mash the avocados lightly.  I like to use a whisk that I hold straight up and make stabbing motions into the avocado.  This gives me nice chunky pieces.  You can also use a fork and mash the avocado against the side of the bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir with a spatula or large spoon.  Season with salt to taste.  Dig out the chips and enjoy!  (Whole Foods, Bearitos and Garden of Eatin’ all make corn chips with no GMO’s)

Really Juicy, Flavorful Grilled Chicken

I love this chicken!  The rub provides so much flavor and because the chicken is pounded thin, it seers really quickly and therefore stays really moist.  Enjoy.

First I make this dry rub from Epicurious.com with two changes.  I leave out the dried savory because I have a hard time finding it.  But by all means use it if you have it.  And I change the salt to coarsely ground sea salt.

Dry Chimichurri Rub Recipe at Epicurious.com.

For the Chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons Chimichurri dry rub
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 4 boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts
  • grill, griddle or grill pan, parchment paper & mallet
Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.  I use a cast iron griddle with a grill on one side.  It is a large one that covers two burners.  I like it because it gets very hot but the temperature is easy to control.  I have never mastered the temperature on a charcoal grill.  And as much as I love that charcoal flavor, the char is a known carcinogen.
Place a chicken breast between two pieces of parchment paper and pound until a 1/2-inch thickness.  Repeat with remaining breasts.
Mix the dry rub and olive oil together.  With your hands, slather the herb/oil mixture onto each breast.  Really rub the herbs onto the chicken so they adhere.  Grill each side of the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes.  The cooking time may vary slightly depending on the grill temperature and the thinness of the chicken.  I cut into the thickest part of the breast to check for doneness.  You can also insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.  It should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  Whatever you do, don’t overcook it!
I like my chicken sliced over a salad. My husband likes to make a sandwich.
 

Demi Salad Nicoise

After I completed my cleanse back in March, I discovered that I was allergic to night shade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers) and eggs.  Anyone familiar with Nicoise Salad knows that tomatoes, potatoes and eggs play a big part.  But I love the flavors of Nicoise Salad so I created a Demi Nicoise Salad.  Please feel free to add the omitted vegetables and eggs back in.

Serves 4

Dressing:

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 grindings fresh pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small white onion, sliced paper thin
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, minced

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt & pepper.  Slowly whisk in the oil in a thin stream to emulsify the mixture.  Stir in the onion, garlic & tarragon.

Salad:

1lb fresh green beans, preferably organic
4 to 6 oz organic baby lettuce
2 5-oz cans wild caught tuna in olive oil
1 jar Italian anchovies in oil
3/4 cup Nicoise olives

Wash and trim green beans. Place a steamer basket in the bottom of a large pot.  Fill the pot with water just below the basket and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and place the beans in the basket.  Steam 4 to 6 minutes.  Remove the basket from the pot and allow the beans to cool.

Divide the lettuce among 4 plates.  Drain the tuna and divide each can between 2 plates.  Add a generous 1/2 cup of green beans to each plates, followed by 3 or 4 anchovies and  a sprinkling of olives.  Drizzle the dressing generously over the salad making sure that each plate has some onions.  Serve.