To Taste: Grilled Hoisin Chicken w. Truffled Mushrooms & Noodles

On Day 4 of my staycation between jobs, I whipped up an umami-packed dinner for Dre & me. On Day 2, I took an Asia Mart adventure with Sarah in search of fun ingredients for the meal. I try to be somewhat adventurous each time I go to an ethnic market, so I picked up some bunashimeji (aka beech mushrooms), fresh vegetable noodles, & a new jar of hoisin. The beech mushrooms are so tiny and too cute! I filled them out with sliced creminis and enhanced them with the depth of fresh thyme from my Slug City.

Bunashimeji, Cremini, & Fresh Thyme

I begin by sweating shallots with a bit of olive oil in a pan and added the mushrooms & thyme. I tossed them as they sauteed for about 10 min and finished it with white truffle oil. I love truffle. I love the smell. I love the taste. I LOVE TRUFFLE!

Truffled Mushrooms

While my mushrooms cooked, I heated an awesome new grill skillet that Sunshine passed along to me. I marinated some chicken breasts in hoisin, ginger, & soy and seared them for deep grill marks on both sides until cooked through. The noodles took a quick dip in boiling water and were a perfect pillow for a pile of savory truffled mushrooms. This may be one of my favorite dishes I’ve made… and 5 years ago you couldn’t dare get a mushroom near my plate!

UMAMI!

Grilled Hoisin Chicken w. Truffled Mushrooms & Noodles

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To Taste: Flavored Finishing Salts collabo w. Sunshine

Sunshine turned me on to this awesome how-to video on how easy and rewarding it is to make flavored finishing salts. Eric Gower, the handsome personality behind Breakaway Cook, introduces diverse suggestions for ingredients to flavor moist sel gris. I’m beyond envious of his spice shelf and could watch his videos over and over and over.

Creative Use of Salts from Eric Gower on Vimeo.

Sunshine suggested and I agreed that this was a great inspiration for a crafty foodie collaboration! She had also found some mini jam jars that would be perfect vessels to store our new seasonings. We chose an afternoon during my week of leisure between jobs and got to planning our approach.

In the video, Eric Gower makes 4 different salts with lavender, matcha, smoked paprika, & saffron. We couldn’t get our hands on any of those ingredients, so we thought of great flavorings of our own. Sunshine finally located the sel gris at Trader Joe’s that is suggested as the base for our blends and we prepared our ingredients for blending. We heated the oven to about 275degrees and started drying our lime wheels, herbs, mango, & bacon:

Lime Wheels, Bacon, Herbs, & Mango

While our fresh ingredients dried in the oven, we set up the food processing attachment to the Cuisinart stick blender Dre got me for VDay. Quickest way to my heart is through a kitchen gadget! First up was some crystallized ginger we located on a last minute trip to the Asia mart. We ground it and added in about 2 T of the sel gris. A few more seconds of blending and we had so simply made our premier flavored salt.

Crystallized Ginger Salt

Luckily, we saved some fresh mango slices to sample the salt on. It was a perfect pairing!

Crystallized Ginger Salt on Mango

We still had some time to kill while our items dried in the oven. Sunshine found some really fun Victorian-inspired banner designs that we printed out as labels for our jars. We cut and arranged them on the lids with pencil-written names. One already filled and four more to go!

Labeled Salt Jars

The fresh herbs were first to be fully dried so we ground up the basil, thyme, oregano, & parsley. The result looked like a bowl of emerald-speckled diamonds and tasted amazing on fresh tomato slices.

Herb Salt

We whirled up our lime batch next, but I somehow missed getting a decent pic of it. Once the mango was crispy, we added it to two separate batches: one with just mango and another with the addition of bacon for a sweet & smokey approach. Both looked and tasted beautiful.

Mango Salt

Bacon Mango Salt

By this point in the afternoon, we’d downed quite a few Absolut Boston (elderflower & black tea vodka) and Arizona Lemonade cocktails. We moved the party to the patio to snack and focus on sampling all of our salts. I pan-fried chicken breast and sliced some more tomato as simple hosts for the variety of salty tastes.

Flavored Salt Sampling

They were all amazing but our stand-out favorite was definitely the crystallized ginger. We finished up our meal with sliced fresh strawberries… with salts, of course! I’m sure our cholesterol levels were staggering by the end of the day.

Strawberry w. Mango Salt

Even the Baby Kitty joined us for a great afternoon on the patio. She loves to stalk flies from the edge of the garden.

Baby kitty stalking flies

I’m so glad Sunshine stumbled upon this project as it is one of my favorites to date. We have alot of fun ideas on using our salts, so keep an eye out for exciting updates.

Flavored Finishing Salts

Check out Sunshine’s blog post on our crafty flavored finishing salts project on Blog Full of Jelly!

To Taste: Balsamic Chicken w. Sauteed Spinach & White Beans

I got alot accomplished today considering I spent Monday sick in bed, so I needed something quick & healthy for tonight’s dinner. A “buy one get one” spinach sale had left me with a whole bag to get through before it spoiled. I’ve been trying to get more protein, less carbs into my diet so lean chicken breast & white beans seemed like perfect accompaniments. I poked around the pantry for some added flavors and got to cooking. With the richness of balsamic vinegar and the aroma of thyme, I came up with a delicious, filling dish that was rich in iron, protein, & fiber and only 550 calories per serving. Enjoy!

Balsamic Chicken w. Sauteed Spinach & White Beans

Balsamic Chicken w. Sauteed Spinach & White Beans

2 Servings – 550 Calories each

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast – (2) breasts, about 4 oz each
  • Olive Oil – (0.5) T + (0.5) T
  • Balsamic Vinegar – (2) T
  • Dried Thyme – (0.5) tsp
  • Chicken Stock – (0.75) cup
  • S&P
  • Garlic – (2) cloves, minced
  • Onion – (1) medium, sliced thin
  • Fresh Spinach – (1) pre-rinsed bag or (0.5) lb
  • White Beans – (1) 15.5 oz can, drained & rinsed
  • Worcestershire Sauce – (1) tsp
  • Sriracha – a few squirts of your fave hot sauce
  1. Heat (0.5) T of Olive Oil on medium in a non-stick saute pan (with lid for later).
  2. Rinse chicken breasts under cool water & pat dry. Sprinkle one side with S&P.
  3. Place seasoned side down in hot pan. Sprinkle other side.
  4. Brown for about 4 min. Flip & brown other side.
  5. Add Balsamic & Thyme to pan. Bring to boil & flip chicken to other side. Reduce liquid for about 3 min.
  6. Add Chicken Stock. Bring back to boil. Reduce liquid to half for about 5 min.
  7. Remove chicken from pan & set aside.
  8. Add (0.5) T of Olive Oil to pan & heat on medium. Add garlic & saute for 1 min.
  9. Add onion & reduce heat to medium low. Allow onions & garlic to simmer for 5 min, stirring occasionally.
    • If you want to add chopped tomato or bell peppers, this would be a good time. Saute for about 5 min before moving on to the next step.
  10. Add a few handfuls of spinach & place lid on top. Return heat to medium.
  11. Once spinach reduces by half, stir & add more handfuls. Return lid.
  12. Continue adding handfuls of spinach until all is wilted
  13. Add Worcestershire & Sriracha. Add White Beans. Stir.
  14. Simmer on medium for about 5 min.
  15. Place chicken on top of Spinach & White Bean mixture. Return lid & heat for about 1 min.
  16. Serve & Enjoy!

Balsamic Chicken w. Sauteed Spinach & White Beans

To Taste: Rustic Roasted Chicken & Vegetables

Last week, Philly was graced with its 2nd major Blizzard in under 6 days. The whole city pretty much shut down on Wednesday = SNOW DAY! Luckily, I also had off on Thursday as Philly is completely unmanageable under 30+ inches of snow & ice chunks. Dre still had to trudge to work and I wanted to make sure he came home to a warm house and a warm dinner! I had defrosted a whole chicken and searched for a recipe online. My first stop is to see what Kayotic Kitchen has up her sleave. Rustic Roasted Chicken? Sounds perfect to me!

I have an odd obsession with the process of butterflying a whole chicken, or spatchcocking it. I had my first adventure with it last summer for my grilled Chicken Under A Brick. It’s easier to slice & serve and makes sense if you aren’t planning to stuff it. Kayotic Kitchen’s marinade for the chicken was a beautiful crimson (in real life) and super tasty.

Marinating Chicken nestled in Raw Vegetables

I improvised the veggies and such with I had available including baby carrots, shallots, onions, Idaho spuds, green onion, smashed garlic cloves, fresh thyme, & turkey bacon to keep it straight poultry.

Fresh Thyme w/ Vegetables

The 7lb bird took about 2-2.5hrs to cook and had the house smelling delicious when Dre got home from work.

Rustic Roasted Chicken & Vegetables

I whipped up what were supposed to be fluffy cheddar biscuits to serve with the chicken. Instead, I got cheddar pancakes. What more could I expect from mix I picked up from Acme for $1. They were still tasty with some melted butter and reheated perfectly for a quick Leftover Lightning! (in the form of a yummy chicken sammie the next day!)

Cheddar Biscuits turned Pancakes

P.S. I highly suggest you click through to the Kayotic Kitchen blog. Kayleigh’s photos are beautiful and recipes are really amazing & easy to follow. I could only aspire to take ones that great. Her love for food is certainly sincere ❤

To Taste: Red Curry Chicken Pitas & Mashed White Beans

Friday night, a blizzard was heading our way so I wanted to make a spicy dinner to warm our bellies. I drew inspiration from my Summer Feast with the ladies and decided on to make Chicken Breast marinated in Red Curry Paste & Greek Yogurt again. I whipped up a simple Tzatziki with fresh Dill, Cucumber, Scallions, Garlic, & the remaining Greek Yogurt. They combined perfectly with some Romaine & Tomatoes on Whole Wheat Pitas.

Red Curry Chicken Pitas w/ Cucumber Dill Tzatziki

I came across a recipe for Mashed Cannellini Beans on elly says opa and thought it’d be a perfect side dish for my Red Curry Chicken Pitas. I switched up the rosemary for fresh thyme and simmered the beans with Garlic & Chicken Stock. They look good enough eat even before I mashed them!

Simmering White Beans

After a few smashes with the potato masher & a dash of chili powder, the White Beans were a perfect consistency & pairing for our snowed in dinner. Next time I have to remember a splash of white truffle oil!

Mashed Cannellini Beans w/ Garlic & Fresh Thyme

RED CURRY CHICKEN PITAS w/ MASHED WHITE BEANS

  • Red Curry Chicken
  • Cucumber-Dill Tzatziki Sauce
  • Chopped Romaine Lettuce & Roma Tomatoes
  • Whole Wheat Pitas
  • Mashed White Beans w/ Garlic & Fresh Thyme
  1. Stuff Pita halves with Lettuce, Tomato, & Red Curry Chicken. Top with dollops of Tzatziki.
  2. Pair with a hearty scoop of Mashed White Beans and finish them with a dash of Chili Powder on top.
  3. Enjoy!

Red Curry Chicken

Prepared for (2) people

  • Chicken Breast – (2) breasts – rinsed, patted dry, & cubed
  • Greek Yogurt – (1/3) of a 6oz container – I prefer Fage Total 0% or 2%
  • Red Curry Paste – (1) T
  1. Combine Chicken cubes, Greek Yogurt, & Red Curry Paste in a mixing bowl and coat thoroughly. Marinate in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a saute pan on Medium and add (2) T of Olive Oil.
  3. Once the oil is glistening, add the chicken and brown each side until cooked through. Or you can kebab the marinated Chicken cubes and throw them on the grill.

Cucumber Dill Tzatziki

Makes about (1/2) cup

  • Greek Yogurt – (2/3) of a 6oz container – I prefer Fage Total 0% or 2%
  • Cucumber – (1/2) cup – peeled, seeded, halved lengthwise, & sliced thin
  • Garlic – (1) T, minced
  • Shallot – (1/2) bulb, sliced paper thin
  • Fresh Dill – (1) T , chopped
  • Lemon Juice – (2) tsp
  • S&P – to taste
  1. Put sliced cucumber in a colander and salt generously. Toss to coat and allow to rest in sink for about 5 minutes to draw out moisture.
  2. Combine drained cucumber and other ingredients in a mixing bowl and fold gently.
  3. Chill for at least 15 minutes in the fridge before using.

Mashed White Beans w/ Garlic & Fresh Thyme

Adapted from elly say opa!’s recipe

  • Cannellini / White Beans – (1) 15oz can, drained
  • Garlic – (1) T, minced
  • Chicken Stock – (1) cup – feel free to use veggie stock instead
  • Lemon Juice – (2) tsp
  • Fresh Thyme – (2) tsp
  • S&P – to taste
  1. Bring a saute pan or wok to medium heat and add about (2) T of Olive Oil. Once glistening, add Garlic and brown about 1 minute.
  2. Add beans and saute about 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer over Medium-Low heat.
  4. Once stock has almost completely evaporated (about 10-15 minutes), add Fresh Thyme and combine.
  5. Immediately turn off heat, add Lemon Juice, and mash beans with a potato masher or puree in a food processor until desired consistency. Add splashes of additional chicken stock to smooth if necessary.
  6. Serve immediately with a dash of Chili Powder on top.

Family-Style: Summer Feast

Here in Philly, it’s been raining almost daily for I dunno, 5+ weeks now!! So it was a nice treat to grill a summer dinner on a clear night with my girls. The real anecdote of the evening is strictly girl talk, but we had nothing to hide when it came to our appetites.

Herbed Zucchini Ribbons & Red Curry Chicken Skewers

Herbed Zucchini Ribbons & Red Curry Chicken Skewers

Our feast included:

Curried Chicken Kebobs ~ marinated overnight in red curry paste & Greek yogurt, skewered, & grilled

Herbed Zucchini Ribbons ~ sliced lengthwise with a mandolin, S&P, fresh herbs (basil, mint, & thyme from my garden), olive oil, & grilled in a pan

Sunshine’s Tangerine Cabbage & Bleu Salad

Sunshine’s Wheat Pellet Puffy Wheels ~ deep-fried in olive oil

Cucumber Mint Yogurt Sauce ~ Greek yogurt mixed with cubed cukes, fresh mint, minced garlic, & salt

Fresh Chopped Tomatoes

Pocketless Pita

Ariel’s Oatmeal Cookies ~ soft & delicious

Sunshine’s Sangria ~ lemon, orange, lime, peach, & plum

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