Brine chicken breasts in salted ice-cold water for about two hours prior to cooking. Rinse and pat dry. Place chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle olive oil over chicken. Spritz with salt, cracked pepper and dried oregano. Place chicken into a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove chicken and place sliced lemons on top. Place back into oven with broiler on. Place rack about 10 inches from heat source. Keep an eye on them and broil for about 10-15 minutes. Make sure to rotate baking sheet for even cooking. They are done when the thickest part of the breast feels firm to the touch. Remove and let chicken rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
Cook quinoa according to instructions on package. 1/4 C dry measure is a good serving size per person. Add chopped parsley (LOTS), cherub tomatoes, mint, basil, toasted walnuts, lemon juice, EVOO, S & P. Combine and adjust seasonings. Great for leftovers the next day or after.
For yogurt salad, combine diced cucumber, green onion, lemon zest, red chili flakes and salt with whole milk Greek yogurt.
Slice snap peas on the diagonal. Combine with slivers of radish, S & P, a splash of toasted sesame oil and a spritz of rice wine vinegar.
Drizzle olive oil on some rustic bread slices and toast in a toaster oven until “crispy chewy”.
FRESH FLAVORS, GREAT TEXTURES, HEALTHY AND VERY SATISFYING
This meal stores well in the fridge for leftovers the next day.
What a difference a week makes! The garden project has resumed: gravel walkways are being placed, blooms are daring to show their faces, support posts for the clothesline are up, critter proofing continues and supervisor continues to well…supervise. Temps are still too chilly for raised bed plantings at this time. Looks like that will occur around May 20th. We will be calling our “gardener friends” here in Santa Fe for their expertise and help. Dramatic skies and winds indicate a storm system is coming. Hopefully, it will dump some nice rain on our parched landscape. That’s all for now. More photos of our plantings soon.
Just when we thought winter had made its exit, a snowfall set us straight. Who’d have thought that our largest snowfall of the year would come April 29th? Twelve inches of soft powder blanketed our community. Jerry LOVED IT. Temps are dipping into the 20’s tonight. We’ll see what survives. Boxes are sheltering peonies which were on the verge of blooming. We lost a few tree limbs due to the weight of the snow. Good excuse to stay indoors and binge watch some television. Hope temps are more moderate where you are!
Well, we dodged another “frozen bullet”. Temps hit the mid 20’s the other evening. No damage. However, we can’t relax yet. Work continues on the garden project. Liners were added for weed protection. 11 yards of top soil was delivered. Mixing in some fertilizer, worms, compost….good start for our veggies. Blooming continues to catch the eye: peonies are on the verge of opening, Russian olive trees are sprouting, honeysuckle is thriving, ground cover is thick and lush and grasses sway. PVC pipe makes a hoop-like frame for the raised bed covers. Progress. Stay tuned!
Rinse, dry and trim a pork tenderloin. I had a 1 pound loin. That’s plenty for three. Add a small amount of olive oil to a preheated skillet. Salt and pepper tenderloin. Be generous. Place tenderloin into the skillet and brown it well on all sides.
For squash, purchase some “already diced” butternut squash… (a big time and aggravation saver). Toss with olive oil and spread out onto a foil-lined baking sheet that has been spray with non-stick spray. Salt and pepper squash and place it into a preheated 425 degree oven. Toss occasionally for even cooking. Roast until browned and tender.
For green beans, trim and blanch. I often will blanch a large amount of beans and store them in the fridge. Perfect for a salad or for sautéing at a later date. For this recipe, add blanched beans to a preheated sauté pan with olive oil and some diced shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until beans are “crisp tender”. Add some lemon zest at the end.
Once pork is thoroughly browned, remove it from the skillet and place it on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Slather on the delicious barbecue sauce from Trader Joe’s. I don’t normally buy this kind of thing, but it looked tasty and seemed an easy plan.
Place pork in a preheated 425 degree oven. Roast until you have a nice warm pink in the middle. Those squeamish about pink pork can certainly roast longer. Remove and allow pork to sit for about 10-15 minutes before slicing.
Simple salad of greens, tomatoes, avocado, and some diced Turkish figs. (They were sitting on the counter!) Drizzle of honey, balsamic vinegar, EVOO, salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Some leftover cornbread split and toasted made a great addition.
Begin with a 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes. (San Marzano preferred.) Use an immersion stick and puree tomatoes until smooth. In a skillet, sauté some onion, garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil until fragrant. Add tomato puree, salt and a pinch of sugar. Simmer until flavors meld. Check for seasoning and make adjustments.
Drain a can of garbanzo beans and rinse. Add beans to tomato sauce and continue to simmer.
Prepare quinoa according to instructions. 1 C dry would feed four. I added some salt and bay leaves to the cooking pot.
I had some small sweet peppers in the fridge and I decided to roast them up. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with non-stick spray. Oil your peppers with EVOO. A pinch of salt and pepper and in they go to a preheated 425 degree oven. Roast until slightly charred. Rotate peppers at least once for even cooking.
Make a salad. I had some arugula, cucumber and avocado on hand. Simple dressing: lemon juice, EVOO, cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt.
For service: fresh basil, shredded parmesan and a drizzle of EVOO.
Some old crusty bread found new life in the toaster oven. Drizzle a bit of EVOO and lightly toast.
Filling, vegetarian, delicious and guilt-free!
The garden project is moving along. Hugo’s handiwork can be seen in the beautiful outdoor dining table: a simple Parson’s design with graphic tiles to top. We are ready for our first gathering.
The waterfall is running once again after a winter rest. “White fish”, “black fish” and the two “orangies” are happy after their dormancy. Little black fish was hiding.
“Critter proofing” the garden is essential. A band of chicken wire will run the entire base of the garden fence. Cue the rabbits! Redwood boards are assembled using these nifty corner devices purchased through Gardener’s Supply Company. Check them out online. Powdered coated aluminum in a dark brown. Clamps are screwed to the inside at measured intervals for PVC pipe which will create the frame for the covers.
Our project manager Jerry is a good supervisor, but not much help.
Retaining blocks have created a nice curved wall.
Lily pads are slowly releasing their leaves as the sunshine coaxes them out of their slumber.
Stucco lath has to be screwed to the bottoms of the bed frames. Once again, critters here are relentless. In this case, GOPHERS!
Laying out the garden plan with spray paint gives a sense of the final vision. Crushed granite walkways, fruit trees, whiskey barrels of flowers, a sculpture piece, clothesline (artistically realized, of course) should bring this garden to full fruition.
Can’t wait for those veggies!
More to come.