Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"Bagel" Salad with a Lemon Dill Vinaigrette

During yesterday’s snow storm I was going a little stir crazy.
Ok, maybe more than a bit crazy, but then my friend suggested we do a late day Soul Cycle class as the snow was abating which turned out to be a majorly delicious life decision. 

There is something wonderful about leaving a Soul class completely exhausted, drenched but grinning, and feeling like you can do anything.
Endorphins = Everything. 

 I got home and was hungry but not starving. Then after about fifteen minutes I started craving a bagel, which really means I needed some thing savory. 
I didn’t feel like completely erasing all my hard work, so,  I decided to throw together a “bagel salad.” 

A Bagel salad is essentially everything I like on my bagel... minus the cream cheese... and the bagel.  I know it sounds like I'm gypping myself but I promise you it's the perfect substitute. 
Quick, salty, refreshing, and not too heavy this salad completely hits the spot.

Vinaigrette Recipe
Your acid to fat ratio for this dressing is 1/4 acid (lemon juice) to 3/4 fat (olive oil).

Lemon juice (1/2 a lemon)
 Olive oil 
1/4 tsp dill 
1/4 tsp crushed garlic 
1/2 tsp honey 

Whisk the ingredients together vigorously. Reserve on the side. 
This recipe really just needs a touch of dressing and you will definitely have more dressing than you need. Reserve the rest of the dressing for later and use it on your salads throughout the week. 

Salad Base

1 cucumber 
1 oz smoked salmon 
1 radish cut thinly 
1/2 tsp chopped chives 
1/4 tsp black sesame seeds 

Peel the cucumber and remove its seeds. Slice the cucumber into long strips lengthwise before chopping into bite sized pieces. Do the same to the smoked salmon.
Thoroughly wash and then thinly slice the radish. 

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. 

Drizzle some dressing on the side of your bowl, mix into the rest of the ingredients. Start with a small amount of dressing and build to your taste. The idea is that the ingredients are coated but not sopping in the vinaigrette. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Roasted Chicken Breast with Mardi Gras Veggies: Fat Tuesday, Skinny Eats

Belated Happy Mardi Gras! 

Several of my friends use this period after Mardi Gras as a de facto diet, "giving up" many of the delicious indulgences in an effort to be summer ready. I am equally guilty of this and thus have been trying to clean up my act and my diet at the same time.

One of my absolute favorite dishes my grandmother makes is her roasted red peppers, which she usually serves with her extra thin fried chicken cutlets. 
Just of the thought of them has my tummy grumbling. 

[Crazily enough the store didn't have red peppers so I used the green ones. They definitely were less sweet than my grandmother's and so in the future I highly recommend sticking with the red.]

I wanted to see if I could replicate my grandmother's peppers and serve them with a leaner choice of protein. I had some of the boys over for dinner, as well as one of their beautiful girlfriends who brought the most delicious pastries and one of the most competitive games of Jenga... we had a blast!

Grandma's cutlets while delicious pieces of perfection are not exactly diet friendly. 
As an alternative I roasted chicken breasts in chicken stock with parsley at 325 for about an hour. Halfway through I rotated the chicken on top to keep all of the chicken moist.

Thoroughly wash your peppers and remove any labels or stickers. Place your peppers on a baking sheet.

Since the peppers are going to be broiled, thus exposed to an open flame, make sure there is no paper on the peppers.

Set your oven to broil, rotate the peppers until all the skin is charred.

Check to make sure all sides of the pepper are charred. 
This one needed a little more time.

Once all the peppers are thoroughly charred, place all the peppers in a paper bag and allow them to cool. 

Once cooled, tear open the bag. 
I found that the bag absorbs a lot of the moisture during the cooling process and for the sake of easy clean up I always leave the "paper bag dumpling" in a bowl. 

The skin should peel off easily, use a knife to remove any stubborn skin, the seeds and the top of the peppers. 

Slice the peppers into slivers, and add to a large mixing bowl with garlic, salt, and olive oil. 
Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature until you are ready to serve. 

For the seven peppers I roasted, I used 1/2 tsp. of salt, 1/2 cup of olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic. 

I also served the several other vegetable sides with the chicken. 

Roasted Eggplant with cubed butternut squash, and onions. 

Fresh tomato salad.

Sautéed dandelion greens with eggplant and spicy red pepper. 

The boys came to dinner armed with flowers and wine. 
I have the sweetest brothers in the world. 

My favorites from one of my favorites.

We also had one brother join us via Facetime. 
His perfect attendance record remains technically intact.