Monday, May 18, 2009

Asian Inspired Chicken and Greens Salad

It was such a beautiful weekend here on Vancouver Island, I decided to further celebrate the fabulosity of spring by conjuring up a charming little salad.

Inspired by the flavours of Asia, I let my imagination run wild at our local farmer's market, and picked up the fixins to make this...



Asian Inspired Chicken and Greens Salad

This is the time of year I get back into the mood for the crunchy coolness of veggies and enjoy preparing a balance of our weekly meals without starchy carbohydrates like potatoes which often seem too heavy in the hot weather.

To create this savoury/sweet salad yourself, you will want to start early in the day by making the salad dressing - which just gets better and better as the flavours meld together.

You will also be marinating some boneless, skinless chicken breasts and will need need one breast per person.

For the Salad Dressing

1/2 cup extra virgin olive or grapeseed oil (I prefer grapeseed oil as the flavour is less intense)
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
one tsp hot chili sauce (optional)
1/2 cup juice from can of mandarin oranges (reserve mandarines to use in salad)
1/2 cup mayonaisse
1 tsp fresh minced ginger or 1/2 tsp dried
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until everything is combined.

This will make enough dressing for several salads. Let sit at least an hour before serving so the flavours can meld.


For the marinade

1/4 cup rice wine or white vinegar
3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp hot chili sauce (optional)
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp fresh minced ginger

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl
Stab chicken breasts all over so that they better absorb the marinade
Put chicken into a sealable plastic and bag and pour marinade inside.
Mix all around and refrigerate for at least two hours (6-8 hours is best)



Grill until done and then brush each chicken breast generously with peach or mango chutney (this is optional - it adds another wonderful punch of flavour but isn't necessary)

Set aside while you build your salad.



For the salad:

One head green leaf lettuce washed and torn, or a mixture of spring or field greens
3 chopped green onions
1 cucumber, diced
1 avocado diced
1/2 package sugar snap peas
2 stalks diced celery
one cup toasted cashews
One can drained mandarin orange slices
Salt and pepper to taste

Throw all of these ingredients into a bowl and toss with about 3/4 cup of the dressing (start with less and then add more as you need it depending on how creamy you like your salad.



Plate the salad. Slice the chicken and place atop the salad.

Drizzle with a little more dressing.

And, voila!

A wonderful salad courtesy of Maven, The Kitchen Witch



For PRINTABLE RECIPE click here

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Just a quick update, Vino Verte, and a little love magic...

Hello everyone!

It came to my attention this morning that I had my comments on this blog set so that only registered users of Blogger could comment.

I've changed that so that everyone who wants to can comment.

Thanks Jaime for letting me know!

Now... for the good stuff!

How about creating a little springtime magic with your significant other tonight?



Pictured above is the perfect snack for a warm spring evening...

Foccacia bread (this is one bread I buy because I could never make it as well as my favourite bakery!)

Really good balsamic vinegar mixed with equally good extra virgin olive oil.

Garlic stuffed olives.

And a crisp, chilled glass of vino verde.



Friends, if you haven't yet tried this charming little wine, do yourselves a favour and give it a taste.

There are two bottles of Vino Verte pictured on this blog and though they're both wonderful, the GATAO is my favourite. I haven't been able to buy it for awhile, though, because it's been sold out.

The Gazela is definitely worth trying as well.

The PB and I got onto Vino Verte one afternoon when we spotted it at our local wine store. It looked like water in the bottle and we bought it out of shere curiousity to see if something so light would taste good.

And did it ever!

It's crisp, and slightly sweet - but not overly so.

To my mind, this well priced little wine from Portugal is the nicest surprise I've come across in awhile. I plan to make it my signature wine for the summer.

So go ahead, give it a try, and then let me know if you feel the magic!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Magical Meatloaf

I have a meatloaf recipe on this site that I really like.

But being the flavour junkie that I am, I decided to play around with it and have come up with a new recipe that is simply magical.



Or as magical as a meatloaf can be.

But don't just listen to me... my seventeen year old son TH was licking his plate after this one exclaiming "That's some kind of good meatloaf!" Which is high praise coming from a kid who could subsist indefinately on weiners and beans.

The only downside is there were no leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches because the entire thing was polished off. So for posterity (and my ability to recreate this at a later date) I'm sharing the recipe here.

You will need:


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 large garlic dill pickles, diced
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp pesto sauce
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce (I like to use Asian chili and garlic sauce but regular hot sauce will do)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup Quaker oats
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
Directions
  1. Mix above ingredients together in a large bowl



2. When well incorporated, press into a loaf pan that has been sprayed with PAM cooking spray and poke holes into the top of the loaf using the end of a wooden spoon.



3. Make the Glaze
In a medium bowl stir together:
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3-5 shakes hot sauce


4. Pour the glaze over the meatloaf and leave in fridge at least one hour. Can be made ahead at this point, covered well, and frozen.



5. If cooking from frozen, thaw completely before baking.
6. Bake covered in a 350 oven for 60 minutes with a drip pan underneath.Remove cover and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with tin foil and let rest for 30 minutes.

There will be a lot of juice in the pan. After the 30 minute resting time, the meatloaf will easily slide from the pan onto a plate.

Slice and serve with mashed potatoes and veggies.

For extra flavour, spoon the sauce from the pan over the meatloaf.

And voila!

Old fashioned meatloaf served on vintage plates...



It's everyday magic the entire family will love!

Click here for PRINTABLE RECIPE

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Butternut Squash Bisque

I found this recipe a few years ago while I was away on business in Ottawa.

At dinner in an out of the way little bistro, I had the most delicious bowl of Butternut Squash Bisque; and being the food detective you know me to be, I enquired as to the ingredients.

The chef, bless his heart, shared the recipe with me.

Butternut Squash Bisque:
For Printable Recipe click HERE

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 small onions diced
  • 3 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, cubed potatoes
  • 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Dash of white wine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Directions
  1. Melt butter in large stockpot. Add onions and cook until tender.
  2. Add squash, stock, paprika, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 35 min or until veggies are soft
  3. Remove and puree in a blender until smooth
  4. Return to pot and add whipping cream and wine. Slowly reheat, stirring
  5. Stir in chopped chives just before serving. Ladle into bowls and garnish each with two whole chives, or other greenery.