Meyer Lemon & Blood Orange Roast Chicken

I love Meyer Lemons and look forward all year to their availability. I do not care for oranges and never eat them, but for some reason, I do like blood oranges – at least to cook with – I have yet to eat one raw. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to find both at Sunny Farms.

I decided to roast chicken covered in slices of Meyer lemons – sounds good, right?! At the last second I added blood orange segments and I cannot tell you how amazing this dish turned out. Not to mention, my house smelled divine the entire time it was in the oven. The fruit caramelized and was so delicious with the chicken. This dish turned out better than I anticipated and I will definitely make it again. And again.

Next time I might sprinkle it with something green, maybe a little fresh thyme or parsley…

meyer lemon roast chicken

INGREDIENTS

3-4 chicken thighs (breasts would work too)
2 Meyer lemons, washed and thinly sliced
1 blood orange, peeled and segments separated
Sea salt

For the sauce

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons local raw honey

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Place the chicken pieces in a baking dish and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Cover the chicken completely with slices of lemon and orange segments, and then pour the sauce over the chicken pieces.

Bake the chicken for 35-45 minutes. Check in the last 10 minutes and spoon cooking juices over chicken if need be.

Serve the chicken topped with the hot lemon and orange slices.

Meyer lemon and blood orange roast chicken

Have a bigger family or guests for dinner? Simply use a bigger roasting pan and increase ingredient quantities to compensate for additional pieces of chicken.

 

Spaghetti Squash Noodles

Noodles that aren’t noodles? Yep, that’s right—spaghetti squash—a harbinger of great flavor with the texture of noodles. And, spaghetti squash just happen to be loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. It’s a win-win!

A winter squash, spaghetti squash can still be found in many places throughout spring months. Look for a firm, blemish-free squash and store it on the counter out of direct sunlight; it will keep on your counter for a few weeks and up to a month, depending on when it was harvested.

baked spaghetti squash

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy clean up.

Slice the squash in half lengthwise using the largest knife you have; go slow, it might take a few minutes.

Using a spoon, scrape out all of the seeds and stringy flesh. Brush the cut flesh of the spaghetti squash with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and place cut side down on a lined baking sheet.

Roast 30-40 minutes until the flesh is fork tender and completely cooked through. Let rest at least 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Using a fork, start at one end and scape the “noodles” out lengthwise. And there you have it —noodles!

Serve hot or warm, tossed with your favorite marinara sauce or a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator up to two days.

spaghetti suash noodles

Nutty Baked Vegetables

For a tasty side or snack, try baking assorted veggie slices coated with nut flour—so yummy! For this recipe, I used zucchini, shitake mushrooms, purple sweet potato and yacón—a delightful vegetable I just discovered at Nash’s Organic Produce.

The yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolius) is a perennial traditionally grown in South America for its crisp, sweet-tasting tuberous roots. Yacón can be eaten raw or cooked and is noted for its high fiber and low calorie content. With a texture very similar to jicama, its distinctive flavor is a satisfyingly sweet cross between celery and Granny Smith apples. Another name for the yacón is Peruvian ground apple.

cashew baked veggies

INGREDIENTS

1 large zucchini, peeled
1 yacón, peeled
1 sweet potato, peeled
1 cup raw nut flour – I made my own with raw, hulled hemp hearts
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon green onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

PREPARATION

To make raw nut flour: process nuts a half a cup at a time in a blender or food processor until turned into a powder. Do not over process or you will have nut butter. If you want an finer flour, sift after processing. Note: you can make nut flour from any raw nut such cashews or skinned almonds.

Preheat oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lay the mushrooms upside down and cut off stem with a small, sharp knife, cutting just below the mushroom cap so you remove the whole stem. Mushrooms are very porous, so if they are exposed to too much water, they will quickly absorb the water and become soggy so it’s best to clean them without water. To do this, simply wipe the caps well with a barely damp paper towel. If the underside of the mushroom cap is dirty, carefully scrape around it with a small knife or toothpick to remove any pieces of dirt.

Evenly slice remaining vegetables—zucchini, yacón and sweet potato—into 1/4-inch rings.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. In a separate bowl, mix cashew flour with salt, onion and garlic powder. Dip vegetable slices in egg one at a time, letting any excess egg drip off, and then coat the egg-covered vegetables in flour mixture and place in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Bake on each side for about 6-8 minutes, until each side is golden brown. The sweet potatoes may need an extra few minutes, check for doneness by piercing with a fork.

Serve with a dollop of cashew sour cream.

Note: instead of discarding leftover egg and flour after you’ve coated all the vegetables, combine and make scrambled eggs.

Cashew Sour Cream

This easy cashew sour cream is wonderfully rich and tasty. Try it with chopped salads in place of mayonnaise, with anything Mexican, or add fresh minced herbs and use it as a dip for vegetables or crackers.

cashew sour cream

INGREDIENTS

1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons coconut vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

PREPARATION

Cover cashews with water and soak for at least two hours, or overnight.

Once the cashews have soaked for 2 hours, drain off all water and place nuts in food processor. Add coconut water, salt, vinegar and lemon juice. Purée for 3-4 minutes, adding water by the tablespoonful as needed until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy in consistency.

Use in any recipe that calls for sour cream, such as Nutty Baked Vegetables.

Refrigerate cashew cream in an airtight container for up to one week.

 

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken And Gravy

I love rotisserie chicken, but I don’t have a rotisserie, so I decided to try cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker and then briefly broiling it in the oven to crisp up the skin. The result? A moist, delicious, fall-off-the-bone chicken just as good as rotisserie! I seasoned it with garlic and Penzey’s ‘Mural of Flavor’ but you can really use pretty much anything in your spice rack. The leftover liquids can be used to make an awesome gravy and the leftover bones to make stock!

Note: Standard size slow cookers are a bit too small and a whole chicken won’t fit. You’ll need a 6-quart slow cooker for this recipe.

slow-cooked chicken with mashed turnips and gravy

INGREDIENTS

4-5 pound free-range certified 100% organic chicken
2 medium onions, chopped (I used 1 onion and 1 large shallot)
1/2 cup organic chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine (or another 1/4 cup chicken stock in lieu of wine)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 heaping teaspoon Penzey’s ‘Mural of Flavor’ seasoning (use any of your favorite seasonings)
Sea salt

PREPARATION

To keep the chicken out of its fat while cooking, wad up two to three pieces of foil, making them somewhat flat on top and place in the slow cooker. Peel and slice the onions and arrange in the bottom of the slow cooker around the foil balls. (In lieu of foil balls, use extra vegetables or foil-covered potatoes). Add the stock.

Remove any giblets from the chicken. Dry off the bird and season it well by drizzling with olive oil and rubbing all over with the garlic paste and spices. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.

preparing chicken for slow cooker

Place the chicken breast side down in the slow cooker on top of the foil balls. Cover and set it to cook on high for 4+ hours, steaming until the chicken is falling off the bone and the internal temperature of the leg is at 160 degrees F. Total cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken and your slow cooker. My chicken weighed just under 5 pounds and was done in 4-1/4 hours.

Once the chicken’s finished cooking, carefully transfer it to a broiling pan, sprinkle with sea salt and place in the oven under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown and crisp up the skin. Allow chicken to rest after removing it from the broiler for 5-10 minutes before carving.

slow-cooked whole organic chicken

Gravy:

Use the remaining slow cooker contents to make a delicious gravy.

After removing the chicken from the slow cooker, remove the foil balls. Blend remaining liquids and onions with an immersion blender.

Transfer blended contents into a medium saucepan, check for seasoning and add salt to taste. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of tapioca flour and bring to a near boil over medium-high. Continue to whisk to avoid scorching, cooking until desired thickness.

This flavorful gravy is pretty much incredible on everything! I served it over mashed cauliflower and of course, the chicken!

Stock:

De-bone any leftover chicken to use for other recipes and make stock with the carcass. (I combined leftover chicken and gravy with carrots, sweet potatoes and mushrooms, topped with a crust and baked, for an outstanding chicken pot pie).

Place all of the bones and bits into a large stock pot or dutch oven, it needs to be big enough to hold all the leftover bones plus 16 cups of water. Add two tablespoons of cider vinegar to the pot. This will break down the bones and draw out the calcium into the broth. Cover and let sit for 45 minutes.

Bring the contents to a boil. Once it starts boiling, skim off any scum that floats to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let it simmer for at least 4 hours to really let the flavor get delicious.

About an hour before it’s done, you can add some vegetables to give the broth extra vitamins, minerals and flavor. Try adding a couple chopped carrots, 1 chopped onion, and 3 stalks of chopped celery. You don’t even have to peel the carrots or onion; just wash and chop since you’re not going to eat them, they’ll be skimmed out.

After 4 hours total, remove the pot from the heat and let sit for about 20 minutes to cool before handling. Place a really big bowl and a colander in your kitchen sink. Pour the pot’s contents into the colander to catch all of the bones and vegetables.

Let the broth cool to room temperature – you do not want to put hot things in your fridge – it changes the temperature and can affect foods already in there. Once it’s cool, put the stock in the refrigerator for a couple hours. After chilling in the fridge, any fat should rise to the top for you to skim off. Mine had almost no fat to skim since most of it had dripped into the bottom of the slow cooker. To store, divide between several containers and freeze.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Sage Leaves

Fall has arrived, and with the cooler temperatures and shorter days, my favorite symbol of the season has made its return to adorn porch steps across the country. Whether you use them for carving or cooking, pumpkins never disappoint—they are delicious in pies, pancakes, soups and chili—even lasagna! Here, I have prepared a roasted pumpkin soup with crispy sage leaves. My kitchen smells divine!

roasted pumpkin soup

When cooking with pumpkin, you want to be sure and choose a variety of pumpkin that’s intended for cooking rather than for decoration. The ubiquitous field pumpkin—the kind most commonly used to carve jack-o’-lanterns—has watery, stringy flesh and is not pleasant for consuming. Sugar pumpkins and cheese pumpkins are best for cooking and baking, thanks to their dense, sweet flesh.

Pumpkins keep well at room temperature for up to a month. Stored in a refrigerator, they can last up to three months. Once cut, pumpkin pieces should be wrapped tightly, refrigerated and used within five days.

This recipe’s also delicious with butternut or other squash. The soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days, it also freezes well.

INGREDIENTS

4 Tb butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp curry powder (not a fan of curry, use ginger instead)
6 cups of roasted pumpkin* (can substitute three 15 oz cans 100% pumpkin)
5 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups of coconut milk
1/4-1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

*To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 50-60 minutes. Cool, scoop out the flesh. If your pumpkin produces more than 6 cups of pulp, you can freeze whatever you don’t need for future use. Reserve the seeds for toasting.

PREPARATION

Melt butter in a 4-quart dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.

Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth, stirring well to blend. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer soup in batches to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan. I like to leave some of the chunks for texture, so I only blend a little over half of the soup and smash the rest with a handheld potato masher.

With the soup on low heat, add half the coconut sugar and mix, tasting for sweetness to determine if you need to add the rest or not. Slowly add coconut milk while stirring to incorporate. I love coconut with curry, but if you’re not a big fan of coconut, use any preferred milk. Add heavy cream. Adjust seasonings as needed. Salt to taste.

Serve in individual bowls. Sprinkle the top of each with toasted pumpkin seeds and/or crispy sage leaves (recipes follow).

Note: I actually served the soup two ways. First serving was soup in a bowl topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and crispy sage leaves. Later, since there was leftovers, I spooned warm soup over cooked buckwheat and jumbo shrimp, with a little extra curry added to the mix. Delicious!

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Place the mass of pumpkin seeds in a colander and run under water to rinse and separate the seeds from the stringy stuff.

Place the seeds in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with about a tablespoon of coconut oil. I used the same baking sheet that I had just finished roasting the pumpkin on, so the coconut oil melted upon contact. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a single layer. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don’t burn.

When nicely browned, remove the pan from the oven and transfer seeds to a paper towel-covered plate to cool. While still warm, lightly salt to taste if desired.

toasted pumpkin seeds

Crispy Sage Leaves

The leaves crisp up after they have been removed from the hot oil and begin to cool down. They can be made a couple of days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

2 Tb coconut oil
Fresh sage leaves
Fine grain sea salt

Wash your sage leaves and then ensure that they are very thoroughly dried. I spun mine in a lettuce spinner for a few moments. Set aside.

Line a plate with several layers of paper towel and set aside.

Place a small skillet over medium heat and allow to heat up for a minute or so. Add the coconut oil and then carefully add one of the fresh sage leaves. Check to see that your oil is hot enough so that the sage leaf fries in about 5 seconds per side. You may need to use the back of a fork to keep the leaf flat and submerged in the oil. After 5 seconds flip the sage leaf over and fry for an additional 5 seconds. The leaves should emerge a bright green with no hints of browning. Remove from the oil using tongs and place on the sheets of paper towel.

Once you have the proper temperature add 4 or 5 sage leaves at a time and cook the leaves in batches. If the leaves are turning brown or cooking too quickly turn the heat down to medium low. Once they are cooling on the sheets of paper towel, season with salt.

crispy sage leaves

 

Nectarine-Beet Crisp

Ack! I’m on a nectarine kick, and can’t stop eating them. I’ve have been enjoying them sliced, in my smoothies, and roasted with beets and walnuts for a delicious warm salad tossed with a little blue cheese and toasted walnuts.

Did you know that nectarines are actually cultivars of peaches? They are of the same species, but due to a recessive gene, they don’t develop the characteristic fuzz of a peach but a smooth skin, more like a plum – which is great, because I’m not fond of fuzzy skin! The mutation also leads to a firmer, spicier tasting flesh. Like peaches, nectarines can be either freestone or cling stone, depending on how embedded the pit is within the flesh.

For this recipe, I paired the beets and nectarines in a crisp. The dates in the topping add the perfect amount of sweet – delicious!

beet-nectarine crisp

INGREDIENTS

Filling:

3 nectarines, peeled and cubed
2 beets, peeled and cubed
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tb lemon juice

Topping:

2/3 cup almond meal
10 dates
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 Tb solidified coconut oil

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350F.

Steam the beets in a covered microwave-safe dish for 3 minutes in a few tablespoons of water. Drain and set aside.

Place the nectarines in a bowl and combine with the lemon zest and juice. Set aside.

In a food processor, with the metal blade, combine the almond meal, dates, cinnamon and salt. Pulse until everything is chopped and mixed. Add the coconut oil and pulse to combine.

Transfer the beets and nectarines into an 8-inch baking dish, combining gently so as not to turn your nectarines pink. Cover with the almond meal mixture.

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve with whipped coconut cream, if desired.

baked beet-nectarine crisp

Lavender Syrup

For more than 17 years the world has descended on the Sequim-Dungeness Valley to experience the joys of lavender and this past weekend was no exception. During a visit to Purple Haze Farm, I purchased some culinary lavender and today I made lavender syrup using coconut water. Known for its calming properties, lavender syrup’s quixotic aroma provides a subtle accent for refreshing lemonades, teas, martinis and more.

Did you know that lavender has been a favorite herb for over 2,500 years? The Greeks and the Romans bathed in lavender scented water and it was from the Latin word “lavo” meaning “to wash” that the herb took it’s name. Perhaps first domesticated by the Arabians, lavender spread across Europe from Greece. To this day, the French continue to send baby lamb to graze in fields of lavender, so their meat will be tender and fragrant.

lavender syrupINGREDIENTS

3 cups coconut water
4 tablespoons culinary lavender
1 cup sugar

PREPARATION

In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut water to a boil.

Add the lavender and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain out the lavender and return the infusion to the pan.

Add the sugar, stirring often until thickened.

Remove from heat and transfer the syrup to a sterile glass container.

Keep refrigerated to avoid spoilage.

LAVENDER-TINI

Fill a martini glass 2/3 full with lavender syrup. Add the juice of one lime, a shot of vodka and a dash of Scrappy’s Lavender bitters. Stir and enjoy.

lavender cocktail

 

Walnut-Date Coconut Macaroons

I needed to make a dish to share at a potluck and decided on coconut macaroons. These were so good, the entire plate of cookies was devoured. I made more the next day and brought them over to a friend’s. Same thing happened. Devoured.

For the moisture, I used duck eggs as they contain more protein than a chicken egg and they are a wonderful alternative to anyone with allergies to chicken eggs.

This recipe makes about 24 macaroons.

walnut-date coconut macaroon

INGREDIENTS

1-1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
1-1/2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
17 dates, pitted and chopped
2 free-range duck eggs (or 3 chicken eggs)
2 tablespoons raw, local honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

If your walnuts are whole, start by chopping them. Then add the coconut and walnuts to a skillet and brown over medium-low heat. Stir often to avoid scorching.

Meanwhile, pit and chop the dates and set aside.

Combine the eggs, honey and vanilla in a mixing bowl and whisk until well blended.

Once the walnuts and coconut are nicely browned, add them to the egg mixture, and add the dates. Stir until everything is mixed well.

Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, drop balls of the macaroon batter – evenly spaced – onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool slightly before removing from the baking sheet.

OPTIONAL

Add a couple tablespoons of grated organic dark chocolate to the batter.

Pea Shoots, Mango and Smoked Salmon Salad

Pea shoots, a well-kept secret for far too long, are taking the food world by storm, revitalizing not only salads, but stir fries, pastas and risottos. Whereas traditional garden peas take a whole summer to grow; pea shoots are harvested after just 2-4 weeks, when the leaves are tender, young and literally bursting with a distinctive pea flavor. I’ll be sprouting these all summer long and probably indoors throughout next winter too!

I love the fresh crispness pea shoots bring to salads. Not just tasty, they’re packed with high levels of vitamin C and A. This recipe is meant to be a flexible guideline; quantities will depend on how many people you are serving and how many pea shoots you have on hand. And of course, you can use chicken instead of the smoked salmon, and mix and match any combination of fruits, vegetables and nuts that you want.

pea shoots

INGREDIENTS

Salad:
2 slices smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
1 mangoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
4 Persian cucumbers, peeled and sliced
3 Campari tomatoes, cut into small pieces
5 spring onions, peeled and minced
2-3 cups pea shoots, coarsely chopped

Dressing:
1 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

PREPARATION

Combine salad ingredients and then drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil just before serving. Delicious with warm, crusty bread.

pea shoot salad