Friendly Food – Ginger Chicken and Broccoli

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I am embarrassed, it has taken me as long to write this blog post as it would have to wash the dishes from this meal when I was in college. I really let things marinate.

I invited myself over to my friend Patti’s house to cook up some “Friendly Food”, I knew I would be in good hands as she has always provided me with healthy eats. It was great catching up with Patti who is a Board Member at The Woodland Park Zoo and is the Executive Co-Chair and responsible for gathering a crew of amazing ladies to aid her in launching this year’s Jungle Party “Show Your Stripes”. Saving Tiger’s is what this lady is all about.

On the menu this night was Ginger Chicken and Broccoli from Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple by Danielle Walker. I had never heard of Danielle Walker so I hopped on her website and was truly inspired by her story, a self taught chef who used food to heal herself after a diagnosis with an autoimmune disease.

Danielle wanted to still enjoy the food she had prior to getting ill so she recreated her favorites while eliminating grains, gluten and dairy.

The meal was easy to prepare and cook and even easier to eat! If this is what Paleo, grain free eating tastes like I am sold!

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Ginger Chicken and Broccoli

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons expeller- pressed coconut oil or ghee, divided
6 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
6 scallions, white parts only, chopped
2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cubed
1 cup coconut aminos
2 tablespoons toasted (or dark) sesame oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large egg yolks

Directions:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, and scallions. Stir constantly for 30 seconds.
3. Add the broccoli florets and continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes, until the broccoli is bright green.
4. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and return the pan to the burner with the remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
5. Add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is browned and cooked through.
6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the plate with the broccoli and return the pan and juices to the burner. If there is less than ¼ cup of liquid in the pan, add water or chicken broth to make ¼ cup.
7. Pour in the coconut aminos, sesame oil, and salt. Bring to a simmer.
8. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl. Temper the yolks by slowly pouring in ½ cup of the hot sauce while whisking constantly.
9. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the hot pan, then stir constantly for 3 minutes to thicken.
10. Add the chicken and vegetables back into the pan and stir to coat. Cook for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, until the chicken and broccoli are fully cooked.
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Friendly Food – Pizza

It is not uncommon for me to invite myself over to my friend Jason and Brenna Profit’s home for dinner. Jason is a good friend from college, and Brenna likes me enough that she allowed me to officiate their wedding several summers ago. :) That’s right, in addition to my ever growing culinary skills I am also a wedding officiant, technically I could invite myself over for Friendly Food one night and cap off the evening with dinner nuptials. Any takers??

Jason had prepared a menu of fresh baked pizzas using Trader Joe’s pizza dough. Honestly, I am fairly new at this whole cooking thing but I don’t know how healthy our meal really was. I am pretty sure the pizza dough was better than your average processed dough and the toppings consisted of fresh veggies and cheeses, but there was cheese and ham….everything in moderation they say, though, I did go back for additional slices.

There were two delicious pizzas that I helped Jason create, and by create I mean I occasionally popped up from my chair to spread sauce or add ingredients to the pizzas. The first had a tomato sauce with ham, onions, mushrooms (I insisted they were only on half, I am not a fan) mozzarella and topped with basil. The second pizza was an olive oil garlic base with goat cheese, prunes, and caramelized onions also topped with basil.

I brought ingredients for my favorite salad, mixed greens, wild smoked salmon, avocado (we had to nix this as it wasn’t ripe enough), apple and feta cheese.

I had no doubt that the evening was going to be fantastic, good food, good wine and even better friends! Also, it wasn’t a bad idea for us to do this prior to the arrival of their baby this summer!

Congrats and thanks Jason & Brenna!

Friendly Food 1 friendly food 2 Friendly Food 3

Friendly Food – Thai Tofu Salad Wraps

I remember as if it was yesterday, having just moved back to Seattle I was looking for a new hair stylist. I was sitting in a chair nervously glancing around at the surrounding stylists with brightly colored hair and tattoos, the cape was already snapped around my neck making a run for it difficult. My new stylist, Jennifer Cassady, sensed my unease, placed her hand on my shoulder and said “we do normal too”. A friendship was born and twelve-ish years later I am standing in her kitchen asking her to teach me her favorite recipe.

I arrived at Jenn’s house and Parker her five year old opened the door, greeted me and before long was taking me on a full house tour. It was time to get down to the business at hand, dinner. Jenn had already pre-marinated the tofu making this a very easy meal to create.

We placed the marinated tofu cubes into the oven to broil for fifteen minutes, taking the time to turn them every five minutes. While the tofu was broiling we prepped the salad ingredients. Easy peasy, clean, chop and toss.

I think the most difficult part of the meal was creating the salad dressing, and by difficult I mean it was more involved than opening a salad dressing bottle and pouring, I actually had to zest!

We were able to squeeze in a game of Cat in the Hat before dinner, that had me jumping around a thingamastick with Parker while Miller headed to bed.

Dinner, was delicious! It was vegetarian, fresh and filling! We took individual lettuce leafs and filled them taco style with our salad mix and marinated tofu.

Since the end of my road trip I have really been missing these moments, hanging out with friends in their space, playing with their kids, really getting to know them, getting a glance at their home life, Friendly Food is giving me a chance to continue connecting with my friends and for that I am grateful!

On another note….if you are looking for a great hair stylist/salon check out Jenn’s new salon Arrow Hair & Beauty located downtown Seattle.

Tofu Marinade:
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for broiling
2 tablespoons Thai red chili paste
2 teaspoons sugar

Salad Items:
1 head living lettuce
2  cups cubed cucumbers
2 cups green beans, chopped
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh Thai Basil leaves
Cilantro leaves for garnish
1 small Thai red chile, seeded and thinly sliced, for garnish

Dressing:
Juice of 2 limes, plus zest of 1 lime
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

http://www.shutterbean.com/2014/thai-chopped-salad-with-tofu/

cassady 1

Cassady 2

Thai Tofu Salad recipe Tofu Marinade Recipe

Friendly Food – Mediterranean Feta Lamb Burgers

This was mFriendly Food Logoy second “Friendly Food” and I have to say that I really think I am on to something here. Catching up with great friends, learning new cooking skills and recipes and getting to feast on tasty food is as close to a perfect night as it gets in my book.

This particular night had me at my friend Ariane and Darren’s house. I have known Ariane for over ten years, we became fast friends at work and even had the opportunity to travel to Spain together. I have known Darren for approximately the same amount of time, having met him through mutual friends. I remember going to a birthday party for these mutual friends and seeing Ariane walk through the door, color me confused! It turns out two spectacular people in my life found each other and were soon to be married, become parents to Sienna & Blake and have me over to cook dinner with them!

After some cuddle time with Baby Blake and a scene which had Darren giving Sienna a mint in the other room without us knowing and then us chasing after her to get the “little blue pill” that she had just popped in her mouth we decided to get down to some serious cooking business.

Ariane had laid out all the ingredients in little dishes which again had me mentally pretending I was on my own cooking show. We started by making homemade tzatziki sauce out of greek yogurt, lemon, garlic, cucumbers and dill. We tested the mixture before deciding that it could use a little more garlic which I remedied with four more cloves, perhaps a tiny bit of overkill. I was next instructed to put on gloves to dice the jalapeno pepper and mix the ingredients into the lamb. I have NEVER liked the feeling of raw meat on my hands or the burning of my eyes after rubbing them after playing with peppers, these gloves are brilliant! We rounded out the meal with sweet potato fries and a everything but the kitchen sink salad.

I left with a full stomach and a happy heart and some new tricks up my cooking sleeves.

Big thanks to Ariane and Darren!!

XOXO

Ariane & Darren

Lamb Sliders

Tzatziki Sauce

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

 

What is Friendly Food?

“Friendly Food” is a blog feature; combining social hour with hands on learning that culminates into a well crafted meal, an expanding recipe collection and ever growing knife skills.  I am inviting myself over for dinner at friend’s houses (or at least heavily hinting until they invite me), asking them to pull out their favorite healthy recipe and playing the role of sous chef.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friendly Food – Cauliflower “Bread” Sticks & Eggplant Pizza

Friendly Food Logo

I am constantly inviting myself over to my friend’s Jayden & Marco Godina’s house for dinner so I thought this would be the perfect first stop for “Friendly Food”.

I walked into a kitchen prepped with the ingredients in little bowls, it felt so official, the only thing missing was the camera crew! We quickly got down to business, they entrusted me with a knife and I was soon sous “cheffing” my way through the meal. I chopped eggplant, cauliflower and basil before hopping over to the food processor and “ricing” the cauliflower into small bits for the bread sticks. I was only asked once to hand the knife over for a knifing tutorial.

The meal was wonderful, quite easy and something that I would definitely make again, you can find the recipes at the bottom of this post.

This was the perfect launch of “Friendly Food”, I spent quality time with two great friends, learned new skills and some new recipes. I didn’t win at the game of Life but I certainly feel with nights like this that I am winning at Life.

A huge thank you Jayden & Marco! XOXO

J&M

My fabulous hosts: Jayden & Marco Godina

Ingredients

The friendly ingredients

Eggplant

Eggplant slices, salted to remove moisture and wiped clean, ready to bake in the oven.

Marco Instruction 1

Friendly lessons. Marco instructing me on what 3/4″ really looks like.

Sarah Smiles

Patting the cauliflower mixture into the pan to bake, apparently this is funny.

Bread

Cauliflower “Bread” Sticks ready to be “sticked”

Pizza

Eggplant Pizza

 

 

 

Lunchbox

Lunchbox chewing on the sandwich I brought him.

LIFE

Friendly Food turned into a Friendly Game of Life.

Cauliflower Bread SticksEggplant Pizza

 

What is Friendly Food?

“Friendly Food” is a blog feature; combining social hour with hands on learning that culminates into a well crafted meal, an expanding recipe collection and ever growing knife skills.

I am inviting myself over for dinner at friend’s houses (or at least heavily hinting until they invite me), asking them to pull out their favorite healthy recipe and playing the role of sous chef.

Introducing Friendly Food!

Friendly Food Logo

What may at first seem like me inviting myself to dinner is really a solution to more than just my hunger. I often times find myself scheduling happy hours to socialize with my friends while the healthy groceries I purchased over the weekend sour in the refrigerator, and when I do make it home I am at a loss of what to make for dinner. Enter my brilliantly designed “Friendly Food” blog feature; combining social hour with hands on learning that culminates into a well crafted meal, an expanding recipe collection and ever growing knife skills.

I am inviting myself over for dinner at friend’s houses (or at least heavily hinting until they invite me), asking them to pull out their favorite healthy recipe and playing the role of sous chef.

Up next…my first “Friendly Food” experience with my friend’s Marco and Jayden Godina. On the menu…Cauliflower “Bread” Sticks and Eggplant Pizza!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing Leaves My Heart Full

Weld 1

It may seem to most that I am just randomly meandering the country, however there are places that I planned to be  at a specific time, namely the Northeast in early October. I was a bit fearful that I was going to be too early to see the seasonal color change but the colors were gorgeous, so gorgeous in fact that I almost drove off the road several times.

I was heading to a rural town, Weld Maine where a friend of mine, Anne, from Seattle had relocated with her boyfriend and son. They live in an adorable chalet/cabin at the back of 100 acres of property on his parents land. Check out their Airbnb listing here!

We shared a lovely dinner at the parent’s house of sauteed fresh vegetables, harvested from their garden. The desert was served when the entire family picked up various instruments and started jamming. I was in awe, tapping my foot declining an offer to join them in singing. It was better that way, believe me. Anne’s boyfriend Garnet and his brother Snow are in a band The Blakes which originally started in Seattle. The talent was dripping from every vocal and every touch of the piano keys.

The next day I joined Anne and Snow’s girlfriend Bri for a walk amongst the changing leaves. Bri was a wonderful wealth of information regarding a healthy diet. She recently had to undergo emergency surgery for a brain tumor. The surgery was a success and when speaking with her doctors about treatment options she was limited due to being pregnant. She has worked with a nutritionist to create a very specific diet. She shared some of her favorite snacks and plenty of hugs and support!

Her suggestions to me included pomegranates (you have to work to eat them and they are full of flavor and good for you!), freeze dried berries, rice cakes with almond butter, non gmo organic popcorn, oatmeal with dried fruits and nuts and roasted pumpkin seeds.

My trip to Weld was relaxing, supportive and loving and I walked away with a substantial pile of healthy snacks and The Blakes CDs. I drove off with a happy heart, a full stomach and music to my ears!

A carrot we harvested from the garden!

A carrot we harvested from the garden!

One of the many lakes on my drive through Maine.

One of the many lakes on my drive through Maine.