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Moroccan Preserved Lemons

As promised, here is how to make this Moroccan kitchen staple. I made my preserved lemons 4 weeks ago and finally was able to try them in a recipe. I have to say I was not disappointed! The bitterness was gone, but all the lemony flavor remained. These delicious lemons can be used in dishes, dressings, sauces and salads. Best of all, they are incredibly easy to make. The hardest part is waiting a month to eat them.

These lemons are essentially pickled in salt and allowed to ferment in their own juices. The whole lemon is preserved, but typically only the peel is eaten.

Use Meyer lemons. They tend to be less sour and contain more juice. Also, buy organic if you can. Wash and dry them well to remove any dirt and pesticides.

You need a pint sized glass jar and lid. Either reuse an old jar or buy one that is used for canning. Clean the jar and lid well, then boil in water for 10 minutes to ensure it is sterile. (Tip: save about 1 cup of the boiled water in case you do not have enough lemon juice to fill your jar).

Now the prep is all done and it’s time to make this delicious North African condiment.

Use coarse sea salt that does NOT have an anti-caking agent in it. Pour 1 tsp. of salt in the bottom of your sterilized jar.

Slice the tips off the top and bottom of the lemons.

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Slice into quarters, leaving the bottom 1/2 inch intact. In other words, slice only 3/4 of the way through.

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Place 1 tbsp. sea salt inside the lemon.

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Press the lemon into the jar and cover with another tbsp. of salt. Repeat until the jar is full. You want them stuffed in tightly.

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Juice the remaining lemons and add the juice to the jar. If the jar is not full, add boiled (then cooled) water to fill within 1/4 inch of the top of the jar.

Place on lid and invert jar several times to distribute the salt.

Leave on the counter for three days, inverting several times each day.

After three days, place in the fridge. Invert every few days.

After one month the lemons will be ready to eat.

Moroccan Preserved Lemons
Ingredients
  • 6 Meyer lemons
  • coarse sea salt ensure there are no additives
Instructions
  1. Clean and boil a pint sized glass jar and lid. Set aside to cool. Reserved 1 cup of the boiled water.

  2. Wash and dry the lemons to remove any dirt or pesticides.

  3. Add 1 tsp coarse sea salt to the bottom of the sterilized glass jar.

  4. Cut the tips off of the lemons.

  5. Cut lemons into quarters, but only cut 3/4 of the way through, leaving the bottom intact.

  6. Open the lemon and place 1 tbsp. sea salt inside.

  7. Press lemon into the jar. Add another 1tbsp sea salt on top. Repeat until jar is full.

  8. Juice remaining lemons and add juice to the jar. If it is not full to the top, add the reserved boiled water until within 1/4 inch of the top of the jar.

  9. Place sterilized lid on jar. Invert to redistribute the salt. 

  10. Leave on your kitchen counter for three days. Invert several times a day.

  11. Move jar to the fridge for a month. Invert every few days. 

  12. After a month, the lemons will be ready to eat. Only the peels are traditionally used.

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Apple Cider Chicken With Spiced Butternut Squash and Green Beans

This autumn recipe is “fall” off the bone delicious. With tastes of apple, cinnamon, and Dijon mustard, everyone will be coming back for seconds.

Ensure you use fresh apple cider for this recipe. It’s available at local grocery stores now. You don’t want the kind that looks like apple juice. The cider should be “pulpy” looking.

Also, use your largest skillet that has a lid. If serving more than 4 people I would increase this recipe to accommodate as many pieces of chicken as your skillet will fit and adjust the vegetable amounts accordingly. My husband literally ate 3 chicken pieces in a a row because he loved the taste so much. He said it was the most amazing sauce he’d ever had.

That said, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and start cooking!

Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in your skillet. Add in the green beans and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the shallots brown. Remove the beans and shallots from the skillet and set aside.

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Add 1 tbsp. butter to the skillet. Add in the cubed butternut squash, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Toss to cover the squash with the spices. Brown the squash on all sides. Remove from skillet and set aside.

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In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Remove one tbsp. of this mixture and set aside.

Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat.

Add 1 tbsp. of butter to the skillet. Brown chicken on all sides. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.

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Add the apple cider to the skillet. Whisk in the reserved flour and Dijon mustard. Simmer until reduced by one third.

Turn off heat and stir in crème fraiche until thoroughly combined.

Add the chicken back to the skillet. Place the squash on top of the chicken and the beans on top of the squash.

Place the rosemary and thyme sprigs on top. Cover and bake for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

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Remove the rosemary sprigs and serve with a side of rice.

Please follow my blog or like my facebook page so you don’t miss my next post. Happy cooking!

 

Apple Cider Chicken with Spiced Butternut Squash and Green Beans

Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 shallots sliced thin
  • 12 oz green beans (2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups butternut squash cubed
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 6-8 pieces chicken
  • 2 cups fresh apple cider
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, melt 2 tbsp. of butter on medium heat.

  2. Add shallots and green beans. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5-6 minutes or until shallots begin to brown.

  3. Remove green beans and shallots from the skillet. Set aside.

  4. Add 1 tbsp. butter to the skillet. Add in the cubed butternut squash, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom. Toss to coat squash in spices. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, browning all sides of the squash. Remove squash from the skillet. Set aside.

  5. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Remove 1 tbsp. of the mixture and set aside.

  6. Dredge chicken in the flour to coat.

  7. Add last tbsp. of butter to the skillet. Brown chicken on all sides. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.

  8. Add the fresh apple cider to the skillet. Whisk in the reserved tbsp. of flour and the Dijon mustard. Simmer on medium heat until reduced by one third.

  9. Turn off the heat and add the crème fraiche to the skillet. Stir to combine.

  10. Add the chicken back to the skillet. Place butternut squash on top of the chicken and green beans on top of the squash. 

  11. Place rosemary and thyme sprigs on top. Cover.

  12. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until chicken cooked through. Remove the rosemary sprigs and serve with a side of rice. Enjoy!

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Thai Lettuce Wraps aka Larb aka Yum

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I love Thai food. So much so, that when I was traveling through Thailand I took the time to take cooking classes. We made Thai red curry paste from scratch, green papaya salad, fried bananas and so much more. It was all delicious. The fresh ingredients direct from food markets were rich with flavor.

The morning food markets in Thailand were full of the sights, sounds and smells of indescribable produce, spices and meats. I even saw bats for sale once! Don’t get the wrong idea though. There were plenty of flies in sight. The smells weren’t always…delightful (think rotting meat.) And the sounds were of a multitude of loudly haggling locals. They were also crowded, sweaty and a little dirty. But I loved them and all the new ingredients and flavors they represented. Cooking in Thailand is definitely farm to table. Thanks to a local Asian store, I have been able to continue making these dishes with only small adjustments to the ingredients (and a heaping increase in food safety!)

Larb is a Thai meat salad served in lettuce leaves that is flavorful, spicy and light. It can be made with either ground pork or chicken.

The first step though is to head out to your nearest Asian grocery store and buy a small bag of sticky or sweet Thai rice. This recipe only uses a small amount, but don’t worry, it won’t go to waste. My next post will explain how to make Thai sticky rice with mango.

Take 3 tbsp of the rice and place it in a small saucepan on low heat. Toast the rice  for about 15 minutes or until a golden brown color. It will start to smell like popcorn.

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Once toasted, grind it in a mortar until it becomes a coarse powder. (You could also use a food processor). Set aside.

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Cook your pork or chicken in a medium saucepan until cooked through. Remove from heat and add one heaping tbsp of the sticky rice powder and your chili flakes. Mix well and then allow the meat to cool for about 2-3 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients (except the lettuce leaves and peanuts) and stir well to combine.

Serve on lettuce leaves and garnish with peanuts.

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Thai Lettuce Wraps
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp Thai sweet/sticky rice
  • 1 lb minced pork or chicken
  • 1/2-1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2-3 small shallots sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp cilantro leaves chopped
  • 4 green onions chopped
  • 20 leaves fresh mint torn into medium sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup peanuts chopped for garnish
  • 10 lettuce leaves
Instructions
  1. In  a small saucepan, on low heat, toast the sticky rice until golden brown. It will smell like popcorn

  2. Grind the toasted rice using a mortar or food processor into a coarse powder

  3. In a large saucepan, cook the pork/chicken until cooked through. Break into small pieces. Remove from heat

  4. Add 1 heaping tbsp of the rice powder and the chili flakes. Stir till well combined

  5. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. You want it warm, but not so hot that your herbs will cook

  6. Add remaining ingredients, except for the peanuts and lettuce leaves. Stir to combine

  7. Garnish with chopped peanuts and serve on lettuce leaves