minette’s chicken noodle soup

one of the best things about fall’s arrival (southern california style, which is just another version of summer, really) at our house is that we can start having soup again. we love soups of all kinds-mostly simple vegetable ones, but by far our collective favorite is the chicken noodle soup-which is most often requested by my daughter (with the stipulation that it MUST include lots of thick noodles). one of the biggest challenges for me is to prevent the stubborn oh-so-non-fattening noodles** from getting in to my bowl (somehow a few of them always tend to find their way). the soup quietly spreads a lovely homey aroma around while it simmers in a big pot loaded with lots of good chicken, herbs, and vegetables. when it’s ready, we add a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice (like with most everything else we eat) right before digging in. ahhhhhhh. warms you inside and out.
ingredients for 6 servings:
  • 1 onion, finely cubed
  • 3 medium leeks, cut in half, thinly sliced and washed well
  • 3-4 large organic celery stalks (cubed)
  • 4-6 organic chicken breasts or thighs (or 10-12 organic chicken fillets)
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves)
  • a small bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped (or whole, remove from pot before serving)
  • 4-5 cups water (or good chicken broth for more flavor)
  • egg noodles ( i use pappardelle noodles, broken up)-amount is variable-about 1/2-1 cup- ** you can substitute with gluten free noodles, or leave them out entirely by increasing the amount of leeks, celery, & carrots-making it a chicken vegetable soup!
  • 1-2 fresh lemons
  • 2 small carrots, cubed-(optional)
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lemon chicken with capers served over a {delicious} pea puree with oven roasted potatoes

when i saw the freshly shelled peas at the store this morning all i could think of was: pea puree! i first came across the concept of a pea puree watching an episode of “Top Chef” a few years ago when a contestant prepared some that mysteriously disappeared prior to being served (anyone remember that episode)? even though they never found the puree (!!) or shared the recipe-i remember making a mental note to make some one day.  it’s taken me this long (like two to three years) to finally make a first attempt! having tasted the (if i say so myself) d-e-l-i-ciousssss and oddly reminiscent of green eggs & ham puree tonight, i’m pretty sure it won’t be long before we have it on the menu again. the chicken is a lighter and easier take on a chicken piccata (leave out the capers if you prefer to make the flavors more rounded and create a possibly more harmonious marriage with the puree). the potatoes are a popular, easy, and reliable staple at our dinner table-once you have them you will always go back for more. the whole meal took all of thirty minutes to make-don’t ask me about the state of the kitchen afterwards-not exactly a pretty sight-might i suggest you take your time, and keep your kitchen happy:-) Continue reading
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easing into spring: minty fresh taboule and a green bean salad with blood oranges

green bean salad with blood oranges and feta cheesei’ve been so obsessed with quinoa lately that i’ve neglected to make taboule the traditional way, with bulgur rather than substituting my favorite grain-seed (q-u-i-n-o-a}. at our house we really enjoy a good spicy quinoa-taboule (almost on a weekly basis), but there is something soothing and familiar and frankly more “substantial” about the original version-so, in planning the menu for a small gathering of friends last night i decided on a bowl of super fresh lemony taboule loaded with mint leaves (the way my lovely lebanese friend taught me way too many years ago in france) to go with my all time favorite chicken dish, adda’a morrocan chicken (which turned out better than ever i think- possibly because

minty fresh taboule

of the last minute addition of a cup of fresh orange juice). one of the best things about taboule is that the leftovers taste almost better the next day-which brings me to the most important factor in making a good one-the ingredients: they must be fresh and abundant (more fresh parsley, mint, and lemons than you think you need).

taboule ingredients

if you plan to make some, and you really should, because nothing makes you feel as spring(y) fresh as this dish-be ready to become pretty good friends with your favorite sharp knife….you’ll have to do some chopping, but it WILL be worth it. speaking of chopping, my green bean, feta, and walnut salad requires very little of it. it is so often my go to {delicious and easy} salad/side dish/almost-a-meal when i entertain-here i added the last blood oranges of the season for a citrusy punch and their beautiful color. it made the perfect side for the medium rare tri-tip roast i served with it. okay, now i’m hungry, and my mouth is literally watering. i’m hitting the fridge for a nice bowl of that leftover taboule~wish you could join me:-)

ingredients for 4-6 servings of bulgur (or substitute quinoa) taboule:

  • a bowl of mint fresh taboule2 large bunches of organic flat leaf parsley (about 1.5-2 cups) washed, allowed to dry, and finely chopped
  • 1 large bunch organic fresh mint leaves (1/2-1 cup), washed, allowed to dry and thinly sliced/chopped
  • 6-7 organic scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 ripe roma (or 3 medium ripe) tomatoes, finely cubed
  • 3/4 cup (i prefer less bulgur-adjust amount to your taste) cooked bulgur or quinoa (boil in lightly salted water for just a few minutes then drain excess water and allow it to cool)
  • 2 lemons, freshly juiced (adjust amount to taste-but keep in mind the bulgur soaks up the lemon juice and olive oil quite a bit)
  • 3-4 tbs good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly cracked pepper to taste-red pepper flakes, optional for spicy

place all the ingredients other than olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl (leave ingredients in separate piles until ready to toss). if making ahead, cover and set aside until 30 minutes prior to serving, then dress (with lemon juice to taste, evoo, and salt & pepper) toss well. taste and adjust seasoning. enjoy every bite. {see below for green bean salad recipe}

for green bean salad with blood oranges:

blood oranges in salad

  • 2-3 cups organic green beans, cleaned and quickly boiled in lightly salted water until just tender-do not overcook them. drain in a collander and quickly place in an ice bath or rinse with cold water. drain well.
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup crumbled french feta cheese
  • 1-2 blood oranges (or you can use pomegranate seeds), peeled and sectioned into small pieces.
  • 1/4 cup of my shallot vinaigrette

combine ingredients in a bowl, drizzle with dressing, toss just before serving. simple as that.

the dinner table with the famous blood oranges front and center

the dinner table with the famous blood oranges front and center

 

my chicken dish with olives and lemons just getting started (adda's morrocan chicken)

my chicken dish with olives and lemons just getting started (adda’s morrocan chicken)

 

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how to whip up a simply green {curry} sauce that saves the day {or meal}

how to make an easy green curry sauce

it’s so hard to believe the holidays are over, and as much as i enjoy the {oh so wonderful} break from routine, it often takes quite a toll on our diets and waistlines (but oh how good it was while it lasted). it took me a few reluctant days in the new year (happyhappy new year!) to realize (or accept) it was time to make changes to the way were eating. time to get back to eating more real, unprocessed, lighter, let’s just call it “g r e e n” foods. yes, that meant back to green smoothies, other smoothies, kale in (almost) everything, lettuce wraps, quinoaquinoaquinoa, salads, salads, and more salads, hello, arugula! hard boiled eggs, and endless amounts of tuna salad! but a family has to eat a nice warm meal once in a while (especially the ones who behaved over the holidays). that’s why this light and green (seriously delicious) curry sauce/paste came about to accompany the simple chicken tenders and vegetables planned for dinner. some of us enjoyed the resulting warm, satisfying, comfort-giving curry with a side of jasmine rice while others (me) had a few spoonfuls of fluffy steamed quinoa instead (not bad at all after a day of just greens). this versatile sauce can be used with any meat, fish, or vegetables to create a “curry” that will always satisfy beyond imagination. add a few kefir lime leaves to the pot while simmering to take it to another level. the smell that surrounds you while it cooks? as delicious as every bite. noosh-e-jan!

{easy, light, delicious green curry sauce for about 4-6 servings}:

blend together until smooth:

easy green curry recipe

  • 1 large bunch (1-1.5 cups) organic cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper or other hot pepper of choice (use according to taste for spiciness)
  • 1 lime, freshly squeezed
  • a chunk of fresh ginger, peeled (about 2-3 tbs)
  • 3-4
    cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small shallot, peeled
  • 3-4 stalks of lemongrass (remove the outer rough parts)
  • 1/2-1 cup coconut milk
  • 2-3 tsp raw honey or brown cane sugar
  • 2-3 tbs fish sauce or soy sauce (or a pinch of sea salt)

sauté the meat/vegetables of choice on high for about 7-10 minutes in 1 tbs virgin unfiltered coconut oil, then add the green sauce and 5-8 kefir lime leaves. bring to a soft boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. for best results sauté (fry) the sauce separately in 1-2 tsp coconut oil for about 5 minutes on high heat while stirring before adding to meats/vegetables. sprinkle with fresh cilantro prior to serving with jasmine rice or steamed quinoa.

easy green chicken curry

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