Monday, May 19, 2014

Grilled Chili and Lime Chicken

Our daughter just spent a week in New York City, her first trip to the Big Apple.  Even though it was a business trip she felt like it was a vacation.  I loved the text messages I got showing photos of Central Park, NYC Library, Bryant Park, Mood (we watch Project Runway), her cab, Lord & Taylor and where she was eating, yes I raised a foodie.  It is so refreshing to hear how much she loves her job and that she got to experience this adventure.

Schools are getting out, people are planning vacations, grills are being fired up.  I love this time of the year.  What better way to kick it throw some chicken breasts on the grill.

Grilled Chili and Lime Chicken

3 chicken breasts, sliced in half
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
fresh lime

Cut chicken breasts in half making 6  breasts.  Cover with extra virgin olive oil.  Mix together chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper, sprinkle on both sides of chicken and place on grill.  Cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.  Before serving squeeze lime juice on top of chicken.

Note:  These chicken breasts are also great on a salad, tacos, chicken sandwich, pasta with a cream sauce, it is very versatile. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Corn and Black Bean Salad

After a winter storm blew in on Mother's Day dropping a foot and a half of snow on us and dropped our temps down to a hard freeze warning we are finally starting to warm up.  My goal for this summer is to eat light meals using only fresh ingredients.  That doesn't mean I'm not going to enjoy grilling a steak or burgers.  The dishes I serve with that meal will be more vegetables, salads and cold soups.

I had some corn on the cob and decided to make a salad out of the leftovers.   To brighten and lighten up this salad I used fresh vegetables, citrus and extra virgin olive oil.  I served it with grilled chicken breasts (recipe for the chicken will be posted next week).  I couldn't be any happier with this spring dinner.

Corn and Black Bean Salad

1 15oz can black beans, rinsed well
corn from two cobs, I used a white and yellow corn
1 1/2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 green onions, sliced whites and greens
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 serrano chili, minced
zest and juice from a lime
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I use California Ranch Olive Oil)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl combine all ingredients, refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.  Note: I cooked the corn the day before and then refrigerated overnight.  I put on the grill to get some char marks on 4 sides before cutting the corn off the cob (you can also use 1 1/4 cup of frozen corn)

Food for Thought:

Did you know that when you buy extra virgin olive oil that is produced outside of the United States you are not guaranteed that you are getting what you paid for?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lemon Bars

I had to take a short break from blogging.  I have been taking my husband to the doctor, lab work and to and from the hospital.  My husband had a total knee replacement on his right knee.  Last summer he had the left knee replaced which the doctor botched.  The new doctor suggested he get the right knee done and in a month or two he would go in and fix the left knee.

When I saw that our Baking Partners Group was doing Lemon Bars I was excited what a nice surprise for my husband when he got home from the hospital.  The filling is very tart which is the way we both like it and a simple recipe to follow.  I had just gotten a tart pan so I decided to bake the bars in it.  They came out perfect.  If you like lemon this is a must try recipe.

Lemon Bars

Basic Short Crust Recipe

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Filling Recipe

3/4 sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 eggs
1 cup lemon juice (about 3 good size lemons)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
confectioner's sugar for dusting

To make crust

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and position rack in the center of the oven.  Butter a 9 inch square baking pan (or tart pan) and set aside.  Using a food processor mix flour, sugar and salt.  Add pieces of the butter and pulse 8 - 10 times until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Process until the mixture forms large clumps and holds together when pinched between fingers.  Press dough into the prepared pan and pat it into an even layer.  Using a fork prick the dough at one inch intervals. Bake the crust for 20 minutes until the edges become a golden brown.  Cool crust in the pan on a wire rack.

To make filling 

Using a food processor add sugar and lemon zest, pulse until sugar is fragrant. Beat eggs, whisk the sugar into the eggs until a pale yellow color. Add the condensed milk, lemon juice, flour and salt. Pour over cooled crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 18 - 20 minutes or until just set and firm to touch. Cool to room temperature then place in the refrigerator for at least one hour before cutting into squares. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve.

Note for high altitude baking:  No change in recipe; however I did have to cook it about 15 minutes longer than the recipe calls for.  I would check it every 5 minutes after the first 18 minutes until the bars were set.

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