Oven Roasted Chicken

The crispy, well-seasoned skin of a roast chicken is one of life’s finer things. And that smell…ohhh Lord, don’t even get me started on that smell. Who doesn’t love the smell of a roasting chicken?  Savory and sweet a smell that reminds me of my childhood and the time when my mother went through a “lets make roast chicken every night phase.” I know if you are in the local area you are probably wondering “what in the world possessed her to roast a chicken in this hellish weather…its been over 100 degrees out here people. The desire to drink a cold orange wheat beer from Hangar 24, that’s what got into me. Hangar 24 Orange Wheat beer taste exactly how you expect an orange beer to taste. It has the perfect blend of fresh natural oranges and beer.This beer is a perfect addition to a roasted chicken. While the chicken is dry roasting on the outside, the chicken is being bathed with steamy beer that is slightly tart and filled with crisp orange flavors. The beer keep the chicken meat fragrant and wonderfully moist. The result is tender, falling-off-the-bone meat, encased in salty, herby, crispy skin.

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Ingredients:
1 Medium-Sized Chicken, innards removed
Juice From 1 Orange
1 Yam, peeled & cut into roughly 2-inch chunks
1 Orange, cut into 8 slices
1 Bottle Hangar 24 Orange Wheat
2 Springs Fresh Rosemary, whole
1/4 Cup Butter (solid), plus 3 tablespoons (melted)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tablespoon Honey
2 Teaspoons Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Orange Zest
Salt to Taste
Freshly Ground Pepper
Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, and honey. Pour 1/2 the mixture in a chicken-sized roasting pan and toss with the yams, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash, orange slices, 1 teaspoon of the chopped rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon of the orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix and set aside. Next rub down the chicken with the remaining olive oil mixture, inside and out. Then rub the remaining chopped rosemary, orange zest, salt, and pepper onto the chicken, rub it really well on the skin and the inside as well, this is key. Place the chicken in the roasting pan and arrange the yams (or whatever you are using) and orange slices around the chicken. Place the rest of the butter inside the chicken and under the skin. Place the leftover rosemary springs inside the chicken as well. Pour the Hangar 24 Orange Wheat and orange juice around the chicken, do not pour over the chicken since it would wash off the rub.

Shepard’s Pie + Practicing Thankfulness

Happy Monday! Hope that you are all ready for Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays, I love to share the table with family and share stories of Thankfulness. I have been cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the last 3 … Continue reading

Butternut Squash – Pomegranate Salad

The last few days have been productive. Business has been booming and there isnt a day in which I dont thank God for his blessings. But sometimes I forget my rhythm with this working from home deal. Granted we are out and about a lot of the time between client meets, follow-ups, shoot days, and everything that involves running a business; life can get quite complicated but more than often I am easily distracted, usually off task. There are days when I miss the routine; the affirmation when I do something well. Being self-employed has it’s moments of lonliness, regardless of my husband being here with me most of the time. I feel immensely blessed for the schedule we keep and the ability to do what we love. But I miss hanging out with people whose presence I can delight in. I’ve had the urge to host an intimate dinner party and share and delight in the presence of people that we cherish!

This salad just makes me happy! It’s healthy and beautiful. A subtle reminder that food can be fresh and natural, while not compromising flavor.

This salad is chocked full of protein, amino acids, iron, and  general good stuff. It also keeps me full until dinner. And my husband loves it so that’s a plus.

In the last year or so, I’ve had a love affair with baby arugula. It’s so versatile and delicious and healthy.

Salad

4 cups baby arugula

2 cups of roasted squash

1/2 tbs of Pumpkin Spice

1 oz feta cheese

1 cup Pomegranate seeds

Dressing

2 tsp Balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp of olive oil

1 shallot finely minced

1/2 tsp of honey

Salt & Pepper

Instructions

This salad is super simple and shocked full of flavor. Pre-Heat your over to 400 degrees. Rub the butternut squash with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, pumpkin spice seasoning and bake for 20 minutes until golden. In a mason jar toss  – olive oil, shallots, pepper, salt, pomegranates, pomegranate juice (from the fruit) honey, balsamic vinegar. Shake in the jar until all ingredients have come together. Toss cubed squash and all ingredients in a bowl with dressing.

Thai Basil Noodles

I am gentle cook one that believes that food goes beyond what sits on the plate. The delight that comes from placing a hand-selected seed into the soil and watching it grow and eventually make its way into my kitchen is like no other. My garden has been producing some wonderful herbs and produce – basil, rosemary, peppers, squash, salad blends, and so much more. This dish is the perfect solution for a garden exploding with thai-basil.

If you love Asian food but have been afraid to try making some of your favorite dishes at home, this dish is perfect and once you have all of the ingredients it takes less than 15 minutes! Healthy, full of flavor, and fresh!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of fresh Thai-basil
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion Chopped
  • 1/2 Shallot Chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely minced
  • 1/2 tbsp of grated ginger
  • 1 small packet of Vietnamese Rice Noodles ( cook them according to package instructions)
  • 1 cup of dried shitakee mushrooms (soak in warm water for 15 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp of fish sauce
  • Dash of rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Low sodium soy sauce to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of crushed chili
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar

Directions

If you’re using dry noodles, put them in a bowl and pour boiling hot water over them to submerge completely. Soak for as long as the package instructions require. Do the same for the mushrooms. When they are soft drain and cut into strips.

Stir together soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, chili, ginger, and garlic stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions, shallots, and some of the basil (the basil will infuse the oil); saute 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, drained noodles, and soy sauce mixture. Saute, stirring and tossing until everything is evenly coated and heated through, and all the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat and stir in chopped basil.

Summer Dinners – Grilled Asparagus

Asparagus is all over the farmers market and grocery stores. A sure sign that summer is here. A total bummer (gasp), don’t get me wrong I like summer but around here summer means 100+ degree weather! Summer would be perfect if it stayed at a constant 85 degrees.  On the upside there is asparagus! So, needless to say, asparagus is gracing our dinner table quite a lot these days. It even made it out to our camping trip two weeks ago. Yes, asparagus is the new camping food! I tried convincing the kids that they were better than s’mores.They did not believe me.

We love asparagus specially when it’s grilled with a bit of olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and pepper; it’s absolutely delicious but when paired with mushrooms it makes for an absolutely amazing summer dish!

Grilled Balsamic Asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus

Olive oil

Thinly sliced garlic

2 tbsp of good balsamic vinegar

Fresh black pepper

Pinch of sea salt

Directions

Make sure grill pan in nice and hot. Toss the asparagus and mushrooms in the olive oil with salt and pepper. Dice fresh garlic and toss. Spread everything evenly on the grill pan and let it cook for about 4 minutes and then flip the asparagus and mushroom, cook for another 4 minutes. Place on a plate and drizzle with good balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

Spring Spirit Salad

Dear Rainbow Chard

Where have you been all my life?

Love Cynthia

It happens often I fall head over heals for new to me foods and dishes…but this time it happened with a green, rainbow chard has changed my life, that of my husband, and future kids.

I have  to admit that I have absolutely no memory of ever eating rainbow chard.  I suppose that it’s not a very common ingredient.  At least not in our diets. It doesn’t appear on restaurant menus too often. To be quite honest I had never paid much attention to it at the grocery store. Saturday morning I picked up a bunch at the Farmer’s Market. There it was piled high in a mountain of rainbow steams and beautiful green leaves.  Not really sure how I lived 24 years without encountering it. But now that we have met it has not failed to inspire me. I am still learning how to use it.

This salad encompasses all of the color and flavors that are popping up all over the farmers market. The bitter rainbow chard paired with a sweet orange honey vinaigrette is absolutely amazing. The quinoa adds texture and a dose of goodness… I decided to add some mango to sweeten the deal… It was the perfect poolside meal.

instructions –

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Add some chopped garlic, sea salt, and black pepper.

Make the orange vinaigrette by mixing the freshly squeezed orange, 1 tbsp of olive oil, sea salt, back pepper, two tbsp of organic honey, and poppy seeds in a mason jar…shake until emulsified.

Chop the rainbow chard and mango and toss everything together in bowl! Enjoy!

True Foods – DIY Tuscan Kale Salad

I love Kale…that is true! It’s wonderful and nutrient dense. I use it in so many dishes and shakes but lately I was craving something else. I wanted to spice it up a bit. But could not come up with the right combination of spice. Until a few weeks ago…I was in Santa Monica and  had a food revelation when I had the Tuscan Kale Salad at True Foods. Seriously if you have not tried it, you must! Go!!! This salad hit every spot it was so delicious I almost wanted to lick my bowl!

I have been obsessing over it since then. I needed a dose of extra-wholesome goodness. Last week kale started to pop up in my farmers market so I picked  some up and decided to re-create my favorite salad! Chopped up green goodness tossed in a vibrant- lemony parmesan dressing…it’s like spring in your mouth. You would never believe that this recipe only calls for a handful of ingredients. But make sure that you use the best.

DIY Tuscan Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch  kale
  • 2 thin slices of artisan bread ( I get mine from the Rustic Loaf)
  • 1/2 roasted garlic clove
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons of GOOD extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly squeezed juice of one lime or lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

How To –

Remove the middle rib from the kale and thinly chop.

If using the bread, toast it until golden brown on both sides and dry throughout. Tear into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs, if you like finer crumbs keep pulsing. If you don’t have a food processor try to crumble it with your fingers.

Turn the roasted garlic into a paste by lightly pressing a knife against it. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lime juice, pepper flakes, and black pepper. I pour mine in a mason jar and shake until combined. Taste, if salt is needed then add some. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well, the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves. Let the salad sit for a few minutes, then serve topped with the bread crumbs.

I paired my salad with a toasted pita bread…enjoy however you want and the ad-ons are endless. And by the way I actually shot the images above…I figured since food is my passion and food photography makes me smile I should challenge myself and try to learn how to photograph food… 🙂

Roasted Cauliflower Mash + Miso and Garlic

 

I’ve been called a carb queen before, I think that’s because I cannot resist any form of carb goodness. I love all form of carbs – pasta, fresh bread, cake, and potatoes! I love mashed potatoes they are a weakness that I can’t ever resist! But lets face it they are not the healthiest specially when they are the loaded kind…which what I like 🙂 Dont judge me…

I had heard about cauliflower mash and have been meaning to try it. It’s rainy here in California and I’m a little under the weather so obviously this called for mashed potatoes…right? Instead I decided to make cauliflower mash with roasted garlic and miso paste. Let me tell you! This is delicious!!! And oh so guilt free!

This dish is light enough to enjoy on a warm summer day evening yet comforting enough for a under the weather rainy spring day. Regardless of where you are in the seasons I encourage you to try this recipe. It’s a great way to introduce another veggie into your diet and a perfect way to make your kids eat cauliflower.

Roasted Cauliflower Mash
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 roasted garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoons Miso Paste (or 1 tablespoon regular miso paste)
  • Chopped Basil ( or any other herb you would like)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F. On a lined baking sheet toss the cauliflower, onion, and garlic with the olive oil. Spread into a single layer and generously sprinkle salt and pepper.

Place in oven and roast for about 35 minutes or until the veggies start to slightly caramelize.

Remove from oven and carefully pour roasted veggies into a high speed blender. Add miso paste and blend until it is a smooth but thick consistency. Pour into a bowl and taste, adjust seasoning if needed.

In the babies tummy – Balsamic Strawberry Quinoa Puree

Today’s recipe is inspired by my friends with young children. As you all know I do not have any children maybe in 2-3 years I will but for the moment it’s just my love and I…and we love it! But the majority of our friends are parents with precious little babies. Most of my friends know about my passion for food and disdain for processed foods with ingredients that can’t be pronounced. I’ve always wondered what the ingredients in Gerber Toddlers snacks are. Are they natural?  Many of my friends have asked me for recipes that they can easily convert into baby food.  They have a  passion and desire to provide their babies with fresh, organic, handmade, gourmet baby food. This is where quinoa with balsamic reduction and pureed strawberries comes in!

I guarantee you that your baby will love this dish and you will not be able to find this food in a jar plus you will probably be able to pronounce all the ingredients.

Maybe expect the Quinoa… 🙂 I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but I’m also sure many of you have walked right past it in the grocery store thinking it  “looks too much like bird seed to please your meat and potatoes family” “what the heck will I do with it” So let’s fix it…

First, how the heck do you say quinoa?!  Some people pronounce it “keen-wah” and others say “kee-no-wah.”  Either is fine.

Quinoa is ridiculously good for you, crazy healthy. It’s a super food!  Quinoa is loaded with tons of nutrients and good for you properties. It is the most healthy and complete protein.  Sure, those proteins are great for your body but those proteins also make quinoa hearty and satisfying…The benefits of quinoa are endless check out this video on how to make the perfect quinoa. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries
  • 1 tbsp of Organic Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp of Organic Agave Nectar
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar

1. Cook quinoa (follow video instructions) and let set until ready to puree

2. Puree strawberries with vanilla and agave

3. Place balsamic vinegar in a small pot over medium heat and let the vinegar reduce by half. You will end up with a thicker and sweet balsamic.

4. Blend quinoa and strawberry puree and drizzle with balsamic puree.

This little guy has been hanging out with me 🙂

Simple Snacking – Sesame Edemame

The arrival of Easter is a celebration for many reasons. Sunrise service, Jesus lives, family gatherings, and all the candy in stores is worth celebrating – See’s Candies Creme Eggs, chocolate bunnies, and limited edition jelly beans. Since I have all of these at home I almost convinced myself that these where perfectly ok to snack on. After all they only come by once a year. Logical right? Not really but since I am a huge fan of edemame! I decided to spice them up and snack on and pretend that they are sweet Easter candy! (just kidding 😉 )  I’m usually that person at the sushi restaurant in a table of 10 who hogs the edemame. Yes I’m that girl!

This reason is amazing for many reasons!

  1. Short ingredients list ( which you most likely have)
  2. Less than 10 minutes
  3. Affordable
  4. Healthy and Delicious!

Sauteed Edemame

  • One bag of frozen edemame ( I get mine at Costco)
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 2 crush chili peppers
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp of sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • sea salt
  • freshly cracked pepper