Chicken fajitas

I’m continuing to work through Jamie Olive recipes and so I tried the chicken fajita recipe.

The veggies were grilled first.

fajitas 3

Then, the paprika-coated chicken is flattened and grilled.

fajitas 2

Next, the beans and rice are warmed up.

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Then, salsa is mixed in the food processor.

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Finally, it was all plated while the tortillas were warmed.

fajitas 4

I really enjoyed how simple and healthy, yet flavorful this dish was!

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Bar Lolo

I returned to Bar Lolo to check out their Spanish tapas after enjoying them last year.  See the 1.27.13 post.  I started with a glass of the Gran familia rioja which is 90% tempranillo and 10% graciano.  The meat and cheese plate was a nice place to start.

meat and cheese plate

I then moved on to their Potato chips with sea salt and fried herbs.  Each of the small plates that followed had delicious flavor.  I particularly enjoyed the sherry syrup.

Chickpea stew with spinach, saffron, and sweet paprika.

Serrano ham and manchego cheese croquettes with smoked paprika aioli.

Grilled chicken skewers with moorish spices and sherry syrup.

I tried to learn about the various sherries in order to select one that I’d enjoy.  My husband and I traveled to southern Spain a few years ago, however, we didn’t make it to Jerez de la Frontera which is essentially the sherry capital of the world.

What I learned is that the fino or manzanilla sherry are aged the least, the amontillado is a mid level aged sherry, and the oloroso sherry is aged the most.  So, I tried the amontillado.  I enjoyed it, however, I think I need more experience with sherry to really decide.  This Wine Folly post on Sherry: the dry wine that everyone should love is informative.

Unfortunately, this restaurant closed as of May of 2014.

Spanish quesadilla with chorizo, membrillo (quince paste), and manchego cheese and Rainforest crisps

I’m not particularly a fan of the about.com website and there are typos on this Gourmet Spanish Quesadillas recipe, however, it was easy and delicious!

I found some 12 month aged manchego cheese at Whole Foods.

Manchego cheese

The membrillo (quince paste) is available at many local stores including Fred Meyer.

Membrillo (quince paste)

I couldn’t find the chorizo that I was looking for at Fred Meyer so the closest I could find was Linguica sausage from Portuguese.

Linguica

When I was in Spain, both chorizo and salchichon were sausages found on delicious bocadillos, however, in the U.S. when I ask about chorizo at any grocery store, I get directed to ground sausage from Mexico that is not at all the same thing!  See this blog post on What’s the difference between Mexican and Spanish chorizo? Also, discover more information on the differences between chorizo and salchichon.

To finish out the plate of Spanish quesadillas, I added almonds (a Spanish staple) and some rice.  Marcona almonds are even more delicious than almonds that we typically find in the U.S.!

Spanish quesadilla

I love manchego cheese from Spain and now had more membrillo (quince paste) than I needed for these quesadillas so the next few days they made an excellent breakfast on top of my favorite Rainforest crisps from Vancouver, B.C., Canada! All of the crisps are good, but my favorite are the fig and olive in the purple box. Whole foods and Fred Meyer tend to carry them in their specialty cheese sections.  They are a delicious, healthy, and well balanced breakfast that is easy to do and sticks to my ribs! 🙂

Rainforest crisps

Keralan vegetable curry (cauliflower)

I’m continuing to work through Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals and today’s dish is Keralan vegetable curry made from cauliflower.  The curried cauliflower was surprisingly flavorful.  See the recipe.

What a delicious meal! Be very careful, however, as I shopped for all of my ingredients and pulled out the recipe to start cooking and realized that I didn’t have the poppadoms that the recipe called for and I had no clue what a poppadam even is! It was quite a research project to find an East Indian market in my area that carried them. In my research I discovered that they were called by slightly different names-poppadums, papadums, and papads.  I should be embarrassed as I’d eaten pappadams just last night at Bollywood!

You might also need a specialized market for the fenugreek seeds. Or, you could order them through Penzey’s spices.

First, the cauliflower is sautéed.

cauliflower

Then, the delicious curry seasonings and sauces are added and cooked down.

keralan curry

The finished product includes rice and the pappadams which cook surprisingly quickly in the microwave of all places.

keralan curry

Bollywood theater restaurant

My husband came home one Friday night saying that we needed to eat at Bollywood theater that night.  I’m always up for a food adventure-especially when multiple coworkers rave about it and he got to see the delicious takeout from lunch!

The restaurant is a funky warehouse style building with high ceilings and lots of tables.

It was reasonably priced and allowed for a delightful mix and match of a variety of dishes and flavors.

We ordered the following:

Dahi Papri Chaat: Housemade crackers topped with chickpeas, potatoes, yogurt, cilantro and tamarind chutney.

Samosa Cholle: Two savory pastries filled with spiced potatoes, onions, ginger and peas. Topped with chickpea chole and green chutney.

Chicken Curry: aromatic and creamy curry. Served with saffron rice.

Dal: lentils simmered with spices.

curry
Trio of Chutneys: with pappadum.
chutney and pappadums

It’s like the tapas of Indian street food!

I tend to like curries, but I was surprised that the simplicity and flavor of the chaat and the samosa were my favorites.  At the same time, each plate provided a nice mix of acidity and creaminess and heat and coolness.  It was delightful tasting the trio of chutneys with the pappadums.

Spicy chicken tinga quesadilla

California pizza kitchen makes a spicy chicken tinga quesadilla appetizer that they call a “small plate” that is nicely crisp with a simplicity of flavor that I wanted to try to make myself.  Click to view the description from the menu on their website:

Lime chicken, Monterey jack, carmelized onions, roasted peppers, black beans and cilantro, baked in our hearth oven. Served with housemade Ranchito sauce.

I didn’t have a recipe, but somewhere on the web I found these ingredients and recipe and I can’t find it again, however, it was my rough process.

2 breasts of shredded chicken cooked with tomatoes, chilis, and spices.

¼ c. mayo

1-1/2 Tbsp. hot sauce-chipotle

½ c. ranch dressing

Heat oil and carmelize onions and peppers.

Add black beans.

Grill and shred chicken and 2 c. fresh diced tomatoes and 1 c. chicken broth and 2 chipotle chilis, chopped.

Heat tortilla and flip-about 1 minute.

Add 1/3 c. monterey jack cheese and 1/3 c. chicken tinga mixture and ranchito sauce-about 2 minutes.

Fold and remove and quarter.

Top with cilantro and squeeze lime.

Add rice on the side.

I didn’t add rice to the side, however, I love every opportunity to include jicama!

quesadilla

Paella and Cascade cliffs tempranillo

Ever since traveling in Spain a few years ago, I have enjoyed Spanish and mediterranean food.  I had a bottle of tempranillo from Cascade Cliffs (see prior Cascade Cliffs post) so it was the perfect opportunity to make paella for the first time!

Cascade Cliffs tempranillo

This was my first time making paella.  I’ve been enjoying the simplicity of Jamie Oliver’s recipes so I thought I’d give it a try.  Link to Jamie Oliver’s paella recipe.

It took 1 hour total including prep.

I’m not big on seafood in my paella so I chose to include only the shrimp, chorizo, and chicken.

The closest I could find for chorizo was a Portuguese style sausage.

chorizo

I used a thin, delicate style of pancetta.

pancetta

I adjusted the recipe by cutting the chicken into smaller pieces.

The rice was authentic paella rice which was a great find from Barbur Foods!

paella rice

The extra virgin olive oil is from Oregon Olive Mill/Durant Vineyard/Red Ridge Farm and is from arbequina grapes from Spain.

oregon olive mill

It was fun to watch the process from liquid to solids.

paella liquid

paella solid

chicken

paella

The chicken seemed dryer than I would have preferred so I’ll adjust that the next time I make it!

Smoked salmon yorkshire pudding

I’m continuing to try out Jamie Oliver recipes and next is the Smoked salmon yorkshire pudding. I have had no experience with yorkshire pudding, however, I love salmon so it looked interesting to try.  The following blogs share their experience with this recipe:

The Eva Lotta/Jamie Project blog

Figs for Jam blog

It was easier to make than I’d expected from the looks of it.

smoked salmon yorkshire pudding

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smoked salmon yorkshire pudding

smoked salmon yorkshire pudding
The lox “roses” were fun to make, however, the beet salad seemed unfinished and I think it needed some crushed nuts and shaved parmesan cheese on top.  It’ll be fun to put my own stamp on it the next time I try it.

Vegetarian chili

I’m continuing to explore quick, inexpensive, and flavorful Jamie Oliver 15 minute recipes and next up is vegetarian chili.  This was an interesting recipe to explore as I already have an oldy goldy favorite vegetarian chili recipe over rice that is quite good, however, this one had spectacular flavor in comparison!

My original recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens New Dieter’s Cookbook that I purchased at Costco many, many years ago.  It’s called Vegetarian chili with rice and it’s quite simple to make.  Here’s a link to the recipe at the Which Soup Tonight blog.

This Jamie Oliver 15 minute vegetarian chili includes a few more ingredients and steps, but it’s equally simple to make.  I timed it at 45 minutes from chop to done-essentially the time for the sweet potatoes to cook and to cook the other items and clean the dishes.

Each ingredient and stage in the process smelled and looked increasingly better and better.

Chopped sweet potato for baking.  (+1 fennel bulb that was sitting around)

chili

Onions and peppers started in a pan.

chili

Beans and tomatoes started in a pot.

chili chili

Combining everything from the pot and the pan together.

chili chili

Baked sweet potatoes and fennel added to the mix.

chili

Similar to other one I have made for years, I adjusted a few things to my personal liking. I always add rice to my vegetarian chili for a full protein with the beans and rice.

Substitutions:

I switched out canned tomatoes for chopped, fresh tomatoes.

tomatoes

For the beans, I used 1 can triblend and 1 can chickpea.

I used chili powder instead of cayenne.

Along with the cilantro, I added chopped Thai lime and chili cashews from Trader Joe’s to the top.

Instead of sea salt, I added lava sea salt from Red Ridge Farms.

I also added yogurt and shaved parmesan cheese.

I LOVE the sweet potatoes in this chili! I had a fennel bulb lying around which added more complex flavor and nutrients.

chili

Future ideas to try:

Apple or carrot would be interesting.

Squeezed lime or zest would’ve been good too.

Falafel wraps with grilled vegetables and salsa

I’m continuing to work through trying some of the Jamie Oliver 15 minute meals.  I’m not particularly concerned about whether it takes 15 minutes or not, but rather learning to be focused on having all of the ingredients ready to enjoy the process of making a simple, expensive, and flavorful meal and this one was a keeper!

Link to the recipe

I loved the simplicity yet deliciousness of this recipe!  The falafel balls were a nice alternative to a meat and the salsa and chili/cottage cheese sauces provided a nice flavor contrast.

I don’t often lick my fingers, however, this one was finger lickin’ good!  Oh, no, is that phrase trademarked by KFC? 😉

Falafel wraps