Sunday, November 16, 2014

Citrus Chicken with Cilantro-Lime Quinoa

I spent the past week in Pittsburgh where I ate my way around the various food spots in Oakland, but I'll cover that in my next post. The real reason I was in Pittsburgh was to be supportive to my family following my mother's breast cancer surgery. Everything went well with the procedure and the prognosis is excellent.

My mother spent most of the week in the hospital and between the pain meds and the effects of coming back from anesthesia, food was the farthest thing from her mind. But we knew that once she got home, it would be important for her to keep her strength up. I wanted to be sure that I helped out in one of the best ways I know how--cooking something she could not only eat, but perhaps even enjoy. So once my mother was discharged, I hit the grocery store, scoured the latest issue of Cooking Light, and found something mild in flavor and high in protein to cook.

This may not be the most exciting food to look at (though with my parents' large plates, everything looked uber sophisticated and petite) but my mother ate every last bite. This was the first meal she had that didn't consist of  bananas and bread, so I consider it mission accomplished. If you know someone with a sensitive stomach and/or recovering from surgery, this is a good option.

The sauce didn't glaze as I expected it to, making it more runny than expected, but the flavors were solid. I served the chicken and quinoa with coriander carrots.

Citrus Chicken with Cilantro-Lime Quinoa (serves 4)

  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. grated lime rind, divided
  • 3/8 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 4 (6-oz.) skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 TB lime juice
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 TB butter

Combine 1 1/4 cups chicken stock and quinoa in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in cilantro, 1/2 tsp. rind, and 1/8 tsp. salt.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Sprinkle chicken with remaining salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan, cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan.

Add remaining 1/2 cup stock to pain; cook for 1 minute and scrape pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in remaining 1/2 tsp. ring, orange juice, lime juice, and honey; simmer 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in butter. Return chicken to pan; turn to coat. Serve chicken with quinoa.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thai Green Curry with Shrimp and Kale

Like most people I know in DC, I have a weakness for great Asian takeout. I'm fortunate that there are a good number of places for Thai and Vietnamese in my neighborhood, and a new Laotian restaurant is going in right around the corner from my condo.

Not only do I like to order from any number of these places, I like to make my own Asian takeout. Because I cook with Asian flavors a lot, I usually have a stockpile of the ingredients necessary to whip up a dish pretty easily. As mentioned in previous blog posts, my neighborhood CSA presents me with a regular opportunity to support Pennsylvania farmers, while enjoying great seasonal vegetables. This week's offering included baby kale so this recipe was a no brainer.

Thai Green Curry with Shrimp and Kale (serves 4)

  • 6 oz. dried rice noodles
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 TB chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 TB chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 TB Thai green curry paste
  • 1 1/4 cups matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 13.5 oz. can light coconut milk
  • 6 cups chopped kale
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. grated lime rind
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lime juice


Cook rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions,garlic, and ginger. Saute 1 minute. Stir in curry paste, saute for 30 seconds. Add carrots, chicken stock, and coconut milk, stirring well to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Fold in kale, sprinkle with salt. Cook 3 minutes or until the kale is wilted. Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked through. Remove from heat, top with cilantro, lime rind and juice. Serve over the rice noodles. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Celebration of Good Things - Food Recap

Back in September, I had a "celebration of good things." I wanted to achieve a few things with this rooftop party.

1) To celebrate good news I had recently received. From a good prognosis for my mom, good test results for myself, and just having life look pretty good, I felt it was a good excuse to throw a party.

2) To thank all the great friends I have here in DC who have been so supportive in the past year.

3) To have an excuse to make a ton of food to celebrate and be thankful for the above.

I made a lot of dishes that I promised I would post the links for the recipes. They are all dishes that I have made previously on this blog, many of which have become staples for me when having friends over for food.

And in case you're wondering why I chose to use this photo of me attempting a selfie with a less than happy llama at Machu Picchu? My answer is simply...why not? The picture always makes me smile, and hopefully it will do the same for you.

Here's the recipe rundown. I should give a quick shout out to my friend Nick Evans at, since three of the recipes below are courtesy of his awesome blog.

Sticky Wings - I love this sweet and spicy rub on wings. I'm tempted to use this on bone-in chicken this winter.

Chickpea Orzo Salad - This is a great side dish for a picnic, and I often make it for weekday lunches.

Three Bean Avocado Salad - This works wonderfully as a summertime side dish, especially if you have access to a grill to char the corn, but it could easily be made without smoky, grilly access.

Peach Tomatillo Salsa - Love. This. If you're into canning, this would be a great recipe to try.

Tomato Jam - You should also can this.

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies - I make these cookies all the damn time and they never disappoint.

So while you shouldn't try to take a selfie with a pissed off llama, you should follow my lead in trying any number of these recipes soon.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

We have officially reached soup season. There is a chill in the air, great root vegetables at the farmers' markets, and I'm looking to do some advanced winter food prep. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy soups in the moment, but I like them even better the next day once all the flavors have had a chance to blend together. And I also like to freeze at least half of each batch of soup. This makes for great lunches far superior to any jarred variety.

I've made Thai soup before, but this was my first one to feature lemongrass and bok choy. I wasn't able to find fresh egg noodles, so I opted to use rice noodles. I think any type of thin noodle will work well in this soup.

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup (serves 4)


  • 12-16 oz. fresh egg noodles (or enough fresh or dried noodles for 2-3 portions)
  • 6 cups good-quality chicken stock
  • 1-2 stalks fresh lemongrass, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 lb. chicken breast or thigh, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3-4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, shredded
  • 1 red chili, sliced, or substitute 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili or cayenne pepper
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 TB. oyster sauce
  • 1/2 TB brown sugar
  • 2 TB fish sauce
  • 2-3 cups bok choy, chopped
  • Coriander to season 
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice


Prepare the noodles according to instructions on package. Drain and rinse through with cold water to keep from sticking. Set aside.

Bring stock to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the prepared lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and the chicken. Boil over medium-high heat 3-4 minutes.

Reduce to medium heat and add the garlic, galangal/ginger, chili, and carrot. Simmer 2-3 more minutes.

While soup is simmering, add the oyster sauce and fish sauce as well as 1/2 TB sugar.

If your bok choy is the large variety, add only the thick white stalk pieces now (the green leaves take only seconds to cook, so reserve those for later). Continue simmering the soup 2-3 more minutes.

Lastly, add the leafy greens of the bok choy. Stir and simmer 30 seconds.

Reduce heat to low. Add the coconut milk, stirring well to incorporate.

To ensure a good balance, taste test for saltiness. Add more fish sauce if not salty enough. If too salty or sweet for your taste, add 1 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice. If too spicy, add more coconut milk. If too sour, add another 1/2 TB sugar.

To put the soup together, mound a generous amount of the cooked noodles in each bowl. Ladle over the hot soup and top with fresh coriander.