sauces + dressings

savory granola

You need this in your life.  It adds the perfect salty-crunch to just about any dish that could benefit from such things. It's delicious over roasted vegetables, tossed in a salad, and even better over creamy things like burrata and ricotta.  In fact, how about you slow roast some cherry tomatoes with lots of garlic and fresh oregano, add a dollop of fresh ricotta, a drizzle of smoked olive oil, and top with some savory granola.

Make a big batch and store what you don't use in the freezer to keep the pistachios the perfect texture.  Feel free to add/experiment with different spice profiles. I especially like to add za'atar and toss over marinated feta and serve with toasted pita.

savory granola

3 c thick-rolled oats

1.5 c shelled salted pistachios

3/4 c roasted sunflower seeds

1/4 c white sesame seeds

1/2 t chili powder

1/2 t kosher salt

1/3 c olive oil

2 T water

1/3 c maple syrup

Mix together everything but the nuts and seeds and spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment.  Bake for about 20 minutes at 325 degrees.  Mix in the nuts and seeds and bake for about 10 more minutes until nicely golden.  Pull from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet. 

 

 

pasta, grains, + noodles

pork ragu with kale

the pig and the fig pork ragu
the pig and the fig pork ragu

As it often happens in April in Colorado, just after the tulips have emerged and the trees have bloomed, we get dumped on.  This was a particularly dreary, three day storm that left feet of snow in its wake.  It left me but one option: the need for a pork ragu in the form of a huge bowl of pasta and maybe a glass of wine (or three).

I would happily eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Fair warning, it does take hours to cook, but no real skills are required.  You simply chop, stir, cover and wait. Which, by the way, also makes it extra friendly for entertaining.  You can leave it on the stove while you tend to other things and still be pretty much guaranteed a delicious meal.  I would serve it with this salad and this dessert and call it done.

I served it over cavatelli but would be just as perfect over polenta or gnocchi. Don't forget to add your own snowstorm of grated cheese on top. Or the wine.  You'll want the wine.

pork ragu with kale

1/4 c olive oil

1.5 to 2 lbs pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces (you can trim away some fat but don't go crazy)

1.5 cans of crushed fire roasted tomatoes

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, diced

3/4 c full bodied red wine

in a spice ball or bag: 2 bay leaves, one whole piece of nutmeg, 1 T peppercorns, 2 sprigs each of thyme and oregano

1/2 stick butter (optional)

1 bunch of Tuscan kale, ribs removed and sliced

parmesan for serving

salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle the diced pork with about a 1/2 t of kosher salt and a few good cranks of black pepper. In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil and cook the pork until lightly browned on all sides.  Add the carrots, onions, and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Add the tomatoes, wine, and filled spice ball. Stir and add a little water if needed to cover the meat.  Turn the heat down to simmer, cover it and let it go for about 2-3 hours or until the meat gets super melty, checking it occasionally to make sure that you still have a good amount of liquid.  When the meat is done, you should be able to smash the cubes or you may want to shred it with two forks. Removed the spice ball and its contents, add the butter and kale and cook for about 5 minutes more, until kale softens.  Taste for salt and pepper and serve.

seafood

roasted cod with potatoes and olives

You know all of those excuses you have for never having people over?  They have been wiped out with this one simple recipe.  Promise.

The shopping part is easy; you've got most of things things on hand.  No harrisa?  No problem.  Substitute smoked paprika and no one will complain.  Pick up the fish, some stuff for a salad, crispy bread, and you are good to go.  No fail dinner party (or just a really great dinner) from door to table in, oh, about 30 minutes.

roasted cod with potatoes and olives

(serves about 4)

for the fish:

1½ pounds cod fillet
2 lbs small mixed color potatoes, halved
1 cup mixed color pitted olives

for the sauce:

a handful of cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
1 T tomatoes paste
1 t harrisa
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 t maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 300º

Lay the fish in a roasting pan and scatter the potatoes and olives around.

Finely chop the cilantro and garlic together.  Stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined. Smear the fish with about 1/2 of the cilantro mixture.  Lightly coat the potatoes and olives with about 2 T of the remaining mixture, reserving the rest for serving.

Roast the fish for about 20 minutes or until opaque.  Serve immediately.

pork

spicy pork lettuce wraps

spicy pork lettuce wraps
spicy pork lettuce wraps

If you are looking for an easy, under 30 minute go-to dinner staple, lettuce wraps might just be your new best friend.  The whole meal comes together so quickly, you may never be tempted to order take out again.  Plus, if you are doing the whole paleo or carb-cutting thing, well, here you go.

I like to serve lettuce wraps with black rice to amp up the nutritional value as much as to add some nutty texture.  Adjust the curry and chili peppers accordingly; you can always serve hot sauce on the side.  I also like to layer on some crunchy radishes (especially when there are gorgeous watermelons to be found at the farmer's market) and sweet-citrusy yuzu cucumbers.

pork lettuce wraps with watermelon radishes
pork lettuce wraps with watermelon radishes

spicy pork lettuce wraps

2 lbs ground pork

1 bell pepper, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

2 bird chili peppers, diced

2 cloves of garlic, diced

1-2 T of red curry paste

1 can coconut milk

1 T yuzu

cilantro

bibb, boston, or little gem lettuce

Brown the pork well to coax out all of the flavor in a large sauce pan or dutch oven. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring ofter.  Add the curry and coconut milk, working the paste until fully combined.  Stir in the yuzu and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Check seasonings, add cilantro and serve.  This can be made up to 1 day ahead and might even be more delicious.

Serve with black rice, watermelon radish "sticks", and yuzu cucumbers.

the pig and the fig yuzu cucumbers
the pig and the fig yuzu cucumbers

yuzu cucumbers

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced

1 T yuzu

1-2 t sugar

mint leaves, chiffonade

Combine all of the ingredients together and serve.

sauces + dressings

tomato + ancho chili jam

tomato and ancho chili jam

tomato and ancho chili jam

If you have never tried tomato jam, please let me be the first to introduce you to it's powers.  Unlike the usual suspects, this one works in almost all jam scenarios.  And then some.  Most obvious: crusty bread and tangy, oozy cheese.  Not so: along side kale and feta omelets, roasted chicken, grilled cheese or with vanilla ice cream and drizzle of olive oil.  Layer it on a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon or use it as a glaze on grilled chicken or shrimp.

It's a great way to use up a ton of tomatoes and really not much work at all.  You can certainly go for the whole canning process or simply divide it into cute jars and advise your friends to keep it in the fridge.  I used a combination of mostly early girls with a few others tossed in.

So the recipe does call for a special ingredient which is kind of optional.  I'm obsessed but certainly doesn't mean you will be. Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur is a really interesting addition to your bar (trust me) and brings a seductive layer of flavor and (think cinnamon, cacao, dried chili) and slight heat to the jam.  You want this.

tomato and ancho chili jam

tomato and ancho chili jam

tomato + ancho chili jam

makes about 3-4 8 oz jars

3 pounds of sweet tomatoes (early girls, heirlooms)

3/4 lb sugar

4 T meyer lemon juice

1/4 c Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur (this is option but highly recommended)

1 T (or more or less) ancho chili powder

1 t kosher salt (or more to taste)

1 t nutmeg

tomato and ancho chili jam

tomato and ancho chili jam

Freeze a couple of teaspoons for testing the jam later.

Drop the tomatoes into a large pot of boiling water until their skins have loosened. In most cases, about a minute, but sometimes these things take time.  Place the tomatoes on a large rimmed sheet pan and let cool. When you can handle them, remove the skins and toss. Chop the tomatoes (or use kitchen sheers) and transfer them and all of their juices into a large nonreactive pot along with the remaining ingredients (start with less of the ancho powder and salt).  Stir everything together and bring to a slow boil.  Start to skim off any foam and turn the heat down to about low-medium.  The trick is NOT to cook it too fast and burn off all of the liquid 'cause then there would be no jam. This is a process and takes a bit of fussing with the heat to get it right.  As it starts to thicken, carefully taste, and adjust the seasonings. You should be stirring often, paying attention to the bottom of the pan, not letting things stick or burn.

It could take a couple of hours or one depending on your tomatoes, level of heat, and your kitchen environment.  When it starts to look "jammy", test it on the back of one of your frozen spoons. Smear some on the spoon and return it to the freezer for a couple of minutes. Take it out and tilt the spoon to see how it runs.  If it runs very slowly, you are done.  If not, keep on cooking and stirring and repeat the process. When your tomatoes have magically turned to jam, pour it into sterilized jars and process accordingly.

sauces + dressings

chili + thai basil dressing

chili and thai basil dressing
chili and thai basil dressing

This might be one of the most versatile dressings you add to your repertoire.  It's a little spicy, a touch sweet, with layers and layers of fresh, bright flavors. Oh, and once you've rounded up the ingredients, it takes about 2 whole minutes to make.

Some inspiration:

  • drizzle over grilled steak and salad of arugula, radish, tomatoes, mint, and peanuts
  • use as a dipping sauce for summer rolls or spring rolls
  • marinate and grill chicken thighs, serving some reserved sauce on the side
  • toss with rice or veggie noodles, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and roasted peanuts
  • use on lettuce wraps
  • serve with grilled shrimp and jasmine rice
  • or, on the more adventurous side, spoon over cubed watermelon, feta, and mint salad

chili + thai basil dressing

1/2 c olive oil

1 T toasted sesame oil

2 T sweet chili sauce (mae ploy)

1 T Sriracha

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

3 T mirin

2 T tamari 

juice from 1/2 lime

1/4 c Thai basil leaves

Whiz everything together in a high speed blender and adjust seasonings to your taste.  Make up to a week ahead.

sauces + dressings

kale pesto

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kale pesto

kale pesto

Here is something to do with all of that kale other than chopping it up into a salad or shoving it into your blender for a smoothie.  While it can be slightly bitter side of things (you could add in 1 c or so of basil if you'd prefer), the brightness and depth of flavor will win you over.  Promise. Yes, it's time to step up your pesto game. - smear some on your plate along side an omelet or under some grilled fish

- coat some baby potatoes and roast

- saute some spiralized squash noodles and mix in

- make a sauce with chicken broth and some pesto to simmer turkey meatballs

- dollop onto crusty bread and top with grilled sausage

While the farmer's markets or, if you are lucky enough, your garden is overflowing, take advantage and make a double batch, freezing half for some dark day in December.

kale pesto

makes about 2 cups

1 large bunch of kale, stems removed

1/2 c grated pecorino romano

1/2 cup toasted walnuts or unsalted, roasted peanuts

3 cloves of garlic, peeled

juice and zest of 1/2 small meyer lemon

olive oil (about 1 c)

salt

pepper

Add all of the ingredients up to the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds.

easy kale pesto

easy kale pesto

Begin to add oil to the bowl, processing at full speed until it is the texture you prefer (some like it coarse, some smooth...) Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate for up to a week.

breakfast

acai bowls

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IMG_2236

Feeling the heat?  Skip the fro-yo and and whip up your own frozen treat. While acai has been touted for having some mighty superpowers, its antioxidant and anti-aging benefits, similar to the properties of most berries and grapes, are for real.  What I love about it, aside from being delicious, is that it truly is a blank canvas.  You can easily toss some kale into the blender (and no one would be the wiser...) or maybe add some peanut or almond butter to the mix.  Top with granola, sliced bananas, toasted nuts and possibly drizzle some maple syrup or honey.  Float some coconut oil, add a splash of cashew milk, whatever it takes to make you happy.  Say hello to your new go-to summer breakfast.

acai bowls

serves 1

1 frozen acai packet 

1/4 c almond milk (or coconut, cashew, hazelnut, etc)

1/2 frozen banana (plus a few kale leaves, or 1/4 c peanut or almond butter)

toppings of  your choice (toasted nuts, coconut flakes, granola, sliced fruit, bee pollen, maple syrup, honey, agave, coconut oil, etc)

Whip the acai with the milk and banana in a blender.  Pour into a bowl and top as you please.

sweets

coconut + banana bread

the-pig-and-the-fig-coconut-banana-bread

the-pig-and-the-fig-coconut-banana-bread

It was a long, cold winter and a little break in the Mexican sunshine could not have come at a better time. My husband and I recently snuck away for a few gloriously relaxing days to an idyllic coastal area in Baja California Sur about an hour to the north of Cabo San Lucas.  It's where the desert and mountains meet the ocean, speckled with organic farms.  Yes, it is a far cry from whatever big-resort-margarita-soaked-carnage you might typically associate with Cabo.

rancho-pescadero

rancho-pescadero

We stayed just south of Todos Santos, a 250 year-old fishing village turned artist colony, at a small resort called Rancho Pescadero. From the moment we arrived at the hotel, our shoulders began to melt away from our ears.  After a somewhat harrowing ride via a "detour" through a hurricane-ravaged village on the way outskirts of Cabo (signs are apparently optional in these parts), we were met with the most kind and chilled-out reception a Cornell professor could only dream about.  The rancho is blessed with the most amazing natural setting; meandering sandy paths thick with majestic cactus (and the occasional extra-large jackrabbit), a wide, pristine beach flanked by mountains rolling into the sea, and views to the east of the soaring Sierra Laguna Mountains.

http://thepigandthefig.com/2015/04/01/coconut-banana-bread/

http://thepigandthefig.com/2015/04/01/coconut-banana-bread/

http://thepigandthefig.com/2015/04/01/coconut-banana-bread/

http://thepigandthefig.com/2015/04/01/coconut-banana-bread/

They also have a really good restaurant on-site that benefits directly from their burgeoning organic garden. Yes, this is one serious farm (and sea) to table scenario. In the evening, they take full advantage of the abundant supply of gnarled driftwood and dot the beach with roaring fires, a perfect match for the cool desert nights, with a cocktail in hand, of course.

rancho-pescadero

rancho-pescadero

the-pig-and-the-fig-coconut-banana-bread

the-pig-and-the-fig-coconut-banana-bread

One particularly dreamy thing the hotel does is a daily morning delivery to the room of locally roasted coffee, a plate of local fruit, and a small-but-perfect bite of some tropical-inspired bread.  Having spent the winter alternating between a gluten-free and paleo diet, a little respite from all that felt beyond decadent.  As it inevitably happens, when we returned home, I longed for a little warm and sunny treat.

the-pig-and-the-fig-coconut-banana-bread

the-pig-and-the-fig-coconut-banana-bread

As I was re-stocking and running around this weekend, I spied some nicely ripened Thai bananas at the Asian market.  I love the layer upon layer of subtle flavors that these guys pack and immediately knew how this would go down in my kitchen.  The coconut yogurt contributes in a big way to the texture, making the bread dense and more cake-like; a very good thing should you decide to toast a slice and serve it with ice cream.  If the nutty taste of the coconut flour isn't enough to convert you, it also comes with some other charms like high fiber and a decent amount of protein.  Lastly, I added some alder-smoked chocolate chips (my latest obsession) for a little nod to the sweet, smoke and sea-scented evening air of the ever-lovely Rancho Pescadero.

the-pig-and-the-fig-coconut-banana-bread

the-pig-and-the-fig-coconut-banana-bread

coconut + banana bread

makes 1 loaf

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c butter at room temperature

2 eggs

1 t vanilla

1 c really ripe mashed bananas (I use Thai bananas)

3/4 c whole wheat flour

3/4 c coconut flour

3/4 t baking soda

8oz full fat coconut yogurt (I used Noosa)

1/3 c smoked (or regular) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º

In an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy.  Add the eggs and mix until smooth.

Add the flours and baking soda just until things come together.  Add the bananas, vanilla, and yogurt. Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into a prepared loaf pan.

the-pig-and-the-fig-coconut-banana-bread

the-pig-and-the-fig-coconut-banana-bread

Bake for about 45 minutes or until done.

**You can absolutely make this recipe with regular or all whole wheat flour by adjusting the baking soda to 1 t and the yogurt to 1/2 c.  Because if the high-fiber content, coconut flour absorbs much more liquid than regular flour.

soups

curried carrot + coconut soup

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IMG_0449

Craving some warmth? This might just do the trick.  As is, the heat is high so you will want to adjust accordingly.  It's hard to believe just how rich and velvety this soup is without any added butter or cream.  I'm currently crushing hard on French-inspired curry mix vadouvan (Just try roasting some cauliflower with it in coconut oil and you'll feel me.) But really, no need to make a special trip; whatever spice mix you have on hand will work just as well.

The bonus of this soup is that it is actually three recipes in one:  You can easily stop at simply roasting the carrots.  Or puree with the coconut milk and serve as a gorgeous base for grilled shrimp or chicken.  Or keep going and get some soup in your belly.

Try garnishing with some roasted pumpkin seeds.

curried carrot + coconut soup

Serves 6-8

8 c peeled and roughly cut carrots

2 onions, chopped

5 cloves of garlic

2-3 bird chilies

2 T coconut oil

2 t vadouvan (or your favorite curry mix)

2 T cilantro leaves, torn

1 can (full fat!) coconut milk

6 c vegetable or chicken broth

salt to taste

lime juice to taste

roasted carrot soup

roasted carrot soup

Heat oven to 375º while you prep the ingredients.  Roast carrots, onions, garlic, chilies, curry and cilantro in coconut oil until the carrots are tender and even a little caramelized. Pick out any over-done garlic 'cause they will make for some bitter soup. (You can stop here, season with salt, and serve.)

curried roasted carrots

curried roasted carrots

Puree the mixture in a high speed blender with the coconut milk until very smooth. (You can stop here, season with salt and a little lime juice and serve.)

curried carrot puree

curried carrot puree

Mix the puree in a large pot with the broth, whisking until blended.  Heat through, season with salt, squeeze a little lime juice, and serve.

sweets

chocolate chia pudding

chocolate chia pudding

chocolate chia pudding

Well, if you've been following along for a few years, my apologies for the silent treatment these past months.  Life has taken me in a few other directions but I've found my way back to the (new!) kitchen. (more on that soon...)

WARNING:  Skip directly to the delicious pudding recipe if you are not in the mood for a little preaching.

Not that you asked...but please don't do a juice cleanse. For one thing, you'll be r e a l l y hungry and start to say sh*t like this. For another thing, if you drink just pressed juice you won't be getting all of that much needed fiber nor will you be giving your teeth something to do. Furthermore, if you are used to eating processed or sugary foods, that's exactly what your body is going to crave.  So a sudden change (like any kind of a liquid cleanse) will most likely fail to bring the long-term results you intended. Instead, think moderation and make a gradual shift to a diet of (mostly) whole, not-processed foods.  It is easy? Kind of.  Whole foods taste better, they are easier for your body to process, and are ACTUAL fuel, rather than wasted calories.  Am I suggesting NOT drinking green juice or the like?  No way.  It's good stuff.  I'm just suggesting that you incorporate it into your diet on a regular basis and eat some real food with it.

It's not lost on me that I am sounding super-earnest and preachy but I'm not talking all kale and quinoa.  There is bacon in my fridge and full-fat ice cream in the freezer.  I just try to stick to things with fewer added (read: FAKE) ingredients and incorporate as many superfoods (like the antioxidant-rich raw cacoa in this recipe) as possible on a daily basis. (Oh, and I've added superfoods as a category that you can new search to find all of my really good for you recipes in one place.)

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IMG_0268

Is this pudding as good as if you made it with heavy cream, full fat chocolate and sugar?  Nope. Is it close? Kinda.  Does it take good? Yup.  It's creamy, lush and oddly addictive. Oh, and in addition to being a pleasingly sweet treat, your skin will GLOW.  I like to eat it for a little midday boost with some coconut + quinoa granola (recipe coming soon!)  By all means, adjust the number of dates and amount of maple syrup to your liking, keeping in mind that the pudding will taste sweeter after it chills.

IMG_0281

IMG_0281

chocolate chia pudding

(serves about 6)

10-12 pitted dates (or more or less, to your taste)

2 ripe medium avocados

4-6 T maple syrup

3 T chia seeds

2/3 c raw cacao powder

2 c coconut milk*

Grind the chia seeds in a coffee grinder until powdery.

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IMG_0266

Whiz all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender until very smooth.

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IMG_0269

Chill and serve, topped with toasted coconut, nuts or nothing.

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sauces + dressings

habanero butter sauce

how to make habanero butter sauce

how to make habanero butter sauce

It's because of a truck stop in my hometown that I always look for something more compelling than ketchup to dip my fries in.  Eagan's was a burger joint that was all about the fries.  It would have been a sin not to order the "frenchie gravy"; a side of (very nice) fries served with what was nothing more than some slightly dressed up brown gravy out of can.  This is not that.

This is a multi-dimersional-buttery pool of hotness to dip all sorts of things, probably best paired with roasted chicken or steamed lobster. Well, and some fries, of course.

chicken and habanero butter sauce

chicken and habanero butter sauce

habanero butter sauce

adapted from Bon Appetit

(serves 4)

PLEASE NOTE:  you will need to start this at least 12 hours before serving

10 habanero chiles, seeded and chopped (WEAR DISPOSABLE GLOVES)

1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped

zest of 1 orange

4 T tequila, divided

1 clove of garlic

1 c apple cider vinegar

2 t cornstarch mixed with 2 t water

4 T unsalted butter

salt to taste

In a blender: all peppers, zest, 2 T tequila, 2 t salt, garlic.  Puree and pour into a bowl. Cover with and let ferment for at least 12 hours.

Pour the mixture back into a blender and add vinegar, remaining tequila and 2 t of salt. Puree until as smooth as possible and strain into a saucepan.

Over medium heat, stir in the cornstarch mixture, whisking until thickened.  Add in the butter and constantly whisk until smooth and thickened.   Adjust seasoning to your taste and serve warm.

juices, smoothies + drinks

new orleans style cold brew coffee

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new orleans style cold brew coffee

new orleans style cold brew coffee

This may well be my favorite summertime beverage.  If you have never tried Cafe Du Monde's chicory-coffee blend, I suggest you do.  The chicory rounds out the edge of any bitterness in the coffee, giving it an almost chocolate finish.  Adding just a little touch of maple to the vanilla syrup adds yet another subtle layer of flavor. Or, I should say, je ne sais quoi.

And the French, those smarties, came up with the idea during their civil war of adding chicory to bulk up their dwindling coffee supplies.  Add, furthermore, chicory is the root of the endive plant so it must somehow add a tick to your vegetable count for the day. Maybe.  Probably not.

This is really kind of a liquid dessert.  You may even find yourself pouring some into ice pop molds when you are feeling extra crafty.  Or, depending on the day, adding a shot of bourbon.

cold brewed coffee

cold brewed coffee

new orleans style cold brew coffee

into the container:

8 c filtered cold water

1.5 c  chicory coffee (or a little more depending on your preference)

for the syrup

Cover and let "brew" for 12 hours.

coffee by the pig and the fig

coffee by the pig and the fig

Filter through a fine mesh strainer and pour the concentrate into a glass container.

online coffee recipe

online coffee recipe

vanilla-maple simple syrup:

2 whole vanilla beans, spilt and scraped

1 c water

1 cup sugar

2 T maple syrup

free online recipe index

free online recipe index

Heat the water, vanilla beans and sugar in a small pot until the sugar has dissolved. Add the maple syrup and pour into a glass container.  The syrup will keep in the fridge for about two weeks.  I like to keep the vanilla beans in the jar so the flavor intensifies.  I also like to scrape the beans after I split them because I like the little flecks of vanilla in my drink.  Your call.

healthy coffee recipe

healthy coffee recipe

Mix the coffee concentrate together with a bit of the syrup and some milk/cream.  Serve over ice.

poultry

grilled chicken mole

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grilled chicken mole

grilled chicken mole

When I think of mole, I think about hours and hours of simmering. But it's summer! Ain't nobody got time for that.  We want to get in and get out-which is exactly what this recipe allows you to do.  You achieve a tremendous depth of flavor in minutes - not hours. Furthermore, if  you have always been more of a breast person than thigh, this may just change your mind.  Thighs are WAY more flavorful, they cook faster, and are less expensive to boot.

The perfect pairing to this dish, in addition to some extra cold beer, might be this corn and avocado salad.

Grilled Chicken Mole

Slightly adapted from Sunset Magazine

For the mole:

olive oil

1/2 c onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

2 t chili powder (I like smokey chipotle)

1/2 t kosher salt

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t anise seeds

1 t toasted sesame seeds 

1/4 sliced almonds

1/2 c crushed fire roasted tomatoes

1/2 c chicken broth

4 t dark chocolate, chopped 

Heat the oil in a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet to about medium. Saute the onion, garlic for a few minutes.

chicken mole recipes

chicken mole recipes

Add the spices, seeds, and nuts and cook for about a minute more.  Add the tomatoes, chocolate, and broth, turn down the heat and let the flavors come together for about 10 minutes.

online cooking recipes

online cooking recipes

Let cool for about 5 minutes and carefully pour the mixture into a high-speed blender.  Add about 1/2 c of water or chicken broth and process until smooth.  Adjust for salt and pepper.

chicken mole recipe

chicken mole recipe

For the chicken:

2 lb boneless, skinless thighs

cilantro

scallions

limes

Cover the chicken with about 1 c of the mole for 1/2 hr.  Grill the chicken, garnish with cilantro, scallions, and lime wedges. Serve with remaining sauce.

authentic grilled chicken and mole

authentic grilled chicken and mole

salads, juices, smoothies + drinks

arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette

arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette
arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette

It's been a while but I'm back this time to stay.  Some other projects have gotten in the way of posting but I have still been going hard in the kitchen.  If you ever miss me so very much, you can always find me on Instagram where I tend to post almost daily.  The recipes I post on there generally lean more towards "guild lines" than step-by-step instruction but a little quick and dirty can be good every now and again, too!

I seriously love this summery salad.  It's pretty versatile, too.  You can opt NOT to serve it over a bed of arugula and simply place it in a bowl along side of some salty tortilla chips and cocktails.  It makes great use of any leftover corn.  It's also a really nice compliment to grilled chicken or fish and especially perfect with seared scallops. Or go totally luxe and add some jumbo lump crab.

The coconut vinaigrette is delicious.  It's fresh, light, vegan and dairy free, all of which make it a very welcome guest on your table.  Use it in this kale salad in place of the called for dressing for little coco-nutty twist.

arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette

In a large salad bowl:

4 c of arugula

In a cast iron skillet:

1/2 c corn kernels

1/4 c sliced almonds

1-2 bird chilies or 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

1/4 c unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 of your favorite chili powder mix (I'm obsessed with this) *optional

1 T coconut oil

lime

cilantro, torn

2 avocados, diced

Heat the pan and oil.  Add the corn, diced chilies, and chili powder, if using, stirring often until slightly toasted.

arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette
arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette

Add the coconut flakes and almonds, giving the pan a few good shakes.  Don't walk away at this (or any point, really) because the coconut and almonds cook very quickly and things could get ugly.

arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette
arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette

Season with some salt, pepper and finish with a squeeze of lime.  Add in the avocados, cilantro and toss with some of the dressing.

In a high-speed blender:

1 can full-fat coconut milk

1 clove of garlic

juice and zest from  a lime

1/4 c Thai or regular basil

1 T maple syrup

1 T rice wine vinegar

1 T toasted sesame oil

salt to taste

Blend together until smooth.

arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette
arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette

It will keep in a sealed glass jar for up to two weeks.

arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette
arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette

Layer the corn, coconut and avocado mixture over the arugula and serve immediately.

arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette
arugula, corn + avocado salad with coconut vinaigrette

superfoods

almond joy energy balls

almond joy energy balls
almond joy energy balls

I recently spent a good chunk of time in California, particularly in Venice Beach, happily getting over-caffeinated at Intelligentsia every morning and running up and down and around all of the hipsters on Abbot Kinney.

almond joy energy balls
almond joy energy balls

My natural rhythm has always been to exercise after work in the evenings which means I need to get my hands on some good, clean energy-filled something somewhere around 5 pm.  On the road, that's not always such as easy task, especially when you factor in the whole GF thing. Luckily, I found some, albeit ridiculously expensive, raw balls that did the trick.  And, of course, I needed to improve on them when I got home.

While these balls are not raw, they are no less nutritious. And I am, without a doubt, addicted. For me, they've got it all: sweet, crunch, omega 3's, salt and no guilt. 

almond joy energy balls

makes about 20 balls

1.5 c raw almonds, soaked overnight and drained

2/3 c pitted dates

1/4 c chocolate protein powder

1/3 c chia seeds

1/3 sunflower seeds

1/3 c unsweetened coconut flakes

3-4 T maple syrup

sea salt

Use a food processor to blend all of the above (except the sea salt) together until the mixture is malleable enough to be shaped into balls. Please also feel free to adjust any of the ingredients to your taste/texture preference.

almond joy energy balls
almond joy energy balls

I like to leave them a bit crunchy but make them as smooth or not as you like.

almond joy energy balls
almond joy energy balls

Sprinkle each ball with a little sea salt, cover and refrigerate for a few hours to let them firm up.

almond joy energy balls
almond joy energy balls

They will keep for at least a week.

breakfast

chocolate + quinoa energy bars

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These were born from an experiment trying to duplicate a deliciously addictive, albeit ridiculously expensive, crunchy quinoa snack product I recently purchased.  Two attempts later, this is what I got.  Close in flavor, completely different in texture, I'm good with it.  In fact, I like that you can easily tuck one into your bag for an energy emergency.  Even better, they are packed with solid nutrition and a decent amount of protein but still manage to have the depth of a dark chocolate brownie. They make for the perfect pre-work out snack or afternoon dip.

chocolate + quinoa energy bars

makes about 16 bars

1.5 c cooked quinoa

1 c toasted oats

3/4 c semi-sweet dark chocolate chips

1 c walnuts

1/2 c roasted salted pumpkin seeds

1/4 chia seeds

2 T cacao powder

2 T coconut oil

2 T maple syrup

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 t salt

Heat your oven to 350º and line a rimmed 9" x 13" baking pan with parchment paper. Mix the toasted oats and quinoa in a bowl.  Using a food processor or vitamix, pulse together the nuts, chocolate, seeds and cacao powder, keeping things on the slightly crunchy side of smooth.  Add the eggs and pulse until combined.  Melt the coconut oil and maple syrup together in a small sauce pan. Mix everything together and spread evenly onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until firm and no longer wet looking.  Let cool in the pan completely before cutting.  They will keep well in an airtight container for up to a week but they won't last that long.

chocolate and quinoa energy bars
chocolate and quinoa energy bars

salads, mains, vegetables

chopped kale salad

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I was lucky enough to have an excuse to jet off to Miami for a few days last month.  When I left my house in Boulder for the airport that morning it was a charming  -17 degrees. No need to detail just how much I was looking forward to defrosting in the Sunshine State. After many a dramatic pause at DIA (multiple de-icing efforts, doors not closing, etc etc), I arrived much later in the afternoon than I had anticipated.  Wanting to make the most of the fleeting daylight,  I parked myself outside at a table at my hotel overlooking the bay and ordered up a hearty kale salad.   My plan was to eat and jump on a stand up paddle board for a little sunset ride.  And, thankfully, that is exactly what I did.

Because then it rained.  And rained.  And rained.  For the next three straight days, I never saw the sun again.  The temperature actually dropped below 70 degrees which in Miami means that folks break out the cashmere, boots and fur.  There I was,  in my white jeans and flip flops, slopping around through the flooded streets surrounded by people shivering in down vests.  On the very bright side, I had lots of time that would normally have been allotted to very important poolside activities to check out some art.

chopped kale salad
chopped kale salad

I have been visiting (and briefly lived in) the area since the early 90's and I will tell you that Miami is as interesting now as it has ever.  The food scene is no longer limited to flash and cash.  There are chefs using local everything, a plethora of micro breweries, inventive juice bars (with a wicked sense of humor) and an excellent coffee roaster. Don't be alarmed.  It's not Portlandia with palm trees.  Far far from it.

chopped kale salad
chopped kale salad

My best spent time? Wandering around the Wynwood Art District.  Not so much for what I saw in the galleries.  No, for me, it's all about the street art. For a several blocks within the district, most of the building facades are graced in one way or another.

chopped kale salad
chopped kale salad

It's a neighborhood where galleries with $300,000 pieces of art co-exsist with auto body shops, complete with chain link fences and guard dogs.  The energy is palpable.  I urge you to GO before all of the $10m condos are birthed.

chopped kale salad
chopped kale salad

But back to the salad.  It does your body good AND tastes delicious with all of the different elements of fresh, nutty, tangy and sweet.  Toss one together and channel warmer days.

chopped kale salad

inspired by a salad at The Standard SpaHotel Miami

1 1/2 bunches of tuscan kale, ribs removed and chopped

2-3 carrots, peeled and shaved into ribbons

manchego cheese, shaved

1/4 c raisins

1/4 c pine nuts, toasted

For the dressing:

1/4 c olive oil

3-4 T apple cider vinegar

1 clove of garlic

1 T maple syrup

salt + pepper to taste

Combine all of the above ingredients and toss with dressing.  This salad will keep nicely for about 3 days.

pork

grilled coconut pork + satay sauce

grilled coconut pork and satay sauce
grilled coconut pork and satay sauce

This dish allows you to hit the pause button hard on all things winter.  It's tropical and summery while still managing to be soul-satisfyingly good.  The satay sauce takes just a few minutes to come together and seems to make people very happy.  Use any leftover sauce (you will have some) as a dressing for an Asian-style noodle salad or on just about anything grilled.

It's the perfect kind of a dish to make for a crowd given how easy it is on the host.  For a Southeast Asian themed dinner party, I'd put out some sweet chili-spiced potato chips with this cocktail to start, serve the pork with sticky rice and maybe a green papaya salad and end with this mango tart.

grilled coconut pork + satay sauce

partially adapted from Kris Yenbamroong

2 lbs pork tenderloin, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into 4-inch strips

1 can coconut milk

2 T  fish sauce

2 T  soy sauce

1.5 t curry powder

1/3 c sweetened condensed milk

wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes or more

for the sauce:

1 can of coconut milk

¼ c red curry paste (commercial or homemade)

1 c  peanut butter

2 T rice vinegar

2 T brown sugar (or more/less to taste)

1/2 c water

salt to taste

To serve: cucumber sticks, sticky rice and lime wedges

grilled coconut pork and satay sauce
grilled coconut pork and satay sauce

Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade in a medium saucepan and cook for about 5 minutes.  Pour into a bowl and let the mixture cool completely.  Add the pork, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For the satay sauce, whisk all of the listed ingredients together in a saucepan and cook until smooth.  Let cool.

grilled coconut pork and satay sauce
grilled coconut pork and satay sauce

Heat the grill and thread the pork onto the skewers. Brush the pork with the marinade and grill until slightly charred.  Serve with cucumbers, lime, the satay sauce and some sticky rice.

sweets

superfood chocolate bark

superfood chocolate bark

superfood chocolate bark

Yes, I am giving you a very good reason to eat more chocolate.  AND a great gift to make for the people you love.

My husband has decided that it is perfect pre-workout fuel.  I think this healthy smoothie is better, but who am I to judge.

superfood chocolate bark

10 oz high quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

¾ c coconut flakes

¾ c sliced almonds

½ c  roasted salted pumpkin seeds

½ c goji berries

1 t turmeric

the pig and the fig superfood chocolate bark

the pig and the fig superfood chocolate bark

Heat a non-stick skillet to medium heat.  Add the coconut and sliced almonds.  Shake the pan, give it a stir until everything is lightly toasted.  Pour into a bowl and let cool slightly.

superfood chocolate bark

superfood chocolate bark

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Start with 2 minutes, giving a stir and then back in for 30 seconds.

chocolate bark

chocolate bark

Stir the turmeric powder into the chocolate. Add about ¾ of the coconut almond mixture and spread out evenly onto the parchment paper.

superfood bark

superfood bark

Top with remaining goji, pumpkin seed, almond and coconut mixture and gently press into the bark.  Refrigerate until firm (about 15 minutes) Break apart into shards and serve.