Showing posts with label red pepper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label red pepper. Show all posts

Monday, September 9, 2013

Auditioning Chicken

I auditioned a chicken this week. No, it didn't sing or dance. It all started because I bought chicken livers at the farmer's market. Gorgeous, fantastic chicken livers. My mother always said to throw away pale chicken livers because they were from a sick chicken. I don't know if that's true, but I do know that livers are supposed to be a rich reddish brown color, and that I often end up tossing half of the livers I buy at the grocery store.


The farmer who sells the livers also sells chickens. So it was time to test one. Since this was an audition, I wanted to cook it as plainly as possible so I could taste the chicken without any herbs or spices disguising the flavor. I roasted the chicken. But we all know that plain chicken can be a bit ho-hum. I turned to our garden.


While this has been the worst year in memory for tomatoes (they all seem to suffer from a blight, thanks to nonstop rain here in the new rain forest), our cucumbers have loved the rain. The basket in the picture is full of cucumbers on the bottom. Not to mention the ones in the fridge and on the kitchen counter. Happily, my dogs love cucumbers. They know where they grow and pull them off the vine to snack on. If I can't find the dogs, they're usually hanging out at the garden, trying to open the gate. Two of them have figured out how.

There aren't many exciting recipes for cucumbers, so I've been throwing them into everything. I had a couple of lovely white peaches and a red pepper so I made a salsa to go with the chicken. I added a little bit of fajita seasoning for zest. The blend of sweet peaches with the fajita kick and a little salt made for a really lovely flavor combination. Great for diets, too. Loads of fiber and not an ounce of fat.

And the audition results? I think we felt better eating a chicken that came from a local farm instead of one that was shrink-wrapped in the grocery store. But in a blind taste test, I'm not sure we would have known the difference.

Peach Cucumber Salsa

2 peaches
1 small cucumber
1 red bell pepper
1 shallot
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fajita seasoning (or to taste)
black pepper

Peel the peaches and cut into small bite-sized pieces. Cut the cucumber and pepper into small bite-sized pieces. Slice the shallot in thin rings. Combine the peaches, cucumber, red pepper, and shallot in a bowl. Toss. Add lemon juice and toss. Add fajita seasoning, a dash of pepper, and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Toss. Adjust seasonings to your taste. Serve with chicken or fish.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Let's all Veg Out Part 1

Before I go any further... do you all know what today is?

I bet you do!

Today is release day for Avery Aames' debut mystery, THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE! It's also the day Avery announces the winner of her "You Be the Sleuth" contest. Check out the results on Avery's website here.

Today is also the release day for ...

Riley Adams first Memphis Barbecue mystery DELICIOUS AND SUSPICIOUS!

Please join me in congratulating my blog sisters on this exciting day. I encourage everyone reading this blog to rush out and pick up both these books. Not only are they filled with suspense, fun, and excitement, there's a lot of great foodie information in both as well. Don't miss them!

This week and next week I'll be talking about veggies on the grill. This week is one of my go-to side dishes that's always a hit in my house and can be prepared outside or inside. For next week, I'll try something new (but still very veggie) and report on the family's verdict -- which side dish wins top honors in the Hyzy house!

As I've mentioned before, my youngest daughter is vegetarian. That's been good news for all of us because we've been cutting down on the amount of meat we consume here. Not completely, of course, but a bit. It's been a real challenge for me to come up with new and different items to serve that can be used as main dishes. And although we haven't had 100% success, we're certainly having fun!

Today's super easy dish is a side, for sure. Next week's could stand in as a main dish. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

We use the following as a side when having dinner here. While my husband and other daughters may have a chicken or beef entree, our youngest enjoys a veggie burger or tofu-based dish. But, what we've come to love most of all is that these veggie leftovers make *phenomenal* additions to sandwiches. We all love our panini maker (thanks for the suggestion, Krista) and we use these veggies with provolone cheese (or sometimes pepper jack) on great breads. Who needs meat at that point? These sandwiches are incredible.

So, if you're looking for a side dish that keeps on giving, try...

Grilled vegetables - indirect heat

1 or 2 green bell peppers
1 or 2 red bell peppers
pint (or so) of mushrooms - I used baby bellas
1 purple onion
1 head garlic

I don't know why I prefer the green peppers cut into 1/2 inch chunks, and the red peppers cut into strips, but I do. Cut up the peppers however you like into good-sized pieces. This is not the time to chop. Remove mushroom stems and discard. Depending on the size of the mushroom caps, cut them in half or quarters. Cut the purple onion in half, then half again. Keep at it until the pieces are about 1/2 inch each (give or take). Separate garlic into whole cloves, smash and peel. I sometimes throw the whole cloves in if I'm feeling lazy, but I usually chop them up a bit to share the garlic wealth.

Place all veggies in a grill-safe pan, add a glug or two of olive oil and toss to coat. I don't salt or pepper these until they're finished.

Set your grill to indirect heat and place the pan in the center. These don't cook up super fast -- you'll have to keep checking and re-tossing as they roast. But eventually the peppers soften, the mushrooms lose their liquid and the onions become translucent. That's when they're ready. Bring them in, place in a serving dish... and there they are.

These veggies can also be roasted indoors in a 350 oven. We make these year-round because we enjoy them so much!

Next week - Time to veg out with direct heat!!