Warm Chicken Salad with Green Beans and Chard

One of the things I love about being a Leite’s recipe tester is that I’m starting to see what styles and tastes I have in common with other testers. While I didn’t choose to try the Warm Chicken with Green Beans and Chard in this last testing round, I could tell by who wrote the comments that I would love it. So, armed with a box of cherry tomatoes, rainbow chard, and green beans from my CSA box, I embarked on a very quick journey towards deliciousness. I would highly recommend this for an easy, healthy, and flavorful weeknight meal.

Recipe Testing – Moroccan Roast Chicken

I made what was probably my favorite evaluation recipe so far on Monday night. It was a heavily spiced roast chicken with cauliflower, butternut squash, and red onion. What I loved most about the recipe was that you don’t put the vegetables in with the chicken until it’s nearly done. This was a great tip for me because mine are almost always too soft by the time the chicken is cooked. I’m confident this one will make the Leite’s website so stay tuned for the recipe. In the meantime, enjoy the photos. My friend Marion is in town from France and she is never more than a few feet away from her camera. Other goodies we have made together this week: Beet Salad with Feta, Orange, and Mint, a slight twist on my favorite cookies, and homemade lemonade from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook. The kitchen has been messy but we’ve had a blast!

One Dish Wonder – Tandoori Salmon with Kale and Squash

I woke up craving garam masala this morning and found this excellent salmon recipe by Elizabeth Yarnell courtesy of Leite’s. My only change to the recipe was to substitute coconut milk for yogurt which made it a bit richer (and more yummy I’m sure). You literally assemble the entire dish in one pot – rice (next time I’ll use 3/4 cup for two people), kale (I’d double this next time), salmon (oh how I miss Seattle salmon prices), sauce, and squash – and pop it in the oven for a half hour. It was done in 30 minutes though I made a note to check it next time after 27, depending on the thickness of the salmon. Yum!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars

What to pack for a long day hike in Tahoe tomorrow… a light daypack with a bladder for easy drinking, a sun hat, sunscreen, and SNACKS! I came across a recipe for homemade granola bars on So Good & Tasty and was immediately drawn to try them. I had all of the ingredients in the pantry and ten minutes later, they were baking in the oven.

These are incredible! Not too sweet and not too peanut buttery. You can hardly taste the banana yet I think it’s crucial for the texture. I’ll be making these again and again and again for many hikes and backpacks to come this summer. Yum!

Granola Bars (adapted from So Good & Tasty)

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup all natural nut butter (I used crunchy peanut)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 1/8 cup flax seeds
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit (I used cherries)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shaved coconut
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment.

In a large bowl mash the bananas with the back of a fork. Stir in the nut butter until everything is well combined.

Add the oats, chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate, cinnamon, and coconut. Stir well until everything is well combined.

Spread the batter evenly into your prepared baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The top should be slightly browned and give a little when pressed. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars, this is important. Store wrapped tightly in a container or in the fridge.

Yields about 8-12 bars depending on the way you slice them.

Chickpea and Spinach Salad + Fava Bean Puree

Our friend Benjy gave us a grocery bag full of fava beans from his garden last week so I decided to make bruschetta-like appetizers with favas instead of tomatoes. They were divine! The recipe was from Leite’s and can be found here.

Since I also had a bunch of chickpeas and spinach on hand, I decided to try a salad that I had been eyeing, also on Leite’s. If you like cumin (SB, this was made for you!), you will love this. The original recipe is here.

All of this (and some delicious cheeseburgers) was enjoyed out on our deck on the 4th of July before the fireworks began. Because it’s so rare to have a clear evening during the summer in San Francisco, I snapped a photo to prove it.

Upside-down Strawberry Cake with Cardamom

My friend Sharon told me about an upside-down strawberry cake she was making for the 4th this weekend and sent along some photos of her masterpiece. After my peach pie escapade on Friday, I was happy to make something that had been pre-tested and approved by a good friend. We both follow Joy the Baker in our Google Readers and are slightly obsessed with all things cardamom. Since we no longer live in the same city, making the same dish and swapping details was a fun way to reconnect this weekend. I tested it 33 minutes in (recipe suggests 35) and it was actually a bit dry. You can’t win every time but at least it was pretty!

recipe found on http://www.joythebaker.com

makes: one 8-inch cake

Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries

Cake:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

You can use an 8-inch round with 3-inch tall sides or a 9-inch round with 2-inch sides. I used my Grammy’s rice pudding pan which is 9-inches by 3-inches.

Place butter in the cake pan and place in the oven.  When butter is melted, remove pan from the oven.  Using two pot holders, tilt the pan around and around, coating the sides of the pan with butter.  Once sides are coated, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed.  Cream until slightly pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Stop mixer, scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and add egg and vanilla extract.  Beat for 1 minute.

Turn the mixer off, scrape the bowl, and add the dry ingredients.  Beat on low speed while adding the sour cream.  Beat until the batter just comes together.  Batter will be pretty thick.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating ingredients with a spatula.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar into the melted butter in the cake pan.  Sprinkle strawberry slices over the butter and sugar in a single layer.  Spoon batter over the strawberries and spread evenly with a spatula.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cake rest for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cake and inverting the cake onto a cake plate.  Serve warm with sweetened sour or whipped cream.

Ugly Peach Pie

This is definitely one for the “mishap” category! At least it tasted good though. I ordered a box of fresh peaches from Frog Hollow Farms and wanted to use some of them to make a peach pie. It’s feeling like summer in San Francisco this week (temps in the 70s!) so the timing was perfect for a juicy summer pie. Unfortunately, I still lack my Grammy’s finesse with dough so this was a *very* ugly dessert. Lucky for me, I made it for friends who are always more interested in stuffing their faces than admiring the beauty (or lack thereof) of the presentation. (Thanks Mike and Wei!)

Don’t let these photos deter you from trying Mollie Cox Bryan’s recipe – it really was delicious. I dropped the sugar to 1/2 cup per one of the suggestions in the comments section and didn’t miss it at all.

Coconut Mango Pops

This was almost too easy and too good to be true. I had a mango that was looking a little sad so I pureed it in the food processor, adding enough coconut milk to thin it out into a liquid. Result? Divine. It almost feels healthy.

  • 1 mango
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used regular but you can use light if you prefer)
Peel and puree the mango in a food processor or blender. Add about 1/3 cup of coconut milk to the mixture and blend completely. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 3-4 hours. Serves 4.