Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Chicken under a Brick

Yes, you read that title correctly.

I enjoy cooking, learning new techniques, combining different flavors and hopefully pleasing the lovelies sitting at my table.  There is a local shop here that I adore going to that has a great array of all things kitchen, plus cooking classes.  Monthly, they send out a newsletter and it often inspires me.  This last newsletter talked about a book called "The Grilling Book".  The pictures alone had me hooked.  Once I saw the recipe for Chicken under a Brick, I was off to the hardware store to get a brick!  I bought a square paver brick.  Boy did they think I was nuts for buying one 60 cent brick!

The hardest part about this recipe is you have to butterfly a whole chicken.  This involves removing the spine and breast bone.  Let me tell you, that was hard for me.  Not because it is terribly difficult to do. It is because I get rather squeamish about that sort of business.  I found out after, if you ask your butcher, they will most likely do this for you (ey yi yi, wish I would've knew that sooner!).

I will save you the details of how to do it.  You can either ask the butcher or google it - there are a bunch of videos that will give you all you need.

Once that is done, flatten it out on a clean surface and season.  Liberally put kosher salt and pepper to your taste, and some cayenne pepper.

Rub grape seed oil on it everywhere and now zest an entire lemon over it.  Last cut up about 3 Tbsp of fresh rosemary and put that on as well.  Season a bit more than you think.  This is not just a chicken breast, it is a large piece of meat and will need that flavor.  You can use your hands to rub in the seasons or a silicone brush:

Make sure you oil the grill grate before you start and then get it up to a medium-high heat.  While it is heating up, wrap your brick in foil so it is clean.

Place the chicken, skin side down on the grill and put the foil wrapped brick on top.  Cook until browned and crispy, at least 15 minutes.

Use tongs to set the brick aside, flip the chicken and place the brick back on top of it.  This keeps the meat in contact with the grill grates.  Cook for 10 minutes and repeat the flipping process until it is done.

How do you know if it is done?  Put a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh to check for doneness (165 degrees).  It took about 55 minutes for my 4 pound chicken to be done.  I just set a timer for 10 minutes and would keep flipping it.  Once I got to 50 minutes, I started checking the temp.

Remember to let the meat rest while you get the rest of your dinner ready.  Don't cut for a solid 10 minutes.

I also, grilled avocados.  Slice as normal, rub a bit of coconut oil, grill for 30-45 seconds.  NUMMY  My only regret is they didn't get more grill marks, but that is just aesthetic.

This was a fun, adventurous meal for me.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy, which is the best part!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Chicken Stir Fry

Dinner tonight was chicken stir fry served over quinoa and brown rice.  This isn't a hard dish to make and you don't need to use stir fry sauces filled with all sorts of things you can't pronounce!

Stir Fry:
3 organic free range chicken breasts
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
1 head broccoli
2 heads baby bok choy, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 cup baby bella mushrooms
1 zucchini
1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons avocado or sesame oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon honey

Most of your work is cutting.  Don't worry about everything being perfect, just try to get consistent sizes so things cook evenly.

Put about a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan and heat to medium high.  Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent.  This may take more or less time depending on how thin you slice them.

Add the broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add chicken, peppers and carrots, sprinkle some pink salt in and cook for around 8 minutes.  I ended up having to use two pans at this point, but it works.

Now add mushrooms, zucchini and bok choy for 4 minutes.  Stir periodically during all of these steps.

Combine both pans if they are separate, pour in 1 cup of water and cover.  Cook for about 8 minutes.

While this is cooking whisk together 1/2 cup of water and 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder.  If you are not familiar with it, it works a lot like corn starch as a thickener.  Get out some vinegar, avocado or sesame oil and honey.

Once the liquid in the pan is thicker, add about 2 tablespoons of the oil and vinegar.  Add 1 tablespoon of honey.  

Serve over just quinoa or as I did quinoa and brown rice.  A little organic soy sauce and you are good to go!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Grilled steak and veggies

Pretty simple meal tonight, but still delicious!  I bought my new favorite cut of steak, flat iron.  It is a really nice steak with good flavor, I guess that is why it is sometimes called the butchers cut. :-)

First thing I did was put the steak in a 1 gallon ziplock.  Poured in some worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper.  I didn't measure, sorry.  Leave it on the counter and promptly ignore.

Cut up some organic red & yellow peppers and baby bella mushrooms...toss with grape seed oil & kosher salt.  Place on a medium hot grill:

Put the steak on the grill and cook for about 6 minutes per side (depending on how hot your grill is - mine was cooler than I thought).  I don't think it looks that appetizing raw, but I thought you may still want to see it.

Let the steak rest...lets talk about that for a bit.  Resting meat before cutting it is really important.  You would be surprised how much difference this will make in your final product.  Much more juicy. Keep in mind, the bigger the meat the longer the rest.  Chicken breast or steak, rest around 4 minutes is good.  A whole turkey, rest like 15.  

When you cut the steak, turn your knife at a 45 degree angle and cut against the grain.  This is not just for making a nice presentation, although it does do that!  It makes the it less tough.  You can do this on most cuts, even chicken.  I think the texture is better.

Veggies can cook anywhere from the 12 or so minutes you have the meat on to close to 20.  This variance depends on if you like any crunch left in them and how much char you like.  

Like I said, very simple meal but really good.  

How about you...what did you make for dinner?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Grilled Chicken Salad

This is a nice summer recipe for a grilled chicken salad.  

First, pound the chicken breasts flat.  I don't know if pound flat is the right term, I just try and get the meat to be an even thickness.  It helps to cook it evenly.  Season with a chipotle pepper and garlic salt.

Heat your grill to medium.  I threw some peppers, onions, grape seed oil & kosher salt in a basket and put that on at right away.  Just shake the basket a bit each time you add or flip the meat.

When it is up to temp, place chicken on grill.  Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side.  After you take the chicken off the grill, let them rest for a couple minutes before you slice them.

While you wait, put some spinach greens & chopped tomato in a bowl.  Place your grilled chicken, roasted peppers & freshly made guac on your salad!  

Mmmm good!

Holy Guacamole!

I love guac.  It is great with some Beanito chips, with a meal or as a snack all by itself.  You can get much fancier with different recipes, but I have a really simple one that is very delicious!  Anyone can make this!

You only need a few ingredients:

This is an organic lemon, a non organic avocado (clean 15/dirty dozen recommendations) and some organic salsa found at Costco.

Here is a little video of how to make this...really you can't mess this up:

Let me know if you try it and what you think!!

Cellular Healing Diet

I started following the Cellular Healing Diet a week and a half ago.  I thought a blog would be a good place to keep track of and share recipes that I try, as well as note my progress along the way.

My primary goal in choosing to follow this eating plan is to lose weight and feel healthier.  I can say after the first week I did notice a difference.  I felt lighter and less bloated.  Finally after three days I had to know, did I weigh any less? I stepped on the scale and yes, I was down 4 pounds!  The following Saturday I attended two graduation parties, which meant I did eat sugar....still one week on the plan I was down a total of 3 pounds.  I was happy.

I am in week two now.  My attitude is good, meaning I don't feel deprived.  This is a good thing!