Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chicken Tagine - Moroccan Cooking

This is the tagine recipe I served Don and Cindy about a month ago. Not too much trouble, so long as you have all the ingredients. But, like all tagines, it does need time to cook. Also, watch the pot after you've added the honey. Everything may seem like its summering fine, but the honey will be burning at the bottom of the pot!
This tagine isn't too spicy as is. When I made it I added more spices to my taste, and to cover the slight burnt honey taste. ;) Enjoy!

Best Chicken Tagine Recipe #212534 From

This was inspired by a fantatstic chicken tagine from Melbourne's Meccah Bah. It has a lovely balance of spice and sweetness. I've customised it from other tagine receipes I've found - and I think this produces the best result. Modest .. maybe.. try for yourself!
1¼ hours | 10 min prep | SERVES 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, finely diced
1 tablespoon chopped gingerroot
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups water or chicken stock
300 g chickpeas (or fresh)
425 g diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon coriander root (finely chopped)
1/2 cup honey
4 skinless chicken thighs or 6-8 skinless chicken drumsticks
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon coriander leaves (to garnish)
1 cup couscous
2 teaspoons chicken stock powder
2 tablespoons toasted almonds
  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat.
  2. Brown chicken and remove.
  3. Add onion, garlic, and ginger to the pot. Cover and cook until onion is tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add paprika, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne pepper and cinnamon and stir 1 minute to lightly 'toast' the spices.
  5. Stir in 2 cups water, chickpeas, tomatoes with juices, honey and coriander roots. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; add to pot. Cover and simmer for about 50 minutes - or until the chicken is cooked and tender.
  7. Add more water to cover the chicken if liquid has evaporated.
  8. When the chicken is almost ready, begin to prepare the cous-cous as per packet instructions. Add the chicken stock powder to the cous cous. When the cous cous has absorbed the liquid, add the almonds and stir through.
  9. If using drumsticks, remove the drumsticks and strip the meat from the bones. Return the meat back to the mixture and mix through.
  10. Stir sesame seeds through.
  11. Serve on a bed of cous cous, garnished with coriander leaves.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese

One of the best things about living in California is the enormous variety and access you have to some of the worlds best and freshest produce. Last weekend we took a trip to the farmers market and were inspired about all of the tons of options available straight from the farm to my fridge.

Ever since I read Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver (well, I didn't finish the entire book but read enough to get the picture) I am even more inspired to hit up farmers markets whenever I can, not just as a responsible consumer supporting local industry, but the ultimate taste in freshness can never be bought in a supermarket. The exciting treasures I walked home with this week were five jumbo yellow grapefruit - some of the sweetest I have ever tasted; I have them sitting in a bowl on my dining room table and you can smell them before you even walk in the room and they haven't even been cut open yet. Also I picked up a head of fresh romaine lettuce which I made into a fantastic caesar salad last night. Additionally, I picked up a bunch of asparagus to go with our filet mignon supper. And finally, the real treat of the evening was a package of gorgonzola cheese called Oregonzola - gotta support the home state - and also a loaf of fresh baked pumpernickle bread.

When I can't make it to the Farmer's Market, the next best thing is the Produce Mart near my house, locally owned and operated which as you can guess serves fresh produce only with a mixture of a few treats here and there such as dired fruits and nuts. Last night I picked up a few gorgeous red bell peppers and made this awesome recipe which is one of Don's and my favorite grilling sides. We served it alongside some grilled salmon and the ceasar salad I mentioned earlier. Below is the base recipe as I discovered it long ago in my Betty Crocker Quick Grilling Pamphlet from the grocery store checkout stand. Feel free to experiment with different cheeses and herbs. My favorite combination so far was actually the one we used last night: goat cheese, swiss, fresh basil and mint. Since I have enough herbs leftover, I may pick up a couple more peppers and make them a second time this week.

Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese

2 medium red, yellow, or orange sweet peppers
1 ounce soft goat cheese
1/4 cup shredded Montery Jack cheese
1 Tablespoon snipped fresh chives
1 Tablespoon snipped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Grill: 4 Minutes
Makes 4 servings

In a medium covered sauce pan cook peppers in a small amount of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, cut sides down, on paper towels. (I always skip this step.)

Meanwhile, for cheese mixture, in a small bowl combine goat cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, chives, and basil. Spoon into pepper shells.

Fold a 24x18-inch piece of heavy foil in half to make a 12x18-inch rectangle. Place peppers in center of foil. Bring up 2 opposite edges of foil; seal with a double fold. Fold remaining ends to completely enclose peppers, leaving space for steam to build. (We skip this step too and just grill them open faced.)

Grill peppers on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium to medium-hot heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender and cheese is melted.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A week of new dinners

Last week was ambitious week, we had a new dinner recipe for each night of the week, so here's a few of them.

The first one, Brown Rice Risotto with Lamb, we actually didn't follow the directions - we used beef (from Trader Joes) instead of lamb, chicken broth instead of vegetable juice, rosemary and thyme insted of curry powder... but our substitutions worked out well and the original recipe still looks very tasty.

Brown Rice Risotto with Lamb


  • 1 2- to 2-1/2-pound (boneless) lamb shoulder roast
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2-1/2 cups hot-style vegetable juice
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper

1, Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut meat to fit into a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cocker. Coat an unheated large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat skillet over medium heat. Cook meat in hot skillet until browned, turning to brown evenly. Drain off fat. In the slow cooker, combine vegetable juice, uncooked brown rice, curry powder, and salt. Top with carrots. Place meat on carrots.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 4-1/2 hours.
3. Add the sweet pepper to slow cooker. Cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until sweet pepper is tender. Makes 8 servings.

From Better Homes and Gardens,

Crunchy Apple Salsa with Grilled Chicken



  • 2 cups chopped, cored Gala apples
  • 1 Anaheim chili pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • salt and black pepper

Grilled Chicken

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts

To prepare salsa, in a medium bowl combine apples, chili pepper, onion (I used white onion), lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the salsa mixture and set it aside while preparing chicken. (Salsa can be made ahead, several hours or a day, just refrigerate the salsa).

To prepare the grilled chicken, in a large bowl combine white wine, apple juice, lime zest, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and turn the chicken to coat it on all sides with the mixture. Cover the chicken and refrigerate it for 30 to 40 minutes.

Heat grill. Drain the chicken and discard the chicken marinade. Grill chicken until it is cooked through, serve with salsa and that bottle of wine you opened to make the marinade.

Recipe From the Heart of Washington, I found it in my magazine from the local hospital ... :)

Fried-rice jambalaya


  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 pound dry (cooked) chorizo sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)

In a large saucepan, combine rice, 3 cups of water, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes (or depending or your rice's cooking directions). Remove from heat and let sit, covered, 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook until lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the sausage, peas, paprika, pepper, remaining salt, and cooked rice. Heat through, 2 to 3 minutes, while stirring. Sprinkle with the scallions, if desired. Serve hot.

We couldn't find cooked chorizo, so we used salami instead, but basically any leftover meat or chicken breast can be thrown as replacement for the chorizo. The recipes serves 4 as in 4 pretty hungry adults, because we had leftovers enough for another dinner a day later.

The recipe is from Real Simple, as is the next one, which we served with the jambalaya.

Rosemary Corn Bread

  • 2 8 1/2-ounces boxes corn-bread mix
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 8-ounce container plain yogurt
  • 2 7-ounce cans whole-kernel corn, drained
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves

Heat oven to 400 F. Lightly coat a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Stir all the ingredients together. Spoon the batter into the pan. Bake 25 minutes or just until golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool, when cool cut into pieces.

This recipe serves 24, so I only made half as much in a square 8-by-8-inch pan. I loved the corn kernels in this bread and may actually have found my first contribution to the Thanksgiving dinners.

And if you aren't hungry now, I don't really know what to tell you ... all yummy dinners, all of them pretty quick to make and the stew simmering for nine hours sure made the kitchen smell nice all day long.