Have you watched Top Chef?
Those elimination contest shows are one of my guilty pleasures. Throw in some inspiring chefs and interesting food and I’m addicted! On a recent episode, the challenge for the chefs was to replicate a dish from a well-known restaurant, simply from memory and taste. As I watched, I thought that was something I could never do…and then I tried to do it.
During our anniversary trip to the Northwest, we had a perfect meal at our favorite restaurant in Seattle, Local 360. I ordered a pasta dish that sounded too unique to pass up, with chorizo and kale and cranberries and gouda (swoon). The unexpected combination of flavors was delicious and I vowed to try to make it at home.
I usually cook from (someone else’s) recipes, tweaking them slightly. Though I have occasional success, I’m not generally a “wing it” kind of person in the kitchen. Attempting to replicate a dish would be an entirely new experience for me. Relying on my memory of Local 360’s flavors, I came up with a pile of ingredients and hoped for the best!
The butcher at my market ground up some pork into a spicy chorizo for me. It was spicy enough that the crushed red pepper in the photo never made it into the pasta! I started by browning the sausage in a pan while I introduced myself to the kale.
I’d never cooked with kale before, but I knew to cut out the tough stalk in the middle of the leaves. I gave it a rough chop and set it aside while I prepped some garlic and shallot.
When the chorizo was browned, I removed it from the pan, swirled a bit of olive oil, and added the shallot and garlic. After a few minutes, I poured in some white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up those browned yummy bits on the bottom of the pan. Next came some chicken stock, a little bit of red wine vinegar, and then I added the big pile of kale. I knew that, like spinach, it would wilt with the heat.
While the kale did its thing, I prepped the rest of the ingredients. I toasted some pine nuts, and pulled some dried cranberries from the pantry. I grated plenty of gouda cheese and chopped some fresh basil.
When the kale had wilted, I added the chorizo back to the pan. In went the cranberries. I stirred in the pasta I’d cooked earlier, along with most of the cheese and basil. Finally, the pine nuts joined the party!
I served the pasta with more cheese and basil on top. It looked beautiful- and miraculously, tasted remarkably similar to the dinner we’d loved at Local 360!
The chorizo’s spices added so much flavor to the broth, and the heat was balanced with the sweetness of the cranberries. There was a subtle tang from the dash of vinegar, and a nuttiness from the gouda. SO delish. My only criticism is that I cooked the pasta too early- by the time I plated our dinner, it was breaking up in the sauce. But the flavors were spot on!
Now that I’ve challenged myself to recreate a dish that I’ve enjoyed at a restaurant, I’m inspired to try it more often. The experience was a great reminder that in the kitchen, simple is best- it didn’t take a lot of fancy ingredients to make a fabulous, flavorful meal.
Now, I wonder if I could replicate those PBJ bonbons…
Chorizo Pasta with Cranberries and Gouda (inspired by Local 360)
- 1 lb. spicy chorizo sausage, ground
- 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- One bunch of kale, stems removed and rough-chopped
- 1+ cups of white wine
- 1 ½ cups of chicken broth
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 ½ cups shredded gouda cheese
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- Pasta of your choice, cooked al dente
Over medium heat, brown the chorizo in a little bit of olive oil. Remove from pan and set aside. Swirl olive oil in the pan and add the shallots and garlic. When the shallots are tender, deglaze the pan with one cup of white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken broth and vinegar and simmer. Add the kale and allow it to wilt, stirring it frequently. As the sauce reduces, add more wine (and more broth or vinegar to taste). When the kale is wilted, add the chorizo back to the pan. Add the cranberries and most of the basil, and allow to simmer for a few minutes before stirring in the cooked pasta. Add most of the cheese and the pine nuts and mix well. Add salt or pepper as needed. Serve topped with more cheese and basil. YUM.
**Hungry for more? Check out the FOOD BLISS link above!
**One year ago: The crockpot and The Wok.
It’s BLISS BITS Wednesday!
December. WOW. The crazy/fun holiday season is in full swing over here, bringing along the usual nostalgia. Now that the shock of returning to an actual winter after almost a week in sunny California is fading, it’s game on- decorations, twinkling lights, secret gifts, glistening snow. This season always seems to go by so fast, so I’m working hard to stop every now and then to soak it all in. Here’s what’s been making me smile over the last couple of weeks.
My favorite trails are snow-covered now.
Betty‘s future BFF?
I’m not really a Starbucks person, but these are yummy!
Dog in a sunbeam holding a sunbeam.
I love this spiky leftover from summertime.
A quiet morning in front of the fire.
John singing along to reggae while he makes one of his fabulous weekend breakfasts.
Seriously! How good does that look?
Cholula and fox, stretching.
New favorite yogurt.
Still working on it.
My mom‘s birthday was this week! (Love you, Mom!)
Spotted on a walk in Point Reyes.
This Thanksgiving plate makes my tummy growl.
I need a cat in my life.
My mom sent me this photo of a baby German Shepherd snuggling in a big dog’s fur. EEEEE.
My little Yeti.
I made bacon jam this week!
Hopeful for said bacon.
Stovetop cocoa and a cinnamon marshmallow.
Her ears kill me!
I’ve been getting crafty lately.
One year ago, we found the perfect tree!
It was not small.
Two years ago, we were napping on the beach in Point Reyes. We love it there!
Three years ago, I had a cute little half-tree in my condo named Sherman.
And this was the view from the porch this morning.
You know. Just the usual bliss.
**One year ago: Decorating for our first Christmas in the new house!
One of the things I love most about traveling is the opportunity to step into another way of life. When you explore a place you’ve never been, you can make your vacation whatever you imagine it to be. And when you visit loved ones, you have the chance to get out of your own little bubble and experience how they live, if only for a brief time.
It wasn’t our first time in West Marin to stay with our friends near Point Reyes Station- we’ve visited multiple times over the last few years. But each time we do, I become so enchanted with the area that I seriously daydream about moving there. I adore everything, from the local cuisine to the mild climate to the small town vibe and strong community- not to mention the time spent with friends. We experienced all of that on our Turkey Day trip to California! (People at the Salt Lake airport were really into the holiday…)
First up, though, was an evening in Oakland, rocking out at a Pearl Jam concert. Pearl Jam’s “Ten” hit my ears in high school and broadened my musical horizons past electronica and classic rock. A lifelong weakness for troublemakers with long hair was firmly secured. I had the album on cassette tape, which I WORE OUT on my Walkman, and wore one of my dad’s flannel shirts with everything- even over my cheerleading uniform. Twenty years later, I crashed the boy’s night so I could see Pearl Jam play live for the first time. An old friend, Michael, brought his son for his first concert (he fell asleep at 9:30). For the grown-ups, there would be no sleeping- even after a 37-song set list! Amazing!
On Thanksgiving eve, we made the lovely drive “over the hill” to Point Reyes Station. John and I made a trip to town for lunch and shopped for the ingredients for our Turkey Day recipes. Afterward, I took myself on a walk in the neighborhood while John took a work call. It’s amazing how lush the coast is, with plants and trees hiding homes and vines covering everything. I loved the perspective of being on foot.
Later, we joined our host, Whit, and his nugget of a son, Huck, for a beautiful hike near their home. Thinking of my frequent hikes at home, it was hard not to note the simultaneous familiarity of a quiet trail and the differences in these trees, the moss, the weather, the view. Beautiful.
Whit’s wife, Lazuli, and their awesome older boy, Ozzie, were waiting for us at the house. Over the years, Ozzie has become infatuated with John, glued to his side and working hard to imitate and impress him. The basketball hoop certainly wasn’t lonely this week. Another member of the household also gravitated toward John during our trip. I love how cats always choose the lap of the person who doesn’t like cats.
John, Whit, and Lazuli have been close friends for years; they went to college together. I’ve known them for a long time, too, but I don’t share the decades of history or know all of the old stories. For a while, I let myself feel like the newcomer, but I realized that we all now have shared experiences and memories, too. They’ve truly become like family, and I cherish the comfortable times we’ve spent with them in their home.
Thanksgiving was a happy day full of food prep, football, and friends. John and Whit continued a tradition of running to the summit of nearby Black Mountain. Lazuli and I filled the stove with simmering pots and pans, chatting the day away. She even made a pumpkin pie from a whole pumpkin! It was interesting to experience another family’s holiday traditions and recipes, so similar to ours but still new. John and I contributed the mandatory fresh green bean casserole, a bourbon oatmeal pecan pie, and a cucumber-dill dish my grandmother always made.
Getting the full meal to the table was a family affair, everyone jumping in to create a fabulous feast. Lazuli’s parents joined us, and the highlight of the evening came when each of us shared what we are thankful for. Unprompted, Huck said that he’s most thankful for his big brother when they play and when he helps him. The sweet and utterly genuine words of a four-year-old ended our holiday with warm hearts.
The big holiday felt like a finale to our trip, but we still had a full weekend to enjoy with our friends! Even after multiple visits to the area, the next three days were filled with all sorts of new places and experiences. Lazuil and I took the boys to the beach, tucking our feet into the sand. We hit the classic Nick’s Cove for an incredible meal (Dungeness crab mac n’ cheese, anyone?). Whit showed John some of his favorite running routes in the hills. We snuck out to see live music at the raucous Old Western saloon, dancing into the night. We hiked through the fog to McClure’s Beach and napped until the sun came out. What a treat to be barefoot on the beach in late November, feeling the sun kissing our cheeks!
My favorite part of the trip was our last evening in town. After our beach day, the adults enjoyed a delightful happy hour at Marshall Store, one of the oyster houses on the beach. We sat overlooking Tomales Bay as the sun set, sipping crisp white wine and devouring four dozen of the oysters this area is known for. Decadent and delicious!
As if we weren’t full enough, we were able to walk in and get a table at Sir and Star, an eclectic restaurant in the old Olema Inn. The menu read like poetry: “Marrow in the long bone with buns and a jam of the tale that wagged nearby.” Or, “Short rib of beef last seen grazing on the grasses of H Ranch, now amidst Warren’s roasted rutabaga.” Both couples shared the Bubble and Squeak salad and “crab plucked from surrounding seas, clawing at a dip of local Meyer lemons, both brought to you with broccoli at its best.” Our hosts know the owners/chefs, so we were treated to delectable extras throughout the meal, licking our fingers by candlelight.
Sunday morning was slightly tainted by the knowledge that we were leaving. We went to the beach in Bolinas, getting our last ocean fix before meeting more friends at the Coast Café for lunch. We made it home with just enough time for what Ozzie and Huck considered the MAIN EVENT: individual wrestling matches with Johnny (aka the Hairy Ninja). Johnny/Ozzie matches are a tradition every time we visit, but this year, Huck would have his own battle. Amazing moves!
And on that note, we switched mindsets from beachy frolicking to the approaching snowstorm awaiting us at home. I left feeling inspired by the easy lifestyle our friends enjoy, the simple beauty of their home, their intentional appreciation of the moments in a day. Despite what a dream our vacation had been, there really is no place like home- especially with a wagging, crooked-eared beast anxiously greeting us, squealing with joy upon our arrival.
I awoke to fresh snow today, temperatures for the next few days ranging from a high of 19 to lows near ZERO. That snuzzling beast and the memories of our trip will come in handy to keep my soul warm this week.
So much to be thankful for (today and every day).
**Got the travel bug? Check out this link for more of our adventures!
**One year ago: How John lost his wedding ring within 2 weeks of our wedding.
**We’re currently soaking in some Bay Area sunshine! In the meantime, here’s a recipe to warm you up (that would be delicious using leftover turkey!). Until next week!**
A scratchy throat. A day spent in the snow. Temperatures in the teens. Sure, a cup of tea is soothing- but sometimes, you just want a hot bowl of chicken soup.
Last Friday night, my low energy level demanded something simple. I’d pinned a tasty recipe for chicken and lime soup earlier in the week, and I somehow had everything on hand. It was meant to be.
The most difficult part of this recipe was chopping up some onion, celery, jalapeno and garlic. Seriously! I sautéed it all in a little bit of olive oil, shaking in some garlic salt and black pepper.
When the veggies were tender, I placed two chicken breasts in the pot and poured a container of organic chicken stock in, too. I added a can of diced tomatoes (with green chiles) and a spoonful each of cumin, oregano, and crushed red pepper. I gave it a stir and let it come to a boil.
Simple doesn’t always mean FAST. Once the soup was boiling, I reduced the heat to simmer and put a lid on the pot. Then I left it alone for an hour. So easy!
After an hour, I took the chicken out of the pot with a pair of tongs and used two forks to shred the meat. The shredded chicken went back into the pot, along with some fresh lime juice, a little bit of fresh oregano, and lots of cilantro. And that’s all, folks.
I let the soup simmer for a few more minutes while I heated some tortillas and set the table. When I served the soup, I topped it with a sprinkling of cilantro and a lime wedge. Lovely!
This soup was flavorful, bright, and fresh. Cooking the chicken in the stock left it super moist, and the heat from the crushed red pepper helped balance the acidity of the lime.
Minimal effort and impressive flavor- perfect for a low-energy night when you want something homemade and easy. Before our trip to California, I had a long to-do list and no time to make dinner- three cheers for scrumptious leftovers!
Psst… This soup would work well with leftover turkey. Just add shredded turkey to the broth and cut down the cooking time!
Like I said- meant to be.
What’s your “easy homemade” recipe? Share with me!
*Two years ago: Big Survey Plantation, South Carolina
Spicy Lime Chicken Soup (thank you, Budget Bytes)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 medium jalapeno
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 chicken breasts
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes w/chiles
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 medium lime
- ½ bunch cilantro
- 1 medium avocado (for garnish)
Dice the onion, celery, and jalapeno (scrape the seeds out of the jalapeno before dicing). Mince the garlic. Cook the onion, celery, jalapeno, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until tender.
Add the chicken breast, chicken broth, canned tomatoes with chiles, oregano, and cumin to the pot. Bring the whole pot up to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to low, place a lid on top, and let simmer for one hour.
After simmering for an hour with a lid on, carefully remove the chicken breast from the pot and use two forks to shred the meat. Return the meat to the pot. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the soup. Get as much juice as possible from the lime by using a spoon to scrape the inside of the lime.
Rinse the cilantro and then roughly chop the leaves. Add to the pot, give it a quick stir, and serve. Dice the avocado and add a few chunks to each bowl. Yum!
**Hungry for more? Check out the FOOD BLISS link above!**
The countdown is on!
Thanksgiving is a few short days away. Thanksgiving and Christmas get lumped together as “The Holidays”, but this week is unique. It’s not about gifts- it’s about pausing to be grateful.
And turkey. It’s also about TURKEY.
Last year, we were freshly suntanned from our honeymoon and enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast with my folks in Colorado. (You might remember the story about Cholula helping herself to the bowl of Pigs-in-a-Blanket on the coffee table…)
This year, we’ll be feeling grateful in the Bay Area, starting with some rock n’ roll and then moving into our version of Friendsgiving in Point Reyes Station. It’s been since last summer that we visited our dear friends, Whit and Lazuli, and their boys (who can’t wait to wrestle with John). It’s a very special place.
While I love the idea of a designated day to gather with loved ones and be thankful, I think it’s important to continue to do year-round. However you choose to celebrate this day of gratitude, cheers to you!
Until next week… Gobble gobble!
*One year ago: The Gobbler.
The snow hasn’t melted.
Our first few storms dumped a lot of snow, but warm temperatures melted it into mud each time. This last storm stuck- winter is here. These are the weekends of sipping my coffee in long johns and extra snuzzle time under the covers. I pulled out a few sparkly craft projects, to get into the holiday spirit (it’s time!). And my hikes with Cholula required snow pants and gloves. Brrr!
On Friday, we headed for Toll Canyon. It’s a lesser known trail near home that seems to be something of a locals’ secret. (Remember when I discovered The Love Tree?) The snow was deep, shimmering in the sunshine like a white blanket studded with diamonds. I snapped photos along the way, as I always do, watching Cholula happily bound through the drifts like a deer. When I got home, I took a peek at the photos and compared them to my last Toll Canyon hike at the end of August. What a difference a few months makes!
The gate was once tangled up in sunflowers.
The trees that flank the road are now weighed down by snow.
August’s red shrubs were now leaf-less and coated with ice.
Cholula seemed familiar with the area, despite winter’s changes.
The trail that cut through deep grasses and wildflowers now cut through deep snow.
I love being able to compare the seasons with photos taken from similar vantage points.
I remembered that this snowy tunnel was overgrown and almost impassable by late summer!
The big pines are easier to recognize in winter than the naked aspens.
Summer or winter, there’s nothing like time spent under happy trees.
When we came upon fresh tracks that weren’t human or canine, we decided to head back, taking a quick detour under some tall, slender pine trees.
In August, we may have dined on summery Ahi Tuna Taco Cups or some pasta made with Farmers Market veggies and herbs from our garden. We likely ate outside, in the warm daylight that lasts until 9pm. Not this weekend. The night takes over by 6 o’clock. The already chilly temperature drops even further. Cholula barks at unseen beasts in our backyard- the elk and deer come down the mountain each night now. I continued to uncover holiday trinkets. I made a spicy lime chicken soup, perfect after a cold day in the snow, warming us from the inside.
These winter nights are for tucking my feet into slippers and pulling a throw blanket over my legs in front of the fire. These quiet moments will be few and far between over the next month. I’ll use them to count my blessings.
Life is good.
One year ago: Tell me a story.
Homemade is just better.
There are some things that make more sense to purchase already prepared; I don’t make my own pickles or cure my own bacon or know how to make cheese or “process” chickens from a backyard coop. But most of the time, I’m surprised that it’s just as easy (and cheaper and healthier and yummier) to make things at home than it is to pick them up at the grocery store. Barbeque sauce. Salad dressing. Fruit jam. Cookies and cakes and breads. Pizza dough. And my go-to homemade item: granola.
There are hundreds of delicious granola recipes, which makes it fun to experiment with your own mixture of deliciousness. For years, I’ve been making a simple baked granola that I saw on an old episode of The Barefoot Contessa. Last year, I tried Hungry Girl Por Vida’s delicious version using coconut oil for the first time. Recently, I took a peek in my pantry and (with the approaching gluttonous holiday season in mind) created a super healthy version, packed with seeds and nuts. The best part? It’s just so easy to make.
One of my requirements for homemade granola is shredded coconut. Chewy texture, tropical sweetness…I just love it! I also grabbed almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, raisins, and – of course- oats.
Being autumn, I wanted a seasonal twist to this batch, so I added nutmeg to the mix, along with my favorite cinnamon. Instead of honey, I grabbed maple syrup, and instead of vegetable oil, I decided to go with coconut oil. Oh, and vanilla!
There are more ingredients in this recipe than I usually use for granola, but the process is the same. The oats, nuts, and seeds went into a big bowl with the coconut. Once mixed together, I warmed the coconut oil to its liquid state and poured it right into the bowl.
Next, I added the spices, syrup, and vanilla. I love the salty-sweet combo, so I sprinkled in a fat pinch of kosher salt, too. It’s important to mix the unbaked granola really well so that all parts of it are moistened. And then it bakes.
Paying attention while the granola bakes is maybe the most important part of the process. To get that golden browned crunch, you have to stir it every few minutes. That way, it bakes evenly and the edges don’t burn. Your kitchen will smell heavenly!
When the granola is as toasty as you like, it just needs to cool a bit before stirring in the raisins. I also found some dried blueberries in the pantry, so I tossed those in, too. The fruit adds a tart sweetness that balances out the spices. YUM.
You could eat this granola with milk, like cereal, or munch it plain- but the way I like to eat it is stirred into yogurt. I usually go for raspberry flavor, but recently found this delish honey Greek yogurt. It’s perfect with the maple-y cinnamon coconut flavors of this granola.
The seeds and nuts offer a crunch that goes well with the chewy texture of the fruit and coconut. It’s scrumptious- and it’s healthy!
If only I could say the same for another favorite seasonal homemade item: eggnog.
What’s your favorite “homemade is better” item? Share with me!
*One year ago: Bliss bits 11/21.
“Seeds and Nuts” Maple Granola
- 3 cups oats
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup flax seeds
- ½ chopped pecans
- 2/3 cup chopped almonds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup raisins
- ½ cup dried blueberries
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, seeds, and nuts. Melt the coconut oil and add it to the bowl, along with the spices, vanilla, and maple syrup. Add a generous pinch of salt. Combine well and spread evenly on a baking pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then stir the granola and re-spread evenly on the pan. Bake for 4-5 minutes at a time, stirring in between, until the granola is golden brown and the edges are starting to get slightly crunchy. Allow to cool a bit before adding the raisins and blueberries. Store in an airtight container and serve with your favorite yogurt, milk, or by the handful. YUM!
**Hungry for more? Check out the FOOD BLISS link above!**
It’s BLISS BITS Wednesday!
I woke up sniffling and coughing with my first cold of the season. The clouds are heavy this morning, which makes me feel better about spending extra time in my robe, sipping hot tea. It’s been a busy week- a sign of what to expect through mid-January. The holiday hub-bub makes it harder to make time for small moments of gratitude, but isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about? A week before the big turkey debut, here are a few of the things I’m thankful for.
My Christmas cactus finally bloomed after at least five years.
I hiked a lot with my trail buddy.
My friend, Melissa, hosted a beautiful ladies sushi lunch!
This stunning gift arrived from some dear friends. I love the tree.
Fabulous wine label.
On weekends, John cooks brunch while dancing to reggae music.
We discovered an awesome deal at a local restaurant!
Perfect little macchiato.
I’ve decided it’s time to listen to the Christmas station in the car!
I put together a tasty charcuterie plate for a dinner party we hosted.
This is our third time seeing Blitzen Trapper in a small venue. So good!
‘Tis the season for John to send me ski photos!
Chinese take-out! The pork fried rice was yummy.
I got over 1,500 Instagram photos printed. I love holding actual photographs!
We grilled steaks for this salad, and baked polenta croutons are my new favorite thing.
Bright, big, and beautiful.
I had an article published in TrailGroove magazine. Did you see it?
A tasty baked granola recipe is coming your way this week!
I took myself out for Huevos Rancheros yesterday.
My hairdresser (of 11 years!) totally gets me.
One year ago, we were just home from our honeymoon and I cut bangs on a whim.
So many wedding cards awaited us. I love this one.
Two years ago, we were in Charleston. Ali’s twin boys adore Johnny.
We celebrated Ali’s birthday!
Three years ago, I was back in Charleston, surprising Ali on her 40th birthday.
And I found this under my pillow this morning.
You know. Just the usual bliss.
Food is fun.
Fusion cuisine is my preference- mixing foods and culture in unexpected ways. Once upon a time, BBQ chicken on a pizza was unheard of. What a fabulous idea! These days, we see intriguing combos on most menus. Tacos using lettuce instead of tortillas. Kebabs with grilled poundcake and strawberries. Breakfast for dinner. Candied bacon. Anything goes!
I’m constantly inspired by the incredible food combinations that Jessica comes up with over at How Sweet It Is. This girl is seriously creative in the kitchen and (hilarious to read). Toasted Bacon Flutternutters? Mac n’ Cheese Stuffed Brown Sugar Balsamic Portabellos? Blueberry Pizza with Whipped Ricotta and Caramelized Shallots? Brilliant madness. Not all of Jessica’s recipes are so adventurous, but they all taste amazing.
I spied a delish-sounding recipe for tostadas last week. “Tostada” means toasted in Spanish, and it’s used to refer to a crispy tortilla (usually fried). In Mexican cuisine, tostadas are usually topped with your choice of taco filling, piled onto beans or melted cheese to help keep the goods in place. I grew up eating tostadas, and made some spicy shrimp ones recently. But Jessica’s version had nothing to do with Mexico… these are GREEK tostadas.
John and I have been cutting back on our gluten intake, and this recipe fit the bill. First up, I made a marinade for chicken. I combined olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh dill and minced garlic, and lemon juice. I seasoned both sides of two chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper, and placed them in a freezer bag. I poured the marinade right in and let the chicken swim in the yumminess in the fridge for a couple of hours.
While the chicken marinated, I got started on the glue: whipped feta. It’s just a combination of feta cheese and a little cream cheese, blended in the food processor until creamy and magical. Mine wasn’t as smooth as Jessica’s looked, so I drizzled in a little bit of olive oil to get that whipped texture. YUM.
John grilled the chicken, basting it with the leftover marinade. He chopped it into small chunks and set it aside while I grilled my tortillas into tostadas.
All that was left was the topping! I chopped up some artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, white onion, and more dill and combined them in a bowl. I stirred in some olive oil, lemon juice, and crumbled feta cheese. A generous seasoning with salt and pepper, and it was go time!
Here’s how I assembled the tostada. First, I smeared the whipped feta all over my crispy tortilla. Then, I added some of the grilled chicken. On top of the chicken went my salad of veggies.
I ate my tostada with my hand, biting into it like a piece of pizza. John preferred a knife and fork. The tortilla held up well with all of those tasty fresh toppings, and the chicken was scrumptious.
My only complaint is that the whole dish seemed a tad on the salty side. I know for next time to hold off on seasoning the marinade or veggies- I will let the feta, olives, and artichokes provide the salt. I also think I’ll add cucumber for extra crunch!
These Greek tostadas got me thinking about other types of tostadas. Asian, topped with wasabi cream and Ahi tuna! Italian, topped with herbed ricotta, sliced meatballs and marinara! The possibilities are making me hungry…
Food is fun.
What’s your favorite fusion food? Share with me!
Greek Tostadas (thank you, How Sweet It Is)
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- the juice of 1 lemon
- 1 batch of whipped feta
- 4 (small) corn or flour tortillas
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 sweet onion, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped, marinated artichokes
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped dill
- crumbled feta for serving
- lemon wedges
Add chicken to a baking dish or ziplock bag. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and dill. Pour over chicken, stick in the fridge and let marinate for a couple of hours.
Grill your chicken, basting with marinade. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, onions, artichokes, olives and dill. Add olive oil and lemon juice and toss to coat. Season if desired.
When getting ready to serve, heat another skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil about 1/4 teaspoon at a time, add one tortilla and cook for about 30-60 seconds per side, until just golden and bubbly. Remove and let drain on a paper towel. Set aside until ready to use.
To assemble tostadas, spread a bit of whipped feta on each crisp tortilla. Add chicken on top then cover with the tomato and artichoke mixture. Top with some extra feta. YUM!
Hungry for more? Check out the FOOD BLISS link above.