Friday, June 29, 2012

Cucumber Watermelon Salad

A few days ago I made a plain cucumber salad using coconut milk yogurt and though Steve and Sophia liked it well enough, I felt the coconut yogurt was not sour enough for what I was expecting to taste.  I had to think about it.  I really wanted to make the coconut yogurt thing work but used in this traditional sense it just wasn't doing it for me. Yesterday morning I was at the Farmer's Market and Full Belly had a nice selection of melons.  I asked about this smaller one, I had a feeling it was a yellow-flesh , and was told it was beautifully sweet and very refreshing as most watermelons tend to be.  Then, Balakian Farms had some nice Armenian cucumbers and I was all set.  I really like buying from Balakian, their pricing is simple and their produce is consistently excellent. The dressing is straightforward, but do prep it early in the day as it takes a few hours to "cure".

Cucumber Watermelon Salad 
with Coconut Milk Yogurt Dressing

1/2 cup plain coconut milk yogurt 
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic
1 TBSP. fresh mint chopped

Peel and crush the garlic cloves with the flat side of a chef's knife.  Stir into yogurt and store in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Before dressing salad, stir in fresh mint. (This will keep the mint bright green if you are in to aesthetics, it will brown fairly quickly though not affecting taste)

Armenian Cucumber
Watermelon (any kind)

Wash and chop the cucumber (no need to peel these!) and watermelon in to desired chunks/sizes.  Drizzle yogurt dressing to taste.  Seriously.  It can not be any easier. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Coq au Vin "ish"

I really wanted to make a chicken stew this week.  All of us had been going pedal to the metal getting to the last day of school, and were feeling a bit wiped out.  We had a ton of activities winding up the year and had to eat out for dinner quite a bit.  Poor Leo, by Thursday, he was just begging to go home and could barely muster any enthusiasm to eat dinner out at Mamacita.  This one does take a little more prep to get it into the slow cooker, so give yourself about 30-40 min. on the front end.  You can cook this one in 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.  I served this with Cauliflower Rice and a Stone Fruit Salad

Coq au Vin "ish"
original recipe here

1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces (from Tara Firma Farms)
1 lb. ground chicken (I ordered mine ahead of time from Marin Sun Farms)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 slices bacon, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 to 3/4 lb. mushrooms, quartered ( I used crimini from Solano Mushroom Farm)
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 large sprigs thyme

Arrange cut chicken pieces on a large sheet of waxed paper. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until golden and just crisp, 3 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels and set aside. Discard drippings and wipe out skillet. Melt 2 tablespoons butter (or heat oil, if using) in same skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned all over, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken into the slow cooker as done and set aside. Brown the ground chicken and put into the slow cooker.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter or oil in same skillet. Add mushrooms and cook until edges begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add carrots, onions, garlic and salt and cook until vegetables just begin to soften. Transfer vegetables and broth to crock pot. Arrange chicken on top. Sprinkle bacon over chicken. Add wine and thyme sprigs. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.