How’s this look for lunch? Easy, quick and beautiful!
We sat outside yesterday after the big North Carolina rain and enjoyed the sparkling clean landscape. And the “post-rain” sounds are great — the dripping from the trees and the local cardinal conversation.
This recipe is easy and very forgiving. You can’t screw it up — except for one thing. Don’t cook it on high heat — you’ll burn it and then you won’t have pretty chicken OR dressing. Oh, dear. But let’s not go there.
Keep that burner down a bit and you’ll have a beautiful lunch.
I had never worked with Black Sesame seeds until recently and I like them. They add a lot of deep color and character to light proteins — chicken and fish. Black Sesame seeds look gorgeous on salmon, for instance.
Black and Brown Sesame Seeds
In California, I probably got the Black and Brown Sesame Seeds at Mother’s Market.
Order Information On The Bag
But if you don’t live near a health food store, simply go to http://goldminenaturalfood.com/. They have all sorts of fabulous food and they ship. Problem solved.
Black and Brown Sesame Chicken Breast Salad with Kiwi
For the Dressing
1/3 c. pan scrapings, some of the surplus sesame dijon mixture from the pan
Juice of 1/2 jucy lime (if they aren’t too juicy, you might need the whole thing
1. T balsamic vinegar
Mix and adjust as needed for the number of people you are serving. This makes dressing (a light amount) for about 3 people. If you go heavier on the dressing, just make more. Double or triple it. You can use it tomorrow.
For the Chicken
About 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c. dijon mustard
1 T. Olive Oil
2 T. aguave or honey
Juice of 1 lime
3/4 c. Gold Mine mixed black and brown organic sesame seeds (any proportion is fine)
Your favorite lettuces, a healthy handful per person. Use mixed baby lettuce, spinach, chopped Romaine, oak, Boston butter lettuce, red or green chard, whatever. And used several kinds if you like.
1 Kiwi per person, sliced
Directions: Mix the dijon, oil, aguave or honey and the lime juice together in a flat-ish bowl or pie pan or something with low sides. Set aside.
Rinse the mixture of black and brown sesame seeds and spread them on a cookie sheet and dry them in the oven. (Ideally do this ahead of time.) Otherwise, wet sesame seeds don’t stick to the chicken…. In a pinch, I have also totally ignored (!) the rinsing directions and just used them straight out of the package when I’m in a hurry. Your choice. Both ways work and I didn’t die from the natural tannic acid on the seeds.
Put the sesame seeds in another bowl with low sides (easier for dipping and getting to the saute pan).
Have a saute pan ready with olive oil for sauteing. Dip one chicken breast in the mustard mixture and coat well. Then drag it in the sesame seeds and coat well. Put in pan (listen for a sizzle, but not high heat). Repeat with other chicken breasts. Usually 3 or 4 breasts to a 2 lb. package.
If there are any sesame seeds left or sauce, just add it to the pan. Saute on medium heat until not pink in the center. Cut one breast in half to check. It’s OK to cut one — you’re going to slice the chicken breast anyway.
You can put a lid over the pan (ajar) so some steam escapes part way through cooking. Keeps the chicken most and steams it a bit.
Slice Chicken Breast on Top of Greens
Put cooked chicken breasts on a plate and slice across. Mix salad with dressing and put on plates. Add sliced kiwis on the side. Place chicken breast slices on top of salad. Add a tablespoon or so of dijon/sesame mixture from the pan on top of the chicken for garnish. You can squeeze extra lime over it if you like.
For some reason the kiwi goes just beautifully with this dish. The tastes compliment each other. But if you don’t have kiwi, try another vegetable or fruit — try cucumbers and tomatoes — and see how you like them. Many combinations will work, it just depends on what you like.
For dinner tonight — and often — I make something new and something old. Important — make something old taste like something new!
I had some leftover roast chicken. And fresh lettuce. You all know how to make FABULOUS dressing, right? Don’t ever buy dressing. It’s right in your cupboard and better than anything you could ever buy! But I digress. More on that another time.
So I had this chicken, lettuce and yellow squash and part of a red pepper, green pepper and the end of a small head of purple cabbage. What’s the number one rule for cooking a great meal? Cook with color!!!
Everything tastes good when it’s colorful and a work of art on your plate. Anybody can do it, you just make SURE what goes on the plate includes at least three colors! Be an artist with food. Your eyes, tummy and inner happiness meter will thank you.
White potatoes on a white plate? With white chicken. Nope.
So something old is the fabulous roast chicken from yesterday. And you go from there with what??? Color!!!
Putting Color with Red Skinned Potatoes
So now for the potatoes.
Use a Deep Casserole
Use a Deep Baking Dish. Oven 350 degrees.
Note: Use a mandolin to slice the potatoes and onions.
Heavenly Thin-Sliced Potatoes Baked with Broth, Cream, Garlic, Goat Cheese and ParsleyAbout 2-3/4 cups of fresh or frozen chicken broth — made from scratch if possible. Nothing beats it. If you don’t have homemade, use your favorite purchased broth.
About 8 or 9 medium organic red skinned potatoes, scrubbed and sliced with a mandolin (very thin sliced). Enough for the deep baking dish you’re using. Do not peel. Potato nutrition lives in the skin.
About a cup of thin- sliced red onions, give or take.
Celery leaves — cut up the tops of 2 or 3 stalks of celery, just the leafy tops. Save the rest for another use.
Garlic, your choice — 2 or 3 cloves to taste.
About 1/3 cup Chevre Goat Cheese
About 1/2 c. grated Asiago cheese
About 1/3 c. (generous) fresh parsley chopped (could also use chard or spinach)
About 1/3 cup heavy cream
About 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme if you have it. Otherwise, a pinch of dried.
Salt and pepper to taste. Or let each person add to taste at the table.
DIRECTIONS: Heat the broth in a pan large enough to hold all the potatoes. Add the onions, celery leaves, garlic, thin-sliced potatoes and parsley and let them sweat in the broth. Just get everything heated up.
Add the cream. Set aside.
Lavishly butter a deep, round baking dish. Dip or pour half the potato mixture into the baking dish. Crumble half the goat cheese and Asiago over this half of the potato mixture. Pour in the remaining potato mixture. Add the rest of the goat cheese and Asiago. The final level of liquid and potatoes in the baking dish should allow for bubbling as it bakes.
Potatoes Make Their Own Sauce While Baking
Bake an hour and 15 min to an hour an a half. The top will be brown and beautiful. The mixture makes its own gravy.
Totally heavenly. Serve with contrasting clean tastes (crisp and colorful salad and vegetables. This goes well with rich and creamy potatoes.
And for dessert? Something simple and fresh. Mangoes, Kiwi and Blueberries with a Squeeze of Lime. Bon Appetit!
Mangoes, Kiwi & Blueberries with A Squeeze of Lime
In my garden, there is always something new blooming and there’s always a new fruit in season to bring home from the Farmer’s Market or the Supermarket, or your neighbor’s tree. Right now mangoes abound. You can find them in any market.
Do you need to wake up and smell the coffee? Or slow down and smell the roses?? This lemonade will handle it all.
I swear, you’ll never be the same after you taste this mango lime-lemonade! It is my personal prediction that you may never again buy lemonade, and you’ll probably never order it in a restaurant again.
But I don’t know. Let’s test my theory.
How easy can it be? Pretty easy. A little messy, but easy. So roll up your shirt sleeves and go for it.
MANGO LIME-LEMONADE2 limes, squeezed (seeds removed)2 lemons, squeezed (seeds removed) (OR you can use 4 lemons or 4 limes if that’s what you have…)
1 ripe mango (for great instructions on how to cut a mango, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvLdPjpElyu. Squish the mango pit and get all the goodies from that as well. Nobody tells you that. :–) ). Probably ’cause it’s messy…
4 c. waterA little aguave, honey or sugar. Not much!!! Sweeten to taste. I used just a little more than 1/4 c. of aguave and it was just right, on the tart side, which is how we like it.Ice!
Ok, squeeze the lemons and limes into a cuisinart, blender, or vita mix. Add fresh mango. Puree and mix. Pour into a pitcher. Add water and 1/4 c. aguave. Then mix and see where you stand on the sweet scale. Add a little more sweetener of your choice if necessary. The sweetener required is less than you think, because the mango is naturally sweet, which is the whole idea! Drink natural sugar when possible, and drink fresh, un-messed-with juices.
Drink up! I served it to family and guests and it got thumbs up all around!
Let me know if you’re joining my “I’ll Never BUY Lemonade Again Club.”
My favorite kind of Asheville Morning… it’s raining gently as we wake up, wrapping the mountains in mist. All the colors are soft, the day starts in an easy way and life is good….
Soon, the sun will come out and diamonds will be everywhere. I’ll have to visit the glistening jewel-laden blueberry bushes in just a little while….
Mango Blackberry Lime Sorbet
Yesterday I made Mango Blackberry Lime Sorbet — Heaven on a spoon! Making fresh sorbet is my favorite simple way to use ripe and ready summer fruits.
Preferably, use a combination of fruits where one is sweeter and others are more tart. Mangoes are very sweet right now. Blackberries a little less sweet. Limes, of course are tart. A perfect combination.
Mango Blackberry Lime Sorbet
2 large Mangoes, peeled, chunked a bit. See directions below for “How To Cut A Mango.”
About 1 cup fresh blackberries, preferably from somebody’s local patch
1 Lime, squeezed — and make lime zest, too, and throw into the mix. Use a fine grater, microplane or zester tool. Get only the green part of the skin, not the white pith.
Put everything in a cuisinart (for slightly chunky sorbet option, which is my favorite) — or a blender (for smooth and blended sorbet).
Mix and taste. Add honey or aguave to taste. You don’t need much, if any. Don’t over-sweeten — it will hide the taste of the fruit. You want the taste of the fruit to be front and center.
How To Cut A Mango
Smoosh the pit in your hand to get all the good stuff — get it all! Nobody in a how-to video tells you to do that, but this part is the most fun (and by far the messiest!!). The pit is a bit like a slippery bar of soap, but go for it. Not exactly something you’d want to do with 8 kids at a birthday party!!! Well, maybe….! They would be entertained for hours!
For an excellent and simple chef’s video on how to cut a mango, go here .
…went down to the blueberry bushes to hoist an owl up on a very tall lookout post. We weren’t sure how to get the darn owl up there to scare the crows and other feathered folks away from the ripening blueberries. But we thought we could do it.
Such silly girls…
Oh, I see!!! The pole bends!
We Have Lift Off
Actually, it’s even worse. The plastic pole lifts off the metal stake (a bit hard to see in the photo)!!!
Don’t we feel silly….
We feel a little silly, but hey, we figured it out!
Now go away crows and find your dinner somewhere else!
Today, I’m sharing a story about how I accidentally accomplished something on my bucket list. I ran through an exit gate while looking the other way. The hood of my car is scratched up, and one windshield wiper is a mess, but let’s have a good laugh about how we never expect what “getting what we want” includes!
It seems to be a growing fad these days to call someone a narcissist, or declare they are toxic.
Political name-calling is similar—we assign politicians and voters to categories, and brush them off as if they are unintelligent, inferior, or even worthless.
By labeling others, we miss their humanity. We gloss over their struggle, their best effort at dealing with life. We dismiss them.
We do to them what we believe they are doing to others.
Look past a label, and in the soft light of day, there stands a person like you or like me, coping as best they can. At the end of the day, no friend, parent, or lover making conscious choices intends to be mean, or to ignore, or to embellish. There is always more to the story.
If we label others, then for sure we label ourselves. We trap ourselves into believing we are less than. Or not enough. Or we don’t give ourselves the time and forgiveness to work through our “stuff.” Maybe, if we stopped accusing others of narcissism, we could forgive ourselves for those moments when we were narrow-minded, inconsiderate, or afraid.
When it comes to labels, nobody wins.
So, my dear people, I suggest we peer a little deeper into ourselves to investigate a need to separate ourselves from others by tacking them with a label filled with disdain or scorn.
It is my wish that you view this video and take it to heart.