Category Archives: lunch

weekend ease: maple miso mustard grilled chicken

maple miso mustard grilled chicken

We’re going out of town (again!) for a quick snap starting tomorrow morning, with an overnight stop in LA-la land and then continuing on for a few nights spent under the great big Western sky with my in-laws* in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I’m packing my Chacos (yes, I own them, and don’t even think of judging me, remember – I did live in Boulder) and a pair of my favorite tall boots (nights in Jackson this time of year should nestle somewhere comfortably in the mid 40s), and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t pumped to browse around for a cozy blanket to toss around my shoulders at the Pendleton shop that’s in town.

*I hate calling them this! It has such a negative connotation, like I’m forced to be bound to them or hang out with them only by law. What can we start calling “in-laws” that we love?! I’m formally accepting your suggestions.

maple miso mustard grilled chicken seasoning

I’m not generally a fan of dumping lots of canned this and that together and – look mom! I made a recipe! – but this here grilled chicken “recipe” does pretty much exactly that.  This maple mustard miso chicken (say that three times fast) comes together exactly as it sounds: stir together sweet white miso paste, dijon mustard, and maple syrup as your marinade and ‘glaze,’ season chicken thighs with a little S&P, and grill them up till they’re crisped and charred on the edges and juicy and tender in the middle. That’s it!

maple miso mustard chicken the tru=ifecta

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meet me in muskoka + a mushroom, cheddar, and leek pie, lake style

mushroom tart

If you follow me on Instagram you may have already seen various points of the mileage I mentioned yesterday; to be quite honest, I was actually surprised at how little pictures I actually took during our travels, and that goes for most of our adventures as of late.

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{captain + first mate}

I’ve been really bad about carting my DSLR on vacations with me lately (partly due to the fact that I desperately need a new telephoto lens – which obviously doesn’t come on the cheap – and I’ve been sticking my head in the sand and pretending my old one works just fine….it doesn’t), and it’s too easy to fall into the habit of snippity snapping away with ye old iPhone.

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I yammered on enough yesterday about how wonderful island living is up in Muskoka, but it would be remiss of me not to mention this mushroom pie – even though I’ve got but one photograph as evidence of it’s brief existence.

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best ever beet burgers with goat cheese spread (aka best veggie burgers, ever! )

beet burgers - brown rice and beet patties topped with chived goat cheese

In Boulder, there was a spot  downtown that we’d frequent all.the.time for lunch or a casual supper that made the most delicious beet burgers.  I never got around to trying my hand at them at home, because any time I had a chance to zip down the hill on our Vespa and enjoy my lunch al fresco on an inevitably sunny Colorado afternoon (and someone else was doing the cooking) I was going to take it.

beet burgers, raw beets sliced

Fast forward a couple of years and I’ve yet to find a place in San Francisco Santa Barbara that has a beet burger on their menu.  I guess I understand….beets, after all, seem to be a pretty polarizing root veggie, and I may be in the minority in the fact that these days I almost always default to a ‘veggie’ burger option when given the option.*

*And that is not to say I won’t absolutely-but-only-occasionally crush a double-double-animal-style.  Cause I’d be a liar if I said otherwise. 

beet burgers, shredded in processor

But this isn’t really a beet burger so much as just a really awesome veggie burger.  Yes, you can taste the beets – their earthy sweetness cuts straight through the other more mild binding components – but when combined with brown rice, lentils, chopped onion, fennel, and just a bit of almond butter, their in-your-face dirt-y-ness is mellowed out and complimented juuuuust right.

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and at it again: herb-jalapeno lamb patties in pitas with cucumber yogurt sauce, arugula, and baby tomatoes

lamb pitas with herb jalapeno lamb patties, cucumber yogurt sauce, arugula, and baby tomatoes

Apparently I am having a tough time deciding between tree hugger (KALE! QUINOA!) and burly carnivore, because nipping at the heels of a meat-ball-esque meal, I’m back extolling the virtues of another meat-in-ball-form dish.

lamb patties - perfectly sliced cukes

But I really somehow think you’re going to be OK with it. These bad boys are goo-o–o-ood!  Hear me out:

lamb patties - jalapeno!

Take lamb, add plenty of bright green jalapeno and fresh herbs, make patties and fry them till golden and crisped, then stuff them into warm and toasty pitas filled with creamy and cool cucumber sauce, peppery arugula, and sweet baby tomatoes. Some sliced red onion (because, duh) and a sidecar of vinegary hot sauce, and you’ve got yourself something really special in not a lot of time (and, I’ll add, with not all that much effort).

lamb patties - ground lamb

In non-ground form, lamb is generally prohibitively expensive for more than just the occasional meal; I don’t know about you, but my other/better half has mucha hambre after stomping around avocado groves all day, and seeing as he can put back a cool 7 or 8 lamb lollipops, we’re not exactly dishing those guys out on a random Tuesday.

lamb patties - fresh herbs ready to be chopped

But ground lamb is very affordable, and infinitely more forgiving when it comes to cooking temperatures (because really, is there anything more sad than a gorgeous lamb lolly that’s been cooked even a smidge past medium rare?), and as these pitas come together in less than a half hour, they’re just what the weeknight Dinner Doctor ordered.

lamb patties - herbs!

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total touchdown: kale caesar salad with olive oil tuna & toasted panko

kale caesar salad with olive oil tuna and toasted panko

Because it’s Friday, and because I love you, and because there is a certain sporting event that will take place on Sunday that mandates drinking beer and eating heathenly things like wings covered in butter with a dash of hot sauce and cheese-y/guacamole-y/sour cream-y/refried bean-y concoctions guaranteed to add 7 layers to – ahem – places other than just dips (hips?!), I present to you….

kale caesar with toasted panko and olive oil tuna - anchovies

The kale caesar salad.

kale caesar with toasted panko and olive oil tuna - kale leaves

Ok, ok I know…..kale is having a ‘moment’ of sorts; it was seemingly omnipresent in 2013, made into chips, liquified into juices, made into brownies….

kale caesar with toasted panko and olive oil tuna - sliced radish

I’m sorry but that’s just taking it too far.

kale caesar with toasted panko and olive oil tuna - dressing ingredients

I have to disagree with anyone (and, well, everyone) who is heralding kale as the veggie fad of 2013. Sure it did get lots of press last year, and I have to admit that even the most basic supermarkets seem to be stocking at least 3 varieties of the stuff, but if you’ve ever poked your head into a farmer’s market or have had a continuing love affair with people like Heidi, Sara, or Mollie, then you’re well aware that the leafy dark green is anything but a fad.

kale caesar with toasted panko and olive oil tuna - dressing

Inexpensive, filling, and much more satisfying than the watery crunch of a boring head of plain-old-lettuce, kale is a stalwart – not a fad. Plus, it’s dead easy to grow in your home garden, and perseveres (even thrives!) with just the tiniest bit of encouragement. A denizen of healthy cooks’ kitchens everywhere, sure; but all that positive press has thrust kale up onto a soapbox (not unlike quinoa), and I fear we are on the brink of kale overload.

kale caesar with toasted panko and olive oil tuna dressing made

kale caesar with toasted panko and olive oil tuna tuna can

But I digress. As it so happens – I think it’s really tasty. I’ve had a long standing love affair with Caesar salad, but as I’ve lamented before (and, wow, three years ago!) , I rarely ever order one, as in my experiences finding a great Caesar is about as easy as refraining from the snack table on Super Bowl Sunday.

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after those treats: vegan wild rice bowls with garlic tahini sauce, sweet grape tomatoes, broccoli, and avocado

vegan wild rice bowls with garlic tahini sauce

Because it’s Sunday, because we’ve got a blissful extra hour to kill, and because if you ate even close to the amount of candy corn that I managed to consume in the last 48 hours, I present to you, the vegan rice bowl.

vegan wild rice bowls with garlic tahini sauce, fresh broccoli

(Cue sad trombone.)

vegan wild rice bowls with garlic tahini sauce, wild rice medley

I know.  It’s Fall and we’re supposed to be braising meats and roasting squash and baking sweet cakes with things like apple and cinnamon and pumpkin in them!

vegan wild rice bowls with garlic tahini sauce, ripe avo

These rice bowls will neither fill your house with a cozy smell nor stick to your ribs like most comforting Autumnal fare.  They will, however, negate the queasy feeling that is inevitably setting in as the costumes hit the ground, the face paint wears off, and those fist-fulls of fun-sized snickers/butterfinger/crunch/dots/almondjoy/nerds/whatchamacallit start to set in in full effect.

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not like grandma used to make: chicken noodle soup with baby bok choy, snow peas, and rice noodles in a ginger, garlic, and lemon broth

chicken noodle soup with snow peas, baby bok choy, and rice noodles

In the past three weekends I’ve had the immense pleasure of:

1) hosting 2 of our favorite Los-Angelenos for a weekend of concerts & friends
2) hosting one of my bridesmaids and her fabulous boyfriend from Austin, and
3) flying SFO-NYC, driving five hours north to Lake Placid, and witnessing two of the most good natured and hilarous people I know get hitched.

chicken noodle soup with baby bok choy, snow peas, rice noodles, ginger & garlic - chopping the carrots

It’s been a pretty special few weeks, and with the tally of free weekends we’ve had since we’ve moved here still hovering at a whopping three (….since March!….), I can’t deny the fact that though this upcoming weekend will hold no knockout dinners (Outerlands, you killed it once again), no afternoons spent drinking white sangria whilst in the grips of a fierce game of bocce (because I can’t not take a visitor to our favorite Sausalito haunt), and no tear stained napkins after one amazingly talented groom-to-be took out his guitar and sang his own flawless rendition of the most touching Avett Brother’s song while we swayed to the last of the daylight amongst the tall Adirondack pines….

It’s a weekend I am fervently anticipating.

chicken noodle soup with baby bok choy, snow peas, rice noodles, ginger & garlic - snow peas cut and ready

(Major brownies points for that last one folks. Maje.)

chicken noodle soup with baby bok choy, snow peas, rice noodles, ginger & garlic - washing the bok choy

By now I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me say how busy we’ve been (whine, whine, whiiiine!!), and trust…. I’m tired of saying it myself.  But we are finally facing down the second half of a week that will be capped off with *just* a weekend – just one of the plain old vanilla kind, spent here in the city, in and around the neighborhood we now call home, and hopefully punctuated and permeated with all of those fantastic things that make a muted weekend so sweet.

chicken noodle soup with baby bok choy, snow peas, rice noodles, ginger & garlic - fresh rice noodles

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