With the drought here in California, I haven’t been trying to care for a garden outside. This time of year is hot and dry. Tender little herbs just don’t need to be stressed by the sun and arid soil that we have right now. When I was offered a chance to try out an Aerogarden by Miracle Gro, I jumped at the opportunity! It arrived before Thanksgiving, and was so easy to set up! In just a few minutes I had filled the chamber with water, added the nutrients, inserted the seed pods and plugged the unit in! There is a grow-light that comes on Continue reading
Butternut squash and pearl onions are having a party in this Harvest Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette to celebrate Melissa’s Produce Fall Challenge with the San Diego Food Bloggers. The colors of the holidays are already dancing together as the cranberries and pine nuts peek through the lettuce and herb mix like tiny ornaments.
A group of San Diego Food Bloggers, organized by Barbara of BarbaraCooks.com, are sharing our recipes today. Each of us is eagerly wondering what everyone will come up with for this Melissa’s Produce challenge. Here’s how it works: Melissa’s Produce sends us each a box of assorted items to use in a recipe. We choose at least 3 of the items and add only 1-2 other items to make our dish.
Those of you who know me well are already shaking your heads, because you know that I have been obsessing over what to make and which items to use for days already. Thank you, Melissa’s Produce! I loved everything in the box! Dutch yellow potatoes for roasting, a fresh butternut squash, fresh shallots and pearl onions, peeled and steamed baby potatoes, fava beans, black-eyed peas, and garbanzo beans….plus pine nuts and dried cranberries! What would you make if you received these items? Continue reading
I have always been interested in herbs. I remember when my high school English class in Vermont visited a woman with a huge herb garden next to her old farmhouse. She showed us all the beautiful plants, told us how to use them, and let us pick sprigs so we could appreciate their delicious and unique aromas. I was fascinated by the different textures, sizes and shapes of the leaves, and the potential of the knowledge for my cooking. My ambition was to have a kitchen herb garden some day. And I have tried, I really have. I have planted herbs. I have brought home tiny pots of fresh herbs as well as larger collections. The trouble is, I don’t water them. I get distracted, or go out of town and they die. No lovely kitchen herb garden for me.
When a recipe calls for ingredients like fresh basil or cilantro, I think about how nice it would be to have that little garden just outside my kitchen. Sometimes I just skip over recipes because it’s too much trouble to drive the 10 miles to the grocery store from our home for one or two ingredients. I’m not good at planning ahead either. When it’s time to cook, I look for what’s in the pantry, in the freezer or on the kitchen counter. (We usually have plenty of avocados!)
This week my dream of having a kitchen herb garden came true! At last I have fresh garlic, cilantro, basil, lemon grass, cilantro, Italian herbs, oregano, parsley, dill…and even fresh ginger and chili pepper! I received the most beautiful selection of fresh herbs and spices from Gourmet Garden after meeting them at Camp Blogaway. It’s like having a palette of colors to brighten up our meals! The fresh herbs for Gourmet Garden products are organically grown, harvested, washed, chopped, blended and packed fresh into tubes that can be kept for three months in the refrigerator or six months in the freezer.
Now I can have all of the fresh herbs I want, exactly when I need them! Thank you so much to Gourmet Garden for sending me this generous gift to try. They arrived in a cute little cooler, nestled in with ice packs to keep them fresh. I’m so glad that I’ll be able to replace them all … they’re sold in the refrigerated section at the grocery store! (Yes, they’re also Gluten Free!) I even signed up for their Herb eCooking School on the Gourmet Garden website to receive recipes and tips on how to use them to enhance everyday meals.
I happen to have a few mangoes left from the box that was sent to us by the National Mango Board after Camp Blogaway last week. Our family has discovered a whole new perspective on life now that we’ve tasted those fresh mangoes. It’s hard to want to cook with them, as the fruit is so deliciously sweet and juicy that we gobble each one up as soon as it’s ripe. Today I decided to make Mango Chicken on top of the stove. I have to admit that I ate about a third of the mango instead of adding it all to the marinade. Sigh.
Easy Stovetop Mango Chicken
- To make the Marinade/Simmer Sauce:
- 1 fresh mango sliced or chopped
- 1/2 small brown onion chopped
- 1 tsp. Gourmet Garden fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp. Gourmet Garden fresh cilantro
- 1/2 tsp. Groumet Garden fresh garlic
- 2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
- about 1/2 cup of water use it to get the last of the mango-y goodness from the Vitamix or blender
- Frozen or fresh skinless and boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- Puree the above ingredients and pour it over frozen or fresh chicken.
- Cook on medium heat, covered, until the chicken is tender.
- Serve over rice or quinoa.
Since my husband is a farmer, he comes in for lunch every day. He was happy to find Mango Chicken on quinoa with avocados and broccolini all ready to eat. Now that we’re eating healthier, it’s a pleasure and a treat to include mangoes in our meals and to have fresh herbs and spices at our fingertips for our everyday needs.