Rotisserie Chicken Marsala

Hi folks! Been a while. I took a way too long break from cooking but pulled out the pots and pans tonight. And to yummy results! The Marsala wine and the mushroom create such a rich slightly sweet and salty umami flavor that I had been craving. Mission accomplished! 🙂


Ingredients:

1 rotisserie or left over chicken pieces

1 box crimini mushrooms, stemmed and diced 

3 cloves of garlic, minced

Chicken stock

Sweet Marsala wine 

Salt to taste (I used salt with herbs that I picked up during travels) 

Ghee

Arrowroot powder

———————————————

Loose Directions:

Sauté garlic in ghee until soft. 

Add mushrooms and cook a bit. 

Add salt

Add cooked chicken pieces (I used two chicken breasts). 

Add about a cup and a half of chicken stock and about 3/4 cup of Marsala wine. 

Bring to boil to let alcohol cook off. 

Reduce to a simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes. I turned the chicken over once and basted it a couple of times. 

Take a little of the pan liquid in separate container and add 1-2 tsps of arrowroot powder to create a slurry. Whisk this slurry back into the pot to thicken sauce. 

And enjoy!!!

Let me know what you think!

Hope this finds you all well,

The Foggie Foodie

Dairy & Grain Free Tuna Casserole

  
While this is definitely NOT the prettiest meal, it is surprisingly tasty. I thought I wasn’t one for hot canned tuna dishes, but I’ve proven myself wrong, lol. I still can’t bring myself to add cheese to tuna (anyone with me?!) but I’m sure if you like that combo this dish could stand a cheesy topper. 

  
I made this last week when the San Francisco weather was overcast and chilly. Now we are in full blown summer-like weather and I’m LOVING IT! 😎🌞. Yesterday, Mr. Foggy Foodie and I went to our good friends’ house for an outdoor birthday party.  I didn’t even have a sweater on! Hooray! I also seriously cheated on this no-sugar, no-grain thing with a bagel, cream cheese and a piece of outrageously divine handmade cake (chocolate, strawberry buttercream, with chocolate ganache…not too sweet and so fresh! drooling just thinking about it again!) made by our outrageously talented friend, Stacie, who owns Little Bee Baking. If you are in the Bay Area you MUST stop by her shop in Bernal Heights. Everything is heavenly and waaaaay worth the splurge. 

   


Admittedly, after all the treats all I wanted was a nap, with a warm breeze. Alas, back on the horse today. 🙂 But with no regrets. 

Ok, back to what I made during the gloomy weather. Here’s the recipe (I say that loosely!):

  1. Cook 1 spaghetti squash,  slightly al dente
  2. While squash is cooking, dice and sautée 1 yellow onion, with salt, pepper and red chili flakes in some coconut oil in an oven safe Dutch oven, if you have one. 
  3. When onions start to get translucent add in a couple of heads of brocolli and stir well. 
  4. Let brocolli cook until al dente and then add in the cooked spaghetti squash, 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk, 2 cans of tuna and more salt and pepper. Stir together. 
  5. Put oven safe pot directly in the oven (or transfer into casserole dish) at 400•F for about 20 minutes or until everything is bubbly, flavor melded and cooked to your desired done-ness. Before putting in the oven you could add a cheese and/or breadcrumb layer for a crisp crust. 
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Making this made me feel transported back to the 1950’s…

Yours in happy indulging and fiddling with old school classics,

The Foggy Foodie

Bastardized Ratatouille with Grassfed Burger Patty…

  
Growing up, I remember my mom, who is an amazing cook, making Ratatouille on several occasions. Ratatouille is basically a French dish of stewed vegetables including onions, eggplant, peppers, in a tomato base.  

  
My bastardized version did not include onions (the one in the house had gone bad), nor eggplant, as generally I can’t stand eggplant. It’s such a pretty vegetable but I don’t like the taste, nor texture. Sorry pretty eggplant and eggplant lovers. I substituted zucchini. I also was out of garlic, so I used copious amounts of garlic powder.  And while Mom would squish the canned tomatoes by hand, when ripe fresh ones weren’t available, I opted for marinara sauce, which thankfully had onions and garlic in it. Oh and just to make sure it was totally unauthentic I added broccoli because it my world most things are better with broccoli. 😉 And lastly I made it on the spicy side, because I like a little kick.  All in all it came out really tasty! Mr. Foggy Foodie picked up the cooked burger patties from the local hamburger joint on his way home from work just as I was finishing the stew. As Hannibal from the A-Team used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together.”  

Bastardized Ratatouille:  
Ingredients

  • 1 yellow pepper (this looked the best in the store)
  • 3 zucchinis
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 1 tbsp Organic garlic powder
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Red pepper flakes (I used a palm full. I don’t generally measure.) 
  • 1 tbsp Organic Refined Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 jar of Marinara sauce of your choice. I used this Organic Marinara Sauce
  • Olive oil for garnish. We used lemon infused. The lemon added a nice brightness. Like this one.

Instructions:

  1. Chop veggies in chunks;
  2. Heat coconut oil (I used refined so that it did not impart coconut flavor);
  3. Add veggies, salt, garlic powder and red pepper flakes;
  4. Simmer on low until veggies are cooked. In traditional ratatouille the veggies are stewed down pretty far. I like a little more body to my veggies so i let them get soft but not completely stewed;
  5. Add in marinara sauce and allow it to heat and meld; 
  6. Serve under your favorite protein or as a side dish;
  7. Enjoy!

Let me know if you give this a try or share your favorite traditional ratatouille recipe. 

Yours in bastardizing Classic French dishes,

The Foggy Foodie

Pan Seared Halibut with Braised Artichokes and Haricot Verts with Simple Salsa Verde… 

I love halibut and have been seeing fresh, wild pacific halibut at the stores recently. It is not a cheap fish, and you can sub another white fish with this dish. I chose to go big and spring for the halibut. Then the fear set in that I was going to ruin this beautiful fish, which when done well is moist, and meaty but flaky.  Mom to the rescue, lol:  I found this recipe online and followed her cooking instruction more or less, substituting ghee for grapeseed oil. I think I put a bit too much ghee in the pan because when i put the fish in it splattered hot oil all over the stove, counters and me. No wonder chefs have battle wounds all over their arms…shit gets real in the kitchen 😉

For the side dish I riffed off of this recipe for braised artichokes. I prepped about 8 baby artichokes by cutting of the bottoms tops and taking off the exterior leaves, and cutting them in half. Did you know that baby artichokes aren’t actually younger versions of large artichokes?? They’re just smaller in size. I just learned that! Neat. 

I didn’t hit them with lemon juice quickly enough so they oxidized a tiny bit, but so it goes. I placed them cut side down in some ghee, added some lemon juice and left them for 4 minutes to brown. Once browned (I actually left them alone long enough to caramelize!), I flipped them over and let the back brown for about 2 more minutes. Then I threw in a sliced shallot, a couple of handfuls of haricotverts, with ends trimmed. I also tossed in some baby kale that I had left over and half a cup of water and some red pepper flakes. I let those simmer for about 20 minutes. They came out perfectly!!!

While the fish was cooking I made a salsa verde (aka green sauce).  I threw a head of parsley, half a shallot, basil infused olive oil and juice of half a lemon into my Nutribullet. Sauce, tada!

The first time I plated the fish, Mr. foggy foodie thought it looked slightly translucent, whoops… I was so worried about overlooking I undercooked it.  I put the filets back on the heat for a few extra minutes and basted the top with the hot pan ghee, like I’ve seen on TV ☺️. He said his came out perfectly and that he loved it. I think mine could have done with a minute less but was still juicy and delicious. The salsa verde added A really nice fresh, herbaceous and acidic note. And the veggies were savory and flavorful. 

I ate the whole dang thing and savored every second. 

I’m so proud of this dish! It looked restaurant-y and tasted better than lots of things I’ve eaten out. Yay!

Check it out! I made this! Crazy!

 
Yours in kitchen accomplishments,

The Foggy Foodie

Curried Cauliflower Soup with Greens…

Hiya!

Being back in the kitchen after last week’s whirlwind felt good. My last post was certainly heavier than others I’ve written, but I’m really proud of the post. If you haven’t read it, I swear it’s not completely depressing!! So please give it a gander and I’d love to hear  your thoughts and food memories. 🙂  

Last night I wanted something comforting and creamy without dairy… I came up with Curried Cauliflower and Greens Soup with Coconut Milk. And I will say I was quite pleased with the outcome! It paired beautifully (😜) with binge watching Bosch on Amazon prime. Any one watching that?! It’s a really well done cop show, and is totally intense, pretty addictive and definitely dark. When I couldn’t handle any more, a girl’s got her limits, I switched over to happy and light HGTV’s Fixer Upper. I love that show. Chip and Joanna Gaines are adorable and the house transformations are incredible. I love Joanna’s sense of style and whimsy in her decorating. The shows are polar opposite but I highly recommend both, based on your preferences, of course.


Curried Cauliflower and Greens Soup with Coconut Milk:

In soup pot add enough water to steam:

  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped up
  • 1 box of pre-washed super greens mix or your choice of spinach, chard, kale, etc.
  • Sea salt

Steam onion and cauliflower first until starting to soften, about 10 minutes. Then add greens to wilt.

After veggies were soft I drained off a little water because I wanted thick soup.

On low heat, stir in:

Use an immersion stick blender or regular blender to purée the soup until desired consistency. I wanted a thick comforting soup so just the can of coconut milk with the liquid was plenty for me, and didn’t over power with coconut flavor.

The plan was to top it with shrimp but they got all mushy and tasted funny so I skipped them and had a vegan dinner. I also think that the soup would be super yummy with chickpeas if you eat legumes, which I miss and may reintroduce soon. I just topped mine with some extra virgin olive oil.


So good!!! I think I’ll have some leftovers for breakfast. The recipe makes a big pot!

Yours in happy full bellies,

The Foggy Foodie

On Grief, Loss and Food…

My dad passed away last Thursday, March 24th, 2016, at the age of 71. He had been sick with Alzheimer’s for some time, so it was both merciful and deeply heart wrenching. He had been slowly slipping away, but this was a finality for which I wasn’t quite prepared.

* * *

My dad, prior to his illness, was a major foodie and wine connoisseur. He had a sweet tooth to rival my own and taught me the joys of a mug (never a bowl, always a mug!) full of coffee ice cream on a winter’s night cozied up in front of a roaring fire. He enjoyed fine dining as much as junk food, and I was fortunate and grateful to be afforded amazing experiences. We celebrated his 50th birthday with a dinner at the Four Seasons in Manhattan. That meal left a major impression on me. I can’t recall exactly what we ate (it was 21 years ago, and I may have the genes for Alzheimer’s 😁😖, but alas…). What I do remember was the restaurant’s exquisite touch and perennial care: Each dish was composed like a masterful painting; plates came and went without me even noticing a hand, as lifted by air; new silverware appeared in my grasp without realizing the old ones were gone. I remember laughing. I remember toasting to life.

* * *

Over the years, my dad shared his love of wine with me and my brother. Soon after I moved to San Francisco, he visited me and we took a trip, just the two of us, up to the Sonoma Valley, where we toured some of his favorite California wineries, including Jordan  and Unti.  Jordan boasts a French inspired chateau and stunning one-acre manicured garden and old growth oak trees, whereas Unti has a much more rustic, easy going Northern California vibe. Both equally memorable and fabulous. Both make delicious wines with pride. On that trip, my dad generously bought me my first fancy bottle of wine from Jordan and I saved that bottle for almost a decade before enjoying it a few years ago with Mr. Foggy Foodie. Uncorking that bottle turned an average day into a magical one. The wine, deep garnet in color, was rich and decadent and the flavors delightfully shifted with the amount of time it breathed, as it released the memories of that trip. A condensed metaphor for life.

* * *
As the news of my father’s passing washed over me, I subconsciously decided to cut myself some serious slack on this mold diet as I dealt with the arrangements, travel, funeral, and loss.

The night I found out about his death all I wanted was that Hungarian goulash from the Red Tavern. Mr. Foggy Foodie sweetly brought it home to me. It reminds me so much of the Jewish style brisket my father masterfully made during my childhood.  I never got that recipe from him, but once I get over my fear of cooking meat (which I am feeling ever closer to) I plan to try to recreate it. The goulash was an excellent stand in. It gave me a stomach ache (Was it flour? Butter? Grief? Who knows!), as well as a hug from within. It made my soul feel comforted, if not my belly.

When we arrived in New York/Connecticut, MFF and I met up with my older brother and sister in law. We decided to dine to the nines (thanks big bro!) and celebrate my dad in style. We went to a restaurant named Rebeccas  and ate scrumptious food, plated with such finesse it sparked my memory of the Four Seasons meal. We dined, caught up, talked over family stuff, recounted some funny but mostly poignant dad stories. I tried to stick to my diet as closely as possible during that meal to be kind to my system. I had a delicious salmon dish that I will definitely be attempting to replicate at some point soon. It was braised in chicken stock with root veggies and tons of fresh dill. It was brothy and simple but full-flavored and fragrant. As it turns out, chicken soup is good for the soul.


As the weekend progressed I said f@ck it more and more to the diet and enjoyed some wine, PIZZA! (OMG DELICIOUS NY PIZZA! YESSSS!), and a bagel with cream cheese piled on. To my delight my stomach didn’t revolt too badly and I made it through the weekend in one piece, more or less. I’d like to say I got right back on board but that would be a lie. I’ve had wonderful friends give me chocolates (sea salt chocolate covered-caramels… don’t mind if I do.) and Mr. Foggy Foodie and I had our favorite, comfort food, Thai delivery two nights in a row this week. I had some more wine last night but have been heading back to clean eating.

All in all, I let food do some comforting this week, and I do not regret that decision.

* * *
One thing a death will make you do is break some rules. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Life is meant to be lived, within the bounds of health, and straying from strict dietary rules is part of that for me right now. I realized that loosening the reigns didn’t make me fail, and didn’t instantly make me feel horrendous, minus a few bouts of belly discomfort. It’s all a spectrum, all about total toxic load, and a long term balance will need to be forged, as I am a food and sweet lover, and want to enjoy a glass of wine and a decadent meal, as it does bring me great enjoyment, just as it did my father back in the day.  I recognize, however, that I haven’t always eaten primarily for health and often ate whatever I wanted at whatever the cost, just as sometimes my dad lacked boundaries and lived an overindulgent food life, which could have contributed to his disease. To find a way to occasionally indulge and enjoy the pleasures of life within good boundaries is ultimately the goal in my book.

* * *

Sadly, as the Alzheimer’s took hold, my father’s interest in food and wine dwindled, as did his sparkle. It’s a cruel disease that his spirit is now freed from. I hope he is finding renewed joy in the aromas and flavors on the other side, enjoying a heavenly meal, with roaring laughter.

That’s how I’d like to imagine him.

Yours with love and well wishes,

The Foggy Foodie

Date Night at Red Tavern

Last night Mr. Foggy Foodie and I tried a restaurant in our new neighborhood. Back to that in a few, but first a little back story. 

Since we were forced to move from our old apartment due to mold, I’ve been feeling rather displaced. I lived in that old Victorian apartment for close to a decade and even though it made me sick, I loved the space and the neighborhood. We were in the middle of San Francisco, albeit on a very busy, loud and gritty street. But I adored my community and our local restaurants and bars, all just a stone’s throw from our front stoop. 

Affordable housing in San Francisco is in crisis and nearly impossible to find, and we wound up being pushed to an outer neighborhood… MFF quickly adapted, as he does, and was truly happy to be out of the hubbub of our old hood and loved the quiet and non-grit of our new area. Me? Well, I’m not great with change under the best circumstances. I have felt isolated, not only by our locale (which is only a 20 minute car ride away, but feels like a different world) but also by this restrictive diet that leaves me cooking at home as opposed to eating out and being a part of the fabric of the city. 

Really, though, I am grateful that we procured a safe and well-maintained, healthy new apartment which came with a beautiful well-equipped kitchen. I am slowly, SLOOOOOWLY, working on exploring our new area. And have found some true gems. Yesterday a friend came over and we walked to beautiful Baker Beach. I can walk to one of the most gorgeous spots around! How great is that?!

  I still spend a lot of time in our old neighborhood (I’m a creature of habit), but I realize I must feel more connected to my immediate environs for my happiness. 

So, in an effort to further connect, MFF and I decided it was time to try Red Tavern, a sweet looking restaurant I’ve passed a bunch of times. The menu looked like I could find something to eat; it was time to check it out. Touted as Russian/Modern European fare, I was excited to try their interpretation of the food of my ancestors. And boy, were we pleased! The menu was lovely and the food was delicious. 

  
In the forefront of this picture is my meal: rack of lamb with fried cauliflower. Oh My Goodness, the cauliflower was BOMB! The lamb was… Well, I realize I don’t love lamb, but as far as lamb goes, this was well prepared. MFF had Hungarian beef goulash and I had a bunch of his because it was so delicious and reminded me of my childhood…tender braised brisket, stewed in tomatoes and red peppers (my ancestry has both Hungarian and Russian roots). I’m definitely getting this next time! (If only it were Grassfed beef I’d eat it every night for a month!… A girl can dream!)

Then MFF turned into the devil and ate this dessert in front of me:

   
 
See my empty plate?! That bastard. 😜 Soon, I will taste this wonder. MFF said it was outrageously delicious and light and moist and not too sweet. Drool. Soon!

On a side note, they had the cutest selection of plates! Under the cake was a design with peaches. And the appetizer plates had adorable fish on them (forgot to snap a pic). I love assorted China so this was right up my alley. 

So, all in all yesterday was a grand time in my new neighborhood. What adventures did your Sarurday hold?

Yours in finding new footing,

The Foggy Foodie

Easy Grassfed Beef “Chili” Recipe… 

  
In to Nutribullet (I LOVE MY NUTRIBULLET!):

1 large shallot

1 green pepper

1 box of cherry tomatoes

Salt and olive oil

Result: a slightly disgusting colored, slightly chunky purée that will look better with time, I promise!!!

Put purée in skillet with 2 broken up grassfed beef patties (I haven’t figured out how to cook my own meat so I used patties cooked from a local burger place) and super greens (baby kale, spinach, chard…) and a heap of red pepper flakes. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Salt to taste. 

Top with a dash of fresh olive oil and avocado.  Enjoy!

Came out pretty damn delicious and the left overs the next day for lunch were equally fab. 

Yours in quick cooking,

The Foggy Foodie

Japanese Curry Inspired Experiment and a Kitchen Wound…

I’ve been having a lot of anxiety the last few days… I won’t bore you with the details but I will say I was in need of some comfort food. Pre this anti-mold diet I would have self soothed by going to a restaurant named Sawaii, and cozied up with a rich warm bowl of ramen with a side of their magical vegetarian curry. 

Their curry was my first foray into Japanese style curry and I was hooked; sweet, savory, soul satisfying. Sign me up. I realize now it was probably laden with sugar, as everything I craved was, but I loved it’s smooth thick consistency and onion and garlic and curry kicks. 

I found a recipe at The Cavegirl Dish and decided to modify it for my diet and cooking comfort. Since I was feeling lazy and only wanted to make a one pot meal, I added in chunky veggies and some wild fresh cod.  

I started with ghee and a chopped onion and grated ginger (AND PART OF MY FINGER TIP — ouch and yuck! Luckily none in the soup! ). I used garlic powder since my garlic head had mold on it (why does this happen so fast?!?). I cooked those down until translucent and then added baby turnips and broccoli and enough chicken bone broth to cover. I brought it up to a boil and then let it simmer for a few minutes. I then put in my cod and covered and cooked for about 7 minutes. 

While the cod was cooking I started to work on the roux. I’ve watched my mom make rouxes a gagillion times but had never tackled one myself. I toss some ghee and arrowroot powder into a skillet haphazardly figuring by the time the ghee melted I could stir it all in. WRONG. The arrowroot powder congealed in spots on the bottom of the pan. Oh well, I carried on and added more ghee and more arrowroot. Well, i mostly got it in the pan, but a fair amount covered the counters like a 1970’s coke party, lol. I whisked attentively with my brand new rainbow wisk. Once it came together I threw in my curry spice blend. I used what I had in the kitchen: mostly curry powder, with tumeric, cinnamon, and paprika added in. I let it toast for a few minutes and then added the spiced glop to my pot of simmered goodness. 

I waited for magic to happen. For it to turn into a proper thick Japanese Curry. But alas, the ratio of roux and thickener, to soupy bone broth was not enough or too much, whichever way you look at it. 

  

Mind you, although it didn’t satisfy the thick curry craving it was delicious and pretty darn spicy! I’ll definitely try this again with a few tweaks!

   
The next day I had leftovers and will say it thickened up a bit, but still not enough to hit the mark. It was a lovely and nourishing lunch, regardless. 

Yours in roux ratios,

The Foggy Foodie

Ps any helpful tips?

Spaghetti Squash Take Two

  
I made spaghetti squash again; And again, it was scrumptious. This time I added a dash of cinnamon to the top of the cooked squash before I layered in the sautéed shallot, asparagus, rotisserie chicken, and spicy tomato sauce. 

The asparagus were some of the first of the season and they were giant and sweet. Yay for spring on the way!

I also realized I am an impatient cook. I have a hard time letting foods take their time to brown and develop flavors — probably because I’m starving before I start cooking. Lol. Tonight the artichoke wasn’t cooked…again…and had to be put back in its steam bath until later. It became dessert. 

But the thing that really made me take notice of the errors of my impatience was with my shallots.  I had just put the shallots into the olive oil when the Chief of Clean Floors (my dog) announced she needed to go out. I figured the shallots would be fine on low heat and off we went. It wasn’t a long walk, just a potty break in a dry weather break (it’s been pouring here). Upon our return the beautiful aroma of cooking shallots met us at the door. When I checked the pan they weren’t even fully cooked but were happily on their way to reaching their full sautéed glory. Maybe I should walk the dog more often in the middle of cooking dinner 😉

  
I think this squash was even better than the first. I was worried I’d over cooked it, but in fact it was fantastically tender and almost creamy. 

Of course Mr. Foggy Foodie, snacker that he is, finished his with a half a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Bastard. 😉

Yours in learning kitchen (and life) patience,

The Foggy Foodie