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Friday, June 15, 2012

chicken cherry mole - gluten free + dairy free

hello from (somewhat) sunny germany! i'm here til next friday - so this is likely the only post you'll see from me for the next two weeks or so. i'll be sure to recap some of my culinary adventures with you once i return...

i recently started reintroducing corn back into my diet. score! i cant tell you how much i've missed corn chips, eating mexican/latin food, making homemade corn bread. best part of it all - if i eat it in moderation (and organic whenever possible) ive been able to tolerate it.

that said, i've been hitting up taco joints like its no-ones business. my absolute drop dead favorite is picas taqueria in boulder. this small restaurant is tucked away in a tiny shopping center east of downtown boulder on arapahoe ave. pica's offers up a mean a la carte taco selection. my fav's thus far include the chicken al carbon, tacos al pastor, and grilled mahi. their corn tortillas are served up warm and  toasty i suggest ordering them up with 1/2 + 1/2 - an order of guacamole and pico de gallo. my go-to dish on the menu is the chopped salad. yep. a salad. its romaine lettuce with jicama, corn, tortilla (corn) squares, grilled red + poblano peppers, avocado and onion. it comes standard with a cumin vinaigrette, however, i'm hooked on their puya chile vinaigrette - its sweet, spicy and tangy - so i always opt for that instead. i add grilled chicken to the salad and ta-da. complete meal. i've got a serious restaurant crush on this place and i'm there at least once a week. thank god its only a quick drive from the office. 

mole! mole! mole!
one of my favorite latin haunts is centro. i used to frequent this place, but since my office moved to the outskirts of boulder - i'm there less often. after a huge night on the town a few of us were aching for food so we headed over early saturday morning. their happy hour runs from 9-1030am and includes a good selection breakfast dishes and brunch cocktails - mimosas and bloodys. thinking that the measly $2-$3 plates would be small we ordered way too many of them. the portions were generous to say the least - best part - our waitress advised me that almost everything could be make gluten + dairy free. chocolate chip pancakes with blueberry tequila syrup - yep they come gluten free by default - thanks to lillabee gf pancake mix. hangover heaven.

centro brunch happy hour = brilliant
like i mentioned previously i recently visited a new mexican restaurant in louisville, co - la revolucion. i havent had mole in a while, so when i saw it on their menu i knew i needed to at least get a side of it. their version was pretty tasty, but a bit too sweet for me. i've never made mole, so i decided to take challenge myself with coming up with my own version. as soon as i got home i started experimenting with different variations of mole and settled on a chicken mole with cherries - i used them in place of raisins that are traditionally used to make mole. i'm a huge fan of chocolove chocolate based in boulder, co and keep a stockpile of their chocolate bars in my pantry. i decided to use their dark chocolate with chilies + cherries in my mole.

chicken cherry mole
  • 6 cups cooked chicken breast - shredded (i used six chicken breasts previously grilled)
  • 1 14oz canned whole tomatoes (including 1/2 of the liquid) - i used muir glen - bpa free! 
  • 1/2 large sweet onion - roughly chopped
  • 1 dried ancho chili - rinsed, patted dry and de-stemmed
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo + 1 tbsp of adobo sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 chocolove chilies and cherries bar or 1.5oz of your fav dark chocolate - broken into pieces
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries - dont use tart cherries
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/6 tsp ground cinnamon
  • fresh chopped cilantro - to garnish + add a tad of extra flavor
  • salt + pepper
place all ingredients (except pre-cooked shredded chicken) into a blender. blend until completely smooth. pour mole into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer - be careful to watch this and keep stirring - you dont want to burn the chocolate. once it just starts to bubble turn down to low, continuing to stir periodically around 45 minutes to an hour. once your mole has cooked pour over shredded chicken then serve on top of white rice, on a salad as i did above or on top of fresh pressed corn tortillas. sprinkle chopped cilantro on top to brighten up the sweet/savory mole.

FYI i DID NOT cook all 6 chicken breasts at the same time - if its just two of you eating this - i'd recommend doing the same. this recipe yields a healthy bit of food. mark and i were able to squeeze 3 meals out of it. we only used the necessary amount of mole to coat our chicken, then froze remaining sauce. we then defrosted the mole, cooked up more chicken and used it again. NOTE: this was KILLER the 2nd and 3rd go round. KILLER. the flavors were so much more intense. on the 2nd and 3rd go we also topped off the mole/chicken with pico de gallo and avocado. wonderfully delicious. i plan on making this frequently and definitely for guests next go round. hope you love it as much as we do.

my version of mole is a bit thicker than ones i've had in the past - if you like yours to be a runny consistency i suggest adding in either chicken or vegetable stock.

Friday, June 8, 2012

vanilla cardamom tapioca pudding - gluten free + dairy free

happy friday morning! i cant believe the week is already over - i kept ultra busy with work and eating. as you'll see - i've definitely done quite a bit of eating - alot more eating out than i normally do. i however, did make time to come up with a few recipes this week that i'm excited to share with you - vanilla cardamom tapioca pudding and chicken mole. read on for the tapioca pudding recipe. i've got tons to share with you from the past week and a half...get ready.

recently, i was invited to join a boulder based  food blogger group that hosts meet ups for its members at local establishments. unfortunately, i missed the first few meetups, but was able to attend one recently -hosted at the bitter bar. its a speak easy styled bar that serves artfully crafted drinks reminiscent of the prohibition era. creator/owner/connoisseur of adult bevvies, james lee, spoke to the us about the idea behind the bar, about what alcohol is and about making drinks. afterward, the group networked and i met some talented area food bloggers. it was a great experience and i'm looking forward to the next couple of meet ups that we have planned over the summer.  

vanilla cardamom tapioca pudding
last weekend mark and i finally had brunch at the famed brasserie ten ten in boulder. it was wonderful. he of course, picked the most decadent meal on the menu - chicken and waffles. um, yes, i sat across the table from him, green with envy. i opted for a safer meal - two poached eggs (perfectly poached, mind you), chicken apple sausage, breakfast potatoes, a gardein salad and a side fresh fruit. it was a marathon of food to say the least. we washed the fare down with peach bellinis. quite a great start to the day. finally, a quick walk thru the farmers market - picked up a bunch of peonies and some turnips then promptly returned home for a siesta. 

we also scouted a new taco joint that opened up in louisville - la revolucion. their downtown louisville patio has lots of seating - so its a perfect summer spot. i went with chicken mole and a salad - mark ordered a massive pork burrito. he chowed it down in next to no time. the mole was good - a tad on the sweet side for me. it prompted me to come home and start brainstorming mole recipes. i've got a yummy version that i've tested, tweaked and plan on sharing soon!

farmers market peonies
wednesday night was incredible - i was invited to a private viewing of the YSL retrospective at the denver art museum, compliments of vail resorts. my friend and style guru, betsy doughty accompanied me to the event and we both swooned over YSL's impeccable couture. after the exhibit guests were treated to cocktails at palates restaurant at the museum. we figured since we were in denver that we'd hit linger, brain child of chef justin cucci and chef daniel asher's restaurant that just turned 1 year old. we were fortunate to get a great booth at the bar and quickly assaulted the happy hour menu. we then ordered a few main courses - scallops that were so succulent and cooked perfectly - served with heirloom tomatoes and an arugula pudding. yummmmm.  to round off the great meal we both had the vegan salted butterscotch pudding made with coconut milk, served on a bed of grilled pineapple with a rice + sesame seed crunch and topped off with a bright flavored lemongrass cotton candy. dreamy, just dreamy.

work has been crazy. a few weeks back i had an intern from CSU start (she's heaven sent) and this past monday i was fortunate enough to have another intern start - a high school senior from the dawson school.  needless to say, i've been staying busy at the office. i'm in the process of tying up last minute items for my trip to germany next week. i'm making the annual trek to the international super computing conference in hamburg. i must say, im quite excited to get back there. its a lovely place to visit. i'll likely take at least a week off from blogging, so when i get back i promise to share my chicken mole recipe with you. 

ok - onto the recipe. i'm not what spurred this one - mark randomly told me he wanted tapioca pudding. off to the store we went and later that night we messed around with flavor combos and settled on vanilla cardamom. it didnt take a bunch of tries - the first batch came out pretty decently. 


vanilla cardamom tapioca pudding
  • 1/6 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 1.5 cups hemp milk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt - be sure to use table salt (or a fine grain salt) - not kosher
begin by soaking tapioca pearls in 3/4 cup of the hemp milk for 30-45 minutes. they will begin to look somewhat translucent. in a separate container whisk together the remaining milk, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla extract, cardamom and sea salt. combine milk and tapioca pearls with the mixture in a small saucepan over medium heat. allow the mixture to come to a boil - stirring constantly - you dont want to scorch the mix. immediately turn down to the lowest setting and continue to stir around 20-25 minutes, until you have a pudding like consistency - taste and test for tapioca pearl doneness. they should be soft and have no 'crunch' to them when they are done.

Friday, June 1, 2012

mediterranean chickpea salad - gluten free + dairy free

summer is here! time to get out of the kitchen and outside to the grill. keeping the house cool is definitely a top priority and this simple dish will help you do just that. no cooking here - just slicing and dicing. so hit up your local farmers market and get ready. this healthy dish can either stand alone or compliment any main dish.

chickpeas are chock full of protein and fiber and help you get full and stay full for a while. this bright, summery dish can be put together in next to no time, however, my suggestion is to make at least a few hours in advance so the flavors can meld while it chills in the refrigerator.

i made this dish last weekend for a (boozey + teary) going away party along with a spin on my asian carrot slaw recipe. i updated the old version of the slaw by adding in cabbage and few other key ingredients that aided in amping up the flavor profile. before i got a chance to snap pics of it, it was eaten, so i'll make it again in the near future and promise to post the new recipe too.

this week my close friends and i say 'see you soon'  (because, goodbyes flat out suck) to jeramiah, whitney and their baby boy, cruz. i love them dearly and will miss them like crazy. (however, am quite excited to have a reason to visit san diego). jeramiah was among the first people i met when i moved to boulder 8 years ago. they quickly because my colorado family and have consistently been the glue to our close knit group of friends. just about every other weekend they host a dinner or some sort of appetizer party that everyone goes to. i'm really, really going to miss their smiling faces. jer + whit - you are incredible people and i wish you the best on this adventure. i love you with all my heart.

onto the mediterranean chickpea salad - if you prefer - use dried chickpeas. i for one, dont have the time or patience to soak and then cook them. sure, i'm a slacker, i always use canned chickpeas.

on that note - i'd love to fill you in on something. you remember that nalgene bottle that you threw away a few years ago? the one that bpa in it? the one that could potentially cause cancer and disrupt hormones? well, yeah. bpa isnt gone. its in the lining of the canned food in your pantry. only a few companies have stepped up to the plate and have taken the vow use bpa free cans. i've vowed to purchase canned items labeled as bpa free, or that appear on this safe list . otherwise, i purchase goods in glass jars or i stick with fresh items (always a better choice).

just a word to the wise - i'll stop by rant now ;)

mediterranean chickpea salad
  • 1 25oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) i used eden organic brand - their cans are bpa free
  • 3 plum tomatoes - chopped
  • 1/2 medium red onion - finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers - rinsed
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup flat leaf parsley - finely chopped
  • salt + pepper
in a large mixing bowl (glass) combine chickpeas, tomatoes, red onion, capers - stir to combine. Add in lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and balsamic vinegar - depending on your taste you may want to start with less of each ingredient and add more as you go. i tend to like my salad vinegary. once you've achieved a perfect balance season with salt and pepper. finally, stir in parsley. like i mentioned earlier - the flavors on this dish develop as it chills in the fridge. i highly recommend making and letting it chill overnight, or at least a few hours in advance.