Saturday, December 31, 2016

Roasted Persian Chicken and Cauliflower

PrimalIn this Persian-inspired recipe, chicken and cauliflower are perfumed with saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, black pepper and other spices, then roasted until crisp. The cauliflower is dotted with goji berries, pistachios and slivered almonds, and the chicken is finished with a dusting of parsley and mint. Combined, this is a fragrant, deeply flavorful meal.

This richly spiced dish isn’t just flavorful though. The spices also contribute antioxidants and protection against microbes. This recipe gives measurements for both whole and ground spices – you can choose which to use. Buying whole spices and grinding them (a coffee grinder works well) often means more potent flavor and health benefits. Pre-ground spices are more convenient. Just make sure they’re organic and less than a year old.

Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

spices

Chicken

  • 6 to 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, or 1 tablespoon ground (15 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, or 1 tablespoon ground (15 ml)
  • 4 whole cardamom pods, or ¼ teaspoon ground (1.2 ml)
  • 1-inch/2.5 cm piece cinnamon stick, or 1 teaspoon ground (5 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (2.5 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (1.2 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (5 ml)

Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (60 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled pepper (1.2 ml)
  • 1/2-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (1.2 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, or 1 teaspoon ground (5 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (2.5 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (1.2 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (2.5 ml)
  • 1/4 cup goji berries, soaked in warm water for 5 minutes and drained (30 g)
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, raw or lightly toasted (50 g)
  • 1/4 cup raw pistachios (40 g)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (60 ml)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mint (60 ml)

Instructions

Cooking chix

Preheat oven to 425º F/218 C.

In a small bowl, mix together the ground spice blend for the chicken: cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper, salt. *

*If using whole spices, first grind the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick in a coffee grinder until finely ground

Rub the spice blend into the chicken pieces.

In a 10- or 12-inch cast iron skillet, heat about a tablespoon of avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil over medium-high. When the oil is hot, brown the chicken in batches so the skillet isn’t too crowded. Cook 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until skin is starting to get crispy and golden brown.

Place all the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

To make the cauliflower, first warm the olive oil in a small pot. Pour the warm olive oil in a bowl and add the saffron. Let sit 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, pour the saffron oil over the cauliflower. Toss well.

In a small bowl, combine the spice blend for the cauliflower: cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, black pepper and salt. *

*If using whole spices, first grind the cinnamon stick and cumin seeds in a coffee grinder until finely ground.

Sprinkle the spice mixture over the cauliflower, tossing to evenly coat.

Spread the cauliflower out evenly in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. If one baking sheet is crowding the cauliflower, then use two baking sheets so it can be spread out more.

Put the baking sheets of chicken and cauliflower in the oven. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches at least 165º F /74 C and the cauliflower is darkly browned around the edges.

Toss the cauliflower with the goji berries, almonds and pistachios. Spread out on a platter, and lay the chicken on top. Sprinkle parsley and mint over everything.

Primal

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3 Ways to Be Mindful in the Kitchen

The kitchen can be a very stressful place, especially when things get busy. Weeknights in particular can get hectic with running errands, completing homework and cooking a healthy dinner. Here are three ways you can be more mindful in the kitchen to help alleviate some stress.

  1. Create calm out of chaos.

Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, author of Body Kindness, recommends the following technique to help make rational choices in the kitchen: “First take a very deep breath and exhale to a slow count of 10. This simple exercise tells your body to relax and helps you make rational choices like actually cooking your meal instead of eating it cold from the fridge! (I know I’m not the only one.) Then do one quick thing that makes you happy. I like to play soothing or energizing music, depending on my mood. Even if you’re not excited to prepare your meal, find a benefit that does excite you — like ‘I’m happy to save money and take care of my body by cooking at home’ — and let that be your motivation to heat up the kitchen.”

  1. Cook simple and relax.

Instead of making your life difficult and more stressful, choose cooking methods that are simple with few ingredients. For example, use a dry rub or marinade for meat and poultry, then place the protein right in the oven or grill to cook. When your food is cooking, take a few minutes to sit in a chair, relax and enjoy the delicious smell of the food you’re about to eat.

  1. Choose convenience.

If buying some convenient foods helps you save time in the kitchen and thereby reduces your food prep stress, then go for it. Convenient foods that can fit into a healthy-eating plan include canned legumes and vegetables with low or no-added salt, frozen vegetables with no added butter or sauces, and precut vegetables and fruit. When writing your shopping list, be mindful to jot down these ingredients, and feel good that you’re helping yourself minimize stress.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.



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