This blog is a place to share my passion for cooking and inspire people to cook more from scratch. With six people in the family, cooking is something that is always on my mind. I want to share some of my favorite foods and recipes and share more about traditional diets (like the kind of food our great, great, great grandmothers would have made). Right now I am fascinated with fermented vegetables, coconuts, seafood with a cerviche twist and organ meats... although maybe not all in the same meal!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Get your Pretty On!

Spicy chicken over squash/veggie medley salsa with Citrus Salad
One of the lessons from culinary school that seems to be swirling around in my head is how you should make food not just good and good for you but also pretty.  The first thing we do is see the food on our plate, and if it is plated in an attractive and pleasing manner you are already at an advantage before you even get to the first bite.

So instead of tonight's same old, same old chicken, I had the idea to get some pretty on instead.  Now I also had a problem to solve which was what to do with all the summer squash sitting on my counter.  Since I'm kind of a low carb gal lately, I was thinking if I chopped up the summer squash in a nice small dice and then added some of my other veggies and made them into a small dice as well, I could make a kind of veggie "non-pasta" pasta that would make a nice base to go under my chicken.  So dice, dice away I went knocking down the zucchini, onions, dandelion greens, squash, garlic, green peppers and probably a few other veggies that I am now forgetting.  I also thought if I diced up some dates that I had that I could put a little sweet into the mix and inspired by one of my cooking instructors, I took it up a notch and put some cumin, cinnamon, paprika, salt/pepper, and tumeric into the mix.  Then I got the idea to pop some coconut milk in which made a nice sauce and then I just let that all simmer while the chicken was cooking in the oven.

For the chicken I put some lime juice over the top, then took those babies up a notch too with the same cumin, paprika, tumeric, salt/pepper, cilantro spice mix.

Finally for the salad I had some fabulous arugula and mixed greens and also chopped up some fresh radishes, peppers and put mandarin oranges on top to keep the citrus theme.  A quick dressing of lime and lemon juice, honey, olive oil, flax seeds, sea salt, pepper and olive oil finished the dish.

Then at the end I just took a few extra minutes to try to make a nice balance on the plate to serve up to my family.  Take that, boring chicken night! 

Also posted at Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday

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