Farm Fresh to... Me

Each month I receive a box of fresh produce. Throughout the month I'll share easy, healthy, and (hopefully) delicious recipes using ingredients from the box... and beyond!

Pulled Coconut Chicken Tacos

In full disclosure, this recipe was not inspired by a box of fresh produce but rather Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value Coconut Milk and Cook Taste Eat

image

Never one to shy away from new ingredients, I picked some up the other day and decided to try it both room temperature and cold.  I smelled it, I tasted it, I slurped it and decided that I prefer it (actually I really like it) chilled.

As I contemplated what to make with this subtly sweet and silky liquid, I came up with the idea to make a pulled coconut chicken taco.  The recipe can be made, start to finish, in 40 minutes and the flavor profile is ridiculous.  There is saltiness, sweetness, acidity, and heat!  Give it a try and let me know what you think! 

Ingredients:

For the chicken: 
2 cups Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value Coconut Milk
2 bone-in & skin-on chicken breasts
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Salt & pepper to taste
 
For the sauce:
1 tbl olive oil
3 tbl red onion, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp turmeric 
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5-10 dashes Cholula or your favorite hot sauce 
 
Taco toppings:
1 avocado, sliced
1 mango, small dice
3 tbl red onion, small dice
1/2 cup cotija cheese, small dice
Small corn tortillas or your favorite tortilla chips (this would be for nachos!) 
 
Season the chicken breasts generously with salt & pepper. In a large bowl, combine the coconut milk, cumin and coriander with a whisk.  Place the chicken breasts in the milk mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for as little as 30 minutes and for as long as overnight. 
image
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
 
Remove the chicken from the milk mixture and allow excess to drip off before placing on a baking sheet.  (Note: Save the liquid!) Bake the chicken for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size, or until done (the juices should run clear).  Set the chicken aside until it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin, and using two forks “pull” the chicken meat from the bones. You should end up with roughly 3-4 cups of pulled chicken.  
image

In a medium saute pan cook the onions over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.  Pour the coconut milk mixture into the pan along with turmeric, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce.  Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.  Add the pulled chicken, a sprinkle of salt, and a dash of freshly ground pepper.   Simmer the sauce for another 10 minutes over low heat.  The sauce should thicken and if it does not, add a thickening agent: a roux or a flurry. 
image

image

To serve: warm the tortillas by wrapping them in foil and placing them in the 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.  Place 1/4 cup of the shredded chicken in the center of each tortilla making sure to include some of the thickened sauce.  Place a few slices of avocado, some mango and red onion on top.  Sprinkle generously with cheese and serve. 
 
image

Serving suggestions: depending on your heat tolerance you can add a few dashes of hot sauce to the tacos or you can serve with a coconut crema to cool down the heat .  The coconut crema can be made by combining 3 tablespoons of Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value Coconut Milk with 2 tablespoons of sour cream.  The crema can be drizzled directly on the tacos. 
 
 
 
Note: In exchange for writing this blog and tweeting a link to this blog, I received an entry into the Food Blogger to Media Star Promotion. For the Official Rules, visit http://www.cooktasteeat.com/food-blogger-media-star-official-rules.

Okedokey Artichokey

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, I chose (not surprisingly) to stay in and cook dinner with my sweet Valentine.  I lucked out because my Farm Fresh to You shipment arrived in the morning and to my delight two beautiful artichokes were included!  What’s more romantic than eating with your hands?  

To prepare these artichokes, I gave them a good rinse, cut down the stem/stalk, removed any tough, fibrous leaves, and cut the top off the artichoke.  From there, I dropped the whole artichokes into a pot of simmering, salted water.  I also added in a tablespoon of white vinegar.  I steamed/simmered the artichokes for about 12 minutes (the time will vary based on the size and number of artichokes).  

*The best way to test if they’re done is to insert a fork into the stem - if it goes in and comes out easily, they’re done.  

The next part, is important.  I removed the artichokes from the water and placed them top-side down on a cutting board and walked away.  Letting the artichokes sit for 10-15 minutes does several things: (1) allows all of the water to drain out, (2) finishes cooking the artichokes, and (3) cools down the artichokes.  After the artichokes had cooled down enough, I split them in half.  Once halved, I removed the “choke” by inserting a spoon and scraping.  In my opinion, it is better to remove too much of the “choke” than risk leaving behind any of the prickly mess.

I placed the halved artichokes on a baking sheet, dressed them with olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, and loads of garlic.  I took the time to massage the garlic all over the artichoke, inside and out.  

image

We then popped the artichokes on the grill for 4-6 minutes/side to deepen the flavor and to finish cooking them.  We served the artichokes room temperature and without any dipping sauce because frankly, the flavor was there and anything extra would have been unnecessary.  

Mushrooms: Baby bellas & buttons

imageMushrooms, unlike butternut squash (see previous entry), are one of my favorites!  I will eat them raw, pureed, roasted, grilled, sauteed - you name it!  

Last week, with my mushrooms I decided to make a “topping” for some beautiful pork chops.  I wanted the mushrooms to compliment, not overpower, the chops.  With that, I heated my saute pan for a few minutes, added a tablespoon of butter and then added my mushrooms.  I wanted to get them nice and brown so I resisted the urge to touch the pan.  After a couple of minutes or so, I tossed the mushrooms with the flick of my wrist (thank you culinary school).  Once the mushrooms were toasted golden brown, I removed them from the pan.  While the pan was still hot, I dropped in a ~1/4 cup of pinot noir (we were drinking a 2010 Morgan and I would recommend adding any pinot, shiraz, or cab you would happily drink) to deglaze the pan.  After scraping up the mushroom bits, I added another tablespoon of butter, loads of fresh parsley, 4-5 dashes of worcestershire sauce, a few turns of freshly ground black pepper, and a dash of salt.  

These mushrooms served atop a beautifully grilled pork chop with a simple green salad was an absolutely perfect dinner for two.  

"Key Lime" Pie

image

 I didn’t get key limes so I made a “key lime” pie instead!  

Despite living in Miami for 9 years, I’m no key lime pie aficionado and in all honesty, I couldn’t taste a difference. 

I say, find your favorite key lime pie recipe and make it no matter what the season or what type of limes you receive. 

Ginger Cookies!

When most people* are given a ginger root, their mind immediately thinks of Asian cuisine.  For me, a ginger root makes me think of baking!  So, with my ginger root, I did just that. I baked.  

*Note: “most people” is defined by people who actually know what a ginger root is! 

image

Not wanting to experiment too much given that baking is actually a science, I borrowed a recipe from my favorite Food Network lady, Ina Garten.  

I used her recipe for the Ultimate Ginger Cookie and made it all mine by incorporating the fresh, raw ginger root.  While Ina’s recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, I used a little less than a 1/2 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger.  The REAL difference, though, is what I did with the rest of the root…

I peeled it and roughly chopped it.  I then added the ginger pieces to 2 cups boiling water, along with 1 cup of sugar. Essentially, I made a simple ginger syrup that was more spicy than sweet.  After letting it cool, I drizzled about 3 tablespoons of the syrup into the batter.  The result? A ridiculously aromatic cookie that was equal parts spicy and sweet. 

Roasted Butternut Squash

I’ll be the first to admit: Butternut Squash is not my favorite veg but I decided to give it a try! 

I should warn you - prepping butternut squash is no easy task.  The skin is waxy and very firm, and getting my knife through the squash was borderline “dangerous”.  Wanting to keep all 10 of my fingers, I wedged my Chef’s knife into the squash lengthwise, and sawed/hammered my knife through the flesh.  Once split in half, I cut the halves in half, leaving me with four rather larger pieces.  Getting the skin off was the next task.  Borrowing from my learned skills, I leveled off the bottom of each of the four pieces so they stood upright and carefully ran my knife between the flesh and the skin.   I decided to cut up the squash into “bite-sized” pieces.  

image

Using a full-sized baking sheet, I spread out the squash in one even layer and drizzled the pieces with olive oil generously.  Salt and pepper were next, followed by a few splashes of balsamic vinegar.  I figured reduced balsamic turns into a syrup and after 20 minutes in the oven the balsamic should bring out the natural sweetness of the squash.  

I put the squash in a 400 F oven for ~25 minutes, until the pieces were just starting to brown and cooked through.  As soon as the squash came out, I finished the pieces with another sprinkling of Kosher Sea Salt and some fresh thyme.  

I served the roasted butternut squash over some polenta infused with leeks.  

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

3 springs fresh thyme