One of the most difficult things (and enjoyable nevertheless) for me about cooking is putting entire meals together. I can usually come up with a main dish or side that sounds wonderful, but combining a few things together into a meal and making sure the flavors, textures and colors all mesh with each other is challenging. I don’t know who taught me this, but it is always in the back of my mind: when creating a meal, be sure to use flavors and spices that complement each other, never duplicating something you’ve got going on in one dish in another within the same meal.
So for example, while I could have used lemon juice in the marinade and the Tabouli in the recipes below, to keep it lively and each dish a bit different, I used complementary ingredients instead of the same. Also, since I was serving Roasted Garlic with the other two dishes, I didn’t add garlic to the Tabouli as I would have normally done.
I find this post quite comical after my last (“Turkey and Whole Wheat Parsley Dumplings”) because Nathan and I have been reading and researching about the possible benefits of eating a gluten-free diet for those of us who seem to experience some intolerance for gluten. This may not be a lifelong thing for us, but we are going to try it out for a time and see if we feel better or not. I can definitely see that this is going to be a process of eliminating gluten from our diets, not an overnight change. So here are the recipes for our first gluten-free meal!
Greek Yogurt and Mint Marinated Chicken
1 cup Greek non-fat plain yogurt
½ cup Olive Oil
½ cup Mint Leaves, finely chopped
½ Tablespoon Cumin
½ Tablespoon Paprika
½ Tablespoon Coriander Seeds
6 thinly sliced, boneless Chicken Breasts
In a bowl, combine marinade ingredients and mix well. Add chicken and coat with marinade. Cover tightly and refrigerate 3 hours.
Broil chicken about 5 minutes on each side or until done.
2 cups Quinoa, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes, drained and rinsed
3 cups Water
1 Cucumber, diced
4 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup fresh Parsley
4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover with lid and simmer 15
minutes. Remove from heat and allow to
sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and
allow to cool.
Add cucumber, tomatoes and parsley, mixing well. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil, stirring
lightly. Add salt and pepper to
taste. Tabouli is best served chilled
and at least 3 hours after preparation so all the flavors can meld together.
Garlic Before Roasting
1 head of Garlic
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Sea Salt and freshly ground Pepper
Preheat oven to 350.
Cut the top 1/3 off the head of garlic.
Place the garlic on a sheet of foil.
Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle
with salt and pepper. Replace top 1/3 of
garlic. Seal garlic in foil
tightly. Roast for 1 to 1½ hours. Remove from foil right before serving and
discard top portion of garlic.
A note about roasted garlic: if you’ve never tried it, you may wonder why in the world anyone would eat cloves of it, but it’s completely different than raw! It’s almost sweet with a bit of nuttiness to it. I even read the other day of a restaurant in Manhattan serving roasted garlic with their chocolate fondue! Now, I wouldn’t say that I’ll never try that, but I’d have to be feeling pretty adventurous to do so. Maybe some day.