For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

About Me...

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

SLO Imagined

Sometimes you dream up sensational recipes based on the few ingredients you end up with in the cupboard and the fridge. This weekend I had a few basics to work with: organic chicken, Cal Poly grown grapefruit and avocados from the university's student farm, apples from a San Luis Obispo County orchard, and a little imagination.

Armed with several dried, savory spices, I handsomely dressed a pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and baked them with exotic, frenzied flavors. Later, I peeled and sliced some grapefruit, avocado and apple to provide an intriguing, piquant lettuce-less salad base for the well-dressed chicken. I topped the medley of ingredients with a tangy-sweet lime-honey vinaigrette.

Simple. Enticing. Well-imagined. 

Serves 2

Chicken Ingredients:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (thighs or breast)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon each of the following dried spices: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, kosher salt, black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 350 °F.
Mix olive oil with all spices and red pepper flakes.
Place chicken in a glass baking dish and pour the oil mixture all over it. Turn with a fork to coat chicken evenly and place in the oven for 25 - 35 minutes. You can insert a cooking thermometer into the middle of a piece of chicken and if it reads 165 °F, it's done. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 20 minutes.You can prepare the chicken the day before if you like and refrigerate it until you're ready to prepare the salad.

When you're ready to eat this memorable, savory dish, prepare the dressing and salad base. Assemble and serve.

Salad Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 - 3 limes
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 heaping tablespoon raw honey 
Salt & pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a blender and whiz to creamy perfection. Taste and adjust for seasonings. 

Deconstructed Salad Ingredients: 
1 grapefruit
1 avocado
1 apple
Sliced chicken
1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil or mint

Cut the top and bottom ends off the grapefruit. Rest the grapefruit on one of its flat ends on your cutting board, and slice the pith and skin off by following the curve of the fruit. Cut in half and then gently cut out thin segments of the grapefruit and arrange on a platter (remove any seeds you encounter). 

Core and slice the apples and arrange with the grapefruit slices. Cut the avocado in half, remove the seed and skin, slice and arrange on top of your fruit. 

Sliver the chicken and arrange on the sides of your platter. Sprinkle with chopped herbs for some color and drizzle with the lime vinaigrette. 

Local ingredients call for local wines. I took advantage of the beautiful warm, sunny weather and drove a few short miles to the Edna Valley region to seek out a local riesling to pair with this dish.

I found a few. Claiborne & Churchill Vintners and Wolff Vineyards are two of my favorite family-owned wineries and both produce Alsatian-style riesling.

Gorgeous weather. A tempting recipe. Incredible wine and terrain.

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