Friday, December 20, 2013

Broiled King Crab Legs!

Broiled King Crab Legs! Make sure legs are defrosted. I slit open the legs (make a big enough slit to expose the majority of the meat in the large part of the legs) and put small slithers of butter inside, squeeze of fresh lemon juice and sometimes a little garlic depending on my mood before broiling for 5-8 minutes (Depending on the size). Just keep on eye on them and as the butter melts and the legs start to brown a bit...they are done. They turn out amazing. Don't be afraid to make these at home. The only thing you can do is overcook them so just make sure you don't leave them under the broiler too long....and broiling them is so much better than steaming or boiling them! Around the holidays they are often on sale and so much cheaper than ordering at a restaurant.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Comfort Soup

I grew up in a Kurdish household so my mother cooked mostly Kurdish foods. Now as a kid, sometimes I got tired of eating Kurdish food all the time but now as an adult...those kinds of foods are my comfort foods. They remind me of walking in the door after a long day at school and seeing my mom in the kitchen. All the burners going at once. Rice. Beans. Soup. Chicken in the oven. She could cook 5-6 dishes at once without a sweat. She is the one who taught me about organization in the kitchen and how to make sure all your dishes were ready at the same time. She also taught me how to throw in another dish for the next day. If you're going to be in the kitchen for might as well throw in another dish so you can relax a bit the next day by serving leftovers. She often made a barley soup that we all loved and could heat up for days. She would always tell us how good it was for us...High fiber...High protein...but as kids...we just thought it tasted good...especially in those cold Ohio winters.

I make a soup that reminds me of several of her dishes, incorporating rice, lentils and barley with chicken legs because these are items she used a lot. If you have a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean market near you, you can buy a premixed package of rice, lentils and barley.  If you can't find this, you can just use equal amounts of each item to make the 2 cups necessary for the soup. I make this soup and freeze leftovers for quick hearty meals on a chilly day.

Avesta's Comfort Soup
For soup:
2 cups rice, lentil and barley mix (Rinsed)
8 cups water
2 tsp tumeric
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1-2 tbsp sea salt (start with 1 and add to taste)
For chicken:
2-4 chicken legs
Sprinkle each leg with salt, pepper and paprika
1/2 white onion diced
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups water

In a large stockpot, add water and rice, lentils and barley and seasonings. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. After boiling for a minute or two, turn heat to low, cover pot and cook chicken legs.

Heat coconut oil and add chicken legs to the pan. Allow the legs to nicely sear before turning. Once both sides are seared, add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion and garlic just until soft and slightly golden brown. Add the two cups of water and bring to a boil. You are creating a quick stock so allow to boil for just about 5 minutes then add chicken and stock to you soup pot. Stir and cover. Cook on low from 45 minutes to an hour. Keep stirring occasionally and once your rice, lentils and barley are soft, your soup is ready. Taste before serving to see if you need to add more salt. If you like it spicier add more cayenne.

I love serving this soup with fresh diced tomatoes and green onion on top. It is also great with a plop of sour cream or Greek yogurt on top. This soup is low fat and very high in fiber and protein. You can skip the barley if you are on a totally gluten free diet, though barley is not high in gluten, it does contain some gluten.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gluten-Free Turkey n Brie wrap

I have a few friends who swear by a gluten - free diet so I decided to start experimenting with gluten - free wraps.

Gluten - Free Turkey and Brie wrap:
1 Gluten - Free Wrap (I used La Tortilla Factory Sonoma brand which have 180 calories per wrap and taste really good and roll easily)
4 oz organic deli roasted turkey breast
1 oz Brie
Kale Microgreens
Broccoli Sprouts
Spring Mix
1/4 Avocado (sliced)
Sliced Tomato
Organic Mayo (optional)

I spread the brie on the wrap then warm it up in an oven at 350 degrees for just a few minutes. Do not keep in the oven very long or the wrap will get hard.  You just want to warm it up, 2-3 minutes. Once your wrap is warmed up, start layering your ingredients on the wrap and roll tightly and slice in half. Adding the microgreens, broccoli sprouts and spring mix adds tons of nutrients, crunch and flavor. I added up the calories for this wrap and it came out to 565 calories. If you skip the mayo you will save about 100 calories, same with the avocado and brie...skipping any of these ingredients will save you about 100 calories each. I don't think 565 calories is a lot for a good, healthy lunch...especially one that packs so many nutrients and can be eaten on the run or packed for lunch. I have also eaten half for lunch then the other half for dinner and added a side salad or veggies on the side to cut the calorie intake. I will skip the mayo next time as with the Brie melted on the wrap and adding the avocado, I didn't need the mayo as the wrap was definitely not dry.