Spring is in the Air


I love the smell of spring. The grass is growing, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the breeze smells so fresh. The trees are starting to bud.  My lilac bush has a hint of green on the tips of its branches.

DSC_0250

 

We have had so much rain and grey skies lately. It has been so depressing but today reminds me of all things new.  Oh the power of spring!

DSC_0252

 

It makes you want to clean your house top to bottom. Wash the windows, clean the fridge out, organize cupboards, and etc. Plus it makes you want to go outside and plant something but I am a little nervous to do that just quite yet. I have a raised garden in the backyard and my garlic chives are peaking out.

DSC_0254

I never realized how much I love to garden until my daughter in law Corina showed me how to set up my raised garden. Now I could not live without it. Fresh herbs are the best.  I usually plant green peppers, basil, thyme, garlic chives, cilantro, jalapeño peppers and rosemary in my raised garden. Tomato’s I usually plant in big pots outside the raised garden because they soak up all the nutrients and the other plants suffer from that.  I can’t wait to get started.

I am sitting outside right now and I can hear the birds sing. I cleaned out my raised garden of leaves and weeds. I even cleaned out some of my pots for flowers. It is so nice just to sit and enjoy the nice weather Michigan is having today.  Funny to think that in the last couple weekends we were in a flood state. But God does amazing things with our weather here in Michigan. It could go from snow to sleet to rain then to Sunshine all in one day. I have to tell you that I enjoy the sunshine the best of all.  My husband however loves both winter and summer. I prefer the summer, bring on the heat.

This afternoon Jon and I went to Lowe’s to get some more gardening soil and some drywall for our basement project. The basement project story is for another day and it is a doozie.  So I loaded up my garden with the new soil and prepped it for my future plantings.  I can’t wait for fresh herbs and vegetables. Looking forward to a great summer.

 

Advertisements

Cilantro


Coriander
Coriander (Photo credit: Ruby’s Feast)

Cilantro is the leaf from the Coriander plant which also produces seeds known as Coriander seeds. Cilantro is either loved or hated. I am absolutely on the love side of this debate.  On the hate side some people say it tastes and smells like soap. Even some go as far as saying it tastes like crushed bugs. I would like to know how one knows what crushed bugs tastes like but that is how my mind works. I disagree. This is one of my favorite herbs to cook with.  Cilantro and Lime are a perfect marriage. You will find them together in so many recipes. Almost all salsas have Cilantro and Lime paired together. Here are some ways I have come up with to use my favorite herb.

  • Salsa
  • Grilled Chicken with Cilantro and Lime
  • Top Pork tacos with Cilantro and squeeze fresh lime juice over it and then add other toppings.
  • Actually any taco, burrito, enchilada.
  • Add to Chicken Tortilla Soup right at the end.
  • Guacamole
  • Grilled Corn with Cilantro Lime butter and Parmesan cheese. Delish!
  • Grilled shrimp with Cilantro and Sea Salt.
  • Cilantro Lime Butter

I could go on and on but I would like to share my favorite with you and it is so easy. So to all the other cilantro lovers out there I will share my Grilled Chicken with Cilantro and Lime recipe. This recipe is for two but it is so easy you can prepare it for more if needed.

Grilled Chicken with Cilantro and Lime

  • One Chicken breast cut length ways in half
  • Sea Salt
  • One Lime
  • Cilantro
  • Butter
  • Olive oil

I use a grill pan but you can use a regular frying pan too. Heat the grill pan and coat with light olive oil. I take the chicken breast that has been cut and pound it out until thinned but not too thin. I then season one side with the sea salt. Take the lime and cut in half and juice one half of the lime and cut the other in slices. Use the lime juice to sprinkle over the chicken. Once the grill is heated I place the chicken on the grill seasoned side down. Then season the other side with the sea salt and lime juice and some chopped cilantro. Then top each chicken breast with the lime slices. It should take about 6 minutes on each side to grill the chicken (depends on the thickness of the chicken breast). Take off the lime slice and place on the grill pan to grill them a little. Grilling the lime slices adds a depth of flavor I can’t even explain. Trust me you need to do this.

DSC_0243

Flip over the chicken add more chopped cilantro and more lime juice. Then place the lime slices back on top of the chicken and continue to cook for the next 6 minutes. I always check to make sure it is cooked all the way through by cutting into the center of one of the chicken breast. Once it is finished throw away the lime slices on top and place chicken on a platter. Take a tab of butter not too much just enough to coat the chicken with some melted butter. I might add a little more sea salt and then I top it with more chopped Cilantro. Now Jon does not love Cilantro like I do so on his I don’t add the chopped Cilantro at the end. But I like a little chicken with my Cilantro so I load mine up.

DSC_0247

I hope you enjoy this recipe. The calorie for each chicken breast is……wait for it…..170 calories. Green beans sauteed with black pepper and garlic with slivered almonds go very well with this. I make this recipe when I have cheated too much in the day and my calorie intake for dinner is really low.

Question of the day: Do you love or hate Cilantro? Or have you ever tried Cilantro?

Trial and Error of Cooking


Let me say I did not always love cooking. My first cooking experience was as a child and was not a pleasant one, even though I can laugh about it now. My mother told me to get some eggs boiling so I did. I put water in the pan, waited for it to boil and once it was boiling I cracked the eggs into the water. Yes you read it correctly I cracked the eggs into the water. I laugh now but back then I was so embarrassed. I could make cookies though. In fact one of my favorite memories is my brother Joel and I making cookies and pretending we were on a cooking show. Then we got silly and started doing the Swedish chef from the Muppet’s impersonations.

But I have had many failures. My very first turkey for Thanksgiving for example was burnt. Do you remember in the movie National Lampoon Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswold cut into the turkey and smoke came out and it shrunk like a deflated basketball? Well my turkey was not far from that. Trial and Error is a great learning tool. It teaches you what works together and what does not. This is how I come up with some very good recipes. I don’t always succeed on the first try. I will tweak a recipe to death sometimes to get it right.

There are a few recipes that I just for the life of me cannot get right. Like pie crust for example I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to make pie crust and they fail every time and every recipe. My mother even tried to help me and she makes great pie crust. We tried all day and even with her help it was not pretty. So I now know store bought crust is ok with me.

One of the great things is when you finally get it right and you know it cannot get better than this. When you have people try the recipe and they say “what did you do to this, it tastes so good”. I can never hear that enough. So never give up. Hey, you never know you might be the next Rachel Ray.