Super Green Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Have a story about your favorite pasta salad? Talk to me in the comment section below. In my experience, pasta salads truly are the side dish to a barbecue or special event. Sans meat, it’s a classic vegetarian dish. Meanwhile, we attempt to serve vegans — who don’t eat dairy — a mayonnaise-based pasta version. It’s often an “oops… we spent hours rubbing down ribs with spices and marinating chicken — let’s quickly make a vegetable” dish. As an afterthought dish, pasta salads often taste like no love.

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Maple Thyme Chicken Thighs and Pears

2014 was the year that failure was recognized as an attribute towards the journey of success. That’s if the lesson was learned from the act of failure. This recipe was a difficult dish to develop. It was perfect the first time. The second attempt was too sweet. The third try lacked a flavorful taste. And, when the dish was finally successful, it was perfect.

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Blueberry Espresso Rubbed Chicken Thighs with Blueberry Hominy Salad with Dandelion Greens

With autumn comes dishes with spicy cinnamon and warm nutmeg flavors, sturdy winter squashes sweetly cooked down, and hearty soups. I’m blissfully thinking of summer blueberries. It’s an unusual craving at this time of year, but blueberries’ tart and sweet flavor are available year-round in different forms other than fresh.

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Saffron Butternut Soup

Finland. Summer 2003. Lunch outside of a mild summer day. The server presented steamed salmon in a saffron creamy broth. It was simple dish, but the memory of its taste is grand. Recently, when I made Saffron Butternut Squash soup as an idea to include in a Thanksgiving menu, the first spoonful didn’t have me thinking of smoked turkey. Instead, forgotten memories of Finland returned.

It was the summer of learning about organic food, becoming environmentally-conscious and riding Copenhagen’s public bikes. The flavorful produce was fresh, bruised and unwaxed. Large chickens looked liked American cornish hens. Fingerling potatoes enclosed in a thin papery skin roasted into a buttery softness. I would return to occasionally trying to recreate the Saffron Creamy broth. It’s a simple sauce, in which I’m surprised to not have successfully created it. Perhaps, the simpleness of the sauce is underestimated. Ten years later into today, I would unwittingly recreate the taste with different ingredients, but the memories come courtesy of saffron. It’s distinct flavor beautifully infuses every dish.  Read more

Spicy Roast Acorn Squash

Even as a so-called health nut, I love winter squashes roasted until they’re buttery and sticky-sweet. They’re drizzled with olive or coconut oil, or a little soft butter is brushed on slices. Perhaps they’re sweetened with brown or coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey. A bit of sea salt and fresh black pepper are sprinkled here and there. In my creative mind, winter squashes are flavored with any combination of herbs and spices. Read more