Chicken Quinoa Salad + Apple Vinaigrette

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Foster Farms. I received free samples of the product mentioned and was compensated for my time. All opinions stated are my own.

quinoa salad with grilled chicken, kale, cabbage, raisins, radishes, and apple vinaigrette

Grilled Chicken and Quinoa Salad in Apple-Cumin Vinaigrette. Photo by Robin Donovan.

To make this hearty chicken and quinoa salad, I picked up some Foster Farms California-raised Organic Fresh Chicken from my local Safeway store. I love that this chicken is grown right here in California, is raised free-range on organic, certified non-GMO feed, and is certified by the American Humane Association. But let’s face it, it also has to taste good. Happily, the Foster Farms boneless, skinless Organic Fresh Chicken breast fillets I used fit the bill.

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Red Hot Cauliflower Wings for My Valentine #FoodBloggerLove

red hot cauliflower wingsIf you’ve read anything here at all, you know that we lazy gourmets love a recipe that’s simple, delicious, and healthy. But you know what we love even more? An easy recipe that calls for ingredients that we already have on hand, like Cook with Manali’s Spicy Cauliflower Wings.

Before I talk about that dish, though, I have to tell you how much I love the blog Cook with Manali.

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From Mediterranean Cooking to Japanese Knife Styles

book coversI generally hate the whole idea of New Year’s resolutions, but if I was going to make one this year, it would be to blog more here on Two Lazy Gourmets. While I’ve been remiss about blogging here, I’ve been super busy writing cookbooks, developing a new website about cooking with whole foods, and writing articles for sites around the web. Here are a few snippets of what I’ve been working on.

Last year, I wrote several new cookbooks including Sushi at Home, a beginner’s guide to the fascinating—and intimidating—world of sushi, including easy-to-follow instructions, tips, and techniques to help sushi lovers become confident sushi chefs.

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Turning Found Fruit into Treasured Quince Jelly (Super Simple Recipe!)

Quince Jelly

Quince jelly is surprisingly easy to make and it’s delicious spread on toast.

I’ve always gotten a kick out of “finding” food and turning it into something delicious like quince jelly. At my first sleep-away camp at age 7, my buddies and I plucked huckleberries from vines alongside a hiking trail. We proundly presented the hippy camp cooks (this was a self-sufficient organic farm camp in Northern California in the 1970s) with buckets of the tiny tart-sweet berries and they turned them into luscious pies and moist cakes topped with a crunchy sugar glaze. We were SO proud when they served them to the entire camp at dinner that night.

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Herb Mayonnaise and More at SF Cooking School

Tomato Sandwich with Herb Mayonnaise

Homemade herb mayonnaise, toasted sourdough bread, and sliced heirloom tomatoes make the perfect lunch

People assume that since I’m a freelance food writer, I must eat amazing meals—like the heirloom tomato sandwich with homemade herb mayonnaise pictured above—all the time. The truth is a bit more dismal. Lunch usually involves snacking on random leftovers (if I’m lucky) while hunched over my computer at my dining room table (which doubles as my office). Plus, I don’t even have any coworkers to discuss the latest Duggar scandal with. So when someone invites me to lunch at a cooking school, I say yes. Twice this summer I’ve been to events that involved eating delicious food (including the aforementioned herb mayonnaise, see recipe below) and engaging in fascinating conversation (about food mostly, not the Duggars) at the San Francisco Cooking School.

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Spaghetti Squash Carbonara with Pecorino Romano

pecorino romano carbonara

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara with Pecorino Romano cheese. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Secrest Photography; recipe courtesy of Caroline Fey of The City Kitchen)

If you’re ever invited to a seven-course Pecorino Romano-themed dinner party — especially at San Francisco’s Cookhouse, a glamorous culinary event venue located  upstairs from Vesuvio bar with a stunning view of the heart of North Beach — say YES! Robin and I were in this very situation a few months back, so my advice can be trusted.

First off, we learned a ton about Pecorino Romano. For example: this hard, salty sheep’s milk cheese was born over 2,000 years ago in the Roman region of Lazio. Today, 90% of all Pecorino Romano is produced in Sardinia, with indispensable assistance from an ancient (and fluffy!) creature called the Sardinian sheep. Since salt is a natural preservative, Pecorino was a perfect traveling food for Roman soldiers — and, many years later, for Italian immigrants sailing to the United States. Also a plus for warriors and travelers: sheep’s milk contains twice the amount of protein as cow’s milk, calcium in an easily digestible form, and vitamins B1, B2, PP, A and E. All good stuff to know, right?

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Pickled Onions with Lime Juice

lime juice pickled onions

Lime juice pickled onions perk up taco truck tacos and a whole lot more

This quick lime juice pickled onion recipe is so simple, so flavorful, and so beautiful (that bright pink color!) that I just can’t get enough. The lime juice makes these pickled onions a perfect match for Mexican food, so I made up a batch to top some goat tacos a couple of weeks ago, but since then I’ve put them on scrambled eggs; a pita sandwich stuffed with broiled salmon; a salad with Romaine lettuce, feta cheese ,and tomatoes; bagels and lox; and about a million other things.

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Char Siu Bao (Steamed BBQ Pork Buns)—Weeknight Easy

char siu bao

Char Siu Bao (steamed BBQ pork buns) are surprisingly easy to make

I don’t know what magic was at work, but apparently, I once had all the time in the world. I know this because I have vivid memories of spending countless hours in the kitchen happily infusing oils, kneading dough, hand-making fussy little morsels without a care. Case in point: I went through a phase of making dim sum—every sort of Chinese dumpling from deep-fried wontons to char siu bao (steamed bbq pork buns)—from scratch on a regular basis, like I was someone’s Chinese grandma.

In need of some kitchen inspiration recently, I pulled out some of my old dim sum recipes, but was instantly put off by how time-consuming they were. Clearly, times have changed. Alas, the bee had entered my bonnet and, like it or not, I was making Char Siu Bao for my family, but I had to find a quicker way.

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Thai Chicken Satay

Thai Chicken Satay

Quick and Easy Thai Chicken Satay

After spending a few weeks in the polar vortex, my family and I returned to the Bay Area in mid-January to discover that summer has come early this year. Really early. Dire drought emergency and looming water rationing aside, I did what any self-respecting Californian would do: I quickly hid my East Coast winter parka and fleece leggings in the basement, donned short sleeves and sunglasses, and pulled out the barbecue. To be honest, I felt a little giddy as I plucked a handful of ripe, red cherry tomatoes off a bush and popped one between my teeth, the sweet taste of summer filling my mouth. It was high time for Thai chicken satay.

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Green Tomato Fritters

Fried Green Tomato Fritters

Fried Green Tomato Fritters are a lot easier to make than traditional fried tomatoes. No annoying dredging or coating!

For many of you across the northern hemisphere — those who are currently wrapping yourselves in full arctic expedition gear just to get to work — this will not be a timely post. Here in dull-weather California, however, I still have a good ten pounds left of unripe green tomatoes in my fridge, thanks to my weirdly extended harvest of Sungolds and Early Cascades.

The other day I was frying up some of these green tomatoes traditional-style, first slicing them, then dredging and coating each individual slice in egg and corn meal. DELICIOUS, but the process is a hassle — especially with smaller tomato varieties, which are harder to slice, coat, and handle. But I stuck with it, and at the end, as is my habit, I dumped some corn meal and salt into the remaining bit of egg to make a single guilty pleasure cornball. Then I thought: why not just mix some diced green tomato in there too, and make a patty? It worked beautifully! Not only was it an easier technique than the traditional slice-dredge-coat, but also a much more efficient way to make use of all those baby green cherries.

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