Breakfast in South Africa was probably my favorite meals. I’m not sure if it was because I was eating more than my normal cereal and fruit so the excitement my taste buds were getting was making me giddy, or if it was that we ate breakfast at ten in the morning after having spent three and a half hours out looking at beautiful animals. Whatever the reason I had some really tasty stuff in the mornings. The only sad thing is that none of the offerings were repeated. Yes, it was good to try new things, but if I really liked something I did not have an opportunity to try it again and figure out how to recreate it stateside.
One item I really liked was an unusual dish for breakfast, chicken and cabbage. Although red peppers were not in the name they played a major role in the dish. Last night I tried to recreate it for dinner and even if I missed some ingredients Russ and I ended up liking what I made. It is incredibly simple and fast and healthy.
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs- chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 sweet red pepper – seeded and chopped into bite sized pieces
1 10 oz. bag of shredded cabbage
Lots of salt and Pepper
Heat a big non-stick skillet up on high. Add the Chicken and salt and pepper it and cook stirring often for about five minutes. Add the red peppers and continue cooking for another minute until they start to get soft. Add the cabbage and continue cooking and stirring for another two minutes. Salt and Pepper the whole dish again.
Serve with rice if you want a starch.
My favorite restaurant we went to in the Pacific Northwest was Toro Bravo in Portland. We had a Tortilla Española with Romesco sauce. Calling the Tortilla a Spanish potato omelet does not do it justice. My favorite part was the Romesco Sauce that was served with it, so I have recreated it with a lot less oil, nuts or bread to cut down on calories. I served it here on grilled salmon.
1 cup of canned fire roasted tomatoes
2 fire roasted red peppers (I used jarred ones)
1 head of garlic
1 slice of sour dough bread
1/3 c. almonds
5 Mexican red chilies (I used dried and rehydrated them in warm water)
2.T. sherry vinegar
1 T. olive oil
½ Smoked paprika
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 350º
Cut the top off the head of garlic to just reveal the cloves. Place the garlic in a piece of foil and drizzle the top of it with three drops of oil. Close the foil up around the garlic and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Place the piece of sour dough bread in the oven, placing it on the rack to toast for about 8 minutes. Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet and place in the oven just long enough for them to toast, about 4 minutes.
After the garlic is cooked, squish all the garlic cloves out of the head. Put all the ingredients in a cuisineart and pulse it on and off until it is well chopped, but stop before it turns into a complete paste.
This sauce is good on chicken, fish as pasta sauce on a frittata or as a dip.
When I was in college I lived off campus for two years with three roommates. We each had responsibility to cook dinner for the house Monday through Thursday whether you were going to be eating there or not. One of our roommates, Annie, was a vegetarian, so I was always searching for good ideas of what to make that we all would like as well as something that was inexpensive.
Ratatouille was a go to dish, but back then I made it with a ton of olive oil and served it covered in cheese. It was vegetarian, but certainly was not healthy. Since then I have discovered that both the oil and cheese were unnecessary to make a great dish.
Here is my much lighter version, which I used as the filling for an omelet.
1 large yellow onion diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 cups of diced eggplant
2 zucchini – diced
2 yellow squash – diced
1 red pepper – diced
1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes (I have mentioned in previous recipes that fresh tomatoes are wasted on these cooked dishes, but if you are overwhelmed with fresh tomatoes go ahead and use them.)
30 fresh basil leaves chiffonade (That means finely cut)
Spray a big stockpot with Pam and place over Medium High heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook, stirring every 30 seconds, until softened, about 5 minutes. Spray more Pam and add the eggplant. Cook the same way for another 5 minutes. Add all the other vegetables except the basil and cook another 5 minutes. Add basil and salt and pepper. Cook another five minutes.