I’m a California girl, in every way. When it comes to fashion, give me flip flops and a maxi skirt over just about any other outfit. I prefer thrift stores or flea markets over any mall, and my idea of paradise is listening to Incubus while on a road trip to the beach, stopping for In-N-Out on the way.
Tonight’s dinner was a definite nod to California. Crisp, light flavors, a slight hint of cultural fusion and, perhaps most the most “California” aspect: Locally sourced, organic ingredients.
On the menu tonight? Grain-free coconut chicken strips, forbidden rice drizzled with salted honey butter and spicy peach/mint salsa. Not only was it delicious but it came together in less than 45 minutes. Also, I used 5 ingredients from my csa box!
Here is how it came together:
Start with the rice. It takes the longest to cook, but requires little effort. Forbidden rice gets it name from the fact that it used to be reserved for the Emperor of China. No one else was allowed to eat it. Can you imagine? I so love food with a history lesson. I also love food that makes me feel fancy and important…food like forbidden rice. It’s not just a cool story, though…its crazy healthy too. Loaded with antioxidants, forbidden rice is a great choice if you are eating grains. I don’t eat many, but have really enjoyed this fun ingredient.
To feed my family of five, I made two cups of rice. Use 2 cups of water for every one cup of forbidden rice.
In a large pot or sauce pan, combine 2 cups rice and four cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover and drop heat to low. Cook in low for 35-40 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
While rice is cooking, prepare your salsa. Gather the following:
1/2 one white onion
3-4 peaches, peeled and chopped
1/2 of one green bell pepper (So glad I put up those peppers!)
2 serrano chilies
Juice of one lime
Pinch of salt
2 TBSP fresh mint
2 Tsp raw honey
Pulse onion, pepper, lime, salt, honey and peaches in a food processor or blender. If you plan to serve salsa cold, add the mint now. If you want your salsa served warm, heat over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add mint for the last 30 seconds of heating. Set aside.
Now, let’s get the chicken going!
For our family, we used four large boneless, skinless breasts, sliced into one inch strips. Put chicken strips into a mixing bowl containing four beaten eggs. Set aside.
Prepare your coating:
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Whisk together, set aside.
In a stainless or cast iron skillet, heat extra virgin coconut oil over medium to medium high heat. You want the oil about 1/2 inch deep in the pan. We are pan frying, not deep frying, so you only need the oil to come halfway up the chicken.
Heat oil to about 350* or until a bit of your coating sprinkled over the pan results in a hearty sizzle.
Pull the chicken out of the egg bath, dredge well in your coating.
Once coated, drop in the oil. Fry about 3-5 minutes in each side, until golden and crispy (and cooked thoroughly on the inside.)
Drain on a cooling rack placed over a plate, paper bag or newspaper.
Once your rice is done, stir in about 3 tbsp of was honey, 3 tbsp of butter and a generous pinch of sea salt. Stir to coat.
Now, all that’s left to do is plate up!
Garnish with a sprinkling of fresh mint. I served this with mint tea, which was perfect.
The flavors are fresh, the contrasting elements work well together, and the Incubus playing in the background almost convinced me that I was headin’ down Hwy 101.