Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.
I think Voltaire and many others before and since believe in this philosophy. I know I do. I can't even imagine a life without the pleasure I get from cooking and eating food... and drinking wine. I guess I wouldn't know the difference if it didn't exist. Since I do know, I am so incredibly happy it indeed does exist and I can be passionate about food all of the time.
The Spicy Chicken with Spicy Spaghetti Squash
I don't just like to cook food and eat it, I like to read about it and watch others prepare it too. For at least a year, I have been without cable television. I had the regular network channels; but, I did not have Food Network, the Travel Channel, or the Food Channel. Since returning to our house in Minnesota, I have all of the channels again. I have been soaking in all of the food shows and just loving it. I learn so much from all of these experts. They are very inspirational. I love the variety of food stars and experts: Paula Dean's butter and cheese, Rachel Ray's simplicity, and Alicia Silverstone's vegetarian advice. I read blogs and newsletters every day to get ideas on different dishes. I search bookstores for cookbooks. I love the used old cookbooks especially.
With swimsuit season in full swing, I have been watching and reading about cutting calories. I am trying to cut out carbs (as much as possible) and replace them with vegetables instead.
I still eat pasta and bread occasionally. I just try to come up with clever substitutions for the majority of the time. Of course, the substitutions must be tasty and enjoyable or I won't make them. Well, I won't make them twice. I need my food to be a pleasure. It's difficult to replace pasta. I absolutely love pasta. It's just so easy to prepare and so tasty. I still make regular white pasta.
Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes and serves: 4
1 whole chicken
1 clove of garlic, chopped
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
four lemon slices
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Clean and wash a whole chicken. Place breast side up in a roasting dish. Mix together garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and pepper. Place the lemon slices under the skin of the chicken breasts. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Let it sit while the oven heats up. Place in the oven and bake for one hour. Slice and serve with spicy spaghetti squash.
Spicy Spaghetti Squash:
Time: one hour and serves: 4
One spaghetti squash
1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Juice of two limes
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground coriander
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp. Place face down in a baking dish with 1/2 inch of water. Place in the oven with the chicken and bake for fifty minutes. In the meantime, mix together the lime and olive oil. Mash together the garlic, cumin, red pepper and coriander. Pour the spices into the lime and olive oil mixture. Take squash out of oven and scoop out the inside of the squash. Place this into a large bowl. Mix in the dressing, cheese, tomatoes, cilantro and onion. Serve with spicy chicken.
However, I have been known to make whole wheat pasta as well. I really like it. No one in my family even notices the difference, which is great. I also use quinoa instead of pasta. I absolutely love quinoa. I have been making the most fantastic quinoa salad that I will discuss in a later article.
This week, I am using spaghetti squash as a pasta substitution. This squash is even named after pasta. I have written about spaghetti squash in the past. I usually make it with butter, salt and pepper. It is really good like that and so simple to prepare.
This time, I have decided to make it with a spicy flair. I am using olive oil, garlic, cilantro, and lime. I thought this would go well with some spicy chicken. So, instead of chicken with pasta, we are having chicken with spaghetti squash. You can leave out the cayenne and crushed chili peppers in this recipe if you don't like it spicy.
Normally, I'd be washing this dish down with a glass of wine. Just yesterday, I was telling someone that I pretty much drink water and wine...and that is it. Those are the two drinks I enjoy. I never drink soda or beer. I just don't like them. I do like to add lemon or cucumber to my water. I also like carbonated water sometimes.
Sara Ahrens was over the other day and mentioned a new drink she thought I should try. She saw this on Dr. Oz's show. First, you brew some green tea. In a large pitcher, you add a sprig of mint and squeeze in a tangerine. Then, you throw the rest of the tangerine in the pitcher...peel and all. Well, this is all I have been drinking ever since. It is so incredibly wonderful. I get excited when I go to the fridge to pour myself a new glass. I call it my elixir. I have been working with the recipe and I added slices of ginger, more tangerines and apple slices. It is the perfect summer drink. I have actually been enjoying it in the evening rather than wine (every once in a while). I still drink wine too. It was the perfect drink to go with this spicy dinner.
So many flavors all at the same time...very pleasurable.