Our summer in Aspen is coming to a close in just one short week. so what does this mean? it means clearing out all the random food we have left–the three 1/4 boxes of different pastas, a few lemons and limes that are zestless (they’ve lost their will to live *sniff*), some herbs past their prime, and two half-eaten tubs of ice cream. oh, and we also have a freezer overflowing with ice packs that have come in our Green Chef boxes every week. the point is, I’m brainstorming what meals we can make and what minimal groceries we need to survive our last week here–plus what we *need* to make extra treats for the road.
As I’ve mentioned before, the great thing about cooking with Green Chef is that it forces me to branch out of my comfort zone to try new ingredients and flavor combinations. one recipe called for cooking white rice in coconut milk, and this is something that I have since adopted on several occasions. summer is also a great time to experiment with different fresh veggies and fruits mixed together. Green Chef has been providing us with more tropical flavors and again inspiring me to broaden my culinary tool box.
With some chicken and fresh fruits and veggies, I made a deliciously tropical rice bowl. in this version I used peaches in my fruit/veggie salad and they were delicious; but I would have preferred to use mango. next time.
Tropical Rice Bowl serves 2-4
2 tsp. salt
2 cups white rice
1 can coconut milk
1/4 red onion diced
handful of cilantro roughly chopped
boneless chicken thighs
1/2 cup soy sauce (GF to make this meal gluten-free)
3 tbsp. honey
salt and pepper
2 ripe peaches diced
1/2 medium cucumber diced
1/2 lime juiced
1 tbsp. honey
1 green plantain
1 avocado sliced
Making the goodies:
- Heat a few tbsp. olive oil and salt in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. add rice, coat thoroughly and saute for 1 minute.
- Add coconut milk. you want about 3 cups of liquid, so I measured out the coconut milk in a cup measurer and then added water to equal a total of 3 cups of liquid. note: you may need to use a spoon to get all the coconut goodness out of the can. stir the rice and coconut milk mixture and leave over medium heat until the liquid has been absorbed. another note: be careful not the get the pan too hot, you don’t want your rice to burn.
- Once all the liquid has been absorbed, stir the rice well and cover. leave on low heat for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, add the diced red onion and cilantro and stir. the rice is ready to serve! last note: I have tried adding the onions and cilantro at different times (earlier in the cooking process), but cooked red onion turns grey and sketchy looking, so adding them at the end leaves them bright and crisp.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. line a baking sheet in foil.
- In a large bowl, mix soy sauce, honey and salt and pepper. add chicken thighs to marinate.
- In a large skillet, heat oil in pan over medium heat. sear the marinated chicken on both sides for about 3 minutes on each side.
- Transfer chicken to prepared baking sheet, and finish in the oven for 15 more minutes. (this timing will vary based on the thickness of your chicken and your oven.)
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix lime juice and honey.
- Pit and dice peaches. add to bowl with dressing.
- Cut cucumber in half, scoop out the seeds in both halves with a spoon, and dice. add to bowl with peaches.
- Toss salad to evenly coat.
tostones: (fried plantains)
- In a flat frying pan with tall sides, fill up to an inch with vegetable oil.
- Heat oil over medium heat. note: you do not want the oil to be too hot or the plantains will cook too quickly and burn.
- Prepare the plantain. cut off ends. make a slice just through the skin on one side from tip to tip. peel the skin. note: be careful when handling the raw plantain, it can stain your clothes.
- Slice plantain making diagonal slices about an inch thick.
- After oil is heated, about 5 minutes, you can test the temperature by adding one piece of plantain to the oil. you want the oil to bubble around the plantain. if there are no bubbles, the oil is not ready. if it starts splattering like crazy, turn down the heat!
- Add plantains carefully to the oil.
- Get your smashing device ready (because I’m assuming you don’t have a tostonera–the official plantain smasher). tear off a large sheet of parchment paper. fold in half, then in half again. get a plate with a flat bottom of a flat bottom skillet ready to do the smashing. (please don’t use anything breakable…)
- Check the plantains. they should be turning a nice, crisp golden color. if your oil is not deep enough and the tops are sticking out, you will need to flip them so both sides are submerged in oil.
- Test one: After they’ve been in there sizzling for a while, take one out. place between your fold in the parchment paper and squish flat with a frying pan. If it squishes easily, they are ready. if it gives resistance, let them cook for a while longer.
- Once you know they are ready, take them all out(set them on a plate covered in paper towels to absorb the oil). get squishing!
- Once squished, return the flattened plantains to the oil once more to finish cooking. cook until plantains are crisp and golden brown.
- Remove onto plate with paper towels, and sprinkle with salt.
Putting the goodies together:
Give a good serving of rice to each bowl. top with fruit salad, sliced avocado, chicken, and tostones.
*The great thing about a rice bowl is you can add whatever you want! Use whatever meat, veggies, and toppings you want. Please experiment, get creative! I’m always looking for new inspiration:)