Mirliton Slaw

The mirliton (aka chayote and a bunch of other names) is related to melons, cucumbers, and squash.  I’m making an assumption that the FODMAP content is fairly low since it is also low in other members of the gourd family.  According to the USDA National Nutrient database, the mirliton has more carbohydrates than cucumber, but about the same amount of sugar (mirliton vs cucumber).  Unless someone can give us the definitive FODMAP content, eat mirlitons at your own risk.   If anyone out there in the cyberlands can educate me on the FODMAP content of mirlitons, I’d appreciate hearing from you!

My farmers’ market currently has beautiful, in-season mirlitons direct from Louisiana.  I made a very simple dressing, but you could use your favorite cole slaw dressing.

2 mirlitons, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4 inch matchsticks
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely chopped scallion greens
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon celery seed
freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate.  If it needs salt, add immediately before serving.

Sassy Spiced Chicken and Vegetables

Be sure to use freshly ground black pepper in this. It makes a big difference. I used cane syrup but maple would be good too

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Freshly grated zest of one lemon
2 tbsp minced scallion greens

Juice of one lemon

Olive oil

Cane or maple syrup – approx 3 – 4 tablespoons

1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

2 cups diced sweet potato
1 cup carrot chunks

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil

Preheat oven to 350. Combine the parsley, scallions, and zest; set aside. Juice the lemon and set juice aside.  Combine the spices and set aside.

Toss the vegetables with a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large roasting pan.  Drizzle the vegetables with 1 1/2 tablespoons of syrup. Add 1 tablespoon of the spice mix. Combine thoroughly. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, turning the vegetables once or twice.

Prepare the chicken while the vegetables cook. Trim the fat from the meat and cut the thighs into thirds.  Combine with the remaining spices and a teaspoon of salt. Let marinate for 20 – 30 minutes. When ready to cook, heat the clarified butter or oil until very hot in a heavy skillet large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer.  Add the chicken and let  sear until brown. Turn the pieces and brown on the other side. Lower the heat and cook until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the chicken. Sprinkle half the parsley mixture on the chicken and the rest on the vegetables. Serve hot.

Veggie Corn Fritters

A quick and easy side dish, I put a grocery store rotisserie chicken in the oven to warm up while I prepared these.  These could be doctored up any number of ways.  Adding bacon or ham would be good or try some herbs for flavor.

2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup corn meal
dash cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chopped scallion greens
1 small zucchini, diced small
1 cup frozen corn kernels
salt and pepper
oil or clarified butter for frying
goat cheese or feta cheese crumbles

Whisk together the eggs, corn meal, cayenne, and scallions  and set aside.  Heat up a tablespoon or so of oil and thoroughly saute the zucchini until most of the moisture has evaporated and it starts to brown.  Add the corn and stir until the corn is hot.  Salt and pepper the veggies.  Let the sauteed veggies cool and then stir them into the egg mixture.

When ready to make the fritters, heat up about a 1/4 cup of oil or clarified butter in a skillet. Using a 1/4 cup measure, drop batter into hot skillet and let sit until nice and brown on the bottom, about 3 mins. Turn over and brown on the other side. Remove to a plate and top with a tablespoon or so of cheese crumbles.  Serve hot!

Thai-Style Rice Salad

1 1/2 cups rice – Thai red, jasmine, or brown rice
5 tablespoons corn oil in which you’ve steeped some garlic cloves for flavor
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and chopped
1/4 pound chicken meat, chopped
4 scallions, green parts only, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla), or more, if necessary
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 chilies, preferably Thai, stemmed, seeded and sliced, optional
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges.
Salt to taste

Cook rice according to package directions. Put it in a bowl and let it cool.

Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Add eggs and scramble quickly. Remove eggs from the pan.

Raise heat to high, and add remaining oil. When oil is hot, add garlic and shrimp, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp lose their raw gray color; transfer to the bowl with a slotted spoon; add chicken and sauté until just done, add scallions and cook for another minute.Transfer to bowl. 

To skillet add fish sauce; chilies; tamarind and sugar, and a little water (start with 1/4 cup); stir just to combine and deglaze the pan (add a little more water, if necessary), then drizzle warm dressing over salad. Toss, taste, and adjust seasoning, then top with peanuts, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges on side.

Clarified Butter or Ghee

I often use clarified butter, aka ghee, as a way to reduce the lactose content of butter.  Clarifying butter helps remove water, lactose and casein leaving you with luscious butterfat that can be used at higher temperatures than you would normally use with butter.  The web site “the kitchen” gives step by step instructions on how to make your own.  I sometimes buy ghee locally, but it is pricey.  If you use ghee frequently in your cooking, it makes sense to make your own.

Link to the instructions!

Fish and Olives

This is super easy and the perfect dish when I feel like I need to lighten up after the holidays. I use catfish, but you could use some other medium-firm white fish. Tilapia would work.  Spice it up a bit if you like by adding some cayenne or hot pepper flakes to the olive mixture.

catfish filet

For each catfish filet, combine the following and have at room temperature:
1/4 cup chopped, pimiento stuffed olives
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp minced parsley
1 tbsp minced scallion greens

Heat some vegetable or olive oil in a nonstick skillet.  Season the fish with some salt and pepper and let is sizzle in the skillet, about 3-4 minutes per side, until done to your liking.  Top with the olive mixture and serve.