Cooking on Wednesdays for a DATE NIGHT IN, is quickly becoming a ritual. It first started because my beau wanted a night to cook for me, and now we look forward to it as a great way to connect during a busy work week.
It's a time for us to celebrate each other for no other reason than to continually show our appreciation for one another.
Date night gives me a boost through the middle of the week. It's a highlight as Bradford is always finding ways to surprise me. Usually this is Bradford's day off and it gives him an opportunity to be creative in a different way outside of the restaurant work setting, He'll go on mini adventures around town to find the perfect ingredients to guide our meal.
One of the ways I continue to learn and get to know B is through his cooking. Years ago he spent time cooking in Sonoma. Wanting to explore this part of him through his dishes, I asked for something that related to that time. Something fresh, light and reflects a California influence. He responded to my challenge by driving me crazy with the intoxicating aromas of the juiciest roasted chicken, drizzled with a citrus dressing, accompanied by spiced roasted carrots, baby kale and avocado. My hope is that this dish will help you drive a loved one crazy as well! To further the experience, take advantage of cool summer nights, get out the candles and savor the dish in an intimate setting, al fresco.
PHOTOS: MU-HSIEN INC
Gather the Ingredients.
2 chicken breasts, boneless, skin on
Roasted Spiced Carrots
2 bunches baby carrots, tops cut off and peeled
1 tbs coriander seeds
1 tbs cumin seed
1 tbs fennel seed
1 tbs black peppercorn
1 tbs salt
1/4c extra virgin olive oil
1/2c extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon (1/2 roasted, 1/2 fresh)
1 orange (1/2 roasted, 1/2 fresh)
Baby Kale Salad
1 orange, peeled and sliced into rounds
1/4 c cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced
2 c baby kale leaves
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tbs marcona almonds, chopped roughly
1 tbs sunflower seeds, toasted
salt and pepper to taste
Spice & Roast the Carrots.
Prepare the spice mix: Toast coriander, fennel and cumin seeds with black peppercorns. Crush in mortar and pestle and combine with 1 tbs salt. (This might be a "salad," but B still wanted it to have a flavorful kick. Take a good whiff of this stuff before putting it on the Carrots. Also, if you make extra, this spice mix is great for chicken, fish and other proteins, as well as chick peas, lentils and other beans!)
Toss carrots with 1/4c of olive oil and half of the spice mix. (Garlic & thyme optional). Lay carrots out on a baking sheet and squeeze half of the lemon and half of the orange on top of them. Add the squeezed citrus halves to the tray and place in a preheated 350F oven. Roast for 1 hour or until carrots are tender and have a little color. Set aside.
Spice, Sear & Roast the Chicken.
Season the chicken breast with the remaining spice mix. Preheat a heavy sauce pan over medium high heat and coat with oil (canola, grapeseed, coconut, etc.). Once hot, start searing the chicken on the skin side first. Once the skin starts to color, place the pan in the 350F oven for 10 minutes (do not flip the chicken). After 10 minutes check the doneness of the chicken with a thermometer, should read at least 155F. Flip the chicken over and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the garnish.
Dress and Plate the Salad.
Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl squeeze the remaining half of the fresh lemon and orange. Squeeze the juice and pulp from the roasted orange and lemon into this same bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the remaining 1/2c of olive oil while whisking.
To plate… divide the carrots between two plates. Add half of an avocado (cut into 4’s) and a few slices of orange. Lightly dress the cilantro, jalapeño, kale and green onion with the citrus dressing and scatter the salad on top of the plated avocado, oranges and carrots. Slice the chicken into large slices (3-4 per breast, to ensure that they stay juicy) and add to the plate. Dress the entire dish with more of the citrus dressing and sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and almonds.
Be prepared to have your eyes and belly fully stimulated! - Bon appétit!
Get more everyday adventure ideas @LiveLikeYoureTraveling