Tag Archives: thematic food

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

 

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

I’m still reeling from last night’s crazy Oscars!  I took a risk and voted for Moonlight, so when the La La Land win was overturned I was jumping with joy!  Not only was this film so deserving of Best Pic, but Moonlight was the winning point on my ballot and I won the pool at my annual Oscar party.  I love thinking up thematic foods for each film – and I made this Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo for Moonlight.  Everyone loved this traditional Latin American chicken and rice fiesta.  A winning dish for a winning film!

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo- for the full Oscar night menu

When I watched Moonlight, I knew that Arroz Con Pollo would be the best dish to represent this beautiful film. There is a moving scene involving the main character, Chiron when he visits his childhood friend, Kevin.  Kevin works in a diner and insists that Chiron try the Chef’s Special: Arroz Con Pollo.  You’ll have to watch the film to see how the rest of the scene plays out!

Typically, a roasted chicken leg rests overtop a mountain of Spanish rice.  However, since I was using a crock pot, I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which work better for slow cooking. As for the other ingredients, they’re pretty straightforward.  The yellow saffron Spanish rice I found at the local Metro grocery store, no problem.

A healthy, super easy dish to make, this slow cooker recipe is ideal for a family-style dinner, or if you have a baby shower on the day of a big party!  Tender, shredded chicken is nestled among the slightly smoky, tomato infused saffron rice and sweet vegetables.  Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce for a bit more kick, along with some plain yogurt to cool your dancing tastebuds.

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Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

This delicious Latin America rice and chicken dish can be made in the slow cooker. Light, fluffy saffron rice soaks up the flavours of the vegetables and chicken. Reminisce about the Oscar winning movie Moonlight as you make Kevin's "Chef's Special" for someone you love!
Course Events and Holidays, Healthy, Main Dish, Poultry, Slow Cooker
Cuisine Latin American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 8 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil I use avocado oil for cooking, but olive oil is fine too!
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper stem and seeds removed, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 28oz can low sodium diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups frozen vegetables a mixed bag with peas, carrots and corn works well
  • 1 8 oz box yellow saffron Spanish rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 handful fresh parsely chopped
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt for serving
  • 1 lime sliced into wedges for serving
  • hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper and saute until vegetables have softened and are lightly browned, around 8-10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of broth, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker.
  4. Add chicken, remaining broth, diced tomatoes, frozen vegetables, bay leaves, oregano and salt. Coat evenly with vegetable mixture. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
  5. At the 6 hour mark (or 2 hour mark on high) add rice to slow cooker and stir well.
  6. Top with fresh parsely. Serve with lime wedges, yogurt and hot sauce on the side.

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

What did you make for your Oscar party?  Have you seen Moonlight?  What did you think of the scene featuring Arroz Con Pollo?

Oscar Party Food 2017

Oscar Party Food 2017

Oscar Party Food 2017

The glitz!  The glam!  The thematic food!  We are just a few days away the 89th Academy Awards, one of my favourite reasons to throw a party.  I’m still trying to cram in the last of the Best Picture noms before the big night, but I’ve started to plan my menu.  Oscar Party 2017 is underway!

Let’s take a look at the Best Picture nominations and possible food pairings:

Arrival: Calamari, inspired by the creepy alien imagery.  Maybe with some sort of black squid ink-like dip?

Fences: When Viola Davis serves biscuits to her brother-in-law, they bring a smile to his face, and biscuits bring a smile to my face, so it’s a double win!  Chicken and collard greens work too.  Set in Pittsburgh, you could also do pierogies or cabbage rolls, to represent the European immigrant population.

Hacksaw Ridge: Wine and bread would be a simple snack to represent the strong religious theme throughout this film.  For something a bit more fancy, you could also do sushi to represent this bloody battle against the Japanese.

Hell or High Water: Steak and potatoes make an appearance in this neo-Western crime thriller.  How about some mini potato and meatball skewers?

Hidden Figures: Astronaut ice cream is my go-to for space movies!  A fun and easy snack.

La La Land: A few ideas for this one: a colourful veggie spread to symbolize all the bright and beautiful dresses that danced across the screen.  You could also do a “jazzed up” Hollywood cocktail to prove your love of jazz to Ryan Gosling.  But the obvious La La Land food is chicken skewers (“Sashay, Satay Chicken Skewers”?) to represent Ryan’s dream of opening his “Chicken on A Stick” club.

Lion: This one was easy.  When Dev Patel takes a bit of some jalebi, a sweet Indian dessert, he has a flashback to his childhood in India.  It’s a pivotal moment in the film, and a tasty one too!

Manchester by the Sea:  There’s always one film that is underwhelming, and this year for me it was Manchester.  Thus the food pairing tends to be a bit, uninspired.  How about some beer?   Beer was the reason why Casey Affleck leaves his home in the middle of night, only to come home to a devastating scene.  Or you could do s’mores….(too much?).

Moonlight:  When Chiron reunites with his friend Kevin, Kevin makes him the Chef’s Special: arroz con pollo, a chicken dish similar to paella.

Menu planned?  Check!

Ballot printed? Check!  I like this format from Moviefone.  I always add a few bonus points for the harder categories like Short Film.

Need an Oscar drinking game?  I have a pretty straightforward one!

THE RULES
DRINK EVERY TIME:

  • Jimmy Kimmel makes a joke about Mel Gibson, who glares at him with a big false smile
  • The camera cuts away to Meryl Streep
  •  Viola Davis says something awkward
  • Casey Affleck arrives looking even more unshaven and creepy than the Golden Globes
  • If you lose a category on your ballot
  •  A winner thanks God/Jesus
  •  A winner’s speech gets cut off by the orchestra
  •  A winner tries to make a political statement in their speech
  •  Someone trips on stage
  • The show runs overtime

If you think you might end up a bit too hammered for a Sunday night, use this Bonus Oscar Prop Bet sheet instead.

BONUS OSCAR PROP BET

MY BRIEF BEST PICTURE SUMMARY

I only have Hell or High Water left to watch, but I have to say that this year’s Best Pic lineup wasn’t the strongest.  My personal fave is Lion, a beautifully told story that had me bawling.  La La Land was pretty to look at but I wish there had been more songs to support the story and characters.  I loved Arrival and Moonlight equally.  Stunning cinematography from both.  Arrival breathed new life into the sci-fi genre and Moonlight told an important story in a sensitive way.  Hidden Figures was interesting, but felt a bit anti-climactic (a comparison to Apollo 13 comes to mind).  The film I was most surprised with was Hacksaw Ridge.  I used to love Mel Gibson but like many folk, I have been turned off by his crazy behaviour in recent years.  If you push that aside – Hacksaw Ridge is a fantastically shot war film with a solid story, supported by delicate religious undertones.  Manchester By The Sea didn’t really do much for me, I found it hard to have much sympathy for the main characters.  The best part about the film is Michelle Williams, who always steals any scene she is in.  However I’d watch Manchester any day over the gawd awful Fences which was so boring and poorly adapted from the play it was based on.  No one needs to watch Denzel Washington yammer on for two + hours.  Tortured myself to finish that one.

What food are you making for your Oscar Party?  I want to know what you think of the nominations, and your Oscar predictions!

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

You know what I love more than overpriced chocolate and flowers? These Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes of course!

Seriously, I truly adore quinoa, chickpea and latkes. Coming together as one, in perfect harmony.

I’ve always been more of a savoury kind of gal.

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Here’s the deal with Valentine’s Day. I love the story of Saint Valentine, a priest who was imprisoned for ministering Christians who were being persecuted by the Roman Empire. He performed weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. While imprisoned, he healed the daughter of his jailer, and on the day of his execution he left her a letter signed “Your Valentine”.

I’m all about celebrating a day of love, but c’mon do we have to ruin another holiday with excessive consumerism? (But of course we do!). Somewhere deep within my dark soul lies a cheesy romantic, but it’s going to take more than shitty chocolate and expensive flowers to make me swoon.

What’s that you say? Would I like some brie and baguette? Oh well, you shouldn’t have…<<blush>> <<eyelash flutter>>

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

I know we all say “but you should be celebrating your love all the time, not just on Valentine’s Day”. Every day kinda does feel like Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend, because I always feel loved, and hope I make him feel the same. I like the spontaneity of nice gestures or when we give each other little gifts throughout the year. Like when he bought me this cute skull egg mold:

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes-Skull Eggs

Skull Eggs

I know, so sweet right?  Skulls are always better than hearts, in my opinion.

However if you read my blog, you know I love any excuse to create thematic food. I’ve had this heart shaped mold sitting in my drawer for ages, so for my Valentine’s Day post I decided to make my Quinoa Chickpea Latkes and give them some extra love!

This was a recipe I developed during the first year of my blog, and I actually won third place in a local newspaper contest. My recipe was featured in the Toronto Star and I won a free ticket to this awesome local food event called Feast of Fields. The inspiration behind the recipe was to create a gluten free pancake-latke hybrid for my friend who suffers from many food allergies.

The Quinoa Chickpea Latke was born.

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Originally I named my creation a “latcake”, a potato-like pancake, but now I feel it leans more towards a latke. But my latke is made with all kinds of tasty and nutritious ingredients. Quinoa is the base and the egg mashed with the chickpea binds the whole patty together. Packed full of protein from the quinoa and chickpeas, these latkes are also high in fibre with the addition of flax seed and spinach.

Super food latke? I think so!

I love these patties because they can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack, or even as a vegatarian burger for lunch or dinner. They’re so versatile and go with any number of sweet or savory toppings. My favourites are tofu mayonnaise with pickles, salsa or apple butter. My boyfriend loves them with red chili jelly!

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes
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Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked organic quinoa
  • 19- oz (540-mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cups flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 cups organic baby spinach
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • oil for frying (I prefer avocado oil)

Possible toppings:

  • tofu mayonaise
  • gherkins
  • red chili jelly
  • mango chutney
  • apple butter
  • broccoli sprouts
  • hummus
  • tzaziki
  • cottage cheese
  • avocado

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa as per directions or in a rice cooker.
  2. Drain and rinse chick peas.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and chick peas and mash well with a potato masher.
  4. Add flax seeds, pesto, curry, salt and pepper.
  5. When the quinoa is cooked, add to the large bowl along with the spinach.
  6. Mix well until the spinach wilts from the hot quinoa. Shape into six to eight 2.5"-3" round latkes.
  7. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place 3-4 latkes in the skillet and cook for 4 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Carefully flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove and cover with foil to keep warm.
  9. Repeat for remaining latkes. Top as desired.
Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

I like to look at Valentine’s Day as a day of love for anyone in your life, and <<cliché>> the best way to say “I love you” is with a homemade gift. I remember as a kid we would make a valentine for every kid in class so that no one was left out. Maybe we can still turn this holiday around folks! Cook up a batch of these latkes, and bring them to the office, or give some to your neighbours.  Spread the love!

What was the last nice gesture you made for someone you love? Let me know what toppings would be tasty on these Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes!

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes

Valentine Quinoa Chickpea Latkes