The Colors of Spring

The weather in DC has finally started to transition to spring now. Despite the frost and chill, the cherry blossoms around the basin have still managed to bloom. Sarah and I joined the horde of locals and tourists wandering about the National Mall and Jefferson Memorial to take in the sights. Some people were having picnics. Others meandered at an infuriatingly snail-like pace in the middle of the sidewalk  with their heads in the clouds (or blossoms to be more accurate). Some were busy painting. Numerous were trying to capture the perfect photo in the midst of the chaotic crowds. There was a wedding proposal (she said yes!). We caught a glimpse of the couple huddled together with an expression of mixed joy and fearfulness as the multitude of bodies swarmed around them like a fire ants. Their photographer and family members flitted around them snapping photos furiously.

With the beginning of spring, Sarah and I have also decided that it’s about time to shake off the winter doldrums and shed those winter pounds in anticipation for some more time in the sun. We’ve started a more regimented exercise program (complete with measurements) and diet. As such, I’ve been looking a little at the workouts and diets of body builders. It looks like most tried and true diets consist of chicken breast/fish with rice/sweet potato and broccoli. Now as much as I like simplicity, I don’t think these meals necessarily need to be that bland or boring.

Last week also happened to be the first day of the Dupont farmer’s market after being closed all winter so we wandered down to gather some inspiration and ingredients for meal that would herald the beginning of spring in both flavor and color.

Swiss Chard and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breast with Roasted Garlic and Sweet Potato Puree

IMG_0403

  • Chicken Breast                                      2
  • Swiss Chard                                           2 cups, chopped
  • Mushroom (assorted)                          2 cups
  • Garlic                                                      7 cloves, roasted
  • Parmesan cheese                                  1/3 cup, grated
  • Sweet Potato                                          1/4 lb, peeled, cubed and steamed
  • Lemon                                                     1
  • Olive oil
  • Salt                                                           To taste

Let’s break this down to make things a bit more manageable.

Start by turning on oven to broil. Place cloves of garlic on aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in oven for 15-20 minutes until fragrant and soft.

Chicken Breast

Pat dry chicken breast and season with salt on both side.

If using Joule, place chicken breast into ziploc and drizzle in olive oil. Place in water for 55 minutes at 149 degrees. After done cooking, slice lengthwise but not all the way through. Add stuffing and sear in hot pan.

If not using Joule, carefully slice in half lengthwise but not all the way through. Scoop the stuffing (see below) into the center. In a hot pan, add cooking oil. Add stuffed chicken breast and sear each side for 7 minutes with a lid over the pan.

Stuffing

Finely chop swiss chard, mushrooms, and garlic (4 cloves). Heat a pan to medium high heat. Add cooking oil. Add the stems of the swiss chard first and mushrooms. Salt lightly and sautee. Add garlic and remainder of swiss chard leaves. Salt lightly and continue to sautee. Takes around 10-15 minutes. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top to finish. Add grated Parmesan and mix well.

Puree

Steam cubed sweet potato until soft. Add to food processor along with 3 cloves of roasted garlic. Blend until creamy. You can add a little bit of water to help out with the texture. Salt to taste.

For final plating, spread puree in a circle on bottom of plate. Add stuffed chicken breast. Serve with a side of vegetables (I like having a bitter green).

-D

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