Chicken “Tacos Mexicanos” with Pico de Gallo
Perhaps one day I will live in that mythical part of the foodie world where I buy and consume only freshly butchered free range organic meat. Seriously, I dream about that day. For now, as the wife of a graduate student who has left gainful employment to chase my culinary dreams, I eat whatever meat is on sale and pray that I am not giving us both cancer. That means that there are always spare chicken breasts chasing around my refrigerator because chicken is always sold in groups of three breasts.
I ask myself, who on earth needs three chicken breasts? People usually cook for two, or four. I’ve never seen a recipe written that “serves three.” Despite our general habits of consumption, where I live one can only buy chicken in quantities of three or six. Six is occasionally a reasonable number, and happens to be the number of people I can squeeze around my table in the wintertime. However, most of the time that leaves me dealing with extra breasts. (And not in the sense of my polka-star father’s favorite song “They’re Always in the Way.”)
Peanut Butter Mousse with Kaluah Ganach
As I’ve mentioned before, my husband may be the world’s worst chocoholic. I think one of the first things I ever really understood about my husband was his absolute adoration for all things chocolate. Continue reading
Black Bean Chicken Chili
Last night I was running late. Really late. It’s never a good thing to be leaving the grocery store fifteen minutes before your dinner guest is expected. Even if that guest is one of your best friends and the gathering is only a casual catch-up-drop-by-this-is-really-not- a-dinner-party-spontaneous sort of a thing.
As I was driving home from the grocery store, with no plan about what to make and the knowledge that I would have ten minutes to put it together, I was feeling a little panicky.
Bristling with impatience as I sat at a red light, I came up with and rapidly discarded several menu options. Everything, even my quickest of quick meal classics took at least fifteen minutes of preparation time. Then, with a sigh of relief, I remembered the easiest recipe ever. It also happens to be the first recipe I ever created from scratch by myself. Not that I am really proud of it or anything…
As I’ve mentioned before, I love ethnic markets. Any small storefront bodega or Asian market beckons to me. When I enter, I rarely look for something specific, but rather pick up any ingredients that strike my fancy. I am particularly drawn by colorful ingredients, unfamiliar produce, and new packaging or formulations of favorite ingredients.
I find that this shopping habit keeps my cooking fresh, and challenges me to learn new techniques and cooking methods. It also sparks my creativity, forcing me to really think about the way and ingredients tastes and looks and how it will work with food that I normally use.
Recent trips have netted me a number of interesting finds that come together in this dish.
A few weeks ago, I read the article on No-Knead Bread by Mark Bittman with interest and a vague sense of disbelief. His claim, that it was possible to make artisan quality bread with a dense toothy crumb and a substantial professional crust at home, seemed like an impossibility. I was curious enough to try it out, but I lacked a 6-8 quart pot that was oven safe at the 450 degree temperature that the recipe called for. Even though I didn’t have the proper tools at the time I clipped the recipe and saved it for a day when I would have such a pot in my life.
The claims in the article were sufficiently seductive that I was thinking about the possibility of bread even as I was shopping for Betty. As soon as the family left town and I recovered from our still-to-be discussed cookie baking marathon, I had my yeast out and ready. Part of the attraction of this recipe is its total simplicity. A few ingredient, a wet dough, a long 18 hour slow rise, a brief shaping then a two hour second rise all add up to very little active time in the kitchen. Continue reading
Check out the Sugar High Friday #25 Round-Up
I am constantly astounded by all of the culinary talent out there in cyberspace these days. Looking at the beautiful, original, and artfully presented food musings of other bloggers inevitably inspires me to get back in the kitchen and back to work.
If you are ready to feel inspired, be sure to check out the round-up of the truffle event. There are over 50 stunningly beautiful entries. I will warn you that it is likely to induce chocolate cravings.
Last week, I took Sam up on a challenge to photograph everything that I ate beginning Monday, November 20th until I went to bed on Sunday, November 26th. I didn’t think about it for long before agreeing because it sounded like fun and I wanted to get more experience photographing food.
On Sunday night I made sure to put the digital camera batteries in the charger and I was ready to go on Monday morning. This was not a typical food week for me, because I had a lot of family in town visiting for Thanksgiving that would be staying through Monday morning. Our crew for much of the week included my husband, my sister and her husband and in-laws, my parents, and my little brother. That made nine of us in all.
Because we were such a large group, and almost everyone was in from out of town, we alternated between eating out and my cooking. Featured in some the photos are several of my family’s favorite restaurants in the area, because everyone has his or her own special requests when they come to town.
Looking over the week of pictures makes me realize a few interesting things about my food life. I live on tea, wine and vegetables. I never eat traditional breakfast food unless I am at a restaurant, and my obsession with food clearly comes from my family. When we get together we talk and eat, eat and talk, and most of what we talk about is what we have eaten, would like to eat, or whatever we are eating at the time.
View a slide show of my week by clicking here, or view the web album by clicking here. I forgot to weigh myself this morning, but I will do it tomorrow morning and report back on the damage.