Hope you enjoyed that fun fact for this evening. It’s an oldie, but goodie.
Anyway, I had no idea what I was doing for dinner tonight. I knew it would involve chicken, but had no other plans. Today was not conducive to planning out a meal.
So, I threw a bunch of random things into a pot (and then a pan), and called it a meal. It came out tasting, well, really damn good.
2 chicken breasts
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water (or good chicken stock if you have any)
1/3 cup soy sauce
4 or 5 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
freshly cracked black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1. in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add the balsamic vinegar and half the water. bring to a light boil so the acid cooks out. i’d give this about 10 minutes (you’ll know the acid has been cooked off once it doesn’t sting your nose when you take a whiff). if the level of the liquid seems to be too low, add the other half of the water.
2. meanwhile, in a large saute pan with sides, heat 1-2 tbsp butter and 1-2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. once the butter is foaming, add the chopped onions and cook until brown and caramelized.
3. add the soy sauce, bay leaf, and thyme to the balsamic vinegar. turn the heat down so it simmers. if need be, add more water.
4. rinse and pat the chicken dry. sprinkle liberally with turmeric, basil, and ginger. i tend to go light on the ginger because i’m least fond of it.
5. once onions are browned, add the vinegar mixture to the pan. scrape up any brown bits and give it a stir. add the chicken and cover. cook on medium heat for about 7-10 minutes (depending on the size of your cuts of chicken). after about 10 minutes, turn the chicken over and cook for another 7-10 minutes. remove the chicken to a plate once cooked, and crank the heat up to high. boil the sauce so it reduces by about half. there should be barely enough liquid in the pan to coat the entire bottom.
For whatever reason, I thought this worked really, really well. The turmeric and basil are a weird combination, but it worked for me. It was a weird….pan-asian, italian fusion. The chicken came out really tender, too, which is always a plus. I’ve been eating a lot of dark chicken meat lately (it’s cheaper), and have forgotten how much I enjoy white meat. People argue white meat has no flavor. I disagree – its flavor is just different than dark meat, and it’s just as good.
Good evening, all.
I’m not a huge fan of pasta. Most of the time, I find it really uninspiring and mediocre. I’ve never had homemade pasta, so this could be why I’ve been reluctant to get into it.
However, in spirit of quick meals, I chose to make a spaghetti dish tonight. Spaghetti con acciughe e mollica is essentially spaghetti with bread crumbs and anchovies. To mine, I added a tomato, mint, thyme, spinach, a leek, some lemon and some feta cheese.
Revamped spaghetti con acciughe e mollica
inspiration for this was found here
about two handfuls of spaghetti (so, maybe…a little less than half a box?)
about two handfuls of spinach (but you can really add however much you want..)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 TBSP crumbled feta cheese
12 anchovy fillets packed in oil, minced — reserve the oil (remove the spine of the fish and fry them up for later! the bones are so delicate, you can eat them with no problem)
1 leek, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs thyme, minced
2 sprigs mint, minced
1 tomato, diced
3/4 cup bread crumbs, toasted
pepper to taste
juice of half a lemon
Get all your ingredients together. Mince the garlic, anchovies, herbs. Dice the tomato, chop the leek, get everything nice and organized.
Throw your breadcrumbs on a small skillet over low heat. I used panko bread crumbs, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Toast them until they’re evenly browned. You’re going to want to shake them every now and then because they’ll burn quickly.
In a medium saucepan, start boiling some water. Dump your spaghetti in, and cook until al dente (I cook my spaghetti for about 5-7 minutes because I like it preeetttyyy al dente).
While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the anchovy oil and extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet with sides over medium heat. Dump your garlic, anchovies, and leek in. Sautee that for about a minute. Then, add the tomato. Sautee for another minute or two. Add your spinach, thyme, and mint. Cook until the spinach has wilted. At this point you’ll be able to decide whether you want to add more spinach or not, as it loses a lot of volume once it wilts.
Drain the spaghetti and put it in the skillet. Reduce the heat to low. Add about half of the breadcrumbs and toss well. Add the feta and the rest of the breadcrumbs, remove from the heat. Toss again. Squeeze some lemon juice on it, toss a little bit more, and serve.
I garnished it with a little bit of mint I had leftover. I think the dish came out quite well. It’s a fusion dish, I guess, and a very satisfying one at that (particularly after an hour of kickboxing!). I have never used anchovies before, so this was a bit of an experimentation. I think a lot of people tend to assume that adding anchovies to a dish means it’ll reek of fish and taste horribly salty and fishy. This is not the case at all whatsoever. The anchovies add a hint of salty greatness, and I guarantee even your most anti-fish diners would never know they were in the dish. I will definitely be using them in the future.
I hope this week went well for everyone. I am having a bit of a hard time adjusting to this semester’s new schedule, but otherwise things are moving along.
I have an interesting menu planned for the next few days. Since my schedule doesn’t permit me to cook every day of the week, I have to compensate for it on the weekends (which actually allows me to enjoy making the food). It’s going to be a bit of a fusion week, beginning with tomorrow’s big dinner. I am finally going to be breaking in my copy of Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook by making his poulet roti. This, as you know, is just a roasted chicken. He employs a French-style of cooking, which is going to be fun trying out. Admittedly, I have never tried a French recipe before (can’t wait to start cooking from my Julia Child cookbook!). I think I am going to make a potato dish to go along with the chicken (perhaps some purple potatoes). As I will have a chicken carcass on hand, I am going to try making my own dark chicken stock on Saturday. It should be great for a lazy day.
Saturday and Sunday, I will be experimenting with Persian food. Saturday, I’ll try making Khoresh Karafs (the source of the recipe can be found by clicking on the picture), which is a celery stew.
Sunday, I will attempt to make khoresht-e ghormeh sabzi (another stew), whose recipes can be found all over the internet. It’s a popular dish, and I’m excited to try it out!
Monday, I’ll be returning to the Les Halles Cookbook for a mushroom soup. I personally love mushrooms. They are so meaty and earthy. Perhaps I will make a spinach salad with some tomatoes and carrots to go along with this dish.
Finally on Tuesday, I will try making salade d’onglet. This recipe, yet another from Bourdain, requires an onglet (hanger)
cut of steak. It’s hard to find this cut in a general grocery store, so if you’re really into meat, hit up a butcher. I’m not so keen on red meat (this is the first time since living here I have bought it), so I just bought stew meat. The recipe involves marinading the meat, so it should work out well. Accompanying the beef will be a spinach salad with a red wine vinaigrette.
Whew! Hopefully this all gets accomplished! I’ll have recipes and pictures for you of my attempts within the coming week!