Good news, kittens! I was able to renew my copies of Nigella Kitchen, Feast, and Forever Summer from the library for another three weeks. Expect greatness.
I didn’t even think about this until this week, but I feel like it needs addressing. Marcus and I make every recipe to feed ~4 people. We use about 1 – 1 1/2 lbs of meat per recipe depending on what it is and how we’re going to cook it. So if you ever read an original copy of a recipe and it suggests using, say, eight chicken thighs, please know that we did not use eight chicken thighs in the recipe. We likely used three or four.
Now? We feast-it-out.
Sunday: Carne Guisada
Since the weather was supposed to be especially gloomy on Sunday night, I wanted to make a recipe that involved braising/slow cooking/committed us to cooking indoors.
After all, if there’s anything worse than NOT grilling, it’s wishing that you were grilling.
Apparently this decision was completely inspired because if there’s anything better than having the time to slow-cook something into oblivion, it’s having a brand-new set of Le Creuset dutch ovens to do it in.
Our modifications: We used a can of Rotel (actually it was ALDI’s Benita brand) instead of stewed tomatoes and stir fry meat instead of stew meat (this is what happens when you send men grocery shopping on their own). As per one reviewer’s recommendation, we upped the cumin to 1 tablespoon and swapped olive oil in for shortening. As per another reviewer’s recommendation, we cooked the entire thing for two hours.
The gravy was spicy, the meat was tender (basically anything will fall apart on your plate after cooking for that long). I’m sure that the gravy would have been thicker and the meat more melt-in-your-mouth-y if we had actually used stew meat, but it’s always a relief when a recipe is forgiving.
Tuesday: Chicken with Greek Herb Sauce from Nigella Kitchen
This was a definite Judge A Book By It’s Cover (or a recipe by its picture)-moment. The chicken looked delicious, the tzatziki-type yogurt sauce looked like something I wanted to dive into.
But why, pray-tell does one need a recipe to instruct them to rub poultry with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper prior to cooking?
The answer to that question is neither here nor there. I was looking for an easy recipe that we could just as quickly put on the grill (at this time of year, some flexibility in the area of indoors-outdoors cooking can be a lifesaver). And after a brief bit of reflection, I came to the conclusion that this was one of those recipes where the meat and sides are just a vehicle for MORE of the sauce.
So I guess that it’s a good thing that the base of our sauce was 0% Greek Yogurt. You could eat that stuff all day.
Our Modifications: We grilled the chicken instead of roasting it and used breasts instead of thighs. For the sauce we went the cilantro-dill route instead of the mint-dill or parsley-dill routes. Sometimes it’s nice to only have to mind one set of leafy herbs in the fridge. Instead of using two cups of yogurt we used only one and used the entire cucumber instead of just half. This gave us a wonderfully dense, flavor-packed sauce that we just couldn’t stop spooning over things. The chicken, the asparagus, the potatoes. It was everywhere.
Passover is next week, which above all things means extremely expensive kosher for Passover wine (we say no to Manischewitz, so we end up paying 3-4 times more than we normally would for a bottle of wine) and expensive kosher for Passover vodka.
After seeing Megan’s post a week or so ago, I was inspired to infuse my own vodka since we still had some leftover from last year in the freezer.
I KNEW there was a reason we picked that extra lemon up at the grocery store.
Plus, using up old vodka and re-using the jar that homegirl sent me her jam in? Greenest kitchen project ever.
Naturally I’ll be ready to share the results of this grand experiment with y’all next week 🙂
Thursday: Chicken Teriyaki from Nigella Kitchen
This third and final dinner recipe rounded out our week of cilantro.
When I saw this recipe in Nigella’s book, I was tickled. Chicken Teriyaki is something that exists in 1999 and Seattle. It’s something you can eat with chopsticks.
So naturally, I wanted in.
Nigella recommends letting the sauce boil down to “syrup-y.” We didn’t get quite that far, but the dish was none the worse for the wear. Next time, I might try to let the mess get a little stickier, but nothing too condensed.
Our modifications: We increased the amount of sauce in the recipe by half. Since we didn’t have any sake on-hand, we went without. We didn’t really measure the ginger, but rather kept on grating (using a Microplane zester) until the sauce felt “right.”
Have you ever tried to infuse alcohol before? If you were to try, what would you drop in first?
And for humor’s sake (it’s Friday for crying out loud!), when is the last time you had teriyaki-anything?