Won’t you be my neighbor?

April 7th, 2009

This is one of those posts that for some reason, I cannot figure out what exactly to say… Maybe it is the fact that my brain has been so busy lately keeping Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Property and Copyright issues all straight in my head, that writing a post is very difficult. Or perhaps because this recipe is from a very good friend and I’m not quite sure how to adequately articulate that…

N and her family are our former neighbors in Chapel Hill. My family moved away from the “Thrill” when I was in college. As families, we became very close. I refer to her son as my “Other Little Brother.” He spent many afternoons playing with my brother and raiding our house for Ritz crackers (my mother only bought them for him). When I go back to Chapel Hill, I stay with them. I know that I always welcome. Plus, they have the most AMAZING couch!!! It is so comfortable! I remember once N had fixed up the guest room for me but I still slept on the couch. I used to walk over just to nap sometimes…

Some of my favorite times (and my sister will agree) have been sitting around their kitchen table talking. N always fixes something that is delicious and we will sit for hours talking. They are part of my family. This recipe is from N. It is as good at it looks… a really delicious mix of flavors. It also reheats really well, so is excellent to make in a large batch and eat throughout the week. I did not get sick of it, even four meals later. A very good comforting meal and reminds me of being back in Chapel Hill… something I need sometimes as school gets more stressful and Chicago continues to be cold…

Chicken Marbella

(adapted by N from the Silver Palate Cookbook)
Marinate chicken overnight

1 and a half pounds each, quartered (I use a variety of boneless breasts)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1/4 cup pitted Spanish green olives (I add more – see what you think when the chicken is in the baking pan)
1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
3 bay leaves

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white wine
¼ cup Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro)

In a large bowl combine chicken pieces, garlic, oregano, pepper, salt taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate in refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer in one or two shallow baking pans.
Spoon marinade over evenly.
Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour wine around them.
Bake 50 min to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices.
Transfer with slotted spoon to a serving platter.
Moisten with pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining sauce in sauce boat.

(I usually serve it at room temperature*N)

P.S. Check out and enter my Cry Me an Onion Contest! I’ve gotten some great submissions and would love some more!

Also, GO HEELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NCAA CHAMPS 2009!!!!!!!!!


August 6th, 2008

Ah, Doolin! How I miss you…your beautiful rolling green hills, sparkling blue sea and occasional sunshine… I have been back in the states for over a week now and have been running around none stop. I moved out of my current apartment and temporarily into my aunt’s house. Next week, I’ll be driving my things out to Chicago and into my new apartment. Until then, there is no rest for the weary but rather a long list of odds and ends that need to be taken care of…so in between the craziness, I am going to try to post some…I’ve even cooked a bit and took some pictures…hopefully, I’ll have a few free moments to get them up here…but first a bit about my trip…

When I graduated from college two years ago, I had three non-career related goals…

1. Learn to make a souffle.
2. Learn how to blow glass.
3. Travel to Ireland.

I am happy to announce that I completed all three…one and two will make it into a post one of these days… My trip to Ireland was alot of fun. It was the first time that I had ever traveled alone for that long. Overall, I loved it. I spent my time roaming, reading and relaxing.

After arriving in Dublin, I took a bus over to Doolin, a small town on the Western Coast known for its fabulous music. From there, I took a beautiful but strenuous hike to the Cliffs of Mohr. These photos are from that trek. That night, slightly exhausted, I settled down in the pub with a wonderful Guinness Beef stew served over mashed potatoes with a pint of Guinness. It was an excellent meal and the local music did not disappoint!

After a few days in Doolin, I took the ferry to the Aran Islands. I spent one day biking around Inishmore. There were many old ruins to explore and I saw seals. I did not take too many pictures because the weather was very misty that I did not want to get my camera too wet. I did break it out to capture these roosters…

That about sums up the highlights of the first part of my trip…I don’t want to leave you without a recipe. When I returned, J and I made a green chutney inspired by Salman Rushdie‘s Midnight’s Children as we had previously done with our Lotus Root Curry disaster. The chutney was a success and did not last long. We ate it with some samosas and a chicken curry. The pictures looked awful but it looks like any green pesto or dip. It was fabuous!!!

Green Chutney
(adapted from One Hot Stove)

2 cups packed fresh cilantro
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped onion
2 green chillies
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
1 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp lime juice
salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend with a little water to get a thick chutney.

P.S. For more photos from Ireland, check out my flickr. Warning: I am just learning how to use flickr.

Flamingos? Cilantro? Dinner?

January 28th, 2008

Ever since I started this blog, I have been wondering how I would figure out what to post. Would I allow my ideas for my blog to determine what I cook? Would my cravings control what I post? Would I just have inspiration? Would I post only the meals that photograph well? Then I realized that I know what will heavily influence my posts…my budget. Like many others, I am very conscious about how much I can spend monthly on food. Although I am definitely more liberal in this area, I have been trying to cut back and be smarter with leftovers. While I can’t wait to share with you my chicken-thyme-pear-brie sandwich or my shrimp feta pasta sauce, I also must work within the confines, or put more optimistically, the possibilities of my fridge.

A few weeks ago, I made a mango-avocado salsa to go with some halibut for some friends. I had a large amount of cilantro left and no idea what to make so I came up with a cilantro pesto. When I saw the event, Leftover Tuesdays, hosted by Project Foodie, I decided to enter this recipe. The pesto will last for about two weeks if you keep it in the fridge and the lemon juice helps prevent discoloring. I have eaten about 4 dinners already from this one recipe. In keeping with the Leftover theme, I used some flamingo shaped pasta that I have had lying around.

Cilantro Pesto

1 ½ cups packed Cilantro leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled
¼ cup walnuts
3 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and blend until smooth. If it is not smooth, you may need to add more olive oil.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Toss with pasta and sprinkle with some extra grated Parmesan.

P.S. Do you need/have some meat? Poach a chicken breast in a deep frying pan or sauce pan. Place the chicken in the pan, cover with water so that the chicken breast is half-way submerged, bring to simmer, cook on one side for about 5 minutes and then flip over the chicken breast for another 5 minutes. Continue to do this until the chicken is completely cooked (the meat will be white with no pink visible). Cut it into small pieces and mix with your pesto and pasta.