I know it’s been too long since my last blog. Because it’s been a few weeks, now I feel bogged down with a million recipes to write about and an internet connection that is temperamental at best. You have my sincere apologies and a pledge to get back on track. Here’s what we had for dinner tonight:
You’ll notice that there is a side of asparagus on my plate. Asparagus is one of those foods that my young, uncultivated tongue didn’t appreciate. I used to call them “aspara-guts.” Saute them in butter and garlic and they don’t taste anything like guts… well, at least I don’t think they do.
Chicken Murphy (adapted from “Family Circle”)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 28oz can of whole tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 4 hot red peppers, seeded and cut into quarters
- 1/2 a sweet onion, sliced
- 1 cup of uncooked orzo (cook this like you cook rice with a 2 to 1 ration of water to orzo)
Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the tomatoes and liquid, salt and pepper. Break up the tomatoes using the back of a wooden spoon. Cook over med-high heat for 3 minutes. Add the chicken, peppers and onion. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve on a bed of cooked orzo.
I like strange grains. I don’t know what it is about me, but I hate spaghetti and white rice. I love jasmine rice and couscous and orzo. Maybe I just have expensive tastes… This past month, I feel like my husband’s comment on most of the meals I prepare for him has been “Well, it’s a new flavour for me…” Is that his nice way of saying that he doesn’t like it, or that I should make it more often so he gets used to it? I prefer to believe it’s the latter.
Lemon Chicken Orzo (adapted from “Family Circle)
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1 14.5 oz can of chicken broth
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 1/2 tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt
- 1 cup orzo
- 8 oz green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 tsp of the salt and pepper. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown it. Add the chicken broth and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cover. Lower heat. Let mixture simmer until the chicken is cooked through (5 min). Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Increase the heat to high and cook the sauce for 5 min. Add the honey and sour cream, salt and pepper. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil again. Add the orzo and cook for 10 min, or until the orzo is soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add green beans during the final 4 min of cooking time. Stir in the chicken. Garnish with parsley. Serve.
I was under the impression that rice is tricky to cook. Then I tried to make beans. My impatient cooking-style did NOT co-exist very well with the lengthy process of cooking dried black beans. It took me several months, but I finally built up the courage to try again. This time, I left the beans on low and went to an appointment for a few hours. I think that helped. I also started to cook them well before it was dinnertime, and well before I was hungry so I didn’t even feel the need to rush them along so I could eat. My beans don’t hold a candle next to real ones, cooked by Latin Americans who know what they are doing, but they weren’t bad.
Garlic-Cumin Black Beans (adapted from Mark Bittman’s “The Best Recipes in the World”)
- 1 lb dried black beans
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- ½ cup minced onion
Soak the beans overnight in water. Drain them, put them in a pot and cover them with fresh water. Cook on medium-high heat. When they boil, add the crushed garlic and the cumin. Partially cover and simmer until they are tender, 2-3 hours (or maybe 5 if your beans are like mine…) Add the salt, pepper, minced garlic and more cumin if you like. Cook another 5 minutes. Stir in the onion. Serve warm.
These are great with any Mexican dish. You can also follow this basic recipe with pinto beans as well.
Oh, and anyone have a good recipe for Baked Alaska? The prospect of baked ice cream intrigues me…