Tag Archives: chicken

Curry, spice and everything nice

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I am still looking for that one person that has no problem eating meat during the summer.

Ok, alright, hands down, I get it, it’s only me. Still, when the day gets hot, my appetite for meat diminishes to zero level. With the temperature nearing 40 degrees Celsius (sometimes higher), one has no choice but to eat light, in order to keep cool. So the challenge for me is to make meat as tasty and light as possible.

This is where spices come in. I don’t know if it is true, but in my mind it goes something like this: India is hot, Indians eat spices –> spices are good during heat waves. I choose to not look it up and just go with this forever!

In the interest of making meat appealing to me, I employ a curry powder recipe taught to me by a friend, more than a decade ago, in NYC. I am pretty sure I have changed the quantities dramatically in the course of the years, but this is how I have been making it and how we have come to like it.

Today, I seasoned half a chicken breast with salt, pepper and our curry powder and simply cooked it on a non-stick pan with not a drop of oil. You can use oil if you want, but I’m keeping everything light.

Along with the chicken, we had a nice lettuce salad, with lots of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil, and a dill-less tzatziki, made with:

1 cup 0% yoghurt

1 very small cucumber, diced

1 clove garlic

2-3 TB lemon juice

1 tsp olive oil

salt, pepper

 

 

Curry powder

The curry powder recipe includes coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, dry mustard and paprika. I am sure she gave me the right quantities, but the way I now make it is this:

The curry powder is made of ten parts.

5 parts ground coriander seeds

2 parts ground ginger

2 parts ground cumin

1 part turmeric

1 part (or maybe a bit less) dry mustard

1 part (again, if you want, a bit less, or noticeably less) paprika

 

Mix all the parts well. Store it in an airtight container. It goes fast, especially if you are anything like me and use it everywhere.

 

Remember that everything is best enjoyed with good company.

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The cats were begging

 


Jamaican spiced chicken and curry flavored brown rice fajitas

Jamaican fajitas

It’s a sunny mid March Sunday, you go out for a stroll, maybe some coffee and some hanging out in the sun, and when you get back home you find yourself desperately looking for something nice to eat. Preferably something that can be prepared in no time and taste like, well… a sunny springtime Sunday.

So, how about some fajitas? Jamaican spiced chicken and curry flavored brown rice (basmati rice is also great) fajitas to be exact. That’s what we thought and fortunately for us, we thought about it before we went out for that stroll, which was helpful because it meant that we took the chicken out of the freezer so that it would be ready to be cooked by the time we came back!

(But, you know… Having a microwave that is not broken like ours is something that can do the defrosting job if you don’t think about cooking chicken before you go out for a walk!).

So. All you need is some chicken (we used three chicken thighs), a cup of rice (we used brown rice), an onion, a red pepper, one tomato, a couple of lettuce leaves, a few tortillas and about 30-35 minutes.

 

Ingredients

3 chicken thighs

1 cup of brown rice

1 onion

1 red pepper

1 tomato

6 corn tortillas

3 lettuce leaves

Olive oil

Salt

Jamaican spice pepper

Curry powder

Yogurt  (or sour cream)

Some grated cheese

 

Preparation

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Place an empty frying pan on high. While the pan is heating, season the chicken with salt and the Jamaican spice pepper. Sprinkle some olive oil on the chicken, lower the heat to medium and place the chicken in the pan.

Put a cup of brown rice in a small pan. Season with salt and some curry powder, add two cups of boiling water and let it cook for ten minutes.

Slice the onion and the red pepper, cut the tomato in small pieces and slice the lettuce.

When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and let it rest. In that same pan add the onion and red pepper and cook to your liking (we cooked it for about 5 minutes, or until the veggies were soft).

Take a large piece of greaseproof paper, put it under the tab and get it all wet. Squeeze it so that most of the water goes off, wrap the tortillas in it and put them in the oven for 3-4 minutes.

Before you serve your fajitas, slice your chicken pieces so that then can be better used in your tortilla.

When everything is done and ready, place in individual plates and assemble your fajitas to your liking. We added some yogurt and some shredded mozzarella, but you can also use some mexican salsa, guacamole or just about anything.

And, of course, let us know what you think.

 


Chicken, Rice and Everything Nice

IMG_0145Keeping up with my recent Fooking-mania (which is cooking with the Foos, that is with the Foo Fighters), I made one of Mr. S’s favorites yesterday: Chicken, rice and veggies, in the oven.

His mom usually makes this for us, but this past year she has been wildly unavailable for cooking (ugly unforeseen circumstances keep her away from her normal life), and, well, we missed it.

This dish is savory and heartwarming and juicy and all I want to eat on a cold Sunday, curled up in my blankets on my couch, watching football (sorry, soccer) and reading books. It is a bit time-consuming, but most good things are. Having said that, don’t think that you’ll be slaving in the kitchen all day long, it simply takes some time for the soup/broth to make and then 30 more minutes in the oven. And you’re done.

So, this is what you’ll have to have:

3 chicken breasts (now, that’s what I used, but you can use any part of the chicken you like. I hear legs are awesome, because they give it an extra whomp! So, why not?)

1+1 onions (you’ll need one whole onion for the broth and then a diced one for the oven)

2 bay leaves (or 3 if you’re a big bay fan)

2 cups of rice (use what you would normally use for chicken soup, but again, whatever you prefer is fine)

2 carrots

1 can of mushrooms (I used canned because it was Sunday, we were out of mushrooms, blah blah, you can use fresh if you want)

Salt and pepper (remember to season more than I season my food, I have a low salt sensor!)

Oregano (or any other herb you prefer, I am not a herb nazi!)

What you’ll need to do:

First prepare the broth (or the chicken soup, as we like to call it). Easy peasy, just throw your chicken, one onion and bay leaves in a pan, SEASON with salt and pepper, cover it with cold water by about 2 inches, wait for it to start boiling and when it starts lower the heat to medium and let it boil for 35-40 minutes. When your time is up, check to see if your chicken is done. If it is, take it out and save the broth/soup. You will not need the bay leaves or the onion (which has lost its taste by now).

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit). Chop your onion and carrots and throw them in a pan with some oil. Let them soften a bit, tossing them around and then add the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms take out their juices and, when they do, throw in the rice. Mix it all and cook for a few minutes, until everything has absorbed everything else’s taste. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper. At this point you can also add some cayenne pepper or some cumin. It takes it to a whole other level.

When that’s done too, take a deep oven dish, put some oil in it and start assembling. First add the chicken and then the rice mixture around it. Make sure there are no empty spots in the dish. Now is the time for the broth. You need about 2 1/2 – 3 cups of broth for every cup of rice you have used, depending on your oven (the stronger the oven, the more liquid is evaporated). I used about 5 cups of broth for two cups of rice. Remember to measure your broth with the same cup you used to measure the rice. You WILL have a juicy dish in the end, not too juicy, but juicy enough, so don’t worry about it. Also, after a couple of hours, the juice magically disappears, I am convinced that faeries fly in and suck it with flower stems. Sadly, I have no proof.

So, once you’ve done this, put your food in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the rice is done (it does take about 30 minutes!). Take it out, don’t let it stand for too long, it’s beautiful when it’s warm.

Enjoy it with some feta cheese, or some greek yogurt. Their coolness against the warmth of this dish is a very welcome contradiction!

Well… Now you know what we do when we want to heal our souls!

Enjoy the food, hope you enjoy the video too!


Zucchini pasta with chicken

zucchini pasta1It was Italy time last week, so I am now basically trying to recover – while catching up on some work that always piles up, even when you’re unemployed, how about that! I am also trying to recover from a spectacular Atoms For Peace concert we caught in Rome. It is so refreshing to know that good music is still out there, and that people actually still like it and look for it. The concert was amazing, it was a part of the Rock in Roma festival, at Ippodromo Capannelle (that’s near the Ciampino airport, about 20 minutes – and 20 euros – by taxi from the center of the city). The Festival boasts a surprisingly incredible lineup for July. In all honesty, myself and Mr. S were just standing in front of the wall displaying it, our jaws dropped, very close to tears, holding hands, taking photos, feeling small and all that.

ImageThe venue is amazing, this huge space that holds something like a club dance floor, with music and lights (were there lights? I remember lights, but I’m not sure… I think there were lights!), bars, food, a tables-and-chairs area, a small second stage, A LOT of promotional stands and, coming out of this area, on your left, the stage area: a large open area, on the edge of the horserace track where the stage that hosted the concerts was set.

I don’t think I need to say how awesome the concert was. I am a sucker for Thom Yorke (does it sound weird?? Oh well, whatever), but even objectively it was truly uplifting and special. Thom Yorke was somehow happier and, well… lighter than I had ever seen him in the past (I have now seen him live a total of eight times). All in all, it was a gorgeous night.

Refreshing indeed.

As refreshing as the concert was, though, the weather did not follow suit. It is now really hot, both in Greece and in Italy and, even during today’s «cool break» (we had a couple of storms, some thunder, the cat got terrified and kept meowing to be saved all night long), the atmosphere is not getting any lighter. In this environment, I always turn to vegetables for some freshness. Combined with a piece of chicken breast left in our fridge, my brain sang «chicken zucchini pasta» to me. And, as you very well know, you should never ever ever ignore the voices in your head. So I just went along with their plan.

I had always wondered how this «zucchini pasta» thing turns out, so today seemed like the perfect day to try it. I was not disappointed. The «pasta» is cool, refreshing and very Mediterranean, a perfect addition to a very greek-italian 10-days.

You will need:

1 Chicken breast fillet (I used one, the double one, you know, both sides of the breast – well, about 300gr)

2 zucchinis

3 cloves of garlic

4 (lol, no, I’m kidding) – a pinch of basil

Salt, pepper

What you need to do:

First things first: Take your potato peeler (or one of those special adjustable peelers, whatever you have, I wish I had the fancy equipment, but I don’t. Even so, the potato peeler worked just fine!) and slice the zucchinis in a bowl. Season them lightly and let them stand.

Meanwhile, cut up the chicken and cook it to your liking. I usually cook my chicken on the grill skillet (that link is only to show you which one I mean, I am not really familiar with that specific product), and season it with salt, pepper and some curry. This is how Mr S likes it and this is how I almost always make it. I cut mine in 6-7 pieces in total, seasoned it and cooked it on high heat for about 12-14 minutes.

When the chicken is ready, remove it from the fire and put it in the bowl, along with the zucchini. That will help make the zucchini softer. Return the skillet on the fire, slice up the garlic and throw it in there. Let it fry for about a minute and when it is golden, take your bowl and throw everything back in the skillet. Toss it around a little bit, until the zucchinis release some of their juices and you have a nice brownish juice. That shouldn’t take more than 2-3 minutes.

Add the basil, toss it around a little more and you are done.

Nice, easy and fast, this lunch will – surprisingly – keep you satisfied for quite a while! I am an eater, and almost 3 and a half hours later, I am not even close to craving for anything!

Buon appetito!


Cosco Chicken (a.k.a. Chinese)

IMG_6824That recent brush the greek government had with Cosco made me crave for some good-old chinese food. Alright, I’ll be honest, it doesn’t take much to make me crave chinese food: show me some chicken, some colored peppers, a bottle of soy sauce, or, you know… a plate, and I’ll be on my knees begging for noodles. But today I have an excuse, and I intend to use it!

It’s about a thousand degrees (Celsius…) in Greece, so I didn’t even need to defrost my chicken from the night before. I asked Mr. S whether he had any sort of preference, and he said “can we get some cashews in the food?”.

I love this man, he can read my mind (which proves to be a problem whenever we’re in Italy – Italians are hot…!). My cashews cravings have been rampant for a while, but due to their high fat content, I couldn’t dig up an excuse to buy them. But, since Mr. S has remained the sole money provider in this family and all I can do is help him enjoy his meals, I am bound by ethical law to give him cashews! See how it all works out?

Chicken and cashews always make me turn to one of my favorite books from my collection (I have quite the cookbook collection): Ching-He Huang’s Chinese Food Made Easy. Now, since she actually has about a ton recipes on her webpage, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if I posted one of them on mine. Ching always makes my day, she has a unique style and, as promised by the title of her book, she actually does make chinese food easy! Even for me. Like I’ve already said, I am not a chef, I am not a cook, I haven’t even been cooking for that long, so it is truly important to me when the recipe doesn’t require elaborate techniques and strange ingredients!

The recipe requires:

For the chicken

500 gr. Chicken (duh!)  (i used 2 breasts)

1 egg white

1 Tb corn flour

Some salt

300 ml groundnut oil (heck no, sorry Ching, I used a lot less!)

For the rest of the dish:

1 onion

1 yellow pepper

1 red pepper

2-3 Tb soy sauce

3 Tb chicken broth (I had no broth, so I used water – it changes it a little bit, but at the end of the day it was still awesome)

2 spring onions

2 Tb cashews

I swallowed in shame right at the start, because I have no wok. I used to have one, but I sold it for shoes (THAT was a joke, I used to have one, but I have no idea what happened to it – it’s probably stuck in some box down at the garage, gathering dust, wondering when I will find it and restore it to its old glory).

IMG_6816I have a big pan, though, so I sent a telepathic request for forgiveness to Ching and grabbed it.

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To start, mix the egg white, the corn flour and the salt, and, with it, coat the chicken. Yes, it will be enough. No, you will not believe it when you see it, but yes, it will be. Mix it all up in a plate, and leave it aside.

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Put the oil in the pan (wok, if you have one) on high heat, and throw the chicken in.

Make no mistake, it will try to kill you. There was so much splattering, I had to hide behind the corner. Now, I may be exaggerating a little bit, because I don’t like frying my food (even though I hardly consider this frying). But my stove did get a new groundnut oil layer we struggled to clean. Silver lining: the house smelled amazing.

The cat appreciated it!

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While the chicken is cooking, cut up the onion and the peppers – those last ones in strips. I can’t emphasize enough how much I love the smell of cut-up red peppers. Almost as much as I like their taste – oh wait, they are related!

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Oh well!

When the chicken is done – you will know by the beautiful golden color – take it out of the pan and place it on absorbent paper. Discard of the oil (don’t throw it down the sink, find out how you can discard of frying oil either on the Internet, or ask your local authorities – in Kalamaria there is a place you can take it and they do something with it, we just give it to this nice guy who uses it to make dog food or something like that), save a Tb, put it back on high heat and throw in the onions. Cook them for a few seconds, until they are transparent, and add the peppers. Give them about a minute and add the chicken.

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Stir fry that for a while and then add the soy sauce, the broth (or water), some salt and some pepper. Then add the cashews and the spring onions, give it a twirl and, ta-da!

Serve it along with some jasmine rice. Now, as you can see, I couldn’t style a plate if my life depended on it. But, I give you my word, Ching is a genius, this food is mouthwatering.

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Try it and let me know what you think!

PS All my tags begin with a C. This is in no way important, but still, how cool! (–> another C)


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