It’s officially summer, which means grilling time. I love the smoky flavor that barbecuing imparts to unsuspecting fruits, veggies, and meats, not to mention the relative lack of clean-up involved. And on top of that, there’s the 30 or 40 minute grill preheat time during which I can sit back and relax with Jay, friends, and an adult beverage or two.
But seeing as I’m confined for another five weeks of delicious bar exam preparation, I encourage you to make the most of summer grilling on my behalf, starting with some Tamarind Barbecued Chicken.
Next time you’re planning to grill up some chicken for friends, make things a little more interesting with this version made from tamarind paste, which is now widely available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and many other markets.
The sour tang of tamarind combines with the spicy zing of habanero peppers and the sweet nectar of agave (or honey) in a marinade that lends the chicken a complex flavor.
Serve it up alongside Slaw with Thai Peanut Sauce and grilled peaches to complement the tamarind. (more…)
This week, my Barbri class began, which means I have ten straight weeks of doing little else except intensely studying California law. That’s right; I’m lawyering up. Unlike the last two years of law school, the California bar exam doesn’t let me pick and choose which subjects I’m interested in or focus on the specific areas I’ll likely practice in. Oh no. That would be too kind. And far too practical for this great state. California makes you learn it all, from the humdrum of wills and trusts to the intricacies of contract law (a subject which, by the way, the instructor claimed was about as fun and exciting as getting a prostate exam; being female, I wouldn’t really know much about that, but I’ll make a semi-educated assumption that the comparison is spot-on). Needless to say, thinking about the next ten studying- and memorization-filled weeks and the Big, Bad Bar Exam lurking in the final days of July has me longing for simpler, fun-packed times. Like last spring, when my law school’s moot court program paid for my trip to New York, where I stayed for five days and ate at the infamous 53rd St. and 6th Ave. Halal Cart … on four separate occasions.
If you aren’t already aware, for $6, the fine men at the cart will load you up (or you and a friend – seriously, I recommend sharing, especially when it’s a late night post-bar binge) with chicken and rice, topped with a handful of lettuce. Then, you step around to the side of the cart and go to town dressing it up with the white sauce and the red sauce. No labels. Just giant squeeze bottles full of white, and others full of red. The white sauce is magical (more…)
It’s been an I-don’t-really-feel-like-cooking kind of week. Even after making a special trip to the grocery store yesterday to buy a few simple ingredients for the night’s dinner, I was thisclose to ordering take-out.
And after last Friday’s fabulous 9-course tasting menu birthday dinner at The Ritz (thanks, Jay!), who could blame me for being in a bit of a cooking slump? When am I ever going to have sashimi, quail egg, abalone, veal, lobster, quail, and foie gras again during a single meal? On the other hand, if I ate like that on a more frequent basis, I’d only be able to eat twice a week – that’s how full (and satisfied!) I felt afterward.
After feeling full all of last weekend, this week has been a week of relatively simple eating. Smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and easy-to-put-together dinners. I’ve been loading everything with fresh produce, and fried rice – despite its greasy-sounding name – is no exception.
Did you know that fried rice can be delicious comfort food without being overly oiled-up and unfresh? It can also be loaded with your choice of fresh veggies, (more…)
Some of you out there have never tried quinoa before. Others have tried it but decided it just wasn’t for you. And still others of you have become somewhat enamored by the good-for-you grain-like little beads. If you fall into any of these categories, but especially the first two, then I dedicate this recipe to you …
… Because I bet you like breaded or fried or otherwise “crusted” chicken or fish. The irresistibly crunchy outside, followed by a juicy fillet that’s kept even moister by the crust. And here’s a way to make it a tad crunchier and a lot healthier – not to mention that it holds up at least twenty times better as cold leftovers straight out of the fridge. Using quinoa for breading your chicken (or fish!) doesn’t just add extra texture, but also is mild-flavored enough to accommodate whatever spices you wish to use and adds a nice dose of fiber and complete proteins to your meal.
So instead of a protein meal camouflaged in carb-alicious bread crumbs, you get a protein-on-protein dish that pairs well with hot sauce and your choice of veggies or a puffy, buttery popover. (more…)
Once upon undergraduate studies at UCLA, I met this hockey-playing electrical engineer. And eventually he wooed me with an ice skating date where he initially showed off his skillz (yes, with a “z” because I’m reasonably certain that’s how he perceived his skating and wooing abilities at the time) but then was kind enough to stop intimidating my elementary skater self and just hold my hand while we chit-chatted rapidly and skated (what probably seemed to him) woefully slow around the ice. And before long, I fell in love. With his mom’s chicken curry.
And him. But let’s be clear: that second part is beside the point here. And while we’re getting clear on things, I’ll readily admit that this is not a made-from-200-different-spices and requiring-lots-of-time curry. Rather, it is a very flavorful, easy-to-make, and healthy dish that benefits from using a good curry powder. And frankly (yes, I can hear all you food snobs out there gasping, “Oh no! Curry powder?!?!?), if this curry is good enough for Jay’s Vietnamese mother, it’s certainly more than good enough for me.
But back to the story … there I was, visiting Jay’s parents over spring break. (more…)