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Mar 31, 2012 10:30 PM

April 2012 COTM: Melissa Clark Month, In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite: Chapters 3, 4, and 5

Please use this thread to discuss Chapters 3, 4, and 5 from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite: Learning to Like Fish; It Tastes Like Chicken; I Never was a Vegetarian, pages 77 - 212.

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  1. Spicy, Garlicky Cashew Chicken p 124

    This recipe had me drooling just reading it. All my favorite flavors together. The flavor of the chicken was bold enough to be detectable through the grilled flavor, and they were so moist. Our guests really raved about it too, and they don't usually make much comment on the food, they're not "into" food like we are. I reheated the remaining cashew mixture in the microwave because it had been in the fridge, but that was a mistake. I put it in too long and it turned into a gummy paste, oops. I put it out with an apology and people gobbled it up anyway because it was so delicious. I will definitely be making this again and try it on different things, like pork chops or chicken breasts. I served it with this Trader Joes Israeli cous cous, lentil and seed mix which everyone thought went really well, something about the seeds and legumes in it went really well with the nuts in the marinade.

    5 Replies
    1. re: sarahcooks

      Sounds great, in spite of the microwave paste. I'm bookmarking this recipe!

      1. re: sarahcooks

        This sounded good, but I don't have ITKWGA so I looked it up online. This link is from the NYTimes, so I'm guessing it is the same one. It sounds *really* tasty:

        1. re: sarahcooks

          Sarah I had the same reaction when I saw this recipe. So great to know it delivered....thanks!

          1. re: sarahcooks

            Spicy, Garlicky, Cashew Chicken

            I had really high hopes for this recipe, but an execution failure on my part messed things up. I pretty much burnt the coating on the chicken. It was my fault entirely. I put the chicken on the grill and just let it cook. She tells you to turn and move it frequently.

            Neverthless, I pulled off the skin and the chicken beneath was still quite moist with a hint of soy sauce and garlic. The recipe makes more cashew sauce than is needed to coat the chicken, so I had the chicken with a dollop of the sauce.

            Today, I cooked some pasta and tossed the leftover cashew sauce with the noodles and some cut up chicken. This was great.

          2. Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes, p 147

            Before I ordered the book I saw this recipe on Amazon, although for some reason it was made with thighs, weird. Anyway, I happened to have all the ingredients on hand.

            Roast peeled, cut up sweet potatoes, make spice paste with chopped chipotles in adobo, garlic, honey, salt, cumin and cinnamon. Once potatoes have roasted t 400 for 15 minutes, rub chicken with mixture and place on top of potatoes, roast for another 25 minutes.

            I doubled the recipe and made it with 2 packages of boneless skinless chicken thighs. I thought it was fantastic - spicy, smoky, sweet thanks to the potatoes. My husband wasn't so thrilled until he had it for lunch the next day - the flavors had melded and it was even better. I will definitely do this again.

            13 Replies
            1. re: ElenaRose

              We're having this tonight. I'm so excited to hear that is was good! We'll be using the breasts, which aren't my favorite, but they're on sale this week.

              1. re: ElenaRose

                Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes

                Oh, how I wish we had used thighs!! This dish had a wonderful smoky flavor with sweet undertones from the cinnamon and the sweet potatoes. But, alas, our chicken was dry. I'd like to blame the breasts, but really it was probably our fault because I think our meat thermometer is broken and yet we keep trying to use it.

                I absolutely recommend this dish and I can't wait to try it for lunch tomorrow too!

                1. re: michaelak79

                  Although I'm quite a bit rusty after not posting here for several months, I got the book out of the Oakland Library today and tonight made (with loads of variations due to not having certain ingredients on hand. I thought I had barley, but couldn't find it. Decided I'd use brown rice. Nope. I finally ended up using orichiette. I thought I had a sweet potato, but it turned out all I had was a smallish yellow squash.

                  The dish ended up being quite different from the recipe, but the general idea was there and it was delicious. I'm calling it Spicy Chicken Orichiette with Squash and Spinach. I did not have sweet paprika, just smoked Spanish paprika. The rest of the spices were on hand in my cupboard - cinnamon, chili powder, coriander and black pepper. I sauteed the onion and then added the spices and the tomato paste and garlic. I didn’t feel like taking the “good homemade chicken broth” out of the freezer and chipping off some pieces to add to the mix. Instead, I used (GASP!) Knorr Chicken Bouillon! Please don’t tell anyone about this.

                  The spinach and chicken breast pieces are added and simmered. The recipe calls for simmering for an hour, but I figured that was to cook the barley. I simmered for about 10 minutes and served it, as mentioned above, with orichiette.

                  I also used breasts for Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts with, etc. Mine came out wonderfully well, but I just put the chicken breasts in near the end because I didn't want them to dry out. Even though she says to put them in for only 15 minutes, I didn't want to chance it.
                  This was quite delicious and, in future, I will try it using more of the actual ingredients called for. ;+)

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    rusty or not you write a pretty entertaining post, left me smiling.

                2. re: ElenaRose

                  I just looked on Amazon and it didn't have this recipe. Could you give me the quantities for the spice paste? I think it sounds good

                  1. re: ElenaRose

                    Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes (p 147)

                    We also thought this was wonderful! Smoky, spicy, sweet – hit all the right notes!

                    I just made a few changes to the original:
                    First, I didn't bother to peel the sweet potatoes, as I like the skin and it's healthy, and I hate peeling potatoes. I also didn't bother with the added step of tossing the sweet potatoes with oil in a separate bowl, I just mixed it all around on the baking sheet.

                    My spice paste was more liquid than paste (but that might have been because I was playing it fast and loose with the measuring), so I put it in a big bowl with the chicken and let it sit for about a half hour as a bit of a marinade. Next time I would make this ahead of time and let it marinate longer. I did try and put as much as I could on the chicken when I baked it, and it did form a nice crust.

                    Lastly, I cut a large red onion into wedges and put them between the potatoes and chicken when I put the chicken in to bake.

                    I served it with dill (rather than the recommended cilantro or basil, because that was what looked best at the store that day), and it was great. With some nice baby greens it was a wonderful meal.

                    1. re: ElenaRose

                      Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes, Pg. 147

                      Jumping on the SCHCBWSP band wagon...made the recipe last night and we loved it. Used 6 boneless chicken breasts that weighed 3 pounds. Used 2 unpeeled sweet potatoes cut into chunks, and included a huge red onion which was sliced into wedges as Garden Fresh did. Increased some of the ingredients, left others the recommended amounts: 5 minced chipotles in adobo, 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 T cider vinegar, 2 t ground cumin, and dill at the finish.

                      The chicken was perfect. Tender and juicy, smoky, spicy... hitting all the right notes as GF said above. This is a great recipe for a weeknight meal. Served with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe from Cook This Now.

                      1. re: Gio

                        Yes, I also made it this week. I used b/s thighs. It went over very well with my family except for one of my adult children. He ate it (which says something right there) but said he didn't necessarily want it again. Everyone else loved it! I had the leftovers the next day for lunch and thoroughly enjoyed it again. Oh, and I served with spinach sauteed with garlic.

                        1. re: ChrisKC

                          Did he say what it was about it that he didn't like? Or just being contrary?

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            Probably just contrary, too fresh I suppose. He thinks the sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows sometimes served at thanksgiving, are the way to go.

                            1. re: ChrisKC

                              I totally get it. When they say that stuff and yet finish the plate, you have to wonder.

                    2. Figgy, Piggy, Drumsticks and Thighs, p. 149

                      cook bacon until crispy, fry garlic until golden, remove them and brown chicken parts in same pan. Then put halved figs and sprigs of thyme on top and roast chicken at 500 degrees for about 20 minutes.

                      I used a kosher beef subsitute for bacon (called beef fry) and dried figs instead of fresh, white wine instead of vermouth, and I more than tripled the recipe to feed a big crowd. it was still fantastic and also quite easy to make. I'll do this again for sure.

                      1. Not-My Grandma's Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Oregano p. 137


                        Drumsticks are seasoned with salt and pepper and oil and then broiled 3-4 minutes per side until lightly browned. Bake 30 minutes adding garlic paste, dried oregano and olive oil every 10 minutes. We also added quartered red potatoes and green beans to the baking dish.

                        Melissa advises us to not skimp on the oil, but I did. I only used 1 T total. I did not have pan sauce, but the results were still delicious nonetheless. I turned the drumsticks over every 10 minutes (not called for in the recipe) to make sure there was garlic and oregano all over the chicken. The chicken was moist, herby and garlicky (a nice roasted garlic flavor). Nice meal. Quick and easy to pull together.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: BigSal

                          Not-My Grandma's Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and Oregano, Pg. 137

                          Made this for last night's dinner and thought it was a good variation on the garlic/olive oil/lemon/oregano combination. Who doesn't like that ? I used chicken leg quarters that I separated into thighs and drums. It worked out very well. I didn't measure out the EVOO, simply drizzled it over the chicken and there was enough sauce to mop up with crusty bread. Like Sal I added beans to the roasting pan. They were Romano beans sliced on an angle at about thumb length. Some were al dente but most were done to a T. Very nice meal...

                        2. Quick-Braised Chicken with Moroccan Spices, Lemon, and Olives, p. 151

                          She provides a technique for making a quick, faux version of preserved lemon which I skipped because I had preserved lemon in my fridge. Also, because I hate flabby braised chicken skin, I stripped the skin off the thighs that I was using and skipped browning them.

                          So moving on to step number 3: I browned leek instead of onion in a tablespoon of oil, then added garlic, ginger, and the spices. Also added a chopped red chile instead of the cayenne, because I had it in the fridge. Added chicken, stock, and saffron that I bloomed in a bit of the stock (per Cooks Illustrated's instructions). Also added some chopped carrots because I wanted a one-dish dinner with more veg. Simmered covered for 45-60 min, longer than the 25 min that she calls for because I like my braised chicken falling off the bone tender. Added the chopped lemon, green olives (I used anchovy stuffed), and chopped apricot, plus some chopped spinach for more veg, and simmered for a final 10 minutes. I forgot the final garnish of mint, but didn't miss it.

                          Delicious and satisfying! I'll gladly make it again, though I think I'll leave out the dried apricots next time. Much as I like fruit in savory dishes, they seemed to strike a jarring and unneeded note. Possibly I'd like it better if it had been added earlier so it blended more the with rest of the dish. The olives stood out too, but I didn't mind that. The preserved lemon thoroughly infused the whole dish.

                          I used much less chicken than she called for (4 skinless, bone-in thighs) but the full amounts of the other ingredients, so it was more soup or stew-like than a braise. We ate one thigh each for dinner, and I shredded the meat from the other two to mix back in. Looking forward to the leftovers!

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                            Oh, so glad to read this report. This is one of the bonus recipes in CTN, and I've got it marked.

                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                              Quick-Braised Chicken with Moroccan Spices, Lemon, and Olives, p. 151

                              I thought I'd poke my head in here and tell y'all I made this recipe too but instead of a braise it became a roast when I ran out of time. All the ingredients were used Except the broth and olives. The Turkish apricots I used were less sweet than other dried apricots I've had in the past so they didn't overwhelm the mighty spices. I set the spice covered chicken on a bed of spiced chopped onions, potatoes, and whole/unpeeled garlic cloves with chopped lemons mixed in. Roasted at 425F/50 min. Delicious.

                              1. re: Gio

                                Wow, what a great riff on the original recipe!

                              2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                Quick-Braised Chicken with Moroccan Spices, Lemon, and Olives, p. 151

                                Made this last night, but used boneless, skinless thighs. I did the fake preserved lemon trick. She has you just slice a lemon into thin rounds, put in a saucepan with enough water to cover, add a tablespoon of salt, and boil for 5 minutes. Then you drain and rinse the lemon, and use in the recipe. I also did the step of browning the chicken, even though it was skinless, then removed it to a plate. After that, I proceded more or less as Karen did above, but I used the onion as called for, and did not add extra veg. I omitted the dried apricots, but threw in a small handful of raisins. I used Spanish manzanilla olives, which I have decided I love.

                                I made this in a tagine (Emile Henry flameware), and perhaps because of that, very little (or perhaps no) liquid evaporated. As it was a little soupy for my taste, I removed the chicken to a plate, cranked up the heat, and boiled the liquid uncovered until it reduced down to a nice sauce. That didn't take long at all.

                                Served this with some plain quinoa. This dish made the whole kitchen smell fantastic as it was cooking, and I'm happy to report that the flavor lived up to the aroma. We both loved it. The lemon trick seemed to work pretty well. The lemons were soft, and the rind was not at all bitter. Definitely one to repeat. I'm looking forward to the leftovers for my lunch today.

                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                  Quick braised chicken w Moroccan spices..... p. 151

                                  Made this last night. We were swooning and licking our chops. Used 1.5 lbs of boneless thighs and full amt of the rest of the ingredients, Added the apricots earlier as suggested above but otherwise followed recipe to a T. Found I did not have to reduce the braising liquid at the end as it was already a beautiful thick sauce. The chicken was soo tender, it shredded easily w a fork. Wish I served w rice instead of roasted potatoes to soak up that yummy sauce. Had roasted cauliflower w it too. Sad to say, not much leftover for today. Another winning recipe from Melissa!

                                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                    Quick-Braised Chicken with Moroccan Spices, Lemon, and Olives, p. 151 (CTN p. 374)

                                    I'm not sure this recipe needs another strong endorsement, but I'm going to go ahead and add mine anyways. My only regret is that we scaled the chicken down too much so there were not nearly enough leftovers. I skipped on the dried apricots, but did garnish with mint and used preserved lemons since I had some on hand. The extra sauce got poured over some smashed Jerusalem artichokes. My co-workers seemed more than a bit jealous by the scent of my leftovers today.

                                    1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                      My turn on the Quick-braised Chicken with Moroccan Spices, Lemon and Olives.

                                      I invited a friend to dinner and gave her a choice from the meals I had picked to cook this week. She went straight for this one. She's been here before for a different Moroccan Chicken (not totally sure which - definitely not Mighty Spice; possibly a Jamie Oliver version?) and we both agreed that we liked the other a bit better, and wanted a bit of cinnamon in this one. We still very much liked this, but it was just missing a little bit of something. LulusDad, however, said that this was his favorite of the (lord knows how many) versions of Moroccan chicken that I've made. I think my favorite is one on epicurious, but it is all good. Left out the apricots because I was serving this with couscous with currants. This was falling apart tender, and had a great smell while cooking.