Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Another Round-up

I really need to start posting about these recipes closer to the time I've prepared them. Some are a little fuzzy in my memory. Maybe that should tell me something.

Peruvian Grilled Chicken (pg 143 of The Epicurious Cookbook) doesn't resemble any Peruvian chicken I've ever had. Once in a blue moon, for a treat, my dad's best friend would stop at a Peruvian chicken place and bring a few birds to my house, where we all descended upon them like a pack of rabid zombies. They were salty and juicy and delicious. Same goes for the ones we used to get when we lived in Norfolk. This version was tasty enough, when looked at objectively, but did not come anywhere close to being delicious enough to be called Peruvian chicken. It was, however, easy. Just marinate chicken parts overnight, then roast them in the oven for a half an hour at really high heat. It was good, but not great. It will not satisfy a Peruvian chicken craving.

Conclusion: Just okay. If it were called Soy Sauce Chicken, I might score it higher, but this is no substitute for the real thing.

Southwestern Lime Chicken (pg 145) is another marinate, then grill recipe. There are other spices in the mix, but the only two flavors that stand out are lime juice and soy sauce. If limey and salty, with a finishing touch of melted Monterey Jack, is your thing, then this is a recipe for you. I liked it. My chicken took a lot longer to cook through than the designated ten minutes. Another easy recipe that I'm glad to have in my pocket.
Sorry, I cut them all to make sure they were done, so it looks a bit dismembered.
Conclusion: Liked it. Can anyone tell me how to use a cast-iron grill pan without smoking out my house?

Thai Fried Eggplant with Basil (pg 273) is technically supposed to be a side dish. I probably should have paid attention to that fact prior to preparing it. This was mighty tasty (especially to my deprived-of-Asian-food tastebuds), and healthily veggie-laden (4 WW points, without counting the rice), but Matt and I were both starving by bedtime. Stomach-growling hunger. No good. However, the protein of your choice could easily be tossed into the wok and stir fried with the rest, so I'll know better next time.
Conclusion: Liked it.

Last night, as a side to a rotisserie chicken, I made Wild Rice with Pecans, Raisins, and Orange Essence (pg 354). Despite the fact that I cut a tablespoon of olive oil, and halved the pecan and the raisins, in order to bring the points value into a more reasonable range (7 pts), this was still very good. There's lots of good flavor here, with the zest and juice of one large orange (or 2 tangerines, in this case), balsamic vinegar, mint leaves, nuts, raisins, and green onions. It's meant to sit for an hour or two, then be served room temp, so it's another easy do-ahead recipe.

Conclusion: Loved it. This tastes extremely orangey, which I like. The whole "essence" business made me expect less flavor.

Lastly, as part of Charlie's Curious George themed birthday party, I made monkey and banana shaped cut-out cookies, using Nigella's recipe in Feast. I can't say I was very impressed. Matt and Charlie had a stomach virus earlier in the week, and I came down with it the night before his original party date, and was congested before that, so it's possible my tastebuds were off, but these cookies didn't have much flavor. They cut well and were fairly sturdy, but if they don't taste delicious, I don't need them in my life. Unfortunately, I wound up having to toss them out because we were all too sick to be interested in eating them before they went bad, and I didn't get a chance to make new ones for his belated party, this past saturday. If I had made new cookies, I would have used a different recipe.
My icing skills need some work.
Conclusion: Disliked. Don't care if they look cute. I want my cookies to taste good.

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