Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dinner by Ben

Last night was my turn to make dinner. This is Ben speaking, making my premier on the B&L blog.

I really enjoy cooking. I was saying to Lyndsey last night as I was making the dish I prepared that one of my favorite things to do is put on Nat "King" Cole or Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra, grab a glass of wine (red or white doesn't matter to me) and go nuts in the kitchen. This is specific to cooking only. I'm not a baker...too much at stake at getting the exact amount of ingredients in the bowl to make it come out right. I like the freedom to throw stuff in that I think may help enhance the dish.

"This needs a little more kick? Let's add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper."

"This just needs more salt..."

There is a freedom that you get from cooking, while listening to the classic romantics sing about love and regret back in the day...

Smile though your heart is aching....

Defrost the chicken and prepare to cut it up, and get all of your veggies out and prepared. This of course takes the most time and this is where the wine comes in.

This is, of course, better when you're cooking for someone else. This has already proven to give me greater incentive to cook this year as opposed to last. I cooked a lot for myself, and followed this same pattern, but it just wasn't the same. Now, I occassionally hear Lyndsey's voice mixed in with my own, since we share a liking for this style of music, and it's nice to call out "Hey, would you like some wine?"

It's definitely not all lovey-dovey though. I just can't get enough of that big band sound. Take "Day In- Day Out" performed by Nat. Before the man even starts singing you just get the brass cry out "ba-bwaaaa" and you just can't help yourself, you've gotta dance along.

So, nothing finishes off this thing like good food, prepared and made to perfection by you. Yesterday's menu was "Curried Chicken with Rice".

Serving 4:
2 1/2 lbs. chicken breast
Olive oil
3 tsp. curry powder
1 jar chutney
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/8 cup chopped green onion, for topping
1/4 cup chopped peanuts.

Rinse chicken and cut to your preference (I cubed mine last night). In a large skillet heat oil until almost hot. Add the chicken (and watch yourself because the oil tends to jump up and bite you) and cook until done. Add curry powder, chutney and pepper. Simmer 30 minutes over medium low heat.

Cut lime into wedges, chop onions, and peanuts. Serve, adding lime, onions and peanuts as you wish as topping.

Put over rice and enjoy.

Notes:
- I substituted the red bell pepper with an orange bell pepper.
- Chutney is an interesting thing (I've never used it before) but its like a jelly like substance and is flavored. I chose the mango flavored and I got the smooth (you can get a chunky kind as well). This is also why I chose the orange pepper, because of the mango chutney, I thought it would be better together.
- I added the onions and peanuts to the mixture all together so the flavor would get mixed in, instead of as a topping and it worked out well.
- Next time I will add steamed broccoli to the mix, because that would make it just heavenly.

Now, I've had curried chicken (living in the Middle East, it's hard not to eat quite a bit of it) and this did not taste like curried chicken from my memory. This tasted more like Sweet and Sour Chicken but Lyndsey and I both agree it was delicious, and well worth it.

I hope you are all doing well, and that you enjoy!


Ben