As much as the boys loved vacation, they are vibrating with happiness to be home. Leo is luxuriating in way too many hours of Minecraft and Owen, apart from enjoying his childhood generally, as he assured me, has been busy hanging out with a new friend at the library.
Owen called me at work late yesterday to ask if they could have the leftover Canadian money that came to about $2.50. Then he asked if they could use PayPal to buy something with it on Steam. I don't even really understand what Steam is but I shook my head and said yes. Owen helpfully assured me that I could take the Canadian money to the bank to get US money for it. O.k…thanks guys. Behind Owen I could hear Leo telling him what to ask, what to say, and just as Owen was going to hang up, "don't forget to get the PayPal password Owen." Leo is SO my boy. Ernie just loves it when I hover in the background and tell him what to say when he's on the phone. Ha!
Before he hung up Owen told me that I also had a little treat waiting for me at home. He said it wasn't something big like new clothes but he thought I'd like it. I assumed something had come in the mail but when I got home I found he had checked out a cookbook from the library for me. I was so touched. I must admit that I wondered if there was a hidden message given that the title is The Intolerant Gourmet. I was delighted however to see that it was by one of my favorite cookbook authors Barbara Kafka (and focuses on gluten free/lactose free recipes, hence the title). I told Owen how excited I was and gave him a big hug. He told me he'd looked through ALL the categories of cookbooks and listed them all; Southern, Barbeque, Vegan, New American, Baking and LOTS of others. He thought this one looked as though it had the best recipes. I tell you….sometimes those boys of mine just break my heart I love them so much.
I had planned to do something with some of my gorgeous Sola Gratia vegetables last night but I found myself ridiculously tired after my first day back at work. I had slept terribly the night before (I seem to be bothered by jumpy legs lately—anyone know any home remedies?). So when Owen hopefully suggested pizza I thankfully agreed. That gave me time to peruse the cookbook and choose some things for tonight. Tonight's menu:
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Orange and Cardomom
from The Intolerant Gourmet by Barbara Kafka, 2011
2 pints stemmed cherry tomatoes (ample 4 cups)
1½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
5 strips orange zest, each ¼ inch wide and 3 inches long
5 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and each cut lengthwise into 4 pieces
10 cardamom pods, hit with the flat of a knife to liberate about 2 teaspoons seeds
Heat the oven to 500°F with a rack in the center.
Put the tomatoes into a shallow 9-x-13-inch roasting pan. Add the olive oil and roll the tomatoes in it until thoroughly coated. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 10 minutes. Shake the pan to turn the tomatoes around. Add the orange zest, garlic, and cardamom seeds around the tomatoes so that they are resting on the pan. Roast for 15 minutes.
This was absolutely gorgeous made with our Sola Gratia yellow and red cherry tomatoes. And of course the technique would work with any seasonings. This was lovely although I used too many cardomom pods and they were a pain to pick out later. Next time I would pick them out beforehand. I tossed the fragrant jammy tomatoes with chickpeas (I just took a big can and rinsed them off before throwing them right in the pan). It made a simple and pretty healthy side to the Tandoori Chicken we made from the same cookbook.
Tandoori Chicken Breasts
from The Intolerant Gourmet by Barbara Kafka, 2011
1 1/2 tablespoons safflower oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 1/2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut milk
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (9 to 10 ounces each)
In a large saute pan over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil shimmers, reduce the heat to low and add the onion, garlic, cardamom, cayenne, turmeric, cumin, mace, mustard, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Cook until the onions begin to turn translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer the contents of the pan, scraping with a silicon spatula, to a blender. Add the lime juice and coconut milk. Blend well, about 1 minute.
Coat both sides of each chicken breast with the spice mixture. Place the chicken breasts flat on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat the broiler with a rack set in the middle of the oven.
Use the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to lightly coat a 10-by-8-inch baking or roasting pan. Place the chicken breasts in an even layer in the pan. Broil for 10 minutes, then turn the chicken pieces over. Broil for 8 to 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
O.k., o.k., I know there's a long list of ingredients for the marinade but I thought it was well worth it. Of course that's easy for me to say because Ernie actually did all this but just the same….the chicken was marvelous! I don't think we had mace but used everything else—we also used a whole cut up chicken and then grilled it. The marinade was quite spicy but didn't seem too much in the final dish. That might be a bit different if you were using the boneless breasts and their shorter cooking time. Most recipes for tandoori chicken use yoghurt but this was as moist and tender as any I have ever had made with yoghurt.
I was tempted to use my beautiful eggplant as another side but I'm thinking some kind of gratin with it would be nice and that didn't seem to go with these recipes. So that's my project for tonight….mmmm..maybe a gratin of layered potatoes, eggplant, red onion and tomatoes—all from Sola Gratia? I'll have to think about that….. Any eggplant ideas out there? I never used to love eggplant but I do now!