"I have the simplest tastes. I am simply satisfied with the best." - Oscar Wilde

"I came, I saw, I ate." - Au Gourmand

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chili-Mustard Grilled Chicken; Roasted Kabocha with Kale, Feta, Brazilian Nuts and Sage; Brussles Sprouts and Chestnuts - November 13, 2010

Some great figures in history had humble beginnings (e.g. Edgar Allan Poe); so are some dishes born out of very humble beginnings, indeed.  In this case, there was a half box of old crackers, opened and forgotten at the back of the third shelf where it was well concealed behind canisters of teas. The chicken was an afterthought, created from a conscientious effort to utilize those old crackers instead of tossing them into the bin.  So, what did I do? I threw them into the food processor and ground them to smithereens.  I momentarily waivered toward adding some parmeggiano reggiano to the food processor to make parmeggiano cracker crumbs, but I saw the jar of chili-mustard that I picked up in Cote d'Azur earlier this year; even more brilliant in my memory now that I am sitting in this dreary grey light.  Fancy it may sound; but fancy it is not; chili-mustard is just mustard with some chili pepper, but somehow I had never seen it before.  It would, hopefully, created enough heat in my soul to bring, at least for an instant, a glimpse of that glorious, azure sky.  The humble stale cracker crumbs, however, turn into a magnificently crunchy crust that I had ever made.

Chili-Mustard Chicken
Marinate the chicken with salt, pepper, yogurt and white wine and let it sit overnight.
Rub the chili-mustard all over the chicken - top and bottom - then coat with the cracker crumbs.
Bake in the oven at 390 degrees for 30 minutes and further 5 minutes at 400 degrees. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts
This is just an adaptation of the New York Times recipe by reducing basically everything that has a high caloric count, but mind you, not the flavor.  I can assure you that I would never compromise flavor for health, which does not mean that I would slather butter over everything.  With a sensible head on your shoulders with a dash of humor and creativity, you do not need butter to make things taste fabulous. 

Grilled Kabocha with Kale and Brazilian Nuts
Simply grilled sliced kabocha (Japanese squash) is just a delight in every way:  the soft and fluffy texture, the sweet aroma and rich, earthy flavor.  Brush on some olive oil and sprinkle some sea salts, into the oven with a lot of cloves of garlic at 400 degrees for 25 minutes (You can do this at the same time as the chicken; it saves time and energy. How about that?).  Sautee the kale in the meantime. Crumble some feta, chop some sage, and dice the nuts. When the kabocha is ready, toss everything together. 

Bon Appétit!

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