Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Arroz con pollo

We had some friends over for supper on Saturday. When I was trying to figure out what to cook, I was aiming for something a little bit spicy, relatively straightforward, and warming, since we were supposed to have been sailing all day (which was subsequently cancelled due to crazy high winds).

I found Smitten Kitchen's (who else?) interpretation of a 2007 Gourmet magazine recipe for Arroz con Pollo. I mostly left the recipe the same, except I used red peppers instead of green, and boneless chicken thighs. We also left out the beer, because John was worried that English Beer would make it taste funny.

It was delicious and was very well received. It was also fairly easy - I did all the prep beforehand (and marinated the chicken all day), and then just put it all together as everyone arrived and let it simmer for half an hour.

Can you tell I love any excuse to bring out the Le Creuset?

We served it with salad from the garden and a mustard vinaigrette (which actually went really well with the chicken & rice). Dutch apple pie for dessert. Mmmmm.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In which I finish a sweater and read several books

I finished my Blakeslee Tee a few weeks ago - it's super cozy and not too warm, but good for chilly English summer days. No pictures of it On Me yet, mostly because I still need to figure out the best angle. The horizontal stripes are somewhat chubby-making. I love it anyway, though. It was an excellently mindless knit.

The slipped-stitch stripes are so pretty, especially close up.

I've been reading up a storm, lately. I downloaded Dark Triumph, the sequel to Grave Mercy. I started reading it and realised that I really couldn't remember who any of the secondary characters were (several of whom were featuring heavily in the sequel), so I went back and reread Grave Mercy. I enjoyed it as much as the first time round, and then jumped straight in to Dark Triumph, which I loved, too.

Then I thought I'd read something improving: Crusoe's Daughter, by Jane Gardam. It was recommended on a few blogs, and reviewed favourably in the NYT when it came out. The prose was lovely but it was Utterly Dull. I really wanted to like it, too. Oh well. Who needs plot when we have pretty writing?

To recover, I read the much-recommended book by John Green, The Fault In Our Stars. It's the story of love between two teenagers, one with terminal lung cancer, and it is improbably quite funny but also predictably heartbreaking. Cathartically so.

And finally, I blasted my way through Insurgent, the second in Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy. Post-apocalyptic Chicago with teenagers and running around and kissing? Why, yes, I don't mind if I do. Too bad the third one's not out for a while. And I'm worried the movie might be crap...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Current favourite recipe: Eggplant Dirty Rice

I agree. It's not the prettiest recipe title. But what it lacks in curb appeal, it makes up for in taste.

The Amateur Gourmet blogged about David Kinch's Eggplant Dirty Rice, as featured in Food and Wine magazine. We tested it out last week and liked it so much we had to make it again when The Stepson was here (he loves spicy food).

I'd never heard of Dirty Rice. It's apparently a Cajun thing, and as a born-and-bred Yankee, I had no knowledge of such awesomeness.

The only changes we made: no salt added (other than the soy sauce), double the garlic (5 cloves -WOOO!), and no white pepper, because we didn't have any. Oh, and a courgette was looking somewhat forlorn in the fridge, so I added it at the same time as the eggplant.

Oh, and we had red romano peppers, rather than green ones. Pretty colours!

Here's the Amateur Gourmet's effort:

And here's ours (I wasn't quick enough to get a shot of the full batch...hungry boys):

We used some of the Cajun hot sauce that The Stepson gave me for Christmas - it was perfect.

Result? 3 very clean plates and 3 very happy campers.

I took the leftovers from batch #1 to work the day after, and it was equally tasty reheated in the microwave the following day.

What are you waiting for? Go make it!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Gone sailing...

Apologies for the radio silence. Now that it's sailing season, all free time is spent either sailing with EAST, learning about sailing, or racing with the HPYC squibbers. Miss Kanga went in the water at the end of April and has been enjoying herself (and making her crew rather wet) ever since.

Do normal people not have wet waterproofs and lifejackets festooning their living room?