Tag Archives: entertaining

Herby-garlicky fried chicken

Standard

image

My first time making fried chicken. In the same way that people celebrate daughter’s first dance recital, graduations, sweet sixteens, and passing your drivers license tests, I feel like celebrating for my first fried chicken attempt. I’m thinking I should get a Colonel Sanders style sticker and a hug from Paula Deen.

I mostly feel accomplished because in true Katie-cooking-style, the production of this chicken started a week in advance, with me subtly mentioning “fried chicken on Sunday” to my boyfriend Spencer. TBH it was a conversation elongator where I thought about chicken and word vomited the preposterous idea of trying fried chicken for the first time for a crowd on Memorial Day weekend. I should really know my lesson by now that if I’ve skimmed a topic relating to food, someone is going to call me out on it if I don’t actually get around to making it.

Sunday rolls around and no preparations are in order, so I’m thinking I’m putting this adventure off for another time. Both Spencer and myself have moved into different houses, don’t know where anything is, and now we’re set on making fried chicken. It’s in these circumstances you realize that if you forget about the crowd and focus on the dish, things MAY ACTUALLY come together. Well, I wouldn’t say that’s always the case, but in this situation, the results were pretty good.

Before I know it, I’m driving back to St Charles where, of course, I’ve left the most random of kitchen accessories that happen to be needed for our recipe, large marinating plastic bags. In the rush of an unpacking afternoon, Spence was able to brine the chicken for ~3-4 hours before I took over the cooking. I tell you all this because if you’re not intimidated by the behind the scenes work to a barbeque or dinner party, maybe you’ll be more inclined to try something new for friends.

I think there’s a few camps when it comes to entertaining – on the one hand, if you try something new for a crowd, you’re overwhelmed by trying to master the recipe and entertain at the same time, but oftentimes in my case, the trying-something-new is part of the fun of the night. Somehow, it-all-comes-together-at-the-last-minute is the name of the game, like the orchestra started playing a little too early and the curtain guy is reeling up the curtain while the characters are still getting positioned on stage.

In this case, I started my part while Andrew and William were already working their magic with some delicious avocado mac ‘n’ cheese and a blackberry strawberry kale salad. With little kitchen space, the three of us managed a meal of epic proportions without any major accidents, burned food, or overcookery of sorts.

I saw this recipe on an amazing episode of the Barefoot Contessa where Ina invites Tyler Florence over. In one afternoon (yes this timeframe amazes me as well), Ina and Tyler make a wedding cake sized birthday cake, homemade fried chicken, and take a leisurely visit to the local Hamptons farm.

In the case that you watch this episode, I’ll give you a sense for what you actually might be able to accomplish based on my timeline . I’d say you may want to just focus on this fried chicken, as we had to take a bit of time brining the chicken, then prepping the chicken, then returning to the store to buy more oil for frying. I’m not sure when they made this birthday cake but luckily it came together in one afternoon! Whew, to be Ina!

Here’s a few things that differed in our rendition of this meal. 1) Lenzie and Trent brought those amazing fake-cakey cookies with the themed frosting instead of having cake, 2) We kept to their use of bone-in chicken except for the breasts which Spencer deboned , 3) there was no visit to the local farm and 4) instead of having Tyler Florence help guide the cooking process, I had 3 twenty-something guys and 2 parents all pitch in!

I’m hoping you’re not intimidated by Ina’s spotless white kitchen, always-plentiful bowl of silver spoons, and lively-never-droopy blue hydrangeas. Make this for your friends and family and watch their episode at the bottom of this post if you have 1.99 to spare 🙂

Here’s a little snap of our cooking adventure featuring the crew: Andrew, William & Robin; the last few seconds continues with our MDW braves game visit…we ate fried chicken before we went so its all relevant right??

Tyler Florence’s Fried Chicken, adapted very slightly, serves 8-9 comfortably with a few leftovers

2 3-4 lb whole chickens, breasts de-boned, all other pieces bone in (thighs + drumsticks + wings)

3 cups all purpose flour

2 TBS garlic powder

2 TBS onion powder

2 TBS sweet paprika (can use regular if you run out of sweet)

2 tsp cayenne pepper (Adjust here if you’re partial to less spicy)

4 cups (1 quart) buttermilk

2 TBS sriracha or other hot sauce you like

peanut oil or vegetable oil for frying (we used a mixture of both since I ran out of peanut oil…make sure to buy one of the big jugs at the store)

1/2 head garlic, smashed, husks still on (this is for frying dont worry about the husks)

1/4 bunch fresh sage

1/4 bunch fresh thyme

4 big sprigs of fresh rosemary

fresh black pepper and kosher salt

2 lemons, cut into wedges, for serving

  1. A few hours in advance, or the night before, set up your chicken to brine. We used a big tupperware, but you can use a large bowl. Cover the chicken with water 1-inch above chicken. Sprinkle 1 TBS kosher salt for every quart of water you’ve added. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate at least two hours, preferably overnight. This is what’s going to make the chicken really tender.
  2. When you’re ready to start cooking, take your chicken out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you prep the frying ingredients. In a shallow platter or deep tupperware in my case, mix together your flour, dry spices, and season with salt and pepper. We learned that you don’t need to add too much salt here, because your chicken already has a good bit of salt absorbed from the brining process.
  3. Pour oil into a heavy bottomed pot / Dutch oven, about 2/3 of the way full. Put your whole herbs and garlic directly into the cold oil . As these heat up, don’t worry about them burning, these whole spices are what will flavor your oil. Clip on your candy thermometer, ensuring that the bottoms of it isn’t touching the bottom of the pan. Heat stove to medium high heat, and start prepping your station as the oil heats to 350-375.
  4. Meanwhile, set your chicken to the far left, setting a plate next to the brine mixture where you want to dry the chicken before putting it into the buttermilk. Next set a shallow dish with your buttermilk and sriracha next to the chicken. Set flour mixture to the right of that, closest to the stove.
  5. Heat the oven to about 150,or whatever is its lowest setting. I wanted to do this to keep the chicken warm while other batches were still trying. **if your chicken is still a bit cold when you start frying, you may need a quick bake after frying to finish cooking your chicken. A few reviewers from Tyler’s original recipe noted this. Our chicken was at room temp so we didn’t have this issue and we only used the oven for warming.
  6. Set a sheet pan or 9×13 dish in the oven where you can set chicken after frying to keep warm
  7. As your oil heats up, start dredging process with a batch of two pieces. The first step is to dry the brined chicken off with paper towels. You need to do this to make sure the coating sticks properly. Next dip chicken pieces in buttermilk mixture, shake gently to remove any excess, and dredge in flour mixture. Press gently in flour to make sure you get all the crevices covered, then flip to the other side. You can leave chicken in this mixture before frying.
  8. Once oil is hot, gently place two pieces in the oil with tongs. Let chicken fry for 12 minutes per batch, moving around about halfway through to make sure nobody is stuck on the bottom of the pot.
  9. While you wait for one batch to fry, start prepping 2-3 more pieces. Also have at least 3 onlookers observe and ooh and aah over frying oil cauldron. Make yourself a yummy cocktail or mocktail
  10. After 12 minutes, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness if you have one. Chicken should be at 155 when it comes out, but will cook off a bit more than that after you take it off. Thank you Julie Mitchell for checking temp for me since we didn’t have a thermometer!!
  11. place done pieces in the oven covering with aluminum foil while you move on to the next batch
  12. After all the chicken is done, place on a plate and garnish with your fried herbs. Squeeze a few lemon wedges to taste and place a few other wedges on the side to garnish . Serve to hungry friends, and smile big after you savor each bite. 😀

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FeedmePhoebe’s Gluten Free Sriracha Ginger Meatloaf + Broccoli Fried Rice

Standard

IMG_0094

I made this dinner for a St-Charles-house-family-meal a few months ago. To give you some context, Webster’s dictionary defines a St-Charles-house-family-meal as one where a) the fire alarm goes off because our windows are painted shut and literally everything you cook sets it off, b) someone gets accused for not eating carbs , subsequently carbs are consumed by all, c) we run out of plates, chairs, cups, or utensils and resort to more artistic ways of eating. (slices of cake served in coffee filters , people sitting on the floor eating on the coffee table, people eating in a lawn chair eating off a small side table, people sitting on the ground eating off of a square cooler, boys stealing our silverware/cups/pots/oven/spices) , and the most necessary part of a St Charles house family meal is discussing buying a dog or hosting a Murder mystery dinner.

For the past two years, I’ve lived in a house fondly known as “The Quarter House,” (I think we’ve called it that a whopping 2 times), because it looks slightly like a New Orleans French Quarter house. With a full porch on both levels, the house has welcomed its fair share of fun visitors, held many parties and dinners, but most importantly, it’s been a welcoming home base. Of the 9 (actual) tenants in 4 units in the house, 4 of us went to high school together, all of us are friends, and we have at least 5 others who don’t live in the house but may as well be our roommates. This weekend marks the last that we live together – some of us having lived here for 1 and others for 2 years, together.

In honor of our last week as roomies, I’m sharing with you a great Sunday night meal for you and your friends/ family / fr-amily. I still have many tips and stories to share with you from my tiny kitchen, but I’m excited for my new farmhouse sink and GAS RANGE in the new place! I’ll be missing our house, but thankful for continuing friendships with the people in it.

I understand if you do not meatloaf, but I will not have a discussion with you about it. It’s like when you bring something up with your dad that you knooowwww is going to end with both of you STILL feeling passionately about the OPPOSITE side of the other. Yea, I understand, it’s a loaf of meat. But it’s so comforting – you mix up some classic ingredients, throw it in the oven, and during the hour while it bakes, you’re getting excited for your warm cozy meal with friends.

I love Phoebe Lapine’s blog because she posts recipe that align with different dietary restrictions, but also are takes on classic dishes. I have been wanting to make this meal for a long time and am so glad I did!

Thanks to my housemate Daniel for the final plating pics. It pays to have friends with the more artistics capabilities 🙂

Sriracha Ginger Meatloaf, from FeedmePhoebe, serves 4

For the glaze
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
For the loaf
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger (really a 1-inch knob of gingner, peeled and grated)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari (just uesd low sodium soy sauce)
  • ½ cup gluten-free oats (I just used regular oats)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork

1. Preheat your oven to 375 and set the rack in the upper-middle of the oven. Middle is fine if that’s confusing. You want your meatloaf not to burn by being too high up

2. In a small bowl, mix the glaze ingredients. One of my housemates doesn’t like ketchup very much so I reduced the amount of glaze. However, the glaze is delicious, dont skimp.
IMG_0073(1)
3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, oats, and salt until combined
4. Next, add in the beef and pork and mix the meat with egg mixture until JUST MIXED. This is key. The second time I made this dish I mixed up the meat too much and it was a bit dry. It helps that you’ve already mixed the other flavors together so the meat should get incorporated with the spice mixture fairly easily.
IMG_0070
IMG_0069
IMG_0072
IMG_0074(1)
5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and form a log-shape with the meat mixture on it. I think I saw this on Ina Garten – apparently you want to pack the meat in the middle first and start pushing it outwards, ensuring that you don’t leave any air pockets in the meatloaf. This will keep it from drying out.
6. With a spoon or brush, slather on about half the glaze on top of the meatloaf.
7. Bake for 1 hour , until the top is all crispy. Let stand for 15 mins before serving
IMG_0076
Broccoli fried rice, adapted very slightly from A House in the Hills , serves 4

 

  • 1 cup any rice you like – I prefer jasmine
  • 2 heads broccoli, chopped, including the stems if you like them
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 TBS fresh ginger, peeled and grated/minced
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 lime

1. Cook rice according to directions but add on 2 tsp of the sesame oil with the water when cooking.

2. Once rice is close to done, heat a large skillet and add the rest of the sesame oil. Cook onions until they start to sweat and you can see through them.
3. Add broccoli and sautee until the outsides get a little crisp. Add a bit of water if the pan is too dry.
4. Add the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, rice, and vinegar, sauteeing all the ingredients together until the broccoli is cooked how you like (about 4-5 minutes for me) and the rice is coated in the oil and sauce. If you want this to be really fried, let it keep cooking and turn up the heat to get some more crisp.
5. Squeeze in lime at the end. Serve with meatloaf and sriracha on the side.
IMG_0077
This is really yummy. It’s not going to make it out of the pan before you trying it so just serve from here 🙂

Honey cornmeal pancakes

Standard

IMG_0028

Three places you can guarantee I will be on a Saturday morning in Atlanta: 1) Walking to Ponce City Market to get coffee from Spiller Park, 2) laying on my couch watching an episode of the Pioneer Woman or 3) in my kitchen making the best food of all time, pancakes.

I’ve been making the most out of the box of cornmeal I bought recently as we are in the thick of chili and cornbread season. A few weeks ago I made this cornbread which was the perfect mix of not-too-sweet and extremely moist for a chili dinner, and I also made these cornmeal waffles to top off another chili dinner! I highly recommend both recipes if you like corn! (sorry Arianna)

This Saturday morning, we had a good girl-talk group at my St. Charles casa – my roommate Kelley, my sister, and I sat and chatted whilst the sweet cakes sizzled 2 inches away in my shoebox kitchen. Winter 2015/2016 has been a fun time for communal eating at my house and I’m learning more and more about how to entertain without a) pulling my hair out and b) burning my house down.

From entertaining thus far, I’ve learned that to get my sister to come over asap, I should keep a bag of bagels on hand in the freezer (which happens to always be the case), and that apparently a paper bag can entertain up to 20 people in my living room for at least 4 hours.

A few weeks ago, my friends and I ran the Will to Live 5k (find our stud teammate William at 2:17 in the video) in memory of our friend Harry and later that night decided to all re-convene at the house where I live along with three of my high school friends. Clearly the first thing I thought was “what will we eat?” while I think others had the cocktails covered. Besides playing “the bag game,” where you try to pick up a paper bag with your teeth while balancing on one foot, we ate these carnitas accompanied by the necessary guac and salsa.

For breakfast entertainment, I try and have the coffee going before people get here and to have a sweet and savory option. My sister doesn’t like sweets as much (still not sure how we are related), so I usually provide the bagels, and some people don’t even really want breakfast which makes the stocked coffee jar that much more important!

Another thing that’s key here is getting the music selection right. To start off the new year, we matched the mood of a yoga class taught in my living room with the “Acoustic Soul” Spotify playlist. When Julia and I cook together, we play country often. With my sister and roommate Kelley, we listen to Mat Kearney’s Air I Breathe on repeat along with Needtobreathe, I Am They, Chris Tomlin, and Casting Crowns.

Pancakes are my comfort food – both in the fact that they’re a warm, sweet dish and that they remind me of so many good memories.They’re comfortable.

Though I’ve been bad about posting some of my recipes lately, I’ll share with you a few here in addition to the pancakes that I made lately.

Melissa Clark’s Sweet and Spicy Chicken – so so great, had it again the next week

Spiced jam cake with Salted Caramel Chocolate Ganache

Honey Mustard Brussels Sprout slaw and Curried Chicken Salad for a bridal shower

 

On to pancakes!

Honey Cornmeal Pancakes, adapted just slightly from Brooklyn Supper

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal – I used the regular yellow kind from Kroger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 2 TBS coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup buttermilk, or a mix of buttermilk, yogurt, and regular milk
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Heat your oven to 150-200 degrees, this will be for the pancakes that are ready but need to stay warm before you’re ready to eat.
  2. Start by measuring the butter, coconut oil, and honey into a small bowl. Pop them in the microwave for about 15 seconds at a time to melt all together. Let these cool for a few minutes – you don’t want to add to the pancake mix when it’s too hot because it will curdle the eggs.
  3. Whisk together  both flours, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until evenly mixed.
  4. In a separate bowl or in a glass measuring cup, whisk together milk and eggs.
  5. Mix the buttermilk/egg mixture into your dry ingredients until JUST mixed evenly (try not to overmix).
  6. Then, pour in the honey butter mixture and fold into the batter.

IMG_00237. Heat a wide skillet to medium heat (my burner tends to get really hot so I put it at around medium) and melt about a 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil.

8. Here’s where you have some room for creativity. I like to pour a ladle-ful at a time per pancake, but if you like minis you could do just a few tablespoons. If you like your cakes really big, you could do ones that fill up half the pan that are closer to 3/4 cup. I went with around a 1/3 scoop mix of batter at a time into the pan.

9. Let your pancakes cook for about 2-3 minutes on the first side, until bubbles form across the entire surface.

IMG_002410. Flip with a spatula, and cook on the other side for about a minute.

IMG_002511. Put the ready pancakes on a baking sheet in your low-temp oven until ready to eat so that they stay warm. Meanwhile, for each additional round of pancakes, add a little more coconut oil to just coat the pan each time so as not to burn the cakes

IMG_002612. Serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit!

IMG_0034 (1)IMG_0031 (1)IMG_0033 (1)

 

Office baking: Blueberry Coconut Almond Baked Oatmeal

Standard

2015-09-28 09.48.55-1 (1)

Hi. Remember me? Brown-haired, smudged-glasses-clad, Gilmore girl of the pancake-loving sort? This post may help explain the time lag as I’ve entered a new stage of cooking. In fact, if I were doing a market analysis of cookbooks/blog offerings, I’d say I’m filling a gap here. It’s called “analyst-office-baking” and it’s not for the faint of heart.

Here’s how I’ll let you know if you’re cut out for this sort of cuisine: do you find yourself wishing you had time to make breakfast before work in the morning? Do you sometimes make smoothies for breakfast but then feel too bougie and adult and basic be–(you get the picture) and want real food? Do you find yourself at the office OFTEN??? I think I’ve described a very large population of people. Last question is, are you committed to steppin it up knotch?!!? That’s the big question peeps.

I was talking to someone the other day about living out what you say you’re going to do and really, it’s hard. Do you say you want to cook more and eat healthier? I surely do but then find myself eating leftover Cookout milkshakes for dinner (peanut butter has protein, OKAY). So here’s the sort of thing you do when you want to eat healthier but “don’t have time.” You bring. it. to. the. office.

Maybe not the most ideal thing to do, but hey, if a few oats and the wafting smell of warm butter and coconut luring from the 2 inch wide snack room put a little pep in your step, I’d say it’s a win for this week.

Many of you may have heard of my oatmeal-cart dream. Well, while I haven’t been so good about saying-I’m-gonna-do-it-and-doing-it, I have been slowly working my way through kinds of oatmeal recipes. It all starts back in college when I made the microwave kind and it would ALWAYS blow up in the microwave. Why does that happen? Lately I’ve even explored pumpkin baked oatmeal!

These days, I’m usually working with steel-cut oats of the McCanns kind, but I have wanted to venture into the baked oatmeal side of the species. To be honest, I also REALLY wanted to see my co-worker Jon, dubbed “johnny springtime” on a particularly nice day, become overjoyed at what he’s described as his favorite style of oatmeal.

Key ingredients to making this kind of cooking work:

  • The bag – make sure you’ve got your yuppie Whole Foods reusable tote to carry your ingredients in
  • A toaster oven at your office
  • Tups – get some good tupperware, preferably mason jars if you’re cool and can and stuff
  • Hungry eaters to taste test – nuff said

I chose to take a stab at Heidi Swanson’s Baked Oatmeal. I couldn’t 100% tell you why Heidi is such a legend in the blogging world, but she is. You’ll see her referenced often, and I wanted to finally test out one of her recipes.

The great thing about this is that you can really substitute out any nuts or berries. I have frozen blueberries on hand usually, and the good thing about that is that if you’re office baking, it’s probably thawed by the time you’re at work. Unless in fact, you work from home, in which case I shouldn’t have to instruct you on how to office bake.

I am just now realizing that many of my friends reading this may walk/subway to work. A few strategies to making this work for you:

  1. Drag a wagon to work with your cooking ingredients, thus saving your shoulder the stress of carrying a heavy bag of ingredients
  2. Introduce yourself to a cute girl/guy on the subway and ask them to help you carry your ingredients to work
  3. Buy ingredients at the grocery store close to your office
  4. Fill a large backpack with all your ingredients, strapping eggs to your stomach wrapped in bubble wrap so as to not crack them.
  5. LOL, I’m giggling at the suggestions above. Please let me know if you take me up on them

Okay, ready to cook??

Blueberry Coconut Almond Baked Oatmeal, adapted from Heidi Swanson

  • cups rolled oats
  • cup almonds, toasted and chopped
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2teaspoon fine-grain salt
  • cups almond milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • large egg
  • tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • half a bag of frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  1. Preheat toaster oven to 375 and butter a 8×8 square pan
  2. In a bowl, combine, oats, baking powder, salt, and half the nuts. Listen to your co-workers joke by the coffee maker and ask them to make you a cup while you’re prepping ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, milk, half the butter and vanilla together
  4. Spread about half the berries in the pan and then sprinkle the oat mixture over it.
  5. Pour in the milk mixture, shaking the pan slightly to ensure the liquid gets in the pan evenly. Then pour the rest of the berries evenly over the top, sprinkle the coconut, and sprinkle the last bit of nuts.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the pan is nice and golden brown. During the time that this is cooking, check email, make another cup of coffee, say hi to your boss, twiddle your thumbs, and most importantly, get excited breakfast is on the way!!!!
  7. Take the pan out and let cool for a few minutes. Cut in slices and top with more butter and syrup. Enjoy with your co-workers Patrick and Jon (oh wait, that’s just me) and carry on with your day! Carpe diem!!

2015-09-28 09.50.56

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner in the Mediterranean: Chicken Shawarma, Spiced Rice, Israeli salads

Standard

u0cDXFPGucCz8gtpJqEuB0L0qiUoGOYKA4HMbdxqZBU

My college friends and I are all approaching our twenty-fifth year this year, and I find this dinner party an appropriate step-up to be a half-century old. I love entertaining and am always on the hunt for a good themed dinner or party, so any excuse to serve slow-cooked meat is on my radar. My roommates and I moved in together earlier this summer and wanted to bring our old and new friends together to get to know each other better, make new friends, and have any excuse to talk all things girl talk. Thanks lovely ladies for making this a special evening and for the delicious sides!! Our friend Caroline made green goddess hummus, Julia made a quinoa tabbouleh salad, Kate brought an amazing Israeli salad, Wesley brought yummy wine, Jess brought traditional hummus, Kelly made the beautiful settings along with contributing delicious wine. All my roommate Kelley and I had to do was make veggies, rice, and chicken.

Before I get into the recipe, let’s talk life lately. I recently went on a wonderful retreat with a church near me. A thoroughly reflective experience, the retreat also offered an old-fashioned “compact disc” for us to listen to the songs featured on the retreat. There’s one song in particular that has stuck with me called “Beauty for Ashes” by Chris Mclarney (listen!).

Now I’m in the camp that likes catchy songs and sometimes I don’t pay attention to all the words, so for about two weeks, there was this one verse that I kept glazing over. I kept thinking he was saying “you turned my morning into dancing,” and thought, wow, what a great pick me up for a hard day. YES, God, you turn my mornings into a dance through life. You get up and get to work harnessing the gifts God gave you to invest in the world around you. I thought that was such a beautiful metaphor.

So, as it turns out, he’s saying “you turned my MOURNING into dancing.” Equally as beautiful, but definitely a completely different meaning. What do you think, mourning or morning? Ramona Quimby had some similar experiences growing up – did you guys reach Ramona Quimby, Age 8? Ramona thought that in the national anthem, it said “by the dawnzer’s lee light” instead of “by the dawn’s early light.” She proceeded to ask her mother to turn on the “dawnzer,” and her mom had to explain that dawnzer is actually not another name for a lamp!! Sometimes we’ve all got a little Amelia Bedelia or Ramona in us, right?

As I’ve been dancing through mornings the past couple weeks, I’ve also been reminiscing on this wonderful dinner party! I think this is a great dish for you to try entertaining with because it’s pretty hands off when you want to start prepping and saying hi and pouring drinks. The gist is: marinate chicken, bake chicken, chop into pieces right before serving, garnish with lemon/herbs. I ended up adding rice on the side but you could easily just do store-bought pita bread.

Mediterranean as a theme (and rather vague) is quite easy for your guests to bring items as well. For those who don’t want/know how to cook, ask to pick up a bag of pita chips or hummus and a bottle or two of wine. For those who want to get a bit more involved, a few people made some Israeli type salads. These consist of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and sometimes a bit of quinoa, lemon and chopped fresh herbs. This chicken recipe was recommended to me from my friend Jessica who had it with her lunch club in medical school. Thanks so much for the recipe Jess and thanks for making some delicious hummus 🙂

Oven-roased Chicken Shawarma, from the New York Times

serves 4-6 (I doubled the recipe)

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • A pinch ground cinnamon
  • Red-pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Marinate chicken in the morning: Whisk lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, gahhhlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and pinch of red pepper flakes together in a large bowl. Put chicken in freezer bags and pour the marinade over the chicken in the bags. Press as much air out of the bags as you can, seal, and swish the marinade all around the chicken to make sure it’s distributed evenly.
  2. Put the bags on a plate in your refrigerator at least an hour and up to 12.
  3. When you’re ready to cook, take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 30 mins – 1 hr before ready to cook to bring the chicken to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425 and take a break from doing your hair to grease a large rimmed baking sheet or 9×13 pan with a bit of olive oil.
  4. Add quartered onion to the marinate in the bags and swish around again. Remove chicken and onion onto the sheet pan, spread out, and bake for 30-40 minutes. At this point your guests are here, you’re pouring wine, chatting over One Direction, and ready to EAT!
  5. Once the chicken is ready, take out of the oven, let rest for 2 minutes and cut into thin strips. Serve alongside lemon slices and top with parsley. Bon appetit!

Spiced rice (the recipe calls it aromatic, to me that sounds like a spa)

  • 1.5 cups white rice (I used jasmine, I don’t really think it matters what kind you use except for the timing)
  • 3 cups water
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 6 whole cloves

salt according to the rice package instructions

  1. Boil water and rice together in a large saucepan. Add salt, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
  2. Once boiling, turn heat down so the mixture is at a slight simmer and cover. Cook according to package timing.
  3. Once cooked, fluff rice and take out cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and cardamom pods.
  4. Serve on the side of chicken!

Set up one table with all your dishes and set another table with flowers, candles and plates. If you’re in need of some healthy dinnertime conversation, hit up my friends Julia and Kate they are the queens of witty questions 😉

u5Rai_HZMLsrEDGvi1ERiFowWnVvjBJcoYIP7n3j2Sc

mediterranean

ejGrnIVwJ40SZaWF44BH3PNp6bqxSQBouKDEcNxcOUg