Well, here it is. Summer! A time to sleep late, tend the flowers, read for hours, play in the creek...and cook.
More than anything, summer brings with it the luxury of time. For me, as a culinary professional, time means that I am free to research recipe ideas, shop for menu items I might not normally buy, and generally try a different avenue to Yum-opolis.
As a professional baker, I use recipes every day. But I don't typically use them on the savory side of my home kitchen. More often than not, I throw together whatever I happen to have on hand, saute it in a skillet and serve it over rice, potatoes, or pasta. If I didn't have voracious teenage boys to fill up, I might not cook dinner at all; I really prefer a light plate of cheese, nuts, homemade ciabatta, and pickled vegetables with a couple good glasses of zinfandel to a heavy evening meal.
Few of us have the option to cook or not at night. Most people have a family or spouse to feed- or at least want to eat themselves in a tasty, nutritious way. As always, I recommend sourcing your ingredients from local farmers and suppliers, but otherwise, try to buy organic if you can.
Last week, our visiting adult children were going through some of the many still-unpacked moving boxes in our barn. My daughter approached me with a small box covered in a fruit motif.
"Is this your old recipe box?" she asked.
"Oh my gosh, yes!" I responded. "I haven't seen that since before we moved away from North Carolina!"
It was like seeing an old friend for the first time in years. Like my mother, I have my own box crammed with 4x6 index cards, scraps of note paper, and clipped magazine and newspaper recipes. I've made most of them for my family, and even have some olde worlde gems passed down from my mother, grandmother, and their friends.
Since for me, summertime gives me a chance to spin my mental wheels, I thought I would embark on a new project. Each day, I am going to post a new recipe from my Rediscovered Recipe Box. If I can site the source of the recipe, I will. Most of them are not my original ideas, but they are all at least 10 years old- most of them much older. I will try to have them posted by 9 am, so if you want to make the recipe for dinner, you'll have time to gather ingredients you don't have on hand. (As you well know, this is a big departure for me. I usually advocate mining your own pantry for what you already have on hand. But I thought it would be fun to try something new) The Rediscovered Recipe Box posts may not be as chock-full of photographs, but hopefully the methods listed under the recipe will be clear enough. I will be available for questions, so let me know if you need advice. Keep in mind, these are older recipes, and I am copying them as they appear on my card. (I think that's more fun, don't you?)
Here we GO!
Recipe #1- Chili Chicken with Avocado Sauce
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
4 boneless chicken breasts, about 1 lb. total
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 clove garlic
2 tsp lime juice
1 TBSP chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 TBSP olive oil
Combine chili powder and cumin. Sprinkle chicken with salt and coat with spices. Peel avocado and cut into chunks. In a blender or food processor, combine avocado, yogurt, garlic, 1/4 cup water, lime juice, 1/2 tsp salt and coriander. Whir until smooth. Brown chicken in oil, 2 minutes a side. Cover, lower heat and cook until just done. Put chicken on plats and pour avocado sauce over it.