Category Archives: Sunday Supper

Feed Your Cold Carnitas

I fed a cold carnitas this weekend. I realize that chicken noodle soup would seem like the more sensible option, but I’m a little unconventional.

I followed Deb’s suggestions and went all out, making the carnitas, spicy slaw, homemade corn tortillas, and arroz con leche for dessert. And yeah, I know a dairy-laden dessert was probably not the best dish to serve a man with a cold. What is that they say about hindsight again?

Truth be told, I was already planning on going through the three hour process to make carnitas on my Friday off from school and had invited Jeremy over for the occasion before I knew he was feeling a little under the weather. I had him come over anyway. We’d swap out the Pacificos for a hot toddy or two and boost our immune systems with a little shredded, juicy pork goodness. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the best three hours I’ve spent in a long time. It’s making my mouth water just thinking about it and I think I may have locked in the title for “Best Daughter Ever” by bringing my dad some of the leftovers. Plus, Jeremy’s on the mend and I can’t help but think it’s because of the carnitas. So if you catch what’s been going around, maybe you should feed your cold some carnitas too.

Sunday Supper: The Big Guns

The date: Sunday, November 6, 2011

The menu: Baked chicken curry, mustard roasted Romanesco, potatoes with cumin and mustard seeds, and pumpkin flan

The inspiration: At Home with Madhur Jaffrey

I didn’t mess around this Sunday. I had serious intentions to impress someone who has been working pretty hard to impress me. I didn’t try a new recipe this Sunday as I normally would for Sunday Supper, but this wasn’t the time to experiment. I needed to bring out the big guns, make my go-to recipe that nails it every time. And that, my friends, is the recipe for baked chicken curry that I’m going to share with you today.

Truth be told, everything on the menu was something I had tried and loved before. I didn’t think I could be more thrilled to be able to make mustard roasted cauliflower, since cauliflower is in season again, until I spotted the beautiful Romanesco broccoli at the market on Saturday. I quite literally squealed with delight when I saw it. I’m sure everyone in the stall around me wondered what all the fuss was about. It was a sign. Sunday Supper was going to be in the bag. After picking up some waxy, Yellow Finn potatoes from my favorite potato guys at the market and a lovely 3-pound sugar pie pumpkin, I was set.

But seriously, this chicken. It’s what I make anytime I have friends over that I want to impress. It’s been amazing since the first time I tried the recipe, but is even better since I’ve perfected the chicken situation. The original recipe calls for chicken parts, which I interpreted to mean a mix of boneless (OK, that’s just my preference) white and dark meat. But I’ve come to discover that using only dark meat, boneless chicken thighs, to be exact, is the real way to go. The chicken comes out amazingly tender and moist – a hit every time. So trust me on this and make it with only chicken thighs at least once and I promise you won’t be disappointed. After all, I’m trying to impress you too!

Baked Chicken Curry

Adapted just slightly from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey

In a large bowl, mix the following:

2 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
the juice of half a lemon

Mix well and set aside for 20 minutes while you prepare the curry spices. Combine:

2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, crushed
5 Tbsp plain, whole-milk yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
6 cardamom pods

Optional: 2 Tbsp finely chopped red onions or shallots (to be used just before baking the chicken)

Mix well, rub the chicken with this mixture, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bring the chicken to room temperature. Transfer the chicken to a casserole dish (9 x 13 inch works well), brush the top with oil, and scatter the onions/shallots on top, if you’ve got them. Place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and put back in the oven. Cook another 40 minutes, flipping the chicken pieces and basting every 10 minutes with the juices. Serve and impress your friends and family. Enjoy!

Sunday Supper: Fun with figs!

The date: Sunday, July 24, 2011

The menu: Grilled prosciutto-wrapped figs, leftover farro, pea shoot salad, and chilled gewürztraminer

The inspiration: my good friend, Kristine, and Willi from DigginFood

This dinner was probably the best outcome of a run ever (besides of course all the burned calories). Somehow the topic of figs came up during our loop around the lake and it surfaced that I have never actually eaten a fresh fig before. My mouth was watering as Kristine suggested wrapping them in prosciutto and putting them on the grill. I went directly to the store on my way home and bought myself some figs.

And that’s pretty much what I ate for dinner – a basket of figs, rubbed with a touch of olive oil, wrapped in thinly sliced Italian prosciutto (I had to fudge the local thing just a little for this indulgence), grilled to perfection. I added some leftover farro to the side so it didn’t seem like the only thing I was eating was a decadent hors d’oeuvre. I also had my first pea shoot salad, which was the most delicate and delicious accompaniment to my fig main course.

With every delicious bite, as fig juices dripped down my chin, I thought to myself, Figs! Where have you been all my life? Why have I never eaten fresh figs before? They are delicious! And it’s funny because that evening, I saw that both Ashley and Kate were having fun with figs too. Grilled cheese with thyme honey and figs? Seriously? Yes, please! Sounds like dinner. I am so glad I finally caught on to this. Although I may have created a monster.

Sunday Supper: When cauliflower calls

The date: Sunday, July 10, 2011

The menu: Baked chicken curry, fresh cauliflower salad, basmati rice, and strawberry cardamom upside-down cake

The inspiration: At Home with Madhur Jaffrey and Joy the Baker

If you blink an eye, you’ll miss it. That precious time when your cauliflower is finally ready to harvest. The head hides itself beneath huge, blue-green leaves. You think nothing is happening with that plant that’s taking up so much valuable gardening real estate and then, BAM! There’s a huge head of cauliflower under there.

I read that it’s best to harvest cauliflower when the head is about 8 to 10 inches in diameter. Once it reaches that size, you should harvest it quick lest it bolt or get eaten by those stinkin’ cabbage worms. So, I guess tonight I’ll be eating cauliflower again.

I had some good friends over for Sunday Supper this week, the lovely friends that trade me French pastries for eggs. So yes, I had a delicious local strawberry and pistacio tart for breakfast the following day. But that’s beside the point. Also, it should be noted that I made dessert – an amazing, rich strawberry cardamom upside-down cake – for a French pastry chef. Yeah, that’s right. And I made whip cream for said chef who had to whip cream by hand in pastry chef school so as to not over whip the delicate peaks. I think I deserve a major gold star for that.

They got to share in my bountiful crop of cauliflower too. And wouldn’t you know it, I made Indian food again. I just can’t stop! This time, I found a super interesting cauliflower salad to try. My instinct with cauliflower is to roast it, put it in a quiche or cake, or add it to a soup or stew like aloo gobi. This salad, however, serves up the cauliflower basically raw and cold. But don’t turn your nose up yet! Because it mascerates in salt and then some lemon juice before it’s served, it softens just a bit, causing it to lose its crisp, raw-tasting edge. It’s like cauliflower ceviche. Another bonus is not having to turn on the oven to cook it as I’m often inclined to do during these warm, summer months. It’s a summer salad like you’ve never had before. So I guess it deserves a gold star too.

Cauliflower Summer Salad (a.k.a. Cauliflower Cachumbar)
adapted from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey

The headnote for this recipe says that it will last several days in the refrigerator if kept covered. I think it’s even better served the next day. 

1 large cauliflower,chopped (so no piece is larger than 1/3″ x 1/4″)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3-4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon whole brown or yellow mustard seeds

Put the cauliflower in a large bowl. Add the salt and rub it in, mixing well. Let macerate for 1-3 hours.

If any liquid has accumulated, drain it. Add the cayenne, cilantro, sugar, lemon juice, and vinegar. Mix.

Put the oil in a small pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the mustard seeds. As soon as the seeds begin to pop, a matter of seconds, pour the contents of the pan over the cauliflower. Stir to mix. Serve immediately or better yet, the next day. Enjoy!