Friday, May 21, 2010
Cooking up a (Tropical) Storm: Tamarind Glazed Chicken in Masa Crepes with Goat Cheese and Pineapple Salsa
I rarely cook with friends. It seems that my days and weeks revolve around shopping, cooking and chopping somewhat frantically, just trying to get a nutritious meal on the table.
Except for the occasional helping hand from my husband or kids, I usually do it solo. I can't imagine that watching me run back and forth from the computer to the stove as I throw together a must-have Pad Thai, and yanking greens out of the garden to ensure we get our daily dose of vitamins, would be much fun for a friend anyway.
The other day, however, my spirit sister, "G", came over to cook with me. Oh, yeah. Daughter napping, son at a playdate, a fridge full of ingredients, and I had a grownup to talk to?! It was lovely.
I just made that word up "spirit sister," or I should say it's the first time I've used that phrase in conjunction with someone in my life. Sounds a little hokey. But I've known G for years, and I've watched her bounce off to live in the Caribbean and Africa, and to throw away perfectly good jobs for the sake of adventure, just as I did (and still do?). She recently told me of her dream to become a professional African dancer (not easy for us tubabs), the same dream I held onto for years.
G and I cook together the same way we live life--spontaneously, full of flavor and ideally south-of-the-border.
She pulled some peppers, plantains, limes and avocado out of her bag. I marinated a few pieces of chicken in olive oil, garlic and lime, and stirred together a concoction of tamarind, sugar and chipotles. We chopped pineapple, habaneros, and cilantro, and stirred corn masa with eggs and milk.
The result? A great afternoon of cooking and talking. And lots of food! We enjoyed Tamarind Glazed Chicken in Masa Crepes with Goat Cheese and Pineapple Salsa as a main dish and Ginger-Lime Plantains and Sweet Potatoes with a Coconut Dipping Sauce. One bite catapulted us to the warm waters of the Caribbean. It's a great place to go with a friend.
Tamarind Glazed Chicken in Masa Crepes with Goat Cheese and Pineapple Salsa
(adapted from Mark Miller)
1-2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (or try pork)
1 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lime
3 clove garlic
2 tbsp chile flakes
2 tsp sugar
8 oz tamarind puree (at Asian food stores)
1.5 cups water
1 clove roasted garlic
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 chipotles in adobo
2 tbsp adobo sauce
juice of 1/2 lime
Marinate chicken overnight, or for a few hours. Grill chicken turning halfway through cooking, until almost done. Glaze on each side during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
(adapted from Deborah Madison)
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup masa
1/2 cup flour
pinch chile powder (optional)
Mix all ingredients together with a whisk and ladle onto greased crepe pan. Cook 'em up!
1 small ripe pineapple
1 green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 small red onion chopped
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let sit 10-15 minutes. Eat with everything.
To assemble: Chop the hot grilled chicken or pork and roll in crepes with goat cheese (I love Dreamfarm!). Top with pineapple salsa and enjoy!