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
Tamarind Chicken
(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.

Masa Crepes
(adapted from Deborah Madison)

3 eggs
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!

Pineapple Salsa
1 small ripe pineapple
1 green bell pepper
1/2 habanero
1 jalapeno
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!


RCakeWalk said...

I have to make these masa crepes! I made corn masa tortillas for supper tonight...and even so could totally have these tomorrow. Thanks for posting such an amazing application, I'm so excited to try it!!

Megan said...

looks amazing and how fun to cook with a friend!

Otehlia said...

I am in love with these crepes.They give you the masa flavor without being too dry Try adding a touch of ancho chile powder for fun. I also made Black Earth pork loin with the glaze and thought that was even better than the chicken. yum!