This weeks CEimB was picked by Jen of Notes from the Table. She is on vacation but has already posted the results of her cooking experience with this recipe from Ellie Kriegers, “The Food You Crave”, page 215.
A note to all my fellow CEimB-ers…. I will be on the road Thursday and unfortunately will miss commenting on your posts. But Friday or during the weekend, my curiosity will get the better of me so be prepared for a visit and a word or two.
Cooking the recipe was a bit challenging this week because I’m not in my own kitchen. However, Sue, my sister, is with me on vacation in South Carolina and she loves to cook with Ellie as well. We both had a blast fixing up this meal for all of us. I used tofu for me in place of the chicken.
We did use all fresh ingredients. I could not resist the excuse to buy a fresh pineapple. The mint is right from my father’s garden. Unfortunately, the bees would not give up the honey so that isn’t as fresh as we would like, but the stuff in the bottle looked just as well. I chose not to buy the habanero pepper because no one but me enjoys hot and spicy. My mother’s stomach goes into major rebellion if even the thought of putting a hot pepper to her mouth occurs. Sue wanted to buy red pepper flakes and use them. Only a pinch of red pepper flakes were added to the mix.
We made the salsa 2 hours in advance.
We chopped and mixed the scallion mixture an hour in advance. We mixed up the broth and soy sauce so it was ready to simply pour in at the appropriate time. Come 5:30 pm, we were all set to turn on the heat.
Here is the recipe:
Salsa: 1 TBS honey, 1 TBS fresh chopped mint, and 1 TBS lime juice. Mix the three. Peel and dice a fresh pineapple and use 1 cup for this recipe. Seed and dice to get 1/3 cup of English cucumber. Mix everything together and put into the fridge until the chicken/tofu is ready.
The Chicken/Tofu: 4 TBS olive oil. 4 boneless,skinless chicken breasts (of course you have to pound the heck out of them until they are about 1/2 “ thick). Sue drew the job of pounding the chicken. Note the pounding utensil. Mum apparently doesn’t beat her meat…hmmm, should I change the wording on that last sentence?…ANYWAY…she just doesn’t have the “gadgets” I have so we made do…
1 Cup chopped scallions. ½ Scotch Bonnet or Habanero Pepper (we used red pepper flakes). 1 clove garlic, minced. 1 tsp each of the following: ginger (if fresh, if not use ¼ tsp ground), allspice. ½ tsp dried thyme. ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth and 2 TBS each of low-sodium soy sauce and fresh lime juice.
After making the salsa, cooking the chicken is easy. Heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium high and when hot add the chicken until brown, about 4 min. per side. Transfer to a plate to keep warm. Add 2 more tsp oil to pan, reduce heat to medium and add scallions, pepper, garlic, ginger, allspice and thyme. Cook 30 seconds then add the soy sauce and broth. Reduce to ½ (about 3 minutes) add the lime juice and return chicken to pan. Serve the chicken topped with the pineapple salsa.
Sue didn’t cook the chicken long enough….she thought it was thinner than the recipe called for. It need a bit more time so she added it back to the sauce for a little longer in order to finish it off.
As for the opinions of this dish… on a rating system of 1 to 4 stars, I would say it fell at about a 2 ½ to 3 for our family. The pineapple salsa received rave reviews. But it completely washed away any other flavors we added to the chicken and the tofu. My father is of the opinion that once you take the bone and skin away from the chicken, it becomes tasteless. Tofu begins tasteless and you have to add flavors. I added flavor by rubbing it with the spices before cooking as well as adding the spices when it was cooking. The salsa STILL took over all the other tastes.
Sue intends to cook this dish again but said she will definitely add the habanero or other hot pepper to spice it up because, both she and I agree that the spiciness coupled with the pineapple was the whole point of this dish and we unfortunately missed it. Oh well….
Good job Jen on this weeks pick. This family, reunited for a week in South Carolina, enjoyed cooking it up and eating it.