I read so many food blogs, I can’t even list them all. Seriously, it takes up a good portion of my day. Why? I’ll tell you why. Be patient. And sit still.
As I was saying, I read food blogs because a.) I love food, b.)I love pictures of food, and c.) I love it when people talk about food. But there’s also d.), which is inspiration. Very often I’ll see a recipe that looks delish, but I usually don’t have the ingredients on hand, I would have to take out a loan to buy the ingredients, or I just plain don’t like an ingredient (like mushrooms. Yuck. I’ve tried, really, but I can’t).
In the past, I would just file said recipe away in the “someday” box, and make spaghetti for dinner yet again. That tends to get old and well, depressing. So what I’ve started to do is just use the recipe as a sort of guide, and alter the heck out of it to suit my mood or my pantry. I’m not disparaging the recipe as written, but I tend to use it as a bit of a jumping-off point, and see where it takes me. Usually, the results are fantastic – other times not so much. This meal, however, was one of the fantastic ones, even garnering voluble repetitions of joy from Mr. Gorilla.
For the chicken, I used the Roasted Honey Wings Recipe from Quinn’s Cooking with Love and Passion. The wings in her photos looked so sweet and sticky and everything a chicken part should be, that I just HAD to try the recipe. That being said, I made a few substitutions for my own personal convenience:
1. I did not, in fact, use wings. I used drumsticks because I had a slew of them in the freezer. I just raised the cooking temp to 300 to compensate for the added thickness.
2. I was not about to go all the way to the store for an orange and a pomegranate, so I substituted lemon juice and zest for the orange, and a splash of cranberry juice for the Pom juice.
3. Lastly, since I had no orange (yes, we have no oranges), I garnished with grilled lemon slices. Yes, I dragged out the panini press and dirtied two grill plates to grill two slices of lemon for three minutes. Was it worth it? Meh. Kinda.
The chicken was fantabulous! Like Quinn said in her comments, you really do have to baste and turn quite often, but it is so worth it! The marinade worked wonders – the honey stickied-up beautifully, and the soy sauce added just the right amount of savory. The meat fell off the bone. And may the gods of nutrition strike me down, but this was one time I definitely did eat the skin!
I love potatoes with chicken, so tonight I made ’em smashed. So easy, so good! There are a zillion different ways to do this, but here’s tonight’s version: Bake potatoes until tender, then place on foil-lined baking sheet and smash with a potato masher. Not all the way, just enough to burst the skin and flatten them out. Don’t kill the potatoes! Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a TEENSY little curl of butter, then top with a decent hunk of goat cheese. Stick it under a broiler for about five minutes, or until it all looks nice and toasty. You can crumble the goat cheese if you like, but I believe I’ve spoken before about my love of broiled cheese, and how it spills its creamy lava on your tongue. ‘Nuff said. So, so good.
Finally, because I wanted an excuse to use up some extra spinach and cilantro, I made some aioli using the recipe I found on High Over Happy. I really didn’t substitute much, except I added a little more oil, used two handfuls of spinach, and threw in some (about 1/3 cup) fresh cilantro. Whew! Garlicky! In a good way though, of course. But is was so great – we dipped our chicken in it, and then used it as a dressing for the spinach the chicken was served on. Oddly enough, when the juice from the chicken mixed with the aioli and the fresh spinach, the result was a sort of salad that Mr. Gorilla actually ate and liked! I do force the dear boy to eat his veggies, but this time I didn’t have to threaten and cajole.
So, yeah, another successful dinner, thanks to two delicious blogs. Thank you, dears. On another note, I’ve just joined the Daring Kitchen as a Daring Baker and a Daring Cook, so keep an eye out for my challenge postings! These should prove to be interesting…