Tuesday, September 15, 2009
"in a hot air balloon with a rusty nail" (quickest curry concert chicken)
(This photo is courtesy of Hitesh! I didn't bring a camera.)
Erin's got beef! And it looks delish. I was also in a big hurry last night, so today I present to you the quickest baked curry chicken possible. It was a dish inspired by hunger, time constraints and the excitement of a fabulous little gem called Fanfarlo. So let me digress. I know this blog is about food, but I'm going to write some about music. I assure you that, as I am qualified to write about neither, there will be little gain/loss in this breach of genre.
Last night, Fanfarlo played their first show of their first ever US tour at Chop Suey in Capital Hill, Seattle. I've had their debut album for about two months, and they've become an indispensable layer of this time in my new apartment. But per the usual, I didn't get into learning about the band or anything, so much was new to me when I saw them live.
This little UK band is five guys and one girl, and they all seem to play at least three instruments. The sound was amazing at Chop Suey. The sextet seemed seamless, jumping from one instrument to another mid-song (violin to saw, for example) and criss-crossing each other on the small stage. Despite the overall talent, instrumental dexterity, and inherent sexiness of the band as a whole (these were some good looking band kids), I have to say that the lead, Simon Balthazar, stole the show. I met him after and he was quite a smallish guy, but his presence on stage made him seem both older and taller. His buttoned-up-to-the-collar shirt and wide open eyes gave the whimsical melodies a touch of seriousness. He banged drumsticks on his mic stand, sang, jumped and played the mandolin, fist pumped his clarinet, and stole my heart.
Oh, Simon. Could I woo you with some cupcakes, organic chemistry, poetry or financial modeling?
Enough fawning, back to the food. I've really been getting into shopping at the farmer's market, one of the many, many good influences Penny has had on my life. When she was here for labor day, we spent a whole morning shopping at Pike Place, going to the butcher, the creamery, and lots of produce stands. Yesterday, on my lunch break, I bought a whole chicken breast and a bunch of fluffy, deep green spinach (which cost me $1!). I needed something quick for the chicken, and most recipes I read included a day of marination. So improv happened.
I figured I couldn't go wrong with searing the meat and then popping it in the oven to finish. I've got quite a few snazzy tricks up my sleeve, but this is one of my favorites, and it's never done me wrong. If you have a fear of cooking meat, this is a simple thing to learn, and it works for chicken, pork chops, new york strip steak, etc. While the chicken was in the oven, I wilted my spinach, added garlic and spices, and voila, dinner in 20 minutes flat. I bit into the chicken with fingers crossed, but fortunately it turned out flavorful and juicy, despite the simple prep. This is a keeper.
quickest curry concert chicken and garlic wilted spinach
2 chicken breasts
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp cumin seed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
lemon juice, optional
1 bunch spinach, washed and cut into 2 inch lengths
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the curry, cardamom, cumin, 2/3 of the minced garlic and salt in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of chicken.
3. Heat 2-3 three tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan over high heat. Add chicken, top side down, and cover for four minutes. Don't disturb it! That gives is a nice, browned appearance when you're done.
4. Flip chicken, cook for 3 minutes more, then remove to a baking pan and pop into oven for ten minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic, cook until browned, 2-3 minutes. Add spinach, cook until wilted about 8-10 minutes.
Serve with bread or rice.