Archive | February, 2014

Tender Chicken Tender

21 Feb

Like Elvis’s ‘Love Me Tender, Love Me Sweet,’ tonight’s dinner answered his soulful call.

Chicken tenders aren’t usually considered sexy or soulful, but rather utilitarian in nature. And yet, that’s exactly what makes them so easy to manipulate into something exceeding the mundane.

Simple ingredients (hopefully, a part of your pantry) are all what’s needed: lime zest, panko bread crumbs, parmesean cheese, and coconut milk (I used the refrigerated kind).

Firstly, I scraped out the tendons. Next, I soaked the tenders in the coconut milk, while I mixed together the bread crumbs, cheese, and lime zest. Then, I heated an iron-cast skillet on medium high and poured a small amount of Canola oil. I coated the chicken with the crumb mixture, patting lightly, and then fried them. I covered the pan once I turned them over, to allow for more even internal cooking. Be sure to add some oil along the way, as you’re adding very little with each batch.

What you’ll get is a crunchy, slightly sweet chicken tender, with hints of fresh lime. And, something Elvis would croon over. Kaukab? She’s not a crooner. A critic? Yes. Crooner? No.

Post-Valentines

15 Feb

I had a lovely call from violin girl today. The call lasted only a short time, but her 19-year self spoke lifetimes of heart-felt wisdom.

After excitedly describing last night’s events with a group of friends (equal-parts gender, all single), which included playing music for newly-coupled friends and dining out, she went on to remark about what Valentine’s Day truly meant to her.

After experiencing love-loss a couple of years ago, and a friend’s recent suicide, she could not help but be shaped by these events. “Everyone experiences loneliness…you never know who.” She went on to divulge that on this most recent of Valentine’s, she wrote fifteen “love” notes and gave them to her friends. Why did she do it? “Because, I’ve learned it’s important to tell them. So many believe no one cares about them.”

Hubby gave me flowers–three, to mark each child, and some candy. Lovely gesture, for sure. I made us (that would include the boys) a nice steak dinner to commemorate the occasion. But, today’s phone call put the right perspective on the whole Valentine’s thing.

It’s not the day that counts, but the people who matter to us. Everyday.

Fish & Blueberries

14 Feb

This dish reminds me of the book ‘Blueberries for Sal’ that my kids liked me reading years ago. You may have heard that much of the country fell under a massive snowstorm last night, and we southern West Virginians got dumped upon, as well.

This giddy Cleveland girl welcomes snow whenever possible, and dinner celebrated this auspicious occasion with a special twist.

Enter the blueberries. I had decided to pan fry some pollack fillets in some melted butter and cajun seasoning. Usually, I add a little lemon squeeze near the end of cooking. But, I was out of lemons (and limes). The fish needed something, but what? (I’m sure Kaukab would have told me.)

A quick look-see in the fridge popped up some blueberries and maple syrup. Bingo! I would make a blueberry sauce for the fish fillets. Here’s what I did: After cooking the fish and removing from the iron skillet, I added 4 oz. of blueberries to the butter remaining (I had started with 3Tbl.) and on medium heat, stirred lightly. I added a drizzle of the syrup and about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. (If I had a lemon, I would have added some of the zest, as well.) Cook and stir until berries soften, about 5 – 8 min. Pour over fillets.

This dish really took on a Sweedish feel. Buttery, fruity, savory–all at once. I love dishes like this, where you make due with what you’ve got. Something of a mantra with Kaukab, no doubt.

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