Sunday, October 27, 2013

Moroccan Chicken

Fall is winding down here as the weather cools.  We had a couple of hard frosts this week (morning temps in the mid-20s) so the garden is mostly done.  Today, though, the weather was gorgeous with sun and mid-60s, so we put on our work gloves and pulled all the dead plants out, coiled up the hose and the rabbit fence, and prepped the garden plot for its winter slumber.

Side note to my fellow APHC lovers: did that sound like something to start a News from Lake Wobegon segment or am I deluding myself into thinking I might be in the same class as Garrison?

Anyway, one of the things I love most about weekends right now is that I actually get to do some cooking.  There is time for both garden work and meal-making in the same day!  Weeknights I get home around 6:30, so my Helpful Husband graciously makes dinner and does the dishes while it cooks.  I am so blessed.  But I miss cooking, and since he also makes our weekly Saturday Night Pizza, Sunday is my one day to get my hands messy in the kitchen.

I started tonight's meal yesterday evening, when I set the 4 chicken legs (drums & thighs separated) to marinating in the following:
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pepper to taste

You wouldn't have to marinate it overnight - an hour would do the trick, but I was out in the garden then.  Then this evening the prep was pretty simple.  Place the chicken in a heavy, deep skillet over medium heat.  Cover it and let it cook for ~20 minutes.  While it's cooking, get a few more ingredients ready: peel of 1 lemon, grated; 1/2 cup pitted greek olives; 10 dates, pitted and halved lengthwise.  After your 20 minutes are up, flip the chicken over and sprinkle the lemon peel, olives, and dates into the pan.  If it looks dry, add a little water.  Cover and cook another 20 minutes.

Tonight we ate it with a big Mediterranean salad while we Skyped with D's parents.  The last of the garden tomatoes went on the salad, and they were wonderful.  It was so nice to "share" this meal with D's parents, since his mom gave me this recipe when we got married - and she got it from her mother-in-law too.  And now I've gone and shared it with all of you...hope it wasn't a family secret!  (No, if there's one thing the Cutters love to do, it's share food with their dear ones - a family trait I can absolutely embrace & my purpose in this blog).  So dear one, I hope your nights are cool, your days are sunny, and your belly is full of hearty food shared with those you love.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Apple Crisp (a la mode!)

What is fall without a trip to the apple orchard?  Although the apples were more expensive than at the store and we had to pick them ourselves, we got to support the Wilson family and we got to pick them ourselves.  

The apples were enormous and nearly falling off the trees.  The sun was shining and the bees (mostly) noticed my red hair wasn't an apple.  The orchard wasn't even that crowded since we were able to go on a Friday afternoon rather than the "real" weekend.  

So what do you do with a dozen giant apples?  Well, you can make an overflowing apple crisp with half of them!  I use my mom's recipe, which is simple in the best way: easy to make & no fancy flavors to mask the apple.

If you're me and you like to multitask, start by peeling, coring, and slicing 6-8 apples (depending on size) while catching up on last week's episode of "The Amazing Race."  Once that's done (which takes considerably more time in real life than in a blog), toss the apples with 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour, and cinnamon to taste.  Put it all in a greased 9x13 pan.

Next mix together 1/3 cup melted butter, 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup oats, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder.  Spread it over the top of the apples.  Now here's my little trick: put it in the fridge overnight.  This gets the butter in the crumb topping nice and chilled, so when you bake it the crumb gets really crispy.  When you do bake it, set the oven to 350 and bake the crisp for about 45 minutes.  

Now, when you serve the crisp, add some ice cream.  It's just so good.  I've recently been using BlueBunny's Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt...yum!  If you like to be a person known for his/her decorum, eat your portion in private because you're probably going to want to lick your bowl.  Just FYI.