Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chicken wars

I made two types of chicken tonight – I hope one of them turns out.

Chicken 1 – Mediterranean Lemon Chicken


Chicken 2 – Balsamic Chicken with Mushrooms


You see, the reason I say “I hope it turns out tonight” is because I have this love/hate relationship with chicken.  Sometimes it turns out great and other times I want to strangle/beat the crap out of the chicken myself, throw it away and continue cursing at the chicken that never turned out, as was the case for the dreadful Balsamic Chicken.  Nice idea, terrible execution.  Not that I didn’t want to execute the chicken anyway.  “I can’t believe you stupid chicken!  Ugggghhhh!!  Why aren’t you done already?  It’s already been an hour and a half.  How much longer do you need until you’re not raw?!  I need answers and I need them NOW!  Why does my spoon keep disappearing?” 

It’s chicken sh*t (pun intended) when they tell you to brown the chicken for 3 minutes on both sides (and that’s all the cooking this supposed chicken needs).  How the heck is that really done?  Hello, get REAL!  Every time I try that method, and I do mean every time, I get crusty brown raw chicken.  Disgusting.

I’m having an Amelia Bedelia moment.  You know what I need?  I need to find a dessert that I can make exquisitely well, no matter how fattening it is.  At the end of the day, no matter what’s happened, I can make that something and make my day a whole lot better.  Cheesecake comes to mind for now, but lately I haven’t been that big of a fan like I used to be.   Don’t you think Julia Child had her moments? I’m sure Julie Powell had her moments too.  I’m sure they must have had something that made a bad day turn into a fantastical one.  Yep.  Fantastical.  And wonderful.  This next week I shall look for my fantastical moment. 

By the way, I had a great day at work.  We’ve been planning for an event for a few months we have mostly every year (a wine grape grower dinner converted into a luncheon) and had loads of fun.  After the event ended, a few of us went out and celebrated.  The event was draining, nevertheless fun.  And I even got to come home early and I went out for ice cream with MigL.  Hooray!

The funny thing about the Mediterranean Lemon Chicken is that yesterday, I asked MigL to find a chicken recipe he’d like to have for dinner.  By the time I got home last night, he’d already e-mailed it to me, but I was way too tired too cook.  After I got home tonight, I found a recipe I thought might turn out, since I had some extra uncooked chicken.  Killing two birds with one stone, so to speak, and not have to cook the next day.  Well, at least one of the birds turned out well.

I forgot I used the eggs I had for last night’s breakfast for dinner.  Rats.  Now I can’t make the German Chocolate cake I wanted to tonight.  Uggghh!!!!  At least I still have some coffee cake cupcakes left over. Yum!


Mediterranean Lemon Chicken


1 lemon
2 tsp dried oregano
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
6 chicken legs


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

In a 9x13 inch baking dish, grate the peel from 1/2 the lemon, squeeze out the juice (about 1/4 cup) and add to peel with the oregano, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Stir until mixed.

Remove skin from chicken pieces and discard. Coat chicken pieces with the lemon mixture and arrange, bone side up, in the baking dish. Cover dish and bake for 20 minutes. Turn and baste chicken.

Reduce heat to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and bake uncovered, basting every 10 minutes, for about 30 more minutes. Serve chicken with pan juices.

Latin Cook’s notes

This dish had a nice balance of lemon & spices.  Even though it felt like Thanksgiving (basting the chicken), it was worth the extra effort.  Thanks for the idea, Honey!

Balsamic chicken with Mushrooms


2 tsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove(s), crushed
1 pound(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, four 4-oz pieces
2 cup(s) mushroom(s), small, halved
1/3 cup(s) canned chicken broth
1/4 tsp dried thyme, crumbled 


In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of oil.

In a medium bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar, the mustard and garlic. Add chicken and turn to coat.

Transfer chicken and marinade to skillet. Sauté chicken until cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a platter and keep warm.

Heat remaining teaspoon of oil in skillet. Sauté mushrooms for 1 minute. Add broth, thyme and remaining tablespoon of vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are deep brown, about 2 minutes longer.

Serve chicken topped with mushrooms.

Latin Cook’s notes

Suck it.  Let me know how it turns out for you.

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