I'm not sure if I'm cooking out of loneliness or freedom. Either way, I looked forward to cooking myself a good old fashioned chicken dinner tonight. As I baked the chicken, the apartment smelled amazing - very comforting for my loneliness. I also busied myself cooking some simple, but fancy looking, sides. Being able to enjoy crispy chicken skin and juicy meat was freedom. No worries about protein values, sauce-making or fake meat today. Just a classic 3-piece dinner.
Overwhelmed by the freedom and choices ahead of me, I began to search for the perfect recipe for my freedom chicken. That lasted about 5 hungry minutes, and I decided to go the simple classic route and just toss on some seasoning and bake it. I thought about tying in some leftover black beans, which lead me to the jar of adobo seasoning. It's my favorite thing in my spice drawer - just simple, flavor-enhancing and easy to use. Since chicken and citrus marry well, and adobo and lime the same, I decided to give the breasts a good douse of lime juice.
I planned to try mashing the black beans with potatoes, but unfortunately as the potatoes boiled, I found the beans smelled pretty garbage-y and threw them out. I threw in some frozen peas instead, trying to avoid an all whitish-yellow dinner. I hate one color plates.
Fresh corn on the cob was on sale this week, but I'm getting sick of eating it straight from the cob. So messy. I cut it from the cob and sautéed it up with some sweet purple onion (again, for color). With my other two dishes mildly flavored, I seasoned the corn with cayenne for some kick.
The adobo and lime created a crispy skin on the chicken that was well worth the extra calories. I baked it over lime slices and fresh oregano, which gave the meat just a delicate hint of the flavors. The corn was crunchy and sweet with a that spicy kick complimenting the lime from the chicken. The mashed potatoes provided a flavor break in between, but were interesting with the peas popping in each bite. This really made up for my wierd pizza disaster last night. Unfortunately I have completely overeaten.
Adobo Lime Rubbed Chicken Breasts
4 servings, 45 minutes
4 Split Chicken Breast Halves with skin
Adobo Seasoning powder
2 Limes, sliced or wedged
8 whole sprigs (stems) of fresh Italian Oregano
1. Preheat oven to 425F and drizzle olive oil in a baking dish.
2. Wash and pat dry each breast half. Place in baking dish, skin side up and drizzle with a little olive oil.
3. Sprinkle salt, a dusting of adobo and a few grinds of pepper over the chicken. Using your hands, rub the mixture into the chicken skin. Poke your fingers under the skin and gently loosen it from the chicken, but keeping it attached. Get the rub right in there up under the skin.
4. Squeeze the lime wedges over the chicken and under the skin also. Place squeezed out slices under each breast, along with 2 whole sprigs of oregano under each.
5. Bake at 425F for about 40 minutes, checking as early as 30 minutes depending on the size of the breasts. Poke with a fork, and check that the juices are clear, not pink. Or, using a meat thermometer, check that the temperature deep in the fattest part is at least 165F.
Cayenne Spiced Corn
4 servings, 10 minutes
Corn cut from 3 large cobs (about 2-1/2 to 3 Cups)
3/4 C Purple Onion, diced
1 T Olive Oil
1 tsp Unsalted Butter
1/2 C Vegetable or Chicken stock (or water)
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp Cayenne powder
1/8 tsp ground Coriander
Paprika for garnish
1. Heat oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add onions and cook 1 minute, stirring. Mix in corn, and then stock or water.
3. Continue to stir and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, and then add seasonings and cook for another minute or two. Fresh corn will turn from pastel to bright yellow when it's cooked, but still crunchy. Remove from heat.
4. Serve in small bowls or ramekins - this will keep the corn nice and hot. Add a dash of paprika to each serving.
Green Pea Mashed Potatoes
4 servings, 15 minutes
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (Russet or Yukon Gold will work)
1 C Frozen Green Peas
1/4 C Lowfat Milk
Salt, Pepper and Butter to taste
1. Add potatoes to a pot of cold water and bring to a boil.
2. Cooking time depends on how small you cut the potatoes, 1-1/2" cubes cook in about 10-15 minutes. Check at 10 minutes boiling, by poking a fork or knife into the potatoes. If it goes in pretty easy, you're ready to add the peas.
3. Add 1 C of peas and boil for 3 more minutes.
4. Empty the pot through a strainer and put everything back in the pot. Mash roughly with a potato masher and add milk, salt, pepper and butter.