It’s summer and during these cool Oakland nights I like to indulge in something spicy and cool. My mom was always great at making meals with contrast and texture. Her creativity as an artist came from the same place as her notion of food.
If I had one theme across all of my cooking-it would be “intuitive” cooking. Trusting your instincts, using your own senses and your palate as a guide.
My mom was a chef cognizant of heat. If she made salty baked potatoes they were topped with some cool dairy product (the 90’s were the decade of “margarine.”
In 1870 margarine was created by a Frenchman from Provence, France — Hippolyte Mège-Mouriez — in response to an offer by the Emperor Louis Napoleon III for the production of a satisfactory substitute for butter. To formulate his entry, Mège-Mouriez used margaric acid, a fatty acid component … and named because of the lustrous pearly drops that reminded him of the Greek word for pearl — margarites. From this word, Mège-Mouriez coined the name margarine for his invention that claimed the Emperor’s prize.
While my margarine enthusiasm is tongue and cheek, I am still an enthusiast for replacements.
Tonight we had egg potato salad with egg, lemon, dill and Greek yogurt instead of mayo. It’s a nice cool side next to a hot and spicy chicken dish.
For this summer side dish you will need:
1 and 1/2 lemons
one cup fage 0% yogurt (or any Greek yogurt)
1 tsp dillweed
1 tsp kosher salt (or more-to taste)
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley (fresh if you can get it)
1 Tbsp basil (fresh)
2 Tbsp brown grain mustard (and any other mustards you have such as honey mustard and/or Aioli–same amount)
Boil potatoes (or create holes with a fork and cook in microwave for 8 mins. on high). Boil eggs. When eggs are ready–dig them out of water with a large spoon and wash with cool water. Take off shells. Chop potatoes and eggs and put in large bowl. Mix in all ingredients (sprinkle dill on last) and put in fridge. Serve cold.
Hot & spicy summer chicken breasts
This chicken is sumptuous and will melt in your mouth. It isn’t technical and is a crowd pleaser especially if you are cooking for men who sometimes prefer savory or tangy food. I used Lawry’s taco seasoning–something generally used on tacos but perfectly suitable for chicken.
Here is what you will need:
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
olive oil spray for your foil
1 tsp kosher salt
Spray foil with olive oil spray. Put chicken breasts on foil (spread out so none are touching). Squeeze lemon over chickens. Rub chickens with Lawry’s seasoning. Sprinkle with hot pepper sauce and salt. Put in oven (smaller oven preferred) and broil so the top becomes crispy similar to a skin. Cook chicken for around 30 minutes and check chicken every eight minutes or so until chicken loses pink color on the inside (cut with knife to check).
Feed to someone you want to win over (even if that’s yourself)!