Bring Out the Rice Zesty Chicken

Mark Bittman's gigantic cookbook How to Cook Everything is a kitchen essential. While I think some recipes are a bit off (ex. his pizza crust is way too salty - perhaps a printing error?), there are some absolutely sumptuous dishes.  This chicken dish is one of those I'm-glad-I-gave-you-a-try recipes. Plus it's an enjoyable book to flip to a random page to read and learn techniques and technical details about a food stuff or two. Mark Bittman knows food and he writes about it well. I liked this chicken recipe so much I scribbled "WINNER! Love the sauce." right beside it. 

1 T oil
2 lbs bone in chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
1 t minced garlic
1 T grated lemon zest
¼ t cayenne (I have actually never tried it with cayenne but if you like a little kick, you should!)
2 T soy sauce
1 t sugar
⅓ cup water
Juice of one lemon

Heat a skillet. Add oil, swirl, then add the chicken. Brown quickly on both sides. Remove the chicken but keep the oils. Add the garlic and cook until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients except the lemon juice. Stir. Return the chicken and settle it in the liquid in the skillet. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, turning once or twice until chicken is done, about 20-30 minutes. 

Put chicken in serving platter and stir in the lemon juice. Pour some broth over the chicken and pass the rest at the table. Everyone will be looking for rice to enjoy this delicious sauce with.

Tastes Better Than It Looks Salad

It was that or "Scraps from the Vegetable Pile Salad". That's because my husband says the taste of this salad is always a pleasant surprise. I personally think the color mix is wonderful and I like the fact that there is something for every one (i.e. the kids like olives, I like chickpeas, my husband likes cucumbers). Prior to discovering this recipe, I have mostly bought ready made salad dressing. The only salad dressing I would make (which doesn't really count) is mixing Stillwater Olive Oil Co.'s Raspberry Vinegar and Lemon Olive Oil -- it doesn't count because this vinegar is so good you can drink the stuff as is. Coming back, the tedious part of this recipe is the chopping and slicing but otherwise is quite easy to make and is great for parties. I usually make do without the feta cheese. It still tastes great even without. I also do not follow the second part of the recipe strictly. If I find only orange and yellow bell peppers on sale, that's what I use. No tomatoes, no problem. It's a very easy going salad recipe that always satisfies. 

2 t olive oil
2 T lemon juice
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper

1 can chickpeas drained
1 red bell pepper cubed
1 yellow bell pepper cubed
1 green bell pepper cubed
1 small onion chopped finely
15 tomatoes halved
1/3 cup olives sliced
1-2 cucumbers quartered
feta cheese

Toss everything. This salad can be prepared a day in advance but same day preparation also tastes great.