On the menu: Teriyaki Chicken, Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice, and Chile-Cumin Carrots
Let’s be a little more deliberate this time.
Last week’s post came in a flurry of renewed energy and renewed motivation to just be in life and not get caught up in silly minutiae. I mean, I came home from the airport, said hello to the guy, and then I wrote a blog post. On about 3 1/2 hours of sleep and 13 hours of traveling. It wasn’t my best work. I feel that I left things out. Like everything I felt about my middle brother’s high school graduation. Seth is an inspiration. He struggled for years, as many young people do, to find himself, to determine his interests and pursue them. And he has succeeded. Seth is the artist in the family. His drawings and paintings make me catch my breath. Naturally, he’s going to be an art major in college. He is crazy smart–the kid has a serious knack for math. When I told him he should consider engineering as a career due to his creativity and mathematical prowess, he said, in his go against the grain manner: “Everybody wants to be an engineer these days.” All right, I get it. It was just a suggestion. Also, he is trés cool. We’re best friends on Snapchat. At least we are this week.
Seth! Get out into that world and do it up. Things were so hectic during my few days at home that we didn’t get to talk much. I wanted to do the big sister thing and have a real conversation with him at some point, but I ultimately contributed to the jubilation of the occasion by making 10 pounds of potato salad and 13 pounds of pulled pork for his graduation party. Oh, there was that letter I wrote him. When Seth was a baby and I was 8, I wrote him a letter. I held onto that letter for 18 years (confession: I opened it once) and waited to give it to him until the right time. It was time. I gave him the envelope, told him when I wrote it, and he gathered the family for a public reading of what I thought might be a more personal situation.
He began. “Dear Seth, …. I hope you are a good brother, unlike Jake.” WHAT?! The room erupted in hysteria. I thought Jacob was going to pee his pants he was laughing so hard. It’s true, Jacob has always been a little turd, but recording it in family history in such a straightforward fashion was a bit shocking to me. I have always been one to tell it like it is, I suppose. I went on to tell Seth the time, date, and day of the week I wrote the letter (Thursday, October 19, 1995, at 6:59 pm), I told him the address and phone number of the small apartment we lived in at the time, and of course there were other sisterly gems, like “Don’t join a gang. We want you to be safe.” It was highly entertaining and a bit embarrassing. I just kept telling myself how young I was when I wrote that. I think Seth liked it, though. It was so great to be home with my family and celebrate his successes. I am so incredibly proud of the young man that he’s become. I only hope that he learns how to cook
When I got back to Maine, we were in the midst of a heat wave–80 degree days and tropical-type humidity. Cooking in the house was not an option. So we grilled. Teriyaki chicken seemed like a fun summery meal, and I worked up a couple of equally fun side dishes to serve with it. We’ve grilled chicken legs and thighs before, but we’ve never marinated them beforehand. Dude. Marinade is a total game changer. This chicken was bursting with flavor, but we were taken aback at just how juicy the pieces were. I mean, it was dribbling down to our elbows juicy. And it was chicken. I didn’t even know that was possible! More marinades are definitely in our future.
Let’s take care of some business: Eva has started a nonfiction book club on Goodreads, and I am so excited to be a moderator, along with Carey, Izy, and Linda. We’re going to start reading The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean next week. It’s about the Periodic Table of the Elements–the science geek in me can’t wait to get started reading it. Check it out, and I do hope you can join us!
adapted from the Joy of Cooking
3 pounds chicken pieces (legs and thighs)
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons red wine
1 tablespoon molasses
1 can pineapple rings
Make the teriyaki marinade: Combine all ingredients except pineapple rings and place into a plastic container or zip-top bag with the chicken. Let sit for 4-6 hours, tossing every 2 hours to ensure all the chicken has time in the marinade.
Get the grill going: We’ve got a Weber, and we use a chimney starter to heat up our coals. When the grill is hot, cook the chicken until it registers 165ºF at it’s thickest part. You can dispose of the marinade or boil it for 5-10 minutes and use it as a basting sauce.
Serve the chicken with the pineapple rings. This makes the most delicious leftovers!
Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice
adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped very finely (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup cilantro
juice of one lime
salt to taste
Chop the cauliflower into very fine pieces, or use the shredding blade of a food processor if you have one available. Heat vegetable oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and cook until soft and just starting to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice and cilantro. Season to taste.
1 small bunch thin carrots
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
sprinkle of cumin and chile powder
Trim the greens from the carrots and add to the grill, turning every few minutes to get a nice char. After 8-10 minutes, remove them from the grill and toss with oil and spices before serving.