Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cooking again finally

Over the weekend both of the guys who hang out here and call it home were gone. Friday night Son3 was doing some teen Rave thing while The Hub was in Tuscaloosa doing some charitable business. Saturday night they both went back to Tuscaloosa to a ball game and stayed over to see the reopening and rededication of Fosters Auditorium. ( The fact that my brother-in-law was part of the dedication festivities was a large part of their being there) While they were gone I ate leftover black eyed pea soup and ate it again and ate it one last time. It seems that most of the moms I know just eat whatever is left instead of what they really want. Monday was Valentine's and we scooted out to eat at the opening of Mugshots in Vestavia. Yum! What a delicious burger. If you let me have grilled onions and peppers with swiss on a burger I will be your friend for life.

Tonight The Hub is in Oklahoma so it is just Son3 and me. We are opting for a simple fare done slightly different. Its a glazed chicken on cheese grits. If any of you are reading this and you know Cindy just go ahead and nod your head in agreement and know what I am saying is true. My friend Cindy, is not like most other friends in the world. Most of us have projects on our to-do list like clean the garage, wash the curtains or dust the refrigerator coils. Cindy' s list says things like paint a mural of the French countryside on the walls going down the basement stairs. Not only does it say stuff like that, but she actually does it. Those of us who are her friends never try to top her for 2 main reasons.

1st: We just can't.


2nd: If by some weird alignment of the planets we were actually able to do something better than her, she would just add some other oddity to her list: Hammer a dime into a hair thin ribbon of silver and etch "War and Peace" on it using a Barbie screwdriver. So it is just pointless to try. We just enjoy her many talents and call her fondly, "That Cindy"

Now that you understand what she is like it should come as no surprise that she has printed her own cookbook which she shared with several of us. Tonight's meal comes from Cindy's book and, unlike a meal Cindy serves, it will be eaten on plain plates with no centerpiece, candles or multi utensil table setting.

Cindy XXXXd's Favorite Recipes Compiled by Cindy XXXXd (The X's protect her anonymity and keep YOU from becoming her friend)

Spicy Apple Glazed Chicken with Cheese Grits
4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves,sprayed with Pam
1/4 cup apple butter
1/4 cup brown mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped green onion for garnish
fresh oregano for garnish

Place the chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and flatten to 1/2 inch thick
Put the chicken in a Pam coated pan
Combine the next 5 ingredients and brush over the chicken.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Cut in strips.

Cheese Grits

2 (14 oz.) cans of chicken broth
3/4 cup quick cooking grits
1 cup shredded Muenster cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Bring the broth to a boil and gradually add the grits, stirring constantly.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.

Serve the chicken strips over the cheese grits and garnish with the onion and oregano leaves.

What we thought and what I did differently: The flavor of this is very good, but I thought the apple butter glaze was a little thick. Son3 and I both scraped about 1/2 of it off. Of course I did not flatten the chicken breasts so I had a much higher concentrate of it over a smaller area, which would account for the thickness. I did not have any cayenne or ground red pepper so I had to use ground chipotle. It gave it a hint of smokey flavor, which was not bad.

When I made the grits, I had just finished poaching the chicken breast that remained in the pack so instead of just the canned broth I used the poaching liquid. I had a concoction of white wine, broth, bay leaves and thyme that I used. Since I had the savory spices in the poaching liquid I did not put the nutmeg in it. The liquid was substantially darker than canned broth so it did give the grits a little "off" color. The flavor was quite good in spite of the color.

The hunk of cheese I thought was Muenster turned out to be Horseradish White Cheddar so I had to punt quickly. Fortunately the Parmesan Cheese fairy has been hovering around for a few weeks and each time I go grocery shopping she slips more in my cart, so I had a boatload which I used instead. I think the Muenster would have been creamier and tasted better. I had low fat sour cream in the fridge so that is what I used. I don't think it made a difference either way since it did not actually cook, but was just warmed by the hot grits.

I will do this again, but I will flatten the chicken and use clear broth, just to keep the grits color a little prettier.

Thanks Cindy for the inspiration!

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