With high school finished, and college barely a week and a half away, I wanted to set my mind to something so I would still be the holder of my sanity. My friend, Rebecca Stark, and I decided to set out on a summer shopping spree (slash job hunting for her. The two tasks work harmoniously with one another). After rampaging through the first story of the mall, we headed to the next, where we set foot into Williams-Sonoma Grande Cuisine, a.k.a foodie heaven. Ooing and ahhing at every highly priced kitchen-ware appliance, our eyes set on a poster that read, "Free cooking sessions for the passionate. Sign-up to reserve a spot today!" And there you have it. The poster crowned a halo, angels sang, and my summer finally seemed to have direction.
The first class was about grilling on sticks and skewers. The lady at Sonoma showed off a plethora of grills, rubs, sauces, and skewers. I did end up buying a can of "Spicy Chipotle" rub for grilling some meat back home (actually, the lady at Sonoma was a pretty good sales person. And my brother urged me on tasting the rub, which means me falling in love, and thus obtaining the rub).
Back home, my mother and I went to Publix and got some skinless, boneless chicken thighs. I washed them properly, then prepared the marinade. I took about 6 tablespoons of Danon's plain yogurt and stirred in about 2 tablespoons of of the rub. Then on a sheet of aluminum foil, I kept marinating the chicken and placing them in neat rows for soaking. Here's a trick my mother taught me: with a fork, poke holes on the surface of both sides of the chicken. This way, the marinade soaks in through the meat as well. After all the pieces were marinated, I set them in the refrigerator for about 3-4 hours. Simple, right?
In this process, I had two chicken thighs left over because I ran out of the marinade. So I sauteed some onions in olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, threw in the chicken, and let that crisp. When everything was a golden brown, I topped it all with some BBQ sauce. This was a little snack for my brother and I while we waited for the real deal.
Let me tell you, when I am on a roll in the kitchen, I am on a roll. I wasn't tired, and I was still a little hungry (yes, small people can eat a lot too). My mother and aunt had gone out shopping, so I thought I'd surprise them with a little brie dish.
I got a fresh loaf of French bread, cut the middle to make a bread boat of a sort. I then layered the bottom of the bread with brown sugar. After cutting the brie in slices (I like to keep the rind), I covered the cheese in brown sugar as well, and placed the slices in the bread boat. The oven set to 350 degrees broil, spit out a crispy bread base, with sugary brie melted in the middle. I added some walnuts for crunch. Brie, French bread, brown sugar, and walnuts are truly a match made in heaven. The French have so many things right... We all enjoyed the boat bread with some hot tea.
Soon, dinner time rolled around. Too lazy to grill (Yup, I was tired now), we decided to bake the chicken instead. At 400 degrees, the marinated chicken baked beautifully for about 45 minutes-an hour. I sliced a sweet onion and a couple of tomatoes in fours, and set them on the grill. Dad was back from work just in time for when the house was enveloped in this delicious spicy scent. The grill sent sweet vegetable aromas around the kitchen, and I was awake again. I dressed the chicken with the grilled vegetables, squeezed lemon on top, and voila! Sweet and spicy success. The smoky flavor of the vegetables worked great with the baked chicken.
I saw my family bundled around the TV in our living room, laughing and talking over dinner plates. My vegetarian mother and aunt enjoyed their own late night snacking. I am always amazed at how taste can bring all of us just a little more closer. The mellow lights mixed in with good food, reminded me of why I even cook in the first place. This is my attempt to experience the world, travel a bit with every bite.
Everybody enjoyed dinner that night.