It has taken an entire week of respite for the shock to wear off – it’s finally summer break! And only now can I truly begin to appreciate it. The last semester has ended and there is a sense of finality and closure to everything. For example, my apartment lease lets up soon and we will be moving out in a few days. One of my roommates has already checked out actually, carelessly bestowing upon us a fridge full of rotting food and pantry of who-knows-how-old delicacies. So after screening for mold and the like, the left over food needed fast attending to before any further attack by the various micro-organisms that occupy our Raj Properties building (welcome to the typical Berkeley apartment). This left us with a considerable amount of spices, Nutella, tostadas, lots of frozen chicken, half empty bottles of liquor, and plenty of starches and carbs like rice and pasta. So, what to do with all this food? Kari has been begging for Tequila Lime Chicken, an Ina recipe, for months at this point, and just to appease her AND just to have a reason to use all this left over food, why not? So after work Monday night, I marinated the chicken and let it sit in the fridge, along with my Crepe batter! Yes, crepes for dessert! I couldn’t wait until dinner!
Tuesday comes around and with all this time on my hands, why not attack the mold and mildew? I’ve been living in filth for an entire year, why not restore the apartment to its former glory in the last 3 days I have to live in it? So I cleaned. All the while, I was reminded of Giselle from Enchanted, humming and singing and dancing while I vacuumed and scrubbed. Cleanliness is godliness, you know. The afternoon light starts to spill over the balcony and someoneiknow arrives just in time to drive Kari and I to Berkeley Bowl, possibly the most amazing grocery store ever. Upon returning home, I start the meal – furiously attacking the head of red cabbage, barking orders at Kari and someoneiknow to do homework, ripping open cans of tomatoes, stirring up the pot of rice – just another day in the kitchen with Anh, I guess. And dinner is served!
Tequila Lime Chicken
Found on Smitten Kitchen
1/2 cup gold tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on*
Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.
Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
From Food Network’s Alton Brown
These crepes were fabulous! Soo good and who knew they were so simple? We filled our crepes with Nutella, carmelized bananas (sliced bananas sautéed in a little brown sugar and butter) and fresh strawberries. They were topped with a little ice cream and more Nutella. Yuum! Perfect for entertaining or even a normal weeknight dinner. Yes, they are THAT easy.
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
Butter, for coating the pan
Combine all of the ingredients. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.
Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone. After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.
*Savory Variation: Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, spinach or sun-dried tomatoes to the egg mixture.
*Sweet Variation: Add 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur to the egg mixture. ( I didn’t use any liqueur and they tasted just fine, though I am sure a little wouldn’t have hurt.)
Family dinners are wonderful! Sharing food with the people you love most in the world – it is a beautiful thing. The fond stories, the shared laughs, the memories! And the food itself only enhances the loving relationships between those at the table. It really saddens me to learn that this tradition isn’t practiced as much anymore. With our busy lives, it’s hard to have everyone gathered around the table and even harder still for everyone to actually enjoy and appreciate each other’s company. But since it is summer now, we have no excuse to forgo family meals or time with loved ones. So to add to my ever growing list of summer goals, one of them is definitely to have more meals like this; and to really appreciate the summer; and more importantly to appreciate those people you spend your summer days and nights with.