NOTICE: CNN is airing a two-part investigative special tonight and tomorrow night called “Toxic America,” focusing on the amount of pesticides currently found in the produce on our grocery store shelves. A brief preview and more information about the show can be found here. Show starts tonight, on CNN, starting at 8pm EST.
|ESTIMATED CALORIC INFO|
|Serving Size||1 chicken breast|
|Calories from Protein||75%|
|Calories from Fat||15%|
|Calories from Carbs||10%|
So here I am writing this post on my brand new netbook, sitting on the bus commuting in to the office. I was forced to replace my old laptop because of a heat sink malfunction that was frying the motherboard. Manufacturing defect. But the machine was nearly four years old – a dinosaur in computer years – and no warranty or anything was applicable anymore.
I do have to say though, so far the netbook is pretty sweet. It was cheap as all hell, it’s tiny, and the battery actually works like a real battery should. Best of all, the monitor isn’t even any smaller than the monitor on my laptop was. Go figure.
And now I can write on the bus when I need to. I have about an hour long commute each day, most of the way on the bus (some on the subway), during which time I’m usually found reading. Which won’t really change. But writing this blog here can be pretty time consuming, so it’s nice to have the option open to me now to write during that time as well as read.
I think maybe the netbook needs a name. I’m not the type to go naming all my inanimate objects around me or anything, but the netbook.. I don’t know. It seems like it needs it. Any suggestions?
Anyway, enough about that. Today’s recipe is quite literally the first recipe I ever learned. I’ve been cooking this super simple dish for probably about ten years now, which for me is really something. I have no idea where the recipe came from or how I learned it, it was just something I knew.. somehow. I remember making it was back in my early years of college, back when the only other things I knew how to make came in a box that said “Hamburger Helper” on it. I remember I would prepare it when my friends had a birthday and I was too broke to actually buy them anything – I think they probably appreciated the good food more, anyway. Quality food was hard to come by in those times. Not that it wasn’t available, just that we (we meaning most of the people I knew and myself) simply didn’t know any better. Serving a home cooked meal with a salad or vegetables was a novelty, something that satiated the soul in a way none of us really understood.
Looking back now, it’s not hard to understand why a home cooked meal meant so much when the rest of our diet came from the college cafeteria or the Double T Diner. But back then it was all a bit of a mystery. Everybody just thought I was *that* good a cook, but at the time, they couldn’t have been more wrong.
Margarita chicken is really simple. You’re basically just cooking the chicken however you like, and making a sauce to go along with it. The sauce can be used for lots of different proteins – I’ve made it with tilapia, with shrimp, you could probably even use tofu if you wanted a vegetarian option. And you can cook the chicken (protein) in a skillet, on a grill, under a broiler, whatever. It’s pretty adaptable. For this time around, I used my grill.
|ESTIMATED FOOD MILES|
|Canola Oil||500 miles|
|Corn Starch||500 miles|
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1/4 c canola oil
- 1 tbsp corn starch (sifted)
- 2 jiggers tequila (1 jigger = 1.5 oz)
- fresh squeezed juice from 2 or 3 limes (fresh makes a big difference here)
- 2 tbsp lime zest
- 3 tbsp honey
- salt/pepper (optional)
The tequila travels pretty far to get to me, but fortunately the bottles last a fairly long time – I’m not that big on tequila. We’ve had our moments.
First thing you want to do is start putting the sauce together. Combine all the ingredients except the chicken in a small pot.
Make sure to zest the lime before juicing it.
Place the pot over a low flame.
Don’t take a shortcut and skip the sifting when you add the corn starch. It can leave bumps and lumps in the sauce, and in this sauce, that’s not something you want cause people will be chomping into chunks of corn starch. Not so yummy.
The starch is critical because it thickens up the sauce for you. Learning to use corn starch well is a big step in knowing how to make a good sauce – all you really need for a sauce is just an assortment of flavors and a thickening agent.
Once the sauce has heated up and started to thicken a little bit, take a brush and paint some of it onto your raw chicken. Then place the chicken on the grill, or under a broiler, or in a pan.
For this, I used a Himalayan pink salt slab to cook the chicken on a grill. Salt slabs are totally awesome. I will be posting more about them in the near future.
Cook the chicken, about 5-7 minutes each side (my grill was just shy of 400), and re-apply sauce when you flip it.
Take this time to make whatever sides you want. I made a simple salad and had some cornbread in the oven.
Once the chicken is done, you can add one more liberal application of the sauce and you’re done. That’s it!
Do you remember what the first recipe you ever learned was?