Food ‘n’ Flix: Mistress of Spices~

28 06 2012

June brings heat, and what else gives us heat?  Spices…  June’s movie choice at Food ‘n’ Flix was Mistress of Spices, an Indian tale of the mysterious mistresses of the spices, who intuit all manner of needs and cures for their customers through the spices.  Everyone has their own special spice…  This comes at a price, however…the mistress must never touch the skin of another, and she must never, ever leave her shop…  Enter…THE MAN.  I’ll let you watch the movie for yourself…

Now, I honestly cooked for this movie!!  What I didn’t do was take PICTURES!!  I am so ticked off at myself!  I can’t believe I did all that and then blew off the camera!  Arrrrrgh!!

Mistress of Spices Inspired Breast of Chicken

1 tsp. coriander seed
1 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. fennel seed
2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 chicken breast per serving

Toast the ingredients in a hot pan until they’re aromatic and their oils are being released.  Grind (I used a mortar and pestle).  Dust chicken breasts with the ground spices and bring to almost room temperature.   Cook breasts over medium heat in a non-stick skillet until just done.  They will sit while you make the sauce.

To the pan add about 1/4 cup chicken broth to deglaze the pan.   Reduce until syrupy.  Stir in 1/2 cup unflavored yogurt per person.  Serve over rice (good time to use jasmine rice), with the sauce and a vegetable on the side.

Much as you’d have to imagine how it tastes…this time you also have to imagine how it looks… A bit on the pale side for my liking…white rice, light chicken, white sauce…a bit of cilantro snipped overall helps the appearance some…and adds yet another layer of flavor.  There were no complaints about the meal…we both enjoyed the complex spice combination!  Now if I’d only remembered…the…

Now to see how the rest of the group was inspired by this movie, head on over to Culinary Adventures with Camilla for the Food ‘n’ Flix round up!

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Eat to beat the Heat: Chicken Salad with Melon ~

17 06 2012

The weather in Northern California can be downright HOT sometimes.  Arizona hot, but with more humidity.  Once the thermometer passes the 100° mark just about all Californians can agree on one thing…it’s just hot!  Eating starts sliding down the priority list.  Barbecues reign as kings because no one wants to heat their kitchen!  Cool foods are incredibly soothing, with salads being high on the list of preferences during these heat waves.  This recipe came from such a heat wave.

There’s something incredibly enchanting about the salty-sweet combination of chicken salad in a cantaloupe bowl…  I’m not quite sure how the concept came about, other than I had a garden fresh cantaloupe, and cold, left over chicken.  In my mind it had a great texture and was cool all the way down.  The texture, however, is dependent on the quality of the chicken being used.  The salad used in this picture came from a store-bought rotisserie chicken (and it truly reminded me why I don’t buy these!!), so it’s overcooked and became much like tuna salad made from canned tuna…  Keep that in mind!  LOL!!

Chicken Salad in a Cantaloupe Bowl

1/2 cup coarsely chopped, cooked chicken (we prefer breast meat we’ve marinated in mesquite and grilled)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped celery
Shallot or green onion to taste, minced
Mayonnaise enough to bind the salad together
Mesquite seasoning (one of the only mixes I love and can’t live without…Grill Mates Mesquite Marinade by McCormick…)
1/2 cantaloupe

Mix the ingredients together and allow flavors to blend at least 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, cut a cantaloupe through the equator so you have 2 deep halves.  Remove the seeds from the cavity.  If you like, slice a tiny sliver off the stem and blossom ends so the “bowl” will sit level and not rock.   Fill the seed cavity with the chicken salad and serve…

Serves 1; increase ingredients in equal amounts for additional portions.

This is our Summer standby recipe…  The spicy mesquite is cooled by the soothing sweetness of the cold melon…  The  temperature of the salad doesn’t matter too much.  I’ve used cold chicken as well as hot off the grill for the salad.  Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle, it’s cool enough to proceed and serve.   I used the Mesquite Marinade straight from the package for this salad (store chicken) to season the salad.  If you marinate and grill, you probably won’t need any additional seasonings.  But…LIVE!!  Have fun with this and go your own direction!!

Thanks for stopping by this hot summer’s eve!  It was 102° here today…now it’s a toss up between this salad and an ice cream sundae for supper!  LOL!