Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Best Foods with Best Friends

Friday night Andy was kind enough to invite Matt and I over for a little cooking and dinner. I was thrilled at the chance to get into her kitchen and cook. My new passion has been to try to exploit my friends for their open, friendly kitchens. Hers is a cute little thing that opens up to a bar with two stools. So, not only is there a nice cooking set up, with a good amount of counter space for a small area, there's a place for me to have... an AUDIENCE! Ta Da!!
Of course, I leaped at the opportunity to cook over there, but what were we going to make? For her birthday last year I'd gotten her this cookbook that was titled the 12 Best Foods Cookbook. I knew that Andy, like many of us, was always looking for ways to eat healthier. Plus, the recipes actually sounded really tasty and the photography was beautiful! Well, that was about a year ago and we'd yet to make a single thing together. She suggested a chicken tangine.
"But you don't have a tangine?"
"What? I have the recipe, I've made it before. It's really good."

"What's in it?"
"You need to get a parsnip, sweet potato, regular potato, carrot and a thing of chicken broth."
"...There's no cousous in there is there?"
"Did I say anything about cousous?"

"Well, usually a tangine has cousous and some stupid dried fruit. God help you if there are any dried apricots in there. I detest dried apricots."
"Shut up."
She was pretty exasperated with me at this point, then she added an orange to the list of things that I had to buy. I was suspicious. I mean, I get it, it's healthy, but a pot full of veggies in some chicken broth? It sounded bland and overly healthy for me. Still, I like Andy, I like her kitchen and best of all, she was plying me and Matt with Vina Cantanbria and Hendrick's gin. Hell, we could drink in the tastiness even if our stone soup pot was bllaaahhhhh.....
When we arrived I started flipping through the book while demanding my promised glass of wine (I'm probably a terrible house guest.) Well, there in the pages I saw what I'd originally loved about the book; this looked like some damn good food! Blueberry and Onion Compote, Stuffed Pork Chops on Sweet Potato gravy, Chipotle Chocolate Chili!? Yes please! Alright, here was this dish inspired by a Moroccan tangine. The recipe list is a mile long, so forgive me for not transcribing it. Besides, really, we used it more as a guideline. We browned some cut up chicken in the spices Cinnamon, sweet paprika, cumin and ginger. We added sweet potato, potato, butternut squash, onion, parsnip, carrot and garlic. I tossed in some tangerine rind and a couple of chopped up wedges. We added the chicken broth, some honey and a splash of balsamic vinegar. It was amazing. We just set it on the stove and adjourned to the living room to guzzle wine, martinis and catch up. It was such a great, unhurried weekend dish. A perfect dish for a night like that, still blustery cold, wind whipping around the balcony, howling like Grendel never has.
And then we dug in with crusty loaves of garlicky ciabatta. It was amazing, with more layers than a Minnesotan on a cross country ski trip.
I just couldn't believe it. We had something luxurious, healthy and gorgeous pulled together all after 3 drrty martinis, 2 gin and sodas and a bottle and a half of wine. We're amazing!!


At 10:33 AM , Anonymous Loberg said...

You neglected to mention how the wayward bag of Doritos in the background of the picture fit in to your healthful nosh. Caught ya!

At 7:24 AM , Anonymous Andy said...

I was just thinking the same thing...I'll 'fess up to the baby Doritos, but Matt's got to 'fess up to the big bag o' Lays that he clandestinely bought when we let him go to Holiday.

At 9:01 AM , Blogger Joy Estelle said...

Is clandestinely a word?


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