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TND – Pre & Post Anniversary Dinner

June 20, 2013

sliced chicken & jam

I’m a little behind on my posts – mostly because I’m struggling to figure out what I want to say about the unfolding Paula Deen debacle.  However, at the beginning of June we celebrated the 15th Anniversary of Dinner.  You can read all about it here.  This is what we had pre- and post- that Very Special Dinner.

Pre Anniversary Dinner
Za’atar & Sumac Roast Chicken
Onion Jam
Carottes Râpées
Roasted Potatoes with Arugula Pistachio Pesto
Grilled Asparagus Salad with Pickled Rhubarb

Sumac & Za’atar Roasted Chicken

Recipe previously given:  Delayed Gratification

roasted chicken

Onion Jam
Made from cooking the chicken marinade down until it turned to goo (about 1-2 hours).

jam - before & after

Carottes Râpées

Recipe previously given:  Stuck a Feather in His Cap

shredded carrot

Roasted Potatoes with Arugula Pistachio Pesto
I’ll be honest, I started this week’s menu here and worked outward.  If I didn’t know it would eventually make me feel ill I would have stood at the counter and just eaten the pesto out of the bowl on Monday night as my dinner.

Recipe previously given:  Delayed Gratification

potatoes

Grilled Asparagus Salad with Pickled Rhubarb

Recipe previously given:  In Which Aphorisms Come True

roasted asparagus salad

Post Anniversary Dinner (for which there are a complete lack of pictures – but it was tasty)
Chicken & Bean Tostadas w/ Fixins
Broccoli-Pineapple Salad with Spicy Honey-Lime Vinaigrette
Tomato-Watermelon-Cucumber Salad with Mint

Chicken & Bean Tostadas
Confession, the original of this recipe called for pork shoulder.  I did not particularly feel like trekking down to Whole Foods this past weekend for pork shoulder, so I substituted chicken thighs.  It wasn’t bad, but I think it would be better with the pork.  Also, I’m not sure the recipe doubles well.  I think it probably works better if you make it in smaller quantities.  This turned out a little more chili-like than I had envisioned.  Still tasty, but not quite what I was picturing in my mind’s eye when I started cooking.

1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 1 lb pork shoulder cut into 1” chunks)
2 onions – one peeled & quartered, one chopped finely
5 cloves garlic – 3 peeled & smashed, 2 minced
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
Olive oil
½ tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
15 oz can tomato sauce
15 oz can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
12 (6”) tortillas

Preheat the oven to 450.  Lightly brush the tortillas with a little vegetable oil and bake until crispy – about 7-10 minutes (keep an eye on them they go from crispy to burned in no time).

Place the chicken thighs (or pork), the quartered onion, the smashed garlic, the thyme and bay leaves in a large pot.  Cover with 3-4 cups water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover.  Cook until the meat is tender (about 35-40 minutes for chicken thighs, 1 ½ hours for pork).

Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.  Remove the chicken or pork from the braise and discard the rest of the braising liquid.

For chicken version:
In the same pot saute the chopped onion in a little olive oil until browned.  Add the garlic and oregano and saute for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.  Add the chipotle chili, tomato sauce, reserved cooking liquid, and pinto beans to the pot.  Bring to a brisk simmer and cook until most of the liquid has cooked off.

Shred the chicken into bite size pieces, and stir into the bean/sauce mixture.  Season to taste.

For pork version:
Mash the pork until it is in ½” shreds.  In the same pot saute the onions and pork in a little olive oil until the onions are browned and the pork is crispy.  Add the garlic and oregano and saute for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.  Add the chipotle chili, tomato sauce, reserved cooking liquid, and pinto beans to the pot.  Bring to a brisk simmer and cook until most of the liquid has cooked off.  Season to taste.

To eat, ladle spoonfuls of the chicken (or pork) mixture onto the crispy baked tortilla.  Top with whatever variety of toppings you prefer.  Tuck in.  (I employed a knife & fork, but others may be more skilled and can eat this with their hands).

Fixins’
Shredded cabbage
Quick Pickled Onions
Scallions
Crumbled Cojita (or ricotta salata or feta) cheese
Diced Avocados (or guacamole)
Thinly sliced radishes (or apples, or both)
Lime wedges

Broccoli-Pineapple Salad with Spicy Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

4-5 heads broccoli, broken into small(ish) florets
1 pineapple, chopped into bite size pieces
½ red onion, thinly sliced
Handful dried cranberries
Handful pepitas (or sunflower seeds)

Honey-Lime Vinaigrette
zest of 2 limes
juice of 2-4 limes (depending on how juicy your limes are)
2+ Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp grainy mustard
2-4 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
salt/pepper

Whisk together.  Season to taste.  Drizzle over salad ingredients – you may not need all of the dressing.

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