Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hula Chicken

I apologize now for picture quality on this. Usually I cook dinner at a normal time after the sun has set and the perfect natural light has gone to bed for the day. If I had all day to stay home and hang in my pj's and watch episodes of Downton (not that I would ever do that) in between recipe testing I promise that each picture would make you want to lick the screen. Which could become a problem eventually. So you can thank me now for bad photos.

We love chicken and rice dishes in our house. Anything that can resemble Chinese food that doesn't involve making a trip to Pei Wei has our vote. I have seen a recipe for a while that has been pinned over and over for Hawaiian chicken. The recipe is super simple but involves you buying a certain sauce at Target. And, I don't know about you but I usually end up shoving my shopping list into the bottom of my purse as soon as I hit the dollar aisle and wind my way through the cosmetics. The few times I look at my list when I get back to my car I am always puzzled as to how I ended up with five sets of colored napkins and none of the necessities that I needed. So, I decided to alter this recipe on the off chance that I would not remember to grab a certain sauce on the sauce aisle...since typically the sauces are on the same aisle as the sugars and cake mixes, and since they are now carrying a large selection of sprinkles and cupcake liners I fear that I wouldn't be successful if on a specific mission that involved me walking to the furthest end of said aisle.
This recipe can easily be doubled to feed a crowd and would go great with some salted edamame and spring rolls. This is reminiscent of sweet and sour chicken, so the addition of some large onion chunks or red bell pepper chunks would be great, if you were into that sort of thing. As an alternative you could easily make these as kabobs in the summer to grill them and brush with this sauce.

Hula Chicken

3- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed into 1" equal chunks
1- small can of pineapple chunks, NOT drained
1 cup of your favorite BBQ Sauce (we use Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp. Sriracha (the red pepper sauce you find at all Chinese food places. Available in most grocery stores in the Asian food section)

Toss all of the above in a bowl then pour into a lightly greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until sauce has thickened and chicken is baked through.
Serve over steamed white rice.

Enjoy Ya'll!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Love Language - Pomodoro Al Forno

Magical. That one word is how I would describe the events of last night. But, let me back up a bit.
I mentioned in a post earlier about a little caramel apple event that took our house by storm. I work with a local store and supply specialty food items, one being caramel apples covered in white chocolate and sugar crystal sprinkles. I was asked to do an order for 400 of those babies back in December, which was the same weekend of a huge event at church I was in charge of decorating for. Which was also the same weekend of my birthday. Which was the same weekend I was catering dessert for a party. I dropped off the apples on a Thursday and was soon called to come and get them because something was wrong. The caramel, which is typically a solid surrounding of beautiful white, was bursting and gooey caramel was seeping from every possible crevice. It was not pretty. Right after the call I noticed one of my friends had left me a message telling me she was thinking about me and glad that caramel apples were over! I saw the message and the flood gates opened.
Over the next 48 hours we had a team of people who surrounded us and came to our rescue. We not only redid the apples on Thursday, but redid them on Friday and Saturday as well. Let me repeat, 400. My house looked like a caramel chocolate bomb exploded and that a crystal sugar salting truck had been called in to cover the floors in preparation for the storm. These people came to my rescue and worked beside us dipping, dunking, cutting, rolling, stirring, cleaning, tying, laughing and watching me cry every few hours. I still have no idea what happened over those hours and why that order went so wrong. But what I do know that happened is that we were given an outpouring of love unlike anything I have ever seen.
My favorite writer said, "True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and it happens when we drop down into the deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourselves. We have to give something up in order to get friendship like that. We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect. That's what friendship looks like to me. Friendship is acting out God's love for people in tangible ways. We were made to represent the love of God in each other's lives, so that each person we walk through life with has a more profound sense of God's love for them. Friendship is an opportunity to act on God's behalf in the lives of the people that we're close to, reminding each other who God is. When we do the hard, intimate work of friendship, we bring a little more of the divine into daily life. We get to remind one another about the bigger, more beautiful picture that we can't always see from where we are."
Last night the Salesman and I hosted the "apples of our eyes" for a dinner to love on them just a bit and say thank you in a tangible way since words will never seem quite adequate for what they did. We prepared a feast of some of our favorites and ate until the candles burned out, the pitchers were empty and the memories of that weekend were washed away with fresh thoughts. They laughed about that weekend and reminisced, still not sure if it was quite real because of how unreal it all seemed. We hope we brought a little more of the divine into their lives as they have to ours and we will forever be thankful to God for surrounding us on this earth by friends who represent his love every day.

This recipe is dedicated to baby Chick (who I hope is not named Tomato). I can't wait to hold you and share with you all of the events you missed while in your momma's belly.

Pomodoro Al Forno (modified from Bon Appetite) (Serves 1-6, Bakes 2.5 hours)

1, 24 oz can whole tomatoes, peeled
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, minced
1- Goat cheese log (4-6 oz)
1 French baguette, thinly sliced and toasted at 350 degrees until crispy (about 6 minutes)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Drain the tomatoes. Slice each tomato into 4 slices going from stem to stem. Pour 1/2 cup of the olive oil onto a cookie sheet. Lay each slice of tomato side by side on the pan. Sprinkle evenly with salt, sugar, pepper and Italian seasoning then drizzle remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil evenly. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and flip over each tomato. Return to the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, flip again, and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes until tomatoes have transformed into a deep red color and dried up a wee bit.
Allow the tomatoes to sit for about 30 minutes to cool.
To serve, place a layer of tomatoes into a serving bowl. Sprinkle some fresh garlic and parsley on top and repeat in layers until all of the tomatoes, garlic and parsley are gone. Drizzle the tomato oil over the tomatoes.
Serve with crusty bread slices slathered in goat cheese and topped with tomatoes.
(By the way, the tomatoes can be made up to two days in advance and chilled. Just allow them to get to room temp before serving and make sure they are covered tightly in your fridge as the garlic is strong)

Enjoy Ya'll!