I’m leaving Southampton to go back to Ohio for Spring Break at the end of this week, which means that I need to try to use up as much of the perishable produce etc. in my fridge. With that in mind, I started browsing some recipes this morning but nothing was really catching my eye. So, I figured, since I’m three-eighths into my Master’s of Fine Arts and I’m working on poetic food porn as my MFA thesis, and I recently got my first assignment as a writer for Edible East End, I could just make it up as I go. From the start, I knew that the recipe would have a Mediterranean feel to it, because I had Greek yoghurt and fresh mint to spare from a recipe in Isabel Allende’s Aphrodite, a cookbook of aphrodisiac recipes that I’d planned on making last week but didn’t. For a good marinade, you need some sort of acidic substance (vinegar, wine, lemon juice) and the rest depends on your actual recipe. I, however, had no recipe. So I started out making a yoghurt marinade I often use for salmon (yoghurt, lime juice, pepper) but decided that I’d go out on a limb and Greek things up a little. (Because I’ve been away from Greek things for too long, after Honeyvoiced.) I had chicken breasts on hand, so I used those, but I think it would be equally as good with lamb or beef. I plated the chicken with lemon cous cous and drank sweet mint tea with the meal.
I tried taking a picture but my phone wasn’t cooperating and I was hungry, so I’ll snap one next time I make this.
Oh, and also, I didn’t measure a lot of things, so these are reconstructions (which I hope sounds more refined than guesstimates)
1 1/4 cup greek yoghurt
lemon juice, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
a pinch cumin seeds
half a tablespoon crushed red pepper
a teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of dried basil
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into bite-sized pieces.
preheat the oven to 425º
mix all the ingredients for the marinade together in an oven-safe container and toss in the chicken. Top with mint leaves and let sit for an hour.
I set the oven timer for an hour and made cous cous in my rice cooker, using the usual proportions for rice. 1 part cous cous : 1 and a half parts water because if there’s something you can’t make in a rice cooker, I’m not sure it’s worth making. I flirted with using chicken broth instead of water, but then realized it’d be better not to in this case because I didn’t want to overpower the actual chicken. A pinch of sea salt, and the juice of the half-lemon I had left over later, and I put the lid on, and flicked the switch. When the hour was up, I slid the chicken (covered with foil) into the oven, set the oven timer for 25 minutes and went back to my living room to read while pretending that I could see the Temple of Apollo from my window and not 8 inches of snow.