Oh dear Lord, it feels good to be back. I cooked like a fiend this weekend, and I now have a fridge full of tasty leftovers and a large quantity of wine that was somehow overlooked at this weekend's dinner party. (Maybe it was all the cosmopolitans and mojitos that Mr. Luz was mixing?)
Speaking of fiending, I've picked up a new and terrible addiction to Indian food, which I attribute to all the take-out that we ate during the move. It's terrible because it's July, and as much as I love spicy, stewed meats, they just aren't ideal in the stifling heat.
So in order to get my weekly fix of garlic/ginger/yogurt/cinnamon/cardamom/ect., I decided to add some decidedly summer elements to my traditional tandoori chicken recipe and brighten it up. I grilled some marinated chicken on my Weber charcoal grill, and then added a spicy, bright mint chutney that was wonderfully summery. I also made some curry-rubbed grilled cauliflower as an experiment, and it was very tasty. I normally don't like cauliflower, but I thought I'd give it another chance. (Pimentos, don't get any ideas. I'll always hate you.) The grilling kept the cauliflower crispy, but sweetened it and brought out some of the subtle earthy flavors in the fibrous vegetable. The curry powder also enhanced the cauliflower's earthy flavor, and gave it a pretty caramel/yellow color at the same time.
NOTE: To make this recipe, I bought organic bone-in chicken pieces, and against my better judgment I cut slits in the meat so the marinade could sink in. Then I cried as all the juices ran out of my chicken as it cooked. Next time I'll either get use small chicken breasts (I don't think the marinade absorbed into the dark meat as well) or I'll reserve some of the yogurt mixture, and baste the chicken with it as it cooks.
2-4 lbs. chicken
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 Tbs. peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbs. finely chopped garlic
2 tsp. coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
3 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne
Remove the skin from chicken and place the chicken in a non-reactive bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the chicken and mix well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. (If you plan to baste the chicken, mix the marinate in a separate bowl and reserve a small portion of it before adding the rest to the chicken.)
To cook, place the chicken over direct, medium-high heat and cover. Turn the chicken after the meat has browned and until the meat is cooked through. (Baste the cooked parts with marinade, turning and covering one more time to caramelize the marinade before serving). Remove from heat, and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.
1 1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 chile, chopped (choose for spice--poblano or jalapeno for alot of heat, anaheim if you prefer a mild chutney)
1/4 coarse chopped onion
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 tsp. white or rice vinegar
3 Tbs. plain yogurt
Add all the ingredients to a blender, and puree. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, and serve on top or on the side of the tandoori chicken
Grilled Curry-spiced Cauliflower
2 large heads cauliflower (for 6-8 servings)
4 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. curry powder
Salt, Pepper to taste
Remove the leaves and 2 inches of stem on the cauliflower. Rub florets with 3 Tbs. oil. Cut into wedges, keeping the main stem intact but so that each serving has two flat sides that will sit on the grill. Rub cut stems with remaining 1 Tbs. of olive oil. Sprinkle curry powder on florets.
Place on the grill over indirect, medium high-heat and cover. After 5 minutes, turn to put the other cut side on the grill. The cauliflower is done when it is flexible but not too soft, and golden brown.