ast week, recently inspired by my new issues of Bon Appetit sent by my mother, I picked several recipes that excited me and set forth on preparing a massive meal. It wasn't massive in the sense that it was a lot of food, but rather it was several-day undertaking. Not to mention the fact that if I'm going to make a feast, I make a feast. We're talking everything from a specialty cocktail to a special dessert.
As soon as I saw the photo of the Chicken-Apricot Skewers in my August issue, I knew I had my starting point. My mouth was salivating already. Not wanting to add a heavy starch 'just to do it', I decided to couple it with one of my favorites from Real Simple: Corn Salad with Feta and Walnuts (with a little coriander added to tie it all together). Tie in more stone fruit with fresh Bellinis and finish it off with the impressive-looking Mile-High Chocolate Pie - and I knew I had my work cut out for me.
I decided to really make the most of this cooking experience by heading to the Wednesday farmer's market in town for all the fresh produce, not to mention a beautiful bunch of flowers to add to the presentation. Sure, it's more expensive, but the local-sourcing and higher quality speak for itself. Gorgeous peaches, apricots and corn so sweet and delicious, I cut it straight off the cob and just used it raw for the salad. Although per my recent discovery, I stopped at the Turkish market for my coriander, where an enormous bunch is fresh, beautiful and half the price for twice the amount. I don't know what took me so long to figure this out, but I'm so glad I did (if only they didn't close so much earlier than the regular groceries...).
I started with making the marinade and letting the chicken soak in it overnight. The combination of flavors in this sauce - coconut milk, peanut butter, coriander - was so delicious, yet so easy (dump it all in a blender and boom, you're done), I'm plotting other ways in which I can use it. While the chicken prep was easy, as was the corn salad, the pie was another story. With so many layers - crust, chocolate cream, cream-cream, chocolate shavings and crushed cookie - it definitely took some time, not to mention six different bowls and careful stirring techniques. I found The Bon Appetit trick for peeling peaches (see: Bellini recipe) was a little time consuming too, but worked like a charm!
After making and enjoying said feast, I definitely have a few adjustments. First, the chicken skewers are really best done on a legit grill, rather than our lame grill pan. The marinade kept seeping into the bottom of the pan and just burning to a crisp before the chicken was even barely cooked (note to friends with a grill: I might be bribing you with an offer of dinner sometime soon to use your grill and try this again!). Took some finagling, but we managed to work it out and result was still amazing. The pie, which also still turned out unbelievably good, really needed a heftier chocolate cookie than the Schokoladen Törtchen I was able to find. Next time around, I might even scrape the cream out from Oreos and use those cookies to give it a better crunch. All in all though, the meal was far from a lost cause.
Until the next issue, Bon Appetit....
Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische