Isn’t life a wonderful thing?
I was recently given the opportunity to take over cooking for two clients for a personal chef who was moving on to full time work. Taking my “career” into this direction had never occurred to me. I was excited…and incredibly nervous.
I have no formal training, never worked in a professional kitchen, never took a weekend cooking class. I love to cook, I do it all the time, and some of the time I even turn out some pretty jammin’ food! But cooking for my friends and family and cooking for someone who’s paying you to do it is something completely different. And it’s easy to cook the way I like to cook, but having to accommodate and cook to fit the way someone else eats was, well…intimidating.
I have enough good recipes in my arsenal that I felt I could at least come out swinging. My carrot souffle went to the top of the list…healthy, creamy and practically a dessert, I knew that would be a huge hit (and I was right, by the way. The clients asked if I put “crack” in it ;)
aaaaaaannnd…enter this fabulous tandoori chicken dish! SO easy to make but SO delicious (and healthy)! It was my biggest hit yet and one that I’ll surely repeat many times over. It’s a Bobby Flay recipe, and although I typically change recipes a bit, this one needed no alterations…it’s perfect just as it is!
I’m now in the midst of week 4 of cooking, and I’m feeling pretty great! I’m enjoying it immensely – even more than I thought I would. It’s all the things I love to do – menu planning, cooking, and making people happy through food. I’m enjoying it so much that I’m actually on the lookout to take on another client or two! And I’ve been inspired to take part in a week-long boot camp at the Culinary Institute of America (coming this October, and you just know I’ll be blogging about it and sharing all the tricks they teach me)! It’s amazing the twists that life can take!
Tandoori Spiced Chicken Breast with Grilled Tomato Jam and Herbed Yogurt Sauce
recipe courtesy of the fabulous Mr. Bobby Flay
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground cayenne
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 (8-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 pita breads
- Tomato Jam, recipes follows
- Herbed Yogurt, recipe follows
Heat grill to medium-high (I just used my grill pan on the stove). Combine all spices and the oil in a medium bowl to make a paste. Rub a thin layer of the spice paste onto 1 side of each chicken breast (I piled it on…don’t be shy). Grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until slightly charred and just cooked through (took much longer for me). Remove from the grill, let rest 5 minutes, and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Serve openface on pitas: the chicken slices, a few dollops of Tomato Jam, and a drizzle of Herbed Yogurt.
Grilled Tomato Jam:
- 5 plum tomatoes
- 1 serrano chile
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for grilling
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 small Spanish onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Pinch saffron
Heat grill to high. Brush tomatoes and serrano with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill tomatoes and serrano on all sides until charred. Remove from the grill and coarsely chop.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan on the grates of the grill or on the side burners (or on the stovetop, like me). Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the tomatoes, serrano, balsamic vinegar, and saffron and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature before serving.
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth (I just finely minced my herbs). Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
Kristy’s tip: Use mini-pitas and make these as appetizers!