You know how I’m always talking about the little things in life and how they can just make things sweeter? Well, one of those little things for me is the Dinner Triumph.
We have a family of four and, for the most part, my kids are good eaters. We go to various ethnic restaurants with them and have never adhered to the “it’s a nice restaurant-we can’t go there with kids”. Yes, there has to be a certain degree of kid-friendliness, but we’ve never wanted to limit them to nuggets and fries (shiver) and steer away from having them explore the culinary world.
At our table, you don’t have to like something that is served, but you have to at least try it. One little bit, that’s all that’s being asked. It’s a strategy that has served us well, literally.
Last night we had a zany night. Activities for both kids and adults (all ending or beginning right around the dinner hour…arrrg), homework and the added bonus of Open House night at the elementary school, which I was attending. Dinner was being served at our house in the style of a diner’s rotating pie display…someone would come in the front door from an activity and…here’s dinner! You’re coming in from another activity? Here’s a plate for you! You’re leaving? Here’s yours! It really was quite ridiculous. Especially for us, as we aim to have dinner together as a family most nights of the week. Thankfully, that happens often, I’m happy to say.
I tried two new recipes and it killed me because they were a hit. Yes, it killed me because we all ate these new things on-the-fly instead of sitting in a relaxed state, enjoying and chatting about the day. We didn’t have the time to truly enjoy these new dishes! Then, of courses, there are the nights when we have time to spare and the meal flops. Well, you lose some and you win some-c’est la vie! One of these nights, we’ll put them both together!
Kids and adults loved the chicken. Adults loved the salad. Kids had other sides. They like the fennel and oranges, but I still can’t sell them on kalamata olives. Am working on that.
(and p.s.-I’m also working on setting up a page that lists ALL of the recipes on this blog, just for easier reference. My new bloggy challenge…wish me luck)
Coconut Chicken and Orange/Fennel/Olive Salad (chicken from Food and Wine magazine, Salad is from Yoga Journal magazine)
Note: Whole Foods market sells various types of unsweetened coconut
Another Note: I used much more than the 3 Tb. of shredded coconut, as I love the stuff. Use to your liking and I’d probably err on more, so it’s really coconutty.
2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 thin, chicken cutlets
3 cups panko
3 TB unsweetened shredded coconut
salt and pepper, to taste
canola oil, for pan
In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, coconut milk and garlic. Add the chicken and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4.
In a shallow bowl, combine the panko and shredded coconut. Season with salt and pepper. Drain the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Dip the cutlets into the panko mixture, pressing to help it adhere. REALLY press it. Put in fridge for 10 minutes.
Heat canola oil in pan until shimmering. Working in batches, fry chicken over moderately high heat, turning once, until crispy, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.
Orange, Fennel and Olive Salad (serves 4, slightly modified by me)
4 navel oranges
1 medium-sized fennel bulb
2 shallots, finely diced or cut into thin slices
kalamata olives to taste (the recipe only calls for 5 olives…are you kidding me? I love olives. Bring ’em on!)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice to taste
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
(Note: You will notice green in the salad photo, but no green in the recipe. I threw in finely chopped kale at the last minute. I had it around, it added good color and I’m a kale-hound)
Cut away the skin and rind from the oranges and remove the inner sections. Put in large salad bowl and make sure to put all the juice in, too. Remove the fennel bulbs’ green stalks. With a sharp knife, slice across each bulb as thinly as possible. Add the fennel slices to the bowl with the oranges, along with the shallots and the olives.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and mix gently.
Hope these are winners for you, too!