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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 48

I hope you didn’t think I’d disappeared. My sore throat ended up morphing into laryngitis and a bad upper respiratory infection and we were out of town. I’m just now starting to feel normal again. To give you any indication of how bad I’ve been feeling, I haven’t worked out since Friday morning. Whatever was going on in my chest was not good and I needed to rest.

In slightly more interesting news, we did a five-course chef’s tasting dinner at Woodfire Grill on Friday night. For those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s Top Chef contestant Kevin Gillespie’s restaurant in Atlanta. I’m going to post a recap of that dinner tomorrow night and my experience meeting Kevin!

And now onto the food you see pictured above. I found this recipe for Chicken Hawaii while I was searching for older recipes to make for the 68 Days of Gourmet project. The recipe was originally published in 1953 and featured some of our favorite ingredients – coconut, curry, pineapple, chicken – it was a must try.

I was so excited about serving the coconut curry braised chicken with all of the fun toppings – lime wedges, pineapple, toasted coconut and chopped macadamia nuts. It smelled amazing while it was cooking but then kind of fell flat in the flavor department. I was so disappointed. There just wasn’t enough curry flavor and it was kind of bland. I was explaining the lackluster dish to my dad and he made a good point, the whole can of full fat coconut milk that I added to the curry mixture probably just washed out the flavor. And he made another funny point that in the 1950s people were really just starting to experiment with bold flavors and served a lot of bland dishes. Maybe this was pretty cutting edge in 1953!

So while I won’t be making this again, I still enjoyed cooking it and liked the idea of serving the dish with toppings so it can be customized to each diner’s taste.

One Year Ago: Lady Strawberry Cake (a show stopper!)

Chicken Hawaii
(Recipe source Gourmet, January 2006 – originally published in 1953)

Ingredients:

1 (3- to 3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
3 tablespoons peeled fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1 tablespoon curry powder (preferably Madras)
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
1 (13 1/2- to 15-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat)

Optional accompaniments for serving: rice, toasted coconut, fresh pineapple cubes, lime wedges, mango chutney,  chopped salted roasted cashews, macadamia nuts or peanuts, chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions:

Rinse, pat chicken dry and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Heat oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat. Brown chicken, turning occasionally, 8-10 minutes. You will probably need to do this in 2 batches. Transfer to plate and reserve fat in pot.

Add onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon sticks and bay leaf to fat in pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is browned, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder and flour and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring  constantly. Stir in sugar, coconut milk and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits from bottom of pot. Return chicken and any accumulated  juices to pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through. This should take around 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165 degrees. Discard cinnamon sticks and bay leaf. Season with salt to taste.

Serve chicken over rice with sauce from pot and toppings.

Yield: 4 servings

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fruitskewers

These fruit skewers are one of my favorite things to serve at showers, parties and lunches. They only take a few minutes to put together, look beautiful on the plate and are easy to pick up. I vary the fruit depending on what is looking good and in season. The dip incorporates cream cheese, vanilla yogurt and powdered sugar and has just the right balance of sweetness and tang.

Try these out next time you need to bring something to a shower or luncheon! They will be a hit!

Fruit Skewers with Vanilla Cream Cheese Dip
(A Bakin’ and Eggs Original)

Ingredients:

1 cantaloupe, diced
1 pint strawberries, cut in half
1 pineapple, diced
Bamboo skewers
1 block reduced fat cream cheese (8 ounces), softened
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
3/4-1 cup powdered sugar (adjust amount to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Place six pieces of fruit on each skewer, alternating fruits. Arrange on a platter.

Combine cream cheese, vanilla yogurt, powdered sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix on high speed with a hand mixer until combined and fluffy. Sample the dip and adjust ingredients to taste.

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