Friday, September 4, 2009

Perfect for Everyday: Gingersnap Chicken and Vegetable Coucous

Easing out of decadence – Day 2. Savor the Moment is making it surprisingly easy! I never realized just how many great everyday recipes there were in this Cookbook. I mostly thought of it for special occasions like our annual Junior League Dinner Club or for great appetizer recipes. That is probably the biggest realization so far for me. And the everyday recipes are not only pretty quick and easy to make but they are also full of fresh fruits and veggies and, most importantly, flavor. Tonight is no exception with Gingersnap Chicken and Vegetable Couscous on the menu. When I first saw “Gingersnap” Chicken I thought it involved actual gingersnaps but don’t let the name fool you: it’s got “ginger” in it & it’s a “snap” to make! It also worked out nicely because I had some of the ingredients leftover from the previous meal – look at me "maximizing" my resources. Despite my carnivore status the Vegetable Coucous sounded really good tonight (and it used chicken stock!). I love the flavors of cumin, coriander and cayenne with the red pepper, plum tomatoes and dried currants. In keeping with the lighter fare I chose a Sauvignon Blanc to complement the meal. Chateau Ste. Michelle produces some great everyday wines from Columbia Valley in Washington state. This particular one is a light, white wine with flavors of citrus and pear and a nice minerality. Their wines are readily available at most grocery/retail stores and sell for around $10-14 – a great value. The Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling would also be a nice choice. A wine with some sweetness to it, like the Riesling, generally pairs well with Asian cuisine or food with a little spice to it.

The Dish:
Gingersnap Chicken (pg. 171)
Vegetable Coucous (pg. 226)

The Drink:
2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, WA

The only ingredient I had any trouble finding were the dried currants – you should have seen the reaction at Publix when I innocently inquired “where are the dried currants?” You would have though I was from Mars - anyway – instead I used dried cranberries and I am sure raisins would be great to. Anything that will give you that little burst of sweetness. The Gingersnap Chicken was just fantastic and had a nice spiciness to it. It’s one of those recipes that gives you a lot of "wow" for your effort – this dish will definitely be going into my everyday rotation. You could make it tonight if you don’t already have plans! The Vegetable Couscous was also great but was much more subtle in flavor. The Sauvignon Blanc is such an easygoing wine it went nicely with both dishes but I preferred it with the Chicken. The dishes also made a very nice presentation with the colors and textures involved. And, although I thoroughly enjoyed both of these dishes and they looked great together, I don’t think I would pair them together in the future – the flavors are just a little too diverse. The chicken would probably be better complemented by the Fragrant Oriental Rice (pg. 230) – I greatly look forward to trying that sometime soon.
I look forward to seeing most of you tonight at the Copper Canyon Grill Opening in Boca Raton. The restaurant is a hosting a pre-opening dinner with 100% of the proceeds going to the Junior League of Boca Raton. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at http://www.jlbr.org/. The restaurant officially opens Sept. 7th – see you there and have a great & safe Labor Day weekend!

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