22 July 2011


It's been a particularly busy week of disparate activities.  Yet somehow, weeks like this one weave themselves together into a rich life -- one that I love.  That's why I'm jotting it down.  And so I won't forget the parts that make the whole.

A day of immunizations, a new tooth and walks in the neighborhood with an out-of-sorts baby.  A day of audiologists and new hearing aids.  A day of five baby poops. A day of working in the dirt at my p-patch, cutting a bouquet for my sister, watering the garden, picking raspberries. Laundry. Breakfast with Byron. An afternoon devoted to working on a project I had committed to. An evening and then a morning of meetings for worthy organizations. A visit to my former workplace to stay connected to former colleagues and friends.  Laundry. Going to the dentist. A day of sitting without falling over and lots of belly laughs and baby kisses. One glorious two and a half hour morning nap, for both of us.  Bills paid.  A gray and rainy day, or two. News that a far away friend had a baby.  Baths and groceries and loading and unloading the dishwasher. A seven-hour stretch of sleep. Sunny walks around Green Lake and 17 turtles and a heron. Friday lunch with a good friend and a social hour with other moms who are learning to use sign language with their babies.  BLTs and corn on the cob.

19 July 2011

Tandoori Chicken for the home grill

It is allegedly summer here.  This means we grill dinner on nights it doesn't rain or isn't too cold, as opposed to the rest of the year when we don't grill at all because it's always raining. (Okay, I'm officially bitter about the weather.)

Tonight it is too chilly and wet to grill (big surprise?) so I've decided to post about what I would grill if the weather was behaving like summer.  It would be Tandoori Chicken.  This chicken preparation is one of two ways I know to serve chicken (What can I say, I was raised vegetarian.)  Here's the other.

My friend Jill, who is -- among her many outstanding qualities -- a terrific day-to-day cook (how could she not be . . . she learned how to cook eggs from Julia Child herself!) wrote it out for me, and I think she adapted it from a Fine Cooking recipe. In any case, it's easy and reliable.  It works on real or veggie chicken. I usually make some of both and marinate them separately, of course.  It's best made a day ahead so the chicken can sit in the marinade for 24 hours.  But I've made it only a couple hours before grilling, and that works fine too.  I like to serve it with basmatti rice and a salad or two: a chickpea salad of garbanzos, red onion, and celery with a zippy champagne vinaigrette and/or  a salad of cucumber, sweet onion, and tomato with a yogurt lime dressing.

Tandoori Chicken for the home grill
from my friend Jill, just as she wrote it out for me

Two changes:  I add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the marinade, and I increase the yogurt to a generous 1/2 cup.

Comments:  The recipe works best when you use no more than four medium chicken breasts. I usually use fresh ginger, but dry ginger works too. Crush or chop the garlic, whatever you want.  And usually I use smoked paprika.

Directions:  I mix together the marinade then pour it into a large Ziplock-type bag. After cleaning and patting the chicken breasts dry, slit them in several places on both sides.  Then drop them into the bag.  Seal the bag and smoosh everything around so all the chicken becomes well coated with the marinade. Refrigerate until grill time.

To grill: Preheat the grill.   Oil the grate immediately before taking the chicken from the bag and placing directly on the hot grill. Discard the marinade.  Leave the chicken undisturbed until it gets some good grill marks.  Flip it over and baste with butter or ghee, and let that side get good grill marks.  Flip it again, baste with butter.  Flip again, baste and grill.  Each side gets grilled twice.  Grill it until the chicken is cooked through or reaches the official cooked temperature (can't remember what that is).

To serve:  Remove it from the grill and slice each breast into one-inch pieces.  Arrange the chicken on a platter atop thinly sliced onion in rings and roughly chopped cilantro.  Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Serves 4-6.

One night in June when it was warm enough to grill in Seattle.