I have a secret to tell you… Confession Town, population Me! Here it is…
I’m a very touchy person.
I like to feel things and touch stuff, even when there’s a blazing “do not touch” sign on right in front of me.
When I walk through a clothing store, I have to run my hands over all of the clothing. ALL of it.
I pet animals I probably have no business touching.
Same goes for people – if we hang out, chances are I’ll hug you when we meet, when we leave and possibly at some point in between.
There aren’t many foods I dislike the taste of (except maybe goat) but texture is a whole other matter – it often prevents me from eating many foods I really want to like – like headcheese, meringue and shaved coconut.
The worst is when I go to the Art Gallery of Ontario and I feel the need to run my fingers over the texture of the paintings. Apparently, you aren’t supposed to do that.
I’m a very touchy person.
But I’m also a very visual one too. Especially when it comes to food. Who isn’t, right? I think that’s how Louise of Lick The Spoon roped me into making my Secret Recipe Club (SRC) assignment this month. Her very quick, simple and low-cook recipe for Cajun Chicken with Mango & Avocado Salsa looked damn good for a Summer evening and while I usually try to avoid buying much imported produce, I just couldn’t help myself. And thank god I didn’t. It’s made the weekly meal plan and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon. Like Louise says, when you love something, it all comes down to priorities; you make time for it. My friends, I’m making time (albeit not much because it comes together super fast) for this.
There were a couple small changes I made to Louise’s recipe – namely, I marinated the chicken for a few hours in the “sauce” before cooking and as a result, I essentially doubled the ingredients. I also had to make a couple small substitutions because of what I had on hand. I also added a couple of bird’s eye chilis to the salsa to give it some kick and fresh basil instead of mint, because again, it’s what I had. Lastly, I modified the cooking method just a touch because I’m pretty sure I’ve perfected the art of cooking chicken breasts and I didn’t want to risk dry chicken. I only have one thing to say: It was friggin good.
2 Massive Handfuls of Fresh Arugula + 1 Tbsp Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil to Serve.
1 Ripe Mango.
1 Red Pepper, diced.
1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped.
Juice of 1 - 2 Limes.
Small Handful Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade.
Coarse Sea Salt & Tsp Ground White Pepper.
Make a small incision in the fattest part of the under-part of the breast but do not cut through entirely. This will help it cook evenly.Combine all the ingredients for the chicken in a shallow, flat glass bowl, except for the arugula. Roll the chicken in there, making sure all areas are well coated. Cover, place in the fridge and marinate 2 - 24 hours, turning the chicken occasionally.
When ready to cook, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F and place a cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the pan is good and hot, place the chicken, skin-side down in the center of the pan. Do not over-crowd it or you won't get a good sear! Get some really good color on there (about 5 minutes), flip when golden and cover the pan with tin foil. Careful! It will be hot! Place in the center of the oven for 8 minutes.Pull from the oven and place chicken on a wire rack. Cover with foil and let it rest for 5-7 minutes.
As the chicken cooks and rests, make the salsa. Dice the mango and avocado, discarding of skin and pits. Mix with the rest of the ingredients. Toss the arugula in a bowl with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Plate, followed by the chicken and arugula.
If you’re into really good food cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients, drinks with a little somethin’ somethin’ and enjoying what you put in your mouth, this book is for you.
Julia Child famously commented, "I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food . . . ” Kristy Gardner has taken this idea to the next level in Cooking with Cocktails. Every recipe is touched with alcohol; the result is a punchy visual adventure with roots in Italian and French cuisine that demands enjoying meals with passion, with friends, and with alcohol.
Join the celebration of the very best that life has to offer—good friends, good food, good drink and great stories —with humor, delicious and inventive
recipes, and mouth-watering photographs for each and every dish!
Hey, I'm Kristy. I'm a writer, photographer, actress, and general badass (who goes to bed at 8:30pm) in Vancouver, BC. I've written & photographed with Edible Communities, The Taste Canada Food Writing Awards, and CountryMan Press and have presented at The Food Blogger’s Online Summit. My book, Cooking With Cocktails, is avaiable at all major retailers! When I'm not online, I'm indulging in seasonal cocktails, carbs, bad ’80s films, hiking, camping, bourbon, and pigs.