This week has been my favorite kind of weather. Cool, but not cold, a little rainy, some days were absolutely beautiful. Those were the perfect days to go to a movies in the park, walk the beach or take a bike ride. Of course I didn’t do any of those things. Instead, I spent a lot of time indoors, watching Orange is the New Black, reading The Book Thief and hanging inside with friends.
One of those nights, Erika came over and we made another set of dinners. Erika choose Anne Burrell’s garlic chicken with israeli couscous from the Food Network, and I made roasted summer vegetable mac and cheese, another How Sweet It Is recipe. This time we both had the afternoon off, so we were able to start cooking around 4pm rather than our usually 8pm, which makes for a much better night. When you’re constantly fighting over the stove and creating mounds and mounds of dishes, dinner duels can take up to three hours before anything is ready, which is fun … but waking up for work the next morning is not easy.
To get a head start, I began chopping up the vegetables before Erika came. I mixed ’em up with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and started roasting them. E arrived just before I put them in the oven, so she threw in some garlic she needed roasted.
My veggies were much more finely cut than I think was needed, but they didn’t get mushy, so I guess it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that they look pretty, right?
Once E had everything prepped for her dish, we needed to wait for the chicken to marinate for an hour. I started grating the cheese, which was no fun, so I made E help me. This recipe called for 8 oz of white cheddar, 8 oz of havarti and 2 oz of parmesan. Grating soft cheese stinks! I ended up putting the cheddar and havarti in the freezer for a while. It didn’t help much, but that might be because I only left it in there for two minutes. I can be a tad impatient.
We cooked both dishes at the same time without changing the oven temp or time, but everything came out hot and cooked. So, I guess learning how to adjust time and temp is a skill I can avoid learning for another day.
This is silly, but my favorite part of this dinner? Erika’s recipe called for saffron, which my aunt and cousin gave me for my birthday (eight months ago). I haven’t had a reason to use it before now. It just sits there, mocking me with it’s distinctive flavor, challenging me to use it. I was finally able to tell my cousin I opened it! Though, I couldn’t taste it in the dish. Too many other flavors?
Both dishes were yummy. I think they were both soupier than either of us anticipated, but still good. We were done, fed, dishes cleaned and leftovers packed up by 8:30. Super success!