Our Week of Vegetables ended abruptly with a phone call from S’s brother Friday morning, summoning us to south Jersey for a family emergency. It appears that everything’s going to be all right, but after a tense drive down in summer Friday traffic and a few hours spent with family, we weren’t exactly picky about our dinner that night. And last night we wolfed down some prepared food at Whole Foods before hitting the road to come home—my rotisserie chicken and steamed vegetables was healthy, but it wasn’t meat-free. I really enjoyed our vegetables-only experiment, and I was pretty sure I’d dropped a few pounds (I missed my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday, so I won’t find out for another week), but now that the spell is broken I decided to go ahead and cook up a little chicken tonight. Who could it hurt? It’s still entirely virtuous (though you’d never know it if I didn’t point it out), and the menu I concocted makes the most of New Jersey’s famed produce: corn, peaches, and tomatoes.
Since I had an open can of chipotles in adobo, I decided to give things a vaguely southwestern bent. I don’t cook this kind of food very often—mostly because the idea of eating cilantro makes me gag, and nearly every southwestern recipe calls for it in some measure—so I made it up as I went along. Authentic it’s not, but it is tasty: Grilled Chipotle-Lime-Tequila Chicken, served with Corn-Peach-Pappadew Salsa and Not-Fried Green Tomatoes.
Quite the hyphenated dinner, no? Whatever the punctuation, it was a lovely, fresh-as-can-be summer supper, and a memorable way to reintroduce animal protein to my kitchen—and that salsa was so good that after tasting it for seasoning, I had to force myself to put down the spoon and walk away; otherwise there would’ve been none left for dinner!
Recipes for all three dishes after the jump…
Grilled Chipotle-Lime-Tequila Chicken
Serves 3-6, depending on how hungry you are
½ cup fresh lime juice
2 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotles in adobo, seeded [if you like it extra-spicy, leave in some seeds]
1 T. adobo sauce from the can
1 shot tequila
1 t. honey
2 T. olive oil
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves [I use kosher, hence the lack of salt in the recipe—if you don’t, you’ll want to sprinkle the chicken with salt at some point]
Put all the marinade ingredients except the oil in the bowl of your food processor and whir them around. With the machine running, drizzle the oil through the feeder tube. The mixture will be a disturbing shade of orange. Taste the marinade—if it’s too hot for your taste, add a little more oil. Pour over the chicken in a non-reactive bowl or a Ziploc bag. Refrigerate for at least ½ hour and up to several hours (it gets spicier the longer you leave it).
When the time comes, drain the chicken and broil it, grill it, or cook it in your George Foreman grill.
Kernels from 2 ears extremely fresh corn (if it’s not perfectly fresh, you’ll have to cook the corn first, then cool it)
1 ripe peach, peeled and diced fine
½ small red onion, diced fine
10 pappadew peppers, diced fine [I used pappadews because the chicken it’s going with is quite spicy—if you want a spicy salsa, too, substitute one small jalapeno, minced]
Juice of ½ lime
8 mint leaves, chopped
Fleur de sel
Combine all ingredients except fleur de sel in a bowl and stir. Refrigerate for ½ hour or more to let the flavors meld. Just before serving, sprinkle with fleur de sel.
This salsa should probably have some cilantro in it, so if you’re crazy enough to like that dirty-dish-water-tasting weed, go right ahead and swap it for the mint.
Not-Fried Green Tomatoes
From Cooking Light
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
¼ t. salt
¼ t. black pepper
Dash of sugar
16 (½-inch-thick) slices green tomatoes (about 3 green tomatoes)
1/3 cup fat-free milk
Preheat oven to 400°.
To prepare the green tomatoes, combine flour and next 4 ingredients (flour through sugar) in a shallow dish. Dip tomato slices in milk; dredge in flour mixture. Lightly coat both sides of tomato slices with cooking spray.
Place a baking sheet in oven; heat at 400° for 5 minutes. Remove from oven; immediately coat with cooking spray. Place tomato slices on preheated baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes.