When You Just Need to Eat Something Delicious
Some super tasty favorites
Nick and Holden and I arrived on Cape Cod a couple weeks ago; Mark arrived a week after that and immediately, thankfully, took over the cooking duties. I’m in a fuss — as our friends Brad and Caroline say — some days more than others, with the constant flow of worldly bad news. The struggle has abated somewhat since I quit the news altogether (and since we’ve parked ourselves in such a gorgeous place), something that’s really not in my nature but has been good for me.
My point here is that cooking, something that I normally look forward to and enjoy, has felt somewhat arduous. Actually, I guess it’s not so much the cooking, but the brain power figuring out what to make requires — I’m not good at not overthinking it (or anything, in general!).
Putting aside any restrictions — you’re vegetarian, or vegan, or don’t eat dairy, or ONLY eat dairy — I think we can agree that we all share a common goal: to eat things that taste really good and aren’t totally horrible for you. So I’m sharing with you a few things that fit that bill for me — and hope that you can find at least one here that also fits the bill for you.
When Mark got here, I talked to him about my existential dread, and he quoted the philosopher Max Roser (a quote that’s also in Animal, Vegetable, Junk): “Three things are true at the same time. The world is much better; the world is awful, and the world can be much better.”
That did cheer me up. Sometimes, a quote from someone much smarter than me — especially when delivered by a much-loved parent — helps me to wrap my head around things a bit.
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes
Cooks in Spain, the Caribbean, and some South American countries have this excellent technique of marinating food after cooking. I discovered escabeche just a few years ago, and I’m so sad I didn’t know about it sooner — it is the ultimate gift for your taste buds. If you’re not in a huge hurry, hold off on the garnish and refrigerate this Chicken Escabeche for as little as 1 hour or up to 24 hours, but even 10 minutes of marinating in the tangy, slightly hot dressing will be noticeable.
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ½ pounds)
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 large red onion, halved and sliced
Juice from 1 orange
1 cup cider vinegar
1 jalapeño, seeded if you like less heat and chopped, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
1. Heat a grill over moderate heat or turn on the broiler and position the rack 4 inches below the heat source. Halve the chicken breasts horizontally to make 2 thin cutlets each. Flatten each by pressing with your hand.
2. Rub the cutlets with 2 tablespoons oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill or broil until they begin to firm and turn golden, 2 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook the other side until the center is white or only slightly pink, another 2 to 5 minutes. (The chicken might cook through before it starts to color; be careful not to let it overcook.) Transfer to a cutting board to rest.
3. Put the remaining 4 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the orange juice, vinegar, jalapeño, and 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Slice the chicken and transfer it to a shallow serving bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the chicken. Let it marinate for as long as you can, then serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with cilantro.
— Recipe from Dinner for Everyone