It has become a tradition at my house that every Friday night a group of our friends gather around our table to eat whatever dish I am making for this article. It just evolved into this. It was never planned.
Every Thursday, I start getting the calls, "what are you doing tomorrow night?" I tell whoever is on the other end of the line that we are staying home and cooking my meal for the food column. Of course, I invite everyone I speak to over to eat with us. I feel truly blessed to have so many people to share all of this food with. My friends are so appreciative of every meal. At this point, they don't even bother to ask what I am making. They are open to whatever I put in front of them.
I always feel completely satisfied by the wee hours of Friday night when people are leaving with full bellies and the sweetest compliments. I am so lucky to have such amazing friends who offer me instant feedback on my dishes. It would be sad to love food so much and to have no one to share it with. These Friday evenings get my weekend started on the right track.
Chicken Satay, with Thai Peanut Sauce
This past year, a few of my friends, as well as my own family, have had a difficult year financially. A lot of people I know have struggled to get food on their tables. Somehow, we have managed to feed ourselves pretty well through all of it. I try to remember this every time I eat. I never let food cross my lips without feeling gratitude.
A while back, I thought about the people who have not been as fortunate as we have. Some people have not managed to get food on their tables each day. So, about a month ago, I applied to volunteer at a rescue mission. My absolute favorite thing to do is to cook food and to serve it to people. So, what better place for me to be than in a soup kitchen? I believe everyone should find something they love to do and help others while doing it. You won't believe the joy it brings into your life.
I have met some amazing people working at the mission. They don't have me cooking in the kitchen yet. I am the "salt and pepper lady" right now; but, I am hoping to work my way up soon and to get cooking for many more people.
Time: 25 minutes
1 C. plain Greek yogurt (you can use regular yogurt if you can't find Greek)
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ginger, grated
1 tsp. garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 lb. chicken thighs
12 skewers (soak the skewers in water for an hour ahead of time)
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 head butter lettuce
In a shallow bowl, combine the yogurt, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and curry powder. Mix well. Cut the chicken thighs into strips. Mix the chicken strips into the yogurt marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour. You can do this the day before and let it marinade over night. Take them out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you are ready to serve them. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Thread the chicken onto skewers. Coat the grill with canola oil. Heat the grill on high heat. When it is very hot, set the chicken on the grill. Cook about four minutes each side to get nice grill marks on the chicken. Set each skewer of chicken in an oven safe dish and cook in the oven for another ten minutes. Set them on a nice platter or plate on a bed of butter lettuce. Set the peanut sauce in the center (recipe follows)
Thai Peanut Sauce:
1 C. creamy peanut butter
C. soy sauce
2 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce (a tiny bit more to drizzle on top)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Juice of two lemons
1 C. hot water
1 tsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
In a food processor, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, Srircha, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Blend well. Slowly add in the hot water to thin it out to desired consistency. Scoop into a small bowl. Place into the center of the platter. Top with fresh cilantro and drizzle a little Srirachi sauce on top to make it pretty.
For now, I will keep practicing the cooking at home with my friends. This week, the usual suspects gathered around my kitchen and I made chicken satay as an appetizer. I had never made these before. However, I love satays and we have ordered them several times in Thai restaurants. So, I figured I should give it a shot. Claud and I are huge fans of Thai cuisine. I especially love the really spicy dishes. The ones that make me sweat while I am eating them. It hurts so good.
Don't worry, this dish is mild. I looked at several different recipes before combining the ingredients into what I thought would be the best. I marinated the chicken on Thursday night, which took only about five minutes to do. I decided to go with a yogurt marinade because I keep reading about recipes which marinade chicken in yogurt. It sounds weird to marinade chicken in yogurt. I had to try it. It turned out so moist and flavorful. It doesn't taste like yogurt in the end.
I grilled the satays for about ten minutes and placed them in the oven while I whipped up the Thai peanut sauce. This is a very simple dish to prepare. However, your guests won't know that because it looks very pretty and tastes even better.
I felt gratitude for having so much food to share with my friends and took a bite of the satay. It tasted amazing. Within minutes of setting them out for all to enjoy, there wasn't a single skewer of chicken left.