It’s been a very long time since I’ve written anything, but I think about writing almost daily, certainly weekly. Unfortunately our family has been in a very stressful transition, though, and I felt somehow that writing during that time would betray personal information that belonged to my family. My husband returned from a year-long deployment, after which we moved across the world from Hawaii to Pennsylvania, with two months spent living with my in-laws. At long last I have been in my own home now for three weeks. As soon as I could, I began cooking again! Even when I was at my husband’s parent’s house I subscribed to a CSA, so the vegetables were inspiring me, making it impossible to put off nourishing my family any longer.
In fact, nothing has made me feel more like I am contributing to the healing of my bruised family than to prepare home-cooked meals. Also, they’ve been pretty fantastic.
Tonight we enjoyed tacos. I had frozen chicken and quinoa, some avocados and corn tortillas, so I got to cooking! The recipe for the quinoa is from Barrister Bites, and I adapted it based on my pantry (which, by the way, is a *walk-in* pantry in my new home! Heaven.).
I grabbed two chicken breasts out of the freezer and wrapped them in foil (with some olive-oil, oregano, salt & pepper), then put them in the oven at 375 until cooked through (took a good hour and a half).
In a large, heavy, skillet I heated 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa and cooked it over medium heat — stirring constantly — for about a minute, before adding two cups chicken broth, a large clove of garlic (chopped), and some home-made taco seasoning:
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
I let this simmer for about thirty minutes, and added about another cup and a half of broth as the liquid cooked down.
While the quinoa “popped” I started on my guacamole. Excellent guac is quite simple.
- 2 ripe avocados (just don’t bother if they’re hard)
- a handful of cilantro, chopped (maybe a quarter of a cup?)
- a small onion — or a quarter of a large one — chopped
- half of a jalapeno, seeded and diced (mince it if you don’t want to bite a piece of it)
- the juice of half a lime
- a pinch of salt
Smash the avocado a little with a potato masher, then add all the chopped veggies. I use a pastry scraper to scoop all my chopped items into the bowl. I think I learned that from Bobby Flay or some one he threw down with… The lime and salt are added last, but always remember to taste your food while you prepare it. My limes are different from yours, you know.
After you u squeeze the juice from the lime, put the peel in the freezer and use later to refresh your garbage disposal from all the pepper and onion remnants!
I put the seeds of the avocado into the guacamole because I heard it helps keep it from turning brown. I am not a chemist, but I still do it, and I will say my guac was still table ready an hour later when I served it, so maybe there’s some truth to it.
So I zested a lime and added it’s juice to the quinoa, then shredded the chicken, served with some canned black-beans (seasoned with garlic, cumin, oregano and black pepper), and whatever other toppings I had for tacos. The clincher for tonight’s meal, though, was adobo sauce. I had a can of chipotle peppers in adobo from last week, but had used all the peppers in a steak marinade. The sauce remained, though, and is amazingly tasty. If you don’t have it, though, I recommend Tabasco sauce in the chipotle flavor.
I ate six tacos.
My husband proudly prepared a bowl of the stuff to put in his lunch tomorrow, and we went to bed feeling fat and happy.