Make Turkey Kale Meatballs! (and other Good Ideas)


Here we go with my favorite spiritual teacher again. (Richard Rohr, of course. I'm trying to figure out where I can buy a large poster of him and maybe get him to autograph it. He would be horrified since that goes against everything he's trying to teach. Sigh.)

But today I read, "Mystics [or lovers] do not love concepts. They love the concrete and the particular." For me, I immediately think of how settled, how grounded I feel in the kitchen. Yesterday, after a frustrating day of doing lots of work without much to show for it (Why does sitting the computer feel that way? I do not love coordinating sometimes.), I put on my apron at 5:30 and immediately felt better. I was going to produce something! There would be something to show for my 60 minutes of work! And it would make me and my family full and happy.

Yancey got some incredible organic meat from his co-worker and ground turkey was part of our package. I asked him to get more since I can think of about one zillion uses for it--meatloaf (drool), spaghetti sauce, burgers, taco salad (drool squared), breakfast sausage patties. It might not be sexy, but it's deliciously lean protein, especially these turkeys who were loved all their waddling little lives. 

But it was meatballs last night, this time dropped into a simple tomato sauce, served over linguine with chives from the garden and some Asiago on top. The kids have stalwartly put up with a lot of salads lately (LOVE that), so I enjoyed hearing Wyatt slurp and moan. The concrete and particular.

Here's a few other things that I do or have seen others do lately that help with this business of loving the concrete and particular:

  • I keep a tea tray ready all the time for myself or guests--teapot, tin of loose tea, sugar, small pitcher, spoon, and spoon rest. I love the ease of making myself tea when I'm overwhelmed or feeling low or being able to bring a tray out to someone sitting in my kitchen.
  • Turning phones off when going to the park with kids, being with friends, or exercising outside. Increasingly, we are so busy documenting that we're not living and noticing anymore. I recently read about Digital Burnout and how folks are now going to retreats to detox and come back to their lives.
  • I have a "gift stash" in my office, a shelf that's full of little things that most people (especially women) would like--candles, soap, chocolate, vases for flowers. I pick these things up while I'm doing other things (shopping for toiletries at Target or browsing Goodwill) and look for chances to give them away with a little card telling folks that I love or appreciate them. 
  • My friend Molly declared August "Corn Dog Month." She's got 4 boys (four!) and was tired of all the cooking and snack prep she was doing this summer and wanted to give everyone a break. She bought some huge bags of prepared food--burritos, mini corn dogs, pizza pockets--and didn't cook all month. Her kids now think she is Christ Jesus, they had a lot of fun, and she's already planning on doing it next August. (Do you see why Molly is one of my favorite people?)
  • Sending mail. Real mail. Emily and I both have boxes full of the things we've sent one another over the last dozen years. Boxes, plural. Someday we'll make a beautiful book, I hope. When I open my mailbox and see Emily's writing on an envelope, it almost doesn't matter what else has happened that day.

Happy Meatball-Making, friends! Put on that apron! (And if you don't have an apron you love? You've got to fix that.)

Turkey Kale Meatballs
You can put these in tomato sauce or do so many other things with them, and they'll freeze beautifully or keep in the fridge for a few days. Put them in pita pockets with veggies and a yogurt sauce, slice and fry them up with eggs in the morning, break them up and put them in burritos or on top of nachos, use them atop a salad with feta, pita chips, cucumbers, and tomatoes. 

2 lbs. ground turkey
2 Tb. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch kale, washed and finely chopped
1/4 lb. mushrooms, washed and finely chopped 
handful chopped fresh herbs--parsley, basil, oregano, thyme or just parsley if that's what you have
1/4 c. grated parmesan
1/2 c. bread crumbs (I just keep a bag of them in the freezer for things like this)
1 egg, slightly beaten
lots of salt and pepper

Heat oven to 425 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Heat 1 Tb. of the olive oil in a large skillet or wok. When shimmering, add garlic, kale, and mushrooms. Saute with a little salt until it's wilted down to practically nothing and all the water has evaporated. Set aside to cool a bit.

Dump the ground turkey into a large bowl. Add herbs, bread crumbs, eggs, salt, pepper, parmesan, and cooled veggies and mix with your hands very, very gently.

Form small balls (about 2 Tb.) and space out on the two cookies sheets. Drizzle with remaining 1 Tb. of olive oil and bake in the oven for about 12 minutes, until they're golden and cooked through.

Pulled Pork for a Crowd


Last night we had a family party for Wyatt and my Mom. Wyatt is turning 11 and my Mom is turning another number.

I can't believe my chubby baby is eleven. I pulled out a bunch of old photos for family to look through. I sat down with them and wondered, "Did I enjoy those moments? Did I recognize how damn CUTE he was?" There's a parenting book that's been getting a lot of play lately called All Joy and No Fun. Isn't that the truth? You know when you're putting your child to bed that these will be among the most precious moments of your whole life. But you want to speed it up so you can have a nightcap and watch TV!

I've enjoyed my children more and more as they get older. Wyatt got me laughing so hard recently that I couldn't breathe. We have inside jokes and he introduces me to new music. He writes poems and stories that blow me away. And he leaves his dirty socks everywhere, which is a small price to pay.


So if he wants meat (lots of meat), so be it. My default is to buy pork shoulder at Costco or Cash and Carry. It usually comes in a two pack, or about 15 pounds. A slow-cooker won't hold it all, so I put it in a giant roasting pan, cover it with foil, and cook it at 250 for at least 8 hours (overnight). It's like a miracle when you open the oven in the morning. Hopefully your dog will not whine all night, insane with the smell.

One of the few foods I actually don't like is sweet, thick BBQ sauce. I prefer the thin, vinagery stuff. Pile this tangy pork on a grilled or toasted bun with coleslaw or cabbage. If you put a little thought into your slaw, you won't need a vegetable or any other sides. That's what we did last night, with lots of cold beer, Wyatt's favorite tunes turned up, loud debate about many inconsequencial things, and toasts to two amazing people.

Slow-Cooked North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork
I used the following recipe, doubling everything and adding a couple tablespoons of paprika to the spice rub. You could definitely use a slow cooker instead of slow-roasting it in the oven.


This is the Better Place


Just home from our annual trip with Yancey's family to Ross Lake. It never gets old--Cascade Mountains in the moonlight, feet dangling off the dock, morning coffee and books, Wyatt practicing dives into the cold, clear water.


I read Anna Quindlen's memoir, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. Emily read it first, then mailed it to me from her vacation in Michigan so I'd have it for mine. Is that true love or what? Reading Quindlen's reflections on aging, career, motherhood, and womanhood seemed especially poignant as I sat in the sun and watched my children. My life is now. What matters most are the sandwiches in ziploc bags, serving my clients between homework and laundry, teaching my children about money and kindness, reading the news and trying to love the world in all its brokenness and beauty.

Anna remembers her mother's early death, and the empty consolation of well-wishers:

"She's in a better place," [the friend said]. There is no better place. This is the best place, here, now, alive, a chipmunk scampering across the stones, a cloud scudding across the sky, the dogs barking at nothing on the road, the road running empty into an unseen distance and beyond, my husband busy at the office, my children busy in the world. The better place is along the Hudson River, where the loon bobs on the swell from the ferry and dives for unseen fish until it seems he must drown, then pops up glistening  twenty feet from where he went down. The better place is that spot on the highway when you can suddenly see New York City strung like a necklace of jagged diamonds, and that corner of the porch where the house wrens build their nest and disassemble it and build it again, and the table at Thanksgiving and tree at Christmas.

And I'm learning (again?!) that my task is to pay attention, both to the suffering and to the Cascade Mountains in the moonlight. And it's to pay attention to myself--my anxiety, my fears, the food I eat, the addictions that sometime seem easier than paying attention. When I take a breath in and then breathe out, I can remember that everything I need is right here. There is no better place.


And if you find that the unlikely luck of a 5 year-old fishergirl turns up a beautiful rainbow trout, you can do the following:

Whole Roasted Trout with Cumin and Lime
Preheat over to 425. Take a scaled, cleaned and gutted fresh-caught trout. This one happened to be about 15" long and a little over an inch thick. Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet. Add a big handful of thinly sliced red onions, a finely chopped clove of garlic, and cook down about 5 minutes. Add a tsp. of ground cumin, coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, and a big squeeze of lime juice and simmer for another minute. Along with a handful of fresh herbs (parsely, basil, cilantro, oregano, chives), stuff the fish with most the onion mixture. Sprinkle more herbs and the remaining onion mixture over the fish, drizzle with a little olive oil, and lay some thinly sliced lime over the top. Put the skillet into the preheated oven and roast about 15 minutes per inch of thickness, or until fish is tender and opaque and the skin slips easily from the flesh. Stand around and eat with your fingers, like proud Loretta did.

Dijon Sausage and Broccoli Bake


Friends! Family! Everyone About To Give Up On Me!

I am here, cooking, living, and opining, but you wouldn't know it to visit this site. I have always said this blog goes how my life goes. Which is to say, in spurts. I'm fine with that, and I'm glad you are too.

We are so blessed to be settling into Bellingham life. Each of us commutes twice a week to Seattle for work, which is turning out to be very doable. And we're living close to five grandparents, toting kids to soccer games and playdates, plotting the next phase of our remodel, and making friends. We are not, like so many people in the world, scrounging for our next meal or scheming about how to get our children medical care. We are not victims of political unrest or war. We are not waiting in long lines for fuel or applying for assylum. I'm aware, more and more every day, that our reality is not the world's reality. The fact that I can find time and bandwidth to write about food and community means I've been given so much. I just have to say this every once in awhile.

And I have to say, "One Baking Sheet!!" That's all you need for a great dinner. If you've got parchment paper, even better. Bon Appetit have a great feature on this that's inspiring. I've taken to roasting everything--sausages, fish, prawns, bok choy, broccoli, caulifower. Of course, there are the standards like peppers, potatoes, eggplant, onions, zucchini. I've heard Lynne Rossetto Kasper say that when she doesn't know what to cook for dinner, she walk in the door, turns the oven to 425, and then opens the fridge. I find myself in a similar pattern these days.

Depending on your ingredients, you can start things at different times (as I do here), separate them on the sheet if you don't want them mingled, or mix everything up and throw it in all at once. An essential tip is that the closer things are together, the more they will steam and not roast. They'll still cook, but without the delectable crispy edges.

My kids down the sausage, eat a good bit of broccoli, and usually leave the peppers for us. I've been around lots of picky kids lately, which has got me thinking about tips and philosophies for feeding children. Next post? See you then.

Dijon Sausage and Broccoli Bake
Serves 4 with some highly unlikely leftovers. Preheat oven to 425 and line a large jelly rolll pan (baking sheet with sides) with parchment paper or foil. In a large bowl, combine 6-8 fat sausages (Italian, bratwurst, etc.) with 2 coarsely chopped red, yellow, or orange peppers, a coarsely chopped onion, 1/4 c. olive oil, coarse salt, 2 Tb. coarse dijon mustard, and a squeeze of lemon or some lemon zest. Toss with your hands. Spread evenly on your baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, take a big bunch of baby broccoli, coarsely chop it (stems and all) and toss with olive oil (a couple tablespoons) and salt. Add to roasting mixture after it's been in the oven for 10 minutes, and roast for 15 minutes more, until sausage is bubbling and charred in places and everything's crisping up. Dump everything into a pretty bowl, put in the middle of the table, and serve with potatoes or bread, if you like. And maybe a dallop of dijon.

Korean Fried Chicken

Korean fried chicken

Happy Mother's Day. I celebrate all women on Mother's Day--mothers, those who want to be mothers, those who have chosen or ended up on other paths, aunts, godmothers, daughters, sisters, and the ways we all participate in nurturing, caretaking, and fighting for the things and people we love.

I celebrated Mother's Day by making Korean fried chicken. Last night was our first night home after a month of living with friends while our house was remodeled. I asked Wyatt what he wanted for a celebratory dinner. He said, "Let me think about it." He thought for about 30 seconds, then said, "Korean fried chicken." You gotta love that kid. I do. That's for sure.

Our friend Chris made this for us a few months ago, and Wyatt begged me to replicate it. The pile of bones on his plate after 10 minutes was astounding. The only reason mine wasn't smaller was that I was being a good, longsuffering mother and saving more for him. 

Two secrets to this carnivorous carnival: the addicting sauce made with Korean chili paste and double-frying the chicken. If you have a food processor and an Asian grocer, the sauce is a snap. And the chicken isn't hard, but it's a little laborious. The oil needs to be kept at 350 the whole time, you can't crowd the pan, you need to keep a timer on, and then you have to do it all over again! The result is the crispest, most feathery-light coating. You toss the fried wings in the sauce and wonder why you have ever consented to each chicken any other way.

P.S. Our friend Chris' father died suddenly last week. This one's for you, Chris. We talked about you last night, grateful for you and for your father who brought you into the world. 

Korean Fried Chicken
Adapted from Saveur. I lessened the cooking time a little bit. They advise 6 minutes per batch each time. I found six the first time and 3 the next results in perfectly cooked chicken (and is more conducive to maintaining your sanity). If you buy your first jar of gojujang, congratulations. You'll use it for lots of other things.

Canola oil, for frying
5 cloves garlic
1 1/2" knob of peeled ginger
3 Tb. soy sauce
3 Tb. gojujang (Korean chile paste) 
1 1/2 Tb. rice vinegar
1 Tb. sesame oil
1 Tb. honey
2/3 c. flour
1 Tb. cornstarch
16 chicken wings (about 1 3/4 lbs.)

Turn your oven to 200 and put a cookie sheet in there. Line another cookie sheet with paper towels and place it next to your frying area.

To make the sauce, chop garlic and ginger in a food processor. Add soy sauce, gojujang, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and honey, then pour the sauce into a large, shallow bowl.

In a large bowl, mix flour, cornstarch, and 2/3 c. water together until smooth. Add the wings and toss to coat.

Heat 2" of oil in a Dutch oven or large cast iron skillet to 350 degrees. You'll have to use a candy thermometer, and heat it over medium high heat. Working in 3 batches, fry 3 minutes per side (6 minutes total), setting each batch on your paper towel-lined sheet to drain. When that's done, the 3 batches again, this time 1 1/2 minutes per side. As you finish these last batches, put them in your warm oven.

When all the chicken is done (by now, you are muttering to yourself, "This had better be worth it.") put it in your sauce-lined bowl and gently toss.

I served it with rice and a quick slaw--thinly sliced savoy cabbage, a Tb. of the chile sauce I just made, a Tb. of mayo, and a bunch of chopped fresh mint over the top. 

Roast Chicken with Fennel, Olives, and Potatoes

Provencal Chicken

I'm in love with this one-pan dish. Roast some sliced fennel and halved new potatoes in your biggest roasting pan. Take them out after 20 minutes, dump your tomato-olive mixture in, set chicken thighs or breasts atop, and baste with a garlicky vinaigrette. It's definitely Autumn, friends. Time to get that oven fired up.

"But did you kids like it?" you ask. Ha. My best tips for picky children are here, but I've been thinking about this subject more lately. I have a friend who raised her son on good, homemade, real food. When he got into high school, the cool thing to do was eat fast food. That's what his friends did for lunch, after school, on weekends. It was isolating to bring lunch from home or be the dork suggesting a healthier alternative. He's now a recent grad, at risk for diabetes, and about to be making even more of his own decisions.

I've read some research lately that says kids don't just "pick up" on things because of their environment. Modeling doesn't take the place of explicit conversations. So I've been trying to talk with Wyatt about food. As you know, he absolutely loathes heart-to-hearts. He clams up, squirms, rolls his eyes, suddenly has to go to the bathroom. But I press on, saying things like, "It's my job to make sure you eat healthy," "I want you to have the energy to keep having fun," and other odious phrases. I've added this conversation to the ones about being kind, appreciating difference, not being afraid of failure, and other parental pontifications.

One of my favorite truisms: "Experience is the thing you get two weeks after you need it." Does that describe parenting or what? Talk about making things up as we go.  Poor Wyatt, subjected to provencal chicken and baked goods with nuts. The therapy fund is still there, but I sometimes steal from it to buy sharp cheddar.

Roast Chicken with Fennel, Olives, Potatoes, and Tomatoes
Serves 4. Adapted from Gourmet, again! I've noticed a new wave of grief over Gourmet's demise lately. Maybe because it's been exactly a year since the news broke and the last issue was published. This recipe is an example of why we're all still sad. The recipe called for breasts and I used thighs, my favorite cut of chicken. Whichever cut you use, I don't recommend subbing boneless, skinless pieces, as you'll miss out on all the delicious drippings that make the dish what it is.

2 medium fennel bulbs
1 1/2 lbs. baby red potatoes, halved
6 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
14 garlic cloves (about one large head), peeled
4 Tb. fresh lemon juice
8 chicken thighs or 4 chicken breast halves (with skin and bones, about 3 lbs.), rinsed and patted dry
8 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 1/2 Tb. chopped fresh rosemary

Put rack in the middle of the oven, put a roasting pan on rack, and preheat oven to 450.

Cut off fennel stalks and discard. Quarter fennel bulbs. Trim cores, leaving enough to leave layers intact, and cut fennel lengthwise into 1/4" thick slices. Toss fennel and potatoes with 2 Tb. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a bowl until well-coated. Spread evenly in hot roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mince four garlic cloves and whisk together with lemon juice, remaining olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Brush chicken with about 2 Tb. olive oil mixture and set aside.

Thinly slice remaining 10 garlic cloves lengthwise. Transfer to a bowl and toss with tomatoes, olives, rosemary, and 2 Tb. olive oil mixture.

Remove roasting pan from oven, add tomato mixture, and stir to combine. Put chicken skin side up on top of vegetables and roast for 15 minutes.

Brush chicken with remaining olive oil mixture. Continue roasting until chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes more. Serve chicken with vegetables, spooning juices over chicken.


Grilled Steak with Peppers and Chimichurri Sauce

juicy biteIt's been a Divide-and-Conquer Week. Me waiting at the door for Yancey to come home so I can leave for my meeting, both of us with various evening commitments, handing the kids off like batons. So we eschewed all chores yesterday and had a family day.

We went to Mercer Island Thrift Store, which is a secret I shouldn't be sharing. If you are a woman who wears shoe size 8, look no further for designer boots, cast off after one season by fashion-conscious soccer moms. Love that place. We found a great $5 bike for Loretta, went on a bike ride around Mercer Slough, stopped at Overlake Blueberry Farm, and saw a coyote meandering through the blueberry bushes. If I was a coyote, I'd be hanging out there, too.

grilled peppers

Halfway through the bike ride, our thoughts (okay--my thoughts) turned to dinner. It was agreed that we'd have grilled steak and corn, some green beans from the garden. Occasionally I buy a couple steaks from Bob's, and there is nothing easier or more delicious. I'm always hankering to spice things up, though, and often do it with a little sauce like this. I had some beautiful peppers that we grilled up, too--I'm not sure what kind they are--anybody know? They're fairly spicy, not as mild as ahaheims.

Spear a bite of steak with grilled pepper, drag it through vibrant green sauce, reminisce about the day. All of us in one place. Ah.

deliciously carniverous

Grilled Steak with Peppers and Chimichurri Sauce
Serves 4. Chimichurri is a classic Argentinean sauce to accompany grilled meats, and I've been seeing it everywhere these days. This version is based on what was in my fridge, but it often includes yellow onions, other herbs, and citrus juice instead of/in addition to vinegar. Usually there's crushed red peppers or fresh chile in it, too, but I've left that out here because things were spicy enough. Any leftover sauce is delicious drizzled on potatoes on burritos. If it thickens up in the fridge, just thin it with a bit of water.

2 1 lb. tri-tip steaks
coarse salt
fresh ground pepper
1 lb. fresh peppers (mild or spicy)

For sauce:
1 bunch washed and dried cilantro
1/2 bunch washed and dried Italian parsley
1 large garlic clove
big pinch of coarse salt
3 green onions, coarsely chopped
2 Tb. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt and pepper and let sit while you make the sauce.

To make sauce, pulse cilantro, parsley, garlic, green onions, and salt in a food processor until a paste forms. Add vinegar and olive oil and pulse until a sauce forms. Add more salt to taste if you want.

Heat grill to high. Brush peppers with olive oil, and grill until blackened all over, turning a few times, about 7 minutes. Put peppers in a paper bag, close the top, and let them steam for 10 minutes to loosen the peels. Peel, seed, and coarsely chop them. (I wear disposable plastic gloves for this task if I'm working with spicy peppers. Learned my lesson the hard way.)

Now grill your steak to your liking. When it's done, tent it with foil and let it rest for 7-10 minutes, then thinly slice it. Serve with grilled peppers and chimichurri sauce.

Korean BBQ


We made it--Yancey's done with his probationary firefighter year, and that means one thing--Korean BBQ (of course). We had a big party up at Yancey's mom's house and, predictably, I started bawling when I gathered everyone around for a toast. Bawling because I'm proud of Yancey, because I'm relieved our family has health insurance, and because I really, really love all the people who were sharing the room with us. (I think I might have been bawling because I saw a photo of oil-covered dolphins in the Gulf, too, but it had to come out sometime. Any chance for catharsis around here.)

I ordered 15 pounds of flanken-style short ribs from Bob's Quality Meats. When I went to pick  up the meat, the place was PACKED with Memorial Day revelers, but that didn't affect the cheery, speedy service I got. I've noticed there's a growing trend toward more neighborhood butchers. It's about time. But Bob's will always be the best in my book.

"Kalbi" refers to marinated short ribs which are usually cut across the bone into thin slices and grilled. The essential marinade has lots of surface area to penetrate, the meat cooks really quickly, and the hot meat is often eaten with a lettuce leaf wrapped around it and a sprinkling of sesame salt or Korean chile paste. Is your mouth watering yet? I've often thought of it as the ultimate party food, and that proved true again this weekend. Though I made lots of other things, several people at the party reported ONLY eating meat, standing over the platter or grabbing them hot off the grill. And everywhere I looked, people were licking their fingers.

kalbi marinade

I didn't spend all my time in the kitchen, though. Went down to the beach with Wyatt and Yancey, got to take a long walk by myself. All weekend long, I couldn't stop thinking about a photo I saw of the BP CEO walking along the beaches in Louisiana. I know lots of people hate him right now, but I feel strange compassion toward him. Ungodly executive bonuses and our own unstoppable consumption aside, this is the time for leadership. So much depends on it.

wyatt on beach

Korean Barbecued Short Ribs with Sesame Salt
Serves six (if you're lucky). This is the recipe from Food and Wine that I've been using forever. This marinade is totally amazing and, because the meat is sliced so thin, the meat really takes on the flavors. Don't let the links to the sesame salt and chili condiments intimidate you--both take just a second, but I'm lazy and didn't feel like listing the recipes. I think a lot of people at the party didn't bother at all with the lettuce and condiments, and you don't need to, either.

Marinated Meat
1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup Korean rice wine or mirin
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 small Asian pear, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
2 teaspoons coarsely ground Korean red chile
(gocho karu)
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds meaty flanken-style short ribs (see Note)

1 head red-leaf lettuce, separated into leaves
Sesame Salt
Korean Chili Sauce

MARINATE THE MEAT: Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a food processor and puree; transfer to a bowl. Add the ribs and let marinate at room temperature for at least 3 hours or refrigerate overnight.

Light a grill or preheat the broiler. Remove the ribs from the marinade and shake off any excess. Grill or broil the ribs until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Serve the short ribs with the accompaniments and let diners wrap their own meat.

Note: Kalbi is available pre-cut at Korean markets (or Bobs!), both on and off the bone. Flanken-style, or L.A. cut, short ribs are sliced 1/2 inch thick across 3 ribs (this is what I used).

High Life Pork Tacos

pork tacos

Yancey has a weakness for Miller High Life. Longneck bottles. Pretty much the only place you can find them are scary corner stores, so I've discovered I quite like drinking cheap beer out of a can. Everything comes around, I guess. I remember so many summer reunions in my grandparents' back yard, an icy cooler of Hamm's in the screened-in back porch, my uncles popping them open while they played croquet with my aunts on the lawn.

I quite like deglazing pork bits with Miller High Life as well. This pork was absolutely divine. I made a big pot of drunken beans and let everyone make their own tacos. Wyatt and Yancey were playing catch outside. When he smelled the meat, Wyatt raced in and hovered, pulling crispy bits off and devouring them. This post is sounding very all-American by now, isn't it? It's true--Wyatt is starting to like baseball. And he's got a hefty amount of talent and coordination. My unbiased opinion, of course.

And my very biased opinion is that, when you pull this succulent meat from your Dutch oven, you'll be praised for your talent, too. High life, indeed.

High Life Pork Tacos
These tacos would be delicious with just meat and a little bit of salsa. But you can put lots of other things in them, as I've suggested.

For pork:
3 1/2 or 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
2 tsp. coarse salt
1 tb. dried Mexican oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. ancho chile powder
1 Tb. olive oil
1 12 oz. can beer

For tacos:
corn torillas
avocado slices
chopped cilantro
pinto beans
pickled jalapenos
finely diced onion
lime wedges

Preheat oven to 350.

In small bowl, mix salt, oregano, garlic powder, pepper, and ancho chile. Spread mixed spices out on a large piece of parchment paper, and roll pork in them until each side is coated evenly.

Heat olive oil up in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat until shimmering. Add pork, and brown each side until crisping up, about 2 minutes per side. After all sides are browned, deglaze the pan with the beer, stirring to remove browned bits and letting simmer for a couple minutes till reduced a bit.

Put a lid on the Dutch oven, turn pork so any layer of fat it has is on top, and cook for about 2 1/2 hours, until meat is falling-apart-tender and liquid is gone. Gently break apart into small hunks and serve with tortillas and taco fixings.

Green Chile Tortilla Pie

green chile tortilla pie

I roasted a chicken the other night. For some reason, it took an absolute eternity in there. I turned up the oven, poked it with a thermometer, and my family was sitting at the table salivating. So we had soup instead (I know. The fact that I had an alternative around is sickening.) and I saved the chicken for something else.

There's really nothing better than a big bowl of shredded, roasted chicken in the fridge. Oh, the possibilities! I must have used it 1,000 times in my mind. Thai soup? Panini? Pasta? This, my version of enchiladas, won out. Normally, I make veggie enchiladas or try to make my chicken stretch with some black beans, but this time it was all chicken. My kids love that. What is it with kids and meat? Mine, at least, are completely carnivorous.

Here are some Leftoverist tips for enchiladas:

  • For heavens sake, don't roll them. Way too much work. I simply use corn tortillas like I would lasagna noodles, as layers in-between everything else. Your enchiladas will cut up into perfect squares and you won't have to worry about all those floppy ends everywhere.
  • If you have time and energy, you can quickly fry your corn tortillas before you layer. Most the time, I just throw mine in cold. You'll get a bit less distinct texture in the finished dish, but it doesn't bother me.
  • I have used so many fillings over the years. One of my favorites is roasted yams and onions. I put some canned black beans in there, too. It's beautiful, delicious, and holds its shape really well. I've also done roasted potatoes, shredded pork, or cold rice that I saute up with whatever's in the fridge. You could do tofu as long as you made up in flavor somewhere else.
  • I've made my own enchilada sauce before. It's not hard, but takes more time than I usually have for dinner. 90% of the time, I buy the canned stuff.
  • I like sharp white cheddar--so much more flavor than medium yellow cheddar. But either will work.
  • I love to shower my enchiladas with all sorts of topping for flavor and crunch: thinly sliced radishes and green onions, crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream, chopped cilantro and red onion, Tapatio hot sauce.
  • Seems like I always have a pack of corn tortillas knocking around in my fridge. This is a great way to use them up. They have to be pretty darn old before I can justify throwing them out.

We're on our third night of eating this. Leftoverists, unite!

Green Chile Tortilla Pie
This make a 9 x 13. You could certainly halve it. And you know me and my roasted chiles. Leave them out if you don't like the heat or the time it takes.

Shredded chicken from one whole roasted chicken (do it yourself or buy one)
About 20 corn tortillas, white or yellow
4 c. shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
6 poblano peppers
One 28 oz. can + one 14 oz. can of green enchilada sauce

For toppings:
thinly sliced radishes and green onions
crumbled tortilla chips
sour cream
chopped cilantro
finely diced red onion

To roast chiles: Wash them and put them on a baking sheet. Put under the broiler for about 4 minutes/side, rotating until they are blackening and blistered. Put them in a plastic or paper bag and close it so they steam up. Wait about 10 minutes. Peel skins off cooled peppers, remove seeds, and coarsely chop. (I use disposable gloves to do this.)

Line a 9 x 13 pan with tortillas--some whole, some ripped in half to cover as thoroughly as possible. Layer with 1/3 of chicken, 1/4 cheese, 1/3 chiles, 1/4 sauce. Repeat for two more layers. End with a last layer of tortillas and more sauce, cheese over the top. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and tortilla pie is hot throughout.

Important: Let sit for 10 minutes before you cut it. And they're even better the next day.

Parmesan Panko Chicken

panko chicken

It wasn't until last year that I really discovered chicken legs. There's been so much focus on the breast the last decade. Chicken breasts, of course! I guess our cultural fascination extends to more than one species. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are wonderful. (I know all you Food Inc. fans are shuddering right now.) They're easy, quick, endlessly adaptable. But the missing bone and white meat means less juice, less carnivorous pleasure. Wyatt digs into chicken legs with a vengeance. It's what every mother loves to see. So they've become part of our rotation and I'm letting you in on the secret.

I remember one night last summer when I'd been watching five kids all day. For some reason, they all stayed for dinner and Yancey was gone. I made roasted chicken legs with herbs and olive oil, and there was an absolute  maelstrom in this little kitchen--chicken bones piling up, little hands grabbing at the platter, a plethora of greasy chins, and one popular mother. You, too, can have this coveted experience.

This recipe combines about 20 other recipes I've come across lately. I've lost the paper trail by now. But all you need to know is that you can come home from work, mutter about all the toys on the floor, check your flooded inbox, supervise homework, AND have this kid-pleasing dinner on the table in 45 minutes. We ate ours with smashed red potatoes and sauteed asparagus. My advice: take a break from the breast. Way overrated.

mk dinner

Parmesan Panko Chicken
Panko is Japanese breadcrumbs, available everywhere in my neighborhood, but they might even have them at Safeway. Light, very slightly sweet, and will keep in your pantry forever. And I always have a green can of parmesan around for things like this, roasted potatoes, or to top pizza.

12 chicken drumsticks, rinsed and dried
1 garlic clove, smashed
handful fresh herbs ,coarsely chopped (chives, parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano)
1 tsp. dijon mustard
3 Tb. white wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
1 1/2 c. panko
1/4 c. dried parmesan
coarse salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450.

In a small bowl, mix the garlic, 1/2 the herbs, dijon, and vinegar. Add oil oil in a stream. Pour over the drumsticks and let them sit while you prepare the crumb coating.

In a medium bowl, mix the panko, parmesan,  the other half of the herbs, salt, and pepper. Roll each drumstick in the crumb mixture, pressing to coat evenly. Place drumsticks on a large baking sheet and put into preheated oven. Cook for about 35 minutes, until a thermometer reads 170 and chicken is golden. You can drizzle a bit more olive oil while baking if they're not getting brown enough.

Inner Child Chicken with Rice

chicken with rice

Have you been making this all these years and keeping it from me? Where have I been? Growing up, we hardly ever ate chicken, but occasionally we'd have this--plump chicken nestled in creamy, soft rice, so comforting you'd just want to climb in the pan and stay a child forever. But, alarmingly, I've never made it "for my kids" before tonight.

We're in a retro phase around here. Turns out, meat is easy. Steaks? Throw them in a cast iron skillet with a little butter, turn them after five minutes, and not even the most laboriously layered lasagna can hold a candle. I haven't always felt this way about steaks. Ask my friends--they'll testify to my constantly changing (and loudly pronounced) opinions. I used to say things like, "Steak is so boring. And not even that good. I don't see what the big deal is." Do-over. Big time. I see what the big deal is, and Bob's Quality Meats wraps up a mean tri-tip.

Chicken and rice fits nicely into the retro phase.  Take your BFF Dutch oven down. Brown some boneless, skinless thighs, throw in thinly sliced onions and lots of garlic.  Add rice and chicken stock, cover it, and be Super Mom in 35 minutes.

I'm not one to idealize the past (the days before washing machines and cute maternity clothes? No thanks.), but I could go for a few other retro things. Jerry Seinfeld doesn't use his cell phone in the car anymore. He said, "What's so wrong with 1985?" Indeed. Stirrup pants, Cosby Show, friendship pins, chicken and rice. I am up for that.

Inner Child Chicken with Rice
From Greg Atkinson's West Coast Cooking, which I'm borrowing from my Mom and really like. No photos, but great, straightforward recipes, local ingredients, and interesting narrative. I find I'm often attracted to no-photo cookbooks. Takes the pressure off. He titles this "Mom's Chicken with Rice," and uses 1 c. white wine and 3 c. chicken stock. I didn't have any white wine, so only used chicken stock. Still delicious, but wine wouldn't hurt.

6 large boneless chicken thighs (or 8 small ones)
1 Tb. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 c. olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups long-grain white rice (like basmati)
4 cloves minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1 Tb. fresh thyme plus more for top
1 c. white wine
3 c. chicken stock

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the chicken pieces in the oil, turning them several times to brown on all sides, about 7 minutes in all.

Pull the chicken out of the pan and set aside. In the oil, saute the onion until it is soft and slightly browned. Stir in the rie, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme, then pour in the white wine and chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil.

Put the chicken pieces back in the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Simmer until the rice has absorbed the cooking liquid and the chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes. Serve hot, sprinkled with more fresh thyme.

Pot Roast with Tomato Gravy

pot roast

In an interview a few months ago, someone asked Obama to respond to the criticism that he'd tackled too many things at once--the economy, healthcare, regulation of Wall Street, climate change.  He said, "Well, what would you have me leave out?  No one ever said this job was going to be easy."

I think of that a lot these days.  Not that I'm trying to compare myself to Obama, mind you.  The issues I'm trying to tackle are deepening (or at least maintaining) my relationships; attracting more consulting work; and keeping the kitchen table clear.  But often I look up from my pile of deadlines and think, "Real life is hard to keep up with."  And at the moment, I'm not seeing any initiatives I can abandon, especially the ones called Parenting and Paying the Bills.

Enter the filibuster-proof pot roast.  The resolution no one can oppose.  You can't burn this unless you leave town for a week with the oven on.  And the cheaper the cut of meat, the better.  You'll probably have to go to the store for the roast and red wine (at least the wine around here doesn't last long), but I'll bet you've got onions, garlic, and a can of tomatoes sitting around.  I got home from work yesterday, threw this in the oven, picked the kids up and took them out for ice cream, and came home to dinner. Don't ask me about the rest of my to-do list, though.  That will have to wait until the Senate is back in session.

Pot Roast with Tomato Gravy
I don't know if I've ever seen Yancey so transfixed by something I've made.  He's a meat and potatoes guy at heart.  I served this with herbed mashed potatoes and crispy, pan-fried broccoli.

1 3-4 lb. boneless chuck roast
olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3/4 c. + 3 Tb. red wine
2 Tb. flour
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, drained
lots of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

In  a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add pot roast, browning both sides for about 3 minutes each.  Remove roast from pan and set on a plate.

Add 3/4 red wine to pot to deglaze it.  Scrape browned bits from the bottom and let it bubble up a bit.  Add onions and garlic, and saute until softening, about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine flour and 3 Tb. red wine.  Add to pan along with drained tomatoes, salt and pepper, and stir.

Place roast atop tomato mixture, put a tightly fitting lid on your Dutch oven, and bake for about 2 1/2 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork.

Chicken Adobo

chicken adobo

I am so tired tonight.  As an exercise in pure self-absorption, here's some speculation about why I'm so tired:

6:30--Wake up with the kids, work until 8:00 while the kids watch cartoons
8:00 --Make breakfast (whole wheat toast with almond butter, scoop of yogurt), get kids dressed, take a shower
9:00--Drop Wyatt off at school
9:30--Go the office supply store with Loretta, decide I could buy 10 new printers for the price of the ink I'm buying to keep my old  one afloat
10:00--Give Loretta some Swedish fish in the car if she promises to be quiet while I make a work phone call
10:30--Come home, fix the printer (thank God), more work while I try to keep Loretta happy with art supplies.  We get in a fight  (fighting with three-year-olds is a serious low point) for which I apologize while putting her to bed later
11:30--Eat some cheese and crackers while changing into work clothes, leave to drop Loretta off at Uncle Michael and Aunt Naomi's house
12:30--Get to my first meeting downtown
2:30--Get to my second meeting at Northgate
4:30--Pick Loretta up in West Seattle
5:15--Pick Wyatt up at Mary's house
6:00--Get home, make patty melts before we all melt down with hunger
6:45--Clean kitchen, make soup for the next two nights when I'll be home late
7:30--Get kids ready for bed, read books, set out clothes for our early morning tomorrow
8:00--Put kids to bed, pack my lunch, get ready for tomorrow's meetings
9:00--Insanely sit down to record my day here
10:00--Stupidly stay up to watch stupid TV

I know I'm not alone when I say this was a normal day for me.  Especially where the rest of you mothers are concerned.  I always say, "Give a mother 10 minutes and she'll change the world (or at least organize most of it)."

Even if you can't can't change the world or help your three-year-old with her watercolors without falling apart, you will be able to make this chicken.  This is my favorite thing I've made in a year.  The Exaggeratress is not exaggerating.  I've meant to try Chicken Adobo a million times, but never got around to it until now.  The Filipino dish, "Chicken in Tart Garlic Sauce," begins with marinating chicken thighs in soy sauce, ten cloves of crushed garlic, oodles of vinegar, and crushed tomatoes. You dump the whole bag of marinade and chicken in pot, simmer it until the chicken's done, then pull out the chicken and brown it while you're reducing the sauce.  Then you pour that darn sauce (I am salivating right now) over the tender, tangy chicken and haul out a pile of napkins.  Unfortunately, it's an 18-24 hour marinade, so you have to think ahead. But you moms are used to that.

Chicken Adobo
Serves 4.  Adapted From Lynne Rossetto Kasper's How to Eat Supper. I used apple cider vinegar, but you can use plain old white vinegar, too. Don't skimp on the garlic.  It seems like a lot, but the marinade and the cooking mellows it out.  YOU HAVE TO START THIS A DAY AHEAD FOR MARINATING TIME.

1/4 c. soy sauce
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 c. cider or white distilled vinegar
1 c. whole canned tomatoes with their liquid
2 bay leaves, broken
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 whole scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
Hot cooked rice for serving

The day before you will be cooking the chicken, combine the soy sauce, garlic, pepper, vinegar, tomatoes (break them up with your fingers as you add them to the bowl), and bay leaves.  Put the chicken into a large Ziploc bag, pour the marinade in, seal tightly, and let marinate for 18-24 hours.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, dump the whole Ziploc mixture into a big pot.  Bring it to a gentle bubble, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, or until the center of  a chicken thigh registers 175 on an instant-read thermometer.

With tongs, remove the chicken to a plate.  Skim as much fat as possible from the cooking liquid, increase the heat, and start briskly boiling it.  You want to reduce it by half.

While the liquid reduces, film a straight-sided 12" saute pan with olive oil.  Heat over medium-high heat.  (I did 4 thighs in two pans so as to avoid crowding).  Arrange the chicken, skin side down, in the pan, and let them brown.  Stand back--they'll splatter.  Adjust the heat so the chicken doesn't burn.

When the chicken pieces are a deep, rich brown on one side, turn them over and scatter the onions around them.  Contine browning the chicken, moving the onions around so they don't burn.  Then, with a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and onions to a serving bowl. Pour the boiled-down pan juices over them, garnish with scallions, and serve with hot rice.

Chicken Cutlets with Tomatoes and Capers

chicken cutlets with capers

My family scarfed this down last night.  Wyatt ate three pieces of chicken and begged for more.  I said no--I had to save some for a photo shoot.  See how this blog is depriving my children?

My Mom loaned me Tessa Kiros' new cookbook, Apples for Jam.  The recipes are organized by color, and this chicken was in the "Red" chapter.  The photographs are luminous--cluttered, bright, full of vintage finds and children's toys--very different than the laboratory-style food photos that Martha Stewart has popularized.  I'm not a cookbook reviewer, but I give this one a very un-scientific thumbs-up.

I bought a clamshell of grape tomatoes at Trader Joe's, knowing full-well they weren't going to be the most astounding things in the world and that I was going against my rule of no fresh tomatoes in the winter.  Even though I've sung the praises of canned tomatoes, things get a little dull this time of year.  Sauteed with garlic and a good dose of olive oil, these little guys tasted like a hit of summer, which is just what we needed.

P.S. This photo of Loretta has nothing to do with chicken cutlets, except that she looks so cute I could eat her up.

loretta at the end of 2009

Chicken Cutlets wth Tomatoes and Capers
I adapted this recipe a bit from Tessa's (surprise).  You could definitely use some drained, diced canned tomatoes in a pinch, and you might not have a thriving sage bush outside your window like I do.  In that case, skip the sage.  And if you've been making preserved lemons like I have, you could sub some finely diced preserved lemon rind for the capers.  And one more thing--I used arugula (Trader Joes again) but you could use spinach or romaine.  This serves four--only attempt it in one batch if you have a huge nonstick skillet. Otherwise, do it in two batches or in two pans.

About 8 Tb. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 c. halved and washed cherry tomatoes
8 chicken cutlets (or "chicken tenders")
flour for dusting
8 fresh sage leaves
1/3 c. white wine or water
3 Tb. drained capers
four big handfuls of fresh greens (arugula, spinach, or romaine)
crushed red chile flakes

Distribute greens on four plates.

Pound the cutlets a bit till they're a little flatter and roughly uniform size.  Lightly dust the chicken with flour on both sides, and set aside.

Heat half the oil with garlic in a large nonstick frying pan.  Add the tomatoes with a little salt and fry over high heat until they start to pucker.  Pour the oil and tomatoes out together into a little bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan.  Heat over medium heat until oil is shimmering.  Add sage, and place chicken directly on top of sage leaves, frying until the underside of the chicken is golden and the sage is sticking to the chicken.  Turn over and season with salt.  Cook until the new underside is golden.  Add the wine, tomato mixture, and capers.  Let it bubble up and evaporate a bit, then put the lid on and leave for a couple minutes before serving.

Lay chicken atop greens and top with some of the tomato caper pan sauce.  Garnish with red pepper flakes if desired.

Favorite Places: Bob's Quality Meats

smithfield ham

Here it is--a 15 pound bone-in Smithfield ham, dry-cured in North Carolina and sold by my neighborhood butcher. Before cooking, he's instructed my mom and I to soak it in two changes of water, 12 hours each time, in a big cooler.  It's a Christmas adventure inspired by Saveur's mouthwatering December issue.  Stay tuned.

We've lived in or near Columbia City for 13 years.  When we first moved there, the main street had a tavern, an office supply store, and Bob's Quality Meats.  Now, there's an artisan bakery, several coffee shops, renowned Neapolitan pizza, sushi, a wine bar and yes--Bob's Quality Meats.  They have new wood floors, a spiffy neon sign, and gleaming new coolers, but the same friendly, knowledgeable butcher that's been there for years.  He knows his sources, cures his own ham, makes all the sausage, sells unusual cuts, and has bent over backward for me several times.  Years ago, catering a wedding, we had called everywhere looking for the impossible: lamb from Eastern Washington, cut into boneless chunks, enough for 300 people, and ready by the weekend. Bob's said, "No problem."  This summer, catering a wedding rehearsal, I grilled 150 of Bob's handmade sausages outside.  By the end, there were just 2 left sizzling over the coals, and 10 people standing around waiting for thirds.

I love that Bob's stayed around during the height of supermarket, agribusiness mania when no one knew where their meat came from or thought to ask.  Its neighborhood clientele sustained it long enough for the local butcher to be in vogue again.  And nowhere else in Seattle have I seen Smithfield hams hanging from hooks above the cash register.  Am I a lucky girl or what?

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

We ate at 7:00 last night, by which time Wyatt and Loretta were cross-eyed with hunger .  As I've mentioned before, 5:00 (6:00 if you're living on the edge) becomes your new dinnertime with the advent of children.

I was so tired yesterday--just couldn't get going to empty the dishwasher and start dinner.  These are the times that more well-adjusted people order take-out or make a grilled cheese sandwich.  They check in with themselves ("Wow!  I sure am tired tonight.  I think I"ll give myself a break") and make a wise decision NOT to walk down to the store with their toddler at 6:00 to buy cream for the Saveur recipe that's stubbornly lodged in their brain.  I am glad those people inhabit the world.  But I am not one of them.

At least I have something to show for it.  This Chicken Tikka Masala is mighty close to other things I've made over the years, but I've never actually made this "classic," as Saveur terms it.  Loretta and Yancey were taking marathon naps, Wyatt was playing computer games, and I was lying in bed flipping though new cooking magazines.  I think this became Priority Number One because 1) it looked tasty and easy and 2) I had everything for it.  Except for cream. So I promised Loretta a sucker if she'd come with me to the store.  Of course she finished it one block into our walk and was begging for Cheetos by the time we got there.  When I said "no," she proceeded to lean out of her stroller and throw several bags from the display rack.  It seems slightly humorous now that I'm 24 hours away from it, but I wanted to drop her off at the bus stop in that moment.  Rascal.

Once we finally sat down, Wyatt could not get enough.  He ate a huge helping at dinner, then kept stealing more chicken from the pan while he was helping me do dishes.  He said, "Remember when I didn't like spicy food?"  Cute.  This isn't very spicy, despite the jalapeño (I used a Thai chile) in the curry.  You could spice it up or put some fresh chiles on top of yours like I did. I've got two Thai chile plants going berserk in my garden, so I'll be putting them on oatmeal pretty soon.

Had leftovers for lunch today, and it was even better.  Put Loretta down for a nap, cleared the table, picked another chile, and hoped Safeway hasn't taken out a restraining order on us yet.

Working Lunch

Chicken Tikka Masala
This is almost exactly as it appears in Saveur except I used just one onion.  They called for two, and that seemed like a lot to me.  Plus, it was one of those nights when I was invested in the kids really liking dinner. Too many onions might have jeopardized that.

1 tbsp. ground turmeric
4 tsp. garam masala
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1  2 1⁄2" piece ginger, peeled and chopped
jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
1  28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts,
cut into 1 1⁄2" cubes
1⁄4 cup plain yogurt
Kosher salt, to taste
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1⁄2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. paprika
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Cilantro leaves, julienned fresh ginger, and fresh chiles  for garnish
Cooked basmati rice, for serving

1. In a blender, purée turmeric, 2 tsp. garam masala, coloring, garlic, ginger, jalapeños, and 1⁄2 cup water. Put paste into a bowl. In the same blender, purée tomatoes and strain through a sieve. In a bowl, mix 2 tbsp. paste, chicken, yogurt, and salt; marinate for 30 minutes. Place oven rack 4" from heating element; heat to broil. Transfer chicken to a foil-lined sheet tray; broil until cooked, 5–6 minutes; set aside.

2. Heat butter in 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add coriander and cumin; toast 4–6 minutes. Add paprika and onions; cook until soft, 6–8 minutes. Add remaining paste; brown for 5–6 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in cream and 1 cup water; boil. Reduce heat; simmer until thickened, 6–8 minutes. Stir in remaining garam masala and chicken; season with salt. Serve with garnishes and rice.