When it comes to certain things, I'm a bit of a slow study. On this list: playing the trumpet. Speaking German. Baking bread (as you've probably already realized). Experimenting with herbs.
I know, I know. Herbs are great! Herbs are your friend! Well let me tell you: when I learned how to cook, I went from burning pots of water to cooking acceptable meals in about two months (I was in college, I was a kept woman; it's not like I had anything else to do); my haste to learn--and not kill us all in the process--was so great that I seriously glossed over some of the basics. Like, you know. How to flavor my food. For years, the only herb I had any clue how to use was basil. I could make eighteen types of stir fry, but I couldn't identify tarragon in a lineup. It took ages before I could even handle sage; longer still before I invited rosemary to the party. Now, many moons later, I also count among my friends thyme and oregano (and I'll fully admit that i still have no idea what to do with tarragon). Thank goodness; making random things out of what I find in the fridge has become much easier since I've started to foxtrot with herbs.
Example: Last week, I found myself with three lemons, a shedload of garlic, some greek yogurt and my newly requisite freezerful of herbs. Having discovered not too long ago that plain yogurt is a kick ass marinade for chicken, it seemed like a no-brainer: grab some poultry, some skewers, and whip up a greek tzatsiki-style marinade! I'd be hard pressed to think of a quicker, easier way to inject a small dose of summer sunshine into a dreary December evening.
Because I'm lazy, I put this garlicky delight together using my food processor, which reduced prep time to approximately three minutes--including the chopping of the herbs--so it's definitely a great meal for a weeknight (though you can marinate the chicken for up to three days, and it gets better with every passing second). Easy, healthy, and tasty, I'm chalking this one up in the "Epic Win" column on my Adventures in Poultry spreadsheet.
Herbed tzatsiki chicken
Approx 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into approximately 2-inch cubes. Thighs would also work; I just went with what was on special.
5 cloves garlic
1c greek-style yogurt (I used lowfat)
2-3 tbsp fresh thyme, removed from the stem
2-3 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
zest from 2 lemons
1tbsp olive oil
- Make the marinade: whizz everything except the chicken together in your food processor until it's a lovely, green-flecked and aromatic paste. If it's too thick, loosen it up with a little water.
- Combine chicken and marinade in a large zip-top bag; set it in your refrigerator to marinate for at least one hour and up to three days.
- Thread on to bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water.
- Fire up your grill (or your grill pan) to a medium to medium-high heat and cook those suckers for about 8 minutes. Turn the skewer every two minutes or so to ensure even coloring all around.