Chicken adobo recipe

Well, dear people, all good things come to an end and our trip to England came and went too quickly.  We had such a good time and just as importantly, we traveled there and back in one piece.  But there was way too much to see and I am already thinking about when we can go back.  Even the food was better than expected!  I didn’t say it was the most nutritious fare, but we had very delicious meals.  I used to get stressed out about eating on vacation since it isn’t always easy to find kale salads and date-sweetened muffins when you’re away.  I have since let that thinking go since I realize that that kind of negative thinking can’t be doing anything good for my body.  However, this trip I think I may have “enjoyed” the local cuisine a little too much.  It’s one thing to eat a scone and it’s another to eat three.  At one time.  With clotted cream.

Alas, I eagerly pulled out my juicer as soon as I returned home and got back to a simpler way of eating.  It’s a weird feeling for me to not cook at all for 8 days, so I was perfectly happy to get back in the kitchen and make all my familiar staples, quinoa and millet, almond milk, and lots of fresh veggies.  For our first dinner home I made chicken adobo, one of the easiest things I can make that everyone likes.  It is a traditional Filipino dish where chicken or pork are braised in vinegar and soy sauce with garlic. It’s a little sour, a little salty and a touch of sweet.  And the soy really tenderizes the chicken so that it’s super soft.  I usually shred it for the kids and serve it over rice with a green vegetable on the side.  Simple dimple!

This dish is really only made with thighs and/or drumsticks and there’s a reason for that.  Breast meat gets too dried out when simmered.  I tried this with breast meat and it just wasn’t as good as the dark meat.  What I will say is that because the sauce is dark, no one will know that the thighs are thighs and not white meat.  I have made a few variations of chicken adobo and I’m giving you the easiest here with boneless, skinless chicken pieces.  If you use pieces with the skin, you’ll end up having to brown the chicken to start in order to render some of the fat from the skin and to make it look more attractive (rubbery chicken skin gives me the creeps.)  My family doesn’t eat the skin anyway so it was an easy decision for me to leave it out.  This isn’t the most beautiful chicken dish you’ll ever eat, but I make no apologies because it’s very tasty and beyond easy!  Also, it’s way more healthful to cook animal protein in a liquid or by steaming.  A few carcinogens are created anytime animal protein comes into contact with high heat, like a pan or a grill.  Total bummer, but that’s the facts.

I think you could also make a chicken adobo rice “bowl” with a big scoop of rice, shredded chicken and some steamed or roasted vegetables with a few spoonfuls of sauce on top.  Believe me, no matter how you make it, this is a no-brainer for a busy weeknight especially if you’ve been on vacation from the kitchen for a bit!

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Chicken Adobo
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • ¼ cup naturally brewed soy sauce or shoyu or GF tamari (I like Ohsawa)
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs and/or drumsticks, bone-in or boneless* (I used 8 boneless thighs)
  • ⅓ cup water
Instructions
  1. Mix vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns in a container just small large enough to hold the chicken, such as a glass mixing bowl or a small Pyrex. Cover and marinate 1 hour to overnight. Longer is better.
  2. Transfer chicken and marinade to a medium or large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and add water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes.
  3. Uncover, raise the heat and gently boil an additional 10 minutes to reduce sauce. Serve hot over steamed rice.
Notes
*Breasts don’t work well here. Skin-on chicken is fine, but the skin doesn’t look attractive unless you broil or brown it after.

Grilled panzanella recipe

We are alive and well on our European holiday, although I may need a vacation after we return home!  We met our friends in Berlin a few days ago and have been having the best time.   What a cool, interesting, beautiful and progressive city!  Daughter #1 announced she will be moving to Berlin after college.  First things first, Missy.   All the kids have been fantastic – really going with the flow.  At times, I felt like we were on an episode of Amazing Race, figuring out metro schedules and running to catch trains, deciphering maps, and trying to translate foreign languages.  The good thing is that we have generally been laughing our way through it all.  Our overnight train trip from Berlin to Munich last night was particularly memorable as it was a first for all to sleep in beds on a train.  Before you picture us on the Orient Express, think again!  It wasn’t nearly that glamourous, but certainly provided us with a few giggles and good stories to tell when we are back home again.  As I write this, we are on another train from Munich to Salzburg, Austria.

As far as eating a whole, unrefined diet, I threw in the towel back in Copenhagen.  It is terribly difficult to avoid European bread when it is so darn good.  Once I gave into bread, pasta/spatzle, pizza and pastries came after.  Something tells me Austria will offer more of the same.  Mr. Picky is enamored with game sausages and mustard and I had my first beer since college just for kicks.   One was enough and I would just as soon eat fried potatoes than drink another beer.  We have really eaten a broad mix of cuisines which I think you’ll find in most major cities.

I will not start a war here by declaring the bread best in any particular city or country, but I can say that Europeans love bread.  We’ve eaten baguettes, spelt rolls, pretzel bread, whole rye, sourdough and more.  I also know that Europeans like to be efficient with their food and make good use of day old bread which might be otherwise thrown away.  I thought today would be a good time to share my recipe for Grilled Panzanella.

Panzanella is essentially an Italian bread salad, although I believe Spain has its own version of it, too.  Earlier in the summer, I also did a post on Fattoush, which is a Lebanese take on the same.  Sometimes it can be as simple as soaking stale bread in a mixture of vinegar and water and mixing it with fresh tomatoes and a pinch of salt.  When I was growing up, we would tear the stale bread and mix it with tomatoes from the garden, basil, red onions, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  The stale bread would soak up the oil, vinegar and tomato juices and soften up a bit, too – really tasty.

I don’t eat bread very often, but if you grill it, I’ll never turn it down, especially if it’s rubbed with garlic and the edges are slightly black and smoky.  Simple and heavenly.  Try rubbing grilled bread with a cut, ripe tomato and you’ll go crazy.  In as much as I love a simple panzanella in the summer, I knew it would be better with grilled bread and it is!  Ina Garten has a Grilled Panzanella which I hear is delicious.  Not only does she grill the bread, but onions and peppers as well.

This salad is a snap to make and prep in advance if you need to, just keep the bread, chopped vegetables and dressing separate until you’re ready to serve.  Although most Italians would disagree with me, I think you should feel free to create your own yummy version of Panzanella.  I added capers to this one because I love a salty bite, but olives would be great, too.  There are versions with ripe, sliced peaches.  I also think baby mozzarella balls or chickpeas would also be nice in here, but try and keep it simple.

Our train has just entered Austria and we are already enamored of this beautiful countryside and all the adventures that await us.  Stay tuned….

Grilled Panzanella
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unrefined extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing bread
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced + 1 large clove
  • 4 Tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar (raw apple cider vinegar is a more healthful choice)
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, unpeeled and chopped into ½-inch thick chunks
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (about ½ pound each)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • ½ pound loaf or crusty peasant bread or baguette, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat the grill to medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, minced garlic, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
  3. Place the cucumbers, tomato, basil, capers, and shallots in a large bowl. Sprinkle with large pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Brush bread slices on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toast them on the grill until golden, about 4 minutes on each side. A little black char on the edges is good! Cut a thin slice off the garlic clove and rub one side of each piece of bread with the cut side of the garlic.
  5. Cut the bread into cubes and add to the cucumber mixture. Pour in the vinaigrette and toss to combine.