Saturday, June 2, 2012

Christening My New Kitchen

Herbed Couscous and Crockpot Moroccan Chicken
In May I moved into a new apartment in Seattle. Today I christened my kitchen with a crockpot and a stovetop recipe. I have included the recipes in this posting but wanted to share my day of attempting these two recipes.

  • Although I am half middle eastern I cannot cook rice to save my life; therefore, I live on Uncle Ben's 90 second rice. Therefore, today I thought I would attempt to bring pride to my middle eastern family if I could successfully prepare couscous. 
    • I was successful  and wanted to share this accomplishment with my dad. Therefore, I called him up and told him I made couscous and below is the conversation with my father:
      • Dad: "What is couscous?"
      • Shaida: "It's sort of like rice, it goes good with chicken dishes." 
      • Dad: "You know what goes good with chicken, rice." 
      • Shaida: "Dad, have you not had couscous before? It's really good."
      • Dad: "Why would I eat this couscous when I can have rice."
  • I wanted to make moroccan chicken because I deeply miss a moroccan restaurant in Omaha that was in my neighborhood. This restaurant is the only thing that Omaha has that Seattle does not offer. Therefore, I felt a little nostalgic, so I got out my crockpot this morning and put all the ingredients in the crockpot. I decided I would leave it cooking and I would go to a park and read.
    •  I come back about 4 hours later and excited to try my new recipe, and realize that I didn't plug in the crockpot....such a rookie mistake. 
    • Therefore, I plugged it in. About an hour later I came to check on it and it still wasn't cooking. Therefore, I made sure I actually turned it on (after forgetting to plug it in, forgetting to turn it on wasn't too far of a stretch). It was turned on. Therefore, I began thinking maybe my crockpot got damaged in the move; which if it did I would have the proper funeral arrangements prepared for this beloved small kitchen appliance. But then I remembered there is a mystery light switch which I hadn't figured out what it did; therefore, I flipped it and VOLIA my crockpot is alive and well.
    • I love cooking with my crockpot because its is nearly impossible for a person to screw up a recipe in a crockpot. Every time I use my crockpot, I am reminded of the amazing food it produces.....if only I can remember to plug it in.
Below are the recipes I used, changes and comments for the recipe are in red.

Herbed Couscous Pilaf
  • 1 tsp garlic olive oil (I used one tsp of olive oil and then minced two garlic cloves)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat cousous
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp chicken broth
  • Sea salt and freshly crack pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (I used about 1/8 cup)
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped  (I used about 1/8 cup)
Heat the garlic olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the minced shallot and cook stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes. Add the couscous and cook stirring often for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, sea salt, and pepper; bring to boil  ( I added the same amounts but there was no boiling because the couscous soaked up the broth almost instantly). Cover, removed from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes (I didn't do this step. I just kept the dish on medium heat and continued stirring often). Add the fresh parsley and chives then fluff with a fork (there was no fluffing of any kind...I just used a spoon for stirring the dish). Taste and add more seasoning if needed. 

Crockpot Moroccan Chicken
  • 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces (I only used 2)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (I used regular paprika)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon mccormick's montreal steak grill seasoning (I used spicy version)
  • 1 teaspoon ground tumeric (I love tumeric so I used 1/2 tablespoon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used a teaspoon)
  • Olive oil (I used a teaspoon)
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion
  • 1 cup chicken stock (I used fat-free and low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup raisin (I had never cooked raisins before so I wasn't sure how I would like them so I only put in a small handful. I wished I had put more in; I absolutely loved them)
Throw everything in the crockpot and cook for 4-10 hours. I cooked on high heat for 4 hours and after 2 hours I stirred the contents because comments left on the original recipe indicated that the chicken was getting too dry. Cooking it my way the chicken was so tender; my fork slid right through it. The original recipe:

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