43 blessed years! Huevos Rancheros, my favorite cookie and Indian roasted chicken!
Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing moms! What a day! Yesterday was my 43rd birthday and my family made me feel like a king. I woke up to the most incredible breakfast in bed made by my amazing daughter Isabella. Huevos Rancheros. The eggs were perfectly cooked; the tomato and black beans were seasoned just right and of course as every parent knows the secret ingredient is that my daughter made it for me! My wife broke out my favorite cookies – Palmiers from La Boulange in San Francisco. With a perfect short shot of espresso I was in heaven and it wasn’t even 8:30am yet! There is nothing like the syrupy, rich, bitter and sweet deep roasted flavor of a perfect espresso. It coats your teeth and leaves a thin blanket of flavor on your tongue that fades slowly. The sweet layers of crispy, chewy pastry that make up the Palmier cookie melts in your mouth with the heat of the espresso. Incredible. My son and I built an awesome ramp for him to jump his bike in the alley. It was the best present I could have to watch his face go from scared to determined to joyful as he conquered his fears and sailed through the air on his bike. He inspires me and fills me with joy every moment.
Lunchtime! Even though it is my birthday cooking is what I love to do so I was ready to dive into the kitchen. I rubbed a beautiful chicken that I got at McCall’s in Los Feliz, Los Angeles (Incredible butcher/fish monger that has the most pure, fresh product). I forgot how truly flavorful a good chicken can be. I rubbed the chicken inside and out with 2 TB my Indian spice blend and 1/3 C. of yogurt. The acidity of the yogurt accelerates the marinating of the chicken. The skin and meat turn golden-yellow. After a couple of hours I wiped off the excess yogurt and sautéed the bird briefly (make sure the oil is hot so the moisture of the yogurt doesn’t allow the skin to stick to the pan). I then added a handful of cubed potatoes to the pan with olive oil and brown mustard seeds. I roasted the bird at 350 until tender and juicy with a golden brown/yellow crust that became “Tandori” like. We were too hungry to get a picture of the cooked chicken. Sorry! The skin was crispy with a touch of chew that extracted the earthy, mild mustard-like flavor of the turmeric, the pungent medicinal quality of the cumin and the bright, cleansing note of the coriander seed. I mixed some red chile sauce, pureed mango and yogurt for the sauce. It was the sweet foil to all the richness and added a touch of heat as well. I steeped some black tea with the core of some mangoes for our beverage.
Dessert was a quick sauté of mango, red bananas, cardamom, brown sugar and butter. My son poured the orange liqueur and we all cheered as the flames erupted.
My wife took me to Mozza for a divine dinner. I felt like I was on the first date as I starred into her bright green eyes and drank the most luscious glass of dry rose. Dry rose is the perfect food wine. It has enough acidity to balance out the acid of salad dressings yet it has enough tannin, deep fruit and body to work with lighter meat dishes and pizza. (Mozza’s pizza dough is by far the best I have ever had. It is chewy like bread but thin and crispy. A brilliant accomplishment). I am going to stop now as I am getting too worked up and may go on forever! Thanks for reading. Have a great rest of the weekend and may your next birthday be everything you want it to be!! Enjoy.
Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy