Although I'm beginning to suspect that I have 2 readers (or less), I am going to push forward and present two recipes that I have recently made. I wish I had some beautiful pictures, but I guess you will have to suffice on your imagination. These recipes were actually very easy, so don't get scared by the number of steps.
Chicken Tagine with Apricots (Gourmet, April '08-- with a few subtle adjustments of my own)
1. Rinse 5-8 chicken thighs and/or drumsticks, skins removed (I've recently discovered how disgusting chicken breasts are, and how ridiculously DRY). Pat dry, and sprinkle with salt.
2. Heat 2 T oil in a heavy sauce pan (I use my dutch oven, just probably don't use a non-stick saucepan), and brown chicken parts, turning once, about 6-8 minutes. I used tongs so that I didn't poke the chicken and release the juices too early. Move to a plate.
3. In the same pan, add 1 T butter and sautee 5-6 shallots, cut finely, about 6 minutes. Add 1/2 t paprika, 1/2 t turmeric, and 5 cloves garlic, minced. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes.
4. Add chicken back to pan and 1/2 t salt. Turn chicken to coat. Add 1 C water and bring to a boil, covered, then turn down and cook at a low simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Add 4-6 T bitter orange marmalade (I used regular)-- more if you like it a little sweeter. Add a cinnamon stick, 1 sprig of thyme, and 2-3 sprigs of cilantro. You could probably leave out the thyme if you don't have any. Add 6 dried apricots, chopped. Stir and turn a little.
6. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 10-15 minutes more, until chicken is tender and almost falling off the bone. At this point you should taste the sauce and adjust as necessary. I usually add more marmalade, because I'm crazy.
7. Heat 1 T olive oil in a fry pan. Once it shimmers, stir in 1/4 C pine nuts, 1/4 t turmeric, 1/4 t paprika, and a pinch of cayenne (optional) and cook, stirring often until nuts are toasted (light brown). 1-2 minutes.
To serve, sprinkle spiced pine nuts on top. If you like, stir in extra chopped cilantro. Eat with rice. (serves 4-5)
And, just in time for May 5th, I made a flan (a week early, I know). I learned this flan recipe at a cooking class I went to with Da. It's SOOO easy, and it's definitely my favorite flan recipe.
Flan with Cheese
1. Heat 1 C sugar in a saucepan. Stirring frequently (preferably with a heat proof spatula) , heat over medium high heat until sugar melts completely, and turns a light amber color. It can burn very easily, so watch it carefully. Definitely do not touch it at all.
2. Spoon the caramel while it's hot into 8 individual ramekins or one glass pie pan. I usually just do the larger version. Let cool. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Meanwhile, in a blender mix 1 can evaporated milk, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 4 eggs, 1 t cinnamon, and 4 oz of panela or other slightly salty, medium hard cheese (gouda works very well). Or, you may hate the idea of cheese, but I urge you to try it at least once. It is wonderful. I suppose you could leave it out if you had to. Put a little salt in if you do leave it out.
4. Blend for 1 minute or less, until the cheese seems finely dispersed, and then pour into pie pan. Cover with foil.
5. Place a large glass pan in the oven, and nest the smaller pan inside it. Pour hot water into the larger class pan until the water comes about halfway up the sides of the smaller pan. Cook for about 45-55 minutes. For ramekins, check at about 30-35 minutes. The flan is done when it is still a little jiggly in the middle, but a knife inserted in the middle comes out fairly clean.
Let cool for 40 minutes, then put in fridge. To serve, invert pie plate onto a serving platter.