Tag Archives: Chicken thigh

I had a mental breakdown while making coconut-crusted chicken

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I’ve been trying to cook every meal at home since the new year began. I’ll delve deeper into that on Saturday when I post the first weigh-in of 2013, but, to get to the point, I’ve had all but three meals out (one breakfast and two lunches) in the last 10 days.

It wasn’t a resolution necessarily, but a goal I’ve had for a long time. For some reason, this time, it’s finally starting to click.

The idea for “coconut crusted chicken” popped into my head a couple of nights ago. I found a link to “Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders” from the Can You Stay For Dinner blog. I went looking for chicken and left with a whole new outlook on weight loss.

The blog is written by Andie Mitchell, a 27-year-old who lost 135 lbs. by cooking and exercise. Her honesty is encouraging, and seeing that she lost so much weight without any gimmicks is inspiring. She writes about taking it one day at a time, one choice at a time, and that truly is the right mindset to make it happen.

So, back to the chicken.

I wasn’t so much looking for an exact recipe as I was just to see how someone else did it without messing it up. I planned to de-bone the chicken thighs I had cut down earlier in the week, but they were still slightly frozen by the time I arrived home. It was a pain to get the bones out and more then a few times I wanted to call it quits.

Because I wanted to add more coconut flavor, I soaked the meat in coconut milk while it came to room temperature (better for cooking evenly). Then came the batter station:

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Drain the excess coconut milk from the chicken, drop it in flour, then in egg, and finally into the coconut/panko mix. Pan fry for 3 minutes per side and bake on 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

I’m terrible with batters, especially using wet and dry hands. I’m always running back and forth from the sink. That, paired with the hunger of having to stop at the grocery store for a couple of ingredients, then waiting to marinate, AND THEN  … AND THEN!!! … fighting with monster batter hands. I had enough.

There were obscenities, more obscenities, and this: “I don’t want to BLEEPIN’ cook, I’m over this, let’s just go out already!”

I slumped against the kitchen cabinets and slid all the way to the ground in protest.

“Screw you coconut chicken.”

Nadia, who was napping before dinner, woke up, came to the kitchen and calmed me down. She said she’d help with the batter and we pushed through. The chicken was done and in the oven before I knew it. The slaw– 2 cups of shredded cabbage and 1/4 thin-sliced red onion soaked in lime juice with salt plus cubed pineapple and scallion–took about as much time to assemble as it did for the chicken to bake and then rest.

We almost went out. Because I almost gave up. It wouldn’t have been worth it, and nothing could have been better that night than the coconut-crusted chicken WE worked together to make.

There are going to be nights where I don’t want to cook, but, if I truly want to control what’s going into my body, I’m the one who has to take control.

I’m the one behind this wheel.

Now, on to the next one.

Week 32, Meal 2: Sweet and sour chicken

Chef Brian’s pretty awesome at “magic tricks,” or at least that’s what I call them. Every once in a while, he’ll introduce a new technique to me that blows my mind. Some of my favorite tricks of his include corn pudding and salsa verde broth; Week 32, Meal 2: Italian Sweet and Sour chicken over sauteed kale with balsamic raisins and toasted pine nuts adds a new one to the repertorie: reconstituted raisins, plumped up fat and juicy with acidic balsamic vinegar.

Paired with a sticky glaze on skinless chicken thighs, the tart raisins provide perfect contrast in this sweet, sour and nutty dish.

Continue reading Week 32, Meal 2: Sweet and sour chicken

Week 32, Meal 1: Fall harvest

One of the most rewarding parts of writing this blog is getting to turn Chef Brian’s recipes–which I never get to actually see before I cook them–into a very tasty reality.

The first dish of the “Killer Kale” menu is a shining example of that.

Week 32, Meal 1: Honey-sherry marinated chicken over roasted butternut squash, kale and cipollini onion features sweet butternut squash, salty pepitas and a multi-dimensional marinade do wonders for this simple meal. Vibrant oranges, deep greens and so many caramelized shades of golden brown bring to mind the fall season.  The veggie mix on its own would be a highlight at any Thanksgiving table.

… It’s never too early to plan, right?

Continue reading Week 32, Meal 1: Fall harvest

Week 32: Killer kale

Off the top of my head, I can come up with a shortlist of foods we should all have regularly: blueberries, almonds, green tea, dark chocolate, salmon and … kale. I hardly ever ate it before, but the leafy green has been used a few times here on Fat Dude.

Full of vitamins and minerals, kale is a neutral green that goes well in a variety of dishes. That’s why Chef Brian decided to spotlight kale with our Week 32 menu:

Week 32, Meal 1: Honey-sherry marinated chicken over roasted butternut squash, kale and ciopolini onion

Week 32, Meal 2: Italian Sweet and Sour chicken over sauteed kale with balsamic raisins and toasted pine nuts

Week 32, Meal 3: Citrus and Adobo Marinated Tuna over roasted fingerlings, kale, and tomatoes with garlic-chile oil and adobo citrus sour cream

Each recipe makes two portions. Keep reading for the full shopping list.

Continue reading Week 32: Killer kale

Week 31, Meal 3: The fiesta bowl

When I first started this blog, cooking was one of the worst ‘chores’ I had to do. I always felt like it was such a pain in the ass to cook my own meals everyday, so instead, I would hit the drive-thru.

It’s hard sometimes not to get bored or tired of cooking at home–I definitely do that in cycles– but Week 31, Meal 3: Salsa verde soup reminded me why I love to cook.

Toasting the coriander, tearing the husks from the tomatillos and that “a-ha” moment when the salsa verde broth came together revived my senses. Leave in the seeds when you chop up the chiles for a spicier broth.

And about that  bowl of soup? Better and fresher than I could have found in South Orange County at 9 p.m., that’s for sure. Keep reading for the recipe and how-to. Continue reading Week 31, Meal 3: The fiesta bowl

Week 27: Thai-m for Thai

Chef Brian’s put out quite a few ethnic menus in the past–Italian, Mexican and Vietnamese dishes come to mind most–but one country he’s left alone until now  is Thailand.

“It kinda surprises me that I haven’t done any Thai menus considering I love it so much, but now is as good a time as any,” he wrote to me.

True, this blog was born at a Thai restaurant–in many people’s opinions one of the best, if not the best in the country–yet we’ve failed to bring some of  those flavors into the Fat Dude kitchen.

No longer. Here’s what’s cooking:

Week 27, Meal 1: Shrimp green curry

Week 27, Meal 2: Tom Kha Gai

Week 27, Meal 3: Grilled catfish with Thai tamarind-chile sauce over cabbage slaw

The seafood recipes make two portions and the Tom Kha Gai soup recipe makes four portions. Follow the jump for the shopping list. Continue reading Week 27: Thai-m for Thai

Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken taco deluxe

The tacos I used to eat were mostly made of that oat-beef crap they sell at Taco Bell.

Sure, I’ve encountered my fair share of traditional tacos (corn tortilla, meat, onions, cilantro, salsa), but never in my life have I eaten as many as I have since coming to work in Santa Ana last year. They’re low in calories, freshly prepared and contain little, if any, processed nonsense.

While I’m all good with simple, I’m definitely not gonna hate when something with many components comes together to create the perfect bite.

Here’s Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken tacos with avocado puree, lime sour cream, and grilled corn-jicama salsa.

Continue reading Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken taco deluxe

Week 12, Meal 2: Grilled lemongrass chicken over yellow chile rice with snap peas and pickled carrot slaw

Before I started this blog, there was pretty much one style of rice on the plate when I cooked at home.

It was white, flavored with a little salt, and that’s pretty much all folks.

Since, Chef Brian has introduced me to wild rice, brown rice and now, spiced rice.

For our next dish, Chef is breaking out the turmeric along with a whole lotta mint, cilantro, lemongrass and fish sauce.

Week 12, Meal 2: Grilled lemongrass chicken over yellow chile rice with snap peas and pickled carrot slaw is one hell of a ride on the flavor train. Continue reading Week 12, Meal 2: Grilled lemongrass chicken over yellow chile rice with snap peas and pickled carrot slaw

Week 8, Meal 3: Curried butternut squash soup with shredded chicken and lentil

Nothing is better on a cold winter day than going to bed with warm soup belly.

For the last meal of this week, Chef Brian is pulling out the stops with a filling soup punctuated by a pungent curry broth and cooling cilantro.

Here’s Week 8, Meal 3: Curried butternut squash soup with shredded chicken and lentil. Continue reading Week 8, Meal 3: Curried butternut squash soup with shredded chicken and lentil

Week 6, Meal 3: Tortilla soup

I don’t know where in the world you’re reading this from, but I’m writing from sunny Orange County, California where it wasn’t summer until fall and it wasn’t fall until December.

So far this month we’ve had stunning heat and heavy rain, but yesterday we had a beautiful day that started out with light rain dripping from a dull blue sky. I saw some sun in the afternoon, and at night, it was nice and cool near the mouth of the canyon where I live.

It was a day for soup, and lucky for me Chef Brian was serving up a comforting bowl of steamy broth packed with meat and veggies and topped with cheese.

Snuggle up to Week 6, Meal 3: Tortilla soup. Continue reading Week 6, Meal 3: Tortilla soup

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