Raise your hand if you loathe moving?
Yeah. Moving is no pool party. Last 18th June 2015, my elusive landlord of 6 years decided to not renew our apartment lease. Our 2-bedroom/1.5 bathroom sits in a prime beach location and our abode is in high demand, what with rental prices sky-rocketing in Los Angeles. He’s long been wanting to gut & remodel the place, so he can double the rent. I saw it happening to multiple neighbors, heard their stories about how awful he is, but being the longest-standing tenant in the complex with a stellar reputation in paying rent and no unpleasantness with him, I guess I was incredulous that he’d get rid of us as well… Boy, was I wrong. You would think that after having been a conscientious tenant for 6 years, the old fart would pick up the phone and call me to break the news, but instead Dr. Parviz Parsa chose the Ayurvedic non-confrontational approach and taped a 60-day move-out notice to our front door. I suppose that actually speaking with us, would have upset his 87-year old chakras?!
Because I’m Belgian, and because I’m a professional event planner extraordinaire, we were packed and moved by 01st July, precisely 13 days post beachside apocalypse. Sans dope, Lance Armstrong! Truthfully, given the timeline between the quaint “let’s tape this to the door and surprise them” move-out notice and our actually physical move, we emotionally crashed & burned upon arrival in our new home. Oh, and did I mention we continued working full-time during those 13 days of packing and moving? Gives it a whole new dimension, doesn’t it? DOESN’T IT?
We’ve mostly been living off of pizza, pasta, hamburgers and ‘mystery meals’ at the various Vietnamese and Korean eateries in our new hood. With most of our boxes unpacked, we’re finally starting to feel less… well… shall we say feral? The cats, too, are slowly adjusting to “life beyond the closet”, and it seems the dust is finally settling. Literally.
With the kitchen fully unpacked, I no longer have any excuse to not cook a decent meal. So yesterday, I reverted back to our loyal friend: the boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast. Who doesn’t love a juicy thigh?
The chicken recipe below is very much a take on Mediterranean or Middle-Eastern cuisine. You can grill the chicken thighs, or skewer them and then grill them, but since apartment living doesn’t allow for open flame BBQ’s, I simply roasted them in the oven in a heavy cast iron pan. I’m lucky to own a variety of Lodge pans, and my 15-inch one is never far out of reach…
MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN WITH GARLICKY YOGURT SAUCE
(a delicious Hungry Belgian medley of various Pinterest recipes)
For the chicken:
– 12-15 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry (or 5-6 breasts, halved)
– 5 Tbsp of sweet Hungarian paprika
– 5 Tbsp of ground cumin
– 2 Tbsp of cinnamon
– 4-5 large garlic cloves, crushed or grated
– 1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley
– juice of 1 fresh lime (or 1/2 lemon)
– salt & pepper
– olive oil, for searing
Toss all the spices together and blend with the pressed garlic & lime juice. Coat the raw, rinsed chicken in the spice paste, toss with the chopped parsley and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Take out of the fridge, and let rest for another 10-15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425F.
In a heavy oven-proof pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil and let the pan get hot. The oil will shimmer, and it will be hot enough when it starts smoking lightly. Quickly sear thighs on all sides, then place the pan in the pre-heated oven and roast the chicken until tender… Approx. 20-30 min depending on how large the thighs are. Your house will smell delicious.
For the garlic sauce:
– 1/2 cup of yogurt cheese (eg. Karoun-brand Labne) or thick, full fat Greek yogurt
– 1/2 cup of sour cream
– 3 large garlic cloves, crushed or grated
– 1/4 cup of finely minced chives
– 1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley
– juice of 1 lime or half a lemon.
– salt & pepper
Stir everything together and let sit in the fridge for a few hours so the flavors can blend. Spoon cold over your hot roasted chicken. Yum!
I served the above with plain sautéed zucchini, but you can certainly roast a blend of veggies or grill them on the BBQ too. The possibilities are endless here…
PS: this dish got snarfled down in record time, so forgive the poor picture quality of the raw chicken cooking in the pan!