I may be one of those "light sensitive" people because I begin to shudder at the eclipsing of the sun, day by day, then minute by minute -- until such time, at the end of December -- when day (as defined by the presence of light) -- ends at 4:20 p.m., or earlier! I feel bad for kids whose joy is diminished from playing outside, for older folks who "don't drive at night," and for myself who turns a bit inward when darkness arrives prematurely. The solution? Turn up the lights and the music and...start cooking! Since my husband is away on a business trip (he is creating five restaurants for a new hotel in northern India, but is headed for Singapore where the design firm is located) I will make a radically simple recipe I learned in Asia, accompanied by jasmine rice and stir-fried cabbage (made from yesterday's enormous head of leftover cabbage). My daughter and I (and any unexpected guests!) will finish with a dessert guaranteed to restore the sunshine zapped by today's encroaching darkness. How about a wobbly, tropical, bright yellow, pineapple flan, fashioned from only three ingredients? It will make you smile.
Asian Chicken with Scallions There are few more interesting or radically delicious ways to prepare chicken. You can use large bone-in chicken breasts halves with skin, about 10-ounces each, or large bone-in chicken thighs. You may marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours but I will marinate mine this morning and it will be ready for dinner tonight at 7:30 p.m. (about 8 hours of marinating.) And ssshhh...don't tell anyone that the secret ingredient is Thai fish sauce! In summer you may do this on the grill, but it is perfect cooked in a very hot oven.
4 large, bone-in chicken breast halves, with skin, about 10 ounces each 1/4 cup Thai fish sauce 4 large scallions 1 large clove garlic
Cut each chicken breast in half crosswise. Place in a bowl and pour the fish sauce over. Discard the top 2 inches of the scallions. Cut the remainder into 1/4-inch pieces. Add to the chicken with the garlic, pushed through a press. Toss and cover and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Lift the chicken from the fish sauce, allowing some of the scallions to remain. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast 12 minutes, until just cooked through. Turn the oven to broil and broil the chicken 2 minutes, until golden. Serves 4
Amazing Pineapple Flan Here, just three ingredients--eggs, sugar and pineapple juice -- form a luscious, creamy (but creamless) custard bathed in caramel.
1 cup sugar 4 extra-large eggs, plus 4 extra-large egg yolks 1 cups unsweetened pineapple juice fresh mint sprigs or edible flowers for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 375. Melt 1/2 cup sugar in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 3 minutes, until a clear amber caramel forms. Carefully divide among 5 (5-ounce) custard cups. Place the cups in a deep baking dish. Using an electric mixer, beat the whole eggs and yolks. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat 1 minute; beat in the pineapple juice. Divide mixture among the custard cups. Add 2 inches boiling water to the baking dish. Bake 40 to 45 minutes until firm. Remove the cups from the pan and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until very cold. Unmold onto plates and garnish. Serves 5