I am psyched to be a part of Murdoch Books first big online challenge. Cooks across the world are working their way through Stéphane Reynaud’s 365 Good Reasons to Sit down to Eat, one dish at a time, over the course of this year.
Reynaud is the best-selling French author of Ripailles and Rotis. and “365 Good Reasons” is a quirky culinary almanac of sorts. The book includes a recipe for every day of the year, including breakfasts, one-pot wonders, roasts, salads, cocktails and everything in between. Included is a a seasonal calendar an cooking tips to help make your dishes a success. 365 is written and illustrated in the same idiosyncratic French style as Ripailles and Rotis and seems to be as lovely to look at as it is as easy to cook from. (Full disclosure – I do not own a copy of the book but having made a couple of recipes already, I think it might have to join my overflowing piles of cookbooks taking over the house. It’s that good).
My first assignment was June 4th: Coconut Chicken Kebabs – a super easy recipe involving very little prep time at all. It’s chicken marinaded in a blend of coconut milk, honey and cilantro and barbecued. The original recipe does not call for overnight marinading but I figured that since I had the time, it wouldn’t hurt and it would make them all the more flavourful. I deviated from the recipe only in the marinading time and the fact that I grilled them in the oven, since the night I was serving them, it was freezing and pouring with rain, hardly ideal barbecuing conditions. The recipe calls for dipping the kebabs into the marinade halfway through the cooking time to help the chicken soak up the marinade and flavour, so I basted them throughout the cooking time in the hopes it would replicate this step. These were flavourful but I was surprised the coconut and cilantro flavour was not more pronounced. They were alos a little on the dry side, perhaps a combination of the fact that they were cooked in an oven, not the barbecue and that my pieces were slightly bigger than the recipe originally called for? I served them on a bed of cardamom rice pilaf which was a perfect match. Next time, I would make a dipping/ pouring sauce from the same ingredients as the marinade to serve, warm, with the kebabs. The bottom line? A great flavour profile and definitely something I would make again, albeit with a couple of modifications.
Want to read more about the 365 Challenge dishes? Go to Murdoch Books’ 365 Challenge Blog.