In the very first installment of this blog, I am not exactly doing something out of the box or ambitious. With a bit of a time and ingredient constraint, I decided to pull out the spice rack and do a chipotle rubbed chicken breast/tofu, with sauteed brussels sprouts and a baked potato with butter and cheese. For starters, if you have whole chicken pieces, like thighs or drumsticks, and a grill, I would recommend going in that direction, if not, the breast works out well too. As per the title of this page, I’ll usually be making a meal consisting of all vegetarian, or a veggie friendly meal, consisting of enough protein. Just ask Natalie Portman, last nights ‘Top Chef‘ guest judge, you can have a veggie friendly meal, that feels big enough to stand on its own.
This is my first attempt at this, and actually, due to the spontaneity of this website conception, all pictures are taken on my blackberry. Future installments will be taken my digital camera. I hope you enjoy.
1 chicken breast (or 2 legs/thighs/bone in breast)
1/2 container of firm or extra firm tofu
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 baking potatoes
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or one finely diced clove)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Chicken or Veggie Stock (optional)
Your first step is to take the above ingredients: coriander, 1 teaspoon of paprika, garlic powder and the chipotle, a dash of salt and one or two cranks of fine pepper and mix them in a small bowl.
Once combined well, set aside. Now you need to prepare your tofu and chicken. Cut your tofu slab in half and then thinly (not too thin) slice that into smaller slices. If your chicken breast doesn’t have any large pieces of fat on the sides, you can proceed. If your tofu is very wet, as it usually is, pat down with paper towel to remove as much moisture as you can. Next, you are going to coat and rub the spices into the tofu and chicken — starting with the tofu, dip each piece into your spice mixture followed by rubbing in the seasoning to get an even coat. Do this with the chicken as well and set aside.
The process of rubbing down your proteins can be completed the night before to seal in more flavor.
Now you are ready to prepare the sprouts. Depending how fresh they are, you may find some will have a layer/leaf that is brownish on the outside. First wash them in a bowl and the drain the water out.
To clean them, cut off the bottom stem area and remove a piece or two (if necessary) of the outside skin to get rid of any brown or bad portions. Then you may slice them in half, or if they are huge sprouts, slice into three portions. While you are cleaning, you can also prepare your cooking pans. For this operation, you will unfortunately need 3 pans. I will be using a large pan with lid for the sprouts and two small pans for the protein. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in the protein pans and about 2 in the sprout pan.
Toss the sprouts around the pan and cover on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. At this time, you can also place your tofu in the pan — a minute or two before the chicken — and crank it up to medium/high. You want to get them nice and browned on each side. You may wonder where the optional chicken stock comes in, well here it comes. In order to ensure the sprouts are tender as well as browned, I like to add a tiny bit of stock or water into the pan and close for about 2 minutes to steam them. Once most of the liquid has cooked off, you can turn up the burner to medium/high and add some more salt and pepper to taste. At this time you can toss in your chicken breast and start getting a nice brown on each side. The breast will t
ake about 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness. The tofu can be flipped once you have a nice golden brown.