We aren’t very good at having people over for dinner, and I’m not quite sure why. Partly it might be that we’re all creatures of habit, and having people over is not one of our habits. We’re also not great at making plans in advance, so by the time we think that it would be nice to have friends join us, the more organized of our friends (especially those without kids) tend to have plans of some sort already. However, we lucked out this past weekend, and our friends over at The Westcoast Mama joined us for dinner one night.
It had been a heck of a day (Do you like my PG language? It’s a work in progress), thanks to a grouchy 2 year old who was throwing tantrums like they were going out of style. The morning included the following series of requests: I want to go to the grocery store. No, I want to go to the library! Why are we at the library? I want to go straight home! What, who said anything about going home? Why haven’t we gone to the grocery store yet? And so on… Things looked up a bit after his nap and a trip to the park, where Miles discovered that flying down the hill on a ride-on ATV toy was the funnest thing EVER. We managed to avoid the park-leaving meltdown by suggesting to Miles that when we got home we’d make “vinegar bean dip”, which is much more delicious than it sounds and involves the food processor (aka the foo-fether). I’ll post that recipe another time.
We got home to find Angela and co. arriving, so it was an all-hands-on-deck affair to get things ready. Fortunately we had marinated the chicken satay the night before, and tipped and tailed the green beans while Miles napped, so it didn’t take long to get dinner on the table. Meanwhile, Miles helped me with the dip and then astounded Angela by eating whole spoonfuls of it and whole snap peas dipped in it (meanwhile, her son Joshua was delighting in throwing Miles’s play broccoli around while chanting “I don’t eat THAT!”).
Once dinner was ready, we sat the boys at Miles’s drawing table and had the four adults and baby Savanna at the main table. There is nothing more satisfying than being quite sure you’ve made far too much food, and then watching almost all of it disappear! Savanna amazed us all with her appetite for the satay (eschewing the plain chicken entirely), reminding me of a someone else at that age.
After dinner, we went outside to burn off some energy and enjoy some coconut pineapple popsicles, again courtesy of my budding chef. Our popsicle-making roles are well-defined: Miles comes up with the flavours and I figure out how to make them in a way that uses the food processor. A while ago he wanted chocolate popsicles, which I thought was an excellent idea since I was looking forward to having these again. Miles decreed that that recipe was not acceptable since it doesn’t involve a food processor, so we settled for yogurt, cocoa powder and a smidge of sugar whizzed up together (which was fine, but not nearly as good as the option I had proposed). The coconut pineapple popsicles turned out well though, and were just coconut milk (1 can), fresh pineapple (about 2 cups) and a smidge of vanilla extract done in the food processor. Easy, and very refreshing!
Anyhow, I’m losing track of the main point here, which was to share my recipe for chicken satay before the weather changes for good and makes grilling something to look forward to in 8 months. This is not a recipe I picked up from my local warung when I lived in Indonesia; instead it’s from Best Summer Weekends, a book that has produced a few winners for us. I haven’t tweaked it much, other than to scale it down a bit and streamline the preparation.
- 3-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (depending on how many people you are feeding)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne (or more if not making this for toddlers and babies)
- 1/4 onion, roughly chopped
- 1-2 Tbsp fresh ginger, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 strip lemon zest (optional)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Put all the ingredients except the chicken in a food processor and let your toddler go wild. Alternatively, just whirl until the mixture forms a paste.
Cut the chicken into long strips and place in a bowl. Pour spice paste over top and cover. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. This can make your fridge a bit smelly, so really cover it well.
Thread chicken strips onto metal skewers (or bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water) and grill over medium-high heat for 8-10 min, turning once, until cooked through.