In the month in between travel to San Francisco (an awesome, delicious trip that we took over MLK weekend) and NYC (an awesome, delicious trip that we’ll be taking over Presidents’ Day weekend), the idea is to dial back the unhealthy eating and drinking and get back into a solid exercise routine. The latter is always harder, not only due to time constraints but also due to the fact that I like cooking a heck of a lot more than I like working out. Go figure.
This was one of the first new slimmed-down recipes I tried after the New Year, and it turned out to be really tasty. The marinade doesn’t sound like much, but reducing it and then brushing it on the chicken a few times during cooking really intensified the flavors and allowed the sugars to caramelize a bit. You really won’t miss the skin on the chicken – the meat is tender and flavorful – and as I’ve said a thousand times before, skinless thighs are no worse for you than skinless breasts (and since they are smaller in size, I find that they make portion control a little easier). We enjoyed this chicken with saffron rice and steamed vegetables for an easy weeknight dinner. I hope you enjoy it as well!
Preheat oven to 400°. Combine lime juice, soy sauce, 2 tablespoons honey, and chipotle in a large bowl. Add chicken, and toss well to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature. Arrange the chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray, reserving marinade. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Place reserved marinade in a blender, and process until smooth. Place pureed marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook 3 minutes. Brush chicken with half of cooked sauce; return to oven and bake an additional for 10 minutes. Brush chicken with remaining sauce; bake an additional 10 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°.
I don’t know what I liked more about last week’s TCAS – the fact that Jamie got the boot (awesome), the fact that the whole fishing field trip was rife with humor (awesomer), OR the fact that I got to watch it in San Francisco with my husband, my sister, and my brother-in-law (awesomest). The only bad part was that I watched it immediately after arriving in California, so I was a wee bit tired and not so much paying attention to details. Oh, well. I suppose no one comes here for detailed recaps anyway, seeing as how others are so much better at them.
Clearly, no one was sorry to see Jamie go (maybe not even Jamie herself, given her lackluster performance throughout), but I was bummed to say goodbye to Tiffani F. Yes, mostly because she’s on my Fantasy team, but also because I have really enjoyed watching her this go-round. Frankly, I’ve enjoyed everything she’s done BESIDES her original turn on Top Chef, when she was a raging bitch and just seemed like she was compensating for her insecurities by taking her competitors’ heads off one by one. I like a good redemption story, what can I say.
Anywho, in addition to the Blais-Fabio bromance and some weird pseudo-sexual comments about holding rods, Carla’s win was a highlight of the episode. The challenge seemed like it was right up her alley, and I’m really happy that she won. Marcel, not so much – he was a total dickwad when Carla came back into the stew room and (enthusiastically, I’ll admit, but rightfully so) announced her victory. He may very well be getting the evil edit, but ya know, if you don’t act like a selfish ass clown, the producers won’t have much of that material to work with, now will they? Grumble.
Next up…RESTAURANT WARS!!! Ah, always an epic train wreck. Can’t wait!
So, I started following Fabio (from TC, not the creepy aging model who is now hawking Toyotas in order to afford hair product) on Twitter, and based on his ridiculous, only partially comprehensible Tweets, I seriously thought he was getting the boot this past week. But, it turns out that everyone’s favorite Italian can cook more than just gnocchi – who knew? It also turns out that he has a thing for turtles, but hey, I’m not gonna judge.
There was some false advertising going on in terms of the quickfire challenge – all of the teaser ads said something about cooking head-to-head with Tom, when in reality, the two-phase challenge involved Chef Colicchio cooking a dish as fast as possible, and then the cheftestants attempting to cook theirs in the same amount of time (which turned out to be 8 minutes and 37 seconds). The chefs who screwed the pooch included Dale and Jamie, who couldn’t even pull a full plate together, and Angelo, who did a crudo when the chefs were basically instructed NOT to attempt any raw preparations. Top honors went to Richard (who wisely chose to present foie, since it cooks quickly), Marcel (who avoided the fridge melee by grabbing and cooking Tom’s leftover fish), and Mike. Mike’s pan-roasted branzino won him immunity AND a new car. Marcel wasted no time making fun of Mike and his Jersey accent.
The dim sum elimination challenge was an absolute clusterfuck. Sometimes I get really frustrated with the “brains” behind TC – I mean, yeah, it was moderately amusing to watch the chaos in the kitchen, but I feel like this particular challenge was basically impossible. Then again, the chefs didn’t really approach it from an intelligent standpoint. For example, Jamie – who hasn’t managed to cook ONE good dish, decided to attempt TWO. Carla decided to make a Vietnamese dish for a Chinese challenge. Tre opted for dessert (always the kiss of death). And Casey not only decided to make chicken feet (a Chinese favorite, and incredibly difficult to make delicious), but then she volunteered to work FOH and entrusted her food to someone else. On the plus side, Susur Lee was the guest judge, and I just love him. It’s the simple pleasures in life, kids.
Fabio, Tiffany, Angelo, and Dale were deemed the favorites, and Dale’s sicky rice won the day. He acknowledged that the win was like robbing a bank, since the challenge overall went so terribly. I agree, but Dale is on my Fantasy TC team, so I’ll take it.
Not surprisingly, Carla, Antonia, Jamie, Casey, and Tre wound up on the bottom. It seemed like everyone – including Jamie – thought Jamie was going to be eliminated, but Casey was sent home due to her inedible chicken feet. Despite the fact that Jamie is also on my Fantasy team, I was pretty disappointed that she wasn’t heading out the door. Those chicken feet must really have been terrible – but, then again, I think they’re pretty terrible even when they’re made by Chinese people, so what do I know?
Next week, the chefs go to Long Island – my homeland! Some of them will fit right in…