Here’s a recipe that enticed me with its commitment to marinating, long simmering, and exotic fresh curry leaves. The investment that I took in the “Aromatic Braised Chicken with Fried Onions,” from the May 2008 issue of Gourmet, resulted in a spicy, magnificently flavored chicken dish with tang, richness, and depth. I used nine chicken thighs in this recipe. I found fresh curry leaves in stock at the Park Slope Food Coop, and discovered that they taste a bit like celery. I reduced the cayenne to 1/2 tsp., in the interests of my toddler’s palate. My chosen “cinnamon stick” was a canela stick, which is a lovely piece of aromatic, cinnamon-like bark. I used white wine vinegar, rather than distilled white vinegar.

I marinated my chicken thighs for three hours. I then simmered them for 43 minutes. After frying the onions, I browned my chicken in a cast-iron skillet for 8 minutes. I simmered the sauce liquid for 3 minutes, and added 1 tsp. salt to the mix. This is a very rewarding chicken dish. You will celebrate your own efforts and eat well.

I prepared three servings of the “Cold Cucumber Soup,” from, and enjoyed a clean, fresh, dill-flavored soup. Rather than fresh dill, I used 1 1/4 tsp. of dried dill; instead of green onions or chives, I used 1 Tbsp. of garlic scapes. I chose to make this soup because I knew I would use my immersion blender to mix it. The swirl of sour cream at the end added a necessary flavor element. You’ll be proud to make a soup from ingredients as simple as cucumbers.

RECIPES: the chicken is more complicated than the soup, but both will make you proud and are pleasures to prepare
you’ll need hours for this meal: marinating and cooking your chicken will take at least 3 hours; the soup is quick to cook (15 minutes), but needs to chill for 3 hours
enjoy deep, rich flavors from your chicken, and cool, fresh tastes from your soup

Next time, I will cook “Sweet and Sour Stir-Fried Cabbage and Dumplings,” from Express Lane Diabetic Cooking, by Robyn Webb, along with “Fig and Ricotta Crostini” from All Recipes. This should be an interesting meal! Come back to my site on Sunday, August 31, to see what happens.