The recipe for “Chicken in Coconut Milk,” from thekitchn.com, was presented as an easy and adaptable recipe, which appeals to a cook like me who is not interested in butchering a whole chicken into edible parts. Basically, you cook this chicken in a single Dutch oven, then “pull the meat off the bones” to serve your diners. I made a very moist chicken with a lovely, creamy gravy.

I used a 3 1/2-lb. Pollo Rosso chicken, which is an Italian Heritage chicken. I seasoned it with 3 1/2 Tbsp. salt and a little more than 1 Tbsp. black pepper. My final chicken may have been a bit too salty, so be careful with that salt. It was easy enough to baste the chicken every 20 minutes while it was in the oven. I cooked it for a total of 1 hour 50 minutes.

The flavors of sesame oil, cilantro, lemons, lemongrass, ginger, and cinnamon (I used canela) combined marvelously in the coconut-milk gravy. This chicken was smooth and delicious. Try it.

I also made the“Quinoa Pilaf with Red and Yellow Peppers,” from The Professional Chef’s Techniques of Healthy Cooking, by the Culinary Institute of America. I reduced the quantities of this recipe in order to make only four servings. I love quinoa, yet I’ve never cooked it in the oven. This technique gave the quinoa a nearly “crunchy” texture, which was cute. The dish was surprisingly tasty, considering its modest seasonings (vegetable stock, garlic, bay leaf, thyme). It was a humble side dish, but quite nice on the plate.

PRICES
Whole Chicken (3 1/2 lbs.) = $11.70
Fingerling Potatoes (1 lb.) = $2.07
Canned Coconut Milk (2 cans) = $3.30
Lemons (2) = .80¢

RECIPES: if you can handle a whole chicken and coconut milk, you can handle this dish; see what happens when you cook quinoa in the oven
PREP TIMES: devote more than 2 hours to the chicken; eat the quinoa within 30 minutes
TASTES: succulent chicken and potatoes are bathed in a creamy milk gravy that absorbs the benefits of slowly roasted garlic, lemongrass, ginger, and cinnamon; a crunchy quinoa is gently kissed by shallots and garlic and peppers

Next time, I’ll return to the vegetarian road and prepare “Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing,” from the September 2009 issue of Vegetarian Times, along with “Individual Carrot Souffles,” from the March 2007 issue of the same publication. Witness the results of my meal when you come back to my site on Thursday, May 6.