It is a really icky day here. Cold, wet, rainy, some hail. Not exactly a vision of spring bursting forth with sunshine and warm rays and flowers and bunnies with miniature gold pocket watches in little tiny pockets.
But that’s ok, because summer marches on an endless parade in my head. Well, summer and a small battalion of green plastic army men, à la Toy Story but with less realism. I decided that since I was on my own, I should make a dinner that was as seasonally uplifting as my imagination. In the winter, I stay about two energy levels above hibernation and only because as of this writing, there is no way for humans to safely and economically hibernate through the less desirable parts of the calendar so far as I know. (If you know of something…email me.) I stay indoors, surrounded by warm blankets and fuzzy socks and eat hot, heavy, delicious comfort foods like chili, short ribs, mac and cheese, meatballs and lasagna. But in the summer, I tend to slide more towards light, fruit and veggie heavy meals. This dinner totally fits the bill.
This was quick, easy, tasty and full of flavors that I love–chicken, coconut, chili pepper, strawberries, lime. It’s a perfect meal to make for the family, or just for yourself and have plenty of leftovers for lunch. First, I melted a bit of butter in a large skillet with some olive oil over really high heat. Then I sprinkled about a pound’s worth of boneless, skinless chicken breasts with salt and pepper and placed them seasoned-side down in the pan once the butter had started to brown. Then I sprinkled the top side of the chicken with salt and pepper as well. Once the bottom side had browned nicely–about 4-5 minutes–I flipped the breasts over and then poured in one can of coconut milk. Coconut milk is a wonderful thing. When it hits the hot pan, it sizzles and it bubbles and it smells amazing. Then I sprinkle it with a tablespoon of red pepper flake, a coupel dashes of lime juice and just let everything cook until the chicken is done and the milk has reduced down to just a small bit of delicious sauce, around 15-20 minutes. Serve the chicken with a little bit of the pan sauce. I also added some snap peas to the side, a sprinkling of this goat’s milk feta cheese I am currently addicted to and a generous helping of my strawberry salsa.
The salsa is even easier to make than the chicken. Really. Any shmuck could make this salsa. Replacing the tomatoes with strawberries gives you a nice, light, sweet condiment without the acidity and is just kind of a nice change from the usual. If you don’t like heat in your salsa, use the recipe as is. If you like heat, add in a chopped jalapeno or serrano–as much as you like. Also, what’s listed below is enough salsa to serve with the chicken for two people. Obviously, adjust the quantities to fit your dinner plans and your tastes.
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
2 tbsp chopped red onion
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to let the flavors blend. Eat. Be happy.