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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chipotle Lime and Orange Marinade

As I was quietly finishing my dumpling soup lunch, dinner desires were concocting in my head.  I switched continents in a split second.. From China to Mexico, with a longing for chipotle peppers and black beans.  I wanted something tangy and spicy to penetrate my turkey cutlets before cooking them on my griddle pan and getting yelled at for the smokey coughing production caused by the sizzling chipotle aroma.  That feeling, when you make smoke with chili entrails and it catches the back of your throat before you can breath it in..
Yes, that feeling is what I was longing for..because any meal succeeding that feeling is bound to be memorable.  I remember the very first time I felt that feeling.  I must have been 13 or 14, sleeping over at one of my best friend's house, chatting in the morning, when all of a sudden, I felt something grasp the back of my throat.  It wasn't violent, but new and strange.  I couldn't quite identify what it was, or if that was something normal coming from the kitchen.
"Oh don't worry, that's just my mom blending hot chilies.  You get used to it after a while."
It was the most bizarre sensation related to food aroma I had ever experienced.  (I was also not very old, but still.. none of my Indian influences had ever done this to my lungs!)
The funny thing is, that feeling didn't come from smoke at all.  It was the fumes released into all the rooms of the house by the chilis and their seeds after having been grilled during the blending for a very satisfying chipotle salsa.  I thought I could never in the world sit through that again without coughing incessantly, but as the years went by, I did get used to it, and I even craved it.  I didn't really know what it was called, but whenever I felt that throat catching feeling in her house, I knew we were in for something good.
Today I was able to recreate that feeling, although some of it was actually a mixture of smoke and chipotle fumes.
It was pleasant but in a way nobody else in the house could understand, and it brought me back to my teens, discovering how different cultures were what made the world a perfect place.
I achieved my goal by making an amazing marinade for my turkey cutlets (but you can easily use chicken) and grilling them.  I used a griddle pan (hence the house smoke) but this would work just as well on a bbq or plancha, if you don't think your lungs can handle it.
Yield 1 cup
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
3 Tbsp EVOO
juice from 1/2 very juicy orange
juice from 1 lime
1 large handful flat leaf parsley
3 peeled garlic cloves
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch salt
lots of cracked black pepper
Pico de Gallo:
1 large shallot, minced
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 large avocado, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped feta
1 handful chopped flat leaf parsley
6-7 chopped basil leaves
juice from 1/4 lime
cracked black pepper
1.  Blend all the marinade ingredients together.
2.  Lavishly slather it on to your turkey cutlets or whatever cut of meat you are preparing.  Let marinate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
3.  Grill or griddle your meat and be sure to inhale, and let your eyes roll back as you cough with pleasure.
4.  When you are done with your chili cough, make the pico de gallo by stirring all the chopped ingredients together.  This will be a nice salsa to spoon over your beans or to accompany your grilled meat.

I served this with some Chipotle Black Beans (no pinto this time) into which I added about 1/2 cup roasted Bernettine squash.  The addition of the squash gave it a nice consistency.
I also served some red and basmati rice with a custom pico de gallo.
I'm not even sure I'm allowed to call it pico de gallo, but it served its purpose well.
Today was a good day...
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