My friend Suzanne is one lucky bitch.
She recently sent me an email, which began, “Tonight Adam and his buddies are making the following meal for themselves.”
Okay, I had to pause there for a second. Adam is Suzanne’s fifteen year-old son, just so you know, so already I was choking with envy: I have thus far never had the opportunity to write a sentence like that regarding my own children. Plus, aren’t teenage boys supposed to be out zooming around on motorcycles, rebelling without a cause? What’s up with this?
It gets worse. Here’s what Adam and friends were making: “Sweet potato and plantain soup with smoked chile crème and fried plantain, Cotija-crusted quesadillas with basil, red chilis and charred corn relish, pan-roasted pork chops with yellow pepper mole sauce, and warm chocolate cake with dulce de leche.”
Okay, so at this point, I was really irked. Not only was Suzanne’s son cooking dinner, it was a gourmet one, including an ingredient I had to Google: Cotija. (It’s a cheese. Who knew?)
How did Suzanne get so lucky? Was it nature or nurture? Did Adam just get the Emeril gene or did Suzanne give him cooking utensils as crib toys? Whatever the answer is, I fear it’s too late for me. My kids are older than Adam, gone to college, and on their rare visits home they show no signs of using a spatula for anything but a fly swatter. Just recently in fact, when Elizabeth was home, I asked if she’d like to learn how to make chicken curry. I hyped it as a simple but exotic recipe, good for novice cooks, but she wandered off to watch TV just as I was extolling the virtues of coconut milk. (How can a kid who hates cooking be so obsessed with Top Chef?)
If you can rope your teenager into cooking dinner, I envy you. If you can’t, try this recipe yourself. It has no ingredients you have to Google.
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
¾ cup coconut milk*
1. In a large skillet, melt two tablespoons of the butter together with one tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat. Sprinkle the chicken breasts lightly with salt and pepper and cook about 7-8 minutes on each side, until they are browned and cooked through.
2. Wipe out the pan and add the remaining tablespoons of butter and oil. When the butter is melted, add the onion and cook until it is tender, about ten minutes. Add the garlic and curry powder and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and and cook until their liquid is reduced and the sauce thickens, 4-5 minutes.
3. Add the coconut milk to the pan and stir to combine it well with the other ingredients.
Add ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, or to taste. Return the chicken breasts to the pan and cook them for two minutes or so, just to heat them through.
Serve the curry with rice.