Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Coconut Fried Shrimp and Goat Cheese Potato Gratin

Thank G-d for Pinterest

Crunchy Coconut Chicken Strips with Mango Dipping Sauce and Goat Cheese Gratin

I remember the good old days. . . Some of you can commiserate with me. What to make for dinner? Leafing through cookbooks or magazines, index cards sorted in a little box (there was even paid membership), exchanging with friends.

Well the Internet has really changed that whole pursuit of the perfect recipe. Not only do I get to do a refined search for what I have on hand (or in my case I work backwards and go shopping for the items that we will need) but I get actual reviews from other real live folks that have already tried the recipe. I haven't used a cookbook in a really long time and I really am trying to figure out why I still have them collecting dust in the kitchen.

I start getting our grocery list ready on Thursday or Friday, plugging in what I plan to make for the week, comparing it the inventory we have on hand in the fridge and the pantry (okay it's a cabinet, "pantry" is fancy), and typing up a list of what we need. I have made a semi commitment to myself to try at least one new recipe a week. As I have said before, I have picky eaters here and my goal is to get all of them to like something once in a while. Chicken Cordon Bleu a couple of weeks ago was a big hit so I sometimes get a winner.

I am not a big chicken fan. I don't like bones and I really hate cleaning/preparing it. I can tolerate skinless boneless chicken breasts so that give me some options. Chicken is relatively cheap and the Hendren kids seem to like it so that really goes far in planning. This week we tried a crunchy coconut chicken strip recipe that was meant to be an appetizer (I tripled it and it was way too much but that made lunch for the husband today, and lunch for the kids tomorrow) and I was intrigued by this goat cheese potato gratin which is going to do double time tonight for dinner too.

The sauce was super easy to make. Trader Joe's sells frozen mango chunks and you just let them thaw a little bit (really do let them thaw, otherwise the honey kind of freezes), with mayo and honey. I did not add the cilantro (I'm not a big fan) but did sneak some curry and Sriracha in it. Good stuff! It's not super sweet and it was balanced with the chicken. I made the sauce ahead of time and put it in the fridge for later. It made plenty - no need to double this even if you double the chicken.

Mango Honey Dipping Sauce

First layer of potatoes, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese and garlic
The goat cheese in the gratin was a different taste but not overpowering for those cautious about goat cheese. It was really creamy and it had a good balance with the Parmesan and the garlic. I did not have a mandolin so I tried to slice the potatoes as thin as possible but I'm sure they were thicker than the original recipe. I baked them and then warmed them up a little later. I find that gratin does not always do well the next day - it seems to dry out when you rewarm it - so I wrapped it in foil and put it on a very low temperature.

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