Friends, I've been one busy, busy bee. Like, so incredibly busy that even Dash of Les has had to take the back burner for a couple of weeks. I assure you, it wasn't by choice. If you follow me on Facebook you may have already heard word of my very, very big news. Just this past Friday, my fiance, Chris and I moved cross country to Santa Monica, California. See, I told you it was big news! It's a place we have wanted to live for as long as we've known one another...and even long before that.
But moving to California wasn't the only dramatic change I've faced recently. For I also packed up my childhood home, the home that I was carried into the day after I was born, the home that I spent the *vast* majority of my life in, and the home that gave me so many sweet, treasured memories of my beloved (late) mom.
As you can imagine, my life has been turned upside down. Almost everything I know has now just become a memory, an old routine, and even, a past life. Not one for dramatics, this truly has been one significant life change. And one day, I'll be better for it. Just have to get a career and social life started out here first.
On my very last night in my home, my brother brought over my Mom's famous Spanish Bean Soup and I picked up some pressed Cuban sandwiches from a local Spanish joint. We sat in camp chairs alongside Chris, and Patrick's wife, Sloan without a single piece of furniture, photo, or painting around us. All we had was each other and the Cuban food that Patrick and I grew up on. And that's exactly how it was supposed to be.
But just a few nights before our farewell Cuban feast, I made it a point to cook one last time in the kitchen that my mom designed with my help. A kitchen made of black granite countertops, beautiful oak cabinetry, a Tuscan-style stone tile backsplash, and sleek stainless steel appliances. A kitchen that I already miss, even though my new kitchen in California is pretty stellar too.
So you know my thoughts on chicken. The boring bird surprisingly was my choice protein for this last meal I'd ever cook in my childhood home. Crazy, I know. But I set out to make something that wouldn't distract me from the many chores I had lined up that day (and the next day) but would still impress Chris, or any guest, if I should ever make it again (which I will). My Blue Corn-Crusted Chicken with Mexican Roasted Veggies and an Avocado "Cream" Sauce was heavenly and not too time involved either. Pretty painless in preparation, the dish boasts tons of flavors from the various Mexican ingredients, and looks pretty delightful on a plate too.
If you're not the sentimental type, please excuse my mushiness. It (probably) won't happen again. Just go on ahead and read this not-so sentimental recipe...and make it, like tonight.
Blue Corn Crusted Chicken with Mexican Roasted Veggies and an Avocado "Cream" Sauce
For the chicken:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
1 cup crushed organic blue corn tortilla chips
1/2 cup almond flour (or flour of your choice)
2 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or light tasting oil of your choice)
1 tablespoon lime zest
3 teaspoons chili powder
salt and pepper
For the Veggies:
An assortment of poblanos, zuchinni, tomatoes, tomatillos, and red onion, chopped. (I didn't use fresh corn but it'd be a great addition)
3 teaspoons cumin for every cup of veggies you use
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil for every cup of veggies
1 garlic clove, minced, for every cup of veggies
salt and pepper
For the Avocado and Cilantro "Cream" Sauce:
1 avocado, pitted and mashed in mixing bowl
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
salt and pepper
1) Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Place chopped veggies in a medium to large casserole dish. Mix in olive oil, cumin, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. Place veggies in the oven once it's heated. Veggies will take about 40 minutes, give or take, depending on your preference.
2) Make a dredging assembly line for the chicken. In one shallow dish or baking pan evenly distribute the flour. In another, a beaten egg, and in the last, the crushed tortilla chips. Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, lime zest, and chili powder. Then, dredge chicken first in the flour, then the egg wash, and then in the crushed tortilla chips. Make sure chicken is thoroughly coated with each component. Set aside on a clean plate or wax paper.
3) Bring 2 tablespoons oil to medium heat in a large non-stick pan. When oil is completely heated, place the chicken in the pan, being sure not to overcrowd the pan. (You can do this is a couple batches if your pan isn't big enough for all of the chicken. You'd just want to add a tablespoon of oil between the batches) Cook on each side for 5-7 minutes, until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken from pan and place on paper-towel lined plate.
4) For the avocado cream sauce, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. With a hand-held or immersion blender, blend until creamy and smooth. Add more coconut milk if you want to "thin" it out anymore.
5) After the veggies have been cooking for at least 30 minutes, remove from the oven and plate. Top with the chicken and then the avocado cream sauce. Enjoy!