Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s hard to believe it’s already May and that we’ve been living in hotels for almost a month. I think we’re starting to settle into the swing of it and it almost feels normal now. When we got back from Miami, knowing that we’ll be in Connecticut for at least two to three weeks, we unpacked a little more than last time and I think that’s helped us feel a little more at home (we even put clothes in some of the drawers!).
On Saturday, we made our first attempt at cooking in our kitchenette. This time around we are fortunate to have two pots, a deep skillet and even a big spoon!
This recipe I’m dubbing Chicken a la Hotel Kitchen. We had to get a little creative with our tools and ingredients, but in the end I think we produced a pretty good meal.
We started with the quinoa. Unfortunately our kitchen isn’t equipped with a strainer or sieve, but luckily I have an awesome travel tea steeper and it did the job.
First, I rinsed a cup of red quinoa in water using a random microwave dish in our cupboard. I drained the water from the quinoa by pouring it through the tea steeper. I wasn’t too worried about getting it all out because my next step was to pour about a tablespoon of olive oil and garlic in the bottom of our smallest pot and begin toasting the quinoa until any remaining water was gone.
While I was doing that, Matt tackled our raw chicken breasts. He trimmed and cut them into smaller pieces to make them cook faster and more evenly. He hacked away at the meat with a small paring knife with a wobbly handle and did a great job prepping it. He put it aside once he was done and began on our broccoli.
The broccoli he cut into smaller pieces and put it in a pot with some water to steam it. When it was a nice, bright green, he removed it from the cooktop and put it in a bowl for later.
Meanwhile, the quinoa was now nice and toasty, so I added two cups of water and let it come to a boil before reducing the heat and letting it simmer for about 15 minutes.
We put the skillet on the other burner and poured in about a tablespoon of oil. Once it was hot, we added the chicken breasts and I spooned garlic over the top and sprinkled them with truffle sea salt.
We chopped up a beautiful cipollini onion and tossed it in the skillet as well.
We let the chicken cook for about 15 minutes, checking it every once in a while to ensure it wasn’t over cooking. The smells that filled the room were garlicky, oniony and delicious!
This next step was very important. Since it was Derby Day and the big race was about to start, we poured a shot each of Kentucky bourbon whiskey over an ice cube and toasted our favorite horses. Unfortunately, neither of our picks won. Good thing we weren’t betting–that would have been $2 out of our pockets!
When the race was done, our food was as well. We plated up the chicken, quinoa and broccoli (I sprinkled a little truffle sea salt over my broccoli) and dug in!
One important thing to note: if you cook with a lot of garlic in your hotel kitchen, it is going to smell like garlic for the next few days. I recommend getting an air freshener. That way when you walk in it smells like fake flowers and garlic. Like you’re at least making an effort to cover it up.
For those of you interested in trying out Chicken a la Hotel Kitchen in your own hotel, here is the quick version of the recipe and instructions. Bon appétit.
Chicken a la Hotel Kitchen (serves 2-3 with leftovers)
1 C. Quinoa (Rinsed and Drained)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2-3 Tbsp. Chopped Garlic
2 1/2 C. Water
1 Broccoli Crown
1 Cipollini Onion
1 Pound Chicken Breasts (Trimmed)
Truffle Sea Salt (To Taste)
Step One: Measure out one cup of quinoa and pour it into a pot or bowl and fill with enough water to cover it. Let it sit for a moment or two while you pour a tablespoon of olive oil and tablespoon or so of garlic into a small pot and heat it on medium-high on your cooktop (or stove). Drain the quinoa with your tea steeper (or sieve/strainer if you have one) and dump into the pot with olive oil and garlic once the oil is hot. Let it toast for about five minutes (or until any excess water is gone) then add two cups of water and a pinch or two of truffle sea salt. Let that come to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Step Two: Chop your broccoli and put it in the skillet with about 1/2 cup of water. Cover loosely with a lid and let it steam on medium heat until bright green and tender (about 10 minutes). Set aside.
Step Three: Rinse and dry skillet before returning to the cooktop and adding one tablespoon of olive oil. Add chicken breasts once the oil is hot and cover with a tablespoon or so of garlic (we love garlic) and pinch or two of truffle sea salt (to taste). Chop and add cipollini onion to the skillet. Cover with lid and let cook for about 15 minutes (until the outside is slightly browned and no pink remains in the meat when you cut into it). Enjoy a cocktail of your choice as you wait.
Step Four: Uncover quinoa and fluff with a fork. Plate the quinoa, broccoli and chicken and enjoy!
Step Five: Ignore the fact that your room smells like garlic and get a plug-in air freshener to attempt to cover the smell.