A Casual Affair

CoconutPepitaChicken1I love cooking for friends, and FINALLY had the chance to make a meal for one of my favorite power couples: Adam and Jason 🙂 They have a gorgeous apartment, and it was such a pleasure to cook there. When I had first arrived at their place, I had a whole recipe game plan…which I ended up ditching entirely (it had been a looong day). So I improvised with the few items I had brought and made a lick-your-plate good dish: Nutty Chicken Tenders with Orange-Ginger Sauce. It was an evening of wine, jazz, and lots of laughs – needless to say, it was a great evening!
Coconut&PepitasThe coating for the chicken was a canny touch. Adam is gluten-free, and since most chicken crusts involve some variety of gluten (all-purpose flour, panko, bread crumbs, etc.) I had to get creative. He had a whole bag of pepitas, and some unsweetened coconut flakes. The coconut was a definite, but how to use those pepitas? I decided to try creating a nut “flour” by quickly processing them, and for just enough time to avoid making a nut butter. The result was perfect, and made for a beautiful presentation.
CoconutPepitaChicken2The sauce, though basic, was what made the dish – the main players are ginger, garlic, and orange juice. I personally love citrus-based sauces, so I thought it would add a bright contrast to the nuttier chicken (and quinoa that we served it with). Enter the “lick-your-plate” clean moment – this sauce was ridiculous. So simple, but it really tied all of the flavors together – click HERE for this (surprisingly) elegant dish!
DinnerPartyI had a really great time at this dinner – there were only 5 of us, and it was totally relaxed; I wanted to capture that social “flavor” in a musical pairing. I found myself with Schubert: he had a wonderful support system, both professionally and socially. In fact, Schubert’s friends and colleagues were such admirers that the tradition of a “Schubertiade” was born. These were gatherings dedicated to the celebration of Schubert and his music, and the composer (in the beginning days) was often himself present. They were hosted in private homes, and were informal affairs compared to the concert hall. Aside from music, there were other fun games and activities to complement the evening. What’s more is they gave musicians a chance to perform with and for friends. The below sketch by Moritz von Schwind (a friend of Schubert’s) shows a Schubertiade with Schubert himself at the piano:
Moritz_von_Schwind_SchubertiadeI chose his Sonata in A minor for Arpeggione and Piano, D. 821. I had never heard of an arpeggione, and had to do a quick search: it was basically a guitar (had frets) played like a cello. Since the arpeggione is no longer extant, this sonata is often performed on the cello or viola. I am a sucker for all things cello, so of course I went with a cello recording for the listening sample…that and it’s YoYo Ma with Emmanuel Ax!

Sources Cited:
“Schubertiade,” Wikipedia.com
“Arpeggione Sonata,” Wikipedia.com

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