I’m going to be honest. I’ve been in a serious blog rut lately. Something about all of the traveling I’ve been doing has left me uninspired in my own kitchen, and all of the writing about dining out has just served as a reminder of how little I have been cooking lately. When I have cooked, I haven’t been as eager to take pictures. I usually just want to kick back and relax on the two days (if even) that I have home each week.

Case in point: last Saturday I invited some friends over for a small cookout on our deck. Since I hadn’t cooked anything in awhile, I wanted it to be epic. Except then I couldn’t for the life of me come up with any ideas. Maybe I was just setting the bar too high for myself and couldn’t come up with anything I deemed awesome enough? Or I just forgot how to cook? Whatever the case was, I was stumped.

But then I got some good news. Starting in two weeks, I’m going to be working locally for three whole months! What a novel concept, right?

I can finally get into a normal menu planning, grocery shopping, and cooking routine. I’ll get the 16+ hours a week that I spend traveling back in my life (seriously, taking non-direct flights every week really sucks). I can sleep in my bed, shower in my shower, and actually spend weeknights with Matt (and my cat Bailey…she misses me too). It’s going to be wonderful. Yay, normal life!

Back to that dinner last Saturday. Despite wanting to make it epic, I decided that being relaxed and keeping it simple needed to be a priority. I planned the menu around Tandoori Style Grilled Chicken that I based on a recipe from David Lebovitz’s blog. It needed to marinate ahead of time anyways, so I could just grill it up when we were ready to eat. I decided to also make a tomato and cucumber salad, grilled naan, and rice biryani. I guess Matt was in quite a cooking mood because he added several dishes to the line-up: homemade samosas for an appetizer, chana masala to add to the main dish spread, and gulab jamun for dessert. So, I guess we failed on the keeping it simple part, but at least my inspiration is restored!

The Tandoori Style Grilled Chicken was fall off the bone tender, and the flavors of the warm Indian spices cooked over the charcoal grill were perfect for the chilly night. My only complaint is that I marinated it too long – almost 24 hours – which made it almost too tender. I think 4-8 hours would have been better. Regardless, this recipe is definitely one I’ll keep in my repertoire.

I’m also glad I made and froze extra because I’m envisioning adding some mayo and raisins to make an amazing chicken salad!

Tandoori Style Grilled Chicken

Adapted from recipe by David Lebovitz, recipe serves 4-6 (but I made more to have leftovers)

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 skinless chicken legs
  • 1/8 tsp. saffron powder, or 1/4 tsp. saffron threads (I actually used one packet of Paellero paella seasoning instead)
  • 1 Tbsp. boiling water
  • 3/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika (I used Spanish smoked paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder (ok, I probably used more than that)
  • 10 turns fresh ground black pepper
  • juice of one fresh lime
  • 1 Tbsp. finely-minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions

Soak the saffron in the boiling water for five minutes. Then, mix it in a large bowl or bag with the yogurt through the garlic. Add the chicken and marinade for at least four and up to eight hours.

Let the chicken get to room temperature before grilling (but don’t leave it out too long, obviously). Grill until nicely charred on both sides. If the chicken is not yet cooked through, place it in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes. Garnish with the cilantro.

The beauty of this recipe was that the chicken was so moist that I left it in the oven for longer to finish the rest of the food and it didn’t even overcook.

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Do you ever find yourself in a cooking rut? What do you do for inspiration?

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  • http://yummychunklet.wordpress.com/ Yummychunklet

    It’s interesting that you mention all your eating out because I’ve been doing the same, and it seems as if my home meals have been less than inspiring. This recipe might spice things up a bit!

  • FunandFearlessinBeantown

    We all get in these cooking ruts.  I’ve especially been uninspired to blog about the few meals that I have cooked.   I’m looking forward to seeing what you cook/blog about (if you feel like cooking/blogging) during the next three months. 🙂

  • http://www.eatinginorout.wordpress.com/ Sacha

    I love tandoori-style chicken, and yours looks seriously delicious. It sounds like you had quite the feast! What a nice way to begin your three months of “normal” life. 

  • http://indulgeinspireimbibe.blogspot.com/ Daisy

    I feel the same about cooking  lately, I’d much rather enjoy my time in the kitchen and not have to photograph every step of the process. I think realizing that has gotten me out of some cooking ruts. your chicken looks excellent!

  • http://www.thethreebiterule.com/ thethreebiterule

    I hear ya on the rut. I think it’s difficult to keep being inspired. Just the other day I was grumbling about it seeming like a lot of pressure to each week come up with a ton of new/different/varied things. I think a blast from the past can always be worth another go!

  • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

    this looks like the perfect meal to have with guests! and yay for a normal schedule! 🙂

  • DeliciousDish

    That sounds like a great recipe. I have also been in a cooking rut. I don’t have as much time or my own kitchen and cookware, so I’ve been completely unmotivated. Hoping to get back into it soon.

  • greenthyme

    I get in ruts all the time too and I know what you mean about having the energy to cook AND take photos and blog. Sometimes you just want to kick back and eat something easy. Happy to hear you’ll have some more time for yourself. Don’t we all need that!

  • Emily O’Donnell

    Congrats on keeping it local for a while! It can be so much effort to blog when life gets hectic. I am loving this recipe, though, and so glad you shared!

  • Elizabeth

    That chicken is gorgeous, and hooray for being able to have more time at home and cook!

  • http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne

    Traveling somehow both makes me want to cook more and not cook at all. It’s really weird. I love the flavors of tandoori anything! Usually I stick to paneer or tofu, but it really goes great on anything!

  • http://twitter.com/findingclairity Clair J

    I feel like I’ve been in a blogging rut lately too! Makes me feel better that I’m not the only one. Not sure what it is…sometimes inspiration just comes and goes, I guess.

    All of the above dishes sound amazing…but gulab jamun is my absolute fave.

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