fish tacos with corn-guava-avocado salsa

DSC03876 We woke up this morning to discover one of the neighbors looking in through the window. It’s been pretty quiet in the condo complex because of the switch over in the school year at the university from June to March to August to June. This means that this year’s summer holiday is 5 months long. Not many uni students are back yet of course, and at the high school, we are just beginning our two month summer break. The students seemed quite bewildered, some of them, at suddenly having nothing to do after exams last Tuesday were over. Since some of their friends came back for ROTC on Wednesday afternoon, they decided to show solidarity and showed up at school for old times’ sake. I suppose this curious visitor was doing the same thing, wondering where everybody had gone. What should he do now that his time is his own?

DSC03881With grades in, I’ve been cooking with the electric pan. The lid can open out and double the cooking surface, so I have both a skillet and a griddle. Cooking on the balcony is somewhat challenging because there is no electrical outlet so I have to run an extra long extension cord outside. Plus, there is just a little two-foot square space right next to the sink. If I angle the pan just so I can open it out. Last night for supper I made grilled chicken thighs, but I had made them in Bangkok. We ate them with a mango-avocado salsa. If it seems that we are eating more avocado it is because we found them for Baht 20 apiece at the Suan Luang market yesterday.  We bought 6 and the vendor added 1 more for goodwill. I hope she will be there next weekend. I love avocado.


DSC03885Because I love to eat, I really should exercise more. To respect one’s body is to exercise, and then to eat good food that is fresh and homemade. Today, we rode our bikes around Phuttamonthon, the Buddhist park, and then we each swam 500 meters in the Sirimongkol Pool. We decided to eat in rather than eat out. For lunch today I prepared lightly sauteed pangasius fillets which we ate wrapped inside warm flour tortillas topped with corn-guava-avocado salsa and Greek-style yogurt.  It’s so good to be cooking again!



Fish Tacos with Corn-Guava-Avocado Salsa

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes (in a double electric pan heated to 180˚C)

2 white fish fillets (e.g. tilapia)
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon rice bran oil
4 flour tortillas

Pat dry the fillets then sprinkle one side with salt and pepper. Lightly sauté in a little oil until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Meanwhile, warm the tortillas. Keep warm until ready to serve. Cut the fillets into large chunks just before eating.

Corn-Guava-Avocado Salsa
1 ear of fresh corn, niblets removed from the cob
1 small Thai guava, peeled, seeded, and chopped (can substitute jicama or mun kaew)
1 medium avocado, peeled, pit removed, and chopped
8 grape tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 of a large onion, thinly sliced
the juice of 3 small limes
salt to taste
1 tablespoon minced scallion for garnish
1-2 chopped fresh Thai chilies, optional

Lightly cook the corn in the microwave for 4 minutes, drain the niblets and cool them. In a medium bowl, put the niblets, the guava, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro and onion. Squeeze the lime juice all over. Add salt to taste. Garnish with scallion and chilies, if using, and spoon over fish chunks on top of a warm tortilla. Put a generous dollop of yogurt on top and eat–leave out that steaming side-dish of guilt and enjoy. It’s low in carbs and calories.

jerk pork tenderloin with mango-avocado-tomato salsa

jerk pork tenderloin with mango-avocado-tomato salsa

This juicy pork tenderloin recipe was inspired by Gina at skinnytaste. com.  To me it is mildly spicy, and the cool slightly sweet salsa accompaniment just soothes the tongue!
P.S. I wanted to add this note to anyone concerned about the safety of pink pork. Pork is safe to eat when the internal temperature rises to 150˚F. For more information visit this link by America’s Test Kitchen/Shine Food.

Jerk Pork Tenderloin with Mango-Avocado-Tomato Salsa

Prep time: 5 hours (or overnight) plus 15 minutes
Cook time: 25-35 minutes depending on the weight
Servings: 6-8 as appetizer, 2-4 as main course

• 1 lb lean pork tenderloin, all fat and silver removed
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• 2 – 3 tablespoons Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning
• 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
• 1 lime, squeezed
• 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
• 1/4 -1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

For the salsa:
• 2 Haas avocadoes, diced
• 1 tomato, chopped
• 2 large ripe mangos, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
• 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped red onion
• 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
• 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• salt and pepper, to taste


Combine the garlic, jerk seasoning, and salt, rub all over pork (wear gloves if you wish). Place in a 8 inch square pan, then pour the lime and orange juices over the pork. Turn so that the juices cover all the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 5 hours or overnight, turning pork occasionally.

The next day (or 5 hours later), preheat the oven to 350˚F. Remove pork from the marinade and discard the marinade. Bake the pork 25 minutes for 3/4 pound roast or up to 35 minutes for at 1 pound roast. When it has reached an internal temperature of 155˚F (check it 5 minutes before time is up), remove it from the oven and let it rest on the stovetop. The tenderloin should come to 160˚F during resting, about 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Meanwhile make the salsa: combine all the ingredients in a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate salsa until ready to serve.

turkey patty with broccoli, celery, and fennel


This is a great meal: turkey patty served on a bed of grilled iceberg lettuce, kale chips, and asparagus and tomato-olive dressing with Canadian bacon and onion. Putting broccoli and celery in the turkey patty adds moisture and also crunch–not to mention increasing your daily vegetable portion!

Turkey Patty with Broccoli and Fennel

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 minutes per patty
Servings: 5 patties

1 pound lean ground turkey (93% or higher)
1/2 cup broccoli stems, chopped
1/2 cup onion, minced
2 tablespoons celery, minced
1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 egg, beaten

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and combine. Cut a wide sheet of wax paper. Dip a 1/2 cup measure in water. Scoop up some of the turkey meat mixture and scrape off the excess. Empty the scoop onto the wax paper sheet and repeat. Press each patty to flatten slightly. This much seasoned turkey mixture yields  five patties.

Cook’s Note: Dipping the 1/2 cup measure in water helps to release the patty.

I used the George Foreman grill to cook these patties. It took just four minutes per patty. Patties can also be broiled or pan-fried in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Cook until each patty reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F.

asian grilled tofu triangles with thai cabbage salad

asian grilled tofu triangles

This recipe was inspired by the South Beach Diet Cookbook. That recipe originally called for tempeh but as I’m not a tempeh fan I decided to use its first cousin, extra firm tofu. This recipe takes longer to make because you need to press out the excess water from the tofu and then marinate it for at least 4 hours. After it was grilled, I was a bit disappointed in the taste–the ginger and garlic flavors were overshadowed by the sesame oil. Next time I make this I will increase the garlic and ginger by one tablespoon each.

Asian Grilled Tofu Triangles

Prep time: 40 minutes
Marinating time: 12 hours
Cook time: 12 minutes
Servings: 4

1 pound extra firm tofu drained and cut into triangles
1 tablespoon canola oil (can use peanut oil)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons scallions sliced thinly on the diagonal for garnish (optional)

Press the tofu. Spread two layers of paper towels on a medium rimmed baking tray. Spread the tofu on top of the paper towels. Put another layer of paper towels on top. Cover the paper towels with a small rimmed baking tray. Place canned goods and or books on top to weight down the small baking tray. This will press out the water and flatten the triangles to about half the size when they were sliced. It takes about 20 minutes to remove the excess water.

Cook’s Note: The tofu may need a change of paper towels and an additional 20 minutes if the triangles have not reduced in size significantly.

Make the marinade. In a small bowl, whisk the oils, ginger, garlic and soy sauce until they emulsify. Put the pressed tofu in an 8” square pan and pour the marinade on top. With a pair of tongs, gently turn the tofu several times to coat. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours. I let them sit overnight in the marinade.

Grill the tofu triangles. The next day, I heated up the George Foreman grill and grilled the tofu 4 minutes. That was enough time to cook them and also get that wonderful burnt grill lines. If desired, sprinkle sliced scallions on top. Serve at once.

Cook’s Note: Save the marinade as a dressing for the grilled tofu. The tofu turned out slightly sweet and with a delicate flavor.

To accompany the grilled tofu, I made my favorite coconut kale recipe (kale, coconut oil, pepper flakes and Maldon’s sea salt. Yum!) and tried a new recipe for Thai Cabbage Salad from epicurious. I adapted the measurements because there was enough to feed everybody at a pot luck supper and then some. I think I could even halve the recipe one more time.

Thai Cabbage Salad

Prep time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8

1/4 head each red & green cabbage (sliced thinly)
3 carrots grated
1 medium cucumber diced small
1 large red pepper diced small)
1/2 cup scallions (sliced thinly)
1/2 cup cilantro (chopped coarsely)

1/4 cup rice vinegar or mirin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
2 Thai chilies (minced)
4-6 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1/2 cup peanuts

Do ahead: make salad dressing in a large jar and store in the refrigerator up to one week

Toss all salad ingredients together. Twenty minutes before serving, add dressing to salad and toss. Let sit 20 minutes to let flavors develop. Sprinkle peanuts on top.

thai cabbage salad

bolivian spiced grilled pork cutlets with split peas

Now that Andy is here in New York, I am determined to make sure he eats healthy. Living on his own in Bangkok has led to all sorts of unhealthy eating habits–like eating ham hocks. I brought my South Beach Diet cookbooks when I came back from Bangkok in January, so I looked up interesting Phase One recipes. This one, to my astonishment, included a ham hock and pork loin chops. I decided I would make it without ham hock and pork chop. Though I knew that I could use lean pork tenderloin instead of pork chops there is absolutely no substitute for the meaty smoky flavor of the ham hock.  I had read about the concept of umami sometimes called the “fifth taste” that rounds out the four basic tastes: bitter, sour, sweet, and salty. Umami is savory. I decided to add powdered dry porcini mushrooms because it has an earthy savory flavor. To get back the smokiness I added a few generous twists of Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend. It was perfect.

bolivian spiced grilled pork cutlets with split peas

Bolivian Spiced Grilled Pork Cutlets with Split Peas

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes

Split Peas
2 1/2 tablespoons EVOO
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, chopped fine
1 parsnip, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon powdered dried porcini mushrooms
1 bay leaf
Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend
1 1/4 cup split peas, rinsed

Pork Cutlets
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground cardamom
3 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
zest of 1 lemon (about 3 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1 pork tenderloin trimmed of fat and silver and cut into eighths

Make the split peas: In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, heat the olive oil. When it is hot, add the onion, celery, and parsnip. When it starts to sizzle, add the garlic. Cook until the vegetables become softened, about 3 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and cumin. Stir and add the chicken broth, umami, peas, bay leaf, and the Smoke. Let it come to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook about 45 minutes or until the peas are tender. Remove the bay leaf and discard.

Make the pork cutlets: In a small bowl, combine the cumin, cardamom, coriander, pepper flakes, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Pound each cutlet flat, about 1 inch 1/2 inch thickness. With your fingers, work a half teaspoon of the rub onto each side of one cutlet. Put the cutlet aside on a plate and repeat with the rest of the cutlets.

I grilled the cutlets in 3 batches for 4 minutes per batch in the George Foreman grill. Alternatively, you can cook the cutlets in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray until done. The cutlets are cooked when they reach an internal temperature of 165˚F. I served these cutlets with the split peas, Tennessee-style cole slaw, and tomato-avocado salsa.

crustless spinach pie with feta cheese, broiled romaine, and roasted root vegetables

roasted veggies, broiled romaine, crustless spinach pie with feta cheese

This is a complete vegetarian meal. The spinach pie is made with fresh spinach and herbs. The root vegetables are broiled during the last 5 minutes of cooking while the romaine is in the broiler! The broiled romaine’s got crunch and the sultry flavors of Parmesan and Romano cheeses. I adapted it from Alton Brown’s grilled romaine with a red wine vinegar granita.

Roasted Root Vegetables
You can use any kind of root vegetables in any combination you like. Increase the amount of turnips or leave out the parsnips. Add a celeriac or celery root.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2-4

3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
1 medium turnip
2 medium parsnips
salt and pepper
olive oil
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Heat a large pot of water. When it is boiling, add the vegetables and cook 10 minutes or until just tender, about 10 minutes. When pierced with a fork, there is a little resistance. Remove vegetables from boiling water and spread on a tray lined with paper towels. Pat dry. Put the vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat thoroughly. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the tray. Bake 35 minutes at 400˚F. For the last 5 minutes, broil the vegetables until lightly browned.

Crustless Spinach Pie with Feta Cheese (adapted from Skinnytaste)
Skinnytaste used a 10 oz package of frozen spinach for convenience’s sake. I like the fresh spinach, lightly sautéed until it turns bright green.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 28 minutes
Serves: 8

1 large bunch fresh spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano (or dill)
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary (or parsley, thyme)
1/2 cup (2.5 oz) reduced fat crumbled feta
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (or Romano, Asiago)
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup fat free milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly spray a 9 inch pie dish with cooking spray.
Heat olive oil in a large dutch pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the spinach and cook it down until it is bright green and slightly wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain any excess water. Chop fine.

Mix spinach, scallions, herbs, and feta cheese in a large bowl and set aside. Sift flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients to flour mixture in the bowl. Combine flour mixture with spinach mixture, and mix well. Scrape into pie dish.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted near the center. Let the pie stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Broiled Romaine (after a recipe by Alton Brown)
Alton Brown grilled the romaine but I found that most of the cheese ended up on the grill instead of on the lettuce. So I decided to broil it instead. Brown also froze red wine vinegar and then, like a granita, he scraped up a couple tablespoons of frozen vinegar with a fork and sprinkled it on top of the grilled lettuce. However, I found the red wine vinegar unpleasantly sour, so I left that out.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 2-3 minutes
Serves: 2

1 head romaine hearts split vertically in two
olive oil
2 tablespoons romano and Parmesan cheeses

Brush cut side of the romaine with olive oil. Sprinkle cheeses on a plate. Press oiled side into the cheeses. Put the lettuce, cheese side up, on a broiler tray and broil 2-3 minutes or until browned and cheese has melted. Remove from heat and serve at once.

pan-fried fish fillets with mediterranean tomato sauce

pan fried fish fillets with mediterranean tomato sauce

I adapted this recipe from The delicious thing about it is the fresh herb flavor with the tomatoes. Use whatever you have on hand–the freshest is best.

Pan-Fried Fish with Mediterranean Tomato Sauce

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 9 minutes
Serves 2

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato (about 2 large tomatoes)
1 1/2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (flat-leaf parsley in original recipe)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh scallions (or chives)
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano (or tarragon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (or thyme)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 pounds tilapia fillets (approximately 2 large white fish fillets will do)
Cooking spray

1. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. When it bubbles, add the tomatoes and cook, 7 minutes, until softened. Add the capers, mustard and garlic; cook for an additional 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add cilantro, scallions, oregano and rosemary. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.  Cover to keep warm.

2. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add canola oil and heat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish lightly with salt and black pepper on both sides. Add fish to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until browned. Turn the fish over; cook 3 minutes or until the fish turns white and flakes easily with a fork. Serve fish with the reserved warm sauce.

khao soi or chiang mai chicken curry noodles, low fat and low carb version

khao soi

This dish is the signature specialty of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. I made a few low fat/low carb adjustments to it like swapping chicken breasts for thighs and using whole wheat linguine instead of Chinese egg noodles. However, the key to this dish is the curry-flavored soup. For more authentic flavor, I used dried red Thai chilies although guajillo is recommended in the original recipe. I also used full-fat coconut milk because it is better tasting, but using “lite” coconut milk will surely lower the fat, carbs, and calories in this dish even more. The flavors in this soup should be predominantly coconut-spicy, but smooth; slightly salty, sour, and barely sweet, is my preference. Fish sauce will give it a hint of anchovy. Aroy.

Chicken Khao Soi (adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2013)

Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6-8


Khao Soi Paste
4 -6 dried chilies, stemmed, halved, and seeded, if less heat is desired (or Mexican guajillo chilies)
2 medium shallots, halved
8 garlic cloves
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro stems (save the leaves for toppings)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
1 pound Chinese egg noodles (or whole wheat linguine)
3 tablespoons (or more) fish sauce (such as Tiparos)
1 tablespoon (packed) palm sugar or light brown sugar, optional

Suggested Toppings
Sliced red onion, bean sprouts, cilantro sprigs, crispy fried onions or shallots, chili oil, crispy fried Chinese wonton noodles, and lime wedges


Make khao soi paste. Place chilies in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let stand 30 minutes until softened. Remove the chilies and reserve the soaking liquid. If desired, remove the seeds to make the dish less spicy.

Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water to cook the noodles.

In a blender, purée the chilies, shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, coriander, turmeric, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons soaking liquid in a food processor. Add more by tablespoonfuls, if needed, blending until smooth. You can add up to 6 tablespoons total.

Make the soup. Heat oil in a large heavy dutch pot over medium heat. Add the khao soi paste, and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 4-6 minutes. Add coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil; add chicken. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly; slice meat into 1/4 inch thick chunks.

Cook the noodles according to package directions.

Return chicken to the pot, adding 3 tablespoons fish sauce, and sugar (if using) to soup. Taste and season with more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Spoon soup and noodles into bowls and serve with toppings.

foodie joanie’s canlis salad

foodie joanie's canlis salad

This salad is a variation on the chef’s salad minus the hard boiled egg. To make this salad for two, I halved all the ingredients (in parentheses). However, it’s not possible to halve an egg so I made the full amount of dressing. Now I have 1/2 cup of leftover salad dressing. It will not go to waste. As a practicing Chinese (it’s an occupation), eating well  is not only an expected dividend, but never waste food is our mantra. I offer fried rice as proof. I did make one major substitution: I used Canadian bacon instead of bacon. I sacrificed the crunch for a salad that could be a meal instead of a side.

Foodie Joanie’s Canlis Salad (adapted from the New York Times magazine)

Prep time: 30 minutes (includes 20 minutes chill time)
Cook time: —
Serves 4-6

2 heads of romaine, outer leaves discarded, chopped (1 head)
4 slices Canadian bacon, sliced into strips [4 strips bacon, crumbled, in the original recipe]
1 cup cubed fresh Italian bread (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
3/4 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped (1/3 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped (1/2 tablespoon)
12 cherry tomatoes, halved (6 cherry tomatoes)
3/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese (1/3 cup)

1 egg
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
sugar, to taste, if the dressing is too sour

  1. Wash the lettuce in cold water, dry thoroughly and put in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. To make the bacon version, heat a large pan over medium-high heat, then fry the bacon until it is nearly crisp. Remove to a small plate lined with a paper towel. Drain off all but one tablespoon of fat from the pan,  then add the bread cubes to the pan and toss to coat. Turn heat to low and toast, tossing the bread occasionally with a spatula until it is crisp. Remove to another bowl.

Cook’s Note: No cooking necessary in this foodie’s version! Instead of using bacon, cut up 4 slices of Canadian bacon into strips. The large pan can be used to toast the bread cubes. No oil necessary, but if you insist, spray the bread cubes with cooking spray.

  1. To make the dressing, first, coddle an egg. Place a whole egg in the shell into a coffee cup, then pour boiling water over the top. Allow the egg to steep for 60 seconds, then remove it. Rinse with water until cool. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil, then crack the coddled egg into the bowl and whisk again, vigorously, to emulsify. Now, add sugar, salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.
  2. Assemble the salad in a large bowl. Combine the chilled lettuce, scallions, mint, oregano, and the (Canadian) bacon. Toss with enough dressing to coat the lettuce, then top with the tomatoes, the fried/toasted bread cubes, and the cheese sprinkled generously on top.

yogurt-marinated oven fried chicken

yogurt marinated oven fried chicken

My first summer in college when my culinary skills were nonexistent I ate Shake N Bake chicken almost daily. It was crunchy on top and on the bottom it was like eating down to the soggy bottom of a bowl of cereal! I loved it. But I avoided Shake N Bake after I was married because I found I could make my own crumb coating. In the various recipes I’ve tried, I’ve used cornflakes or breadcrumbs. Well, my son had a hankering for KFC this weekend,  but I refused to give in to his craving for fast food. It was, nevertheless, a perfect excuse to try Art Smith’s recipe for Oven -Unfried chicken. It came out quite crunchy, tender, and moist with a slight spiciness so that even my son grudgingly admitted it was as good as KFC. However, I suspect he may have been merely diplomatic, after all he knows his mother is vain about her cooking. So here is my version of Art Smith’s recipe called

Yogurt-Marinated Oven-Fried Chicken Breasts (based on a recipe by Art Smith)

Prep time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

3/4 cup low fat Greek style yogurt
1/4 cup low fat milk
1 tablespoon Sriracha Sauce (reduce to 1 teaspoon if less heat is desired)
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut in half

Crumb Coating:
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs, preferably whole wheat
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons chili pepper
1 teaspoon paprika

Cooking spray

1. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, and Sriracha. Coat the chicken in the yogurt mixture and marinate at least 1 hour on the countertop (up to a maximum of 12 hours) in the refrigerator.  Lightly spray a baking tray with cooking spray and set aside.
2. While the chicken is marinating, make the breadcrumb mixture. In a large gallon size plastic bag, put the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and spices. Shake to blend.
3. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
4. Using tongs, pick up the chicken breasts, one at a time, from the yogurt marinade and put inside the bag. Shake the bag well, until the chicken is thoroughly coated.
5. Put the chicken on the prepared tray. Repeat until all chicken pieces are coated in the breadcrumb mixture. Put the tray with the chicken pieces, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This dries out the crumb coating and may help it adhere better to the chicken.
6. Remove the tray from the refrigerator. Lightly spray each chicken piece with the cooking spray. Bake 30-40 minutes. Test a piece 5 minutes before cooking time is up to see if it is done. The juices should run clear or it should reach an internal temperature of 165˚F on an instant read thermometer.