The Desperate Gourmet Presents: Yogurt Cucumber Chicken

Need a tasty main course that won’t take all afternoon to prepare? This dish combines ordinary ingredients to produce a simple and delicious, visually interesting entre.

 Ingredients:

  • Four thin sliced chicken breasts, sized and pounded flat
  • One English cucumber
  • Two Garlic cloves
  • Greek Yogurt (my favorite Rhubarb flavor doesn’t seem to be popular in the USA, so substituted strawberry instead. Any flavor, including plain will do just fine). 
  • Onion or shallots, thinly sliced
  • Lime juice
  • Onion powder
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Tajin Brand Classico seasoning (lime chile blend)

Assemble ingredients. Place butcher shop thin sliced chicken breasts between layers of plastic wrap and pound flat. Trim to uniform size and pat dry. 

Cut cucumber into one inch thick segments. Roughly peel segments and retain a small amount of shavings. 

Microwave garlic cloves to lessen “bite”. Using a hand blender, purée ingredients in a bowl.  Add peels last to preserve color and texture. When done pour mix into colander, stirring with a spoon to remove liquid. Discard liquid. Scoop ball into a paper towel or cheese cloth to dry further and place in mixing bowl. 


Add yogurt and finely minced onions or shallots to cucumber mixture. 


Spoon mixture into a baking pan and coat chicken thoroughly. 

Grill to perfection and enjoy. 

SoCal Rambling

Southern California Living. 

San Pedro, CA (also known as the Port of LA), where I work as a shoreside marine engineer supporting a small fleet of tugboats.  Years of wandering the globe replaced for now with a short commute and a 60 hour per week job. 

The work/life balance is askew and my creative time in the kitchen is suffering. Until work slows down a bit I am surviving on street food and energy bars. So, lacking any pretty food pics (The Desperate Gourmet will return!), I’ll have to post random photos from daily life. 

 Looking and feeling pretty rough

(My) Old Man and the Sea. 84 years young.

Tugboat out “earning” on an escort job

My favorite taco truck on Pacific Ave

Favorite taco truck, Pacific Ave

Street tacos my way

Greasy bag of tacos, a sugar-free Slurpee and an amazing view.
Point Fermin
My project truck by the Korean Friendship Bell. Great place for memorable sunsets. 

View towards Catalina

Beautiful old Point Fermin Lighthouse

The Desperate Gourmet Presents “Toad in a Hole”

From Singapore on Foot


Let’s face it- breakfast, touted as the most important meal of the day, can be pretty boring. If you’ve had enough Meuslix and yogurt for a while and have a little time on your hands try this. Toad in a Hole, Egg in a Hole, Egg in a basket… Well you get the idea. Perfect weekend treat. Nice visual.  If you are all alone you’ll find this little exercise fun and fulfilling. If cooking for others, they’ll think you slaved away for hours, will shower you with praise and gratitude; once again leaving you- yes, fulfilled. I was only cooking for myself in Singapore but the little voices inside my head were ecstatic.

Now go fIx your “Me Time” beverage of choice. Put (original) Top Gear or Dr. Who on the TV to set the mood- or just play your favorite music. You work too hard during the week, anyway. Carve out that little piece of solitude you so rightly deserve and enjoy a little personal zen. Bonus points if you thumb your nose at convention and wear slippers and a bathrobe.

My twist on this classic is the use of thin and dense sunflower or flax seed bread.  For reasons not clear to me, even in my middle aged “maturity”, I have an aversion to ordinary bread (I blame the submarine sandwich shop I worked at and the big, fluffy bread we used 35 years ago). I don’t think of myself as a bread snob, it is just that any kind of flat bread, tortillas and biscuits just pique my interest more. To each their own.

  • Flax seed, sunflower seed or other hearty bread
  • Egg

Using a sharp knife, or a tablespoon in a pinch, cut a large whole out of the center of the bread slice. Lightly lubricate a small, heated skillet with cooking oil or unsalted creamery butter. Toast both sides of your bread. Crack open an egg into a small dish or tea cup, remove shell fragments if you are clumsy like me, and carefully pour egg into the toast hole. Rather than try to flip the toast, try to cover the pan briefly at the end to set/solidify the egg. Depending on what you have to work with. I have used a spare pan, hot tea kettle bottom, even an actual lid…

 


Shown below with potato pancakes

  • Boiled, chopped and cold small potatoes and carrots (leftovers from fridge)
  • Sliced and seeded local chile peppers (wash those hands and keep away from your eyes! Don’t ask…)
  • Coarse sea salt
  • White or black ground pepper
  • Safflower oil
  • Chopped scallion, chive, green onion, sprouts or cilantro
  • Rhubarb flavored yogurt (or sour cream)

Using a fork, mash cold potatoes in a bowl with a teaspoon of oil, two or three teaspoons of yogurt and balance of ingredients. Preheat a pan with cooking oil or unsalted creamery butter. Form small balls of potato mixture in your palm and add to pan. Arrange with enough space between so that you can now flatten with a spatula or wooden spoon. Flatten, brown to suit on both sides and garnish with coarse salt, a dollop of yogurt (or sour cream) and minced greens.

Pictured below is all of the above, along with pan-withered Chinese broccoli and a hot cup of Milo. Enjoy!

The Desperate Gourmet presents: Tomato-Sprout Salad

From Singapore on Foot


Simple recipe from my solo extended stay in Singapore, where I was fortunate enough to live in a furnished apartment over a Japanese grocery store. Magical time of solitude, reflection, long daily walks, light fare and ninety percent humidity. Singapore is an amazing destination. A true cultural melting pot; an overused phrase that actually means something there. In two months I only purchased one meal (a tasty pork bun from a street vender). Everything else I crafted in my little kitchen, with the goal of eating healthy, losing weight and flexing my creativity. 

The availability of reasonably prices ingredients, steep hills and oppressive heat allowed me to lose a ton of weight in short order. The positive energy, the people, the architecture, all that shopping and history make Singapore one of my favorite destinations. Though my employer was apologetic for “stranding” me over there, I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. Enjoy. 

Tomato-sprout salad:

  • Thinly slice cherry tomatoes and fan around small salad dish. 
  • Immediately before serving, toss clover sprouts (or radish sprouts) in bowl with sweet rice vinegar, pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. 
  • Arrange sprouts atop dish and serve. 
  • Chopsticks, of course!

Remember- Presentation is everything! At risk being seen as an overly emo/spiritual nut bag, I believe that the time you spend making food “pretty” is actually spent celebrating the food,  appreciating what you have and being in the moment.