Grilled Sambal Chicken Thighs & Kale~Butternut Squash Salad


Grilled Sambal Chicken Thighs  |  Kale~Butternut Squash Salad   {with a side of “Finding Your Passion”}

Intro Collage


For me, the most difficult part of posting on this blog is this paragraph right here…the beginning.  Deciding how to start the conversations you and I share on this little space…most of the time, it is about the meal itself while at other times I catch you up on family events or simply discuss the weather {and how it played into our dinner plans for the evening}.  For this post I was all set to enter into a diatribe regarding social media following a frustrating run I had on the obstacle course known as Instagram yesterday.  The twists, turns and detours I took were all my own doing and a successful end was only achieved through the counsel of my youngest child, Mallory, who is trying to teach me the cryptic language of “hashtags”…I simply am not a natural.  But that rant will have to wait for another day because this morning, while heading home after school drop-off, I listened to an interview on our local public radio station {KDFC~San Francisco} that I have not been able to get out of my head all afternoon and so, naturally, it is those thoughts I now share with you {dinner to follow}.

Having nothing at all to do with food, the focus of the interview was on the accomplished pianist, Jon Nakamatsu.  Now let me interject here that I am in no way an authority on classical music and, in fact, this morning was the first time I had ever even heard of Mr. Nakamatsu’s name let alone listened to his music but as the interview unfolded I found myself drawn into the conversation.  In 1997, Jon Nakamatsu won the gold medal at the prestigious Van Cliburn competition and, while that accolade is impressive, it was his response to the question of when in his life he knew he desired a career in music that completely engaged me…””When I started piano lessons at six years old, and seven years old, it was from that moment on that I felt my life had been chosen. Or if I didn’t choose it, it was chosen for me in some way, in the way music chooses children. I never fought that. I wanted to spend my life in music and with the piano.”  At that moment I knew I was listening to the words of someone who had found and followed his passion…very, very compelling.

With a daughter in the midst of her senior year of high school, you certainly can understand why the topic of “finding your passion” is high on my radar.  I returned home this morning and phoned a good friend of mine to discuss the interview I had just heard.  An accomplished musician {flutist} in her own right…a graduate of The Juilliard School and a former member of the San Francisco Symphony…I was interested in her thoughts.  She echoed the sentiments of Mr. Nakamatsu and told me she knew music would be her life’s work when she was just 5 years old.   We went on to discuss Maddie, my high school senior whom she knows very well, and Maddie’s recent revelation to her father and I that she wants to pursue her passion for horses rather than a career in medicine {a path she has been considering since her freshman year}.  A 4.0+ student for her entire academic career, Maddie has also demonstrated a passion, as well as a talent, for riding and caring for horses.  Michael and I have watched this unfold since her 6th birthday when she had her first pony lesson and we have supported and encouraged her ever since and continue to do so with this, her most recent decision.  Actually, both of us were somewhat relieved with her news as we felt in our hearts that although she was very interested in math and science her natural strengths and passion were in the areas of writing, literature and, of course, horses.  Her choice for college will no longer depend on a quality pre-med program but will focus on liberal arts with an even greater weight given to the school’s proximity to an upper-level eventing barn where she can continue with her competition career.  Now, while I am confident, with all of my heart, in Maddie’s skill and commitment, my head sometimes gives me pause for second thoughts which is why hearing that interview this morning strikes such a chord with me.  After our conversation, my friend sent me a link to this video which really helps to reinforce the fact that, as parents, one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to help them find their passion…

YouTube Preview Image


If you haven’t left me yet and have made it all the way down here in this rather unusual post for a food blog, indulging me in my own inner conflict and keeping audience while I seek sources of external validation…I really need to treat you to dinner…immediately.

Grilled Sambal Chicken has been on our favorites list since I first made it this summer {click here for the recipe in my earlier post}.  Up until this evening, we have been enjoying it kebab~style…


But, for reasons of sheer convenience, I kept the thighs whole this evening saving me the step of cutting the meat and skewering on a stick…EQUALLY DELICIOUS!



Our accompanying kale salad was a first-try for us and we really enjoyed it!  The recipe is from Northern Spy Food Co. in Manhattan, via Food 52.  Seasonal ingredients, kale and butternut squash are the stars here…

Kale Squash Collage

You have been hearing this a lot from me lately, but roasting really intensifies the flavor of certain vegetables and our squash this evening is no exception…


Two different types of cheese, a nutty aged cheddar as well as a peppery Pecorino, lend their flavor to this salad…


A sprinkling of toasted almonds and a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice finish this wonderful salad for an autumn evening {click here for the full recipe at Food 52 which I followed, exactly, tonight}…


Finally, our dinner plate as we enjoyed it this evening…



K Initial

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