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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chicken Tacos and Corn Relish

What happens when it's time to celebrate something huge?

Taco night!!!

That's right, we're celebrating in the Wilde household today because I've made it one whole year at my new job!  Well, technically my anniversary was July 6th, but we were busy doing the fourth of July thing, then I was busy being sick, so TODAY we celebrate.  (And by today, I mean we had this for dinner last night...  Stay with me on this one).

Yes, I have passed the one year mark as a medicinal chemist and it feels great! 

When I was a student for all those years, I looked forward to being done and moving on.  The five years I spent as a grad student in Madison were great, but I couldn't wait to defend my thesis.  The two years I spent as a postdoc were fun, busy and intellectually stimulating, but I couldn't wait to start job hunting.  Now that I'm in the real world, with a job working in my chosen field, it's a total change in perspective - I want to stay right where I am.

I've learned so much this year and there is still so much more to know.  My job is special.  Why is that?  In order to become a really good medicinal chemist, I need to know what is going on in every facet of a project.  I need to not only understand the chemistry and chemical matter, I also need to know the biology, pharmacology, genetics, clinical indications, formulations and still more things that I don't even understand yet.  I've still got a lot of information to stuff into my brain!  Here's to another year working hard in the real world.  Let's celebrate with tacos!

One Year Ago: Pizza Foccacia

Chicken Tacos and Corn Relish
A Wilde Original & Corn adapted from Everyday Food

You can prepare this meal in about 35 minutes!  The corn cooks while the chicken simmers, that way everything is ready to go at the same time!  Celebrate your next big day with a taco night.  Sure, your next big day could be a plain old Wednesday!  And yes, I put Greek yogurt on my tacos.  I was all out of sour cream and the yogurt was amazing on the tacos!

Extra virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt & pepper
1/2 cup white onion, diced
3/4 tsp cumin
1 serrano chile, diced
1/2 cup salsa
Your favorite taco shell
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
Shredded romaine lettuce
Additional salsa
Greek yogurt

Extra virgin olive oil
3 scallions, sliced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped
3 1/2 cups corn
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp key lime juice
salt and pepper

Set a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Cut each chicken thigh into four pieces, season with salt and pepper.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the Dutch oven and add chicken pieces.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add onion, cumin and serrano pepper.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Add salsa, 1/2 cup water and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Set the timer for 25 minutes.  Stir the chicken occasionally.

Once the timer hits 15 minutes, preheat a large pan over medium heat.  At 10 minutes, add 2 tsp olive oil, add sliced scallions and cook for 3 minutes.  Add chipotle pepper and cook for an additional minute.  Add corn and 2 tbsp water.  Cover the pan and cook for 4 minutes.  Remove the lid and let the remaining liquid cook off.  While the liquid is boiling off, finish your chicken.

Pour the contents of the Dutch oven into a serving dish.  Take two forks and shred the chicken.  Stir everything together and set your taco buffet. 

Set out plates, bowls of shredded romaine, Monterey Jack cheese, salsa and Greek yogurt.  Let everyone make their own tacos because some people don't like Greek yogurt on their tacos (weirdos).  Serve up those tacos with a side of corn relish.  Or, put that corn relish ON your tacos!
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