At my sister’s glamorous wedding many years ago at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, I felt my head spinning. Surrounded by a picture perfect wedding, I watched my sister and her husband going around hundreds of tables and thanking each guest with perfect smile on their faces. At the end of her wedding, I just couldn’t imagine how tired she must have been, standing, smiling and talking to so many unfamiliar faces that she hardly knows. Ever since her wedding, I’ve never been a fan of big weddings. I dreamed that I would get married someday, standing on my bare feet on a calm beach in front of my family and my close friends. When Mike proposed to me this year, I told him about my “stess-free” dream wedding and suggested a simple wedding at the City Hall by water. He wanted a bit more flairs than the bare-bone ceremony, so, we decided to get married on October 7th at the Barkissimo yacht in the Emeryville Marina with just 50 guests.
In my early wedding planning stage I thought to myself, “how could my wedding possibly turn stressful when we only have 50 guests, and we know them all”. Two weeks before my wedding, however, I was waking up every morning with my head pounding. Things were beginning to get very stressful. My guest list kept on growing and shrinking. Plans kept changing, and finding ways to make both our families happy was easier said than done. Luckily, at the end, everything went well on our big day. Our wedding was as beautiful and as intimate as we wanted, and all our guests were having a great time. All my pre-wedding stress was simply melted away by the bliss and blessings from the people we care about.
To post-celebrate my “stress-free” perfect wedding day, today I am making a simple and delicious “Sherry Chicken Chickpea Stew” using a Ninja Cooking 3-In-1 System product sample I received last month. The Ninja cooker conveniently allows stir-frying, baking/steaming, and slow cooking in all in one unit. I couldn’t wait to try out this product sample ever since seeing it in Portland this Summer.
To start, first soak 2 cups dry chickpeas in hot water. Separately, turn on the Ninja cooking system switch to Stove Top High and preheat 1 Tablespoon 7th taste Ancho Chili Olive Oil. Then, saute 1 onion (chopped), 2 garlic cloves (crushed), 2 carrots (sliced in 1 inch), 2 stalks celery (cut in 1 inch) and 1 jalapeno chili (sliced) for 15-20 minutes. Then, add 1 cup tomato (chopped), 1 cup dry Oloroso Sherry and juice from 1 lemon and season with 1 Tablespoon chili powder, 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds, a dash of cinnamon and some sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste. Separately, drain water from chickpeas and add them to the pot. Then, stir in 2 lbs of skinless chicken thighs/drumsticks and pour enough water to cover all ingredients in the pot. Then, bring it to boil and switch over to the slow-cook option and let it sit/simmer for 4 hours on low. Before serving, drizzle a bit of 7th taste Ancho Chili Olive Oil in each bowl (This recipe serves 8).
The Ninja cooking 3-in-1 cooking system is very simple to use. Because I can do both roasting and slow cooking in one pot, it has less to clean-up. Chicken came out fork tender and was falling off the bones in the lip-smacking, delicious broth that was filled with layers of complex flavors. Yum! The only downside of the Ninja cooker is that it takes a long time to heat up the pot and it rarely gets hot enough to roast hard vegetables fast. Nevertheless, the Ninja helps make a delicious meal with an easy clean-up. While my sherry chicken chickpea stew was slow cooking on the timer, I went out to do bikram yoga and errands. And, after dinner, I simply cleaned up the pot and lid with hot water and a quick wipe with paper towel. I would buy this product for “stressed-out” college kids, who don’t have time to cook foods for hours, travelers, who don’t have an access to the stove top or oven to cook something or dinner party hosts, who want to keep foods warm for guests for a long time. If you find benefits of the Ninja cooker unimportant, just use your all time favorite thick cast iron pot (i.e. Le Creuset) to try my delicious recipe. You and your family will love it on a chilly Fall evening. Happy cooking!