Friday, August 22, 2008

Forgotten Recipes

Have you ever forgotten one of your favorite recipes? I must have made this dish a zillion times but I had forgotten all about it until this week. Maybe it was all the fun I was having with my curried chicken salad that sparked my memory. This is another great curry recipe that is light and goes wonderfully with a fruity salsa like mango or pineapple.

Apple Curried Chicken with Mango Salsa
adapted from Cuisine at Home

8-10 chicken legs (or any part)
1/4 cup curry powder
1/4 cup good quality apple jelly
1 tblsp red pepper flake
salt and pepper

1 mango (or 1/2 pineapple), diced with some juice
1/2 small red onion, diced
handful of chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
fresh lime juice
sprinkling of salt to taste

In a large Ziploc bag add the chicken legs, curry, jelly, and spices. Seal and mix together until the chicken is coated. You can mix this in advance and have it ready to go whenever you need it. Meanwhile dice the ingredients for the salsa. Adjust the ingredients to taste. When you're ready to bake the chicken, line a roasting pan with foil and preheat the oven to 450-500. Roast the legs until near done (15 mins) then turn on the broil to finish them off and brown them. Serve the chicken with the salsa over basmati rice.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred

The Omnivore's Hundred is an eclectic and entirely subjective list of 100 items that Andrew Wheeler, co-author of the British food blog Very Good Taste, thinks every omnivore should try at least once in his life. I found this over at Chocolate and Zucchini and thought I'd try it out. However, I'm new to this whole food world thing so I'm sure there are many things I have not tried but would like to.

The rules:
1. Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten
3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4. Optional extra: post a comment on Very Good Taste, linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros (I truly dislike eggs)
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (alligator yes)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Phở
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi (I think so)
15. Hot dog from a street cart (you have to if you go to NYC)
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle (just a little bit, not nearly enough)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (I still can't do it)
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (I've had rose, mango, and plain)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (not in it's entireity)
37. Clotted cream
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/€80/$120 or more (scotch does that count?)
46. Fugu (food shouldn't be worth dying for)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (never can you believe it?!)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantains
70. Chitterlings
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie (yeah as a kid)
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three Michelin-star restaurant (I wish!)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare (rabbit?)
87. Goulash
88. Flowers (tulips, chive flowers)
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa (I've never heard of rose)
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

lunch: solved

After much deliberation (ok not too much) I think I have temporarily solved my lunch problem. Not only have I uncovered a typical lunchtime food made over, but this recipe is also nutritious! Added spices, garlic, and ginger make this simple salad pack a powerful anti inflammatory, flavonoid-rich punch. This is perhaps the best chicken salad you may ever make. I'm very picky about my chicken salad. Most recipes have too much mayo or too much mustard or too much celery or too much pickle. Ugh. Not this one. Yogurt is used instead of mayo and the whole thing is spiced up to create flavors you won't believe.

This recipe will make a lot. Take it to a picnic. It's light. It's refreshing. It's good for you. This recipe comes from the latest issue of Gourmet. I tweaked it ever so slightly. I cut back a little on the salt and skipped the extra raita thinking the yogurt would be overkill. If you skip out on the cucumber and the grapes I don't think you'll have nearly as tasty a final product. The sweetness of the grapes and crispness of the cucumber balance so well with the spicy curry and cayenne. I love this. Please make it.

Curried Chicken Salad with Spiced Chickpeas
as seen in Gourmet Aug 2008

For curried chicken salad:
1 medium onion, chopped
1+ tablespoon minced garlic (I go heavy on the garlic)
1+ tablespoon minced peeled ginger (I go heavy on the ginger too)
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tsp salt
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup plain whole fat yogurt
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 rotisserie chicken, meat coarsely shredded (about 3 to 4 cups)
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved

In a medium skillet heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Cook the onion, garlic, and ginger until soft and fragrant. After a couple minutes, when the onions start to get some color, add the curry, cumin, and salt. Stir to combine and cook a minute or so longer. Finally add the tomatoes and stir for several minutes until everything cooks down into a nice paste. Remove the pan from the heat and put mixture in a large bowl. To the bowl add the yogurt, cilantro, and chicken. Stir well to combine and chill while you make the chickpeas.

For chickpeas:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and patted dry (and I mean dry!)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt (you could probably skip the salt here)

In a cleaned skillet, heat the oil until it's very hot and starts to glisten. Carefully add the dried chickpeas. They will pop and spatter and fly out of the pan like popcorn so be careful! Shake over the heat for about a minute then add the spices. Shake carefully over the heat until all of the peas are coated then remove from heat and cool. Once cooled slightly, stir the spiced peas into the chilled chicken salad.

You can serve the chicken salad stuffed in a pita, with crackers or flatbread, or over lettuce. Either way make sure you serve it with thinly sliced cucumber and sweet red grapes. You can also add some fresh mint, sliced almonds, or some more yogurt to top if off.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lunch alternatives take 2

I have been scouring my recipe collections looking for things that:

1. require little to no cooking
2. can be made ahead and eaten for several days
3. are nutritious yet delicious and
4. are appropriate for lunch

One of the first things I tried was an eggplant salad first seen over at The Amateur Gourmet from the book Roast Chicken and other Stories. It is similar to the Indian dish baigan bharta but slightly different. It was pretty easy to mix together in a dutch oven and it makes a very large amount that will last most of the week. I enjoyed the salad (though it is more of a stew) but it was very rich and hard to eat in larger portions and very hard for me to eat for more than one day. This would be great to make if you have many people sharing it over rice, naan, or flat bread. This probably wasn't the best choice to solve my lunch conundrum.

Spiced Eggplant Salad
As seen in Roast Chicken and Other Stories

2 large eggplants, sprinkled with 2 tsp salt
2 large onions, chopped
2 cans organic tomatoes
1 heaped tsp cumin
1 heaped tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbs currants (I used fresh because I had them, dried works as well)
Chopped fresh cilantro and mint

Dice the eggplants into cubes and place in a colander with 2 tsp salt. Let them sit for at least 20 minutes then blot them dry with paper towels. In a large pot or dutch oven brown the onions in some olive oil. The more color the more flavor will be in the finished dish. Add the tomatoes, drained, and the spices and stir together. Let these simmer for about 10+ minutes. In the meantime, saute the eggplant in a large skillet in some olive oil. I let mine get rather charred but just cook until cooked through. Do this in batches so you don't crowd the pan. Add the eggplant to the pot as you cook them. Once you've finished with the eggplant, take the pot off the heat and stir in the garlic, currants, and cilantro. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and more cilantro or mint.

If I make this again I might try to make it more like baigan bharta by roasting the eggplants in the oven then scooping out the flesh to add to the mixture. It might make for a better texture but it will still be a rich dish.