Saturday, November 16, 2013

Chicken in tomatillo sauce

Yes, another crock pot / slow cooker recipe.  This is one of those random - throw things together and luck out it was good.  I know each time I use different spices, but somehow the BF states it tastes exactly like the last time.   I'm just going to say it must be the tomatillos.

If you google tomatillo and chicken, it appears to be a pretty common combination.  Perhaps I read on of these posts and then got the idea... or had chili on the brain. But, this has become one of my go-to recipes for chicken because it's quick (to set up) and easy.

I like to use whole chickens - mostly because that is what we have in our freezer (yea CSA!) and because I like white meat and the BF like dark meat.  And, this way we can have both - and I can hide the dark in the white meat when I eat my share.  Yes, exactly like when I hide the kale in something so the BF is able to eat it.  (is that a boo CSA?)

So, the night before - I cut up the chicken and store it in the fridge.  Legs are left on the bone, breasts and back meat is deboned and cut into large pieces.  Say half each breast bone as you don't want to loose the white meat while cooking.  The left over bone and associated parts (liver, heart, gizzard, etc) is placed in a zip lock bag and put in the freezer for stock making day(s).

Chicken in Tomatillo Sauce

  • 1 whole chicken cut into parts (or pre-cut chicken)
  • 2 cups tomatillo (or a can)
  • 2 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper powder (or whatever you use for making chili)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves (or more) of garlic
 Take the tomatillo, onions, cumin, chipotle and place into crockpot/slow cooker.  Give it a good stir.  Place a handful of onions.  Layer chicken legs and then breast pieces.  So that most of the heat is focused on the legs which are bone on so that the sauce is nice and rich.   Toss in the rest of the onions and the garlic. Cover and cook on low.  About 8 hrs (or longer).  I do not know if shorter is possible as I tend to work long hours.  I'm thinking you are good at about the 5 hr mark.  But, you will have to test the chicken.

When I get home, I pull out the chicken.  Put the sauce in a pan to cook down.  Shred the chicken and toss it into the thickened sauce.  YUM!

If you have fresh cilantro or some diced avocados, they make a lovely addition.  In the early fall, I've made a nice salsa fresca as the tomatoes are so good that time of year.  Guacamole would be good as well.  It has a nice southwestern feel.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Yemeni Style pot roast

I'm not really sure of the authenticity of this Yemeni spice blend - but I'll take my book's word that this is a Yemeni Spice blend.  In looking up origin, it seems from the flavors that this is a Mughlai-style Indian than a Middle Eastern style blend.   Either way, real or made up, it's a tasty dish and a new flavor for pot roast.

The original recipe was a bit peppery - so I've cut down the amount of pepper.  You are more than welcome to add more  - if you wish for that pepper pop.   And be warned, the next day - if you have this as left overs - the pepper flavor comes out more intensely. 

This site had some great pictures of Yemeni food and even though I just ate, my mouth watered looking at the pictures!

Speaking of pictures, I didn't take any.  It looks like a pot roast - just tastes different.   We shredded ours so that we could use up more of the sauce.  But, if you eat bread - I think this would taste great as a sandwich with a bit of cheddar cheese and some onions.

Yemeni Spice Blend

  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground caraway 
  • 1 teaspoon (a good pinch) saffron threads
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (be careful of this spice as it dyes everything yellow)

Pot Roast

  • a nice size pot roast, mine was about 2.5 pounds
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 cup beef stock (or chicken or water)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small green chili (optional)
Rub the spice blend on your meat and cook.

If you are using a crock pot/slow cooker - you can just put everything in the pot in the morning.  Set it to low and when you get home - just shred / cut and eat.  If you are motivated, you can even brown your meat before placing it in the crock pot.

If you do this on the stove, please follow your normal cooking process for pot roast.  I sometimes will do mine up in the oven at 275F for 3 hours or so, depending on size. But, now that I've discovered the crock pot - well, the oven seems like a waste of fuel.  And, I don't have to mind the crock pot!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Chicken stir-fry with cashews

We have some awesome CSA's.  Tomato Mountain, which provides us huge amounts of vegetables.  And, Meadow Haven Farm that provides us with all our meat.  Now, just to find a beer CSA. :)

I have something almost as good - a honey who buys me great beers.  This go, he bought home a lovely Belgian Farmhouse Ale called 'Vielle Provision Saison DuPont'.  It went surprisingly well with the ginger, honey, Asian flavors.

Now, our veg CSA is on a Asian vegetable kick - so we have been getting lots of Asian vegetables.  So, in the last two weeks we have gotten - Vitamin Green, Bok Choi, Tokyo Bekana, Yukina Savoy.  And, to top all that off - Kale!  Two kinds, no less. Red Russian (which I used for this dish) and Lacinato.

So, we had a lot of greens in this dish. But, you can use whatever you have on hand.  Don't you love stir-fry's?  As long as you have some ginger, honey, garlic and soysauce/tamari - you are good to go.

I also like to use lemon grass - it gives a nice citrus flavor without the added acidity of lemon or lime.  But, if you don't have lemon grass - you can use either or to brighten up the dish.

Chicken Stir-fry with cashews

1 pound chicken (breasts or mixed) cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 pound vegetables (various greens)
1 handful green onions or chives, chopped
1 handful garlic scapes, chopped (if you have them)
2 tablespoons ginger powder (or 1 inch fresh, minced)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
1 piece lemon grass (or a teaspoon of citrus)
a handful of raw cashew nuts
coconut oil - or a fat to cook

In a bowl, mix ginger, garlic, tamari, water, honey.  If you are using dried lemon grass, add to the bowl with hot water instead of regular water.  Once the water has cooled, toss in the chives and garlic and scapes.  Add the chicken - and allow to marinate while you are cutting up the vegetables.

Strain out the chicken - placing the sauce in a sauce pan to thicken.

Heat a pan with coconut oil.    In the hot pan, add the chicken a bit at a time - and give it a quick fry.  Ideally, you want it to brown up.  But, some-times that doesn't happen for me.  Just make sure not to over cook it.  Once cooked - place in a bowl to the side.  Add the vegetables into the pan you cooked the chicken in, stir it up until it has wilted.  Add back the chicken and mix.  At this point, your sauce should have thickened nicely.  Add sauce to the chicken and veg.

In a separate pan (or in the oven ) brown the cashews.  I do this in a dry pan until the cashews are nicely brown but not burnt.  Put the chicken dish in a bowl, toss in the cashews. serve.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

GF country fried steak

I had some round steak that was thawed and I needed a quick meal.  Normally, with round steak, I do a braise as it is a bit of a tough cut.    But, late nights at work - do not make for braising recipe.  So, google to the rescue.

I found this recipe from Pioneer woman.  I've done a few recipes from her site and they have turned out well.  So, this recipe has some unusual ingredients - but you can sub with what you have.

The unusual ingredients:
  • garbanzo bean and fava bean flour  - I used Bob's Red Mill
  • water chestnut flour - I bought from the Indian store in Chicago's Devon neighboorhood

Country Fried Steak

  • 1.5 pound round steak, tenderized
  • 1/4 cup  garbanzo/fava flour
  • 1/4 cup water chestnut flour
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup fat - I used olive oil (not extra virgin) but would suggest you do your research due to conserns about overheating oil
Trim and tenderize your steaks. I added a bit of salt and pepper at the tenderizing (read pound the heck out) stage.

In a small bowl, mix your flours, salt and pepper.  Set up a plate, flour it.  Place a steak on the plate, flour the other side.  Flip and make sure it's well coated.  I usually do a bit of flour at a time so as not to waste the mixutre.  As long as it doesn't have meat juices on it, you can use the flour at another point. Perhaps for more steaks? :)

heat oil to temp (I went up to about 350 - due to the Olive oil).  When hot, place steaks in to cook.  Do not crowd.  Have a plate to the side - and if you want a paper napkin to place the steaks after they cook.  Cook up.  About 5 min to each side.

Serve while hot.

Note: cut into pieces - you can put it on the top of a salad and it is very yummy cold and crunchy.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

 I had to share this link with everyone.  It is Gabriele Galimberti's, an Italian photographer, web page.  The project is called 'Delicatessen with love'.  I haven't found that it opened great in any particular browser (if you wish to look a the text).  But the images of happy grandma's with plates full of food --- just screams out love and caring.  All the things we celebrate on mother's day.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Kofta, Albondigas, K''ttublle…a meatball with any other name is still just as yummy!

I am completely fascinated by meatballs.  When I was a kid, I didn't realize that there were other ethnic cultures with meatballs.  Oddly, I thought only Indian's and Italian's had meatballs, a "I" thing.  Unlike the rest of America,  who apparently only knew of Italian style meatballs - at least among my non-Indian friends. 

Meatballs have a fascinating history for all that no-one can definitively state where they originated.  A few cultural/food historians believe that it originated in Persia, since so many variations of the name for meatballs derives from the Persian word koofteh which means 'pounded meat'. 

But, one of the first recorded recipes is from a Roman written in 25 AD - which rated the best meatballs to be made of peacock, then pheasant, rabbit, chicken and then pork (Taste of Ancient Rome by Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa).   I guess beef was not big in 25 AD? 

And trust the Spanish Inquisition to come up with a creative way to use meatballs to identify who needs to be arrested because they aren't Christian.  Just think, you are invited over for dinner and your host is putting out these lovely little meatballs called albondigas.  So, to identify those Jews who were secretly trying to pass for Christian converts - a host would put pork in their albondigas and after the guests were seated, let the guests know that the meatballs were non-kosher.  If any guest refused to eat it or spit it out, they were immediately arrested. 

I just always thought they were a quick and easy meal.  Never really thinking about how they came about - or all the history of it.  (there is more out there!)

You can make so many variations. Whatever you have a taste for, there is a meatball (or you can create one).

Speaking of creating, we have a lot of pickles from my canning project last fall.  And, I was in the mood for Greek.  And, lucky us, we have cucumber lemon pickles, yogurt and dill.

It turned out so good, so I will share both the cucumber lemon pickle and the meatballs.

Greek style meatballs with yogurt dill sauce

1 pound ground beef
3-5 slices of pickled cucumbers in lemon, diced
1/2 lemon slice from pickle, diced
1 tablespoon oregano (or to taste)
1 tablespoon parsley (or to taste)
1/4 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoon dill

take the ground beef, 1/2 the diced pickle.  Add all the onion,oregano, parsley and garlic. salt and pepper to taste. mix well and form into balls (loosely).  You can add a egg if you wish for binding, but I never find I need it.  Put into a skillet to cook.

Yogurt sauce:
take yogurt, rest of pickle and lemon, dill.  A bit of salt and pepper. mix and set aside until meatballs are done.

Serve with yogurt sauce as a side.

Now the Pickles themselves take a bit of planning, it takes about a minimum of 1 week to cure and get the flavors into the cucumbers.  They are a lovely tart, sweet, lemony flavor.

Cucumber Pickles with lemon

2 pounds small cucumbers
1 tablespoon pickling salt
1 1/3 cup white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
3 slices fresh lemon
3 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
3 pint jars

1. cut the ends of the cucumbers and discard.  Cut cucumber into thick slices.  Place into non-reactive container, sprinkle with salt and let stand for 3 hours. Drain.  Rinse twice and drain thoroughly.

2. combine vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, peppercorns and allspice in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

3. add cucumbers to boiling liquid (from step 2). return to a boil, stirring constantly.  remove from heat.

4. remove hot jars from canner.  Place 1 slice lemon, 1 garlic clove and a bay leaf in each pint jar. 

5. remove cucumbers from liquid with a slotted spoon and pack into jars.  Pour hot liquid over the cucumbers to within 1/2 inch of rim (headspace).  Process for 10 min. 

Store in your pantry for future use. In things such as Greek style yogurt and meatballs. Or with your burgers.