Postcards from India… or my kitchen

friedfish

This fish in a spiced chickpea flour batter and it fried up really nice and crisp but light and airy. It was just Tilapia and still really tasty. Perhaps my best deep frying effort to date. I still hate all that boiling oil though. (Here is a gluten-free variation of the Julie Sahni recipe)

The dal was leftover that I made before and I  had in my freezer. 

The rice is an easy Judith Jones recipe for leftover rice. Sauté it with some onion, mushrooms, hot green chili, cumin, and coriander. Are mushrooms a common ingredient in Indian cooking? 

 

Brunch for one.

1. I get up late (I said brunch not breakfast) and make myself some coffee, french press of course.

2.  I see what I have in the fridge…probably not much because it is Saturday morning and I tend to do my grocery shopping for the week on Saturday afternoon. Maybe I find a zucchini and some mushrooms.

3. I go in search of a cookbook …it is was probably under the couch. I have to clear out 3 pairs of shoes and a couple empty wine glasses to get to it.  This is a good opportunity for clearing away the ring of items that slowly grows in a semi-circle around my couch over the course of the week.

4. So I pick a recipe out, maybe out of Judith Jones, and decide on my substitutions while sipping my coffee…finally I will get started

5. I grate the zucchini, salt it and leave in a strainer over a bowl and then go grab my second cup of coffee which I sip while I sort through the clothes that I piled on that chair all week: laundry hamper, hang back up, or maybe the dry cleaner pile.

6. When that is done I go back in the kitchen and chop up some mushrooms and scallions and set aside, because by now it is time to make another pot of coffee.

7. Then I grab the zucchini, literally, and squeeze as much liquid as out as I can. It is kind of fun.

8. I melt some butter in a skillet (skillet is a fun word) and cook the mushrooms and the scallions a bit. Then add the zucchini and cook that a bit. Add a couple tablespoons of cream

9. When it is almost cooked I put it in a little casserole/gratin dish. I then will realize that I forgot to preheat the oven.

10. I drink more coffee and read a bit more of my bon appetit mag or The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire while I wait for it to preheat.

11. Then I go back, make an indent in the zucchini mixture, and break in a couple eggs. I drizzle with a little more cream, season with salt and pepper, grate some parm over it and put it in the oven

12. 15 minutes later, I eat my brunch.  it will probably be about noon by now.

3 different meals 1 chicken

Life gets busy and cooking gets sidelined and more eating out and take-out happens and blogging… there just isn’t any time for that at all.

But a couple of weeks ago I did try Judith Jones cookbook suggestion for making multiple meals out of 1 chicken. Here is why I like buying a whole chicken:

  • So many people just eat chicken breasts… so are other people eating all those wings, thighs and legs? It doesn’t seem possible does it? Maybe they all go into chicken nuggets. (ugh)
  • I can see that my chicken was a nice little free-range bird not a super-breasted freak sitting in front of a trough all day gorging itself on processed cannibalistic feed … gross…
  • Once I butterfly that chicken it will cook in just 30 minutes under the broiler and I get to keep the backbone and wingtips in my freezer for making chicken stock later.

Round #1 broiled chicken: There are plenty of butterflied broiled chicken recipes out there for you so you can pick any one you like.  I of course used Judith’s recipe for the gremolata. Here it is:  1 garlic clove mashed to a paste with 1/2 tsp of salt, mince together 1 scallion, 1 shallot, 2 strips of lemon peel, a small handful of parsley and 2-3 tablespoons of tarragon, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper.

Round #2 chicken divan: I needed to make cream sauce (bechamel) for this and I was completely out of white flour of any kind. I used whole wheat flour and it was actually fine because I’m not making high art here just delicious food.  Judith’s recipe called for broccolini, and many recipes call for broccoli…I had asparagus so that is what I used. One sliced leftover chicken breast baked with Parmesan cheese, a little sherry, some cream sauce and blanched asparagus equals yum-mo.

Round #3 chicken mince: I was a little concerned about the chicken mince round, as creamy chopped meat on toast doesn’t sound all that appealing. It pleasantly surprised me because it was really very delicious. I finely chopped and cooked some mushrooms with a scallion in a little butter and then splashed in a little Marsala (it called for Madeira but I had Marsala) and then added the other chopped leftover chicken breast and 1/4 cup of leftover cream sauce to warm through. Eat on toast.

After all that you would think that I would be all chickened out for this month….strangely not.

artichoke toute seule

That plate is so pretty and it was so easy and so delicious.

It is a little labor intensive to eat a whole artichoke and once you start breaking into it, there were leaves and all the little hairs of the choke everywhere. It isn’t particularly healthy either considering that I dipped every piece in lemon butter….now that I think about it..it really is like a vegetarian version of  a crab feast.

The steak is London broil with a horseradish chimichurri sauce. It was good, not fabulous. I liked the couscous with peas and onions…sage-y. An enjoyable meal.

And just so dang pretty.