Indian Food

So, given the amount of vegetables from the Schader-Flaherty CSA, we decided on Indian food tonight. The menu is Chicken Tikki Masala from Food and Wine, Baked Indian Rice from Epicurious, and from a lovely little Indian cookbook (5 Spices, 50 Dishes)  that Peg got from the library:  Sweet Potatoes with Ginger and Lemon, a cabbage stir-fry, Cucumber Raita, Burnt Onions, and Naan from the grocery store. Len is nervous, not being a big fan of Indian food when not in India, but we are undeterred (plus I made roasted chickpeas which are always a favorite).

Overall, a good meal. The Burnt Onions were the favorite and the cabbage stir-fry. Says len, “I’d eat that again.”

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Sourdough!

Well I took the plunge into sourdough.  Ordered the starter from King Arthur, fed it and then presto made bread.    Here are two photos.  I am still not 100% sure of what I am suppose to be doing to keep it alive but I am following the directions; feed it weekly if I do not use it, etc.

Two loaves fresh from the oven!

Open shot!

I also tried making Bialys (unboiled bagels)  The taste was good but the size on some was a bit off, may try again to see if I can improve.

Bialys!

Hey, how do I get a photo on the side?  That is awesome!

Jeff

I just had an interesting thought, and here is my thought: Suppose that one or two people get sick as a result of eating cheese from a small producer in Vermont, one who perhaps has a dedicated herd of goats and some on site or at the very least local milk processing facilties, or who uses (gasp!!!) raw milk, and then let us also suppose that one or two thousand, no one or two million people also get sick as a result of a diet rife with “Kraft pasteurized processed cheese food,” and when I say sick I mean profoundly an sometimes incurably sick, then which issue is more deserving of government intervention?

Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken

First of all, we were sent a beautiful gift by our young relatives from NYC: Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home.

On their recommendation, especially after I had been raving about Keller’s  Simple Roast Chicken , I decided to try the “Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables.” I couldn’t find rutabaga and couldn’t manage to put all 4 T of butter on the chicken, but I used 2 T, which is still a lot for me. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. The book has a wonderful, easy tone, and I especially love his detailed directions on cutting up a chicken and trussing. I’m tired of looking up youtube videos for trussing! (Of course, there is still a trussing controversy in our household, and some were disappointed that the wings were not crispier.) Otherwise, it came out great and looked beautiful:

 

 

Simple Roast Chicken

The trussed bird cooked up nicely, although some felt that the trussing needlessly limits the amount of skin that is crisped through roasting at a high heat. Valid point, but the fact that the breast meat is almost as moist as the dark meat makes it seem worthwhile.  We shall have to have a chicken cook-off, one trussed and one not, to decide which method to use in the future.  Meantime, this was delish!

This recipe from Epicurious is by Thomas Keller, often called the best chef in America. I followed some reviewer’s suggestions and slashed the legs so they would cook faster. A key technique is to dry the chicken really well so the skin crisps up rather than steaming. It is probably better to dry it and put it on the roasting pan (I use a broiler pan) in the ‘fridge so that it continues to dry for a few hours before cooking; however, I usually forget about this suggestion. I also use the convection feature on my oven and cover the bottom of the broiler pan with foil. This eliminates the copious amounts of smoke in the kitchen that can ensue from the hot fat dripping onto the pan. For some reason, the foil works. (I tried other reviewer suggestions of putting a piece of bread under the rack or roasting the chicken on a bed of onions, but both of those seemed to result in a less-crispy chicken.)

This made a good meal with roasted sweet potatoes (toss cubes in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and roast at 450 until tender and beginning to brown) and broccoli, cooked in small amount of salted water until bright green and then tossed over high heat with olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper, plus a dash of red pepper flakes).

Trussing the bird

This is not something I normally do, but it does seem to help the chicken cook more evenly, plus it looks more dignified. Here is a great video on trussing that is also quite funny:

Frittata

There is a lot of leftover ham in the ‘fridge and one can only eat so many grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.  Tonight, we opted to try out a frittata. I’m not an egg-eater (quite the contrary, I assure you); however, I have fond memories of the frittata Jeff made on the canal boat in France (after a heroic quest on bicycle in search of eggs).  This is based on the Epicurious recipe for Chard and Salami Frittata, with quite a few modifications. It was well received along with a salad and some oven roasted potato chips.

Using an 8 inch (#7) cast iron frying pan, I basically just sauteed up about 1/2 cup minced shallots (2 medium); 3/4 package of baby ‘bella mushrooms, sliced; and 3/4 cup diced ham.  Then I added 2-3 cloves minced garlic and some handfuls of fresh baby spinach. Once the spinach wilted and all excess water had evaporated, I seasoned with salt and freshly-ground pepper, then sprinkled some cheddar over the mixture (about 1/3 cup, grated).  I already had my egg mixture (6 eggs beaten with salt and pepper, a dash of tabasco and 3 T. grated parmesan) ready to go, so I turned up the heat and then poured it over, stirring it up a bit to distribute the filling, then reduced the heat and cooked it, covered, on low until the eggs were mostly set but still soft in the middle.  I sprinkled on another tablespoon or so of Parmesan and ran it under the preheated broiler for a few minutes until lightly browned. 

I thought a slightly larger pan might have been better, but this came out pretty good. The trick is not to scorch the bottom while waiting for the eggs to set.  Jeff, how does this compare with your recipe?