Welcome to my blog all about…you guessed it: food.  Food is so essential to our lives and I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures in shopping for food, cooking food, and eating food – therapy in my eyes.  I’ll also be sharing recipes and photos along the way.  Enjoy!
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Pizza Crust (for the GRILL!)

The weekend is here, AGAIN plus summer officially started this week.  Hallelujah!  You know what that means, right?  You should…its time to break out the grill again!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Branden and I have some sort of sick obsession with grilled pizza.  Maybe its because the possibilities are endless?  I also really enjoy anything that involves gooey cheese.  Or maybe we just enjoy grilling.  For some strange reason, grilled pizza to us always feels like its going to be less involved than say, burgers.  That’s not normally the case.  Our kitchen gets messy when we make grilled pizza (its probably my fault, when I cook, I’m a tornado).  I’m going to stick with this reasoning: the kitchen gets messy because there’s no time to clean as you go – everything comes together REALLY fast and right at the end.  You have to have all your ducks in a row when you make grilled pizza.  There is no forgiveness if you’re not prepared.  Usually…

Normally we tell you to just grab one of those handy, dandy refrigerated crusts (Pillsbury has a decent one) and if you haven’t planned ahead, these work perfectly fine.  But if you’re not making pizza on a whim, this crust recipe is super simple and CHEAP (and sooooo much better tasting).  I have a really bad track with getting bread to rise in a timely fashion at our house, but even I couldn’t screw this one up.  Easy, peasy my friends.  Good news too is that you really only need an hour’s notice if you play your cards right.  There’s not a lot of involvement with this crust and it doesn’t “knead” a million rises (sorry for the lame joke).

Need some inspiration for you naked crust for GRILLED pizza?  Check out these past posts!

Poblano & Chicken Grilled Pizza with Avocado (this is a new fan favorite)

Thai One on Pizza

Queso Fundido Grilled Pizza

Grilled Hawaiian Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Lemongrass-Chicken Pizza with Sweet Potatoes & Onion Marmalade

  • 1 c. lukewarm water, plus extra as needed
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
  • 3 c. unbleached all-purpose, plus extra as needed
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Place the water, oil, and sugar in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine with the flour and salt.  Add to the water mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until well incorporated.  If the dough is still, add more water.  If it is very sticky, add extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.  Continue to mix until it feels elastic.  Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface.  Knead for just about 1 minutes, until just smooth and easy to work with, adding extra flour to the surface to prevent dough from sticking.  Do not over work the dough or it will be tough!

Place the dough in an oiled clean bowl, turn it several times to coat all over with the oil, then drizzle the top of the dough with a little oil.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap, place in a warm spot, and let rise until it more than doubles in volume, about one hour.

Punch the dough down and knead on a lightly floured surface for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth.  Divide into two equal-sized balls and proceed with pizza making.

The dough may be made ahead, frozen for up to a month, and thawed at room temperature before using.

Recipe from Pizza on the Grill by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer

 

Categories: American, Breads, Recipes | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Restaurant Review: Lucky’s Cafe, Tremont (Cleveland, Ohio)

Something’s missing…a picture, I know.  Sidebar: I have a really retarded “smart” phone these days that decided to delete all my contacts one day.  I found a back door way to get them back by downloading them and importing them into my Google account and then syncing Google to my phone (all because my loving carrier told me when I complained that my phone was a piece of junk that I really should just buy a new one because mine it “old”).  Pshhhhhh.  So that little import and sync trick worked for a couple days until my phone told me my data was full…it wasn’t.  It got to the point that I couldn’t open text messages so I decided to factory reset my phone.  I took out my memory card with all of my pictures, reset my phone and tada – phone was “fixed!”  Problem solved…until a couple days later when my phone started throwing errors when I wanted to answer phone calls and then decided to reformat my memory card FOR ME.  How nice.  NOT.  It deleted every single picture…even the cheesy ones that are supposed to be preloaded on the dumb thing.  And with it went my pictures from Lucky’s Cafe.  Sorry about all of our luck – you can’t see my crumby cell phone picture of my lunch.  I’m going to buy a new phone now…

All that said, I’ve been having a daily debate in my head…iPhone or Droid?  I won’t tell you what I have now (although, I’m sure you can guess), but I can’t decide what’s best for me.  Yes, I’m a software analyst during the day, but I’m really the worst IT person EVER.  I break technology like its my business and really couldn’t care less about computers outside of work.  Bottom line, you won’t see me developing apps in my spare time unless hell freezes over despite Branden’s pleading (there’s good money in app development, in case you didn’t know, especially as a side gig).

Okay, so the real reason I’m here today is to tell you about this AWESOME cafe that Branden took me too last week during a break from doctor’s appointments most likely because I was starting to get kind of whiney.  It happens to me when a certain amount of blood is extracted – whining and moping…I get crabby, too.  Its not pretty.  But this cafe is!!!

Branden travels a LOT for work (being a pilot and all) and has come to love FlavorTown USA as a resource for finding excellent local restaurants.  In case you’re wondering, YES, this is a complete listing of all the restaurants Guy Fieri has visited on his show, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”  And that’s precisely how Branden found Lucky’s.  I’m a “lucky” girl!

This place is awesome!  They pride themselves on local food – so local that they have their own, rather large, garden behind the patio of the cafe that they harvest from.  While we were there, I watched an employee go out and pick Swiss Chard for their daily special.  YUM!  Their whole concept is that if they can’t get it local, they try their best to get the food from at most, 100 miles away.  It works, trust me it works.  They grow their own produce, bake their own bread, make their own dressings, sauces, CORNED BEEF!  Branden had the Reuben with their homemade bread, thousand island, and corned beef – honestly, they make it.  Check out this video clip!!

Is you mouth watering yet?!?  If not, take a trip with me to my lunch – baked mac and cheese with brie, cheddar, mozzarella, and parm – all topped with brioche bread crumbs.  Our waiter asked me if I wanted to add bacon.  BACON?  I looked him straight in the eye and asked “is that really an option?!?!”  It was, and I grabbed it by the horns!  Oh my goodness, this mac and cheese was probably the best I ever had – the combination of cheeses was incredible and they melded with the cream in this thick, creamy, gooey bowl of awesome…not to mention the salty, crunchy, thick bacon pieces!  The cheese sauce was thick, but not like glue – it was perfect.  The penne was perfectly cooked to al dente, too – which I find lots of restaurants struggle to do – I do NOT like mushy pasta!  Only downside, they made it to order and it literally came out boiling…and I burnt my tongue multiple times because I was so excited to eat it and didn’t let it cool enough.  If that’s the worst thing about Lucky’s, then I will be a repeat customer for sure!  Oh, oh, and one more thing, the side that came with my mac and cheese was homemade apple sauce (incredible, by the way!).  The waiter suggested I eat the mac and cheese mixed with the apple sauce…I’m really, really weird about my foods touching.  This was tough, but he suggested it, so I tried it.  I dipped my fork in the applesauce and then in the pasta…OH.  MY.  GOODNESS.  So weird, BUT soooooo good!  Think about it, we eat apples with cheese all the time, why is this any different from and apple with cheese and crackers?  Its not.  Embrace it, please!

So, a teeny, tiny part of me is glad that I had to spend a day at the doctor’s office because that meant quality time with the hubby trying out a really great restaurant.  Its worth it if you find yourself in Cleveland to check out Lucky’s and really the rest of Tremont (its an up and coming hipster-ish area with cute cafes and shops nestled into a neighborhood).

Enjoy!

Categories: American, Restaurants | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Poblano & Chicken Grilled Pizza with Avocado

Big news, people!  We have been making a LOT of grilled pizza recently (like, this is one of at least 3 recipes I’m got waiting for you!!).  AND I finally found a crust recipe that’s easy and fast enough to whip up in about an hour (that includes the rise, oh yes it does)…I just need to track it down again (coming as a separate pose next week).  For this pizza, I actually had a refrigerated crust in the fridge (because I was THAT skeptical that the hour-crust would work out when we were having people over for dinner), so we went ahead and used it.  Also in big news, Branden informed me that he liked the easy, inexpensive home-made crust better than the refrigerated one – you don’t understand, he prefers Pillsbury Grands (okay, so they are kind of good in their weird, processed way) over my homemade buttermilk biscuits so this is a really big deal (and a money saver!).

But on to the pizza…we had some weird leftovers in our fridge last week that I morphed into this amazing creation that I’m going to intentionally make again.  I had pepper jack cheese, goat cheese, half of a rotisserie chicken (I LOVE these things, sooooo much flavor!), a poblano pepper, some ripe avocados, limes that were going to look a bit funky in the next day or so, and that darned pizza crust.  OBVIOUSLY having the pizza crust, these misfits were doomed to top it.

Branden was nuts about this pizza (and I’ll admit, I loved it too)!  There’s gooey, spicy cheese, crispy, garlicky crust, flavorful rotisserie chicken, creamy goat cheese, spicy poblanos, and cool avocado…heaven, anyone?  I saw a rendition of this on Pinterest (and yes, I clearly have a problem) and just went hog wild with it.  I’m just at a loss for words on how to describe this thing, but trust me when I say that all the flavors came together in an amazing way.  All of the flavors are so vibrant but they’re not beating each other up for attention – a perfect harmony.

Now here’s a question for you?  What’s your favorite pizza topping?  What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever thrown on top of a pizza?  I had kimchi on a pizza once and was NOT a fan…

  • 6 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large poblano chiles, quartered and seeded
  • 2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into 16 wedges
  • 1 Pizza Crust (refrigerated or other)
  • 1/2 c. store-bought salsa verde (I used this one by Guy Fieri)
  • 1 1/2 c. pulled rotisserie chicken (I buy these already cooked in the deli section of the grocery store)
  • 3 c. (10 to 12 oz.) coarsely grated pepper jack
  • 3/4 c. (about 4 oz.) crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 large ripe hass avocado, sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges, for squeezing
Preheat a grill to 500 degrees . In a small bowl, mix together the extra virgin olive oil, garlic and cumin; season with salt.
Place the chiles and onions on a baking sheet; brush with 2 tbsp. of the cumin oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, turning with tongs, until the vegetables are charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Return the chiles and onions to the baking sheet. Cut the chiles into 1/4- to 1/3-inch strips.  (You can also do all of this in a baking pan under the broil for similar results.)
Lower the heat on one side of the the grill to low. Oil the grate on that side of the grill. Move the shaped dough to the grill. Lower the edge of the dough onto the oiled grill, draping the dough perpendicular to the grate.
Cover the grill and cook until the crust begin to bubble and brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the crust from the grill.  Invert the crust flat side down onto a baking sheet. Brush the crusts generously with the cumin oil. Spread the crusts with the salsa verde, then top with the pepper jack, chiles, chicken, and onions. Transfer the pizza carefully back to the grill. Cover and cook until the cheese melts and the bottom of the crust is browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Off the heat, top the pizza with the goat cheese, avocado and cilantro. Serve with the lime wedges.
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Categories: Entrees, Mexican, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Asian Slaw with Grilled Chicken Sate

Ohhhhhhh man, you have NO idea how excited I am about summer!  I LOVE summer, like really love summer.  I love summer weather, summer hours (its light out until after 9 p.m. right now, people!!), and most of all, summer food.  Mmmmm, summer food!  There’s fresh veggies in the garden (we’ve got quite a few things going right now, I’ll have to post about that sometime to show you our funny garden), fresh fruit, lots of grilling, eating outside, and homemade ice cream is finally appropriate.  YUM!

At this rate, we are going to have to invest in a new case of propane tanks for our little Weber Q because we are grilling so much (and guess what, that actually makes me excited!).  We broke out the grill recently in an attempt to eat something healthy for dinner that was full of flavor and could come together quickly.  As far as the grilling went, honestly, I cubed chicken, threw it on skewers and rubbed it with this sate seasoning.  Easy enough, right?  Right.  Moving on…

Now for the real star of this show, the Asian Slaw.  Oh, boy.  This was one of the first things I pinned on Pinterest when I joined back in the fall and just now got around to making it.  Now I’m kind of sad that I waited for so long.  This is so delicious and so fresh tasting – I just kept picking at it because it was so good that I couldn’t get enough.  There’s complex flavors from the dressing  (that is like liquid gold, I could probably drink the stuff) and various textures from the veggies, beans, and peanuts.  I’m not kidding, this is like a confetti party for your plate!  Its makes a ton (which I was skeptical about and considered cutting the recipe in half), but Branden and I ate it all within a day or two.  I mean, at least its not horribly unhealthy – I guess there’s worse things that we could be gorging ourselves in, right?!?  Right.

This would make some seriously delicious cookout food for a crowd, too – different from your typical broccoli slaw (which don’t get me wrong, I kind of like that stuff – raw ramen noodles in all.  I really hope that other people know what this is other wise you’re going to think that I’m gross).

Okay, enough rambling…make some slaw!

P.S.  Here’s the link to the recipe from Once Upon a Chef – the picture is MUCH better than mine.  Clearly I got too excited to eat this and didn’t pay attention to the fact that the picture doesn’t do the salad justice.  Whoops!

Dressing

  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  • 1 TBS peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Sriracha sauce
  • 1 TBS minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

For the Slaw

  • 4 c.prepared shredded coleslaw
  • 2 c. prepared shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 c. cooked and shelled edamame
  • 2 medium scallions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 c.chopped salted peanuts (or you can leave them whole)
  • 1/2 c. loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a medium bowl.  Stir until the peanut butter is dissolved. Set aside.
Combine all of the slaw ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the dressing and toss well.  Let sit at least ten minutes so vegetables have a chance to soak up the dressing.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (I added more Sriracha).  Serve cold.

Categories: Asian, Recipes, Salads | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Slow Cooker Coconut-Banana Oatmeal

Coconut, bananas, and oatmeal, OH MY!!  And guess what – this really isn’t all that unhealthy either (as long as you don’t go too nutz-o with yummy toppings…which might actually be worth the calories if you ask me).  This is one of those really simple breakfasts that easy for a crowd, or yourself, I won’t judge you.  We’re talking, throw everything in the slow cooker, give it a good stir, turn that puppy on low for 8 hours, and BAM: Breakfast!  This is even fun group food because everyone can make it their own!!  Lay out toasted coconut, sliced bananas, chopped nuts (maybe peanuts or macadamia nuts), maple syrup, coconut milk, maybe some peanut butter (we always put peanut butter in our oatmeal when I was a kid…am I the only one that really enjoys this??) and the list goes on!  Slumber party!

So this is goooood.  Creamy, banana-y….delicious!  You will honestly feel like you’re eating something really bad for you, but this has got fiber, protein, potassium, the whole bit.  And I KNOW I’ve mentioned this before, do not, do NOT use fat free coconut milk (the stuff is gross and flavorless) – low-fat is decent and still less fattening than full fat.  If you’re looking to indulge, by all means, get full-fat!!

What are you waiting for?!?  Invite some friends over for a slumber party and serve them this party in a bowl for breakfast – you won’t even lose sleep or miss out on any party action prepping it!  WIN!

Enjoy!

  • 2 medium ripe bananas, sliced (approx. 2 cups)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans light coconut milk*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces, optional (omit or substitute margarine for lactose-free, vegan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours (it is going to look NASTY when its done and before you stir it – have no fear!!). Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup milk or water. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.

Recipe from The Yummy Life

Categories: American, Breakfast, Entrees, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

So I MISSED Memorial Day.  I didn’t miss it in the sense that I lost track of time and completely forgot about it – no, I missed it in the sense that I had 4.5 days from work and got totally lost in my vacation bliss.  Seriously, we spent most of the weekend outdoors and grilling out for dinner EVERY night (that was the only must in our daily agendas).  It.  Was.  Wonderful.

So, I didn’t get this to you in time for Memorial Day Weekend festivities, but its okay, because SUMMER JUST STARTED! Hip, hip hooray!  Keep those grills hot, my friends – I’ve got lots of grilling recipes for you this summer!  This one is excellent and a healthier alternative to beef burgers this summer.  The light and fresh Mediterranean flavors are awesome for summer – serve with a glass of Sauvigon Blanc and some Grilled Greek Potatoes (coming soon).

Anywhosers, I had some leftover baba ganoush and decided we needed something else to eat it with besides Naan (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Naan, but I probably shouldn’t make a meal out of it multiple days in a row).  These were awesome and the baba complimented the flavors of the burger perfectly – I mean, I did design it that way so I’m glad it worked!

So spice up your summer cookout and make you some Mediterranean Turkey Burgers…STAT!  Enjoy!

  • 1 lb. lean, ground turkey
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3.5 oz. crumbled, soft goat cheese
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. ground oregano
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ c. fresh baba ganoush
  • Naan
  • Lettuce leaves, optional

Under the broiler, roast the red pepper until charred.  When cool enough to handle, remove skins, julienne and set aside.

In a large bowl combine goat cheese with lemon juice, salt, cumin, oregano, thyme, onion powder, and garlic.  Add in ground turkey and mix well.  Divide into four even patties and allow to sit in the fridge 15 minutes before grilling over medium heat until cooked thoroughly.

To serve, spread baba ganoush on naan, top with lettuce, burger, roasted red peppers, and an additional piece of naan.  Serve immediately.

Categories: Entrees, Greek, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Cracked Earth” Chocolate Cake

Branden’s birthday was recently, so we had cake AGAIN.  So if you don’t like Carrot Cake (although, this one might make you change your mind), I have something else for you…

Last year, I told a story about how I once made a flourless chocolate cake FOUR years ago for Branden’s birthday but then lost the recipe for said cake during some moves.  Each year, I thought I found the recipe again, but it was never quite right.  Well my friends, I’m happy to say that four years and three flourless chocolate cakes later, I finally found the original recipe and its just as good as I remembered.  This cake is incredibly dense but its so chocolately and moist – it goes excellent with some fresh berries and homemade whipped cream.

Okay that’s all great and stuff, but I have to be honest…this cake is a complete pain in the rear to make – its so finicky and if you don’t follow the directions completely, it won’t turn out.  Forgot to temper the eggs?  You’re toast.  Didn’t achieve stiff peaks in your egg whites and struggle to fold them in to the chocolate?  Toast again.  Seriously, this thing is a pain and I whine each time I make it about how much I hate it and then I take a bite and then I’m swept into euphoria and amnesia.  This cake is heaven and worth ever bit of anger that I put into it!

Enjoy!

Recipe from Tyler Florence

  • 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces (might I suggest using Ghiradelli’s 60% cocoa chips?)
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 9 large eggs, seperated
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar + 1 TBS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9″ springform pan.

Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler and heat over (but not touching) about 1 inch of simmering water until melted.  Meanwhile, which the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color.  Whisk in a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs – this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate; then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20-25 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes, then unmold.

Serve at room temperature with fresh whipped cream and berries.

 

Categories: Desserts, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Baba Ganoush

Ohhhhh man, do I ever LOVE baba ganoush – like seriously!  I think I might actually like it better than hummus.  Yes, I said it – baba is better than hummus.  I mean, I will always love that garlicky chick pea dip but something about baba just makes my heart sing!  Something about the roasted eggplant flavor, creamy greek yogurt, and tahini combined with garlic and lemon juice just makes me giggle with joy – give me some solid Naan to use as transportation mechanism and I am SET!  Look out summer BBQs – you’re getting a new side dish!

This recipe is FAB-U-LOUS.  Seriously.  It tastes just like the stuff that we got at a Lebanese bakery when I was a kid – the stuff my Lebanese-craving dreams are made of.  I’ve never quite found anything that compared to my childhood memory until I tried this recipe – its just about spot on!

Now apparently traditional baba doesn’t have yogurt in it?  I didn’t know that, but I read it in the same cookbook that I got this recipe from.  Throw that thought out the window because this dip wouldn’t be quite the same without it.

Take a break and try your hand at Baba Ganoush – you might not like hummus as much as you think!

  • 2 eggplants (about 1 1/2 lbs. total)
  • 3 TBS tahini
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 3/4 c. Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • Sea Salt
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBS chopped flat leaf parsley (Which I forgot in the picture above.  Whoops!)

Prick the eggplants in a few places with a knife or fork to prevent them from exploding.  Place them on a rimmed baking sheet under the broiler for 35-45 minutes or until the skins are wrinkled and the eggplant are very soft.

When cool enough to handle, peel the eggplants and place them in a fine colander or strainer.  Press out as much of the liquids as possible.  Still in the colander, chop the flesh with a pointed knife, then mash with a fork or wooden spoon, letting the liquids escape through the holes.  Add a tiny squeeze of lemon juice to keep the puree looking pale and appetizing.

In a bowl, beat the tahini with the lemon juice (the tahini stiffens at first then softens), then beat in the yogurt.  Add in the mashed eggplants, garlic to taste, and some salt.  Beat vigorously and taste to adjust the flavoring.

Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with parsley.

Recipe Courtesy of Arabesque by Claudia Roden

Categories: Appetizers, Condiments, Middle Eastern, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Naan – at HOME!

I love naan, but it’s nearly impossible to create the yummy Indian delight without a tandoor…until Cook’s Illustrated starting experimenting.  And guess what?  I tried their “success story” and am here to inform you that….wait for it, wait for it…they did a pretty darn good job!

This recipe does take some planning ahead (and the instructions look daunting), but there’s really no part of this recipe that is overly difficult.

Enjoy!

  • ½ c. ice water
  • 1/3 c. greek yogurt
  • 3 TBS plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ c. tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ TBS butter, melted

In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine water, yogurt, 3 TBS oil, and egg yolk.  Process flour, sugar, and yeast in food processor until combined, about 2 seconds.  With processor running, slowly add water mixture; process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds.  Let dough stand for 10 minutes.

Add salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of workbowl, 30 to 60 seconds.  Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute.  Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 16 to 24 hours

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees.  Place heatproof plate on rack.  Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and divide into 4 equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a smooth, type ball.  Place dough balls on lightly oiled baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart; cover loosely with plastic coated with vegetable oil spray.  Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes

Transfer 1 ball to lightly floured work surface and sprinkle with flour.  Using hands and rolling pin, press and roll piece of dough into 9 inch round of even thickness, sprinkling dough and work surface with flour as needed to prevent sticking.  Using for, poke entire surface of round 20-25 times.  Heat remaining 1 tsp. oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Wipe oil out of skillet completely with paper towels.  Mist top of dough lightly with water, and cover.  Cook until bottom is browned in spots across surface, 2 to 4 minutes.  Flip naan, cover, and continue to cook on second side until lightly browned (if naan puffs up, gently poke with fork to deflate).  Flip naan, brush top with butter, transfer to plate in oven, and cover plate tightly with aluminum foil.  Repeat rolling and cooking remaining 3 dough balls.  Once last naan is baked, serve immediately.

Categories: Breads, Indian, Recipes | Tags: | 5 Comments

SUCCESS: Coconut Chicken Curry!

Okay, so if you have ever visited or lived in Athens, Ohio, you hopefully have had the pleasure of eating at Salaam, a Middle Eastern restaurant that is absolutely incredible!  When I first moved to Athens, Salaam was an eclectic hookah bar in the basement of a building in an alley that happened to serve the best food.  A year or two later, the state of Ohio passed a smoking ban (which I actually really appreciate because I have asthma AND a bad smoke allergy) and Salaam had to choose between being a hookah bar and a restaurant.  THANKFULLY, they chose the later because this was seriously one of my favorite restaurants there (I still go every time I return to Athens for a visit).

I kid you not, this place has incredible food.  Branden and I always start with a mezze platter of fresh hummus, warm baba ganoush, roasted red peppers and kalamata olives.  OH, and don’t forget piping hot pita bread!!  If that’s not enough, then we always order the coconut chicken curry which is unlike any other curry I’ve ever had…which leads me to the point of this post (and its not to praise Salaam although I do encourage you to visit if you ever find yourself in Athens).  The point is, I crave this delicious dish – like big time!  I have been trying for years to recreate it and have come really close before.  This time is different because this time, I think I’ve nailed it!

I made this for Branden’s birthday this year along with homemade Naan and baba ganoush (both of which you’ll see recipes for really soon).  This was one of those meals that made me really sad when it was over because there was so much love in this meal and I never wanted it to end!  So for all you Salaam lovers out there, eat your hearts out!

Salaam serves there’s with a beautiful trio of cilantro chutney, cucumber raita, and toasted coconut on the side…you can bet that I did the same!

Salaam’s Coconut Chicken Curry (not the restaurant’s exact recipe, but one that I changed to mimic their’s)

  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3 to 4 jalapenos, seed removed and finely chopped
  • 1 dried ancho chile pepper, rehydrated in boiling water, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground tumeric
  • 1 TBS ground coriander
  • ½ TBS cayenne pepper
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, separated from skin and bones
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 2-3 TBS coconut cream (Reserve some of the creamy part of the coconut milk if you can’t find coconut cream)
  • 3 dried kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Heat oil in a large dutch oven and add the onions. Sautee until soft. Add the garlic, chilies, tumeric, coriander, and cayenne. Reduce heat, sautee for another 2 minutes or so.  (NOTE: At this point, I threw my coconut milk in the blender and then added the above ingredients.  I gave it a few pulses and then continued on with the recipe – this isn’t necessary, but I wanted my sauce a little more uniformed).

Add chicken, coconut milk, stock, and lime leaves to a dutch oven and and cook on low for about 45 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Stir in them lemon juice and coconut cream. Salt to taste. Remove leaves.  Serve immediately over jasmine rice.

This was adapted from This Primal Life

Categories: Entrees, Middle Eastern, Recipes, Restaurants | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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