Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

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the best veggie burgers on Earth

June 25, 2020

Seeking the perfect veggie burger recipe for years. I have tried every style – white-bean-and-breadcrumb, wild-rice-and-mushroom, chickpea-and-feta, sweet-potato-and-black-bean

All of those recipes taste great, but just a bit funny in texture. Too crumbly, too gummy, too mushy. Tried forming them into burgers, into meatballs, into crumbles.

THE SECRET TO THE WORLD’S BEST VEGGIE BURGER?
Combine every recipe.

Seriously.

These burgers freeze perfectly, so make a HUGE batch and freeze the leftovers. Future-midweek-you will thank you.

COMPONENTS:

– THE GRAINS PART
I cooked brown rice in butter and sauteed garlic. You could use any grain – from white rice or wild rice to quinoa, barley, buckwheat. Leftover day-old grains work best – you want it a little dried-out. If you didn’t plan ahead, just stick the rice in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients. You could add ANYTHING to your rice. Cook it in water and spices, or tons of herbs, or your favorite vegetable stock. Add your favorite flavors, or just keep it plain. The only necessity is a pinch of salt.

– THE BEANS PART
EVERY bean is good in this burger. Chickpeas, white beans, black beans, kidney, whatever. I used black beans, because I love the way they taste with sweet potato and chipotle. I soaked them overnight, and then simmered them with half an onion, a bay leaf, and a few carrot chunks. This is a GREAT way to use leftover beans from taco night – or make a huge batch, enough for next week’s taco night.

– THE POTATO PART
I used sweet potato, because they add such a nice flavor. If you’re not a fan, you could use yellow potatoes, like a mashed potato cake, but I haven’t tried that yet with this recipe. (If you do, let me know!)

The above steps are all best done the day before – it will make burger assembly much easier.

– THE BINDING PART
This is super flexible. I HIGHLY recommend a combination of oats blended in your blender or mortar and pestle to make oat flour, ground nuts like almonds or pecans, and breadcrumbs. Use way more than you think you need. Like, a cup of ground nuts and a cup of flour/crumbs. If you’re gluten-free, any of your GF all-purpose flour blends will work. You can use all-purpose flour instead of oat flour, panko – heck, you could even blend potato chips or cornflakes.

Highly recommend adding an EGG (if you eat eggs, or a flax egg if you don’t) to help bind it. If you’re making crumbles (like chorizo crumbles) don’t worry about the egg. The egg really is a textural game-changer, though. Helps to keep it all together.

– THE VEGGIES PART
Saute onions, for sure, if you like onions. Highly recommend mushrooms, too. I sauteed mine in coconut oil and you really couldn’t taste the mushrooms in the final burgers. They just add a perfect meaty chew. People put literally ANYTHING into their veggie burgers, though. It’s a great way to use up leftover roasted veggies, or that one last piece of wilted celery! Minced leftover steamed broccoli? Carrots? Bell peppers? A little mushy roasted eggplant? You really can’t go wrong here. At minimum, I recommend an onion and a small packet of mushrooms. Just keep pieces larger if you like texture, or grate/mince/blend to hide veggies.

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EXAMPLE RECIPES:

– garlic brown rice, oniony black beans, sweet potato, caramelized onions and mushrooms, pecan crumbs, and oat flour, seasoned with a jalapeno and chili powder, or a blend of cumin, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, and oregano (“Mexican”) ** this was what I made – highly recommended!

– spelt, kidney beans cooked with garam masala, new potatoes, carrots, cashew crumbs and oat flour, seasoned with curry powder and garam masala (“Indian”)

– garlic quinoa, chickpeas cooked with lots of herbs, yellow potatoes, feta cheese, almond crumbs and oat flour, seasoned with oregano, fennel, lemon zest, and mint (“Greek”)

– buckwheat groats, white beans cooked with ras-el-hanout, dried apricots, almonds crumbs and oat flour, seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, cumin, coriander, and allspice (“Moroccan”)

– garlic farro, white beans cooked with an anchovy, chopped mozzarella, minced steamed broccoli, sauteed onions and mushrooms, pine nuts and oat flour, seasoned with oregano, rosemary, thyme, and garlic (“Italian”)

If you don’t own any spices or herbs, it’ll still be great with just salt and pepper. Just make sure not to leave out the onions and garlic. You can even roast a whole head of garlic and throw the cloves in!

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Without a doubt my favorite ever “make a giant batch and freeze them” recipe. They freeze GREAT. To prevent sticking together in the freezer, cut little pieces of a plastic grocery bag, or parchment paper, or cling film, and place a layer between each burger. Not necessary, but helpful. I shape the raw mixture into patties and freeze them raw. This way, they’re never overcooked. No need to defrost. They can bake or fry from frozen, like the store-bought kind.

If your kids hate vegetables, my advice is to blend ALL the veggies so they can’t be seen or picked out, fry them in lots of butter or coconut oil, and just call the fried patties “gurgers” or something. Of course, you can also bake them, grill them, or pan-fry in just a bit of olive oil.

Yes, these gurgers – uh, burgers – requires some planning ahead of time. But you can throw the grains and beans on the night before. A fun weekend project, not actually as much work as it sounds, and you will be eating these for weeks! The only veggie burger recipe EVER that I can 100% recommend.

Recipe by sig at friedsig, based loosely on hundreds of recipes over the years, but shout out to influential recipes from serious eats and epicurious.

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yet another chili oil (la jiao jiang)

May 13, 2020

Chili oil is one of my favorite foods! My two favorite chili oil recipes are this caramelized onion la jiao jiang – sweet and hot – and this dandanmian chili oil, which is complex and flavorful. Both are very highly recommended.

I can easily eat an entire batch in no time – dipping dumplings, drowning noodles in it, drizzled over congee or grits, on fish, and even making no-mayo chicken salad with a Chinese black vinegar and chili oil vinaigrette.

I wanted to try something new, so I tried China Sichuan Food’s la jiao jiang‘s recipe!

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7 tablespoons red pepper flakes (can toast in skillet before crushing)
1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
1 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 cup more for adjusting

spices:
1 thumb ginger
2 bay leaves
3 star anise
1 bark Chinese cinnamon
3 scallion whites
1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
4 cloves
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 Amomum tsao-ko ,Cao Guo
3 amomum kravanh ,White Dou Kou

Instructions

Heat the spices in oil over the slowest fire for around 5 minutes until the scallion white becomes slightly brown and you can smell the strong aroma. Filter all the spices out and leave the oil in the pot.
Place around 5 tablespoons of red pepper powder in a bowl.
Re-heat the oil in the pot until slightly smoky and then pour half of the hot oil over the red pepper powder. Rest the left oil for 5 minutes.
Add another 2 tablespoons of red pepper powder, 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seed and 1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn in the bowl. Add the leftover oil.

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So, here’s my issue. Heating spices in oil on the LOWEST heat for only five minutes resulted in very little of the spice flavor absorbing into the oil! I definitely recommend the method from the dan dan noodles chili oil, which first requires the oil to get up to temperature (on medium-low, not low heat) before adding the spices.

Next time, I will combine these recipes – using the extra spices like cumin, fennel, clove, and bay, but using the dandan chili oil method.

Of course, this chili oil is good – All Chili Oil is Beautiful – but my next plan is to combine all these chili oils into one perfect recipe. Complex from the Chinese five spice kick, super numbing (this chili oil calls for only 1/4t. Sichuan peppercorns, when this one calls for TWO TABLESPOONS,) and highly potent.

Stay tuned for the ultimate chili oil recipe – I’ll develop a recipe once I run out of this huge batch!

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kefir / buttermilk biscuits

May 7, 2020

If you culture kefir, you know the struggle: mountains of extra kefir. It takes up valuable refrigerator real estate! This recipe is a great way to use that extra kefir.

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2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
9 tbsp chilled butter, divided (see notes below)
1 cup unflavored kefir (or buttermilk, or sour milk)
(optional: spices or herbs or citrus zest)

Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (note: I did not use parchment.)
Sift together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Cube the butter, mix it into the dry ingredients using the pulse mode in a food processor or slowly mix with mixer. Mix until it becomes crumbly. (note: I did this by hand.)
Mix in 1 cup cold kefir, just until the mixture is moistened. The dough shouldn’t be overly wet but, slightly sticky.
Roll or pat out on a lightly floured surface about 1 inch thick. Cut into rounds using a 2-inch cookie cutter dipped in flour. (note: I used a floured upside-down jelly jar.)
Place biscuits 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with melted butter. (note: I did not brush them in anything.) Bake at 450°F for 13-15 minutes until lightly golden and puffed.

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recipe from lifeway kefir and notes by friedsig

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I wrote down the recipe, and misread the recipe as “4T butter” instead of 9. (You were right, second grade teacher: my handwriting is messy.) Know what? They were still great. Maybe not as fluffy as the biscuits in the photo, but definitely still delicious. Even though I have never once in my life successfully made “perfect, fluffy biscuits” – this is probably the closest I have ever come. They were so pretty that I wanted to take a photo, but I ate them all before I had the chance. A nice small batch for two, so double or triple the recipe if making for a crowd! These are a bit sweet, so top with butter, jelly, peanut butter, nutella, or whatever you like! I may try biscuits and gravy with eggs next time; not sure if these would be too sweet for that. I’ll keep you posted!

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saliva chicken (kou shui ji)

May 1, 2020

NO, there is NO spit in this!

“Mouthwatering” and “saliva” definitely don’t have the same connotation in English.

Literal translations are great.

Don’t be turned off by the name. Call it MOUTHWATERING CHICKEN if you prefer. If you like the combination of savory, sweet, sour, and spicy in your Chinese food, this is DEFINITELY a recipe to try!

Without a doubt my new favorite chicken salad…. and NO mayonnaise! Adding this to my “rotation” tag! Thanks to the mala market for this fantastic recipe.

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2 pounds chicken breasts or thighs
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
2 tablespoons grated ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
chili oil (with lots of flakes)**
4 tablespoons chicken juices from steaming, cooled
3 tablespoons Zhenjiang rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Chinese soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese sesame paste
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons Sichuan pepper oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan pepper (see note)
Garnish of crushed roasted peanuts, roasted sesame seeds and scallion

– Prepare chicken however you like. Traditionally, you would pour Shaoxing wine, grated ginger, and salt over the chicken, and steam for thirty minutes. (I reseasoned my cast iron, so I roasted it on super high heat with Shaoxing wine.)

– Mix together the ingredients for the sauce: chili oil with flakes, chicken juices, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame paste, sesame oil, Sichuan pepper oil and ground Sichuan pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.

– Pour sauce over cold chicken. I served this with Chinese style rice noodles, like a cold chicken and pasta salad.

** quantity of chili oil depends heavily on how spicy your batch is! If you’re using a mild chili oil from a bottle, you could probably add the half-cup this recipe initially called for. I used my own extremely spicy homemade chili oil, and a quarter-cup was more than sufficient!

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another winning recipe from the mala market (and adapted by siggi at friedsig)

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Something about the toasted sesame paste combined with chili oil and Sichuan peppercorns is… well… mouthwatering. Literally. My mouth is watering just thinking about it…

Chicken salads are great for so many reasons. Great for meal prep – it keeps well in the fridge, and travels well to work or school. Chicken is a very affordable source of protein. & my favorite reason – chicken salads are SO adaptable. Mayo, plain yogurt, leftover vinaigrette, chili oil…. dried or fresh fruit… seeds, nuts… a great way to use up the last pinch of something in your pantry. Plus, who doesn’t love having a backup meal in your fridge for those days you suddenly realize you only have twenty minutes before you have to leave the house?

If you prefer a more American style chicken salad, can I recommend this extremely popular and healthy chicken salad with spinach, apple, and dill?

If you hate healthy, this honey mustard chicken salad is just like the one from the deli section of the grocery store!

If you’re dairy-free, but don’t like chili oil, try this dairy-free coconut lime cilantro chicken salad: extremely creamy and rich, and very popular with my friends’ kids!

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oatmeal kefir buckwheat muffins

April 5, 2020

1 cup quick-cooking oats (or old-fashioned oats if you like a chewy muffin)
1 cup home-cultured milk kefir (or buttermilk)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. buckwheat flour or whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
spices, if you like (I added cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, etc.)

In a bowl, soak oats in buttermilk for 15 minutes if using quick cook oats. If using old fashioned oats, soak overnight. Stir in egg, sugar and oil. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt; stir into oat mixture just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400° until muffins test done, 16-18 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

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adapted from taste of home by friedsig

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Very quick and easy recipe. Not as sweet as lemon muffins (just a half-cup of sugar instead of two cups). I liked the warming spices in this. The texture was almost a little too chewy with the old-fashioned oats soaked for only fifteen minutes, so I altered the recipe to reflect a recommendation to soak overnight. (To be fair, the original called for quick cook oats.)

I think the healthy boosts – the buckwheat flour and thicker oats – were good choices.

My other note? If you’re using sour kefir you cultured a long time ago, shaking the clumpy stuff won’t be enough. Strain or mash the clumps out, or else you will get little bitter pockets in the finished product.

Next time, I will:
– try butter instead of oil
– try straining the kefir
– try a more savory flavor profile. Googling “garlic oat muffin” provides no results. Should we make the world’s first garlic oat muffin?
– try cutting the sugar (although they do caramelize nicely where they touch the tin)

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If you’re looking for creative ways to use up your endless supply of chunky home-cultured kefir, I have a similar recipe – an Irish soda bread with oatmeal. More easy no-knead breads? Check out this sweet soda bread, or this savory rosemary and black pepper soda bread if you’re watching your sugars.

If you’re not watching your sugar consumption, home-cultured kefir is great in this super-sweet brown bread.

If you’re adventurous, you should definitely try this kefir-cultured “potato cheese”, but don’t blame me when your kitchen smells… uh…. “cheesy”.

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anita’s meatloaf

March 17, 2020

Did you ever mean to type “meatloaf” but you type “meatload” instead?

I think this is why most people don’t like meatloaf.
Not because of a typo.
Because most meatloaf is just a meatload. Dense, dry, almost painful to eat. Flavorless. Just a load of meat. Without oats or breadcrumbs to bind, veggies to add textural interest, moisture in the form of some condiments inside the loaf, and onions and garlic for flavor, meatloaf can be downright unpleasant.

This meatloaf is different. It is everything I like – sweet, savory, and filling. The meat is kept moist by condiments. Of course, you can use a classic ketchup, but I love the complexity of barbecue sauce, apricot jam, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, or mustard.

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my version:

– saute carrots on a med-high heat
– after a while, add minced onions, sour apples, peppers, or whatever you have
– when caramelized, add garlic. turn off the heat when everything is caramelized.
– separately, in a large bowl, add
+ a pound of ground chicken to a half a pound of pork or very fatty beef (like 75/25)
+ a large egg or two small eggs
+ breadcrumbs (maybe a half-cup or so; can use oats, gluten-free cracker crumbs, or anything similar)
+ apricot jam, unsweetened applesauce, mustard, or barbecue sauce to taste. more than you’d think, around a half-cup
+ something savory, like a few drops of fish sauce or worcestershire sauce
+ a handful of dried fruit (apricots, raisins, whatever) and chopped nuts (whatever you have, pistachio or almond)
+ spices – lots of garlic powder, smoked paprika, ground black pepper – or get creative!

my mom’s version:

“I don’t actually have a recipe for the one I make at home frequently…..it’s just a lb. of ground chicken (I like it better than turkey), an egg, about a cup of bread crumbs, about ½ to 1 c. of BBQ sauce to which I add a few chopped dried cranberries and commonly a couple of pinches of smoked paprika. – all of which I mix with sautéed and cooled: ½ large or 1 medium finely chopped onion (sautéed until translucent), 1 or 2 finely chopped celery stalks, and a few finely chopped carrots. I do it differently depending on what I have in the house. In the past I’ve substituted Saucy Susan for the BBQ sauce and I’ve added sautéed sweet potatoes. I bake it in a moderate oven for about 40 min. If I have bacon in the house, I’ll lay that on top before baking.” -Anita

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WHAT TEMPERATURE?

325 = ina garten, alton brown

350 = ellie at food network, betty crocker, spend with pennies, the neelys, brown eyed baker

375 = paula deen

400 = mar-mar-stew-stew, the kansas beef council

425 = bobby flay

if you like a soft meatloaf, go with a lower temperature. if you like a crust, go for a higher temperature. as you can see, everyone has a different preference, and there is no “wrong” temperature for a meatloaf!

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MEATLOAF TIPS:
– DON’T OVERMIX! #1 easiest way to mess up a meatloaf. think of it like a burger – it’ll get weird if you smush it too much.
– let it rest after pulling it from the oven, like a steak or any other meat. cutting it too early will encourage the juices to leave, making a dry meatloaf.
– like the crust the best? form the meatloaf free-form on a baking sheet. you get crust on the top and sides, too! make sure to bump up the oven temp to 400.
– hate the crust? make it in a loaf pan, and leave the heat low, like 325.
– watching your calories? DON’T go with 100% lean turkey meat without at least a little fat, or it will come out dense. you can still make a very healthy meatloaf with just a bit of beef.
– if you’re making it super lean, you can soak bread in milk or veggie stock, and use that instead of breadcrumbs to bind the loaf. that will help keep it from drying out.
– think of texture when you’re planning the veggies. roasted sweet potato adds moisture, nuts and seeds add crunchy textural interest. caramelize some carrots, and leave some less cooked for the consistency.
– don’t skimp on the sauteed veggies! they add moisture, flavor, and texture!
– pan-fry slices of leftover meatloaf for an amazing sandwich.
(tips from my own experience, and bread-soaking tip from the today show)

WHAT IF I DON’T LIKE SWEET?
– instead of apricot jam, use mustard, worcestershire, a little fish paste and hot sauce, or another savory condiment. leave out the dried fruit.
– substitute carrots and apples with more savory vegetables, like fennel, cauliflower, grated cabbage, or mushrooms.
– use savory spices. this recipe is totally flexible, and just as good with cumin and chipotle as with smoked paprika and thyme, or hot chilis and green onions. get creative!

MIX IT UP:
– caramelize onions in cider vinegar or a splash of apple juice or honey for sweetness – or add a pinch of baking soda to get them to caramelize faster, according to cook’s illustrated
– go with a theme for the seasoning. curry powder, cashews, and apples? thyme, dijon mustard, and sausage? roasted poblanos, jalapenos, bell peppers, and chili powder for a four-pepper meatloaf? moroccan spice blend? peanuts and sweet potatoes? oregano, thyme, basil, and a little spaghetti sauce? the only limit is your imagination!
– replace some of the ground chicken with ground turkey. replace the ground pork with ground beef or sausage. replace some of the chicken with sauteed mushrooms.
– cook’s illustrated turkey meatloaf calls for a half-cup of grated Parmesan and 3T melted butter mixed into the turkey meat for texture and flavor – but they say never use 99% lean meat, as it will become “pasty” or “mushy and compact” when cooked – they recommend 85% lean

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How does your family make their meatloaf?

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roasted poblano and white bean soup

February 20, 2020

This recipe, from Rhubarb and Cod, is definitely my favorite new vegan recipe. It may not be a traditional Mexican soup, but it takes a LOT less time than traditional Mexican soups like menudo – and it can easily be made vegan!

Here’s my version, with LOTS of alterations – some due to cost, some to cut the prep time, and some just for my preferences in taste. Add any soup veggie to this (or anything that looks sad in the bottom of your produce drawer.) Anything from fennel root to potatoes would be delicious in this!

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3 poblanos (one or two if they’re spicy and fresh)

half a large onion
a few cloves of roasted or raw garlic
whatever veg you have in the house (carrots, celery, etc.)
half a can of corn, drained
white beans (two small cans, or about a cup of dried beans simmered in garlic and onion and stock. either way, use about 3c. cooked beans.)
a few fistfuls of spinach

spices, to taste:
smoked paprika
mexican oregano (you can sub marjoram or regular oregano)
cumin
coriander
cayenne or chipotle if your poblanos are mild
salt

vegetable or chicken stock

honey (opt.)

topping:
fresh lime juice
raw cilantro (opt.)
hot sauce (opt.)
goat cheese or plain yogurt (opt.)

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first, blister your poblano(s). grill them on a high heat, lay them directly on the burner of your gas stove, or roast at the highest heat in your oven. whichever method you choose, make sure that the skin is jet black. it should look worryingly blackened. rub off the black flakes – run under water if it’s taking too long.

in a soup pot, get some onions (and any hard veggies, like carrots) started over medium heat with whatever fat or oil you like for soups. olive oil, coconut oil, whatever.

when soft or caramelized, add any smaller or softer veggies, like corn, garlic, etc.

when everything looks great, add stock or broth, spices and herbs, and the cooked white beans.

taste it. if it’s great, add it all to a blender with the raw spinach and everything else. if you don’t like a blended soup (or don’t want to clean your blender, or don’t actually own a blender,) just leave it chunky! if you don’t have a blender, you can also mash the beans with a fork before adding.

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the original recipe is quite labor-intensive. roast canned corn? who has time for that?

this version was still delicious with much less hassle.

HIGHLY recommended!

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easy savory congee (garlic rice porridge)

January 22, 2020

Congee is the ultimate comfort food. If you like carbs, and you like sipping on soup or tea, you are going to love congee. If you have an upset stomach, or a toothache, you are going to love congee. If it’s cold out, and you want to get warmed up, you are going to love congee. It’s totally foolproof – anyone can make this.

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Add a bunch of water and rice to a pot (about a half cup rice for eight cups of water/broth/stock)

Add garlic powder, black pepper, and a few splashes of chicken stock or a few ice cubes worth of frozen chicken stock. You can really mix it up here – substitute veggie stock or broth with no problem. You can add five spice powder, or your favorite seasoning. Anything from curry powder to roasted garlic and scallions to mushrooms (fresh or dried) is great in congee. Toss in leftover meats or grilled veggies or whatever leftovers you have.

Takes a while, but you can mostly just ignore it, simmering on a low heat and stirring every once in a while. It’s ready when it’s a gloopy mash. Drizzle toasted sesame oil and la jiao jiang (hot pepper oil) on top – or yogurt and chives – or a little miso paste – or whatever you are craving.

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Can’t go wrong with congee. The more cold, sick, or sad I feel, the better this tastes. It got me through a root canal, plenty of hangovers, and lots of cold nights. It really warms you from the inside out. It’s the ultimate soft food (I dare you to find a food softer than this!) and perfect for babies, and adults who are acting like babies.

I know “porridge” (or, worse, “gruel”) might sound weird to Americans – it reminds me of Goldilocks and The Three Bears – but if you like chicken and rice soup, that’s basically what this is. If you eat polenta, grits, oatmeal, or cream of wheat, you can probably already see how good this rice congee tastes.

My favorite lately is congee cooked with stock/broth and lots of garlic, dried shiitake mushrooms, leftover roasted veggies, and a pinch of five spice powder, served with a poached egg on top, sesame seeds, and LOTS of hot chili oil.

It’s also a great base for a one-pot meal. Throw in cooked meat, chopped veggies – whatever you want.

Infinitely customizable, impossible to mess up, totally different, and extremely comforting. What could be better?

If you like sweet better than savory, try this eight treasure congee (八宝粥) with dried fruit and nuts. It tastes perfect with some brown sugar, like oatmeal but even more like a warm hug.

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easy shawarma-spiced roasted chicken

January 16, 2020

Simple go-to weeknight roasted chicken recipe.

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed

just combine the spices, mix with the oil, pour over chicken, and bake your favorite way

I like getting the oven pre-heated (425 or 450; any lower and the chicken will bake pale and won’t roast,) starting the cast-iron over med-high heat, and scorching the skin until it shrinks up a bit.
Then I flip the thighs, and finish off in the oven. Depending on the size of the thighs, you may only need 10 to 15 minutes in the oven!

adapted by friedsig from Rhoda Boone via bon appetit

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They say to serve with pita, a cucumber-tomato salad with red onion, and a simple tahini-yogurt sauce. I ate it with my fingers, dipped in a tahini-yogurt-lemon-garlic sauce similar to her recipe here. The spices were very subtle – nothing a picky eater would reject – not spicy, or strongly spiced – just a little something different to mix up your roasted chicken routine. For my taste, I would probably double the spices next time, and definitely add the cucumber-tomato salad. And, hey, if you’re too broke or too lazy to eat it with pita, just say you’re being gluten-free and paleo and keto! I’m not broke; I’m just “watching my macros”!

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beef rendang (indonesian / malaysian coconut beef)

January 9, 2020

This is a big YES! One of the best beef dishes I know. Just a warning that if you use a cheap, lean beef roast, this might take three to five hours of simmering to become “fork-tender”. The beef was tough after being simmered for only an hour, so I gave it another two hours, and it started to really soften up like brisket. If your meat is lean, try doing this in your slow-cooker. (I don’t own a slow cooker, so I just used a big dutch oven style pot, and it was fine!)

Spice Paste:
3/4 cup grated coconut (I used less, because I used a thicker style of coconut strip instead of a grated coconut)
15 dried chillies (I used about eight and I’d definitely 100% recommend a few more. 15 probably sounds right.)
10 shallots, sliced (I used one. Shallots are expensive.)
4 cloves garlic, sliced (I used five or six to compensate for less shallots.)
1 inch ginger (20 g), sliced
1 inch galangal (20 g), sliced (I omitted this)
1 inch turmeric (10 g), sliced
2 stalks lemon grass, sliced (I used dried old lemongrass and the flavor was not strong.)
4-6 bird chillies, optional

chunk of beef, 1-1.5lb., sliced into one or two inch chunks

1 stick cinnamon, about 2-inch length
3 cloves
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods
tamarind paste or pulp
6 finely sliced kaffir lime leaves (I left these out and they were fine.)
rock sugar or palm sugar (or regular sugar)
6 T toasted coconut (I used larger dried coconut strips, toasted in an unoiled skillet)
1 c coconut milk, plus 1 c water poured into the coconut milk can to use the solids
(optional) one turmeric leaf tied into a knot (I used one from my plant and the flavor was great. Recommended.)
salt to taste

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1. Blend spice paste ingredients. You can use a mortar and pestle, blender, food processor, or, if you have to, the side of your knife.

2. Heat the oil in a stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir-fry until aromatic. Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is almost cooked. Add the kaffir lime leaves, kerisik (toasted coconut), sugar or palm sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat.

3. Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up. Add more salt and sugar to taste. Serve immediately with steamed rice. The leftovers are great frozen or packed away for the rest of the week.

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adapted from a few versions, mostly the rasa malaysia and serious eats versions

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If you eat beef, this should absolutely be on your list of special occasion dishes, to eat for birthdays or just to cheer yourself up during a long cold winter. The smell of beef rendang simmering, and the warmth of it on your stovetop, is powerful enough to beat back the winter blues. Sweet, sour, spicy, savory, creamy… this dish is everything. Perfect for a long, lazy January weekend.