Sunday, November 18, 2012

Turkish Chicken Skewers

Serves 2-3 (0.5 pounds chicken/person)
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 lemon, sliced into 3 mm rounds
  • 6 garlic cloves, cut in half, smashed with flat end of chef's knife
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (if you didn't have it, you could probably use ketchup--don't tell anyone)
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1.5-2 pounds chicken, thighs preferably, as they take the marinade better. Cube into 1.25" squares, roughly
Equipment: 6 chicken skewers

If short on marinade time, pre-heat oven to broil. 

Add pepper flakes, paprika and water to a medium sized mixing bowl. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes to form a paste. Add in all remaining marinade ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add chicken, and let sit as long as you can. I have done this as little as 1/2 an hour, and as long as 2 hours. More would probably be good, but still good as is. 

Once chicken is marinated, slide chicken onto skewers. Be careful not to skewer your fingers. *IMPORTANT* Between each piece of chicken add 1 slide off lemon to the skewer. The lemon slices will char, and slightly caramelize during the broiling, and provide an amazing condiment to the chicken. Once all chicken is out, fish out the garlic chunks, and wedge them in between the chicken and lemon slices. 

Place on a broiling pan on the highest rack in the oven. Broil 5-6 minutes on each side. 

Serve immediately. 

Red Lentil Dal

Serves 4

Adapted from "Indian Regional Classics." We love this dal. Most dal at U.S. Indian restaurants is made with brown lentils, and just doesn't get the wonderful creamy texture this gets as a result. There is a very slight kick from the turmeric, but if you wanted more you could add some cayenne or other red pepper. But try it as-is first.

  • 1 1/4 c. red lentils
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tbsp butter (or ghee)
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thickly chopped
  • kosher salt to taste
Bring the lentils, turmeric and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes or until a pea soup texture is achieved. Stir occasionally. Cook longer if needed, add water if needed.

While lentils are simmering, make ghee. Bring a very small (8" or so) frying pan to medium-high. Add cumin seeds and toast, swirling the seeds occasionally to prevent burning. You'll know their done when they start to smell toasty-cuminy, and are several shades darker. Add the 4 Tbsp butter or ghee. Melt, and when foaming subsides, add garlic. Saute garlic until fragrant, and turning slightly golden (a few minutes). 

Add butter/ghee to the lentils, and mix in thoroughly. Add kosher salt to taste. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Seared Sea Scallops

Serves 4 (with leftover pesto)

  • 5 ounce packaged washed/dried arugula
  • 1 ounce parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic--skin still on
  • Large 1/3 cup raw walnuts
  • 4-6 T EVOO
  • Large pinch of salt
Pan-roast the garlic. In a small saute pan,  heat 1 tbsp canola oil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and add the garlic cloves. Turn each piece of garlic every few minutes till quite brown on all sides, but not black. This will roast the garlic in about 10 minutes.

Place walnuts in food processor and pulse until coarse-grained. Add everything else except EVOO and salt. Pulse till all is coarsely ground. Add 4 T oil, and pulse till you achieve correct pesto consistency --pretty fine, but no where near a paste. You should be able to distinguish individual grains. Add more EVOO if you need it, and salt to taste.

12 U-10 sea scallops (U-10 means 10 scallops/pound or under, so this is a LOT of fish).

Only use fresh scallops. Frozen will retain too much water and will not caramelize. Check scallops and remove attaching muscle if still present. If you have time, place scallops in a strainer and let them desiccate further. Individually dry each scallop with a paper towel. In a non-stick pan, heat 1 Tbsp of canola oil over high heat (canola oil is better than other oils for searing, b/c it has a higher smoke point, so you won't smoke up your house or burn the oil). Reduce heat to medium high and add scallops. Cook 1.5 to 2 minutes each side, or until you get a nice caramelization.

Cook pasta according to package directions (or better yet, make your own :). Reserve some of the pasta liquid. Strain pasta, then toss with 1/2 of the pesto. Add a few Tbsps pasta liquid if it appears too dry. Add more pesto if you would like something richer. Place scallops on top (sorry, pretty obvious on that one).