Monday, February 16, 2009

YAY! I've been anxiously watching my chives for the last couple of weeks, ever since I noticed the little flower bud that formed after a particularly cold spell here in Philly. The first two flowers bloomed yesterday and they are as pretty (although less purple) as I had imagined. I have three of them and wish to eat one just to see what it tastes like. It's hard to eat one of the ones that just bloomed though, so I may eat the third one. In any case, these little flowers are brightening up my windowsill.

Update (04.09.09) It's crazy, so I finally ate one of these flowers (there are about a zillion of them in the pot now) and it tasted just like chives!  I guess I shouldn't feel so surprised, but it's a flower for god's sake.  Anyway, if I ever want to eat a salad again, I'll be sure to toss a couple of these in.
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Tandoori Chicken

This dish was MAGNIFICENT!!! It may be hard to tell, but the first picture is the chicken before cooking (with the yogurt dip) and the second picture obviously, features the cooked chicken right before eating. The recipe is from Cook's Illustrated and these ingenious people figured out that the best way to zap the flavors in without turning the chicken into mush was to marinate in a limey spice rub before dipping in spiced yogurt and cooking. Can't post the recipe here since it's not freely available but will add it to my database. Cook's Illustrated has not led me astray yet and I am really looking forward to trying more of their recipes in the future. I devoured this chicken with fluffy basmati rice, green beans and a packet of dubious spinach dal I got from the grocery store. I wanted to make my own dal but for some reason I couldn't find lentils anywhere. Tonight, I fixed a quick chickpea curry dish to go with the chicken and rice and that was pretty nice. When I return from ORS I plan to throw myself into mastering some Indian dishes. I still have to perfect Mouse's samosa recipe.
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Mushroom risotto is probably one of the things I like to cook the most. It goes with many things and I always have arborio rice, parmiggiano reggiano and a glug of dry vermouth laying around for this dish. I usually stick to mushrooms and a quarter of an onion, but this time I had some celery that was growing limp so I sliced a couple of ribs and tossed in. This would work with diced asparagus too, if you happen to have that instead of mushrooms around. Anyone who has ever made risotto will know how to throw this together but just in case:

Bit of olive oil
Handful of mushrooms (any kind), chopped
Quarter of an onion, chopped
1/2 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of arborio rice
~ 3-4 cups of chicken broth
Handful of parmiggiano reggiano

Pour a bit of olive oil into a little pan or pot and heat. Toss in mushrooms and onions and stir around a bit. Toss in rice and stir around. Add white wine and cook until the liquid is practically gone. Start ladling in chicken broth, maybe 1/2 cup or 3/4 cup at a time. I usually wander around doing other things during this process, but you want to come back and give it a stir fairly frequently and check the liquid. When the liquid has been mostly absorbed, add more broth. After about 20 min you can start testing grains for doneness. When done, shake in some salt and cheese and enjoy! I might twist in some black pepper as well.
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Fallen Bread and Crumbs

It's been a while since I posted anything about food, not because I haven't been making any, but because my food photos generated many derisive comments from Bunny. I can't really fault Bunny though because her photographs look professional, but the girl needs to cut me some slack! I don't even own photoshop. But since one of my new year's resolutions is to cook two new things a month, the food blogging must resume. (And I confess, the lack of food posts was also due to laziness on my part).

I am not sure when I generated the sad loaf pictured above; it may have been before I left for Bunny's wedding. In any case, I left the dough to rise too long (I think I had wandered over to Ferret's house to watch a movie) and when I came home the dough had caved in completely. I popped it into the oven anyway, hoping that the hot air might puff it back out again, but sadly no. This loaf came out pretty inedible but I couldn't bear to toss it so it sat in my bread tin for another week. Finally, I was inspired by Mark Bittman to convert sad loaf into homemade bread crumbs and it was fantastic. Basically, I scooped out the crumbs from the very hard shell and crumbled them in a baking sheet. Toasted the sheet in the oven until quite dry and then stored in a jar. They came in handy recently when I made Martha Stewart's mac n cheese last week. I would make a post on that, but I've already eaten the majority of it and there really isn't much left to post. Let me just say that both breadcrumbs and mac n cheese were superb.
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