Some changes around here.

This site has finally become active again, and a lot has happened since I was last writing.

  1. I moved from DC back home to Austin.
  2. I got really sick, really quickly, with disastrous consequences.
  3. I got a diagnosis for my ADHD, anxiety and OCD.
  4. I started studying Ving Tsun Kung Fu at Moy Yat Kung Fu Academy.
  5. I got sober. I’ve stayed sober.
  6. I was invited to Status 451.
  7. I met the woman who became my wife.
  8. We got married.
  9. I wound up leaving the Academy, but am remaining in practice and study of Ving Tsun Kung Fu.
  10. We have a kid.
  11. I moved out of Drupal and into WordPress.

This is a lot going on, and I promise to write more frequently.

Sunday Night Cooking Roundup: 11 July, 2011

(Gosh, I haven’t done this in a while.)

Today’s Sunday Cooking Roundup is a litlte disappointing. There’s nothing vegetarian here, but I do have pescaterian and poultry friendly dishes.  What we do have, however, reflects what was on sale at the grocery store. In addition to the standard salad vegetables and herbs that I normally buy, this weekend they had chicken breasts, shrimp and mixed shellfish on sale.  There was no way I was going to miss out on buying these, so this week’s menu is heavy on all of them. Apologies to my veggie friends, and I’ll try again for next week.

Here’s what we have on the menu:

  1. Dheeraj’s Modified Shrimp Scampi,
  2. Garlic Chicken and
  3. Mixed Shellfish Soup.

Recipes and pictures after the jump.

Dheeraj’s Modified Shrimp Scampi

First of all, I hate the name “Shrimp Scampi”. It’s redundant. “Scampi” is Italian for “shrimp”. Really. Look it up.  But it generically means shrimp cooked up with oil and citrus.  I think that that’s okay, but a little boring. So here’s what I did, instead.

Ingredients

1 lbs peeled shrimp (I buy it and peel it, but do what you want)

1 yellow onion

1 green pepper

0.5 lbs sliced white mushrooms

2 Tbs. finely chopped garlic

1 Tbs. Black Pepper

1.5 finely diced habanero pepper

3 Tbs. Lemon juice

1 tsp. combined diced fresh rosemary, oregano and basil (Do not use dried Italian Herbs mix. It sucks.)

Steps

Well, so as part of my diet and training, I’ve given up rich cooking oils. I KNOW, RIGHT? WHAT A FUCKING DISASTER!  Anyway, I’m using a flavoured cooking spray now, and you can certainly use a cooking oil for this. In this case, I’d recommend using olive oil.  You’re going to add a lot to it, so just about any grade will do.   

So oil up a frying pan and let the oil start to warm up.  While that’s happening, dice up your onion, habaneros and green capsicum, and then stick in the oil on low heat to start to cook.  You want it to get soft, but you don’t want the onions to brown or the pepper to get too soft, so use low heat.  When the capsicum is about half-way to where you want it to be, add in the mushrooms and black pepper.  Mushroom consistency is critical, here. You don’t want them to be too floppy, but you want them to get the flavours and oils of the onion, habaneros and the capsicum. 

Keep this in mind: the shrimp will be cooking for about seven minutes. That will help you judge when the mushrooms are at the right stage of cooking to add in the shrimp.  When you’re ready, add the shrimp, garlic and lemon juice.  Mix it up and make sure that everything cooks together.

The end result should look like this:

Enjoy! 

Garlic Chicken

This is not really a recipe as much as it is me trying to recreate something that my mother used to make and trying to mod it up a little bit to accomodate what was on sale and what I needed to use up in the fridge.

Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 finely diced onion

1 diced green capsicum

6 Tbsp chopped garlic

4 Tbsp garam masala

2 chopped serrano chillies

1/2 cup nonfat, plain yogurt

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped coriander

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 tsp shredded ginger

Steps

Again, I’m not using oil, but if I were, I’d use vegetable oil.  Toss in the onions, capsicum, green chillies and ginger to get them cooking up.  When the onions start to turn translucent, add in the diced chicken, half the garam masala, half the garlic and half the cumin.   Actively stir and let the chicken get brown, while the chicken oils merge and mix in with the garam masala, cumin seeds, garlic and vegetables.  When the chicken is well browned, through everything else in.

Now, you stir it up to make sure everything is mixed up well, cover it up and step away for a while. You can tell that it’s finished when the chicken is soft enough that you can easily slice it in half with a fork. Yes, it’s that tender.

Results look like this

Mixed Shellfish Soup

This is the recipe I am seriously excited about!  The grocery store were having a sale on mixed shellfish, which included calamari, shrimp, scallops and small shellfish.  I was so pleased to discover this that I invented a soup on the spot.

Ingredients

1 diced yellow onion

1 bunch of green onions, diced

1 green capsicum

2 diced habanero peppers

8 diced tomatoes

1.5 cups diced coriander

1 lbs mixed shellfish

1 cup lemon juice

2 Tbs cumin seed

4 Tbs chopped garlic

Cinnamon to taste

Bay leaves to taste

6 Tbs garam masala

Liquid of your choice (I used water because of the diet, but I’d imagine that you could add in a lager and have amazing results.)

Steps

This can be done even if you don’t have a pressure cooker. I do, which made this a lot easier, but you can do it without one if you’re patient.  My advice is to start this before you start anything else and let it go in the background while you are cooking other things.

Take the green onion, white onion, garlic, habanero and tomato and put them into the pot you’re going to use.  Add just a little bit of your liquid, cover it up and let it sit there for a quite a bit.  You want this to start breaking down.  When your soup base is about 1/4 of the way to where you want it to be, add in everything else except the seafood. 

Now, you are cooking the base down till it gets to your desired thickness. Check on it every ten minutes or so. To make it thicker, I recommend using a habanero salsa of some kind, and to dilute, add more of your liquid.  When the base has reached the desired consistency, add in the shellfish and cook for no more than six minutes.

Results should look like this.

Garlic Chicken

Slow Roasted Beef With Pomegranate Molasses Sauce

This is another accidental recipe that turned out to be quite delicious. I don’t know how it is that I’m so lucky all the time with my experiments – as far as I remember, I’ve only had four experiments go utterly awry in the last seven years. 

This recipe came together out of a random set of circumstances. As I mentioned before, the Safeway near my old place had fantastic sales on roasts, and I wanted to play with one. I’d recently been to the Middle Eastern grocery store to get some bulk spices, and I had been thinking about how pomegranate molasses would serve as the basis for an Indian-ish barbecue sauce.

I adapted some of this from a bouef bourguignonne recipe, some from what my parents used to prepare for cookouts and some from what I know of Texas barbecue techniques. I would love to see some feedback on this recipe.

Once again, I didn’t take any pictures. Sue me.

Ingredients

1 4-5 lbs London  Broil

2 serrano chillies

5 medium yellow onions

5 Tbsp minced garlic

5 Tbsp minced ginger

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar vinegar

1 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses

2 tsp brown sugar

4 potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 rashers of bacon

1/2 cup finely chopped basil

6 Tbsp garam masala

1 Tbsp Freshly ground cinnamon (Do not use the powdered stuff – do it yourself)

3 Tbs Indian dried red chillies

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation

The first thing to do is boil the bacon a bit to get rid of the excess salt. So, take a large Dutch oven and fill it with water, bring to boil, and then stick your bacon strips in for about four minutes.  While this is going, dice one onion and your chillies as finely as you can, and slowly sautee in 1 tsp vegetable oil. When that’s done, drain the water and carefully pat down your bacon strips.  Cut the bacon into small strips, probably the size of a normal lardon, and add to the onions and chillies.  Let this go for a bit, till the lardons start to stiffen up a bit.

At this point, add the vinegar and the pomegranate molasses, and keep cooking on medium heat, stirring occasionally. While this is happening, finely dice two more onions and add them in.

Set your oven to preheat to 325.

Searing Your London Broil

Sear it as you would any other meat that you’re going to stick in the oven, and set aside.

Back to The Sauce

You should be getting quite a pungent smell by now, and it’s only going to get stronger.  Mix in the garam masala, ginger and garlic. You want this to form a somewhat thick paste for now. (Don’t worry, you’re going to add water into the mix later.) Keep cooking. If it looks like the paste is getting too think for your comfort, add just enough of the lemon juice to dilute it, but hold off on adding all of it for now.

Once you get a good paste, mix in the brown sugar, cinnamon, basil and remaining spices and the lemon juice.  Put in the chopped potatoes, and add your beef to the Dutch Oven.  If you’re like me, your Dutch oven isn’t big enough to handle a gigantic London Broil, and you’ll have to cut it into pieces to get it in there. That’s fine – don’t sweat it.

After you’ve tossed in the beef, add the final two onions, finely diced. Now, for the final step, add enough water to make sure that the beef is well covered, and stick it in the oven.

Checking On It

Normally, roasts like this will take hours to cook, but the pomegranate and balsamic vinegar will tear that beef to shreds. It’s probably good to go after two hours in the oven, but I let mine go to three because I love how soft it can get.

Serving

The Houston in me compels me to eat slow cooked meats with tortillas, at the very least, but I’d imagine that this would go well with a strong bread, maybe a sourdough.

Suggested Modifications

I think that this has the potential to turn out very sour, depending on your taste, so you may want to add more sugar to take some of the edge off.

You may also want to add more chillies. I like serranos, but that’s just me.

Pimm’s Marinated Grilled Swordfish With Lemongrass, Dill, Mint, Cucumber Sauce

A few people have asked me for this, so I’m sharing. Enjoy!

There are two parts to this: the marinade and the garnish.

Garnish

1. 1 Cucumber, peeled and finely diced
2. 2-3 diced bulbs of green onion
3. 1 diced green chilly (I use serrano)
4. 2 tsp freshly ground ginger
5. 2 Tsp fresh mint
6. 2 Tsp fresh dill
7. 2 Tsp fresh lemongrass
8. 3/4 cup white dry wine (I use Pinot Grigio)
9. 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
10. 1/2 cup lemon juice
11. Freshly ground pepper to taste
12. Salt to taste

Mix 8,9,10 together strongly.  This is the base of the garnish.  Add in 11 and 12.

At this point, you should add in everything else and mix thoroughly. You want to let the flavours steep in and mix with each other.

Let sit for at least an hour – I suggest that you make this an hour before you intend to plate your grilled swordfish.

Marinade

1. 3/4 cup Pimm’s No. 2
2. Salt and pepper to taste
3. 1/2 cup white dry wine
4. 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
5.  2 tsp fresh mint
6. 2 tsp fresh dill
7. 2 tsp fresh lemongrass

Mix all ingredients together, and add swordfish to the bowl. Let it sit for at least three hours, turning every half hour.

This gives you enough for six to eight generously sized steaks, eight to ten ounces each.  Grill the steaks and brush with marinade, say, twelve minutes each side.

When plating, pour a generous portion of the garnish on top.

Take The Boy Out Of Linux,…

So, yesterday, I bought a 15″ MacBook Pro. It’s gorgeous. I’m switching from Linux Mint, Helena.

To give you an indication of how deeply ingrained Ubuntu has become in my mind, this is the first thing that I issued in my new term:

Last login: Wed Dec 16 10:09:38 on console

Dheeraj-Chands-MacBook-Pro:~ dheerajchand$ sudo apt-get install electricsheep

Password:
sudo: apt-get: command not found
Dheeraj-Chands-MacBook-Pro:~ dheerajchand$

Wow, this is going to take some adjustment.  Just thought you’d be amused.

-dx

London Broil Braised in Garam Masala and Ginger Adobo Sauce

The Safeway over by my place has fantastic sales on roasts, London Broils, etc., so I’m always playing around.   Here’s a recipe for one that I came up with not too long ago, and it really pleased me.  The recipe came about by accident, as I had defrosted a roast, forgotten about it and found myself in a position in which I had to cook it that night. The whole thing took me less than three and a half hours, and most of that was spent watching a baseball game while the thing cooked in the oven.

I adapted some of this from a bouef bourguignonne recipe, some from what Lisa tells me about Hawaiian Adobo and some from my own inspiration. I would love to see some feedback on this recipe.

Once again, I didn’t take any pictures. Sue me.

Ingredients

1 2-4 lbs London  Broil

2 serrano chillies

5 medium yellow onions

5 Tbsp minced garlic

5 Tbsp minced ginger

1 cup white wine vinegar

1 cup lemon juice

1 cup soy sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

4 potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 rashers of bacon

1 cup finely chopped coriander

4 Tbsp garam masala

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation

The first thing to do is boil the bacon a bit to get rid of the excess salt. So, take a large Dutch oven and fill it with water, bring to boil, and then stick your bacon strips in for about four minutes.  While this is going, dice one onion and your chillies as finely as you can, and slowly sautee in 1 tsp vegetable oil. When that’s done, drain the water and carefully pat down your bacon strips.  Cut the bacon into small strips, probably the size of a normal lardon, and add to the onions and chillies.  Let this go for a bit, till the lardons start to stiffen up a bit.

At this point, add the vinegar and the soy, and keep cooking on medium heat, stirring occasionally. While this is happening, finely dice two more onions and add them in.

Set your oven to preheat to 325.

Searing Your London Broil

I know lots of people who are of differnet minds on how to do this. In summer, I’d prefer a grill.  This time of year, though, I just did it in a frying pan with a bit of vegetable oil and salt and pepper.  Sear it as you would any other meat that you’re going to stick in the oven, and set aside.

Back to The Adobo

You should be getting quite a pungent smell by now, and it’s only going to get stronger.  Mix in the garam masala, ginger and garlic. You want this to form a somewhat thick paste for now. (Don’t worry, you’re going to add water into the mix later.) Keep cooking. If it looks like the paste is getting too think for your comfort, add just enough of the lemon juice to dilute it, but hold off on adding all of it for now.

Once you get a good paste, mix in the brown sugar, coriander and the lemon juice.  Put in the chopped potatoes, and add your beef to the Dutch Oven.  If you’re like me, your Dutch oven isn’t big enough to handle a gigantic London Broil, and you’ll have to cut it into pieces to get it in there. That’s fine – don’t sweat it.

After you’ve tossed in the beef, add the final two onions, finely diced. Now, for the final step, add enough water to make sure that the beef is well covered, and stick it in the oven.

Checking On It

Normally, roasts like this will take hours to cook, but this modified Adobo will tear that beef to shreds. It’s probably good to go after two hours in the oven, but I let mine go to three because I love how soft it can get.

Serving

The Houston in me compels me to eat slow cooked meats with tortillas, at the very least, but I’d imagine that this would go well with a strong bread, maybe a sourdough.

Suggested Modifications

I think that this has the potential to turn out very sour, depending on your taste, so you may want to add more sugar to take some of the edge off.

You may also want to add more chillies. I like serranos, but that’s just me.

 

 

 

 


 


 

 

 

Sage Marinated Cornish Game Hens With Sausage, Rice and Mushroom Stuffing

I made this for Lisa not too long ago, but forgot to take pictures. I hope you guys still enjoy messing around with this recipe, though.

 

Sage Marinated Cornish Game Hens with Sausage, Mushroom and Rice Stuffing

Ingredients

Birds

2 Cornish game hens, normal size
1/2 bottle Italian medium-dry white wine (Pinot Grigio works well)
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
Large amounts of sage, rosemary, basil and oregano (I use dried, but I’d imagine that fresh is way better)
Mixed colour peppercorns
Sea Salt (optional)

Stuffing

1 cups rice
1/2 bottle Italian medium-dry white wine (Pinot Grigio works well)
1 cup lemon juice
Large amounts of sage, rosemary, basil and oregano (I use dried, but I’d imagine that fresh is way better)
Mixed colour peppercorns
1/2 package sage country style sausage
1 pound sliced mushrooms
1 finely diced onion
3 tbs minced garlic (Feel free to use fresh instead – I’m just lazy)
Large amounts of sage, rosemary, basil and oregano (I use dried, but I’d imagine that fresh is way better)
2 Bay leaves
2 tbs butter

Preparing the birds

In a large bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice and white wine together. Be sure to mix well, as they will tend to separate. Now, I use a hell of a lot of sage here, easily three or four tbs., but I’m using the dried stuff. If you’re using fresh, I don’t know how that translates. Part of the reason that you want to use so much sage is that it has a very subtle flavour, and you really want it to get into the skin of the hen. The olive oil makes the skin wonderfully rich and crunchy, and adding sage to that works out really well. The other herbs are there just as helpers. So, if you consider the rest to be generic Italian herbs, the ratio of sage to Italian herbs should be 3:1 or 4:1.   Grind in the mixed colour peppercorns to taste. You can also use some sea salt here, if you’d like, but I don’t cook with much salt for health reasons.

You now have your marinade. The longer you can leave your hens in here, the better. I’ve done up to twenty four hours before. Unfortunately, you can’t really score the meat, as it ruins the appearance of the hens when you serve them, so you have to rely on good old fashioned osmosis to get the job done.  If you’re in a rush, though, I’ve done it with as few as two hours, and I’d imagine that you could really get away with it one.

Anyway,  put these in the fridge for now.

Preparing the Stuffing

You’re going to have more stuffing than can fit inside the hens. This is fine. You can cook it outside the hens, as well, in the same baking tray and have dressing.

Set your rice to cooking in wine and lemon juice. Do this on low heat. Add in sage and Italian herbs as before, 3:1 or 4:1, but in smaller amounts. No more than 2 tbs sage – that’s a good guideline. When the wine and lemon juice start to bubble, add in the butter.  Cook till the rice is firm – you should still have some wine and lemon juice in there. This is fine.

While this is cooking, open up your package of country style sausage. This should be loose sausage without casing. If you have a casing, cut it out and cook the sausage loosely on medium heat. You want it to start browning and releasing its oils, but not to get completely cooked. Once it starts browning, add in the onion and keep cooking. Once the onions soften, add in the garlic. Now, you want to keep an eye on this and use your judgement a bit. At the end of all of this, you want the sausage to be about 85% done. Look at what you’re cooking and decide when you can throw in the mushrooms to get them well cooked and softened without going over that 85% cooked sausage point. Once you’ve reached that point, throw in the mushrooms, ground peppercorns and herbs.

Now, get another large bowl. Mix the rice, wine and lemon juice and sausage concoction together.

Cooking it all together

Take your hens out of the fridge. Stuff the hens as tightly as you can with them. You should probably be able to get one cup inside each hen, easily. Tie the hens legs together to enclose. Arrange the hens on a baking tray, and take the rest of your somewhat liquid stuffing and arrange all around them. Do not worry about the fact that your stuffing is somewhat liquid. This moisture is critical – it keeps the whole thing from drying out while you cook it and it provides a lot of moisture to the hens in the tray.

Stick the tray in the oven at 400 degrees for forty-five minutes to an hour.  You can tell they’re done when you poke with a fork and the juices run clear.

 

Saal Mubarak!

I love President Obama so much for this. Very few people could discuss Diwali as a means of commonality between Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, much less, cite Sanskrit verse to do so without being cheesy, but God, this man just pulled it off. The fact that he is our President makes me feel like this will be a great year of recovery. -dx