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Archive for the ‘chicken’ Category

pasta two ways

 

well this was kind of a happy accident. i was making lunch for my daughter and myself… pasta with fresh tomatoes, chopped parsley, basil, chives, and mint, dry- cured capers, and grilled spicy italian chicken sausage. it was not until i had grilled and chopped the sausage that i realized it would be too spicy for the baby. so i mixed the pasta, tomatoes, capers, and herbs with olive oil, salt and pepper, then split it in half. i put smoked salmon in hers and grated some fresh lemon zest on top, then i tossed mine with the sausage and grated some reggiano on top. one easy pasta base with two star ingredients– really easy and everyone gets what they want. it would be an easy thing to do at a party, too…

i accidentally got some of the lemon zest in my bowl of pasta and it was great…

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the weather was pretty rainy and gloomy yesterday, so we decided to make some chicken in coconut curry. i love things bubbling away on the stove when it’s cold outside, and it makes the house smell so amazing.

 

lightly brown about 6 – 8 skinless chicken thighs in 1 T oil. you don’t want to make them really brown, you just want to give them a little color. if you want to save this step you can just put the ingredients in with the raw chicken.

add 1 can of coconut milk. you can use the low- fat kind, but it will not be as creamy as the whole kind. when you open the can there will most likely be a solid chunk at the top; this is fine, it will melt away when heated. i also added one small onion, finely minced, about 1 t of grated lemon zest, a few kaffir lime leaves [mine were dried; either fresh or dried is fine], about 1 1/2 t of yellow curry [i used the same maharaja i’ve used in other dishes, i love it], a little extra cumin and cinnamon, red chile flakes, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. i brought it all to a simmer and then let it cook slowly for an hour or two. stir occasionally to make sure it’s not sticking and burning on the bottom, and turn the chicken occasionally to cook evenly in the sauce.

we served the chicken with basmati rice [1 part rice, 2 parts water], and steamed broccoli with lemon.

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i know that’s a really long description, but i couldn’t figure out which ingredient to leave out. the black radish salsa recipe follows.

CHICKEN

cut up and skin a small chicken.  brown chicken in about 2 T virgin coconut oil. add one 15 oz can of diced, fire- roasted tomatoes, 1 t cinnamon, 1/2 t cardamom, 1/2 t sea salt, 1/4 cream, and 1/2 c water. simmer slowly for about an hour; until chicken is soft.
add a little water along the way if necessary to keep chicken moist. remove chicken from bones and shred into pieces. let simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated. before serving, add another 1/4 cream and a little more water if needed to keep it kind of sloppy. serve on tortillas [below] with sheep’s milk feta and black radish salsa [following recipe].

TORTILLAS

to 2 cups masa harina add 1 t curry powder, 1/2 t sea salt, and 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups hot water. stir and allow to sit until the masa has absorbed the water. roll into 2″ balls,
then roll with a rolling pin between 2 layers of plastic wrap until the circles are about
5 1/2″ diameter. wax paper works also, but can get a bit sticky. toast both sides
on a cast iron grill.

to assemble the tacos, spoon the chicken onto a tortilla, sprinkle crumbled sheep’s milk feta on top, and finish with the radish salsa.

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i’m not a huge fan of mixed chicken salad. first, i don’t like mayonnaise much, and second, i like stuff with it that i would not necessarily want to put into one creamy salad mass. i had leftover roasted beets and turkey which are a great combination; but put beets in a traditional creamy salad and the whole thing turns pink.

i like to layer salad on my plate, then add a dressing, or just olive oil and vinegar.
i chopped up a couple of stalks of celery and put them in the bottom of a pasta bowl.
i like the pasta bowl for salad. on top of it i piled a grapefruit, peeled and sectioned with a knife, sliced beets, chopped up roasted turkey, chopped flat- leaf parsley, dried cherries and slivered almonds. i just drizzled olive oil and some balsamic vinegar over it, salt and pepper.

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don’t make this; it takes too long and makes too many dirty dishes.
but if you’re hell- bent…

PASTA

i wanted to use saffron in the pasta, but the saffron i had was kind of old and didn’t really soften properly. i still used the water and it gave it a little tint of color.

you can make the pasta in a food processor, or by hand. i use my cuisinart; it’s just so easy. put 2 cups of flour in the bowl and a little salt. you can also add herbs and spices,
i used some black pepper, smoked salt, and a little chile powder. combine the dry ingredients, then add 2 beaten eggs. pulse to combine.  i find that the regular blade works better than the dough blade, which leaves the dry ingredients around the edge. add about 2 T of water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together. add a little more if necessary. the relative humidity in the air and moisture in the flour are variables. it should be firm and smooth, but not sticky or soggy. run the food processor for a minute after the dough forms a ball. take out dough and knead until its smooth.
put in a sealed container, bowl, or plastic bag and let it rest.

FILLING

i sauteed four cloves of pressed garlic and one large shallot. you can make the ratio of greens to garlic and shallots whatever is to your taste. add about 4 cups of finely chopped greens. i used a mix of turnip, collard, and mustard greens. remove the stems and ribs before you chop. saute until the greens are quite soft .

let the greens cool slightly. season with salt and pepper and some freshly ground nutmeg. add some chopped chicken or turkey [or whatever you like… italian sausage?]. beat one egg and put about half into the greens and reserve the other half for sealing the ravioli. add about 1 teaspoon of flour.

divide the dough into about 6 pieces, and roll out into thin strips; i ended on the “5”.
if your dough is a little soft at this point, dust with a little flour so it will not tear or stick going through the pasta roller. you can also roll it by hand if you’re a sadist. try to pair the strips to those that are similar to one another. brush the egg wash along the edges, and where you will be sealing and cutting between each ravioli. make small spoons full of the filling in the areas you have indicated with the egg wash. add a few chunks of stilton cheese. you can also add bacon, pancetta, whatever you like. carefully place the matched sheet of pasta over the one with the filling on it, pushing out the air as you go. i’m really not so good at this part. take your pasta cutter or a knife and cut around pasta to shape ravioli.

to make the croutons, slice a stale piece of baguette into matchsticks. toss in a pan with olive oil and toast in a pan until dry and crunchy. salt lightly.

boil the ravioli in salted water for a few minutes, until the center is cooked. if you have trapped air in the ravioli, hold them down in the water with a slotted spoon, or stab them gently with a knife after a minute and push the air out against the side of the pan.

i served ravioli in broth with the croutons, chopped italian flat- leaf parsley and some chopped green, ripe olives.

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this is how i make pasta any day of the week. it’s not a recipe as much as a technique, and you can use vegetables and meat you have no other plans for. it’s also one of the only ways i can get flora to eat vegetables, she will like one veggie one day, and hate it the next. i can get her to eat just about anything with reggiano on it. this pasta is one of those meals that you don’t have to shop for, just use what you have.

penne is the pasta staple in our house; it holds up to anything, unlike more dainty pasta which can easily become overcooked when you’re cooking very casually as i tend to do. put a large pot of water on for the pasta. you want to salt the water, but not until it’s boiling, or it can create pits in the pan. the boiling of the water and cooking of the pasta takes longer than preparing the other ingredients, so start the pasta ahead of time. you can even cook the pasta, drain, add a bit of olive oil, toss, and replace the lid. put it back on the warm burner, turned off; it will remain warm for awhile.

separate your ingredients into those that have similar cooking times, the slowest to fastest. i’m using broccoli, scallions, dark kale [sliced into 1/2″ ribbons, tough parts -but not all of-  the stems removed], roasted red pepper [see technique below], and leftover chicken, cut into small chunks. other favorites include broccoli rabe [rapini], beet greens, fresh peas, roasted tomatoes, roasted winter squash, and ricotta salata cheese. really, the list is endless…

heat a saute skillet, then add some olive oil. you should always heat the skillet a bit before adding fat, it keeps things from sticking. add the most hearty vegetables, those that will need some time to cook: broccoli, pearl onions, cloves of garlic… let them brown slightly, then add about 1/4 of water or stock, put the lid on, and steam for a few minutes until the vegetables are partially cooked [they are still going to cook on the heat, if they are fully cooked by now they will turn mushy by the end]. remove lid and let water evaporate. add a bit more olive oil and add the next vegetable that needs the most time to cook, from the remaining veggies. in this case, i added scallions, chopped in 1″ size pieces, white and green parts. saute for a minute, then add your next ingredient until you have everything combined. i added the chicken [already cooked…
if using uncooked chicken, brown in the pan with the broccoli at the beginning], strips of kale, and the roasted red pepper, cut into strips.

add about 1/2 cup of white wine or stock, and scrape the bits of brown from the bottom of the pan.; it’s a lazy deglazing. add a couple tablespoons of butter and toss until all the ingredients are combined and the butter is melted [you could add more olive oil instead of butter].

season the vegetables and toss with the pasta.

there are lots of options at this point; you can toss in [or serve on top after plated] toasted bread crumbs, grated cheese, red chili flakes, walnuts or pine nuts, cooked bacon, fresh tomatoes, chopped parsley, or chopped herbs like basil or thyme. i served it with chopped italian late leaf parsley and parmaigano reggiano grated with a serrated knife. i like the uneven texture it creates. you can also use a potato peeler to make strips, or grate.

a grind of pepper and eat.

to roast a red pepper, place pepper on top of the burner grate over a flame, right on the electric coil on your stove, or under a broiler. allow the pepper to char, then turn. keep turning until most of the pepper is black. don’t walk away, if the skin chars and continues to burn, it will catch fire for a few seconds. use tongs to turn the peppers.

when the pepper is done, you need to put it in a closed container to steam [and cool].
a glass microwave container with a top is good, a brown bag works well, or a plastic bag. i try not to use plastic bags, but when it comes time to peel the charred skin off the pepper, you can just push the pepper around in the plastic bag to remove the skin without getting your hands messy. if using aother container, remove the pepper and peel away the skin. get off as much of the blackened skin as you like. i don’t rinse them; i like a bit of the charred skin remaining. cut around stem, pull out top and core, and remove seeds and ribs.

this technique can be used for chiles as well, for stuffing or making chile rellenos.

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so, when i think of chicken curry, all i can see is sloppy stew over rice; so, i decided to try a baked chicken with a curry rub. i think it worked well, you don’t lose the chicken altogether in a swamp of curry. i baked it with yams, and served it with basmati rice cooked with coconut water and tossed with chopped italian flat leaf parsley, and fresh pineapple with coarse sea salt and black pepper.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. in a dish combine 1 t sea salt, 1 t maharajah curry, 1 t paprika, 1 t adobo* seasoning, 1/4 t cinnamon, 1/4 t ground chipotle pepper, and 1 T flour. wash and thoroughly dry a whole chicken. rub the chicken well on both sides, dump remaining rub blend inside chicken. if you want, add a lemon to the chicken cavity, stabbed with holes.

cut yams in half, and then in half (or quarters, if large) lengthwise and toss them in canola or olive oil. put chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, and distribute the yams along the bottom. the yams will roast in the drippings from the chicken, and it’s delicious; if you can’t handle the idea of your potatoes cooking in chicken fat, well… i guess steam them or something, or put them in their own dish. bake chicken for about 45 minutes at 350. turn up the heat to 425 and baste by patting the pan drippings on the skin with a basting brush. bake until the skin is golden, and the drumstick joints feel loose. you can also stick a hole in the thigh and make sure the juices run clear to know it’s properly cooked.

i cooked the rice in a rice cooker, 1 cup rice to 2 cups coconut water [not milk] and 1/2 t sea salt. we had purchased the coconut water and decided it was undrinkable… flora suggested we use it for rice! brilliant! toss with chopped italian parsley and butter before serving.

* the adobo seasoning is a blend from penzeys, we have one here in portland, in all places, clackamas, next to TJMaxx. when they opened i told them they should be in the pearl district, and their response was “we don’t believe that all of the people that love to cook only live in ‘certain’ areas.” well, the place is dead whenever i go there, and i hate to think about having to order online again. anyway, the adobo seasoning is a blend of onion, garlic, black pepper, mexican oregano, cumin, and cayenne pepper. if you can’t get it, you could make a blend with the same ingredients [amounts in descending order] and then measure it out.

update: now penzeys has a store in the peal district. brilliant.

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