Thursday, June 28, 2007

Kao Mok Gai (a.k.a. Thai-Style Chicken Biriyani)

Or as we will be calling this in our household, Thai Chicken and Rice. This came from Saveur, who got it from "Nancie McDermott's seminal cookbook Real Thai." It was simple and delicious.

I originally planned to make this over the weekend but when felled by a virus had to adapt plans for after work yesterday. I skipped the marinating time and didn't skin the chicken (no time!) ... it was simply wonderful.

Step 1
1-1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (I used plain old black pepper)
6 shallots, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic
1 5"-inch piece fresh peeled ginger, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water

In a blender, combine all, puree to a paste.

Step 2

6 skinless chicken thighs, halved crosswise through the bone (I used regular whole thighs)
6 skinless chicken drumsticks

Toss chicken and spice paste together in a large bowl to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature to let marinate for 1 hour.

Step 3
2 tablespoons peanut oil

Heat oil in a large wide pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and all the spice paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until paste is deeply caramelized and the chicken is just beginning to brown, 12-14 minutes.

Step 4
2-1/2 cups jasmine rice
2-1/4 cups water

Add rice to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 minutes. Add salt to taste (I used a couple of teaspoons or so) and water; bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until rice is just tender and chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let sit undisturbed for 15 minutes. Uncover and, using a fork, gently toss together the chicken and rice.

Step 5
2 kirby cucumbers, trimmed and thinly sliced
Thai-style chile sauce, such as Sriracha

Serve immediately with cucumbers and chile sauce on the side.

UPDATE - we prefer it with these pickles instead of plain cucumbers. Got it from Cooking Light.

1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 cup 1/8”-thick English cucumber slices
Bring all except cucumbers to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add cucumber slices. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Drain.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Now Serving Hot Links: The Recipes Edition

These recipes just sounded so good, I'm sending you round to see them for yourselves.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Pace Chicken Vegetable Salad

My mother picked this up either from a Pace Picante label or from their website. Either way, it is absolutely simple and simply delicious. It is especially nice to grill extra chicken on the weekend and then make this salad during the week.

Step 1:
1 pound chicken breasts, grilled, diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 medium zucchini, quartered, sliced
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup green onions

Combine all ingredients.

Step 2:
1/2 cup Pace picante
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1/2 teaspoons cumin

Make Dressing: Combine all. Add to salad. Let set an hour, chilling. Serves 4.

This is infinitely adaptable … try black beans, grilled steak, etc.

Fine Art Friday

Jadeite & Cherries by James Neil Holligsworth

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A True Artist Looks Only to Results, Not to Time Spent

That explains why this baker is the artist that I never will be ... 4 hours of working with marzipan is something I never will do. Check out the post for upclose photos and a a link to a photo-tutorial. Simply amazing!

Via Bill and Slashfood.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Summertime and the livin' ain't easy in ...

Somehow I didn't get the premiere taped last week but Fox showed it before this week's episode and we caught up last night. Just a few things stand out so far:
  • We have never seen any kitchen team get their service finished on the second evening of serving, much less finish the service for the other kitchen.
  • We were so happy to see egotistical, backstabbing Tiffany leave.
  • We couldn't believe that Rock didn't nominate Aaron. Was it that he was trying to eliminate possibly better competition? It seems that it would have been a kindness to send Aaron home. He really can't take any pressure at all.
  • Gordon Ramsay showed a newer, softer side when dealing with building up Aaron. There's the hidden "management" side that a good leader must have. Know when to yell and know when to support.
  • So far we are pulling for Rock, Julia, and Melissa.
  • One of the guys said that when Ramsay is yelling he has wrinkles like a shar pei. Nope. We go with the English bulldog ... but as one of the girls said, during the infrequent times when we see him smile he is a cutie. (What can I say? This is roomful of girls watching!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ratatouille ... Something for Foodies

Although the story line has its charms, the precisely rendered detail of a professional kitchen will appeal to the food-obsessed.

The Pixar crew took cooking classes, ate at notable restaurants in Paris and worked alongside Mr. Keller at the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.

“As a former actor and dancer, I have spent a lot of time in restaurants, but I had no idea of that vast difference between France and America, and especially the three-star restaurants in Paris,” said Brad Lewis, the producer. ...

Throughout the film, the characters work on dishes like steamed pike with butter, braised fennel and heirloom potatoes or grilled petit filet mignon with oxtail and baby onion ragout topped with truffled bordelaise and shaved Perigord truffle. The idea was to create food so authentic that people would leave the theater with an urge to cook and eat. But it turns out that computer-generated food can look much scarier than a computer-generated bug or car.

“We didn’t want something to look really photo-real,” said Sharon Calahan, the director of photography and lighting. “If it starts looking too real, it starts getting pretty disturbing.”

A scallop, for example, needs ridges and bumps to look realistic. But add too many and the shellfish becomes grotesque.
This New York Times story about the making of Pixar's upcoming movie about rat-chef Ratatouille and French haute cuisine is fascinating. Via Eats.

Frito Pie, How Do We Love Thee? Let Us Count the Ways ...

Photo source: Roadfood
Back in 1932, a year generally regarded as the nadir of the Depression, a San Antonian named C.E. "Elmer" Doolin tasted a home-fried corn chip in a Mexican cafe. He was so intrigued by its taste that he paid $100 for the chip's recipe and the right to market it.

Not that Mr. Doolin actually had $100 cash. He borrowed the money from his mama, Daisy Dean Doolin. Mrs. Doolin must have had an unshakable faith in her son, because she gave C.E. her diamond wedding ring to pawn for that $100 loan.

What's more, she let him set up shop in her kitchen and mix batch after batch of corn dough, which was shaped into strips by extruding the dough through a converted potato ricer. And she fried innumerable strips of ground corn in hot vegetable oil while C.E. and his brother, Earl, experimented with perfecting the chips. One can only imagine how many hours she must have spent scrubbing oil splatters from the walls and floor. ...
It is Fritos 75th anniversary and what better way to celebrate than with a tasty Frito Pie? Yes, they're a guilty pleasure for me. I love 'em. The Morning News has a round up of recipes, local spots to find them, and even (gasp) a story about a New Mexico wanna-be who is making the claim to inventing our beloved Frito Pie. Now, that's just plain wrong! (Free registration required.)

Friday, June 08, 2007

DMN's New Food Blog

Eats is off to a running start with where to pick blueberries near Dallas, restaurant news, and various other interesting posts. If you live in Dallas it definitely is worth checking out.

Fine Art Friday

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Poetry Thursday

Oh, cinnamon toast
So fragrant, crisp and golden
Such a tasty snack


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Let Me Tell You a Story ...

A podcast featuring great authors and stories that should be better known.
A little about the authors and their stories, with samples.

Yep, that's right. It's the special, mystery project. You wanted to know what I sound like? Here's your chance. And that's Tom on the intro so you get a two-for-one deal here.

You can download the file from Forgotten Classics or subscribe through iTunes.

Gimme a dip of Strawberry-Celery and ... ummm ... one of Sweet Corn and Italian Thorntree Honey

You may never take the kids to Paciugo for veggies. But, this summer, the Dallas-based gelateria is introducing a dozen new flavors that include stealth carrots and beets as well as creative adult combinations based on vegetables and herbs.

For the kids, "sometimes we need to win with appearance first," owner Cristiana Ginatta says. You know: Kids order by color, not flavor. So Banana-Beet entices with its maroon hue, and Banana-Carrot is a cool cantaloupe orange. Like all of Paciugo's gelatos, the colors come from fruits and vegetables, not additives.

Banana trumps, straight up and simple, in these kid-friendly flavors, with just a whisper of veggies.

Not so the adult hybrids. Ms. Ginatta says she started searching for combinations with the most popular fruit flavors: strawberry, mango and banana.

"Then, I looked for a vegetable to pair with these three," she says.
Dallas Morning News (free registration required)
Okaaaaaaay ....

Actually some of the flavors don't sound bad. The Lime Mojito for example sounds like something I could get into. But pecan ice cream with bits of blue cheese? Corn ice cream? Hmmm ... possibly a tiny bit as a palate cleanser but I don't know ...

For the adventurous who live in Dallas and want to give them a try, here are the new flavors:
  • Banana-Beet
  • Banana-Carrot
  • Deep Ellum Blue Pecan
  • Lime Chile Mango
  • Lime Mojito
  • Mango-Cucumber
  • Mediterranean Sea Salt Caramel
  • Orange-Basil
  • Pineapple Mint
  • Strawberry-Celery
  • Sweet Corn and Italian Thorntree Honey