hello, i just saw a post about using zucchini instead of pasta for lasagna, and was wondering if that would actually work? the pasta helps to hold it together by absorbing most of the liquids, wouldnt it just fall apart? would eggplant be a better sub? it looked delicious but it also looked like it would fall apart the second my fork would touch it.
For the Anon who made a foodwish for Salbutes. Happy Cinco de Mayo, guyses!
CHIPOTLE SHREDDED CHICKEN:
[ 2 chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce plus 2 tablespoon of the Adobo sauce + 1/4 cup orange juice + 2 teaspoon honey + 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice + 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts + 3 cloves of garlic, minced + salt and pepper ]
Blend the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Transfer into a bowl and add the orange juice, honey and vinegar or lemon juice. Whisk to combine with a fork and adjust to taste with salt and pepper.
Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper on each side and place on a heavy bottomed pot. Add the garlic and enough water to just over the chicken. Add in half of the chipotle sauce and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the heat and shred with two forks. Return the pot with the shredded chicken to the stove, add in the remaining chipotle sauce and heat over medium-high until the sauce reduces. Set aside.
[ 8 corn tortillas (4 or 6 inch wide) + vegetable oil ]
In a small frying pan over high heat, add about an inch of vegetable oil and heat to 375°F. Fry tortillas until golden and crispy, about 30 seconds per side. Drain on cooling racks or layers of paper towels.
PICKLED RED ONIONS:
[ 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced + 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar + 1 teaspoon salt ]
Put red onion in a small bowl with vinegar, 1/2 tsp. of the salt, and pepper. Set aside to marinate at least 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 1 week covered and chilled.
[ Chipotle shredded chicken + fried tortillas + pickled red onion + 1 avocado, diced or sliced + 1 tomato, sliced + sour cream + hot sauce + chopped flat leaf parsley ]
To assemble, divide the shredded chicken mixture among the tortillas, top each with avocado, tomato slices and a few drained pickled red onions each. Put a dollop of sour cream on top and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with hot sauce.
Making Sardines Fried Rice
After 13 days of sharing a bathroom with six others, a diet consisting of falafel breakfasts with chai, a platter of biryani or bukhari rice and curry lunches and a whole chicken freshly pulled off from the rotisserie, its juices seeping through the brown paper bag its put in, with chai, and dinners that are sometimes looked over, for we opted to pray in the courtyard of the المسجد الحرام where veiled ladies will throw at your lap small packages of dates of all known varieties - on some days they’re sticky and sweet, covered in sesame seeds and on some day, my personal favourite, those not yet fully ripe and has a pleasant bite with just enough sweetness as to not make you rush to the beige barrels of cold زمزم , walking 2km to and from the المسجد النبوي in the heat, I can safely say that there is no place like home.
Still, it is bittersweet to leave a place each with its own charms - Makkah with its bustling reverie that is truly a city that never sleeps. Madinah with its dream-like mosque with minarets that practically glow in daylight (not to mention the sliding domes and butterfly wing-like canopies that automatically expand during the scorching heat).
This is nothing new, but it is a nod to something we ate during our trip. 6 days into our eating habits we realized that drinking gallons of chai, eating simple carbohydrates and an opulence of protein can be a bit boring. So we opened a can of sardines in oil, emptied the contents into a frying pan with a buckload of chili peppers, waited for it to reduce and ate it with plain, steamed hot rice. A few slices of cucumbers and tomatoes were served on the side. It was simplicity at its best with a nutritional value to boot and so, so satisfying.
Today, nursing a head cold with mugs of mint green tea, I decided I wanted to eat this fiery concoction to flush out my system. Use sardines canned in oil and not in sauce if you can, because that way you can modify the spices and flavors to your liking. Having said that, if you happen to have a preference for sardine canned in sauces, then by all means use them. Use as little or much peppers as your palate can handle.
On a last note, tonight is the peak of the April Lyrids, if I’m not mistaken. Anyone watching the skies?
SARDINES FRIED RICE (serves 3-4):
[ 1-2 tins of sardine in chili oil, or in any sauce you like + 1-2 red hot chili peppers + 1/2 of a small tomato + 1 small onion + 2 cloves of garlic + a 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger + 1 teaspoon lemon juice + 2 cups cooked white rice that’s been left overnight + 2 tablespoons soy sauce + 1 teaspoon sugar + any vegetables you like in fried rice - I recommend some peas, carrots and bell peppers + eggs + fresh parsley or spring onion for garnish ]
Chop any vegetables you’re planning to use into small, equal pieces. In a food processor, pulse the chili pepper, tomato, onion, garlic and ginger until you have a coarse paste. Set aside.
In a large nonstick pan over medium-high, heat a 1/2 tablespoon of the oil that comes with the sardine (if you’re using sardines canned in sauce, use a 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil) and saute the pulsed ingredients for 1-2 minutes.
Add in the tinned sardines and break it up with your spatula. Stir fry until the sardines pieces browns and become a bit toasty, about 5-10 minutes. Add in sugar and the vegetables you’re using. Stir fry for 1 minute until vegetables just soften before adding the cooked rice. Give it a stir and add in soy sauce and lemon juice. Toss and work the rice so that the grains are evenly coated in the sardine mixture.
Cook until rice is dry and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fry some eggs and serve rice with over-easy eggs, chopped parsley or spring onion, a splash of chili oil and a lemon wedge on the side.
Pesto to the rescue.
Here are the facts: I bought some green goods that I intended to use for recipes to post, but having your nose rubbed raw in revision books tend to chase away ideas and then slam you into a brick-wall that is writer’s block. So here I am, a day before my [meticulously scheduled] 13-day trip to Saudi Arabia (holla!), brushing up my Arabic mainly in preparation to place an order on the very, very delicious food they have over there (srsly guise) when an inner gong resonates and I realize I have a fridge-full of asparagus, parsley, scallions and a few green tomatoes that the gardeners unearthed from a tomato vine hidden behind the bushy terrains that is our back garden.
Shite. What to do, what to do?? I have to be honest, at first I thought of making a pot of kalgooksoo and then just slice the green onions to sprinkle on top. The asparagus I can just blanch and eat with eggs. The tomatoes for a salad - it is springtime after all, isn’t it? It was a sound idea, except that 5 stalks of green onion will make more than just a sprinkle, I hate the taste of blanched asparagus and…I’m just not in the springtime state of mind yet! I’d rather turn the tomatoes into hearty soups than eat them raw but time is running short. So I gave them all a whazzy whaz in the blender (ideally you should use a food processor) and made three pesto, all without pine nuts or basil. Is that sacrilege? Oh, I hope so. You can store these in the fridge for a few days or freeze them up to a couple of months. What I like to do is refrigerate them for a few hours to let the flavors marry, and then stick em in the fridge for an eternal union. All in all, pesto-fying saved the day and I can’t wait to smear some under the skin of a chicken and bake it to crispy oblivions when I get back. Toodles!
GREEN TOMATO PESTO:
[ 4 medium green tomatoes + 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves + 1/3 cup salted almonds + 2 cloves roasted garlic if you have them, or 1 clove of fresh garlic + 1/2 cup olive oil + salt and pepper to taste, but start with 1 teaspoon ]
Throw everything in the food processor and pulse until the ingredients achieve a uniform consistency, then whiz it until it reaches your preferred smoothness. This can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Great as: Dips, spreads for pizza and sammiches.
CHARRED SCALLION AND GINGER PESTO:
[ 5 bunches of scallion, trimmed and cut in half + 2 garlic cloves + 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled + 1/2 cup olive oil + 1 teaspoon sesame oil + 1/4 cup sesame seeds ]
Heat a skillet or grill pan on medium-high. In a bowl, drizzle the scallions with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the scallions with sea salt and pepper, then sear or char until lightly caramelized at the edges and blackened in a few spots, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and and pulse until the ingredients achieve a uniform consistency, then whiz it until it reaches your preferred smoothness. Use immediately or store in the fridge for a couple of day or in the freezer up to 6 months.
Great with: Fish, chicken, rice, mashed tate’orrs.
LEMON-ASPARAGUS PESTO (recipe by Mark Bittman):
[ 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch segments + 1/4 cup almonds + 1 clove garlic + 1/4 cup olive oil + 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + juice of 1/2 lemon ]
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until fully tender but not mushy, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well, reserving some of the cooking liquid, and let the asparagus cool slightly.
Transfer the asparagus to a food processor and add the garlic, almonds, 2 tablespoons of the oil, parmesan, a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary, and gradually add the remaining oil and a bit more of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten if necessary. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste and pulse again until it reaches the consistency you prefer.
Great with: Pasta, fish, chicken - pretty much anything you can spread with pesto.
Making Chicken Shawarma
"GIIIIIRL, this vegan ice cream is great and I hate to bother but it’s been like a year since i asked LOL, but WHERE MY SHAWARMA *snaps fingers*????"
Keep the processor running before adding the vegetable oil, a teaspoon at a time until the mixture has emulsified. Add the lemon juice last and give it a final 20-second whiz before storing until needed. You can make this up to a week ahead and refrigerate it. Just make sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.
SHAWARMA CHICKEN (serves 4-6)
Cut each chicken breast horizontally so that each piece is about 1/2 an inch thick. If you have small breasts (cue the giggles), give it a good whack with a rolling pin so they’re all the same thickness. Mix all the marinating ingredients in a blender. Transfer the chicken pieces into a shallow container and coat well with the marinade. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight.
Then, ideally, you should cut the tomatoes to “a little bigger than bite-sized” pieces, toss it with the remaining juices in the tray and blast on the broiler until the tomatoes are just roasted.
To assemble, grab a pillowy pita and form a line of chicken pieces. Spread a thin layer of garlicky toum, line up some grilled tomatoes and pickled vegetables. You can add some shredded lettuce and sliced red onion if you please, but nothing more! Roll a good, tight one and eat. Immediately.
Making Veggie Burger
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking mashed sweet potatoes. You’re thinking roasted beets. You’re thinking peas. You’re thinking soft patties that don’t hold well while cooking. You’re thinking patties that collapses as you give the buns a squeeze. You’re thinking patties that coat the back of your mouth. You’re not thinking about this burger. You see, unlike some veggie burgers recipe that comes out purely from wanting to eat healthy, where nutritional values takes precedence over taste and mushy red patties are an acceptable replacement for beef, this was concocted in the Serious Eats Food Lab. And there’s none of that nonsense happening there.
This patty is so flavorful you might opt for it instead of meaty goodness. There’s an abundance of texture at play; a touch of crisp on the outside, tender but firm on the inside. I used portobello instead of button mushrooms to give it an extra touch of umami and I think it was a pretty good call, but do refer to the original recipe for the complete list of ingredients. I also don’t have a food processor and pulsed the ingredients in my blender, so those without one have no excuse. This will seriously change your views about veggie burgers, and that’s the Winger guarantee.
VEGGIE BURGERS (tweaked from the original recipe by Serious Eats, makes 8 patties)
[ 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms, trimmed and chopped into halves + 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil + Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper + 6 thyme sprigs + 1 whole small eggplant (about 1/2 pound) + 1 large onion, chopped + 1 large celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup) + 1 medium clove garlic, minced + 3/4 cup dry lentils + 1 (14-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and patted dry on paper towels + 1/4 cup all-purpose flour + 2 teaspoons baking powder + 1 teaspoon Maggi seasoning + 1 cup toasted almonds + 1 teaspoon soy sauce + 1 1/2-cups panko bread crumbs ]
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, toss mushrooms with 1 tablespoon oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Coat eggplant with another tablespoon olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Wrap eggplant with heavy duty aluminum foil. Transfer mushrooms and eggplant to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Scatter thyme over mushrooms. Bake in the middle rack, turning mushrooms and wrapped eggplant occasionally until mushrooms are dark brown and eggplant is completely tender (test with a cake tester or thin skewer), about 35-40 minutes. If you find that the mushrooms are cooking faster than the eggplant, then take those out and leave the eggplant cooking a little longer. Remove from oven, unwrap eggplant, and set aside to cool.
While mushrooms and eggplant roast, heat remaining two tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until completely softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and set aside to cool.
Place lentils in a pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Stir once then place over high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are completely tender, about 20 minutes. Drain completely, patting with paper towels until dry and transfer into a large bowl.
Add half of garbanzo beans to the bowl of a food processor along with flour, baking powder, soy sauce, Maggi seasoning and half of eggplant (reserve remaining eggplant for another use). Process until a smooth paste forms, scraping down sides as necessary. Transfer mixture to the bowl with lentils. Pulse remaining chickpeas in food processor until beans are chopped to about the size of a lentil (5 to 6 short bursts), scraping down sides as necessary. Transfer to bowl with lentil mixture. Chop almonds in the food processor the same way and add to lentil mix.
When mushrooms are cool, add to bowl of food processor and pulse until finely chopped but still coarse in texture, about 8 to 10 short pulses. Add to lentil mix. When onions and celery are cool, transfer to food processor. Chop with 8 to 10 short pulses and add to lentil mix. Using bare hands or a spatula, stir together mixture until completely homogenous. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mixture can be refrigerated and stored for up to 5 days at this point or frozen in an airtight freezer bag for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to serve the burgers, Add breadcrumbs to mixture and work them in with your hands. Make a sample patty. It should have the texture of ground beef and hold together easily. If not, add water a tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Divide mixture into eight patties about 4-inches across and 1/2 an inch thick. Patties must be cooked within 30 minutes of adding breadcrumbs.
Heat three tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add four patties and cook without moving until first side is well-browned, about 3 minutes. Flip burgers and top with cheese (if desired) and cook until second side is browned and cheese is melted, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a toasted bun and serve with condiments as desired.
Making Laminated Carrot Chips
For once, I’m going to tell you not to make this unless you really, really want to. Actually, unless you really really want to and own a mandolin. I spent a considerable amount of time sitting in front of my laptop twirling three ginormous carrots in my hand, contemplating whether or not I should make this. You see the thing is, I have this compulsion to do things that should not be done with food (need I remind you of the feta frosting? That’s what I thought). This recipe was meant for potatoes, thinly sliced by mandolins and painted with butter before stacked on top of another with a delicate herb sandwiched in between. I have potatoes in the fridge, yes I do, but I wanted to see if it would work just as well with carrots.
Never mind that I really don’t have time for this, never mind that I don’t have all the necessary tools (parchment paper? pfft, haven’t seen that in this kitchen in almost a month), never mind that it could’ve ended up in disaster with me eating limp carrot chips for the remainder of the week while crying over revision books. Suck it, I thought. Studying always gives me the munchies and unfortunately, despite how much I wanted to I can’t just dive head first, mouth-open at that bag of yogurt & herb salt flavored chips, just sitting there enticing me with its evils. Those salt and MSG man, they mess with your brain (a bit hypocritical coming from a self-proclaimed instant noodle enthusiast, I know. I KNOW) and I need all the brain cells I can get to get through this period of solemnity (read: hell) a.k.a USMLE prep. That in itself was worth the risk so I marched into the kitchen and armed myself with a vegetable peeler, a piece of aluminum foil and the promises of failure.
Only it wasn’t. It actually worked, against all odds. It did leave me
very slightly tired but the end results? It was magnificent. Crisp, lemony and sweet. Slightly chewy in the middle parts. Was it worth the work? Probably not. But as I always say at the end of my culinary experiments - at least now I know it can be done.
LAMINATED CARROT CHIPS (recipe slightly adapted from the ever fabulous, ever angry, Mandy Lee):
[ 3 large carrots + 3 tablespoons butter, melted + 1 tablespoon olive oil + salt & black pepper + dried thyme, in my case, or any fresh delicate herbs you like ]
Disclaimer: I’m going to write this as if I own a mandolin; it’ll be easier for all of us and will save me the trouble of telling the part of the story where I accidentally shaved a piece of skin off my left index knuckle with the vegetable peeler. Oh. Oops.
I’m also not going to write how I used aluminum foil instead of parchment paper, for the sake of not being a bad influence (dear, oh dear).
Preheat the oven on 300ºF/150ºC. Take two baking sheets of the same size and preheat it in the oven as well.
Fill a shallow pan with a big pinch of salt and water, stir to let the salt dissolve. Peel the carrots and cut across in half. Cut each of the halves in half again, lengthwise. Use a mandolin and attach the carrots to the hand guard (safety first), cut side facing the mandolin blade. Cut the carrots to long, paper thin slices.
Keep the slices in the correct order/sequence so they’ll match in shape/size later. Every time you finish shaving a small stack, carefully move the stack into the salt-water pan to submerge. Repeat until the whole carrot is shaved.
Melt the unsalted butter in a small pot over medium-high heat until very slightly browned. Take it off from the heat and combine with the olive oil. Set aside. Wash whatever herbs you’re using and dry thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel. I used some dried wild thyme here which has a very nice lemony-scent to it. Set aside. Keep another clean, dry kitchen towel by the carrot-slices for easy drying.
Lay a piece of parchment paper that’s the size of the baking-sheet you’re using on the counter, and brush very lightly with the melted butter. Starting with the very first stack of carrot-slices, lay one slice flat on the kitchen towel and gently press the other side of the towel on top to dab it dry. Then lay the slice on top of the parchment paper, and place 1 small leaf of whatever herbs you’re using in the center. Dab/dry another potato-slice and place it right on top of the other (they should match in shape/size). Use your finger to gently push out as much air-pockets in between the slices as you can. Brush the top very lightly with melted butter. Repeat with the rest of the slices and leave about 1″ (2.5 cm) of space in between each.
Lay another piece of same-sized parchment paper on top and press gently to eliminate air. Place the entire thing on the preheated baking-sheet. Press the other baking-sheet on top to keep it flat. Bake in the oven for 15 ~ 20 min, checking every 10 minutes or so, until the chips are golden browned. If the chips aren’t browned yet, remove the top sheet and bake for another 5 min.
b-ritt-thuggin asked you: