Wednesday, August 31, 2005

2 dishes........

Mache w/ grapefruit and avocado  Posted by Picasa

I love to cook, but not after a long day at a law firm. I was supposed to leave at 1:30, but didnt get out of there till 3. About 2:30, we happen to glance out the window and the husband of a client( divorce) was walking up the sidewalk carrying a yellow neon sign that said Lawyers name is an ass, liar, scum, etc, etc. Very funny, but not. Then lawyer( the one I assist) went chasing up the street after him.

Anyway, after that drama, I hit the store for some Ginger. Of course, I didnt leave with just ginger. I decided to make the clients a salad because I saw some wonderful mache. Mache( pronounced MOSH) is aka lambs lettuce. Its a total delicacy and I was shocked to see our small town grocery store carry it. I hope people buy it so they still carry it. They used to carry this great flavored tofu, but they stopped.

Anyway, I sectioned a red grapfruit( could have used another one), an avocado and made a vinagarette of evoo, the grapefruit juice, some lime juice, salt, pepper and a bit of sour cream.

The chicken dish is one I wont repeat. I tasted the rice and it wasnt worth all the effort. The dish took 2 hrs start to finish with multiple steps. I didnt have cheesecloth to soak the spice sack, so I had to fish out all the ginger and cardoman. I left the cumin seeds thinking it wouldnt matter much. I also accidentally rubbed my eye after I cut up the jalapeno. The recipe called for 2, I used 1, the client said I could have used the other one too. They like spicy.

Here it is if you want to try it. Have fun.

Chicken Biryani Posted by Picasa

This recipe requires a 3 1/2- to 4-quart saucepan about 8 inches in diameter. Do not use a large, wide Dutch oven, as it will adversely affect both the layering of the dish and the final cooking times. Begin simmering the spices in the water prior to preparing the remaining ingredients; the more time the spices have to infuse the water (up to half an hour), the more flavor they will give to the rice. Biryani is traditionally served with a cooling yogurt sauce; ideally, you should make it before starting the biryani to allow the flavors in the sauce to meld.

Serves 4 10 cardamom pods , preferably green, smashed with chef's knife
1 cinnamon stick
2 inch piece fresh ginger , cut into 1/2-inch-thick coins and smashed with chef's knife
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
3 quarts water
table salt
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed of excess skin and fat and patted dry with paper towels
ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions , sliced thin (about 4 cups)
2 medium jalapeño chiles , one seeded and chopped fine, the other chopped fine with seeds
4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 1/4 cups basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads , lightly crumbled
1/4 cup dried currants or raisins
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

Yogurt Sauce (see related recipe)

1. Wrap cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, ginger, and cumin seed in small piece of cheesecloth and secure with kitchen twine. In 3 ½- to 4-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan about 8 inches in diameter, bring water, spice bundle, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt to boil over medium-high heat; reduce to medium and simmer, partially covered, until spices have infused water, at least 15 minutes (but no longer than 30 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, season both sides of chicken thighs with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foaming subsides; add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and dark brown about edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Add jalapeños and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to bowl, season lightly with salt, and set aside. Wipe out skillet with paper towels, return heat to medium-high, and place chicken thighs skin-side down in skillet; cook, without moving chicken, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken and brown second side, 4 to 5 minutes longer; transfer chicken to plate and remove and discard skin. Tent with foil to keep warm.

3. If necessary, return spice-infused water to boil over high heat; stir in rice and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain rice through fine-mesh strainer, reserving ¾ cup cooking liquid; discard spice bundle. Transfer rice to medium bowl; stir in saffron and currants (rice will turn splotchy yellow). Spread half of rice evenly in bottom of now-empty saucepan using rubber spatula. Scatter half of onion mixture over rice, then place chicken thighs, skinned-side up, on top of onions; add any accumulated chicken juices. Evenly sprinkle with cilantro and mint, scatter remaining onions over herbs, then cover with remaining rice; pour reserved cooking liquid evenly over rice.

4. Cover saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes (if large amount of steam is escaping from pot, reduce heat to low). Run heatproof rubber spatula around inside rim of saucepan to loosen any affixed rice; using large serving spoon, spoon biryani into individual bowls, scooping from bottom of pot and serving 1 chicken thigh per person.


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10:08 AM, September 03, 2005


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