Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken and Fried Rice

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Ethnic, Healthy, Recipes

I have to admit, my luck is a bit hit or miss when it comes to trying to reproduce Asian recipes that I see on Pinterest. Sometimes things that look awesome on camera turn out tasting like an abomination that ends up in the garbage can, pin deleted never to be seen again (I’m looking at you, tamale pie). Other times, you happen to stumble upon a recipe that tastes as good as it looks. This baked sweet and sour chicken tastes just as good as the fried version, and is a dead on reproduction of the stuff with the bright orange sauce that you get at your favorite Chinese takeout. In my book, that makes this recipe a winner. I served it with leftover fried rice from earlier that week, but the recipe for fried rice below sounds like it’s a perfect partner for the chicken.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken and Fried Rice

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
recipe courtesy Life in the Lofthouse

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 c. cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
¼ c. canola oil

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
¾ c. sugar
4 tbsp. ketchup
½ c. distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt

Start by preheating your oven to 325F. Rinse your chicken breasts in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat, then dip into the eggs.

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet and pan-fry chicken pieces just until slightly browned but not cooked through. Place chicken in a 9 x 13-inch greased baking dish.

Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. Pour evenly over the chicken. Bake chicken for one hour, uncovered. During the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes.

Serve immediately with the fried rice recipe below.

Fried Rice

3 cups cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice works best!)
3 Tablespoons sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3-4 Tablespoons soy sauce

On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the peas/carrots mix, onion and garlic. Stir fry until tender. Lower the heat to medium low and push the mixture off to one side, then pour eggs on the other side of skillet. Stir fry until scrambled.

Now add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Stir fry until thoroughly heated!

Tacos al Pastor with Salsa Verde and Mexican Rice

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Ethnic, Healthy, Recipes

Remember how yesterday I mentioned that I had a bunch of pineapple salsa left after making the grilled salmon. Knowing how delicious the combination of Al Pastor and pineapple is from many meals at Los Guachos, I decided to use some of the leftover salsa as a condiment on tacos. We got the al Pastor pork at La Plaza Tapatia, but weren’t exactly wowed by the flavor, so would make our own next time.

Tacos al Pastor

I’m especially fond of green sauce on my tacos, so we made this Salsa Verde recipe to go with it. I especially love how the avocado gives it a lushness to the mouth feel that you wouldn’t get otherwise.

Salsa Verde

Mexican Green Sauce With Tomatillos and Avocado (Salsa Verde)
recipe courtesy Food.com

“Awesome! If you love guacamole, try this lighter, more tangy version made with fresh green tomatillos and avocado! We really love this salsa verde. Serve with simple grilled foods like carne asada or fajitas, or with a bowl of tostadas chips. And, green sauce is great stirred in to scrambled eggs Green Eggs and Ham – Mexican Style. From “Zarela’s Veracruz: Mexico’s Simplest Cuisine” by Zarela Martinez. Enjoy!”

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
2 -3 serrano peppers, stemmed and coarsely chopped ( or jalapeno peppers)
6 -8 medium tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed and cut into quarters ( about 1/2 pound)
1 ripe Hass avocado
12 -15 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped

In a food processor or blender (or with mortar and pestle), process garlic and salt to a paste.

In the processor or blender, place onion, jalapenos and tomatillos and pulse to make a slightly chunky mix. Remove to bowl.

Halve and pit avocado and scoop out flesh. Chop finely and add to other ingredients. Add cilantro and mix well.
Serve with tortilla chips or as a condiment for meat, fish, poultry, burritos or quesadillas.

Makes about 2 cups.

Mexican Rice

And even better is this Mexican Rice recipe that is made in a rice cooker. Restaurant flavor with hardly any work at all.

Mexican Rice
recipe courtesy Food.com

12 ounces tomatoes, very ripe and cored
1 medium white onions
3 medium jalapenos
2 cups long grain white rice
1/3 cup canola oil
4 minced garlic cloves
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste ( may omit if using canned tomatoes)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 limes

Directions
1. Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350.

2. Process tomato and onion in processor or blender until pureed and thoroughly smooth. Transfer mixture to measuring cup and reserve exactly 2 cups. Discard excess.

3. Remove ribs and seeds from 2 jalapenos and discard. Mince flesh and set aside. Mince remaining jalapeno. Set aside.

4. Place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear- about 1 1/2 minutes.Shake rice vigorously to remove excess water.This step removes the starch from the rice so it will not stick. IF YOU OMIT THIS STEP YOUR RICE WILL NOT BE DRY AND FLUFFY.

5. Heat oil in heavy bottomed ovensafe 12 inch straight sided sautee pan or Dutch oven with tight fitting lid over low-medium heat about 2 minutes. (The recipe is very specific about this but I used a 10 inch dutch oven and it worked out fine.) Drop a few rice grains in and if they sizzle then it is ready. Add rice and fry stirring until rice is light golden and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Be careful that the oil doesn’t get too hot too fast or the oil will splatter.

6. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and 2 minced jalapenos and cook , stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes.

7. Stir in broth, pureed mixture,tomato paste, and salt. Increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil.

8. Cover pan and transfer pan to oven to bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30-35 minutes.Stir well after 15 minutes.

9. Stir in cilantro, minced jalapeno to taste, and pass lime wedges separately.

10. Edited to add 6-15-05: If you can’t get good fresh tomatoes you are better off using canned tomatoes. Don’t use those awful hard and underipe tomatoes that are at most supermarket chains. Just be sure that the processed tomatoes and the one onion equals 2 cups. One the other hand- if you find that after processing your tomatoes and onions that you have less than 2 cups- simply add enough bottled salsa to make up the difference.

11. Edited 8-21-06: Do not skip any of the steps. It may seem stupid- but rinsing the rice to remove the starch
is very important if you want fluffy rice. It will only take two minutes of your time but it makes the difference.

12. Edited 8-15-08: Leftovers are just as delicious the next day so this is a perfect dish to make ahead time for potlucks. This rice also freezes well. For Freezing Ahead: Cool, portion and freeze in a ziploc bag. To reheat from frozen: Place in a pyrex dish and warm in the microwave, stirring every 2-3 minutes until heated through.

Chicken Stifado and YaYa's Potatoes

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Ethnic, Recipes

This is a great little stewed chicken recipe that is chock full of Mediterranean flavors – while great on its own, it’s absolutely fabulous paired with some lemon roasted potatoes. It’s a good choice any time of the year, but really hits a spot on a cold winter night.

Chicken Stifado and YaYa's Potatoes

Greek Chicken Stifado
recipe courtesy CDKitchen

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chicken, cut into pieces
1 pinch salt and pepper
1 onion, slivered
2 sweet red peppers, slivered
2 cloves garlic, slivered
1 can stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup Kalamata or other black olives
1/3 cup dried currants
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon mint

***Gremolata***
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
3 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:
Combine parsley, lemon rind, dill and garlic, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.

In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in batches, for about 5 minutes or until browned. Arrange, skin side up, in 13 * 9 inch baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, set aside.

Pour off all but 1 Tbsp drippings from skillet. Cook onion, red peppers and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes or until softened. Spoon over chicken. To skillet, add tomatoes, olives, currants, capers, lemon juice, oregano and mint, bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasional, for 15 minutes or until thickened, then pour over chicken. Bake, uncovered, in 350 F oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced. Sprinkle with Gremolata.

YaYa’s Potatoes
recipe from Buff Chickpea blog

2 pounds potatoes, peeled & cut into large chunks
2 onions, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
2 lemons, zested & juiced
Dried Parsley
Sea salt & pepper
Paprika powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the cut up potatoes and onions in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish (I forgot about the onions, which is why I added them after everything was mixed in the above picture). Set aside while you make the lemon dressing.

In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, zest, broth, oregano, garlic, and a little salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil, in a slow steady stream. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and onions, and give everything a good toss.

Sprinkle with additional salt (for crunch), paprika (for color), and parsley (for presentation), and put into your preheated oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, give the potatoes a toss, then bake for an additional 45-50 minutes, tossing every 20 minutes or so.

Congress members have funds invested in BP stock

The Independent (London, England) June 18, 2010 | David Usborne When members of Congress take the cane to BP they might want to slip some hefty padding down their own trousers. A glimpse at the assets of the assorted senators and representatives directly involved in the hearings about the oil spill uncovers something not irrelevant – many are big holders of BP stock.

Fred Upton, the top Republican on the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, has nearly $100,000 (67,500) invested in BP. Put them altogether and those leading the Deepwater Horizon inquiries own $14.5m in oil and gas industry stock, of which at least $400,000, though probably much more, is accounted for by shares in the three main companies tied to the spill – BP, Transocean and Anadarko Petroleum. go to web site bp stock price

Once a year members of Congress are obliged to reveal all of their financial holdings but can do so by pointing to wide ranges of valuations. No specific numbers are required. The day for detailing their personal fortunes fell this week and the Washington Post was first to see who among those now excoriating the industry have been happily profiting from it. go to web site bp stock price

At the end of last year, Senator John Kerry, who sits on the Senate Commerce Committee, had assets totalling at least $6m in a dozen oil concerns, including BP and Royal Dutch Shell. The family trusts of his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, had up to $750,000 of BP stock. The House Republican leader, John Boehner, held BP stock worth $50,000, the paper found.

A spokeswoman for Senator Kerry said his holdings presented no conflict of interest. “Senator Kerry has been the Senate’s best environmental champion for more than 25 years,” she said.

David Usborne

Oma's Potato Salad

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Ethnic, Oma, Recipes

I love my sister Maurya’s potato salad (more about that in an upcoming entry) – really, I do. So much so that I will make her recipe 80% of the time we’re having it. However, there’s something about Thurn’s garlic knockers that call out for my Oma’s potato salad. It’s the simplest recipe ever, and everyone who has tasted it has loved it. I’ve remembered it all these years simply because it is so easy and so good. Hopefully, you will love it as well. It uses ingredients that one normally has on hand, and can be whipped up in no time flat.

Oma's Potato Salad

Oma’s Potato Salad

3 lbs. small yellow potatoes (such as Yukon Golds)
1 small to medium white onion, chopped
Cider vinegar, to taste
Mayonnaise, to taste
Salt, to taste

Place unpeeled potatoes in a pot of boiling water, and allow to boil until just tender but still firm (about 10-15 minutes). When done, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, and then lay the potatoes on a paper towel to cool down. When cool enough to touch, peel and slice the potatoes into a large bowl. After each pound of potatoes is sliced and layered in the bowl, sprinkle liberally with cider vinegar, one third of the onions, and salt. Add mayo to bowl – you want it to be just enough mayo to hold the salad together, so be careful not to add too much. Check one more time for taste, and add vinegar, salt or mayo as needed to achieve the flavor that you like best. Can be served cold or warm, is great both ways!

LONGEVITY MARRIED 50 YEARS: LARRY AND BETTY HORNER

Daily News (Los Angeles, CA) November 8, 2004 | – Nicole Sunkes Larry and Betty Horner of Thousand Oaks celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with their family on June 5 at the North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village.

They met at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis where they both worked for the federal government, and Larry had just returned from the Korean War. They were married in Anderson, Ind., at the Second Methodist Church. They moved to Westlake Village in 1968. go to website los robles hospital

Larry earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Indiana University. When they moved to Westlake Village, they became active in civic affairs. Larry became president of the Westlake Athletic Association and president of Foxmoor and Westlake joint homeowners’ associations. He was a former vice president at Northrop Grumman and retired after spending 41 years in the aerospace industry. He also served four terms on the Thousand Oaks City Council spanning 16 1/2 years. Currently, he is working as Senior District Adviser for Congressman Brad Sherman.

Betty graduated from Indiana University. She is a member of Volunteers in Policing, member and past-president of the Westlake Women’s Club, a member of the Civic Arts Plaza, and the Conejo Valley Historical Society. She is on the Board of Trustees for Los Robles Hospital, on the R.S.V.P. Advisory Board, on the Crime Stoppers Board of Directors and a member of Conejo Friends. here los robles hospital

They were recently honored by the Thousand Oaks City Council for their golden anniversary, and have each been honored as Man and Woman of the year by the Chamber of Commerce.

Larry and Betty plan on traveling to Indiana later this year to retrace the beginning of their relationship. They also plan on celebrating in New York as well.

They have three children: Cynthia of New York, Larry Jr. of Simi Valley and Kymberly of Thousand Oaks.

- Nicole Sunkes

Sunday Gravy

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Ethnic, New Jersey, Recipes

I grew up in South Jersey, where everybody was Italian by extension (if you weren’t, you had at least one friend who was and whose parents would unofficially adopt you). My part of Jersey was all but invisible to anyone who lived north of Trenton, so the only time we’d attract the stereotype (see: any one of the douches featured on Jersey Shore) was during the summer. People are surprised when I say I’m a Jersey girl, because I’m the anti-stereotype – no accent to speak of, very Midwestern polite (i.e. I may think it but won’t say it). But we grew up with an old school pizza/pasta/sub shop on just about every block, so I’ve had my share of both good and bad Italian food. This recipe? An example of the good. I was looking for a recipe that would approximate the “Sunday gravy” my friends parents would make – what sets “gravy” apart from “sauce” is the amount of meat in it – this one is a gravy if ever there was one. This is an all day affair, one that many families do every single week. This is definitely a dish you want to make in the winter (because to me, red gravy is one of the cornerstones of comfort food) – mainly because this will heat (and humidify) your kitchen up something fierce. This? One of the better of the recipes I’ve seen over the years. I saw this on a Chowhound board a while back – and the reading through of the initial recipe amused me so much that I left it intact. If I didn’t know any better I would swear that the original poster was channeling just about anyone I ever asked in Jersey for a recipe. I followed the directions to the letter and was quite pleased with the results.

Sunday Gravy

Sunday Gravy
recipe by John Fodera

First thing to note: This is not sauce. This is not marinara. This is gravy and it must be referred to as such. Capisce? Yes it’s red, yes it’s for pasta, but all the meat is what makes it gravy. So…..this is not my recipe for marinara sauce, or sauce with other accoutrements, but this is a recipe for what???? GRAVY….that’s right! Here goes.

First, you need a BAP (Big Ass Pot) The BAP must be at least 10 to 12 quarts or you are in for trouble. I do not recommend making gravy in pots smaller than 10 quarts – you’ve been warned.

Assemble the meat: For this rendition I used the following –

1 lb. chopped beef which yielded about 10 meatballs. If you don’t know how to make meatballs, either get someone to do it for you, stop reading now, or crush up the meat into bits and brown it that way.

4 links of sweet sausage. A good store bought version could work. Jimmy Deans don’t count. If you have an Italian market, get it there. Can also use hot sausage if you like, but be warned, your entire batch of gravy will taste hot if you do – not simply the sausage.

1 package beef short ribs – Probably about 8 ribs in total

1 package pork ribs – Probably about 8 ribs total

3 Osso Bucco Veal Shanks

Modifications: You are free to add brachiole as well, but see meatballs above. Do not use Lamb, do not use chicken and don’t include anything dumb like feet or ham or tripe. Capisce? Do not use carrots, never add sugar, never use red wine, and Good God!! no friggin potatoes!!!

Brown the meat : Get some olive oil going in the BAP and brown all the meat until nicely brown, except for the meatballs . Brown the meatballs separately in a fry pan. When done, set all meat aside.

Now get some garlic and onions going in the pot. I used 12 cloves of garlic (method to calc. later on) and 2 medium onions. If your definition of these items includes the word powder , read no further. Spank yourself with the wooden spoon you should be using and go buy Ragu.

After these items are sweating and or browning a bit nicely, deglaze the pot with a tiny bit of white wine. Probably just a few tablespoons is all that it will take. No 1/2 cup pours allowed here! Now crank the heat!! and boil off all of that white wine flavor.

Return meat to the BAP! – make sure all juices in dish go with the meat. DO NOT put the meatballs in yet.

Now begin the tomatoes – using fresh tomatoes is a waste of time and too much work. Get this martyr crap out of your head! Excellent canned tomatoes are available and should be used. But don’t go buying Hunt’s here either. You need good tomatoes. San Marzano are far and away the best tomatoes you can get. This is not a brand name, but a specific tomato grown in San Marzano, Italy. They are never sour and are always delicious. If you look carefully at the can, it will say somewhere on there “San Marzano”. The brand I always use is Cento . Progresso is good as well although not SM’s. And the organic Muir Glenn are nice too, but also not SM’s and a bit more expensive.

For this you will need 8 35oz. cans of tomatoes – whole, peeled tomatoes, including basil leaf! NO FREAKIN PUREE Capisce? Put the tomatoes into a blender a can at a time and zap them into a liquid. I use the “chop” setting. You don’t want to liquefy them, just mash them into a runny mess! As you mash them up, into the BAP they go. Calc: I figure a clove and a 1/2 of garlic per can of tomatoes.

When done adding the tomatoes, add S&P to taste along with fresh basil leaves (I used about 20) and some dried Oregano. Cover, set on low to medium heat, and begin simmering.

After 2 or 3 hours of simmering, remove the cover from the BAP and get rid of it. Wash it, let your kid use it for a cymbal, just lose it. Cook the gravy for another 4 to 5 hours until it thickens up. Sunday I added two cans of Stop and Shop tomato paste to speed the thickening process along. It’s thick enough when a wooden spoon does not fall when inserted in the center of the BAP. NO SPOONS OTHER THAN WOOD ALLOWED!!! Capisce?

Now, I cooked my gravy Sunday from 9:30 AM (began prep. at 8:00AM) and cooked it until 5:00 PM. All the meat fell off the bones (a good thing) and the gravy had thickened up and reduced by about 3 or 4″ in the pot. Clear so far?

Then just make whatever pasta you like and spoon the glorious concotion over the top. Remove all meat (that can be removed) from the BAP and serve on the side. Meat that stays in the gravy is a good thing. But do remove and discard the bones.

Mediterranean Chicken & Hummus Meatballs in Apricot Glaze

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Ethnic, Food Porn, Meta, Recipes

Once in a while I get intense cravings for a certain kind of food (Asian, BBQ, soups and stews, to name a few examples) – when those cravings hit, I pretty much eat nothing else but that type of food for a week or two at a time. During a recent craving for Middle Eastern food, I came upon this recipe from the Curry and Comfort blog – we decided to try it out, and it was so delicious that we’ve made it a couple of times since then. This one is truly a show stopper. The meatballs are where it’s at, with hummus being a greater addition than I would have even imagined. For the record, we used Sabra Red Pepper hummus the first time, and Sabra Garlic hummus the second time, and both were great. Their blog also has a ton of other ethnic meatballs ideas that I’m dying to try. We, too, served it with Israeli couscous, which was a perfect suggestion.

Mediterranean Chicken and Hummus Meatballs in Apricot Glaze

Mediterranean Chicken and Hummus Meatballs in Apricot Glaze
recipe from Curry and Comfort

Ingredients for Meatballs:

1 lb of ground chicken
15-20 mint leaves
small handful of parsley
1/2 Tbs of ground cumin
1/4 white onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of lemon juice

Seasoning Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 container (about 5oz) of your favorite hummus and the center flavorings.

Directions for Meatballs:

In a food processor (or you can do this by hand) grind up or finely mince your parsley, mint, garlic, onion and lemon juice. Then mix with all the ingredients listed above. Form into your desired size of ball. Do not over work the meatballs mixture. The meatballs will be a little soft, but they form well.

Heat a large skillet with 2Tbs of canola oil. Once heated add your meatballs and brown on all sides. Once they are browned, set aside on a plate to finish cooking in the sauce.

Ingredients for the Apricot Glaze/Sauce:
1-2 cups of chicken broth or water/bullion equivalent
juice if one lemon
1 tsp of ground cumin
1/4 tsp of ground all spice
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 jar of Apricot Jam (12oz). ** See note
1/2 cup of green olives
1 bell pepper cut into strips or sweet chili peppers cut into strips
Salt Seasoning

Notes: I ended up using all the jam because I used the two full cups of chicken stock and made more of a sauce than a glaze. If you want a thicker glaze you can use 1 cup of stock and half the jam.

Directions for the Sauce/Glaze:

In the same skillet you cooked the meatballs, saute the garlic. I also bloomed my cumin in the oil for a few seconds.
Now add your chicken broth, juice of your lemon, your spices, cinnamon stick and the apricot jam. Stir well until the jam melts into the liquid. Season with salt (or soy sauce). I do love the flavors of apricot jam and soy sauce. Since I was making a Mediterranean theme dish, I opted for seasoning salt. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Then add your peppers and olives and finally the meatballs to finish cooking. Simmer on the stove for 15 minutes. If you decide to use less chicken stock, you may need to keep an eye on your glaze. I added more stock so I just let it simmer. Taste for seasoning and turn off the stove.

Serve with savory cous-cous or as an appetizer. Enjoy.

A Little Bit of Germany in Columbus

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Columbus, Eating Local, Ethnic, Holiday, Oma

The Christmas memories of my childhood are often punctuated by thoughts of the baked goods they used to make for the holidays. My grandfather’s stollen had a prominent place In those memories, and so did German style cookies. Holidays were big in their household, going over there on Christmas Eve every year was something I looked forward to all year.

Bierberg Bakery Outside

In the heart of German Village (where else did you think it would be?) there is a little shop, only open for 2 months a year, that sells old fashioned German cookies, the kind that is just perfect for serving with coffee or cocoa. They closed for the year on Christmas Eve, and unfortunately I didn’t make it there this year – they do, however, make the same things from year to year, so this will give you an idea of what to expect.

Bierberg Bakery Cookies

Posting this today (on the 16th anniversary of my Oma’s death) is a bit bittersweet, but in a good way. So many good memories to cherish that don’t fade away one bit as the years pass by. Even though she’s been gone a while, I still hold her close to my heart and feel like one day, somehow, some way, we’ll be together again.

What holiday traditions of your childhood are a part of your current celebrations? Which ones started with your generation and will continue for years to come?

If you’d like to go (unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until fall): Bierberg Bakery, 729 S. 5th Street, Columbus (German Village), 614-443-9959

Brazilian Beef Stew (Feijoada)

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Ethnic, Recipes, Travel

When I went to Brazil a few years back, I did so with the intention of experiencing everything the culture had to offer – fate (and a problem with an epidural that left me not being able to eat because of the severe nausea) intervened, and the three weeks there became a challenge. One of the few things I was able to tolerate was feijoada. While this isn’t an exact replica of what we had in Brazil, it came pretty darn close. Serve it with some plain white rice.

Brazilian Beef Stew (Feijoada) and Rice

Brazilian Beef Stew (Feijoada)
recipe from Cuisine at Home magazine

1 lb. beef stew meat, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
8 oz. kielbasa, sliced into ½-inch thick rounds
¼ c. orange juice
1 ½ c. diced onions
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained, rinsed and pureed
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Sliced jalapenos
Orange wedges
Orange zest

Brown meat in oil in batches in a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer meat to a paper-towel lined plate. Brown kielbasa in same skillet, 3 minutes per batch. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.

Deglaze skillet with orange juice, scraping up brown bits on bottom of pan; set aside.

Combine onions, tomatoes, beans, garlic, and chili powder in a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker. Stir in browned meats and deglazing liquid. Cover slow cooker; cook on high setting until steak is fork tender, 4 hours.

Add vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Garnish each serving of stew with jalapeno slices, orange wedges and zest.

Chicken Makhani

Author: paulboyer  //  Category: Ethnic, Food Porn, Recipes

Original Post Date: 8/23/09

Let’s get one thing straight — I loooooooooove Indian food.  I can’t get enough of it.  And for the longest time, my favorite source of the aforementioned comestible was a tiny hole-in-the-wall at Kenny Center on (appropriately enough) Kenny Road in Upper Arlington named Sher-E-Punjab, which is apparently Hindi for “The Punjabi Lion”.  They had a daily lunch buffet that I and several co-workers would frequent regularly.  They also had a dinnertime buffet four nights a week, Monday through Thursday, with Tuesday’s being a strictly vegetarian affair.  Of all their offerings, my consistent favorite was their version of Chicken Makhani, a somewhat Americanized tomato butter curry chicken.  It may not have been terribly authentic, but it was quite good.  Please note that almost everything they had was tasty, but the Chicken Makhani was, to me, the stand-out item on their menu.

Sadly, Sher-E-Punjab closed its doors several months ago.  This caused me great consternation and inspired me to find an acceptable recipe with which to make my own Chicken Makhani.  I found one, and I dare say, it’s at least as good as Sher-E-Punjab’s, if not better.  (Editor’s Note:  Sher-E-Punjab has since reopened in its original location; the Korean restaurant which opened in its place went out of business in under six months.  Sher-E-Punjab is once again open for business and is again offering a lunchtime buffet seven days a week, yay!)

I prepared the Chicken Makhani for dinner on Sunday night, serving it over basmati rice with some roti paratha picked up at the local Indian grocery.  The finished curry is nothing to look at, but it certainly was every bit as satisfying as that which we’ve enjoyed in better Indian restaurants:

Chicken Makhani

Chicken Makhani
recipe courtesy Recipezaar

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup tomato puree
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in about 1/3 of the sauce and simmer until liquid has reduced and chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Pour the rest of the sauce into the chicken. Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

First Fridays at St. John Chrysostom

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Charity, Columbus, Ethnic

If you happen to have a little extra time to spare tomorrow afternoon, run – don’t walk to St. John Chrysostom Church on Cleveland Avenue near E. Dublin-Granville Rd. at around 3:30pm. Every First Friday of the month (except for when those Fridays fall on holiday weekends – this month being an exception because they’re trying something new) the ladies of the church cook up all manner of Polish specialties to sell to the public to raise money for the church.

1st Friday Sign

I’ve known about First Fridays for ages, but it took reading Jim’s blog post about his visit for me to remember it before Friday rather than after. Once you see the sign, turn into the parking lot and follow it to the building in back – just look for the line or where people are coming in and out of – it is the building to the left side rather than the right side. If all else fails, just follow the scent of cooked cabbage. Your sense of smell will never lead you astray when it comes to good food. We got there pretty early – at about 3:30, which ended up being a good thing; people started lining up at the door not too long after that. Luckily, we saw what was happening and quickly got in line – this meant that we were second behind a long time visitor. We spent the time discussing old Columbus restaurants – neat how many food memories have at places that no longer exist.

Finally, the doors open and the mad stampede begins. Well, not mad, exactly – more like an organized stampede but people were definitely there with a purpose.
The selection of foods available in a particular month is completely left to the discretion of the good ladies who do all the cooking, so not all items are available every month. Here is a list of some of the possible items and their prices:

1st Friday Menu

They are all laid along tables on a path to the window – there are 4 different types of pierogi to choose from, with each segregated to its own box and marked as to what they are. I can honestly say that we’ve had the savory ones so far, and they’re quite good – they brown up beautifully and made a wonderful meal paired with some sausages and fried onions. They are sold frozen, just thaw before you fry them – no boiling needed first since they’ve already been boiled before freezing.

1st Friday Pierogi

I absolutely love their halushka (browned buttered cabbage with noodles), it’s something we make here as well with the leftover bits of cabbage when we make cabbage rolls. Their version is probably the best I’ve had. Sold refrigerated, all you need to do is heat it up before serving in the handy microwave container they pack it in.

1st Friday Halushka

We passed on many of the sweet items, but here’s what we saw this particular time round:

Khrusty, which I believe were described to me as fried dough covered in powdered sugar.

1st Friday Khrusty

Chocolate fudge, which seemed to be a traditional recipe.

1st Friday Fudge

Fried apple kolach, which I believe are a danish of some sort.

1st Friday Apple Kolach

And just a couple of pies available for purchase.

1st Friday Pie

My favorite, though, has to be their cabbage rolls – they are served hot (ask for them at the window), and at $8 for 6 of them, are a steal considering how time-consuming they are to make and the price that is charged for them elsewhere in town for similarly sized rolls. If nothing else, we’ll be back every month just for these. We couldn’t even wait until we got home, and started chowing down in the car in the parking lot.

1st Friday Cabbage Rolls

It’s great food, a great cause, and something definitely worth checking out. I’ll be there tomorrow, how about you?

If you’d like to go: First Fridays at St. John Chrysostom, 5858 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, OH (North Side).