Thursday, 14 June 2012

Ordinary Humus

Stick all of those things in a food processor and whiz around until it is smooth. Add more water for a thinner humus. I added a half teaspoon of cumin but didn't write it on the big board. Serve in a bowl garnished with chopped cilantro, a drizzle of olive oil and a crack of black pepper. Scoop with pita. Tahini is really important for good humus, don't bother with poor substitutes.

This hummus is the closest to store bought I've made so far, and better than almost every other homemade humus I've tried. The lemon juice balances the richness of the olive oil and tahini nicely. With this dish, a little garlic goes a long way, especially the next day. Not bad for five minutes work.

Fried chicken

Fry that chicken!
 The secret to fried chicken as far as I can tell is to marinate the pieces in buttermilk brine for a full 24 hours. This keeps the meat tender and juicy. I like thighs because they are really flavourful and hold up to longer cooking. Coat the chicken pieces in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, and any other spice you want, then fry in butter. Once the skin is brown and crispy, I put them in the oven and started browning another batch. The skin didn't stay crispy in the oven, but overall this fried chicken was absolutely delicious. Leftovers came back in wrap form.
Wrap it up!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The salad you make friends with and how to cut everything in it

I made three friends with this salad.
One large handful of baby spinach topped with an avocado, three tomatoes, a third of red pepper, greek feta cheese, sunflower seeds black pepper and a house dressing (olive oil, cider vinegar & tamari sauce). This salad is a staple in my house. Common additions include cucumber and cilantro leaves.

How you cut salad ingredients is important. If you make the pieces too large or small they will be difficult to eat or end up on the bottom. I've found slicing red pepper half a centimetre and then cutting those slices in 3cm sticks is ideal. I like my tomatoes in wedges, about ten for a vine tomato, but half wedges work well too. Avocado should be pre-sliced into one centimetre cubes and then scooped out with a spoon. Only use avocado in a salad when it is perfectly ripe, when a squeeze of the bulbous bottom gives slightly. If you use cucumber, they are best in quarter circles. Feta is good cubed, but looks and coats better when crumbled. Leave the dressing until the last minute to prevent the greens from getting soggy. I prepare it in a shot glass and leave it aside until eating time. Pesto and mustard are both great additions to the house dressing.

Root Beer

Simmer all for 20-30 min, strain and jar.

This recipe is to make a root beer syrup. I mix it with carbonated water to make pop, but you could also dilute it and ferment it with yeast for a true root beer. I had a rough time finding all the ingredients for this. It ended up that the only place around to get everything was the occult shop. It turns out the worker there makes root beer herself and already knew exactly what I needed. I wonder if using a cauldron makes it taste better.
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Peanut Butter Banana Bread

This is pretty much your standard banana bread with a surprising twist. Instead of chocolate chips, use some peanut butter candies, reese bites or somesuch. I couldn't really taste the spiced rum, but it definitely didn't hurt.

Mix your dry ingredients, mix your wets and combine. Add chocolate/peanut butter chips and combine. Pour into two buttered loaf pans and bake for 40 min at 350 degrees or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

I gave this to a friend for her birthday last week. She and the other people at the party loved it, claiming it was, "out of this world" and "best birthday cake ever!" It should have been no surprise that peanut butter and banana go so well together. I just can't work out why I hadn't heard of this sooner. Not even on pinterest.

Banana bread tastes better when baked in glass.

Sausage Gnocco in Tomato Sauce

Brown up some sliced sausage, add extra garlic & thyme to the tomato sauce from the previous post, mix in cooked gnocco sardo (or any other good sauce pasta of your choosing), a hand full of spinach, and you should get something like this:
Spicy Italian fennel & pork sausage meat balls with spinach and pasta in a
garlic and thyme tomato sauce.
Serve with freshly ground black pepper and a small mountain of Parmesan cheese.