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Jun 4, 2012 07:16 AM

What's for dinner? #148 [old]

As tempting as it is, one cannot eat out every single day, at least not without unlimited financial resources.... >sigh<

Tonight, we're having a dear friend over for dinner. I'm planning on throwing together a sauté of sliced chicken breast, green asparagus & oyster mushrooms with spices & herbs TBD. Side will be tomato, feta & red onion salad dressed just with olive oil and oregano.

There may be some wine involved, too :-)

What's cooking over on the other side of the pond / chunnel / wherever you are?

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  1. This weekend was filled with food festivals bringing together the best of Lebanese and Filipino street food, so I overate to my heart's (dis)content. Clearly one passerby though it was more content since they asked to take my picture when they saw me grinning ear to ear when I got a manoushe from a street vendor. For all I know I might now be the mascot for an upcoming brand of Lebanese pitza.

    Dinner, then, had to be something on the lighter side. Last night was a wet curry of North Indian origin that I had been meaning to make for quite some time -- achari chicken or, in English, pickle-flavored chicken. Although the yogurt sauce does have some piquancy from the addition of lemon juice, the pickle flavor refers more specifically to the intricate spice blend of mustard seed, fennel, cinnamon, cumin and nigella, typically used to season North Indian pickles and used liberally in this dish. Served up with some spicy sauteed okra and a chilled nettle and yogurt soup, I think Sunday at least ended the weekend with more virtue than vice.

    11 Replies
    1. re: JungMann

      I love Lebanese food. It seems that Okc has a disproportionately large Lebanese population, and I used to live nextdoor to several Lebanese families. Now I just can't get enough kefta, hashwa, baklawa, baba ghanouj, tabbouli and other delicious Mediterranean dishes.

      1. re: bblonde

        I refused to learn Arabic with its unintelligible alphabet as a rebellious child (and instead learned Greek, as a jerky teenager), so I had to look up hashwa. And I'm quite glad I did because I totally forgot this existed. My father used to make chickens stuffed with this though it could also be its own dish in leaner times. Even though I had forgotten this existed, I can recall now the pungent fragrance of the rice and being very particular about whether or not I would even touch hashwa with cloves. Probably served to me when I was a toddler and had not yet gotten used to highly spiced foods. Thanks for retrieving a taste and indeed childhood memory I had nearly lost! I hope you inspire more trips down memory lane in your own pantry!

        1. re: JungMann

          It is truly a unique dish. I love the aromatics of the cinnamon--which I think is positively kep to the recipe. And I believe the restaurant I visit toasts their slivered almonds in clarified butter--they are just so buttery and delectable! I've long been of the opinion that a picnic through memory lane was far better than any kind of a stroll ;)

          1. re: JungMann

            We use it quite often to stuff vine leaves, squash and veal breasts as well as eating it on it's own. The rice and meat is seasoned with the families proprietary spice mix or Baharat

            1. re: scubadoo97

              When you are stuffing squash or other vegetables (that aren't leaves), isn't the rice just binder for the meat? I thought the proportions were different compared to when you use hashwa to stuff leaves or meat. Any chance you'd be willing to share your recipe for baharat?

              1. re: JungMann

                Well yes it is a binder but it would be pretty dense as all meat fillings. I guess we just like the hashwa. One pound of meat to one cup of parboiled rice.

                Baharat spice mix
                2 parts allspice
                1 part black pepper
                1 " ground clove
                1 " ground nutmeg
                1 " paprika
                1 " ground ginger
                1 " ground cinnamon
                1 " Accent (optional)

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  Can't wait to try this combination! It's quite different than mine, particularly without cumin, but a healthy dose of ginger.

        2. re: JungMann

          JM, I am always in awe of your knowledge and cooking ability on all these - for me- more esoteric cuisines, I learn SO much, just from your eating a sandwish/wrap at a street fair!

          You are the 'crazy man', with the pantry I cannot comprehend the contents of, to make all these delectable exotic yummies at home. Awesome. Oh, and I mean crazy, as in 'crazy good!"

          I want want some NI wet curry with pickle action! Sigh. Live vicariously. sometimes, the learning goes on, and the vast, vast realization of what I don't know just KICKS my ass. Hat's off, Mr.!

          1. re: gingershelley

            I have to admit that I am taking a cue from other South Asian home cooks and relying more on Shan ready made masalas nowadays, so I can't take too much credit. My pantry is decently stocked to be sure, but the Shan masalas allow me to cook more broadly across the subcontinent and experiment with regional foods with which I didn't necessarily grow up like achari chicken. If you live near an Indo-Pak grocery store, those 99 cent boxes of masala can open up a world of flavors.

          2. re: JungMann

            I love the visual of you grinning at the street fair, JM! A true two-thumbs up for any passersby. :-)

            1. re: LindaWhit

              I wait for this festival every summer. It is surprisingly difficult to get good manakish in NYC, considering it is little more than grilled flatbread, whereas if you want locally caught scallops served with truffle foam and free range eggs laid by a Hudson Valley chicken named Samantha, your options abound.

          3. Sounds delish! I just had a midafternoon snack of some of my marinated cucumbers from yesterday, tomato, red onion, and feta. YUM!

            Dinner tonight will be Peruvian beef kebabs with roasted yellow pepper sauce. A side of jicama salad to temper the heat, and perhaps a Malbec. Every time I cook at boyfriend's I feel guilty if it's not beef as I have forever long been working on the side of beef he got.

            5 Replies
            1. re: bblonde

              The anticuchos were very good. I really liked the flavor of the yellow pepper sauce, just the texture was weird because of the green onions, making it kinda clumpy. So I'll have to see about that. Dinner was late after planting flower beds and patching up paint. Watched with the background of the NBA semifinals.

              1. re: bblonde

                oh man, when you said Peruvian beef kebabs it didn't even dawn on me that you meant anticuchos, even after you mentioned the yellow pepper sauce (aji amarillo)! i ADORE them. did you actually use beef heart? what was your marinade? they look wonderful....

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  I used this recipe from Cooking Light that has been in my queue for a LONG time, satisfied my attempts to use the side of beef in more interesting ways. Apparently it's a Steven Raichlen recipe. I'm a big fan of his for all things griling.


                  I was not surprised that I was unable to find the aji amarillo powder. So my marinade was unauthentic, but still good, mix of 3 parts paprika to 1 part ground red pepper in place of the aji amarillo.

                  1. re: bblonde

                    I am definitely giving those a try. Goodness, I saw your post and told DH, "Forget takeout, let's make kebabs tonight!"

                    1. re: bblonde

                      i bet it was delicious. thanks for the link! fortunately, i can get the aji amarillo here, and i'm going to try my hand at making the anticuchos with beef heart (that's how i grew up eating them). thanks again!

              2. Ex wife passed away this morning....I am sad....we were together for 27 years, apart for 7 daughters are crushed....I will be off this site for a few days....believe me if you have ever had an want nothing to happen to them...let them .just move on and be happy......I am really sad for her parents and family.....tonight I am not hungry....I have tears for my ex -inlaws and my daughters....WFD??

                20 Replies
                1. re: PHREDDY

                  Awww, PHREDDY, so sorry to hear the sad news. Warm thoughts and hugs to all....

                  1. re: PHREDDY

                    oh no! Phreddy that is so very sad, for all of you! Really feel for you and your sorrow....

                      1. re: PHREDDY

                        condolences to you and your family

                            1. re: PHREDDY

                              Best to you Phreddy, and deep feelings for your sadness.

                              Sometimes, no food is the food of the moment. Condolences, peace, and great grace.

                              1. re: PHREDDY

                                I'm sorry to hear this - thoughts go out to your extended family.

                                1. re: PHREDDY

                                  My deepest condolences for you and your family.

                                    1. re: PHREDDY

                                      Deepest sympathies, Phreddy.

                                      1. re: PHREDDY

                                        Phreddy, my heart hurts to hear this. Please take care.

                                        1. re: PHREDDY

                                          Sorry for your loss and for your daughter's loss as well. Wishing you comfort over the days ahead.

                                          1. re: PHREDDY

                                            Really sorry to hear about your loss....

                                            1. re: PHREDDY

                                              Our thoughts are with you and yours.

                                              1. re: PHREDDY

                                                That's sad new, Phreddy. Hang in there.

                                                1. re: PHREDDY

                                                  So sorry for your loss PHREDDY, take good care.

                                                  1. re: PHREDDY

                                                    My condolences, Phreddy. It's your daughters who need you now.

                                                    1. re: PHREDDY

                                                      I'm so sorry, Phreddy. My thoughts are with you and your family.

                                                      1. re: PHREDDY

                                                        May the memories of the good times you shared overtake you and lighten your grief. Share them with your daughters, and lighten theirs too. Bless!

                                                      2. Ina's Indonsesian Ginger Chicken (first time trying this recipe , but I won't be marinating the chicken overnight) and roasted local Ontario asparagus.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: prima

                                                          Please report back, I hadn't seen that recipe before and it looks good.

                                                        2. Bourbon......
                                                          Shrimp Po-Boys......
                                                          Chocolate Cake........

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                            Okay, I'll bite this time. What is/are Zapps, although I'm sure I should know this.

                                                            1. re: MaryContrary

                                                              You are fairly close....Surprised if you haven't seen these.........


                                                              1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                My "local" fancy wine/gourmet shop carries them along with amazing blue-cheese stuffed olives, olivey tavern cheese, speck, Cowgirl Creamery's Mt. Tam and good bangers. I make a trip every month or two to stock up.