Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Favorites

New favorite way to chop an onion:



Score the onion horizontally and vertically, then just slide over your mandolin. (You do have a mandolin, right???) Magically, perfectly sized onion pieces appear below.

New favorite way to cook a turkey:
With mayonnaise!

Some thoughts on mayonnaise: So I know certain people exist who do not enjoy foods such as mayonnaise, cream cheese, and sour cream. I don't know how you survive. I'm sure you've heard it before, but you are missing out on A LOT. Mayonnaise may be my current favorite ingredient. (Have I told you that my 30s are going to be my binge decade?) And, just so we're clear, there is only one brand of mayonnaise. That would be Hellmann's. And there's only one type. That would be in a jar with a royal blue lid. Get that squeezable low-fat crap out of here. And to all you mayonnaise haters, I recommend behavior therapy. Life is just better with mayo.

So I made this turkey breast last week, and it was positively perfection. I used chicken stock instead of the wine/beer. I recommend this technique to any and all turks out there. With my leftovers, I paid homage to my old Kentucky home. The Hot Brown honors my roots while simultaneously disgracing my arteries. Gotta love it. Once a year. (Unless it's #bingedecade)

New favorite salad dressing:

Yep, it's got mayonnaise in it. 

Some thoughts on salad dressing: I am generally not a fan of store-bought salad dressing. I tend to get bored with one jar after a while, and then it ends up wallowing in expiration purgatory. When I eat salad, I usually just prescribe to this recipe:
   1 part acid (rice vinegar, citrus juice, or a combination thereof)
   1 part sweet (brown sugar or honey)
   2 parts oil (olive, most frequently)
And then I load it up with a couple of other flavors I happen to on hand: mustard, herbs, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, etc.
I knew I wanted a kale salad last night, but I thought I would need a pretty robust dressing to stand up to the robust greens. I mixed together a squeeze of dijon mustard, the juice of half a lemon, and about a tablespoon of mayonnaise. Drizzle it on the kale, add some tomatoes, capers, and parmesan cheese, and yum!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Championship Samosas

Last Friday evening, I made samosas for the first time. Samosas are savory Indian pastries with potato filling. They were good, and perhaps with some tweaks*, blog-worthy. The implications here are ostensibly minor, right? Except for the fact that Kentucky beat Louisville in the NCAA Sweet 16 game that same evening. 

Fast forward two days to the Elite 8 game versus Michigan on Sunday. What did I do during the game? Munch on the leftover samosas, of course.

So yesterday evening, as I was anxiously wishing away the minutes until the Final 4 game against Wisconsin, I got cooking. It's an unlikely pairing, Kentucky basketball and Indian pastries, but it obviously works, so I'm not questioning the basketball gods.

Now I'm going to give you my recipe for samosas, and while I won't require you to make them Monday night, if Kentucky loses, I will blame you.

Samosas
I've had these at Indian restaurants before and really enjoyed them. I have no idea how they are traditionally made, but this is my version. I think it's pretty tasty.

Ingredients:
2 smallish Yukon gold potatoes
1 T butter
splash of milk
salt
handful of frozen peas
half a small onion, minced
1 carrot, minced
curry powder (maybe 1/2 teaspoon)
garam masala (little more than 1/2 teaspoon)
coriander (dash)
oil
puff pastry (I used about 3/4 of one sheet)
egg wash

Procedure:
1. Start by making mashed potatoes. (I peeled and chunked the potatoes, put them in salted water, and boiled them for about 15 minutes or until soft. Then I drained the water, added the butter, milk, and salt, and then mashed it all together.)


2. While the potatoes are boiling, saute the onion and carrot in the oil on medium heat. Add in the Indian seasonings, and let those cook as well. I apologize for the lack of exact measurements. I would season them way more than you think necessary though, as these seasonings are really for the entire dish.


3. When the potatoes are mashed and the onion/carrot mixture is soft and fragrant, combine them with the peas. Taste, and if you need to season more, go ahead and do it now. (The heat of the potatoes should defrost the peas pretty quickly.)

4. Roll out the pastry and cut into squares. (You can make them big or small. I made some of each.) Spoon some of the potato mixture on the square. Wet the edges of the pastry before you fold them over to get a good seal. Brush the tops with the egg wash, so they gleam when cooked. (This step is not really necessary, so don't go running out to the store if you're out of eggs.)


5. Bake at 400 for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are toasty brown.


6. Go Cats!

*See what I did there, BBN?