Thursday, January 26, 2006

Lamb Byriani

originally uploaded by mook elliott.

Inspired by the New York Times article I chose to honour my entirely non-existant connection with Central Asia by making Byriani. What's more I went looking for Hyberdadi recipies and ended up making my own version. The Central Asian versions just seemed a bit bland. The picture shows the Byriani with yogurt, fried onions, and coriander.

3 Tbsp ghee or oil
1 cinnamon stick, about 4-5 inches
4 green cardamom
4 cloves
1 tsp cumin
2 medium onions sliced
2 blades of mace
3 kg’s lamb leg bone in, cut into chunks about the size of dice, get the butcher to do this
1 “ piece of ginger, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk yogurt
2 cups water
3 cups cubed butternut squash or pumpkin

Heat the ghee in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the spiced until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and fry until dark brown. Add the lamb and salt and cook until the meat has turned colour. Add the yogurt and water and bring to a boil then cover and simmer until the lamb is tender but not falling apart, adding liquid as necessary, about 45 minutes to 1hr 15 minutes, depending on the meat and the size of it’s cut.
Uncover, add the squash and cook vigorously until the sauce is thick and clings to the meat. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3 Tbsp ghee or oil
1 cinnamon stick, same as above
4 green cardamom
4 cloves
1/2 tsp fennel
2 blades mace
2 medium onions sliced
2 cups basmati
1 cup of raisins (or more)
1 cup almonds roughly chopped (or more)
1 tsp saffron + 1 cup hot water
2-3 cups water

In a large pot with a snug fitting lid (a dutch oven would be perfect) heat the ghee on medium and fry the spices for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the onions and cook until dark golden and soft. In the meantime, grind the saffron and soak in hot water for 10 minutes.
Add the rice to the pot and fry, stirring gently until it is well coated with oil. You could even let it brown a bit. Add the raisins, almonds, saffron, and water, along with the lamb. The liquids should cover the rice but not drown it. Season with some salt and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and either put in a 350 F oven for 45 min or cook on very low heat for about 30 minutes. In either case, let the byriani rest for a good 15 minutes, covered, off the heat before serving. It’s also a good idea to check the rice about 3/4 of the way through cooking to make that the rice is cooked.

Serve with yogurt and fresh coriander and fried onions made by frying one large sliced onion in 1 cup oil on low heat, stirring occasionally for about 30-45 minutes, then drain.

I added 1 dried rose bud to the rice before cooking, don’t ask me why but I did. You could add some rose water or maybe orange flour water if you like that kind of thing

Schwartz's 2

Schwartz's 2
Schwartz's 2,
originally uploaded by mook elliott.
I had never been to Schwartz's, Montreal's legendary Kosher Deli, and since we're leaving in 2 weeks this was a situation I had to remedy before I left. So, passing up Korean black goat soup, here we are, 2 sandwiches with medium-fat smoked meat, 2 fries, 2 sour pickles, 2 black cherry sodas, and 1 cabbage salad later.
As I said to the Mystery Eater afterwards, it's kind of like what hot dog meat would be if it actually grew on a cow: processed and yet still recognizably of animal origin, one machine away from being the crab stick of the beef world.
All snideness aside it WAS really good, and the fries were really really good, and well, nothing beats black cherry soda.
The Lebanese guys next to us ordered a whole plate of meat (a "small" size on the menu) which was just a bit much, probably about half a pound too much.

Chicken Pita

For 3-4 ppl

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium sized chicken breasts
1 tsp cumin
5 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup water
1 cup yogurt

1 cup labneh (strained yogurt)
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
salt to taste

Israeli pitas (thick ones)
sliced tomatoes
thinly sliced red onions

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-hi heat. Add the chicken breasts and brown on both sides, seasoning well with salt as you cook them. You just want to brown it, not cook it through. When it is browned on both sides add the cumin and garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Add the water and yogurt and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook of 5 more minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove it from the heat and reduce the cooking liquid to about a 1/4 cup, or until much of the visible liquid has evaporated. The yogurt will split early in the cooking, don’t worry.
Cut the chicken up into dice sized cubes and mix it with the reduced sauce. Check the seasonings and adjust.
Mix the labneh and the the garlic, then dilute with water until it is the consistency of thin watery yogurt.
Slit the pitas around half of their circumferance and open them. Stuff the pitas with the lettuce, tomatoes and onions and souse with some sauce. Add chicken and more sauce.

It’s nice to toast the pitas a bit before stuffing them, especially if they’re less than super fresh.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Feta and tomato sandwich

A super quick sandwich that is worlds away from ham and cheese (blech)
In between two good slices of whole wheat bread or a nice pita put:

-Sliced feta
-sliced tomatoes
-torn mint
-red onion thinly sliced
-a little bit of salt

Killer for summer. Light and fresh.

Monday, January 23, 2006

tasty buttermilk cake

6 oz unsweetend chocolate
8 oz softened unsalted butter
1 3/4 c packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk

melt the chocolate.
cream the butter and sugar together then add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.
add the vanilla and chocolate and mix well.
sift together all the dry ingredients and add them in 1/3rds, alternating with the buttermilk.
grease and flour a 10" springform pan, you can line it with parchment if wanted but this is not essential. You can also add some good quality chocolate chips if you like.
bake the cake at 350 for around 45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Ice this with a good ganache: boil 250 ml of cream and pour over 150 gms of quality dark chocolate that has been chopped. After 5 minutes, mix well and let cool. When cold, beat well with an electric mixer until the ganache is the consistency of whipped cream. Ice the cake only when completely cold.

Monday, January 16, 2006

peanut soup

Here's a wintery soup, inspired by a peanut soup made by my brother's law teacher from Ghana.

4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp whole cumin seed
1/2 tsp chili flakes (or more if you like)
2 small onions, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp chopped ginger
1 Tbsp dried shrimp powder
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 Litre chicken stock
14 oz canned chick peas, rinsed well and drained
250 gms natural, smooth peanut butter
1 tsp sugar
salt, lemon juice, hot sauce.

Heat the butter in a 2 L pan and fry the cumin and chili flakes on medium hi heat for a minute. Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are nicely browned about 5 minutes or so. Add the shrimp powder, sweet potato, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the chick peas and continue cooking on low until the sweet potatoes are fully cooked. Using a wooden spoon, mash some of the potato against the side of the pot if you like. Add the peanut butter and sugar. Stir well and season with salt and lemon juice. Serve with bread, fufu or whatever you want. Hot sauce and more lemon as needed.

note: the shrimp powder was a present from my brothers teacher. You could omit it, or blitz some dried asian shrimp and use those. You could also use a bit of anchovy instead. Also, make sure you use peanut butter that is not emulsified or seasoned. If you do use a sweetened peanut butter then reduce the sugar called for.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

schnitzel with green onion mash

I doubt that there is anything that improves crap cuts of meat more than a good dose of eggwash and breadcrumbs.


For 4 people
4 small pork chops, any boneless cut about the size of a pack of playing cards
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/4 cup italian bread crumbs
5-6 Tbsp butter or olive oil

6 medium yellow fleshed potatoes cut in half
1 1/2 cups yogurt
3 green onions chopped
2 Tbsp butter

1 lemon cut in 1/4's

Start by putting your cleaned but not peele potatoes in salted water to cover. Bring them to a boil and proceed to boil on medium until a knife easily pierces the flesh of the spud but as they boil. Let them boil for a good 5 minutes then get on with the schnitzel.
If the pork chops are a bit fatty then you can cut a bit off but I usually leave most of it on. Put the pork chops between two sheets of SaranWrap and hit them using the broad side of a cleaver, bottom of a saucepan or even a very solid and uncherished coffee mug. They should be about 50% larger. Crush the garlic and add the salt then mix this with the flattened chops and make a small cut into the edge of each schnitzel, this will stop them from curling up as they cook.
Set up one wide bowl and two plates. In the bowl put the egg and milk and mix them well. On the plates put seperately the bread crumbs and the flour. You are going to dip the chops as follows so set yourself up in this order: flour, egg+milk, breadcrumbs. I usually do two and then fry them, but if you had two frying pans you could do all four at once. In either case, check your potatoes to make sure that they are almost ready before you start frying.
When they are heat the butter or oil on medium (only use half if you are frying in two batches) and fry the shnitzels as you are finished breading them. If you feel you have to add more oil then do so. Fry them for about 2 minutes a side or until they are nice and golden on both sides. Make sure you wipe out the pan well between frying batches.
When the potatoes are ready, drain them and smash them using whatever you have at hand. It could be a lovely pricey potato masher, the bottom of a highball glass, or a big fork. Mix in the butter, green onions, and yogurt. Taste the mash, adding salt if needed. You can also add some more butter or yogurt if you think the mash needs it or if you are feeling sinful, and I certainly hope you are.
Serve the schnitzel on top of the mash with a wedge of lemon and a nice salad, endive, tomato or just some tender lettuces.


originally uploaded by Jeremy D Gardner.
I think the only word to describe this is Luscious!