Tuesday, January 17, 2017

All These and a Bag of Chips

Welcome to some more amateur sandwich porn.

The lunch I packed for my man tonight included (clockwise from top left): (1) turkey and ham with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and mustard; (2) baby-back rib meat and American cheese with iceberg lime-mayo slaw; (3) roast beef, mozzarella, and tomato with sriracha-mayo-mustard spread; and (4) turkey, cream cheese, and lettuce.

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, gentle reader, this lunch was accompanied by some barbecue-flavored potato chips, or “crisps” as Davy's people call them. There was also a can of Red Bull, because for some reason he enjoys Red Bull when vodka is not involved, which is weird. Actually, it’s weird to like Red Bull even when vodka is involved. But there is nothing at all weird about liking 4 different sandwiches, and a bag of chips.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Adventures in Semi-Homemade Ignorant American Fusion Slow Cooking: Korma Is Not a Bitch

Gentle reader, I’m not gonna lie: I have not been employed full-time for some time. (What, how did you think I made time to suddenly and vociferously resurrect this blog?) And while I was extremely, extraordinarily grateful to have scored a week’s in-house freelance assignment in Manhattan, I was unprepared to be thrown back into the cowpen of personal-space violation that is the C-train morning commute. (Pro tip: Ladies of the C train, if you have ever lamented aloud to your significant other that you’d like to spoon more often, BE MORE SPECIFIC about whom you'd like to spoon with, because if you don’t, all I have to say is, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.) Mind you, this was morning time I would ordinarily spend Instagramming my breakfast while watching "In the Papers" on NY1, then observing the progress of Jamie Shupak's baby bump, then wondering just how drunk everyone on the Today show is, then maybe throwing some stuff in the slow cooker, then maybe going back to bed until like 11. Okay, fine, noon.

Anyhoo. I determined to still make at least a couple of weeknight dinners in the course of the week, even though I would probably not be able to get home before 7PM, given the bashful C train's tendency to wait for FOUR FREAKING A TRAINS TO GO BY before it works up the courage to pull up into the station.

But oh right, the slow cooker—that part of my morning ritual could actually carry over! This, I realized, would be a good opportunity to continue evolving my slow-cooking skills, which I will definitely need to rely heavily on if I am ever again gainfully employed full-time. I resolved to purchase a jar of premade Indian sauce, slather it on a chicken, and call it a day before starting my day. I figured, hey, if the semi-homemade approach is good enough for the plucky unofficial First Lady of New York, Sandra Lee, it’s good enough for me.

I also thought that leftover chicken could be used for lunches, because another traumatic memory that came rushing back this week was HOW FREAKING MUCH A MEASLY SOGGY SANDWICH COSTS IN MANHATTAN! (Don’t get me started on what happens if you want a salad. Let’s just say it’s a good thing that I never want a salad.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Chicken-Fusilli-Onion Soup

Okay, fine, gentle reader, you got me. Obviously I could have just called this recipe chicken noodle soup. But listen, me and chicken noodle soup have—no pun intended—beef. I resent the hegemony of chicken noodle soup at every deli in New York. It always seems to have a seat at the table (or rather, beside the buffet table), and I think that is unfair to the marginalized and more creamy and delicious soups such as broccoli-cheddar and cream of cauliflower. Chicken noodle is to soups as the 1% are to the economy: Disproportionally privileged in a society that calls itself a democracy…or a deli, or whatever. The analogy isn’t that sound. The point is, it pisses me off.

Anyhoo. Chicken and noodles in broth do have their medicinal purpose in cold January weather. Having embraced my mission to fill my boyfriend’s thermos at ungodly hours (that was not the weird innuendo that it came off as; please follow this link for clarification), I made him this soup. Okay, fine, it was not such a healthful version.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Please Enjoy Some Sandwich Porn

Feast your eyes on this pseudo-Cuban beauty: Ham, turkey, Swiss, mustard, mayo, and sliced zucchini pickles (post to come).

(Kindly disregard the poor Photoshopping around the edges to conceal my messy kitchen in the background. It is still a thing of beauty, gentle reader, is it not?)

By the by, I have now perfected my technique of packing non-soggy sandwiches for the next day’s lunch: I drape a sheet (or two) of cheese on each cut-open side of the bread, then stack on the cold cuts, spreading condiments between the layers. Any wet ingredients such as tomatoes and lettuce also go between the meats, sealing in the moisture. Revolutionary and revelatory—I know, right?

You’re welcome.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Adventures in Slow Cooking, Part V: Curried Chicken Thighs With Mushrooms and Green Beans

Gentle reader, in my ongoing attempts to master cooking with my new slow cooker, I dare say this might have been the most successful yet. Now, I’m not going to lie: This recipe is basically a variation on the Ignorant American Fusion Tikka Masala recipe I recently posted. The biggest difference is, you would really want to use thighs over breasts on this one, because they’re moister (read: fattier), and they will end up shreddy as opposed to chunky. Also I skipped the heavy cream component in the sauce, because I had no idea what consistency that would yield. Maybe next time.

I took maybe 3 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs, deskinned them and trimmed the blobby fat seams with kitchen shears, and rubbed them with a mix of curry powder, paprika, kosher salt, garlic powder, and cumin. (I was pretty generous with this dry rub, because I figured it would kind of dissipate into and flavor the sauce.) I left them in the fridge overnight like this, but eh, you needn’t bother.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Zucchini-Onion Sautee

It doesn’t get simpler or easier than this side dish; there are just a couple of seasonings (spoiler alert: nutmeg, thyme, and lemon) that make all the difference in bringing out the flavor of the veggies.

Start by melting a pat of butter (or you could use olive oil) in a saucepan over medium heat, then throw in some sliced or diced onion and let it soften, stirring so it doesn’t over-brown or stick to the pan. Grate a bit of fresh nutmeg (like 1/4 tsp.) over it. Mince a few sprigs’ worth of thyme leaves with about 1 TBSP of kosher salt, scatter it over the onion, and add 1 small-to-medium zucchini, sliced coin-style. Spritz on the juice of half a lemon and toss everything together.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Silence of the Lamb Roast

Gentle readers, my rollercoaster love-hate relationship with the Key Foods (née Met Foods) continues. Today I fell in love with it all over again when I found bone-in leg of lamb for $2.99 a pound. I purchased a roast that was about 2 1/2 pounds—mind you, knowing that a fair bit of that weight was the bone itself, but still feeling psyched that it was a good value.

I came home (singing “Kiiitty had a leg of lamb, leg of lamb, leg of lamb...”), preheated the oven to 350°, and slathered the meat with a paste of Dijon mustard, panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, shaved lemon zest, paprika, kosher salt, thyme, and parsley. (Tip: Mince your herbs/zest on a bed of the salt and other dry spices, it helps break them down. This works well for garlic too, but to my immense shame, I did not have any fresh garlic in the house.)

I put the meat in a foil-lined baking pan splashed with a bit of olive oil (photo below), and dropped it into the oven, followed shortly by another foil-lined baking pan containing unskinned Idaho potatoes, cut into wedges and tossed in salt and olive oil.

I also sliced and sautéed an 8-oz. package of white mushrooms in butter with a bit of thyme and salt and a splash of balsamic, to serve as a dressing for the lamb. Finally, I tossed some arugula in a mix of lemon juice and Dijon mustard—to echo the flavors of the lamb paste while creating an acidic counterpoint to the meat’s richness—and diced some mozzarella into it, because I didn’t want it tooooo counterpointy.