Monthly Archives: August 2004

Oven Fried Chicken with Satay Style

OK, I’m not giving you the recipe for this one. But fortunately someone else is. Renee over at Shiokadelicious! promised to give my oven fried chicken recipe a try but with panko instead of breadcrumbs. The original is really good, but I also liked her wonderful twist, so go give it a try!

All the little dumplings…

Not much to say here – just go visit the IMBB 7 roundup and check out 40 plus kinds of dumpling from appetizer to dessert.

IMBB #7 update

Well, since I made my IMBB entry, the sage, parmesan gnocchi with brown butter, crisp sage leaves and chili flakes at midnight last night, I only ate three of them (OK, four, maybe five at the most) at the time and saved the rest for he next day and tried them out on Jan simply reheated in the microwave. Big hit! That’s the first time I’ve made a gnocchi that could be reheated that well. The only change was that the chili flakes came on even stronger. I think the brown buter can get the credit for reheating the dish without stodging it up. Of course I realised I had made a tactical error when Jan proceeded to eat the lot and I only got one more (OK, two) by sticking my fingers in under the descending fork.

Extensible

Just a quickie – I am steadily (but slowly) adding to the list of food blogs I like on the left. I actually have a carefully selected list of about sixty five in my favorites folder but it takes time to pop them in here. So expect to see the list grow and grow over the next couple of weeks.

IMBB #7 – Sage and Parmesan Gnocchi with a Browned Sage and Chili Butter Sauce

This may be the best dish I have ever come up with. I have been thinking about this for a couple of weeks and had come up with about five alternatives. At first I was going to make them all, but reality and the about:blank spyware attack software crept up on me and swallowed my time. Hence my missing the official deadline – it is 12:20 AM here in California as I type this.

[NOTE – post edited to correct spelling of gnocchi from gnocci – I plead sleep deprivation]

It may have all been worth it, however. As time passed, the more convinced I became that sage and Parmesan were the right combinations for gnocchi. I have always liked potatoes and cheese and potatoes and sage. Initially it was just going to be plain gnocchi with a browned butter and sage sauce and Parmesan on top. Good thing I winged it in the end.

Of course, the first step to making gnocchi is to have some mashed potatoes just lying around. Those of you who have read my ramblings in the past know that I like reusing things. I have never actually made gnocchi completely from scratch with potatoes purposely cooked for just that reason – even when I made Marcella Hazan’ divine spinach and ricotta gnocchi.

So I needed mashed potatoes. Fortunately, I have two very hungry and very growing kids. The kids like mashed potatoes – a LOT. In fact, the main reason we don’t have more gnocchi than we do at our house is because I usually underestimate and the kids eat all the mashed potatoes. The same reason accounts for never making any of the other great mashed potato dishes like shepherds pie. So, of course, I underestimated again. But fortunately this time I wasn’t all that hungry myself. (A long story involving falling off a ladder, inhaling epoxy solvents, bursitis and a really, really bad day). I ended up with about half a pound of mash – rather less than the pound I was shooting for, but doable.

I made the kids (and us) a pretty nice supper of mashed potatoes, fresh green beans and a lovely lamb, tomatilla, garlic, basil, honey and lemon dish. That can be a bonus recipe at the end.

So here I am, 11PM. Everyone else has gone to bed finally and I have caught up in the meantime on just how bad our budget is now that I have been unemployed for over 3 months. And now a brainwave strikes – how about some chili? A little heat never hurt anyone and it will give the whole thing that little boost it needs.

Without further ado, here is a picture of the finished product on a plate.

Photo of Gnocchi with a Browned Sage and Chili Butter Sauce copyright 2004 Owen Linderholm

It tastes about ten thousand times better than it looks, too – bursting with sage and salty cheese and earthy potato and nutty butter and little chili flake bombs.

Gnocchi with a Browned Sage and Chili Butter Sauce

1/2 pound (2 cups) mashed potatoes

2/3 cup plain white flour

3 tsp very finely chopped fresh sage

2 tbsp grated Parmesan

1 tsp salt

and for the sauce

1/4 stick (2 tbsp) butter

10 whole fresh sage leaves

1/2 tsp red chili flakes

Parmesan shavings to top the final plate

Get a large pot of water boiling on the stove. Put all the ingredients for the gnocchi in a mixing bowl and carefully mix them together until they are just evenly mixed. Spread some flour on a board and flatten the gnocchi dough out until it is about half an inch thick.

Photo of Sage Gnocchi Dough copyright 2004 Owen Linderholm

Break pieces off in little disks about an inch and a half across and dimple them with a fork by pushing the back of the fork into the center of the disk. Put the raw gnocchi aside and make the sauce.

Photo of Raw Sage Gnocchi copyright 2004 Owen Linderholm

Heat the butter on high heat in a frying pan and immediately add the chili flakes. As soon as it gets hot, add the sage leaves and swirl to coat. Keep cooking until the butter turns brown and the sage leaves begin to turn brown. Immediately remove from the heat and put aside.

Photo of Browned Sage and Chili Butter Sauce copyright 2004 Owen Linderholm

The water should be boiling by now. Gently drop the gnocchi one by one into the water. About three minutes later they will start to float up from the bottom of the pot. As they do, scoop them out, preferably with a slotted spoon and pile on a serving dish.

Photo of Gnocchi cooking copyright 2004 Owen Linderholm

As soon as they are all out, pour the sage, chili butter sauce evenly all over the gnocchi and garnish with plentiful shavings of Parmesan.

Photo of Gnocchi with a Browned Sage and Chili Butter Sauce copyright 2004 Owen Linderholm

This should be just the right amount for two.

Lamb and Tomatillas with garlic, basil honey and lemon

Finely chop eight cloves of garlic. Slice about a pound of tomatillas into halves. Cut up about half a pound of left over roast lamb into small slices. Shred about a cup of fresh basil leaves. Put about three tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and let get hot. Add the garlic and cook until it starts to turn brown and crisp. Add the tomatillas and cook until they soften and release juices. Add the lamb slices and let them get warm, add the honey, lemon and basil and thoroughly mix. Turn off the heat and serve.

Blankety blank blank about:blank

I have spent the last three days recovering my computer from about:blank hell. May the creators of this pustulent, conniving, deceitful and blatant attack on innocent web browser spend the rest of their lives being forced to watch infinitely looping Ameican commercial TV ad breaks.

On the positive side, I got rid of the f#$@^& thing.

Not just burgers

Sorry that I have been harping on about burgers for some time. I do actually cook, eat and write about other things, but I haven’t had time lately. I’m simultaneously doing a bunch of contract work for a local software company, looking hard for a full time job and trying to launch my fledgling publishing business. So I don’t have a lot of time left over.

But I can’t call myself a blogger if I don’t blog and I can’t call myself a food blogger if I don’t blog about food and since I mostly blog about food I cook, I also have to cook something. Which brings us back to burgers. Regular readers will remember that I am vaguely aiming to enter a competition for the best burger. I fear that they really mean the best American traditional hamburger, in which case I will lose and anyway, that all comes down to the best cook and the best meat, not the best recipe.

So I am going ahead with my alternatives. Today I worked on the Kashmiri burger. I switched to turkey and that seems to be about equal with beef. Guess I should try lamb as well. I made it with mango chutney, onion, kashmiri masala paste, cumin, coriander. The kids decided it was better with lime pickle than ketchup and I quite agree. We had it with oven fried potatoes (organic but from a frozen packet I’m afraid) and with a really nice vegetable stir fry from a mix of home and organic box vegetables. I used zucchini (box), yellow squash (box), tomatillas (home), red gypsy peppers (box), garlic (box), basil (home) and salt and cooked until the tomatillas started to caramelize on the bottom of the pan. Really, really good.

For the weekend’s IMBB I’m going to go with gnocci and I have potatoes in hand and am going to make a few kinds. We’ll have sage and parmesan gnocci and spinach gnocci and plain gnocci and a selection of sauces (well – butter and sage, olive oil and garlic, something exotic with lemon and probably plain old tomato). I may not make all these the same day though. Time pressure is still there…

Rest In Peace, Julia Child

I was idly doing some work today when I heard the news that Julia Child had passed away.

This is a sad day, but also a glad one. She, more than anyone else, made real food, especially French food, something that anyone could and should cook. She was smart, vital and lived a great life.

It is the little things that I will remember. When she dropped a dish she simply said, “oh well, that happens,” picked it up, cleaned it off and carried on. She adapted to the circumstances. She believed that tasty food was good food, that an anal-retentive hatred of butter and eggs was more harmful than butter or eggs. She lived to be over 90 years old and, from outside, was basically happy for most of her life.

So, sometime this weekend, when the opportunity presents, I will cook something in her memory – probably something simple like an omelette – and have a drink in her memory. Then I will try to carry on cooking and enjoying food the way she did – with enthusiasm.

No Skype – it’s for real

More for my international readers – friends and family – but for the rest of you as well. Check out Skype. It’s from the people who brought out Kazaa and it’s an amazing application. But only if you have a broadband internet connection and only because they just added the ability to call any phone number in the world (or most of them anyway). What it is is a service that provides a P2P VoIP telephone connection (or in other words, make telephone calls from you PC with a headset or speakers and mic). It’s free if you call another Skype user but more importantly it is 0.017 euros per minute if you call most Western European countries and the US – from any to any. I think you have to pay tax if you live in Europe so it might go up to about 0.02 euros per minute. That means call a friend in Germany from the US for the equivalent of about 2 cents a minute. You have to buy time in chunks. I tried it by calling my house from my laptop – using a WiFi connection no less – and it worked great. Occasional slight delays but overall very good quality. So Mum, I’ll be calling from the computer from now on!

Finally…a post about food!

OK, so I have not actually written anything directly about food in a little while. See that little subhead/disclaimer/description up at the top of the page under the title? I never said it was ALL about the food…

But here is a little of what I have been making – no real recipes yet – none of the dishes were finished enough to count. Last night’s supper came about from the need to keep working at the burgers to make them better. So I made them again (see original post). This time with some breadcrumbs to even the texture and try to hold them together better. A few more herbs. Some applewood smoke essence. They came out great again but not really any better than the first time. We had gnocchi with tomato, basil and olive oil with them, but these were store-bought gnocchi. You’ll have to wait for IMBB #7, the dumpling edition, to find out about my home-made gnocchi. I also quick stir fried some summer squash straight out of the organic box from our CSA, Terra Firma Farms.

I also made a decent curry the other night but attempting to recreate it would defy possibility since I used some left over basil and cilantro salsa, some kashmiri masala paste, a curry simmer sauce in a jar, fresh ginger, onion, chicken and I don’t recall what else. But it was decent – very decent.

Another reason for not so much cooking is simply that produce is spinning out of control. We have tomatoes, tomatillas, basil, jalapeno peppers, eggplant, squash, apples, strawberries, beans and arugula from our own yard (not in very large quantities fortunately) as well as our organic box. I just ate a slice of delicious melon from the box for example. Anyway, a lot of these things lend themselves to not a lot of cooking. A favorite around here is tomato, basil, mozzarella salad which barely involves adding to the raw ingredients.

The basil and cilantro salsa is another example. We have so much basil that I have to try adding it to everything, so when I made salsa I added half cilantro (that would be one bunch) and half basil (that would be about half a bunch – basil bunches are larger) and it was good.

So, you see, I have been cooking. Sort of.