Sunday, March 24, 2013

curry chicken wrap on a Sunday morning

curry chicken wrap, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
Lazy Sunday morning. Those are words that have been a strange concept most of my working life. Between toiling away in theaters or restaurants, Sunday is a work day. These days, I work a business work week and I could get very used to this.
I'm having a little "Stay-cation" whilst house-sitting for some friends a few blocks from the little kitchen. This is the view from the kitchen window today while I enjoy the Sunday paper and my curry chicken wrap:
That's the Golden Gate Bridge there waaaaaay out there-thanks cheezy wide-angle cell phone cam-it's closer than it looks.
Anyhoooooo....this wrap is what became of the shredded chicken meat from my previously roasted chicken.
The idea for this came from my friend Rick who made this for me for lunch last week. It's just plain weird that it's never ever occurred to me to make a curry chicken salad until now, considering that I've been somewhat preoccupied with curries of late and clearly, my fixation with chicken is almost on the verge of requiring intervention.
 I asked him what he put in it and this is my riff on it:
Curry Chicken Wrap.
1/4 cup mayonaise
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 teaspoons curry
1/2 cup mango chutney (I used Major Grey's----it's gooood)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon minced cilantro
1 lb cooked chicken
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup finely sliced scallions
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
flour tortillas or lavash
 Wisk all the wet ingredients together in a large bowl (I like to use my big aluminum salad tossing bowl) with the spices and herbs and let it sit aside for a while to let the flavors meld  a bit while you cut up the veg.
Cut up your cooked chicken into a small dice and toss it into the  bowl.
Add scallions, carrots, celery, raisins and almonds. Stir everything together.
If using a large flour tortilla, I'll just wrap it all up like a burrito, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and chill for a half hour or 3 days. I love to make a batch of these for my work lunches.
When I use lavash I'll spread the mixture over 3/4 of the lavash, going almost to the side edge.  Get a little of the mayo mix spread along that empty edge to get a little stickage, then roll it up and tightly wrap it with plastic and chill. When you're ready to serve or eat it, slice it into pinwheels for little elegance and office envy.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

roasted chicken with wild rice and lentils

Many things happen in the little kitchen that defy logic or reason. Like what have I been doing for the past 3 weeks? I've been cooking like crazy, I've finally got internet in the little kitchen and I still haven't managed to post anything. In fact, these days I've been obsessively meticulous in planning my marketing and cooking, bookmarking recipes in my massive stack of library cookery books and magazines, making lists, lists and more lists. Pondering, googling and planning the purchases of exotic ingredients and the much promised challenge to re-visit vegetables I'd previously deemed  "blech!" so that I may re-discover them in a magically enlightening new way-ocd/add kitchen could be the sub-title of this blog.
Then I tossed all of that aside. I just wanted to roast a chicken-not once but twice this week. When the mood hits, I pull out one my favorite cookbooks, Ruhlman's Twenty. His reverence for the humble chicken is inspiring. Not only do I love his recipe, I love this method...and well, I kinda love Ruhlman too, since ever I first saw him on the Vegas episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and I've been crushing on him ever since. He's hot and he really knows food. That. is. hot.
I did steal  little tip from Cooks Illustrated-pre-heat the skillet as the oven is pre-heating. Be careful though when you place the chicken in the hot skillet. This sears the skin and will leave some of it behind after the cooked chicken is lifted from the pan, thus leaving the beginnings of this most amazingly delicious pan sauce, once again from Ruhlman.

Just after you've put the chicken in the oven, prepare a stock pot with about 6-8 cups of water on the stove top and turn the heat on medium-low. This is a somewhat contraversial method of preparing stock but it's always worked well for me.

Perhaps one may wonder, what does one single person do with a whole roasted chicken? Here's what:
Once the chicken has come out of the oven,  transfer it to a baking sheet to rest and get started on the pan sauce.
Carve the entire chicken, removing and separating all of the meat (white & dark) . Toss the bones, skin and any other questionable bits into the stock pot. Drain any remaining juices into the pan sauce.
 I had the wild rice and lentils left-over from the night before. They were the perfect accompaniment to the chicken breast and pan sauce. This was dinner the night I roasted the chicken. I portioned out the remaining rice, chicken breast and pan sauce into two plastic containers for work lunches.
The shedded thigh meat has ended up in many variations of chicken salad, chicken enchiladas and chicken pot pie. This one became Curry Chicken Salad Wraps. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ottolenghi's Green Pancakes...

Ottolenghi's Green Pancakes, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
This recipe has been on my To Do list for well over a year now when I got my mitts on Plenty, a brilliant collection of vegetarian cookery by London restauranteur Yotam Ottolenghi.

 I've made several recipes from it and each time I'm delighted by the results. It has inspired me to experiment with vegetables I've previously ignored. The photography is gorgeous and that's what draws you in intitially. Then upon reading the recipe one can only be intrigued and inspired by what appears to be an unusual combination of ingredients, wondering how it can possibly work.

I was introduced into the world of Ottolenghi by Smitten Kitchen (surprised?) when I read her post on Cauliflower Parmesan Cake what seems like forever ago. Her post was inspiring and the photos, of course, were lovely. Not a fan of cauliflower then, I challenged my aversion and was completely converted. The original recipe, Cauliflower Cake doesn't sound all that appealing, but trusting my source, I made the leap and I've been cooking from this book like mad thing ever since.

 But I digress, Green Pancakes with Cilantro Lime Butter are savory pancakes full of spinach, jalepenos and scallions. It's amazing how light and fluffy they turned out-thanks to a combination of self-rising flour, baking powder and the last minute folding in of a wildly beaten egg white. The traditional pancake batter swaps out sugar for cumin.

The short stacks of pancakes are topped off by the wonderful compound butter, flavored with both the zest and the juice of a lime, chopped cilantro, garlic and chili flakes.
Of course these are best when consumed immediately, but they actually re-heat well. I brought them to work the next day for lunch. Office mates were green with envy.