It’s really a shame that I remember next to nothing about making this trio of Bobby Flay recipes I came across in Good Housekeeping: Red Curry-Marinated Skirt Steak Fajitas, Pickled Roasted Peppers and Acocado Crema. For one thing, they look pretty good — and I’m sure they were, I just can’t remember — but I do remember this meal taking a good deal of work to get made. From looking at the recipes again, I remember roasting the peppers and getting them in the pickling liquid and also getting the steak into the marinade so it could sit for a while. I want to say I did most of this the night before, but it’s more likely that I had a bit of a slow day at work and did all this around noon.
I didn’t want to let these photos go to waste because I like how colorful they are. It looks like I had a bit of trouble getting the steak to the right done-ness so I cut it into smaller pieces and cooked it in a pan separately. Not the most elegant fix, but it worked. I do remember the tangy pickled peppers being a lot of fun. While I’m bummed I don’t remember much of how this meal turned out, I’m glad I wrote this post because it reminded me of it so I can give it another try. Maybe this summer!
I think it’s good to drop in a vegetarian meal about once a week or so. I have noticed, though, that those dishes tend not to go as fast as some of the other leftovers. I’m not sure what it is, but those kinds of meals — or at least the ones I’ve made — tend to be pretty good on the first day but don’t look so appealing after that. That was the case with Nigella Lawson’s South Indian Vegetable Curry (also seen on page 154 of Nigella Kitchen).
The idea behind this dish, which I didn’t really realize until after I bought all the ingredients and then decided to read the intro, is to use up a bunch of vegetables that you might have in your fridge that are getting close to heading south. I guess it doesn’t really matter, but I bought everything new and tossed it into the pot which might have made for more of the dish than we needed.
Anyway, the meal came out well enough. I must admit, I’m not overly familiar with curry. My wife bought some light and dark curry powder when she was over in Sri Lanka, so I know we’ve got some of the good stuff, but I’m a little nervous when it comes to messing around with that particular spice both because I don’t know it very well and partly because I don’t want to waste it. Like I said, it was good the first time around, but that yellow and green bowl of mush didn’t look super appealing sitting in the fridge. I probably didn’t give it enough of a shot, but I don’t know if I’ll be returning to this one…unless I have a bunch of veggies I need to cook before they go bad.
Last week my wife and I were in the city and found ourselves eating at a place called Chickpea. If you’ve never been, it’s kind of a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern version of Chipotle. You walk in, decide what kind of delivery system you want for your food (platter, salad, pita, etc), what kind of meat or main dish you want, a special kind of hummus and three side salads. As you can see above, I went with the platter, got the chicken shawarma, some basil and pine nut hummus and a trio of sides I can’t quite remember. Since I’m not super familiar with this kind of food, the place was loud and I couldn’t fully understand the guy scooping the sides, I didn’t really know what I ordered, but it was good.
Actually, it was all good. I chose shawarma right away for one simple reason: they talked about it in The Avengers and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I have no idea how authentic this was, but it was actually super good. I can’t quite place or remember the flavors at this point, but I ate this all up with a quickness and it’s not just because we had to get to an appointment. Also, pesto hummus was kind of an awesome revelation, I’m going to make some of my own once basil is back in season (or I have some leftover from another recipe).
I’ve been sitting on these images for a while, but I still wanted to talk about what I believe is the only food truck local to Cornwall, New York. I’ve seen the the green Lucky Cow truck at the farmer’s market I attend on a mostly regular basis, but have only gotten food from them once and it was a great experience. The truck offers completely home made vegetarian dishes as well as smoothies and shakes and has different offerings all the time. The day we got food from Lucky Cow, they had three entrees and we got them all. In the first picture you can see a mushroom quesadilla and their zucchini “crab” cakes, below is their falafel wrap which I believe they have on a regular basis. The food took a bit longer to prepare than I expected, but it wound up being worth the wait. Fresh, flavorful and reasonably price, I’d order all three again and look forward to trying out new options with future visits. To find out what they’re serving and where they’ll be, check out the Lucky Cow Facebook page.
Man oh man. One of the problems with doing this blog and getting behind on posts is that some of the meals start to run together. About a month or so back I made two Indian dishes back-to-back: Aarti Sequeira’s Kheema from FoodNetwork.com and the one for Vegetarian Korma on AllRecipes.com. Both dishes involve curry, peas and tomatoes, but the Kheema sports ground beef and there are different veggies involved.
The other problem is that I remember distinctly liking one of the results and not really being into the other. I want to say the Kheema turned out to be a little greasy, though that could have been the result of me not draining the meat as well as I should have. I also felt like one had more flavor than the other. It’s really annoying not remembering which we liked and which we didn’t because I don’t want to waste time making something we won’t like for a second time. Ah well, I’ll give one of them another shot in the near future and let you know how it goes.
Chicken salad’s one of those great meals that doesn’t usually take too long to make and also has an incredibly amount of versatility. Earlier this summer I tried making an Asian Chicken Salad that turned out pretty well, but I’ve got to give a major shout out to Fruity Curry Chicken Salad I found on All Recipes. Like most chicken salad recipes I’ve seen, the only real cooking you have to do is the chicken, which I just cooked in olive oil, salt and pepper in a pan.
The rest of it is just cutting stuff up and mixing things in a bowl including grapes, golden raisins, a green apple, curry powder and toasted almonds. I’d never had golden raisins before, but I liked their taste because they were less bitter than the traditional purple ones. Also, the curry we have is straight out of Sri Lanka from when my wife went to visit our friend from college there, so it’s top notch stuff (I assume, I really have no idea, but it’s tasty).
I really liked how all these flavors came together. The curry is a chicken one, of course, and worked so well with the grapes, apple, nuts and mayo. There’s also a lot of interesting textures going on in there too, from the crisp apples to the chewy raisins. As far as I’m concerned, this recipe takes the cake and will definitely make it into my regular rotation, assuming I actually start having a regular rotation.
As I’ve said a few times here on Monkeying Around The Kitchen, I’m a big fan of soups and The Ultimate Soup Bible has become, well, my soup bible. If I’m looking for a soup recipe, I’m looking in there. I was flipping through a week or two back and landed on this one called Beef & Herb Soup With Yogurt (page 458). It sounded pretty interesting with what I thought was Indian origins–it’s actually Iranian I just saw) especially because it’s kind of a Middle Eastern version of Italian Wedding soup, which the bagel shop I used to work at back in Toledo used to serve.
As usual, I got as much prep done ahead of time. I combined five cups of water with a half cup of yellow split peas and one tablespoon of turmeric in a big container. I also combined a cup of brown basmanti rice and about three tablespoons of parsley and chives in a smaller bowl. Then I chopped an onion up and cooked that in olive oil in a Dutch oven. Once that turned brown, I added the water, peas and turmeric and simmered for 20 minutes.
While that was simmering, I made the meatballs which were made with about 8 ounces of ground beef, a chopped onion and some salt and pepper. As you can see in the photo, I kept them pretty tiny, thought not nearly as small as the ones I remember from my old Italian Wedding days at Barry’s.
I dropped the meatballs in after the 20 minute simmer and let simmer again for 10 minutes. Then I added the rice, parsley and chives (the recipe called for cilantro, but my wife hates that particular herb, so I skipped it) and simmered again for 30 minutes. In a smaller pan, I melted one tablespoon of butter and fried a chopped clove of garlic before then adding a handful of chopped mint. That got added to the soup before serving and then I laid out some more freshly chopped mint, Greek yogurt (that’s the only non fruity kind I could find at the store) and naan. I will not get the garlic naan next time because it was very overpowering, but all in all the soup was pretty good. I think next time I will add some acid, either lemon or lime juice, and maybe some curry powder to really round out the flavors because it did wind up tasting a bit flat.
Like Tuesday’s dinner of Pasta Godjabuda, I got the recipe for Kima–a dish I’ve never heard of that might have been made up–from the Best Of The Best From New York Cookbook (page 139). My wife’s a fan of Indian food and we have legit curry powder from her trip to Sri Lanka a few years back, so I figured this would be a good recipe to try. After hitting up the farmer’s market on Wednesday, I came home with fresh onions and some local ground beef, which wound up being frozen. Not a big deal, I’ve thawed and cooked meat like this before.
The dish is pretty simple, really. The first thing I did was get the basmanti rice going (I found a brown version at my local Hannaford), which is cooked like any other rice (water, oil and some salt in water with the rice, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes). While that was going, I measured and combined the spices and got the block of ground beef in a warm pan. As that thawed and cooked (I broke the meat up with a spatula as it warmed up), I got to work on cutting the two onions up as well as the garlic. That went into another pan with some olive oil to cook. The beef and the onions were done at the same time, so I dumped the onion mix on top of the beef and then added the spices and mixed it all up. You then put the lid on and simmer for five minutes before mixing the tomato sauce in. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
The rice finished about 10 minutes before the meat, so I just fluffed it and left it on the stove. Once the meat was done cooking, it was meal time. I haven’t had a lot of Indian food in my life, but I liked this dish. It had some heat to it, but wasn’t overly spicy and the meat had a great curry taste. Next time I make this–and I will be making it again–I’ll pick up some naan and maybe figure out how to make a little yogurt sauce. My first foray into Indian cooking turned out really well and I hope to try a few more things in the future, though I might need to get some more of that good curry powder.