Sunday, February 22, 2009

Roasted Garlic Baba Ghanouj

The Recipe:

1 med-large eggplant (1 1/4-1 1/2 lb)
1 head garlic
olive oil
1/3 cup tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular if it's what you got)

Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle a little olive oil over the garlic- do not separate the cloves or remove the paper, we want this baby whole- and wrap in foil. Pierce the eggplant several times with a sharp knife. Roast both in a shallow dish- the garlic for 45 min.; the eggplant for about 1 hour or until tender through.

Let the garlic cool and remove the soft roasty cloves from the paper and drop in the food processor. Let the eggplant cool in the shallow dish (I use a pie plate). Some juice will accumulate- this isn't your friend, pour it off. Peel the eggplant, using a sharp knife to pull the skin away from the soft insides. Add the pulp to the food processor along with all the other ingredients. Puree until a lovely texture. Chill in the fridge at least 1 hour or probably overnight. Great with pita bread or pita chips for dipping.

The Story

Tahini is a sesame seed paste used in hummus. My grocery store stocks it with the peanut butter. Make sure to stir it very, very well before measuring- it settles. Store the extra in the fridge until the next time you make hummus.

If you don't wrap the garlic in foil, the outside cloves will brown which imparts a great flavor. However, they cross from golden brown to burned crispy in a short window of time- watch out. Also, in summer you can roast both the garlic and the eggplant on the grill outside; just keep an eye on the temperature to keep them from burning on the outside while still raw inside.

I usually see Baba Ghanouj made with raw garlic, fewer cloves. If you like the raw garlic bite, use 1 or 2 cloves only. The garlic flavor will increase the longer the dip rests in the fridge.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chicken Paprika

The Recipe

2 chicken breasts, skinned & boned, sliced into 1 in. chunks (see The Story)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. good paprika
1 cup chicken stock, homemade is always best
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes (or one fat fresh in-season tomato, chopped)
salt as needed
1-2 Tbsp. cream
1/2 cup sour cream

10 oz. egg noodles

Heat butter & oil in large skillet with lid over high heat. Saute chicken until browning and mostly opaque, about 3-5 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet; add onion and fry until just starting to turn brown. Add flour and stir for 1 min; then add paprika and stir for another minute. Whisk in stock, then add tomatoes. Bring to boil; add back chicken and reduce heat. Cover and simmer until chicken is done and sauce smells lovely, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil egg noodles according to package directions. If you start the water when the chicken goes in, it should all come out on time.

When chicken is done, turn off heat. Stir in cream, then sour cream. Taste for seasoning. Serve over noodles. Serves 4 for dinner.

The Story

I usually make this with chicken breasts (which I cut up and save the bones in the freezer for stock.) However, if your family isn't squeamish about cutting meat off of the bone, this is SPECTACULAR made with whole chicken pieces. Brown the chicken and follow other instructions, but when you add the chicken back and simmer, it must simmer for about 35-45 minutes until the whole pieces are done. Check with thermometer; internal temperature must be 165 for poultry.

The tomatoes add a nice touch of acidity to a dish that is usually very heavy. If you like your gravy thinner, add more stock. If you like more gravy, use proportionately more gravy ingredients. I love good gravy.

You do make your own chicken stock at home, right? Right?