I’ve been on a mid-east kick lately. So how do I make it exciting, tasty, appetizing, Maybe a Shawarma… Slow cooked, juicy, flavorful, and not the expected..
Shawarma is a Middle Eastern Arabic-style sandwich usually composed of shaved lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, beef, or a mixture of meats. Shawarma is a popular dish and fast-food staple across the Middle East; it has also become popular worldwide. Shawarma is known as guss in Iraq; it is similar to the gyros of Greece. The classic shawarma combination is pita bread, hummus, tomato & cucumber, and of course the shawarma. The additional toppings include tahini and chili sauce.
Strips of meat or marinated chicken are stacked on a vertical spit with chunks of meat fat make sure that the meat stays juicy and an onion or tomato are placed at the top of the stack to provide flavoring. The meat is then roasted slowly on all sides as the spit rotates in front of or over a flame for a period of several hours. Traditionally a wood fire was used but for modern times, a gas flame is more common. While many specialty restaurants might offer two or more meat selections, some establishments have just one skewer. In this recipe, chicken is used, but beef, lamb, or combination of all three are quite common.
After cooking, the meat is shaved off the stack with a large knife, made up into a sandwich with pita bread or rolled up in lafa together with vegetables (cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, eggplant, parsley, pickled turnips, pickled gherkins, cabbage) and a dressing (tahini, hummus, chili sauce, flavored with vinegar and spices). In some countries, (Romania, Bulgaria, Jordan, Israel, or the United Arab Emirates), french fries are included in the sandwich
Shawarma is eaten either as a fast food type dish by itself, with grilled bread, or fresh pita bread, or with other regional foods like Tabouli, Hummus.
It is a funny half hot / half cold day, where in the morning you want a hefty jacket, in the afternoon you want a t-shirt, and by early evening you are back in the bomber jacket…
My tastes are that way as well, I wanted a heavy breakfast, a light lunch and a meal with staying power for dinner.
I remember a wonderful dish I had at a local french restaurant, it was a chicken, broken down and browned then simmered in a broth along with Spicy Sausage, “Cajun Trinity”, sinful spices, meaty mushrooms and fresh vegetables to make a really wonder full sauce. Think similar to a beef stew with really big chunks of meat and veggies… The gravy was so thick and wonderful I was soping it up with the french bread on the table. (Yes, I know it sounds soo uncivilized, sooo unsheik, but it seems everyone else at the table was doing the same thing….)
Do note: Do not try this with boneless chicken breast, it just does not work well…
Fricassee or Fricassée is a catch-all term used to describe a stewed dish typically made with poultry, but other types of white meat (like veal, rabbit, or Cornish game hen) can be substituted. It is cut into pieces and then stewed in gravy, which is then thickened with butter and cream or milk). It often includes other ingredients and vegetables.
Cream of Butternut Squash
It is lab night and I need a good and fast meal, looking about the kitchen I find a butternut squash, a marvelous source of food value, and it has such wonderful rich and round tastes. The real issue is getting to all that flavor, it being so tightly locked into the husk. One way to do this is a long slow simmer into a wonderful thick, rich soup.
Bisque is a thick, creamy, highly-seasoned soup of French origin, classically made from lobster, crab, shrimp or crayfish. Also, creamy soups made from vegetables instead of seafood are sometimes called bisques. Bisque is a method of extracting every bit of flavor from imperfect crustaceans not good enough to send to market. In an authentic bisque, the shells are ground to a fine paste and added to thicken the soup.
Julia Child even remarked, “Do not wash anything off until the soup is done because you will be using the same utensils repeatedly and you don’t want any marvelous tidbits of flavor losing themselves down the drain.” Bisque are often thickened with rice, which can either be strained out, leaving behind the starch, or pureed upon the final stages.
Bisque is also sometimes used to refer to cream-based soups that do not contain seafood, in which the ingredients are pureed or processed in a food processor or a food mill. Common varieties include tomato, mushroom, and squash bisque
Hard Boiled Eggs
Hard boiled eggs are a spring tradition in many cultures. From the boiled eggs for the seder to easter eggs
If one is to follow tradition and and have one’s grand children hunt Easter eggs, one must produce Easter eggs.
Easter eggs or spring eggs are special eggs given to celebrate the Easter holiday or springtime.
The egg was a symbol of the rebirth of the earth in celebrations of spring and was adopted by many cultures.
The oldest tradition is to use dyed or painted hard boiled chicken eggs. These eggs are often hidden, allegedly by the Easter Bunny, for children to find on Easter morning.
Boiled eggs are eggs (typically chicken’s eggs) cooked by immersion in boiling water with their shells unbroken. Hard-boiled eggs are either boiled long enough for the egg white and then the egg yolk to solidify, or they are left to cool down, which will gradually solidify them, while a soft-boiled egg yolk, and sometimes even the white, remains at least partially liquid.
The egg timer was so-named due to its common usage in timing the boiling of eggs. Boiled eggs are a popular breakfast food in many countries around the world.
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In my last post I mentioned Biryani, it happens to be one of my favorite mid-easterd dishes. This is a simple chicken biryani, one can add all sorts of things, lamb, beef, etc, but for a basic fill your stomach meal, this is the one.
Biryani is a set of rice-based foods made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and [[meat](chicken)]/vegetables. The name is derived from the Persian word beryā(n) which means “fried” or “roasted”.
Biryani was brought to India and Pakistan by Persian travelers and merchants and local variants of this dish are not only popular in India and Pakistan but also in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and among Muslims in Sri Lanka.
The spices and condiments used in biryani may include but are not limited to: ghee, peas, beans, cumin, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander and mint leaves, ginger, onions, and garlic. The premium varieties include saffron. For a non-vegetarian biryani, the main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the meat—beef, chicken, goat, lamb, or shrimp. The dish may be served with dahi chutney or Raita, korma, curry, a sour dish of eggplant (brinjal) or a boiled egg.
The difference between biryani and pullao is that while pullao may be made by cooking the items together, biryani is used to denote a dish where the rice is cooked separately from the other ingredients.
Cacciatore alla Pollo
I’ve not posted for the week as I have been eyebrow deep in projects, the VMWare lab, and dealing with other crises. Winter storm Q has made things just nasty, cool, wet, windy, not the type of weather I want to go out into, besides I have lot to do. This sounds like Cacciatore…
Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. In cuisine, “alla cacciatora” refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, herbs, often bell pepper, and sometimes wine. Usually made with braised chicken (pollo alla cacciatora) or rabbit, In southern Italy, cacciatore often includes red wine while northern Italian chefs might use white wine.
A basic cacciatore begins with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil heated in a large frying pan. Chicken parts, dusted with salt and pepper, are seared in the oil for three to four minutes on each side. The chicken is removed from the pan, and most of the fat poured off. The remaining fat is used to fry the onions, mushrooms, peppers or other vegetables for several minutes. A small can of peeled tomatoes (drained of liquid and coarsely chopped) is added to the pan along with some oregano and a half cup of dry red wine. The seared chicken parts are returned to the pan which is then covered. The dish is done after about an hour at a very low simmer.