Monday, June 17, 2013

good food in an airport??

I travel a lot.
both domestic and international.

Occasionally, I try some over priced airport restaurants, but usually, I stick to my  pizza/ hotdog/ starbucks... safe choices. I was at a Seatac Airport recently around dinner time and Jason and I decided to treat ourselves at a fancy looking restaurant called "Anthony's".

This was after we were already sitting at a less desirable looking restaurant with an alaskan theme, I believe... They had the usual's, like burger, chicken fingers, wings... after looking at the menu for quite some time, we decided to desert the restaurant swiftly.

I had a small caesar salad with their "famous" chowder.  While I was not that impressed with the chowder, I had a very pleasant meal. While they weren't spectacular, they were both GOOD. AND under $10. Anthony's also has a deal with a local strawberry farmer who delivers fresh strawberries every morning, they said. there were three dessert items on the menu using those special strawberries. I went for it. I made sure I asked our very nice waiter about the strawberries. "Are they REALLY that good?" He assured me that it is. 100% skeptical, but I was craving for something juicy and refreshing, so I ordered their strawberries and chantilly cream for $6.

Boy, have I ever been that pleasantly surprised at an airport restaurant before. The strawberries were Legit!! their chantilly cream was not just sweetened whipped cream with booze in it. It had creme fresh in it too which made the whole thing so luxurious. Sure, I can't promise you that when you go, the strawberries are going to be as good. Maybe I got lucky... but boy was I on cloud nine.

Better Butter Chicken recipe

So, I've posted a butter chicken recipe before, but you know me... always looking looking for something better.
My best friend, you tube, had some awesome videos! many many videos.
I liked the one with VahChef. His charisma made it! I love people who are so helplessly passionate about what they do.

Oh how I judge things.

He doesn't say too accurately the amount of spices. But just look at the amount of chicken he is using and just trust your eye. I eye ball every time, and each time, it comes out delicious.

Like he says, I add some spices to marinate the chicken (I also add some yogurt to the marinade too), then some spices towards the end to adjust the seasoning. I see many ppl pureeing onion and tomatos separately, but I'm too lazy for that.  After simmering the Tomato mixture until tomatoes are mushy, I just blitz everything together.

here's the ingredient list of things I use...

for chicken and marinade:
5-6 chicken thighs cut into finger size strips
1 tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp ginger garlic paste (i just grate them with my microplane)
3 tbsp yogurt
1tbsp garam masala

For tomato "gravy"
3-4 tbsp butter
1 large onion, cut into rough dice

2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1tsp chili pepper (more or less. whatever you like)
1tbsp garam masala
1tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3-4 tomatoes
some cloves
one bay leaf
1 small can tomato sauce (you can really use any kind here. if you want to stretch the gravy, add more)
a little ketchup (yes, a secret)
salt and pepp
1/2 cream
maybe some sugar

1. I marinade the chicken for a couple of hours. I'm sure longer is better and less time is also fine.

2. in a large sauce pan, heat some oil and cook the chicken pieces until golden in color. cooking it all the way through at this stage is not necessary. remove from pan. set aside.

3. in the same sauce pan,  melt the butter and add onion, ginger garlic paste, bay leaf and spices. saute until onion is translucent. De-glaze the pan with water to get all the brown bits.  Add tomatos, saute. when tomatoes had some chance to mingle with hot butter and onion, add salt and pepper and cover to simmer for about 30 min.

4.  Once the Tomatoes are soft, carefully transfer the mixture to a blender and blend it til smooth. (I always wish that I didn't have to do this step since my blender is so teeny tiny that it requires a few separate batches. BUT, it DOES take the dish to the next level). Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan and bring it to simmer. Put the chicken pieces into the tomato gravy and simmer for 10 min.

5. Taste for seasoning. crush the Methi (fenugreek leaves) in your palm and add it to the pot. add the cream. I usually end up adding more garam masala, chili, and or cumin. This is also where you would add the ketchup. It does make the dish more mellow. I usually end up simmering this for another hour or so, which probably is unnecessary :) but the chicken pieces really get more tender as time passes.

If the gravy is too... striking (?) add a small spoon-fuls of sugar at a time and taste. 

finish with some cilantro if you like.

ps. I have made this dish in so many different ways. as long as all the ingredients go in the pot, they usually come out tasting delicious. so experiment!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Chocolate Ice Cream

So It's finally getting hot in NYC. But of course, we have to complain about the hotness here too, because of it's total grossness. 
Super hot and humid weather is only OK in tropical, beautiful places :)

Naturally, comes summer, we crave Ice cream. For many ppl like Jason, any season is Ice cream season. But this summer, I see myself wanting it more because of the parasite growing inside of me.

In many food blogs I see David Lebovitz's recipes floating around. I don't own his cook books, but I know his name and that his recipes must be amazing. So I tried one of his chocolate based ice cream recipes... oooooh dreamy! I bwosed around for chocolate ice cream recipe and decided that I like the look of the tart tart's photos :D  

When David Lebovitz first made this batch of ice cream, he says in his book, he licked everything clean! That sold it for me, I think. When you make the base custard for this ice cream, you can't stop yourself from licking spoonfuls before surrendering and saying good-bye to it over night. 

Recipe from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, via The Tart Tart
Makes about 1 quart Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used regular)
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.
Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, overnight if possible, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.) In the last five minutes of churning, add the marshmallows and almonds. Or, fold them in when transferring to a container. Freeze the ice cream until it’s at a consistency you like.

ps. I strained my hot base through some layers of cheese cloth to ensure that it's super smooth. My sieve is not that most 'fine'.

I also added chopped up heath bar to mine. not chopped fine though. chopped into big pieces so little shards of the candy wasn't all over, but good chunks here and there.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tomato season!

Don't you just love the bright, juicy, sweet summer tomatoes??
I do... I do very much.

There is an Italian restuarant my family used to go to in Tokyo called AGIO.  One of my parent's favorite thing to order as an appetizer (we weren't old enough to order, i guess) was a simple salad of sliced tomatoes with basil and a bit of anchovy on top drizzled with good tangy vinaigrette.

Simple dish, just like most Italian dishes are, but  OH so satisfying! here in the picture, i had used roma tomatoes, because that's what we had on hand and we were trying to eat it up before our week long trip to WA. If it was up to me, I would have used a juicier tomato. like... beef stake tomatoes. But those are hit or miss... after spending so much on a tomato, it better be spectacular, right?

Another thought about tomatoes. It drives me crazy when a recipe of ppl tell you to take the seeds out of tomatoes. I feel like that's my favorite part of this fruit!! (or vegie, whichever). My family also says that's the healthy part of a tomato, you know, the slimy part.

There's really no recipe for this one. you can use as much or as little of everything!

sliced tomatoes
anchovies (oh please use a good one)

champagne vinegar
lemon juice
a tiny bit of mustard
oilive oil
a pinch of sugar (just a little, but this is necessary because of the acidic nature of tomatoes)
salt and pepp