Teriyaki Tempeh Tacos

Tex-Mex fusion with eastern Asia?  BTW, this recipe is vegan, and it turned out top notch, speaking as an omnivore.  I am looking forward to making this soon again.  Very soon.

recipe, taco, tempeh, teriyaki, vegan, vegetarian, cabbage, gluten-free

Three teriyaki tempeh tacos. I’ve enjoyed tempeh when others have prepared it; now I know I can make extremely tasty and satisfying tempeh myself.

Tempeh originated in Indonesia, most specifically on the island of Java, and is a fermented soybean product that apparently dates back to the 12 or 13th century (if not earlier).  It is a fermented form of soybean — there are nutritionists who speak forth on the benefits of fermented soy while stating non-fermented forms of soy should be avoided.  Obviously, if you have a soy allergy or sensitivity, neither fermented nor non-fermented soybeans should be in your food plan!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempeh

It does have a taste that seems to require getting used to for most folk, but seasoning it well can help speed the process along.  So, in interests of this, I present this recipe.  I have to say, this is the BEST tempeh recipe I’ve ever made in my life so far!!!  Yes, I repeat myself…

recipe, taco, tempeh, teriyaki, vegan, vegetarian, cabbage, gluten-free

The tempeh I used.

The tempeh I choose to use is gluten-free, and is not a product of Con Agra, a company I intensely disrespect, for other reasons nothing to do with their making of tempeh.  Unfortunately, their LightLife brand is the brand most accessible in supermarkets, at least here in the Northeast US.  So I keep my eyes open, and some health food stores (as well as Whole Foods) may carry other options.  So I wait until I see the good stuff.

https://www.vnutritionandwellness.com/teriyaki-tempeh-tacos/
https://www.vnutritionandwellness.com/teriyaki-tempeh/

I ran into this recipe for teriyaki tempeh tacos, and took this as my inspiration, though my process here is a lot different.  I used a bottled gluten-free teriyaki sauce rather than making my own, went with soft gluten-free corn tortilla shells, and muddled up the veggies some.  (I don’t like carrots all that much.)  I didn’t have any lime, so I went with lemon.  Plus, I am not a sweet tooth, so I figured the bottled teriyaki sauce had enough sugar in it to begin with.  AND, I like my tacos warm, not just the tempeh part.  So… it is no longer the source recipe, but it IS something that works for me.  But I do have to give my source serious credit, otherwise this would not have turned out as fantastic as it did.

The tempeh I used.

One problem I’ve had with tempeh, is that sometimes it is dry.  So I sliced my slices narrowly, to let sauces permeate better.  Plus, I think this physical flexibility would work better in a soft taco anyway.

recipe, tempeh, teriyaki, cabbage, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, taco

Some of the ingredients. I was going to add in some bean sprouts, but I decided I had enough items already. (But, feel free of course!)

Prep Time:  In addition to marinating,, plan on about half an hour.
Marinate Time: 2 hours.
 
Cook Time: 10 minutes plus maybe another 8. 
Rest Time: Not needed. 
Serves: I think this full recipe would serve 4-6.
Leftovers?:  Unassembled, yes. Otherwise, expect unwanted soggy… 

Teriyaki Tempeh Tacos

If you find tempeh bitter, do steam it ahead of prepping further.  I don’t have any problem with bitterness, so I skipped doing this.

Make the marinate:  

  • 3 tablespoons low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium gluten-free tamari (or soy) – As usual, I use San-J’s brand.
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic cloves

Prep the tempeh: 

  • 8 ounces (one package) tempeh.  
  • 7 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, gluten-free or otherwise 

Slice thinly, and add to the marinate.  Use your fingers to make the marinate settle over and around the tempeh. Place in the fridge for around 2 hours, more or less.

When you are close to mealtime, cook the marinated tempeh stovetop in about 2 teaspoons of avocado oil (or whatever you use), on medium high heat, stirring occasionally.  Plan for each side of the tempeh to cook about 5 minutes, or until they are browning and crispy.

Set aside.  Add 7 tablespoons of gluten-free teriyaki sauce to this tempeh, gently mix and let rest briefly.

The Taco Slaw:  

  • 2 cups of cabbage, slivered, use a combination of red and white (purple and green???) cabbage.  I used mostly the red.
  • 1 or two green onions/scallons, chopped. 
  • 100 grams dakon radish, slivered.  
  • Optionally:  bean sprouts, slivered carrots, parsnips…

Prep, and set aside.  I kept the daikon separate from the cabbage and scallions.

The Taco Dressing:  

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon low sodium, gluten-free tamari (or soy
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard (or Dijon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon hot sauce.  I used Cholula, but Sriracha would likely be awesome.  When I make this again, I will go with a full teaspoon.
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper.

Mix all the above together and allow to sit.

We’re making it! 

  • Perhaps 8 or so soft corn tortillas.  (You can use the hard crispy ones if you prefer.)
  • Taco Slaw (cooked and non-cooked portions)
  • Maybe another teaspoon of avocado oil
  • Tempeh Prep
  • Taco Dressing

In a large skillet, cook the cabbage and scallion, but leave the daikon aside.  Cook maybe 5 minutes, enough to heat through but leaving the cabbage crunchy.  Set aside.

Immediately, heat up the tempeh in the skillet again, in the teriyaki sauce, perhaps about 4-5 minutes, stirring gently.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, perhaps the same one, lightly warm the tortilla shells if you are using soft shells.  30 seconds per side, at medium heat.

Lay out the shells, dispense taco slaw (the warmed part), then the daikon, then the warmed tempeh in teriyaki.  Serve, allowing guests to add the taco dressing when and as desired.

recipe, tempeh, teriyaki, taco, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, cabbage

Frying up the marinated tempeh.

taco, teriyaki, tempeh, recipe, cabbage, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian

Here we are, layering out the taco ingredients.

For lunch, I made three of these, and enjoyed them immensely.

recipe, taco, teriyaki, tempeh, cabbage, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free

Plated tacos to the left, extra dressing to the right… well, just in case.

I had leftovers.

###

I combined all the leftover tempeh and all the taco slaw makings into one dish, and kept the dressing separate.  I had these as a salad over the next day or so (without tortilla), but with a few drizzles of that wonderful dressing.

###

Let’s hear it for Fiesta Friday, where our cohosts this week are Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

.  

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Posted in Asian & Asian Influenced, Cooking, South of the Border, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stir Fried Lamb Sweetbreads

Obtained from the thymus or the pancreas, the sweetbread is indeed a gland and not a muscle.  And it is neither sweet nor a bread as we know that to be.  (An example of Baaa to Rump eating…)

I’ve made calf sweetbreads fairly often — my mother used to make them when we were children.  It turns out, however, that lamb sweetbreads (at least from the source I’ve obtained them) were way too fatty and not in a good way, when cooked by the same protocol as the beef variant.  Some bits of lamb fat in certain parts of the body have a bad, roof-hugging texture which isn’t welcome.   SO… I had to make these better…

lamb, sweetbreads, offal, Paleo, stir fry, pan fry, bell pepper, onion, recipe

Divide this with an adventurous friend. It is really quite good!

Stir Fried Lamb Sweetbreads

Prep Time: about 20 minutes to clean sweetbreads, 15 to prepare the other ingredients.
Soak Time: 6-18 hours
Cook Time:  Poach 7 minutes, plus about 25-30 minutes for stir fry.
Rest Time:  Not necessary.
Serves:  2.
Leftovers:  Yes.

First stage:

  • About 10-12 ounces of raw lamb sweetbread.
  •  1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 2-3 thin slices of lemon, for the juice

Rinse in cold water, set in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt and water to cover, mix gently and put in fridge.

Allow to soak for 6-18 hours, changing the water two or three times.  With the second change, rinse and add another 1/2 teaspoon water and another dose of lemon juice.  With an optional third change, rinse and just add the lemon juice.

Remove from fridge, rinse.  Add more water to the bowl, and with your fingers and a pair of scissors, remove any wads or small bits of fat.  I do this now, prior to poaching, since it is easier to see the white fat against the pinkish sweetbreads.  You can remove some membrane now, but most of the membrane on lamb is not much of an issue, and at any rate this is easiest removed after poaching.

Bring a small pot of water to a good simmer, and add the cleaned sweetbreads.

At seven minutes, drain the sweetbreads, set in a dish and pat dry.  Remove any other obvious membranes.  Wrap in clingwrap to cover the meat so the sweetbreads don’t discolor with air.

Second stage:

I weighed the remaining lamb sweetbreads after the above steps:  4-5 ounces.  This wasn’t all fat loss – there is definite water loss during the poaching step.

  • 1 tablespoon butter or ghee.
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped.
  • Sweetbreads from First Stage
  • 1 small bell pepper, de-seeded and diced,
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange balsamic vinegar (or any other fruit vinegar you have to hand) 
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, unseasoned
  • 1 scallion/green onion, chopped
  • 1 rinsed tablespoon of capers

Heat a skillet to medium and allow the butter to melt, but not smoke.

Add the onions.   Pan fry them until translucent, and some of them are turning just a touch brown around the edges, about ten minutes.

Remove from skillet and reserve.  (If you like your bell pepper softer than this recipe, add in the bell pepper now.  Stir until soft, and remove to the dish with the onions.

Add the sweetbreads — with a little more butter or ghee if so indicated.

Pan stir for about 6-8 minutes, until they begin to brown.

Add the peppers now (if you want them au dente, which was my preference).

In any case, continue stirring gently for another 2-3 minutes.

Return the onions (and peppers, if you wanted them soft) to the skillet, and then the seasonings:  thyme, garlic, salt, pepper).  Stir another five minutes.

Deglaze with the wine, balsamic vinegar and rice vinegar.

Stir for another five minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Transfer to a serving bowl, and top with the scallion and capers, and serve.

Suggested sides:  Baked potato or sweet potato?  (I’m attempting to keep suggested sides grain-free, but let your desires rule!)

Sweetbreads, by the way, have a mild and not gamey taste (but in lamb you need to get that gamey fat out), and my parents  during my childhood tried to convince me chicken breast in some of their dishes was really sweet breads, in hopes that I’d dive in with gusto.  That ploy didn’t work.

There would have been more photos, but I’m dealing with the Nasty Cold from Hell, and so just the one.

I obtained these lamb sweetbreads from US Wellness (grass fed and finished) last year, and regret to note I didn’t think about the lamb fat thing before attempting to make the earlier version.  Which was a fail that I couldn’t eat.  I am happy now, both to eat and to share, and to recommend them as a source if you don’t have something local to hand.   (I’d also gotten some veal sweetbreads at the same time from them, which worked out wonderfully using remembered parental cooking guidance!)  US Wellness has probably forgotten they sold me these meats, and so this just me saying, yeah, try here, rather than being sponsored or anything.

This recipe is hanging out at Fiesta Friday, where the cohost this week is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Meats, Offal | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Paleo Battered Okra, with Coconut Flakes

okra, Paleo, Whole 30, coconut, recipe

Okra! Not slimy, not fried, not sliced and battered to quarter-inch tasteless things. Paleo and Whole 30. And vegan.

Usually, I can’t seem to find quality okra in most supermarkets… it is a food for a distinct audience, which doesn’t seem to include my New England environment.  But I do find it in East Asian and in Indian groceries, and so I’ve now turned to buying it there.  (You can find it frozen in some supermarkets… this does work fine for Creole and jambalayas, but frozen does tend to go towards the mushy in certain other preparations where that texture is not desirable.)

okra, Paleo, Whole 30, coconut, recipe

I learned that slicing them in half lengthwise helps fight the slime.

I guess another problem is the slime. Frankly, I don’t mind the slime, but I understand it bothers many potential eaters of okra.

I’d guess about 20 years ago I was tooling along Route 81 in Virginia, when I got hungry.  The only place in sight that I thought I could consider was a Cracker Barrel.  So, I pulled off the highway, and went in to peruse the menu.

okra, Paleo, Whole 30, coconut, recipe

Top left, arrowroot powder, top right, egg. Bottom, coconut flakes

OKRA on the menu!!!!  I was totally sussed.  I mean, OKRA?  I’d only ever seen this wonderful vegetable at my parent’s home, and to see that a restaurant, however much a chain, served it… I dang well had to get my teeth into it!

It was battered and fried, but that couldn’t be that bad, could it?  Not a prep my parents had ever made.  I ordered the fried shrimp, too.  I didn’t expect I’d get very many shrimp, as shrimp are pricy and a chain can’t be expected to provide many — but it was the okra I really wanted.  Seriously… okra???  I drooled in anticipation!

Wow.  Just… wow.

And, just SO not in a good way.

okra, Paleo, Whole 30, coconut, recipe

Set up and ready to be baked.

The shrimp were tiny popcorn shrimp.  Batter fried in a batter that was so thick you could hardly find the shrimp.  There were a lot of them, I’ll give the “restaurant” that.  But you had to get out all your archeological tools to find each and every one of them, and dig into them (at some point dropping all pretense, and discarding the excess batter).

And, the okra?  Some poor human (or machine) had sliced every last one of them into portions about 1/4 inch in length.  And then dipped them into a thick, bland, unhealthy, repulsive batter that more than equaled the amount of okra hidden within.

I ate a few of each object, and then decided, since I didn’t know if there was any other place to stop and eat with actual food until I got to my destination, to peal the batter off the poor long suffering okra and shrimp. I did this until I was bored enough to pay and get up and go.  I didn’t care if it looked rude or not, since basically I was never going to return.  You cook me garbage… sorry.  (I did not take, and do not EVER take, my tipping out on the server; these things aren’t wait-staff fault.)

My parents had never served batter-fried okra.  They’d never battered it.  So until then I’d only had it pan-fried with tomatoes, onions and whatever else they liked, or I’d had it pickled (which is truly quite good).  I think I’d had it in a gumbo or two by then.  Maybe even in a vegetarian Indian dish.  Slime or not, I liked okra.

So now, I want to create a GOOD battered okra recipe, something I’d love to share on this blog.

Parameters:  baked with a Paleo breading, and not fried in oil.  I have seen a recipe or two with almond or cashew breading that are indeed Paleo, but I have difficulties digesting certain tree nuts.  So, I am going with the one I know I can eat:  coconut.  This will provide a different flavor profile, but I’m fine with that.  My earlier experience did not give me any sort of hope regarding the “traditional” batter to begin with.

I also refuse to chop the poor okra buds into quarter inch lengths, because I do want to taste the okra.  It is good.  It is healthy.  It is an insult to okra (or any real food substance) to chop it into quarter inch lengths and bread it to within an inch (actually well-less) of its life, and serve it.

I also planned on minimizing slime.  Because I think many people who would love to try to cook okra would love to find a recipe that will do this.  One source, I forget where, said slice the okra in half, lengthwise.  So, I’m doing that.

I also figure that baking this rather than deep frying it in oil (since I’m already changing up so much here!) would be worth a try.  We end up hitting a lot of buckets:  vegan, Paleo, Whole 30, gluten-free, no almonds, low/no slime, low fat, and something resembling actual okra in the dish!

I only cooked up a sample for this recipe (in case it didn’t work out).

okra, Paleo, Whole 30, coconut, recipe

Cooked and waiting to be served. They do not stick to the pan.

Okay, let’s GO!!!

Prep time: 10 minutes. 
Cook time: 12 minutes. 
Rest time: I’d let them cool two or three minutes before diving in. 
Serves: Use 15-20 okra per person 
Leftovers:  Reheat in a hot oven if you want them to retain some crispiness.

Okra:  Breaded and Baked

This recipe is per-person, and assumes a primary focus would be okra, but you will want something as a supplement/side.

  • 15-20 okra, if about 2-2.5 inches long.  Remove tops, and cut them in half lengthwise.  If they are longer than two or two and a half inches, you can cut those again once (maybe twice) crosswise.  (Usually the smaller are tender-er).
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder (or coconut flour).  Prepare to need more…
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes.  Prepare to need more.
  • Salt and pepper to taste (you can add in other seasonings as desired, perhaps a hint of cumin.)

Preheat oven to 350 F/ 177 C.

Set up bowls or plates for the arrowroot, egg, and coconut flakes.  Either season the coconut flakes now or wait until the okra is in the pan.

Roll the okra through the arrowroot, then the egg, then the coconut flakes.

Lay outside surface up in a baking pan, one layer only.

Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until coconut turns gently brown.  Keep an eye on the oven.

Conclusion:  this recipe does not at all taste like that from Cracker Barrel, so if you were wanting that, please seek elsewhere.  (Note, after 20 some years, I still remember how greasy and awful that breading-thing tasted…)

I did find myself wanting a side of pineapple salad in a bed of crispy lettuce with this!!!  But now, I have a new way of preparing tasty okra.  I think next time I’ll be adding some Thai seasonings to the coconut flakes, or something.  But take your flavor profile any direction that suits you.

This recipe is hunkering down as MORE sn*w falls, visiting Fiesta Friday, which this week is being hosted by Ginger @ Ginger & Bread and Julianna @ Foodie on Board.
Posted in Cooking, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Easter: Leek and Rosemary Lamb Shanks, with Bok Choy

recipe, lamb shank, bok choy, leek

Lamb shank, leek and bok choy. To the lower right, there are two large garlic cloves, braised along with the shank. For dining, they were smooshed over the meat.

And note that Easter actually falls on April Fool’s Day this year…

Easter, April Fool's Day

Frankly, I’d prefer the grapes over the lame, grainy second-rate milk chocolate typically found under the foil. (Were I expecting it to be a quality dark chocolate, yes, I’d be disappointed!)  PS, photo is an Internet meme, not my creation.

A leg of lamb is a good solid traditional feast for omnivores at Easter, although many will vouch for a good smoked ham.  (Dad, of course, would always put in a plug for rabbit, Mother didn’t cotton(tail) to the idea of the Easter bunny on the Easter table, until one year she relented, and Dad cooked it for the four of us.  But, Mom and Dad usually made leg of lamb, served medium rare with copious garlic, some rosemary and nary a touch of that mint jelly in sight.  (I believe it was Mother who put her foot down on that condiment.)

If you don’t want to host up a whole leg of lamb, there’s always a lamb shank or two for a more cozy holiday night.  Less meat, but a little tougher, and there’s more connective tissue, so low and slow and well-braised works best.  And it looks much like a leg of lamb done miniature.

recipe, lamb shank, leek, bok choy

I seared as many sides of the shank as it allowed…

I just bought a whole lamb from Sepe’s Farm, in Sandy Hook, CT.  Some years back I’d bought half a lamb, and now I decided, before I depart Connecticut, to up the ante a bit.  You get to pick the cuts the way you like them (the rest becomes ground lamb), and if you want the “odd bits”, ask – I certainly did.   I’ve tucked the meat away in stand alone freezers, and am reserving the larger cuts for when I have lamb-loving friends over — unfortunately a lot of folk are not fond of this meat.  Their loss, but I do so much want to share with those who appreciate!

recipe, lamb shank, bok choy, leek

The lamb shank is ready to be covered with foil. The leek, the vermouth, and the fresh herbs are all in and waiting, and the oven has been pre-heated.

And of course I wanted the shanks!  Cooked right, they yield such delectable and tasty meals!  And of course, I have to note that I’ve made lamb shanks twice before for this blog, but this recipe does indeed differ.

recipe, lamb shank, bok choy, leek

Baby bok choy!

I chose to cook this with bok choy as my vegetable.  That was what was in my fridge when I worked up this post.  That or okra, and I don’t think most people in the mood to celebrate Easter think of okra as a go-along veggie.  (I have posting PLANS for that okra… later…  if it works…)

Prep Time:  10 minutes for the shank.  10 minutes for the bok choy.
Cook Time: 2 hours.  
Rest Time: 10 minutes.
Serves:  1 shank per person.  
Leftovers:  Yes.  Nuke or re-heat in the oven.  

Leek and Rosemary Lamb Shanks with Bok Choy

  • 1 lamb shank per person.  Double everything below accordingly for more shanks, except the vermouth.  
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil, for searing the shank.  (Avocado oil, ghee, coconut oil, or in my case, I used leftover bacon fat from breakfast.)
  • 2 LARGE cloves of garlic, peeled but whole.  Or, 3 smaller ones.
  • 1 medium-large leek, cleaned and trimmed.  You can indeed use some of the green.
  • 2/3 cups of extra dry vermouth.  For each additional shank, add somewhat shy of about 1/4 cup.  If you don’t use the alcohol, sub in low sodium chicken broth, home made or otherwise.
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary.
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste.  

Pre-heat your oven to 325 F / 162 C.

Get a skillet with your cooking oil of choice up to a medium high heat, and start searing your shank(s).  A large skillet may hold up to three of them.  Sear each side 5-7 minutes, until a brown color appears.  I held the sides that wouldn’t stand, up for about 3 minutes each.

Prepare a pan with the garlic and leek, and add the shank in.

Use the vermouth to de-glaze the skillet you browned the meat on.  I’d let the temp drop down a bit before adding, or you will have splatters EVERYWHERE.  Pour a test drop or two, and decide when to add.

De-glaze, using a spatula to mix the fonds into the vermouth (or chicken broth).

Pour this over the shank.

Add the fresh herbs and other seasonings, and cover the pan tightly, even if you have to resort to aluminum foil.

Place in oven to roast for 2 hours.

That Bok Choy

  • two or three or four stalks of baby bok choy per person, depending on size and desire.
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil, see above.
  • a pinch or two of ground pepper.

Chop the bok choy coarsely, then add to your skillet with a little oil and pepper.  You can do this 2-3 minutes before removing the shank from the oven, and allow it to cook while the shank rests.  Stir occasionally, until done.  The bok choy should retain some crispiness.

Plate and serve.

recipe, lamb shank, leek, bok choy

After two hours of cooking, I pulled the foil off, to reveal the finished shank within. (I sat the smaller tray on a larger one, in case there was any leakage from the sides of the fairly shallow smaller tray.)

After all is said and done, reserve the bone or bones for future bone stock in your freezer.

The texture of the meat was tender, fall-off-the-bone savory.  Smash the well-roasted garlic cloves over the meat, and enjoy with the leek and bok choy.  The rosemary permeates, and as usual, complements lamb nicely.

This recipe is shared at Fiesta Friday, with this week’s co-hosts: Abbey @ Three Cats and a Girl and Angie of Fiesta Friday.

Posted in Cooking, Meats | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Home Poultry Plans, Sous Vide Chicken Breast with Lime/Mushroom Sauce – and Sous Vide Discussion

Or:  How I fought the Breast Meat Trend, and how I HOPE to WIN!!!

sous vide, chicken breast, mushroom, recipe, lime, onion, spinach, cheese

A few slices of chicken breast done sous vide, with mushroom/spinach/lime (etc.) topping. Allowing a marginal meat source to arise into glory!

I’m going to be raising chickens this year. 

I’ve ordered 9 meat birds (“red broilers”) to arrive the first week of May.

I also ordered egg layers, aka in this case dual purpose birds:  10 hens and one rooster to keep them (and some of the local predators) in line.  I won’t be breeding them this year, but I want to see which birds work best for me here.  Breeds:  Wyandotte, Buff Orpington, Buckeye and Australorpe.  I picked docile, good eggers, winter hardy birds.  And any particularly nasty or clueless birds that show up… Roasters.  (Yum.)

Dual purpose

3-day old silver-laced Wyandotte chick, photo by Bob Varley, Wikipedia, GFDL. I ordered 3 pullets and one cockerel. Layers and a protector.

I’ll be running two chicken tractors with areas marked off with electro-fence netting; I will move them every 2-3 days.  I want to transition into sustainable, once I know what the parameters of “sustainable” in my corner of rural Massachusetts will mean to me.

As regular readers here know, I dislike the breast meat on both chickens and turkey.  (It is deLICSHous on duck.)   It is dry and essentially flavorless.  All the nutrients are in the dark, and yes, the fat — but with range raised birds, that latter matters less.  The dark meat is the part of the chicken that actually exercises!  Now, I’ve experimented, and with very thin chicken breast cutlets, the meat gains some moist tenderness, enough that I can cook and enjoy on its own (if properly seasoned).  Thing is, they go from Gordon Ramsey’s RAAAWW!! to overcooked in the blink of an eye.  Which is why only the thin cutlets work for me, and I do have to cook them for myself – in a thick breast, the exterior is dry as a bone, and there MAY be a small kernel of just right in the center… or it may be raw… or it may be over cooked anyway.  You can’t see it to tell until too late.

I’m going to have those nine meat birds, and unfortunately one cannot raise a bird with only one type of meat — okay, the breeders of those unnatural Cornish Crosses are attempting to go in the other direction, and unfortunately are succeeding to some degree — but I will have white and dark meat coming with my birds.  Less white with the Red Broilers, but they’ll still have it.  I don’t want to raise my chickens with the idea of providing farm-fresh cat food to my three felines, who don’t care what part of the chicken they get!

So, enter Sous Vide.

sous vide, chicken breast, mushroom, recipe, lime, onion, spinach, cheese

Hanging Out. Waiting to be used.

My weapon of choice is the Gourmia.  I read up on them, and went for the gold.  Well, that’s the color of the Gourmia I ordered from Amazon.  Both the Anova and the Joule appear to be industry standards for immersion units, but the Joule NEEDS to interact with Wi-Fi/the Internet in order to run.  You can control it from an app on your cell phone – in fact, you have to.  My cell doesn’t get much of a signal here.  I don’t like options being closed off, like good ole fashioned manual entry.  There is value in some portion of the Internet of Things, but for me, with my dodgy cell and occasional unresponsiveness of the Internet here, no wanna depend on.  All Internet systems need some sort of human override!

The Anova looked really good… best of both worlds.  You can use it manually or you can set from afar via the Internet/Bluetooth/Alexa/Whatever.  I didn’t go with that because there were some consumer complaints about equipment problems (probably rare?  People do tend to post more when they find problems…) and because, since I won’t be doing Internet with it anyway, the Gourmia is cheaper and had far less apparent consumer complaints (at least on Amazon).

The gold model was even discounted $10 dollars… some comment on Amazon stated this one was cheaper because no one wanted gold, so they had to move them.  That’s fine… I think I may have gone gold whether or not the price discount.  It’s different and rather cool and it is not an appliance that will be stored counter top when not in use to begin with.

Gourmia is in no way sponsoring this post.  I don’t even (yet) have an Amazon link-back.

I did not buy a special container to sous vide in.  I am using my stainless steel stew pot, which also doubles as a lobster pot, and triples as my water bath canning pot.  For lengthy cooks, I will cover with re-usable aluminum foil, to foil (ahem) evaporation.  I do not have a vacuum food sealer (I plan to get one for other reasons — farm storage — but it is not something necessary for sous vide).  Use good quality, BPA-free zip lock style bags.

sous vide, chicken breast, mushroom, recipe, lime, onion, spinach, cheese

It clips on the back of whatever pot you use. Just keep the food you place in the pot from blocking the intake/outtake areas and you are fine.

You do have to read the manual.  Although there are not a lot of controls on the implement, it is not just pull out and run for this Gourmia.

To Brine or Not To Brine:  That is the question… I brined a heritage turkey on which I spent way too much money at Whole Wallet for, a few years ago using less salt than the recipe called for – and while the turkey in question turned out moist and juicy, even the white bits, it was still far too salty for me to enjoy.  Even though I’d rinsed the thing early and often before voting, er before cooking…  I ate it, because I’d spent good money on it, but I didn’t even attempt to feed extra of this salt bog to my cats, because I figured it would be unhealthy to their little metabolisms.  Not a single bone from it found its way into future cooking stock, which shows you how bad brining might go.  I gag every time I watch a video with pro chefs salting their meats… yes, some meats cry out for salt, but I really think most of those guys have burnt out their taste buds with the amount they use.

sous vide, chicken breast, mushroom, recipe, lime, onion, spinach, cheese

Not a great photo, but this is the chicken after being sous vide-ed. (Working on getting some of my old graphics programs back on-line after computer failure.) Juicy, not stringy. Has some intrinsic flavor, though not as good as, say, a thigh. But very workable!

I bought organic chicken for my experiment… I am NOT brining chicken I spent good money on.  Fortunately, Serious Eats doesn’t push the brining button for sous vide chicken breast.

Okay, the sauce:  Even though chicken breast promised to be a lot more juicy done sous vide, especially since I had skin-on (and bone-in) chicken, I wanted a sauce.  And I had a batch of mushrooms intended for a different recipe that I didn’t (yet) get around to making, so I figured a good mushroom/citrus/onion/wine sauce would be good… with a little garlic, and soft cheese in the mix, maybe some…  Spinach…  Yeah, that’s the ticket!!   Plus, flavor.  Just retaining juice by itself isn’t necessarily going to fix innate bland in the target food item.

sous vide, chicken breast, mushroom, recipe, lime, onion, spinach, cheese

Serve!!

Consider this a weekend, not a work-night, meal.

Prep time:  However long it takes for your water bath to come to temperature + 10 minutes to prep your birds + about 25 minutes at the end, most of which will overlap the last of the sous vide time.  
Sous vide time:  1-3 hours, I went with 1.5 hrs.  
Conventional cook time:  20 minutes, most of which overlapped with the end of sous vide time. 
Rest time:  Maybe 5 minutes.  (With sous vide, rest is not critical.)
Serves:  2.  One breast apiece.  
Leftovers?  Yes.  I spread thin on a plate and nuked in the microwave as briefly as possible.
Special equipment: Sous vide, something BPA-free to seal food into, container large enough to handle the sous vide and hold the meat.  

Sous Vide Chicken Breast with Mushroom, Lime, Wine, Goat Cheese, Onion and Mustard Sauce

  • 2 skin on chicken breasts.  Remove the wing if it is attached, and reserve for another dish, or for stock.  Most skin on breasts these days still have internal bones in the supermarket, but whichever you find, this recipe goes with skin on, bones incidental.  Skin.  Flavor.  Sorry.  You won’t have to eat it at the end.  My chicken was Coleman’s Organic Griller Pack, 2 breasts and four drumsticks.   Reserve any wings, drumsticks or thighs for another recipe.  They sous vide best at higher temps.
  • Salt and ground pepper.  1/4 teaspoon per side, max, and I did use under, which means 1/2 teaspoon for each of these breasts.  But see the next ingredient…
  • The experimental bits:  1 slice of bacon to wrap around ONE of the breasts2 teaspoons of olive oil (or avocado oil) for the OTHER breast.  Since this bacon is saltier than most, I decreased the amount of salt I added to that first breast by half.
  • 2 or so sprigs of thyme, one for each breast.

The above is for sous vide.  The rest of the ingredients below are assembled for the sauce.

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped.
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed.  (or three, mine are huge)
  • 3 teaspoons butter or ghee.
  • Juice from 1 lemon or two limes.  I used limes.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon.
  • Ground pepper to taste.
  • 3 ounces cheese, preferably soft goat cheese, break it up so it works in faster.  A thick canned coconut milk would also work here.  
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk (or a splash more of coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine.  OR, use veggie or chicken broth if you don’t choose wine.
  • 2-3 ounces spinach, preferably fresh.  Hand shred if larger leaves.  Thaw if frozen.
  • Fresh parsley as an optional garnish.  Crumbled bacon as another potential garnish, if you go the bacon-wrapped breast route.

Sous Vide:  Set at 148 F (64-65 C).  The time getting the water to heat to the proper temperature depends on what you are using, and the size of the container you are heating, of course.  (Today it took about half an hour.)  Plan on sous vide for 1-3 hours. 1 hour is plenty to kill bacteria and such nasties at this temperature.  I’m told texture will change after 3-4 hours towards the mushy, so I’d err on the earlier end of this restriction.  I used 2 hours here.

Season the breasts both sides with ingredients mentioned above.  Tuck into individual zip lock bags… or use a vacuum sealer if you have one, following directions for your unit.  For water displacement method using zip locks, put the food item in, zip the lock nearly all closed, submerse and wait for the air to displace out of the bag. When it is all gone, and you are holding the bag so there is only a fragment of air left – only that last part above the water surface – go ahead and seal firmly.

My bags float up where that last bit of air is but all the food is safely down below being cooked.  You can use clips to hold your food in place against the side of the container (I don’t have any of the right size), and you can use weights to hold food to the bottom.  I let mine float at this point, and check occasionally to make sure they don’t block either the intake or outtake of my sous vide.  They haven’t, to date.

You can cover the top of whatever you are using to contain your sous vide food, but for a two hour time point, it’s not necessary.

When sous vide time is almost up – and this is a good thing about sous vide, you can take your own time for finalizing these next steps – get your sauce mise en place in place.

In a large sauté pan:

Sauté the onion in butter until it becomes translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and garlic, and let them just become soft, about 5 – 7 minutes.

Add the herbs and seasonings and the lemon juice, stir another minute or two.

Add the cheese, and stir about a minute, until the cheese melts.

Add the wine, and simmer about 15 minutes.  20 is okay.

Remove the chicken from the sous vide.  Remove the thyme twigs, and the bacon, and the chicken skin – you can discard all these (I patted the bacon and the skin dry, and tried oven-baking them at 425 F (218 C) to see if I could bring on some nice crispness quickly.  The bacon was ready in 10 minutes, but this will depend on the thickness of your bacon.  The chicken skin took just short of 20 minutes.)  Slice the chicken against the grain.

Add any chicken drippings from the chicken into this sauce now.

Add the spinach to the sauce pan, and stir, maybe one minute.  (If you do use spinach from a frozen package, you can certainly add it – thawed – back at the wine step.)

Here, you can add the chicken to the sauce, and mix for 30 seconds or so, OR you can plate the chicken and pour the sauce over.  Since I opted to try two methods of chicken prep, I poured my sauce over each breast on a separate plate.  Otherwise, I’d likely do the former, to coat in the sauce into the meat more effectively.  (We are doing everything we possibly can to make chicken breast edible here!)

Garnish with fresh parsley, if you have it.  (It would have helped the photo, but I’m not driving 30 minutes each way for parsley.)  Garnish with the crumbled bacon, too.

Obi

Obi-Wan, looking for chicken dinner.  “Ya mean… nothing for me??”

Verdict:  I can indeed ENJOY, and not just be polite, and eat chicken breast this way.

I like the bacon-wrapped breast better than the avocado-oil treated one, but both were equally tender and juicy.

I even liked the breast bites I took without the sauce/topping, but having a sauce/topping definitely improves most anything.

The sauce/topping was even good by itself.  Could go on other things, easily.

Sous vide chicken breast can indeed be done at 160 F (71 C) if you really like the stringiness of conventionally-cooked chicken breast, but just want more inherent juice, since that juice simply doesn’t have a good chance to escape.  Neither aspect of conventional chicken breast appeals to me, so I am glad to be able to cook it safely at 148 F (64-65 C) for 2 hours.   (Some folk cook it as low as 140 F (60 C), but I decided to push my envelope up a bit.)

While I don’t like counting my chickens before they hatch, I am looking forward to my future poultry morsels!!!

Those breasts were BIG, and this was a lunch, not a dinner.  So, I broke all the remaining meat off the bones, combined them with the remaining sauce/topping, and decided they would test out leftover usage…

sous vide, chicken breast, mushroom, recipe, lime, onion, spinach, cheese

Oh… Bacon garnish. Of course. (Why waste it?)

Primary reference:  Serious Eats, one of my favorite foodie websites, but I shopped around.   The phone app for the Joule is also a great reference, with useful photos – and you don’t have to buy a Joule sous vide in order to see what you might be making.

For Paleo:  Switch the wine out with low sodium chicken broth, home made or otherwise.  And go for the coconut milk option over the dairy.

Shared at:  Fiesta Friday, with this week’s co-hosts:  Petra @ Love Food Eat and Zeba @ Food For The Soul

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Commentary, Cooking, Mushrooms, Poultry | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Welcome, Spring! Garden Plans for 2018

 

It is Spring Equinox.  It is also the Persian New Year.  I thought about doing a Persian recipe, but lacked the time.  But on March 18th, I started indoor seeds for later outdoor transplantation.  Some of them could have been started sooner, but the atmosphere remains too “winterish” here to have gotten in the proper mood…

gardening, brassica, vegetables, seeds

Overjoyed about my brassica selection of seeds!!!

PS:  I’d planned on a St. Patrick’s Day recipe, but while it was okay, it wasn’t begging to be posted…  “Okay” means I’d rather optimize it.

This is one of my intermittent mostly-non-recipe Tuesday posts.  Sit back and enjoy, or pass it over.  If you live rural in Zone 5, any and all helpful hints are welcome!!!  PS, I do not get any reimbursements for mentioning any of the resources talked about below.  (I tried to get the Amazon link going back in Connecticut, but every time the phone rang to verify my Amazon, I was kicked off line… blam!)

March Lion

March came in like a lion, and it had better go out like a lamb. Interestingly, two towns to the east, they hardly got any snow. Or at least it was rationally distributed.  I picked the wrong town to build in. (This isn’t the deepest of the snows, just the best of the photos.)

I don’t really know why I am welcoming in spring, because we still have a ton of snow out there, and no promises that more won’t fall.  In fact, they promise more WILL, this very week.  Hey, I did CHOOSE to retire northwards.  It’s pretty, but it does cancel a bunch of my physical therapy appointments.  Minor grumbles.  I can do some of that work on my ownsome, here.

My new life is 30 minutes from any decent supermarket — well, there’s a convenience store about 15 minutes away, but as for fresh food, that one only carries onions, potatoes, and (sometimes) bananas.  Also milk and bread, but I don’t use those two items particularly often.  And I steer clear of the ample supply of sodas and bottled waters.  But if one wants “grape juice”, there are a few decent wine selections.

Back at my old place, I’d hit the supermarket about three times a week, usually because it was very convenient, (right off the road on the way home from work) and I had my choice of a couple of them  (ShopRite, Stew Leonard’s), plus there was Costco and BJ’s, about a quarter of a mile from each other.  (I’d be a member of one or the other, not both.)  When I had to work weekends, when the highway wouldn’t clog up so fast after weekday work, I’d stop at Trader Joes and Whole Foods, which were also right off the highway, but they were closer to work.

You could always get something, and with just a little more effort, you could roll through Danbury, CT and visit the Atlantic Market (Asian, with an emphasis on Indochinese) or the Indian Market.  Which got me a’ salivating!

And if I had to grab something super quick, if it wasn’t remotely obscure, I could always hit the Mom and Pop, about 3 minutes from home.


gardening, greens, nasturtiums, amaranth, calaloo, salads

Lettuce talk about greens… Also, two packs of nasturtiums, which are both colorful and peppery-edible. I love calaloo, and I’ve never tried red orach so no clue as to its taste.

Now, while I am taking physical therapy in Westfield, I do stop at the Stop and Shop across the way – a 45 minute one way trip.  Someday I hope to cease taking physical therapy, and I am not particularly impressed by this Stop and Shop anyway.  There’s another small shop in Huntington where I get my farm fresh eggs (20 minutes) and I can pass close to it on my way to Westfield.  They also have a limited selection of meats and fresh produce, but nothing to depend on when making a specific recipe for the blog or such.

Actually, the meats are easy.  I buy my beef and pork via farmers’ markets and going in on portions of local pastured animals with other like minded folk, and I freeze the stuff.  Chicken is harder, so I look for the better-raised (“free”-range or organic) chicken in supermarkets, when possible.  That, too, can be frozen.  I’ll be buying a free range lamb shortly, and that will end up in one or the other freezers, likely both.

Gardening, seed planting

Kale, tomatoes, cabbage and so forth. More is being planted; I simply ran out of potting soil (now rectified). There are to be more pots in front of those pots, and there will be a row or two down in the workshop window.

Because I eat semi-Paleo (yes, I lost 40 pounds doing that, and there were serious health issues that kicked me into doing this – weight is incidental), grains and beans don’t make a majority of my diet.  ( I think, actually, that both rice and quinoa in reasonable limits are healthy these days, and I never had a problem with most beans, if properly soaked.)     I do keep lots of packs of frozen spinach, turnip greens, and broccoli around; and winter squashes, potatoes and onions have a good lifespan if properly stored.  I still have one last autumn squash sitting here.

It’s the nice fresh green produce you don’t want turning into mush in the freezer, or brown and limp in the fridge.   It’s the “ethnic” rarities.  That’s what I’m actually missing shopping for once or twice during the week.  (Well, and quality seafood.)


But, there’s a solution or two, and I’ve planned on it.

gardening, vegetables, seeds

Two types of onion, radishes, black beans, okra, tomatoes. I tried growing okra in Connecticut – I got ONE okra. Not plant, one okra POD. More sun here.

From Baker Creek, I ordered a batch of seeds.  And gathered a few other packets from other sources.  Some I know I can grow easily here, a few are off-chances I will be hopeful for.  After all, now I have the sun I lacked back in CT, and the space.  I just need to make the raised beds (difficult with some of our current snowfalls – I am writing this on March 8th, and yesterday we got something like 18 inches of white powdery…).  And, editing on March 16th, noting we just got another oversized dollop, and may get more next week… Next year, I hope to get an interior herb/microgreen setup going, for those winter months.  I also need to plan out my greenhouse.  Plus I now have a root cellar.  So many of these vegetables can last even longer stored at the proper temperature.

My Russian kale did wonderfully last year, and the strawberries were prolific.  I transplanted the strawberries to their permanent locale, and I will add more this year.  Strawberries are one of the few fruits (along with tomatoes) I like when dried.  I put in garlic in the fall as well.

gardening, herbs, perilla, shiso

Herbs and perilla (shiso). I will also do a few varieties of basil from seedlings, as I’ve historically had better luck with them that way. I also threw in watercress, which may or may not work here. It likes swampy areas, but it is a bit boggy by the wild blueberries.

I plan to place at least three raised beds this year, so I can do crop rotation.  Herbs will simply go by the side of the house; I can go out and harvest them any time.  The three raised beds will (this first year) house nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes) and sweet potatoes; the second will have Brassica plants, and the third will hold everything else.  I’ll add in two more raised beds in future years.  One of the beds will share a place with perennial veggies which of course can’t get rotated — eventually it will become permanently perennial.

Last year I obtained four citrus trees (Australian finger lime, kefir/Thai lime, regular supermarket lime, blood orange).  They, along with a fig and an olive (which isn’t doing so well) are overwintering in the house.  Four apple saplings were planted out doors, one showed signs of death in the fall, but hopefully the other three will pull through the winter.  For this year, I ordered two more apples, a grapefruit, a lemon and a persimmon.  And some more figs.  They’ll arrive the end of April.  (I hope it thaws out there by then!)

There are also native high bush blueberries in the back forty.  As soon as I can get to them, they will require pruning. Those berries are tiny, but they still taste good.

I saved seeds from two of last years’ delicata squash – they’ll be direct-sowed.

And some things I’m planting are just for pretty.  Calla lilies and cannas for instance.  A good friend is bringing up some of his hybrid cannas to join the ones I already have this May.

gardening, calla lily

Every year I add to my calla lily bulb collection with another pack of 3 to 6. The bulbs overwinter indoors. I love both the flowers and the speckles on many of the leaves.

There will be chickens here, too.  More about those guys next time I post.

 

Posted in Commentary, Cooking | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Vegetarian Pizza-Like Cheese Melts with Indian or Mexican Influences

Inspired by both Indian and by Mexican thin flatbreads.

recipe, soft corn tortilla, mexican, cheese, pizza, mushroom, spinach, olive, artichoke

A white corn tortilla base for melted cheese and various veggies.

Okay, these lack tomato (though the recipe can be adapted easily, and although one of my favorite pizza slices at the pizzeria in Litchfield CT is a cheese/shrimp/broccoli one), no tomatoes on that, either.

recipe, methi paratha, indian, cheese, pizza, mushroom, spinach, olive, artichoke

A methi (fenugreek) paratha base for melty cheese and various veggies.

I made two types based on what I had to hand… one of these unfortunately does contain gluten but the other does not.  I came up with this concept when I went freezer diving for some good bakery bread that I thought was in there (but must have been eaten already) when I was in the mood for a good open faced melted cheese sandwich.  I found, instead, “methi paratha”, an Indian flat bread of about the same consistency as soft shell taco bread.  It worked.  Methi is Hindi for fenugreek, an earthy seasoning I’ve truly grown to love.  Additional spices in the bread are ginger, chili (yes, it has a little kick, but not overwhelming), and turmeric.  I’ll note that the original paratha was far past its “best by” date, but I bought another pack this past month down at my favorite Indian grocery in Danbury, CT, for the current photo shoot.  Fresh is decidedly better!  Methi flavor came through on both, but on the newer paratha, all the other seasonings came in fully happy and proud.

recipe, methi paratha

Took this photo from the first batch of this recipe I made. Note the old use by date. Today’s recipe was made with methi paratha which is best used by this month of March, ’18. There are a LOT more positive flavor nuances this time around!

The methi paratha does contain wheat (ie, gluten), so I decided to make a soft corn tortilla melt as well, for the gluten-free.  I chose white, as I find the heavy corn taste of the yellow ones a little too much for some (not all) purposes.

recipe, soft corn tortilla, mexican, indian, paratha, cheese, pizza, mushroom, spinach, olive, artichoke

First layer and the mise en place plate. From noon around the clock: cheddar (not enough, actually), mushrooms (a little too much, but great to gnosh on), artichoke heart, spinach, mozzarella, olives.

Consider my prep of this dish to be Italian/Indian/Mexican…  Fusion/confusion??? The one thing I regret was forgetting to buy scallions/green onions for the photos/write up meal (which worked great when I first tried my hand making this!)   I’ve not yet tried adding meat or seafood to this dish, but that’s an option should you wish.  I don’t find it necessary, and I am trying to avoid tasty but over processed stuff like pepperoni.  Seriously, add anything you like, these are just ideas that worked for me.

You can slice your cheeses up, or shred them.  I would not buy pre-shredded… marketers add what is essentially sawdust to them to keep them from clumping.  Plus, they cost more for the privilege of adding stuff indigestible for humans in the cheese.  No.  Just, no.

recipe, soft corn tortilla, mexican, indian, paratha, cheese, pizza, mushroom, spinach, olive, artichoke

A mushroom layer.

Because I was going for a semi-pizza ambiance, I added oregano to both choices.  One could very well add garlic, finely minced, to help add to that ambiance.  Or perhaps just garlic powder?  I put cilantro on the methi paratha selection, but one can also as easily add it to the corn soft tortilla selection.

recipe, soft corn tortilla, mexican, indian, paratha, cheese, pizza, mushroom, spinach, olive, artichoke

A spinach layer over the mushrooms. I could see watercress, or other savory leafy greens.  Over this would be the cheeses, and the spices, and then moist items like olives and artichoke hearts.  Oh, and those scallion slices I forgot to buy….

Please have fun with this!  Again, this recipe only covers what I did today, and I did do some testing with other ingredients earlier (most notably those scallions!)

Prep Time:  Will vary but mine maybe took 15 minutes.
Cook Time:  9-11 minutes depending on how thick you slice cheese.  
Rest Time: Not necessary.
Serves:  I found that I need 3 corn tortillas or two parathas of the size shown here.  One of each when I made this today.  
Leftovers: Um, not really.  Plan to eat what you make.  

Vegetarian Pizza-Like Cheese Melts with Indian or Mexican Influences

NOTE:  Play with this.  These are guidelines that have created food I’ve enjoyed.  There is no one right way.  Indeed, what is in your fridge right now?  

  • 3 small white-corn soft tortillas per person.  OR 2 Indian parathas per person.  OR combine as you wish.  Methi (fenugreek) paratha is optional, and may not be easily found.
  • 3-4 white button mushrooms, sliced thin.
  • a good handful of fresh spinach, watercress, or perhaps even nasturtium leaves (summer).  A good flavor kick is good here.
  • 1 or so ounces of mozzarella.  Slice or shred it yourself.
  • Around 3 ounces or maybe a little more of sharp cheddar cheese.  Slice or shred it yourself.
  • For the corn tortillas:  sprinkle on ground ancho pepper, or if adventurous, chipotle pepper.
  • For the paratha:  sprinkle on cumin.  If the paratha you’ve been able to find is without seasoning, consider dried methi/fenugreek leaf, perhaps some chili.
  • To all:  ground pepper, to taste.
  • To all:  garlic powder, to taste.
  • To all: dried oregano, to taste.
  • 1-2 green onions, diced.  I dice the white parts thin, and let the green parts go out to perhaps a half an inch.
  • Pitted olives, 3, sliced to 1/8 inch.  (I check out the variety at my supermarket olive display case.)
  • 1 or two pickled artichoke hearts, chopped coarsely.
  • Fresh cilantro (coriander leaf) for garnish.  I did forget to add it to the Mexican tortilla, but it works everywhere.

Lay out your paratha or your tortillas in your baking pan, and preheat the oven to 350 F / 177 C.

Add on mushrooms and any or all leafy greens.

Scatter the cheese around.  Home-shredded is probably the best way to go, but I didn’t this occasion.  In my case, since I am not crazy about pizza “bones”, I put the cheese out to the edge.  I try to carpet bomb this dish with cheese, your mileage may differ.  Cook accordingly.

Add the spices and seasonings.  I used Mexican spices on the corn tortilla, and Indian spices on the paratha.  If the paratha is unseasoned, add additional seasonings, including perhaps that methi!   Dried leaf methi is really good.  Ground pepper, garlic and oregano ended up on all.  There is no need to add salt… cheese typically has salt.

Slice up everything else and add it around (except the cilantro/coriander leaf).

Bake for 9-12 minutes, depending on how thick your cheese is.  I’d investigate at the 9 minute mark and go from there.

Serve, adding any cilantro as you or your guests desire.

Oh, PS… modify this to your heart’s content, but I do recommend you prep up everything before you start cooking.  Personally, while I like the “Mexican” version, I adore the “Indian” version.

This recipe is linked up at Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Abbey @ Three Cats and a Girl and Antonia @ Zoale.com

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Mushrooms, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments