Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kind of, sort of

I love Thanksgiving recipes as much as the next lady. I love the hue of a reddish-brown crisp smoked turkey skin. I could (check that: have) eaten an entire pan of cornbread-sausage stuffing. Pie? Give me lots, especially if it's pecan.

But there is a soft underbelly to the culinary beast that churns out autumnal recipe after autumnal recipe on every television show, blog, and perfect glossy magazine cover that quietly mocks reality from its perch astride the checkout aisle. And that is: recipes that have nothing at all to do with Thanksgiving. Because, face it, you need a break. In the midst of the harvest revelry, you need something to eat that is completely unrelated to the last Thursday of November.

Enter pad see ew.

Except, wait a minute. Asian dishes kind of, sort of, do have something to do with Thanksgiving. At least this year. Because this year, for the first time in nearly a century, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlap. And if there's one genre of food that I think of when I think of Jewish eating around the holidays, it's Asian. Who among us doesn't know a Jew who craves Chinese in December?

So if your Thanksgiving table will be adorned by a menurkey, perhaps you might want to find time in your eating schedule for this delicious mix of rice noodles, chicken, eggs, broccolini, and garlic. It is so freaking tasty. I mean, SO FREAKING TASTY.

Happy Thanksgivingukkah! 


Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Like every single thing that America's Test Kitchen does, this recipe is perfection. Perfection.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut against the grain into 1/4-inch slices

1 t. baking soda
8 oz. rice noodles
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. oyster sauce
1 T. plus 2 t. soy sauce
2 T. packed dark brown sugar
1 T. white vinegar
1 t. molasses
1 t. fish sauce
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
3 eggs
2 bunches broccolini (roughly 12 oz.), florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks cut on bias into 1/2-inch pieces

Prep the chicken: Combine the chicken with 2 T. water and baking soda in bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Rinse chicken in cold water and drain well.

Prep the rice noodles: Bring 6 c. water to a boil. Place noodles in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles. Stir, then soak until noodles are almost tender, about 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through the soak. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well and toss with 2 t. vegetable oil.
Make the sauce: Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, molasses, and fish sauce together in a bowl.
Cook the garlic, chicken, and eggs: Heat 2 t. oil and garlic in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is deep golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add chicken and 2 T. of the sauce mixture, toss to coat, and spread the chicken into even layer in the pan. Cook, without stirring, until chicken begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. The trick here is to have the patience to allow the chicken to brown without turning it. You might be tempted to stir. Don't. Let the chicken sit there and develop fabulous color. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook, without stirring, until second side begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. 

Push chicken to one side of the skillet. Add 2 t. oil to cleared side of skillet. Add the eggs to the clearing. Using a rubber spatula, stir eggs gently and cook until set. Stir the eggs into chicken and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer chicken mixture to a large bowl.

Cook the broccolini: Heat 2 t. oil in the now-empty skillet until smoking. Add broccolini and 2 T. of the sauce mixture and toss to coat. Cover the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove the lid and continue to cook until broccolini is crisp and very brown in spots, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Transfer broccolini to the bowl with the chicken mixture.

Cook the noodles in two batches: Heat 2 t. oil in the now-empty skillet until smoking. Add half the noodles and 2 T. of the sauce mixture and toss to coat. Cook until noodles start to brown in spots, about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Transfer noodles to the bowl with the chicken mixture. Repeat with remaining 2 t. oil, remaining noodles, and the rest of the sauce mixture.

Mix it all together: When the second batch of noodles is cooked, add the contents of the bowl back to the skillet and toss to combine. Cook, without stirring, until everything is warmed through, 1 to 1½ minutes.

Commence devouring.

Serves 4, technically, but each and every time I make it Husband and I eat the whole thing in one sitting.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: maple-stout bread
Two years ago: fig-walnut pie
Three years ago: apple and cheddar scones
Four years ago: caramelized onion and brie mashed potatoes
Five years ago: herb breadsticks

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Squash and dukkah for dinner

Here's what happened.

I had some dukkah, sitting in a jar, beckoning me daily from the counter top. I had made a batch for the season-end Hudson Farmers' Market potluck dinner, but, I'm not going to lie to you, Farmers' Market friends: I didn't bring the whole batch to the potluck. I purposely held back about half of it. Because I wanted to "share" some with Husband. But really I wanted it for myself. You, Farmers' Market friends, are OK with this, I am certain, as there were many other delicious things to eat that evening. The real loser here is Husband. But he is already a loser! We have established this.


Then just a few days later I was ambling through the grocery store -- chatting up the beer guy as I am wont to do, checking out various cheeses, wondering if I need to buy any baked goods (yes) -- when I spied a perilous pyramid of delicata squash, arrayed beautifully next to the rest of fall's bounty: jugs of local cider, apples in every shade of green and red, wee pumpkins. I bought them. The delicata squash. Because I couldn't not. They were lovely.

A few more days passed. The delicata squash decorated my kitchen counter, not my dinner plate, because I didn't know what I wanted to do with them. Roasting them is always a solid option, but I wanted a little more oomph. I desired a recipe that felt special -- something befitting the delicata's stripey good looks and seasonal charm.

Enter Deborah Madison and her book, Vegetable Literacy. I thought it would behoove me to see what her tome had to say about delicata squash. Guess what? Vegetable Literacy contains a recipe for delicata squash prepared with dukkah! I get irrationally thrilled when I come across a recipe that incorporates something that is otherwise languishing in my larder -- you can, therefore, imagine my elation at a dish that incorporates two such foodstuffs.

I said to Husband: you are having squash and dukkah for dinner.


Adapted from Vegetable Literacy, by Deborah Madison

Ms. Madison's book includes her own recipe for dukkah, but I fall back on my favorite standard.

2 Delicata squash, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds total, the skins left on
1 T. olive oil
Sea salt
1 clove garlic
1/2 c. Greek yogurt
3 T. tahini
1/4 c. dukkah 
1 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice each squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds (I like to use my grapefruit spoon for this job). Slice each half into half rounds about 1/4 inch thick.

Toss the pieces with the oil and season with sea salt to taste, then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Roast until the squash is tender and browned in some places, 20-25 minutes.

While the squash roasts, make the tahini-yogurt sauce. Mince the garlic, mixing it with about 1/4 t. of sea salt on the cutting board until the garlic and salt form a smooth paste. Stir the garlic mixture into the yogurt, then stir in the tahini. Taste, and add more salt if necessary.

When the squash is tender, remove it from the oven and toss it with the dukkah and parsley.

Serve alongside a generous dollop of the tahini-yogurt sauce.

Serves 4-6, as an appetizer or side.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: maple-stout bread
Two years ago: fig-walnut pie
Three years ago: apple and cheddar scones
Four years ago: caramelized onion and brie mashed potatoes
Five years ago: cauliflower and fregula Sarda gratin