Slow-Cooked Chickpea Curry

July 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

E: The slow-cooker is the fire-and-forget missile of the cooking world, and that’s something that comes in handy when you are busy around dinner time, say, for example, you have to bring your laptop in for an appointment at the Apple store (which you just know is going to start and end late). Then, if you have one of these nifty devices—mine comes courtesy of Joanna’s parents as a graduation present:  thank you both! I’m sure we’ll get lots more use out of it—just load up the ingredients, press the proverbial little red button, and come back from your Genius Bar appointment—or wherever else you’ve been—to find fresh curry awaiting your return.

looks slightly better than it tastes, but nothing a little salt and spices won't fix

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General Tso’s Chicken

July 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

E: The summer has been getting busy for both of us, with me working a full 40 hours and research work picking up for Joanna. And so with things getting a bit more stressful, we felt like making some comfort food that wasn’t risotto. And that was when we realized that neither of us had been to a Chinese restaurant in quite some time. So, both of us craving some Chinese takeaway, we decided to try making it at home instead. Something classic and fried was in order, so we settled on doing a version of General Tso’s Chicken, in some ways the original Americanized Chinese dish—with its many names (Tso, Tsao, Gao, Gau, &c.) and many versions, all of which bear little resemblance to the traditional Hunan food it sometimes purports to be.

it's like takeaway, but at home and 20 times more effort!

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Pasta with Lemon, Tuna, and Capers

July 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

J: So today’s recipe is a really simple one, but still well worth making.  It’s got a lot of fresh, bright flavors, and it’s super easy but also elegant enough that if you wanted you could throw it together for a dinner party or something.  Erik and I made it once before, a few months ago, some day that we were struggling for dinner ideas and decided to just make a quick pasta.  We had all the ingredients already so it was only a matter of cooking up the pasta and throwing everything together.

fresh summery pasta

This also uses one of my favorite food combinations: lemon and capers.  The acidity of the lemon sets off the saltiness of the capers just perfectly, and the tuna comes in to play very nicely with all the other ingredients as well.  Give it a try!

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Southwest-Style Pizza

July 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

E: This is a pizza I’ve been waiting for months to try. It came to me one time when I was thinking about how just about anything food-wise could be put on pizza and would be tasty:  one of the wild ideas I thought anyone else might actually want to eat was a southwest-inspired pizza with taco-style toppings. It is pretty quick and easy (assuming you’ve got pizza dough lined up) and my goodness is it tasty. This was the best pizza we’d had in a while.

But before we start, some annoying news from my side. My Mac has died its second death now (the infamous 8600M graphics board failure) so I’ve got to get that to Apple and see if they will cover it (it is a pretty old machine now, but I can’t remember exactly when I bought it). For now I’m on my old XP machine, which takes some getting used to. My monitor here also isn’t calibrated as well, so if these pictures seem a bit off, it’s not you. I’ve also got the photos for one post (the one I was going to do instead of this one) stuck on that hard drive for the moment, so you are getting this post slightly early.

curious, unique, delicious

In any case, and all technical issues aside, let’s get working on some pizza.

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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

July 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

J:  In another effort to break out of our culinary rut, Erik and I decided to go out on a limb and try our hand at stuffed mushrooms.  These aren’t your little delicate hors d’oeuvres stuffed mushroom caps — no sir, these hearty portobellos are full meals in themselves.  They took a bit of effort, so don’t plan on making them if you just want a quick dinner, especially if you’re cooking by your lonesome.  That said, if you’ve got a cooking buddy and/or you want to spend some quality time in your kitchen, these are well worth the time you’ll put into them.

and look how pretty!

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“Chikinjiru” – Butajiru with Chicken

July 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

E: We at Nombudsman felt like we were getting into a bit of a rut in terms of creativity. The food photo blog thing has a habit of reminding one of how easy it is to slip into the rut of making practically the same thing over and over and over again. Repeated bouts of gastronomic déja vu plus a solid helping of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and a distinct lack of anything remotely Japanese on this blog led us to try something new, and invent our own version of butajiru (a.k.a. tonjiru i.e. miso soup with pork and lots of other stuff that miso soup doesn’t have). We aren’t really pork people, so we substituted chicken for the pork. We also found our local market to be not exactly overflowing with taro root, so we went the route of Japanese skiing soup and decided to substitute sweet potatoes. So if you are familiar with real butajiru, pardon us our liberties.

more kickass than miso

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Risotto Cakes

July 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

E: As promised, here’s a post about something to do with leftover risotto (and, I think, a good reason to make sure you always have leftover risotto). My introduction to risotto cakes came years ago, sadly before I even knew what risotto was. My family used to get them from the deli/to-go section of Whole Foods Market, and all I knew was they were fried balls of rice, cheese and zucchini. And they were awesome. Especially, oddly enough, with teriyaki sauce—really, try it.

Despite making risotto many times, I’ve never attempted risotto cakes before. It is really easy, but let me walk you through and give some tips along the way.

fried risotto, how much better could it possibly be?

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