Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Passage to India

My friend, John and I went out on Sunday to catch up and eat good food. We went to a place on 8th street called "Little Nepal" and it was pretty good. I ordered a kick-ass super-spicy dish called Lamb Madras. I always order lamb if it's on the menu and it's a bonus if I can get it spicy. Indian spicy is how I ordered it. Oh yeah.

Well, I brought half of it home and stuck it in the fridge. Last night I ate half of that and tonight I thought I'd pull a little "Iron Leftover-Chef" and think of something creative to make with the other half of my Indian dish.

Have you every heard of roti? It's a type of Indian bread and you can stuff it if you'd like. In fact that's really the only way I've eaten roti. Tonight I made my own version. I don't have a Tandori oven. Actually I was told the other night by the Indian guy that waited on us that you'd need about $8,000 to get a really good Tandori oven. Then he went on how it had to pass the inspection, electrical specs...blah, blah, blah... I improvised using my grill pan set on high heat (and then lowered later).

Here is my version of roti using some pizza dough that my friend, Carmen was gracious enough to let me have. We made pizzas on Saturday when I took the new Jetta up to Highlands Ranch.

Lamb Madras Roti

1/2 cup give or take Lamb Madras leftovers with some basmati rice (or any good Indian curry, vindaloo, masala, etc.)
4 oz. raw pizza dough or about the size of a tennis ball (bread dough, refrigerated biscuits in the can that scare the bejeezus out of you when you pop them open, etc. - you can use wheat bread dough)
2-1/4" slices fresh mozzarella cheese (I added this because I love cheese)

Preheat your grill pan over medium high to high heat. You want it to be fairly hot so you can "sear" the dough and make it kind of crunchy. Remember, think Tandori oven. Think of naan. Yum...naaaan...

Mix the rice and Lamb Madras (cut any large pieces of lamb into smaller bits) in a small bowl and set aside. Take the dough and flatten it out into an oblong shape. You can roll it out on a board dusted with some flour if you'd like. I didn't because I wanted the dough to pinch close.

Tear up one slice of the fresh mozzarella and place on one end of the dough and spoon the leftovers on top and spread out but not all the way to the edges. Place the other broken up piece of cheese on top.

Fold the other half of the dough over and pinch the edges all around to get a good seal. Be careful not to put holes into your raw roti. If you do just pinch. You may have to force the air out and flatten the roti a bit.

Put the roti in your hot grill pan and turn over when you have a nice brown and crunchy dough. Turn down the heat to medium and cover it with a lid (domed if you have it) and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Be sure not to burn it. Flip over and cook again for another 3-5 minutes. The roti should be nicely browned and not doughy.

Wow, this was really good. The Lamb Madras was pretty hot and it tasted so good in this bread with the melted fresh cheese. This really would be great with any type of "gravy" Indian dish. You could make little mini rotis if you were up to it. Maybe I'll have to do that in the future and post that method.

Next time you bring home Indian food give this a try! You won't be disappointed! Lamstina, until next time!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Eggies! It's Not Rocket Science!

So, I was at "the Walmart" tonight looking for a jug of foaming soap for my soap dispensers at home. To no avail I was not able to find the damned soap but I did find this little gadget. The thing with not having cable or antenna attached to our television is that we don't get those infomercials. Most people can live without them, but to tell you truth, I love em'!

Why just this very day I boiled up some eggs and they were so hard to peel that I practically shredded them up trying to get the shell off. So, I saw these little doohickies and thought I'd give them a try.

After looking at the actual infomercial on the Internet I got the gist of what they were trying to sell. Convenient hard boiled eggs that you can season before you cook and you don't have to worry about those messy shells. Easy enough. Looking at the package the design seemed like it could deliver what it said.

Well, I also looked on YouTube and saw some "consumer reviews" of the Eggies and I'm sad to say that most were not good. They complained that the egg would ooze out while they cooked, that they looked really funky shaped, etc. Well, I was going to try making some whenever I had a hankering for more hard cooked eggs, but I couldn't resist. I mean, how hard could this be?

I looked at the the construction of the cups and there were little seals that appeared that they would keep egg matter from seeping out into the boiling water. That was a huge complaint. Another complaint was that the eggs got stuck in the cups. Um...the directions specifically say to spray cooking spray or oil onto a paper towel and coat each cup bottom and top with an even coat. Not too complicated.

So the most difficult thing I thought was to crack that egg into that little hole where the lid screwed in. I did spill some of the white on the first cup and I was leery that the yolk would bust, but the raw egg slipped in well. I was sure to screw the ring in the middle quite firmly, and same with the lid. Then I slipped them into my pan of hot water that was already sitting over a flame.

These eggs do take a long time to cook in comparison to the normal way I boil eggs. If I want soft I time 3 minutes from the the time they boil, but in these little Eggies it takes a bit longer. Really, these are just egg coddlers and I've been looking for some of these. I brought the Eggies to a boil and actually popped a lid on top. It didn't seem to hurt the cups at all.

So, one egg I plucked out early (10 minutes) and it was nice and soft, but I could have taken it out sooner I think. Less time for true coddled eggs. Some people eek out over soft whites, but I love them. The other egg I boiled 15 minutes and the yolk was still a bit soft, but I could have just let it hang out in the hot water after I shut the flame off and I'm sure it would have finished nicely with the residual heat.

I don't know what the big fuss was. I think people just slap these things together without really understanding that they need to secure the thing together quite tightly. Plus they fill them way too much if they are using the egg substitute that comes in a carton. I'll have to try that some other time, however what would be the reason for that?? There's no shell you're trying to avoid.

So all in all I was quite successful and with a little more testing with cooking times I could be enjoying my eggs any softness/hardness I so choose. The only thing that throws me off is the shape. It's like a giant bonbon, or something rubbery some flat chested girl would try to stuff into her bra, or a scoop of mashed potatoes the lunch lady slapped on your tray in high school, but you know what? I don't really care because it beats the poor egg I attempted to peel this morning that looked like it had wobbled onto a landmine.

If you have some time to kill and you love "AS SEEN ON TV" crap like me, give these bad boys a try. They are fun for kids I think and remember, you don't have to have a PhD to use these! They are about ten bucks for six and a egg separator. I'm donating the separator, and I may donate the actual Eggies once the novelty wears off...or who knows...these may be as crucial in my kitchen as my trusty All-Clad...

Get out your kosher salt and your pepper grinder and enjoy an Incredible Edible Egg!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Operation Clean Freezer: Fried Ravioli: Round 2

My friend, Mindy (by the way, forgot to tell you that your new tattoos ROCK!) asked me about my past fried ravioli technique and wanted to know if it had to be the fresh type pasta. I would have to say yes it does, but you don't have to use the refrigerated or thawed kind as I did in the previous post last year. I did a test tonight on cooking up some frozen ravioli that I had hibernating in the freezer. It was a package of Portobello ravioli with two cheeses that I bought from Costco.

Look closely and you can see the frost on the inside of the package. That is one of the downfalls of being "single" and shopping at a bulk place. Too much food and it ends up drying out and mummifying in the freezer, but no worries. Frying covers up many sins and makes loads of things taste yummy regardless of condition.

Deep Fried Frozen Ravioli

Frozen jumbo ravioli, any flavor your wee heart desires (you can use small ones too if you'd like, just be sure you don't burn)
Oil for frying

Heat up enough oil in a pan with a thermometer or use a fancy pants submersion deep fryer that keeps a constant temperature and has a basket that lifts out. I have both but I'm only frying for just me. I don't pull out the big guns unless I have an Army to feed mounds of fried stuff to (I have made massive amounts of Lumpia that I did indeed feed to an Army and will post that sometime soon). Heat the oil (whatever the amount) to around 350° F. Be careful not to get it too hot as you want to heat the frozen middles without making the outside look like Kingsford charcoal briquettes.

Once the oil comes to temperature fry frozen ravioli in small batches using a slotted spoon to place into the hot oil. BE VERY CAREFUL when frying frozen stuff as there may be ice crystals and we all know that hot oil and water do not mix! You may want to use a spatter screen or it may be good to use your fancy pants submersion fryer. Just use caution and this is something you don't want your kids or someone who isn't very handy in the kitchen to do.

Try to keep the oil temperature constant by turning up the fire a little higher to compensate for the cold stuff and turning it down once it's recovered to the approximate temperature needed to make your ravioli golden, brown, and delicious on the outside and nice and gooey hotness on the inside.

Try this the next time you want to use up some leftovers or too much left in the freezer from those jumbo packs we Americans love to buy at giant warehouses!

You could fry up some cold ravioli that you had even cooked too. You know, the dry kind that has been cooked. However, I'll have to try that out in my trusty test kitchen and let you know how that tastes.

If you use a pretty hearty ravioli like a meat with a thick pasta, serve up with your favorite marinara. Because the flavor of these were pretty delicate I just scarfed them down plain. But you know what would have been really good if I hadn't been so greedy and wanted instant gratification? Perhaps dip these in a light vinegar and oil dressing or a bottled Italian dressing cut with a teeny bit of water. I just put fresh black pepper on them and *POOF!* Hey, where did all my fried ravioli go??

Give this a try, Mindy and I hope you enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

S'cuse me while I whip this out...

So, it's been far too long since I've posted anything and this is mainly due to the reason that it's been far too long that I've cooked anything. Since Dale left a year ago I have not cooked any creations, or at least very few. Sad huh, but the good thing is that I've lost 15 lbs.

I promise to get my ass back into the kitchen. I promise to dust off that insanely expensive camera I have. I promise to bring forth and make fat again.

If anyone is out there reading this.