Monday, March 29, 2010

Sumac Chicken Wraps

I swim on Monday and Wednesday nights until 6:30 so I need quick and simple things to make for dinner or I make something in advance. One of our favorites is from the San Francisco Chronicle.
Here's the link:

I'm lucky enough to have a great Mediterranean market in my town, Jasmine Market. I get the sumac and the lavash bread from them. I freeze the leftover bread for other uses. Try pita bread if you can't find lavash bread. You can find the sumac online.

Sumac chicken:
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons sumac
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Tahini-yogurt sauce:
1/3 cup tahini paste, remove from refrigerator so that it is easier to stir
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, pressed
kosher salt

The wraps:
4 small square sheets soft lavash bread, warmed in oven or on gas stove with tongs
1 heart of Romaine lettuce torn into bite size pieces
1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

To make the chicken:
Combine the garlic, sumac, olive oil and salt in a bowl large enough for 1 chicken breast. Dip chicken into spice mixture to cover. Repeat with the other piece. Preheat oven to 450 and roast until the chicken until cooked through, approximately 10 minutes per side. Let rest and cool until you can handle it. Thinly slice into strips.

To make the sauce:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, yogurt, garlic and salt until smooth.

Spread some sauce on the wrap, layer some cucumber slices, lettuce and chicken on top and wrap it all together. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Taco Salad

I'm making taco salad tonight. I usually cook ground chicken or turkey, brown rice and refried beans. Sometimes Abigail and Mike will make burritos instead of salad but the fillings are the same. If there is vegetarian in your family they'll be happy with rice and beans and the fillings.

Taco Meat:
2 teaspoons olive oil
~1 lb. ground turkey, chicken or beef
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon orgeano
1/2 chili powder
fresh chopped tomatoes or canned chopped tomatoes like Pomi or salsa
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste (you won't taste it but it will add a depth of flavor)
1/2 white wine
kosher salt and pepper

The rice:
1 cup brown rice
2 cups chicken stock or water
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon orgeano
kosher salt and pepper

For the salad or burrito fillings:
lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
grated cheddar cheese
can of refried beans, heated
chopped green onion
chopped tomatoes
avocado, chopped
sour cream
torillas or corn chips

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package. Brown rice usually takes about 50 minutes so plan accordingly. When the rice is done stir and season with spices and salt and pepper. Set aside with lid on to let garlic mellow in warm rice.

Heat olive oil in non-stick pan. Add chopped onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragant. Add spices and toast for about 1 minute. Cook ground turkey and until no longer pink. Add more olive oil if too dry. Ground beef you will have to cook first and the drain the fat. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and anchovy paste. Stir and cook a few minutes to combine flavors. Add the wine or salsa because the ground turkey tends to be dry. Cook for about 15 minutes for flavors to meld.

Put the ingredients out and let everyone make their own salad or burrito. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Steak Salad with Sauteed Onions and Feta

The weather has been getting warmer here and it is light later so I have been thinking about grilling. I decided to marinate some skirt steak to grill for a salad.
I think I picked up the marinade from my cousin Lisa, the food writer and the general idea for the salad somewhere else a long time ago but I've adapted it to this. Abigail doesn't eat red meat so this is for 2 people but could be easily doubled etc.

Steak Marinade:
~1/2 lb. skirt steak
~1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoonfresh lemon or lime juice
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup red or white wine

arugula or spinach, washed and stems removed
1 red onion, sliced (you could also throw in some sliced mushrooms)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese or blue cheese

1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
small squeeze of anchovy paste
kosher salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients of marinade in large zip lock bag. Mix well. Add steak. Let marinate in refrigerator overnight (more than 1 night is OK). Remove from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before grilling.

Heat olive oil in non-stick pan. Add onions and saute over low heat until soft and lightly browned, approximately 20 minutes.

Start your coals.

Combine all of your vinaigrette ingredients and whisk until combined. Set aside.

Toss together the arugula and cheese. Have everything ready before you start to grill the meat because it cooks quickly.

Grill the steak until desired doneness. We like it medium rare, depending on your grill or broiler approximately 5-7 minutes per side. Once you remove the meat let it sit for a few minutes. Slice into small bite size pieces. Put the warm steak and the warm onions on the greens and toss with some of the dressing. You might not need all of it.

This dish is good with red wine and is best eaten outside while listening to a baseball game on the radio.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ground Meat and Garbanzo Beans Pita Pockets

I'm making an old family favorite tonight. One of the nice things about this recipe is that is is very adaptable. You can substitute ground chicken or turkey for the ground beef or eat it without meat entirely like Abigail does. I got this from the San Francisco Chronicle several years ago and it has become a regular at our house. Here's the link:

Here's my way:

~1/2 pound ground beef
small red onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped or put through garlic press
2 teaspoons ground cumin
olive oil
1/4 dry red wine
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
parsley, chopped
kosher salt and pepper
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
~ 3 whole wheat pita bread, cut in half and toasted or warmed before serving
chopped romaine lettuce
sour cream

Brown ground beef. In separate pan add olive oil and cook onions over medium heat until soft. Add garlic and cook about 2 miuntes. Add cumin and stir together to coat the onions for about 1 minute.
Deglaze the onion pan with the red wine and add tomatoes with liquid, oregano and garbanzo beans. Stir and let cook to combine flavors. Add 1/2 of the mixture to the ground beef. Season each with salt and pepper and parsley. If you do not have a vegetarian in the house you can add the beef to the garbanzo bean mixture.
Toast the pita bread until warm but not too stiff or crunchy.
Put out the beef and garbanzo bean mixture with cucumbers, lettuce and sour cream. Add whatever mixture of ingredients to your pita that you like.
This is good with some of the red wine you used to cook with, Any leftovers are good with brown rice and reheated.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lunch at Pasta Pomodoro

I had lunch today at Pasta Pomodoro with my friend, Jane. We've eaten there a few times because it's close to her house, quick and convenient. I tried the Verdure today. It is basically roasted vegetables. I added farro and chicken from the menu and it was delicious. It would so easy to make to home and you could make it seasonal. Today it included broccoli, zucchini, brussel sprouts, asparagus and sun dried tomatoes. I don't always like sun dried tomatoes but they really added something to this dish. My sister, Lindy, commented that I usually undercook vegetables in the CA way. I guess I haven't cooked for her in a long time because my favorite way to cook vegetables is to roast them. Here's my basic technique.

Roasted Vegetables:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Suggested vegetables but feel free to substitute-
green beans
brussel sprouts
zucchini or squash

~ 2 tablespoons or to taste sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 or more tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
kosher salt and pepper

chopped cooked chicken or turkey

Chop your favorite seasonal vegetables into bite size pieces. Toss with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, chopped garlic and sun dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Put in shallow pan like a jelly roll pan. Roast for about 15 minutes. Stir, flip and turn the vegetables so that all sides of the veggies can carmelize and cook thoroughly. You can add more oil if the vegetables seem too dry. Roast for another 15 minutes and check to see if all the vegetables are cooked through. The vegetables in the middle of the pan might need to come out to the edge and the ones on the edge might need to go in the middle. How the vegetables cook will depend on your oven and how you like them cooked. I like the vegetables soft and browned.

While the vegetables are cooking cook the farro according to the instructions on the package. Cooking them in chicken or vegetable stock will make them richer without added fat.

Once the vegetables and farro are cooked toss together with the chicken. Taste and add more salt and pepper or olive oil and garlic if necessary. If you like things spicy add red pepper flakes.

I love one dish meals and this is a good one. You could also substitute other grains or rice or pasta and be creative with the protein as well. Tofu or goat or feta cheese would taste good too. Also smoked chicken or turkey or even sausage would be delicious. All you need to complete the meal is some crusty bread or maybe a fruit salad in the summer. Of course a glass of wine would really complete the picture.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My birthday

I didn't cook tonight. Abigail is out of town and Mike and I went to our neighbor Cheers' type place-Cafe Arriverderci. We split a hamburger and had a drink. Instead of posting what I cooked I thought I'd share some photos from my birthday last September. My cake was from Noe Valley Bakery in San Francisco. My incredible friends, Michael and Mary Gassen, made this for me. The best cake I think I've ever had and beautiful to boot. It was chocolate with a raspberry filling.

The pig is from Angelo's in Petaluma. Angelo is an old school Italian butcher who roasts these pigs stuffed with pork butts. Amazing!

Check it out. Until next time-enjoy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

California Tandoori Salad

I made one of the Indian recipes by Neela Paniz from Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle tonight. It was amazing! I made cheese - paneer. Mike helped me but it was actually pretty easy and definitely doable. You just need to have everything and some of it you can not get at the grocery store so plan ahead. I found the anardana on Amazon so the internet's a good choice. Don't forget to buy the muslin to make the cheese.
If you don't like cilantro like my friend Cooper you will not like this recipe. Everyone else should love it.

Here's the link to the Chronicle article

And here's what I did.

1/2 gallon whole milk
1 quart buttermilk
Instructions: Set a colander over a deep mixing bowl. Drape the colander with a fine, clean muslin cloth (not cheesecloth, because it is too porous) so that the ends hang over.

Rinse a 4-quart heavy bottomed saucepan. While it is still wet, pour the milk into it. (Using a wet pan helps prevent the formation of a skin on the pan during cooking.) Bring the milk to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.

Remove from the heat and pour in the buttermilk, stirring constantly. The solids will separate from the liquid, or whey. Pour the entire contents of the pan into the muslin-lined colander. Let the mixture cool slightly to make handling easier. Gather up the ends of the cloth and twist them together firmly to force out excess whey; reserve this excess whey to use for storing the paneer. While still tightly wrapped in muslin, place curd on an upside down plate, shallow bowl or pan set on a tray to catch more whey. Place a plate or flat pan on top, then weight with something heavy such as a can. Let the remaining whey drip away for about 30 minutes.

1/3 cup lemon juice
handful of fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup canola roasted cumin
1/2 teaspoon anardana
kosher salt

4 large cloves garlic
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 green serrano chiles, trimmed of seeds & membranes, cut into chunks
large handful of cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
kosher salt
1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 pound paneer, cut into cubes slightly smaller than 1-inch (see recipe)
1 large head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 small tomato, diced
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 green onions, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fine Sev (I found this at Malabar, an Indian market but I saw it on Amazon too)

To make the dressing: Puree the lemon juice with the cilantro until smooth in a food processor, scraping down the sides as needed. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Add the seasonings and blend again for 30 to 40 seconds. This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups. Use 1/2 cup in this salad and refrigerate the rest for another use.

For the chicken: To make the marinade, place garlic, ginger, chiles and cilantro in a food processor. Process to a smooth paste, using water by the spoonful as needed (up to about 3/4 cup). Remove to a mixing bowl and stir in the garam masala, coriander, cumin and cayenne. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the marinade to use later.

Cut chicken into bite size pieces, about 1 inches, put in bowl with the marinade, season with salt and turn the pieces to coat well. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Bring chicken to room temperature before proceeding.

When ready to cook, add the oil to the chicken pieces, stirring to coat well. Broil (about 4 inches from the element) for about 5 minutes per side, until done.

For the salad: In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the paneer (I used about half of what I made), and cook for about a minute, until lightly browned. Add the reserved marinade to coat it. Add chicken to skillet and toss together.

Place the lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pepper and green onions in a large mixing bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup dressing, adding more dressing as necessary. Add paneer, chicken and sev and toss to coat.

This recipe had alot of ingredients and took some legwork to get everything I needed but it was worth it. I'm sorry Abigail missed it since she is out of town but I will make it again.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Sebia orders takeout

Tonight we ordered take out. I swam and the Indian recipe required extra running around. The good news is there is an excellent Indian store in San Rafael, Malabar on 4th Street. They had the dried pomegranate seeds,anardana, and the fine sev. The fine sev is chickpea flour noodles. I also have to buy muslin to make the paneer which is like a farmers cheese. The Indian chicken salad will have to wait for another night. I will post the recipe(s) when I make it.
We ordered Puerto Rican food from Sol Food in San Rafael. Abigail had the vegetarian combination with garlic plantains and I had the chicken. They marinate boneless skinless chicken thighs in olive oil, garlic, thyme, orgeano and lemon juice I think. They are delicious. Mike had the pollo sandwich which he loved with chicken, ham, swiss cheese, sauteed onions and lime cilantro mayo.
So tonight was me not cooking but enjoying good food once again. Maybe I should call this blog Sebia Eats.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Barley Salad with Apples served with spinach feta sausages

I'm making a barley salad by Grace Parisi from Food and Wine tonight. I've changed a couple of things. I used chicken stock rather than water. You could also use vegegtable stock. It adds a little depth of flavor. I also used dried thyme but feel free to use fresh thyme. Here's the link to Food and Wine:

The barley
approximately 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups pearled barley
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Kosher salt to taste

Cook the barley:
1.In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the pearled barley and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly toasted; the grains will turn slightly opaque just before browning. Add more olive oil if necessary. Add the onion and thyme and cook over low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and kosher salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over very low heat until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender. Fluff the grains. Season the grains with salt and serve. Let cool. You can make this a day ahead.

The salad

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large tart apple, such as Pacific Rose, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
seeds from 1 pomegranate or about 1/2 cup
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Put the salad together:
In a bowl, whisk the oil with the vinegar and shallot and season with salt and pepper. Add the Thyme-Scented Pearled Barley, pine nuts, apple, pomegranate seeds and parsley; toss before serving. You can put the salad together without the nuts beforehand. Add the nuts before serving.

My daughter will have this salad with tofu tossed in. You could also crumble in some goat cheese or other mild cheese. Mike and I will have the sausages and a lovely Pinot Noir from Marin and Sonoma counties and the Santa Lucia Highalnds, The Forager from the Pey family.

A few of favorite things...

I wanted to start with a few of my inspriations for cooking. Obviously my family plays a large role in that along with living in Northern California. I'm fortunate to live in an area with outstanding produce, wine, cheese, meats and all kinds of diversity. The many farmers markets here make it easy to follow the seasons so right now I'm enjoying the end of the brussel sprouts and looking forward to English peas, strawberries and asparagus.
I also love to read so I receive Food and Wine, Bon Appetit and Savuer and I'm still mourning the end of Gourmet. My mom sends me Southern Living so I don't forget my roots in NC. I gets ideas from the San Francisco Chronicle and Pacific Sun. We're lucky all this is available online.
The other great inspiration are the many wonderful restaurants here in Marin County and nearby San Francisco. I had a wonderful pizza last night at Ginolina in San Rafael. It was covered with just the right amount of pancetta, arugula and scamorza, a type of creamy cheese close to mozzarella. The crust was thin and crisp from their pizza oven. I washed it down with my new favorite white wine, Falanghia from Italy.
Now I need to figure what to make for dinner. Tomorrow I'm making a fairly complicated Indian salad which I'll write about after I've made it.
As Julia Child would say Bon Appetit!