Tag Archives: salt

Sausage and Waffle and Fried Chicken Breakfast Lasagna | “The Boondocks”

by Blake Stilwell

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’ve always come short of writing direct Thanksgiving recipes. As Eaten has a recipe for a nice holiday dessert. We have a recipe to tell you what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers. I’m not one to tell you what to do with your Thanksgiving food, no matter how bad it might be. Today we have a Thanksgiving-related post, not in terms of the kind of food or celebration of the holiday, but today we celebrate what comes after. This post is a celebration of The ‘Itis.

Itis: /ī-təs/ n. – The general feeling of lethargy and well-being experienced after eating a large, usually high calorie meal. This phenomena is particularly triggered by foods high in carbohydrates and red meat.

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In season 1, episode 10 of the critically acclaimed and often controversial animated series the Boondocks, Robert “Granddad” Freeman (John Witherspoon) cooks up Huey’s (Regina King) broccoli with pork, to which Huey says “vegetables cooked with pork counts as pork!” The meal he makes for entrepreneur Ed Wuncler (Ed Asner) and a local couple, the Dubois, inspires the creation of The Itis, a restaurant with beds instead of tables and a menu that, according to Huey, “will cause death.”

The signature menu item is the “Luther,” a one-pound burger, soaked in butter and cheese, served with five strips of bacon on a grilled Krispy Kreme doughnut.

So why opt to make the breakfast lasagna, instead of the Luther, featured so heavily in the episode? The Luther is pretty common by now, you can even order one for Sunday brunch at Churchkey in Washington, DC. Also, Krispy Kremes are hard to come by in Upstate Central New York. Also, if you watch the rest of the episode, you know the terrible effects the Luther can have on a community, and I wouldn’t want to inflict something like that on you, dear reader. I also promised to make a real dish this time, instead of another sandwich.

Also, the irony of writing a blog post, creating a recipe from an episode of a show that is not only a scathing indictment of the movie Soul Food, but also of soul food itself, is not lost on me.

Ingredients:

This is a six-part miniseries. You’ll need waffles instead of lasagna noodles, made for multiple layers, as well as layers of eggs, a sausage layer, a fried chicken layer, and enough sausage gravy and cheese for other layers.

Maple Syrup
Pepper Bacon
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Pepper to Taste

Sausage Layer:
4 fresh sausage links
maple syrup

Fried Chicken Layer:
6-8 boneless fried chicken thighs
large bottle of vegetable, peanut, or canola oil
4 cups flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp salt

Sausage Gravy:
3 tbsp butter
2 fresh sausage links, casings removed
1/4 c flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Waffle Layer(s):
You could always buy Eggos, which is waffle blasphemy, or make an instant waffle mix, which is less horrifying.

1 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Scrambled Egg Layer:
6 Eggs
3/4 c Ricotta Cheese
1/2 lb Shredded Cheddar
Salt/Pepper

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  1. For the scrambled eggs, whisk eggs and salt together in a large bowl. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When foam subsides, add eggs and stir until eggs are almost cooked but still runny in parts, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ricotta until incorporated but clumps of cheese are still visible.
  2. To make fried chicken, mix the dry ingredients with the flour, then place seasoned flour in a paper bag. Add 4 to 5 pieces of chicken to the bag and shake, coating thoroughly in seasoned flour. Fill a large skillet 3/4 full with good, clean oil. (I used canola, but granddad probably used peanut or vegetable). Heat the oil to 325° F and put chicken one at a time into the oil. Don’t let the chicken pieces touch. Cook until juices start to flow out of the chicken. Turn with tongs, cook another five minutes. Place chicken onto paper towel-lined plate. When in doubt, use a meat thermometer. Chicken should be cooked to 158°.
  3. To cook the sausage gravy, heat butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until the meat starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
  4. To cook the sausage, fry the sausages until the fat and juices start to fill the pan. Once there’s a layer of  fat in the pan, add a tablespoon of maple syrup to each link and cook thoroughly. Slice the sausage at an angle.
  5. For the waffles, separate the yolks and the whites. Set the whites aside and mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a crater in the middle and mix the wet ingredients (except the egg whites) there. Then mix the whole batter.Whip the egg whites until stiff, then fold the whites into the batter bowl. Cook in a waffle iron.
  6. Fry bacon until crispy, keep in long strips and dry on a paper towel.
  7. To assemble lasagna, butter a 8×8-inch casserole dish. Place waffles side by side in the bottom of the dish. Spread 1/4 cup of maple syrup evenly over the waffles. Top with half the scrambled eggs. Layer sausage slices on top of the eggs. Sprinkle half the cheddar evenly over the eggs. Top with half the sausage gravy. Repeat these layers once more. Finish by arranging bacon strips in an even layer on top. Add extra pepper, liberally at any level, because black pepper is awesome.

Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Lasagna can be assembled the day before, covered, and refrigerated until ready to serve. Remove lasagna from oven and let sit for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

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You really can’t (shouldn’t) eat too much of this at any one time and the resulting Itis is immediate, especially when eaten in the morning.

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Beef and Bacon Pie with Onions In Gravy | “Game of Thrones”

by Blake Stilwell of (according to numerous online Game of Thrones-based personality tests) House Baratheon.

"Our Favorite Food"

“Ours is Our Favorite Food”

I actually believe if House Stilwell had a place in Westeros, our sigil would likely be a fat bear, wearing a bib and drinking  two fingers of scotch. I also think this is probably Robert Baratheon’s personal sigil, one he just never talked about.  But this isn’t about me, this is a celebration!

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This month, HBO dropped the latest season of Game of Thrones on Blu-Ray, a gift for which I have already pre-ordered for my mother (it was her Christmas gift. Don’t judge me. I got schmaltzy gifts for her for the past five years and I think she actually liked this much better). Of course I didn’t wait for this to watch. Who possibly could? To celebrate this momentous occasion (and maybe have it available for this year’s premiere of Season Four), As Eaten brings you something as epic as the Game of Thrones theme song: a hearty dish from the North!

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Not that far North.

No, not Ygritte. It’s a Beef and Bacon Pie, from the lands around Winterfell! The recipe comes from A Feast of Ice and Fire: the Official Game of Thrones Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, based on their blog Inn At The Crossroads. This book is more than a recipe book. Its an exhaustively-researched history of food and medieval cookery. It’s a fascinating mix of narrative and historical context. I highly recommend this. It’s so much more than a cookbook. And if you’re throwing a Game of Thrones-themed party, you will not find a better companion!

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Well.. maybe one better companion…

The North of Westeros is a vast, cold place. As such, the food tends to toward what we in the US call “comfort food.” They are heavy, hearty plates, full of meats, gravies, breads, and such. This recipe is no different. The difference is where the comfort food in the US can be bland at times, save the use of salt and pepper, the use of fruits and spices in this  meat mixture brings a unique, exotic flavor.

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It’ll taste better than you think it will.

But you’ll need to start with the medieval pastry dough. There is a special recipe, and the first ingredient should be an indicator of the uniqueness of flavors I’m talking about. If it sounds weird that the North of Westeros uses Saffron in its baking doughs, there is a very interesting explanation, based in both the lore of the Game of Thrones universe as well as Medieval History, thoroughly researched and presented to the reader. It’s really a good read. And it’s delicious.

Pinch of Saffron
1/2 C Water
1/2 C Unsalted Butter
3 C Flour 2 Egg Yolks, beaten

Dissolve the saffron in the water. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until there are only crumb-sized pieces. Add the egg yolks and saffron water until the mixture is sticky. To pre-bake a shell, line a pan with thin-rolled dough.use a fork to poke holes all over the bottom of the pastry shells. Bake for 10 minutes at 350° F.

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Beef and Bacon Pie

The book offers two recipes, a modern version and a medieval version. The recipe I used from this book is more of the medieval sort, which I think more appropriate, given the setting of the show and books.

1/2 c thick-cut bacon, diced
1 1/2 lbs stew beef, diced
1/2 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/3 c prunes
1/3 c raisins
1/3 c dates pitted and chopped
1 c beef broth
2-3 tbsp flour
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Cook the bacon in a saucepan until the fat runs from it, then drain off the fat. To the bacon pan, add the beef, spices, vinegar, and fruits. Add enough broth to wet the mixture until its runny. Mix in the flour and cook until the juices form a gravy. Cool the mixture. Line a 9-inch pie pan with a pastry dough and fill it with the meat mixture.

The book calls for a pastry lid. But the book has a great photo of a pie with a bacon lattice lid, so we decided to go with this because it was so much more epic. We used the remaining chewy bacon that wasn’t quite crispy to form the lattice so it would crips in the oven. The fruit will melt as the pie bakes and form a sweet, salty, savory mix of flavors that is absolutely fantastic.

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Onions in Gravy

10 oz boiler or pearl onions
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 sprig of freshly chopped savory herb, such as rosemary or thyme
1/3 c apple cider
1 tbsp flour
3 c beef stock
Splash of Brandy

Clean and peel the onions. Quarter seven of them and put the rest aside. In a deep frying pan, add the honey, herbs, and quartered onions.make sure the onions get covered with the honey-butter mixture, cook for 8 minutes, browning the onions. Add the cider to the pan in three distinct splashes. let the cider heat between splashes. Sprinkle flour into the pan and form a gravy. Add the stock and the rest of the onions and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes and reduce until it has a thicker, more gravy-like consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. We garnished with rosemary because it looked nice and we had some left over.

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This one-two punch combination of sweet and savory is a filling, hearty meal fit for you or any Stark. Any Stark that may still be alive, that is.

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Shark’s Fin Soup | “Clue: The Movie”

by Blake Stilwell, in the kitchen, with the knife.

Long before Charles Carson taught me what being a butler really meant, I learned that the Butler buttles. He is the head of the Kitchen and Dining Room and likes to keep the kitchen “tidy.” In 1985’s Clue: The Movie, that role is played by Tim Curry in what is in my opinion his best role ever, and Rocky Horror fans can think of that what they like.

So can Stephen King.

So can Stephen King.

Clue might be the first movie based on a board game (or perhaps… the only one that isn’t unwatchably horrible), Tim Curry plays Wadsworth, the most charming butler since Irene hired Godfrey. Wadsworth gathers a group of seemingly unrelated guests to dinner. Their only common element is they all received a letter. Which read:

“It will be to your advantage to be present on this date because a Mr. Boddy will bring to an end a certain long-standing confidential and painful financial liability.”

This letter from “A friend” was read to the guests over dinner, a dinner that included Monkey’s Brains (Mrs. Peacock’s favorite) and a delicious shark’s fin soup. While researching this article, I found what looks like a great recipe for the soup from a 1982 New York Times article. But as I further researched the dish, I became a little bit worried about recommending it to people to actually eat.

Shark’s Fin Soup is  made from the stock of a shark’s fin. But since the shark fin itself has very little flavor, especially for a stock, it is usually helped along with chicken stock. The fin is more for texture than flavor. But it is still seen as a delicacy and can cost upwards of $80-$100 per bowl. If that wasn’t enough, shark fishermen actually catch sharks just for their fins and leave the rest of the carcass. Moreover, shark fins contain a LOT of mercury, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, and other toxins. FDA studies show almost 80% of sharks fins contain significant levels dangerous substances that cause Alzheimer’s and impotence (which sucks, because so many cultures think it’s and aphrodisiac.) To make a long story short (TOO LATE), Shark’s Fin Soup just isn’t that good for you or for sharks. We’ll give Clue a pass because it was set in 1954, but for us, we’re gonna need something better.

Lucky for us, supernaturally gifted and nationally acclaimed Chef Peter Pahk concocted a sustainable Faux Shark Fin Soup recipe that he (rightly) claims is better than the real thing. Because arsenic is a terrible soup ingredient.

Dying at a dinner party wrecks everything.

Dying at a dinner party wrecks everything.

Be advised: This recipe require 4 hours of soaking the ingredients. And that is not a red herring.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Chinese black mushrooms (shitake)
  • 8-10 pieces of dried tree ear mushrooms
  • 2 ounces cellophane noodles
  • 2 ounces skinless raw chicken breast
  • 2 ounces lean raw pork
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • Dash of sesame oil
  • White pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

Soak the black mushrooms, tree ear mushrooms and cellophane noodles separately in hot water for 4 hours until they soften. Drain well.

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Remove the hard stems of the black mushrooms (you can save them to cook with other Chinese soups) and cut the remaining pieces into small strips. Chop the tree ear mushrooms into small pieces and cut the cellophane noodles into 1-inch pieces with scissors. Set aside.

Slice the chicken breast and pork into thin strips.

Bring the chicken broth and water to a boil. Add the chicken, pork, black and tree ear mushrooms, and cook until all ingredients are cooked through and softened. Add the cellophane noodles, soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and salt to taste.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water to make a thick slurry. Return the soup to a boil, stir in the cornstarch mixture and beaten egg and mix well. Remove from heat and serve in small bowls. Serves six.

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Besides making the song “Sh-Boom, Sh-Boom” and “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” remind me of murder and blackmail, Clue gave me a what is probably the biggest influence on my sense of humor and timing it was one of the best comedies of the 1980’s and maybe of all time and I almost felt bad for Lee Ving (Mr. Boddy), being included in a cast of comedy legends that included Madeline Kahn (Mrs White), Christopher Lloyd (Prof. Plum), Michael McKean (Mr. Green), Martin Mull (Col. Mustard) and Leslie Ann Warren (Miss Scarlet), not to mention the legendary Eileen Brennan (Mrs. Peacock) and oh MY this soup’s delicious isn’t it?

But really, it is one of the best soups I’ve ever made or eaten. This is one dish where the quality of the recipe really lives up to the quality of the movie, even though Clue had to add some characters to the game to smooth the plot of the movie (FYI – Mr. Boddy is a real character. He’s the game’s murder victim). Though Wadsworth, the cook, and Yvette are not in the game, their inclusion is both necessary and hilarious.

You might agree.

You might agree.

Can I interest anyone in fruit or dessert?

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Triple-Fried Monte Cristo Sandwich | “Community”

By Blake Stilwell

Let me preface this post by saying I will not be able to be as clever or get as many pop culture references into it as the writers of this show could. As Eaten is a shadow what this show can do.

Community on NBC: Watch it. Please?

Community on NBC: Watch it. Please?

It’s holiday break, but school will soon be back in (for some of you) and I was thinking that we could slip in one last fattening holiday treat. If I were going to create the signature dish from Community, I know it would have to be Abed’s Buttered Noodles, as they’re mentioned in many an episode… but that’s not very difficult.

Ta-Da.

Ta-Da.

The dish of choice comes from the tag of Community’s “Alternative History of the German Invasion,” episode four of season four, and is an offering at Shirley’s Sandwiches in the cafeteria.

This episode is packed with more references than I could ever hope to fit in an As Eaten post: Hogan’s Heroes, Die Hard, Die Hard III, Actual World History, Community itself, and another appearance of Michael Haggins’ Daybreak, a running gag through out the series (I love running gags).

This sandwich is a lot more filling (and heavy) than most of what we’ve eaten from TV thus far. And if you’re at risk of coronary issues, it’s probably one to be avoided, but if you’re not, prepare your taste buds for the fried confection/lunch that even the Great New York State Fair didn’t offer: a Triple-Fried Monte Cristo Sandwich.


The Fried Chicken Skin Wrap also might be worth an As Eaten Entry.

Even though you never actually see the Monte Cristo, just the fact that it’s offered at a Community College Cafeteria Sandwich Shop was intriguing to me. Could this possibly be made in short order? Would it be something that any student could pay for? Is this something any one wants to eat?

The Monte Cristo itself is a twist on the French croque monsieur, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a bechamel sauce, which is just a white sauce made with butter, flour and milk (if you try this separately, add pepper. Trust me.) Butthis goes beyond just a grilled ham and cheese. We upgrade the cheese, the meats, and fry it in a egg batter, and served with powdered sugar and jam. It’s the love child of French Toast and Grilled Cheese. It’s the meal for when you miss breakfast, but are too early for lunch… and also aren’t at brunch.

Ingredients
1 quart oil for frying, or as needed
2/3 cup water
1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 slices white bread
4 slices gruyere cheese (because swiss is for losers)
4 slices turkey
4 slices ham
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large pan to 365 degrees. I don’t have a deep fryer, but when I’m at home, I use a wok. Sue me, it’s big and it works. While oil is heating, make the batter. Some fry cooks covet a single batter, with egg and water mixed in with your dry ingredients. I usually opt for a separate wet/dry batter. Here, there is no choice. Using a wet batter will only result in sloppy bread. Suck it up, and follow the directions.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper; whisk into the egg mixture until smooth. Put it in the refrigerator.
  3. Assemble sandwiches by placing  turkey on one slice of bread, ham on another, then the gruyere cheese in the middle (much easier than a Grilled Charlie). Cut sandwiches into quarters (to fit in the fryer… don’t be a hero), and secure with toothpicks (this is important).
  4. Dip each sandwich quarter in the batter so that all sides are coated. Deep fry until golden brown on all sides. Then do it again. And Again.
  5. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving (It will likely get soggy if you don’t). Garnish with jam (I like strawberry) and a sprig of mint if you like the color.

The sandwiches will be very hot. As tempting as they look… please give them time to cool. Cool cool cool.

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Enjoy this triple fried sweet delight with the delightfully sweet sounds of Daybreak.

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Puerco Pibil | “Once Upon A Time In Mexico”

By Blake Stilwell

Before we begin the recap, let it be known that I both love this film and am aware it’s supposed to be over the top. I love Robert Rodriguez’ work. Everything from the camera work to the acting is great. I love this series. BUT let me also say I think this last movie in the Mexico Trilogy might have been a little too over the top. At times I thought of how far the Batman series fell before Christopher Nolan got his hands on it.

I want to hit him too.

I still want to hit him too.

That being said, Once Upon a Time in Mexico is the heartwarming story of the redemption of a man who lost it all fighting the good fight against greed, corruption and the many iterations of Cheech Marin. El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) gathers his gang of two other Mariachi played by Enrique Iglesias and Marco Leonardi, an Italian, for one last big adventure. Why an Italian? Who knows. Cartel kingpin Barillo is played by Willem DaFoe with a tan.

I LOVE THE SUN, ALRIGHT?

I LOVE THE SUN, ALRIGHT?

The only problem is that El Mariachi, who is destitute and in hiding, swore off violence, and is struggling with the loss of his wife, the last bare midriff in all of Mexico.

RIP

RIP

Honestly, even women who dress more modestly in Mexico don’t fare much better. It’s rough out there, even for a waitress.

Unnecessary.

She’d have been better off serving Steve Buschemi in Reservoir Dogs.

This movie is incredibly action-packed, which is a code word for violent. Not that I’m not okay with movie violence, I just think taking the time to stop and aim would be to everyone’s benefit.

Cover is optional.

Also, cover is optional.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico also holds the record for most railing-related and falling-after-being-shot-related deaths.


In the mix, we have an FBI Agent, an American fugitive, a Federale subplot and it’s all tied together… This whole scenario is orchestrated by a CIA agent named Sands, played by Johnny Depp, who’s much better outside of Tim Burton movies than I remember and I probably don’t remember since it’s been a long time since I saw him outside a Tim Burton movie. Yes, I know he did The Lone Ranger, but if no one else saw it, why should I?

Sands’ favorite meal in Mexico is Puerco Pibil, with a tequila and lime. It’s featured in the movie so often, it should get its own IMDB Page.


The recipe for this is simple, but it requires time to marinate, so be sure to prep a few hours before you watch this movie, because halfway through, you’ll want your own. If you don’t know a good recipe, you’re in luck! Robert Rodriguez includes his own on DVD extras.  Here it is:

5 lbs pork butt, cubed into 2 inch pieces
5 tablespoons annatto seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
8 whole allspice
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
2 red habanero peppers, diced (remove seeds and membrane)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons salt
8 cloves garlic
5 lemons peeled & juiced
1 tablespoon tequila
banana leaves

Directions
1. Put annato seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, allspice and cloves in a clean coffee grinder and grind very fine.
2. Put orange juice, white vinegar, habanero peppers, ground spice powder, salt, garlic, lemon juice and tequila in blender.
3. Blend until smooth.

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We used a food processor.

4. Place cubed pork and liquid from blender in zip loc bag and marinate for one hour.
5. Line a 9×13 baking pan with banana leaves. (if you don’t have banana leaves handy, aluminum foil works)
6. Pour pork mixture directly on top of banana leaves and cover with more banana leaves.
7. Cover tightly with foil.
8. Bake at 325 degrees for 4 hours.

Incredibly simple to make, even if you don’t have the banana leaves. Don’t forget the rice!

It may not be the prettiest, but it's the most delicious. Please don't shoot me.

It may not be the prettiest, but it’s the most delicious. Please don’t shoot me.

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Shawarma | “The Avengers”

by Blake Stilwell

avengers_poster

I don’t really think this movie needs an introduction, as it raked in enough cash for everyone to have have seen it twice. But here we go anyway… The Avengers: the story of seven strangers picked to live in a floating invisible aircraft carrier, work together and have their lives taped, to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. The working together part was right. They really needed to work together. They’re going to fight a nearly indestructible alien army and one of their crew shoots arrows while another one brought the world’s smallest handgun.

Why not just bring a knife. Seriously.

That scene always reminds me of this:

Anyway, saving the world is hungry work (I mean, probably). Either that or it’s a good way to transition right to the end of the movie because the fight scene ran long but was too awesome to cut. It doesn’t matter why, let’s just celebrate with shawarma, the Middle Eastern sandwich easily found on the streets of Beirut, Ramallah, and New York City. No sarcasm, it’s everywhere. And for good reason. It’s portable and delicious.

If you don’t recognize the second scene from this clip, you need to remember not to leave during the credits of a Marvel movie.

It’s kind of understandable that Tony Stark never tried shawarma. He probably spent more time blowing up parts of the Middle East than getting a feel for its cuisine. But it’s never too late to catch up! Our recipe is for chicken shawarma, but the lamb is really good too.

FYI: This recipe has to marinate overnight, so don’t put off the prep for it.

Ingredients Assemble!
2 lbs of thinly cut skinless boneless chicken breast

The Marinade:
½ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
4 tablespoons plain (Greek) yogurt
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 head of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1  teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground ginger
pinch nutmeg

Instructions
Rinse the chicken in cold water then cut into thinner cuts of about ½ inch. Set aside.

Mix all other ingredients in a blender. Blend. It’s not going to look pretty.

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It’s delicious, though, I promise.

Mix well with the chicken, cover and let marinate in the fridge overnight. When it’s properly marinated, grill the marinated chicken using a panini grill for about 15 minutes on medium heat. I don’t have a grill, a panini press or a Foreman Grill. So I had to improvise.

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Waffle Iron Man

Grilling is the important part. Don’t bake or fry the chicken, you’re trying to recreate the style of a rotating roasting spit. If you’ve never been to the Middle East or a Middle Eastern restaurant, it looks like this:

Shawarma Spit

Once cooked, shred the chicken into bite sized edible chunks. Spread the chicken shreds on pita bread, add some Lebanese Garlic paste ( aka Toum – visit your friendly neighborhood Middle Eastern grocer, specialty store or make your own) or Tahine, and add some salty Middle Eastern-style pickles (also available at a specialty store, but regular pickles will do). Many times this is served with grilled or roasted tomatoes. In the Middle East, it’s served with 7,000 different kinds of pickled vegetable options, a really weak hot sauce, and/or fries. In the sandwich.

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Earth’s Mightiest Sandwich

I didn’t add tomatoes because I hate them and didn’t add fries because I spent so much effort in cooking the meat this way to lock the juices in, why would I add a condiment that would just sap them from the meat? That being said, fries are not a condiment. They go next to the sandwich, not on it (looking at you, Primanti Bros. of Pittsburgh).

Toum, though. Seriously.

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Aubergine Stew | “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”

Star Trek is a show with which most people have some familiarity, especially now that the JJ Abrams movies are popular (don’t get me started on that). Star Trek is a permanent entry in the US pop culture lexicon. Most people know at least who Captain Kirk is and who Mr. Spock is, but beyond that, it is left to the fans of the shows to know who is who on the Enterprise, who does what on the ship, and so on. It takes an even bigger fan to be familiar with Star Trek in its further incarnations: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, etc.Warning: Huge Star Trek fan is about to write about Star Trek.

Everyone has to eat, even in the 23rd century.  There are a lot of beverages that were favorites of the various crews… Worf’s fondness for prune juice is well-documented.  To this day, I still order tea the iconic way Captain Picard did. And Mr. Scott (Scotty) enjoyed scotch on many occasions.

Scotch

Three fingers of scotch make you a miracle worker.

Yet, aside from the occasional view of the bright blue, nearly glowing Romulan Ale, the still-moving tentacles of Klingon Gakh or some such other slight asides,  food wasn’t really a focus for the Original Series or the Next Generation. The feature of food really came into its own in the third incarnation of the series, Deep Space Nine. Set on a space station in a remote area of the galaxy, combined with the setting of a series of shops and restaurants on the station, allowed for the introduction of new customs and culture into the canon. Crew members met for regular lunches, dinners and happy hours. Crewmen had strong Klingon coffee in the morning and ate dinners with their families at night. The commander of the station, Benjamin Sisko, played by Avery Brooks, even had a father who was a famous chef in New Orleans back on Earth. Consequently, much of the food in the Sisko household and on the show is of Cajun-Creole origin.

Right away, in the first episode, Sisko is imagining meeting his wife on a beach, offering to make her his father’s recipe for Aubergine Stew. Later in the same season, Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) comes into a room where Sisko is waiting to have dinner with his son, and recognizes the stew right away. Since the two have been friends for years, the implication is that he makes it a lot.

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And it is apparently really enjoyable, best eaten with a giant spoon.

Coming back to Earth for a minute, aubergine is a kind of eggplant. It is very popular in Middle Eastern and Persian cuisine, and is best when paired with lamb. That being said, it is important to keep in mind that the Sisko family is from Louisiana, not Tehran. His father’s recipe would likely be a derivative of khoresht-e bademjan, a kind of Persian Eggplant Tomato Stew, but would have significant differences. Khoresht-e bademjan would have spices from the region: Saffron, Turmeric, Advieh. Sisko’s Aubergine Stew would have spices from Louisiana: thyme, cayenne pepper, cumin, black pepper – and would more than likely be made with chicken instead of lamb. It would also include what is well-known in cooking circles as the “holy trinity” of cajun cuisine: bell peppers (I prefer green), onions and celery.

Ingredients:
3 skinless chicken thighs
2 eggplants (aubergines), peeled, diced into medium pieces, and salted overnight
(rinse an hour before cooking)
2 onions, diced
2 leeks, sliced into rings
1 bell pepper (again, any color, but I prefer green)
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 large can crushed tomatoes
oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, cumin and black pepper, about 1/2 tsp of each
Salt
Olive oil

An hour or so before you cook, rinse the eggplant and dry. Heat oil in a large, deep pan. Sauté eggplant til golden brown, not burnt.

In a large pot or saucepan, heat more olive oil. Cook the onion, garlic and celery until soft, then add the spices and cook for a minute or so until they are fragrant. Add eggplant to the pot then cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the rest of the vegetables and cook until they soften slightly. Then add the crushed tomatoes and mix to distribute tomatoes evenly. Add the chicken to the vegetables, cover the chicken in the vegetable mixture then put the lid on the pot and cook on a low heat for about 45 minutes. When you first add the chicken, it will seem too dry to be left on the burner, but don’t worry… the chicken stock is coming.

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When its all done, he vegetables should be soft and the chicken will be falling off the bone.

Remove the chicken from the stew and shred the meat. Set aside, along with about a quarter of the stew mixture. Using a food processor or blender, blend the rest of the stew smooth. Put everything back into the main pot and mix well. It is now ready to serve. Garnish with some green, such as chopped parsley.

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I apparently really love parsley.

Khoresht-e bademjan would be served over Persian-style rice. Considering the rice tradition in creole cooking in New Orleans, I think the Aubergine Stew would be nice over rice, but not necessary, as Dax clearly demonstrated with her giant spoon.

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