Tag Archives: fried

Iraq…

Friday, April 26 –

This dinner was almost perfectly made for four people. We had WingWoman, LightsOn, BestestFianceEver, and yours truly.

I started by chopping the prunes and apricots up, putting them in a bowl, covering them with water, and leaving them on the counter for about three hours. Then I took chicken thighs, removed the skin, and fried photo(3)them in hot oil until they were browned on both sides. Then I put the drained prunes and apricots in a glass baking dish and pushed them to the sides. I added the chicken thighs in the middle. Then I fried the onion and garlic in the leftover oil and chicken bits, adding the spices, broth, honey, and cornstarch/lemon juice mixture after the onions were soft and brown. Stirring well to mix in the cornstarch and to scrape off the last chicken bits, I let the liquid boil for a few minutes. After I was sure it was all hot and mixed together I poured the liquid and onions over the top of the chicken, apricots, and prunes. Covered with foil and into a 350* oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkled with sliced almonds and served for dinner.

LightsOn made the filling for a dish that is lamb, onion, and spices cooked until done and then shoved into hand-rolled pockets of rice-dough stuff. Then we fried the rice pockets. It was extremely sticky/messy/hilarious. But the recipe we used didn’t have much flavor to it, so it turned into a way to soak up the sauce from the tagine.

Iraq
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.epicurious.com)

Chicken and Prune Tagine

  • 4 oz Prunes
  • 4 oz Dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup Toasted split almonds
  • 3 tbl Extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 Portions chicken
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 20 Grinds black pepper
  • 1 lrg Onion
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Ground turmeric
  • 3 Cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cup Chicken stock or half stock, half white wine
  • 1 tbl Honey
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 2 tsp Lemon juice or water

Cooking Instructions:  Several hours in advance or overnight, soak the dried fruit in water to cover. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Fry the almonds in the hot oil over moderate heat until golden brown, then drain on paper towels and reserve. Remove the skin and any visible fat from the chicken portions, thoroughly dry them, then season with the salt and pepper. Fry the chicken in the hot oil until rich brown on all sides, then lift out and drain on paper towels to remove any surplus fat. Lay the pieces side by side in a lidded casserole and surround with the drained fruit. In the same oil gently sauté the finely chopped onion and garlic until they turn a rich golden brown (keep the pan lid on for 5 minutes to soften them in the steam, and then remove it to finish the browning). Add the spices and stock and honey. Stir well to release any crispy bits adhering to the base of the pan, then bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixed with the lemon juice (or water, if wine has been used). Pour over the chicken. Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Do not overcook as the chicken will soften during the reheating. Garnish the dish with the fried almonds.

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Iceland…

Monday, March 25 –

Another dinner with a ton of people, how exciting! We had: LostBoy, RubsWithLove, Sir VJ (salad), ChinUp, MyBuddy (caramelized potatoes), OurCuz (wine), BestestFianceEver, and yours truly (fried halibut and bread). photo(7)

We bought 2.3 pounds of halibut, fresh from Central Market. I cut the slab of fish into pieces approximately 2″ square. I figured it would be easier for people to portion control that way. I mixed the flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl and rolled the pieces of fish in the flour mixture. I melted a stick of butter in a large pan (medium high) and I fried the pieces of fish in the hot butter. It took me two batches, the last batch smaller than the first batch, so I added chopped onion to the second batch. After I pulled the last of the fish pieces out and set them on a plate with a paper towel; I covered them with foil until the onions were browned and beautiful from frying in the butter.

Dinner was served – fish fried in butter, onions fried in butter, caramelized potatoes, and a salad with strawberries, gorgonzola, almonds, and balsamic dressing. (We couldn’t find a real salad recipe from Iceland, but it does say to serve it with one in the recipe, so I told them to wing it with whatever sounded good.)

The salad was crisp and bright with sweet strawberries. The fish was light and flaky, with only a little bit of the butter flavor lingering. The potatoes kind of tasted like doughnuts and kind of like potatoes. Not bad, but not my favorite. The food was on plates and then disappeared into bellies so fast that I almost missed everyone actually eating it. I think from the silence while the food was being devoured that it was a pretty darn good dinner.

All of the dinner ideas for the I, J, and K countries are up over here. Don’t be shy, come have dinner with us!

Iceland
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.isholf.is)

Lúðubuff – Fried Halibut Steaks

  • 1 1/2 kg. halibut (or turbot, sole or other flat fish)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 150 gr. oil, butter or margarine
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • 1/3 tsp. ground pepper
  • 100 gr. onion

Take one small, whole halibut. Cut off the head, tail and fins. Scrape off the slime and loose scales under cold, running water. Cut the fish into slices, about as thick as your thumb is wide. Mix together flour, salt and pepper. Coat the slices with flour mixture and fry in the hot fat until done (3-4 minutes on each side). Remove from the pan and arrange the steaks on a serving dish. Slice the onions and brown in the fat, remove and put on top of the fish. Pour some water on the frying pan, roll it around and pour over the fish. Serve with cooked potatoes, green salad and lemon wedges.
-Try grilling the fish steaks: cut into large cubes and thread onto skewers with onion pieces, fresh mushrooms and pieces of red bell pepper (capsicum).

Brúnaðar kartöflur – Caramelized potatoes

  • 1 kg. cooked potatoes (preferably red)
  • 50 g. butter/margarine
  • 50 g. sugar

Potatoes should preferably be cold, but it is not necessary. They should be small and even sized. If they are too big, cut into smaller pieces, flush with water and pat dry. Put the sugar on a medium hot frying pan. When it starts to brown, add the butter and stir to mix. Lower temperature and add potatoes. Roll the potatoes around to coat evenly. The caramel covering should be soft. Serve hot, for example with the Sunday roast. Caramelized potatoes are also good with all kinds of pork, especially smoked.


Germany…

Friday, December 7 –

I kept hoping that we would get to a country that was heritage for one of us, and it finally happened. Germany, thank you for being the birthplace for two of my favorite mothers of our group, and thank you for photo(6)having such yummy food! I do have to admit, though, before we get going that even though I like most everything pickled, I don’t really like very many recipes of sauerkraut. I know, I know, that’s weird. But true. So I took a regular sauerkraut from a jar and made something fabulous from it, called Bavarian sauerkraut. Add bacon and red wine and all of a sudden it’s yummy? Yep.

I cooked the sauerkraut recipe exactly as it reads below, I just made half of what it calls for. Bacon – then onion and garlic into the bacon fat. Then caraway seeds, chicken bouillon cube, and brown sugar. Stir. Red wine plus the whole jar of sauerkraut. Stir again and let simmer. Next add the potato, paprika, and pepper – then the roux. Simmer. Our stove doesn’t really do “low simmer” very well, so I simmered it for about ten minutes with the lid on the pan, then turned the heat off but left it on the burner until we were ready for dinner. Stir a little more and then serve!

I made the wiener schnitzel exactly as it is written. Pounded meat plus salt and pepper. Then dip in flour, egg mixture, and bread crumbs. Fry each one in canola oil, then set aside under foil to keep it warm. As the last two schnitzels were frying I steamed some broccoli to serve on the side.

I also ended up making spatzle, but I cheated a little and made it from a box. We had a hiccup in the planning (because planning plus late wine nights always end well…) so boxed pasta it was.

This dinner was not only savory, tart, fried, and buttery – it was delicious. I could have kept eating that bacon/wine/sauerkraut the rest of the weekend! So if you’re like me and you like a little tart but canned sauerkraut is usually too strong, try the recipe below.

YUM!

And thanks to BestestFianceEver, Hot Momma, and SlotMachine for sharing this dinner with me. Cheers!

Germany
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.squidoo.com and www.bavariankitchen.com)

Wiener Schnitzel

  • 4 veal scaloppini
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoons water, buttermilk or milk
  • ½ tablespoons canola oil (and more for frying)
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 6-8 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • salt, pepper
  • lemon to serve
  • parsley to serve

Preparation:

Dry the veal scaloppini with paper towels. Tenderize the veal on both sides evenly with a meat mallet. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Prepare three dishes: 6 tablespoons flour in first dish, whisked egg with 1 tablespoon water and 1/2 tablespoons oil (or 1 tablespoon buttermilk or milk) in the second dish and 6-8 tablespoons bread crumbs in the third dish.

Coat the veal with the flour on both sides, shake off any excess, dip in the egg mixture on both sides and lastly into the bread crumbs shaking off any excess.

Prepare a stainless steel or cast-iron skillet with some canola oil just enough to cover the bottom of the skillet and let it get hot on medium-high heat. Drop in a few bread crumbs, if the oil starts to sizzle carefully place the Schnitzel inside. Reduce heat to medium. Fry veal until golden brown turning once. Do not cover the skillet. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley.

Serve with rice, french fries, mashed/boiled potatoes, steamed vegetables or a garden salad. Garnish: 4 slices of lemon and some chopped fresh parsley.

Bavarian Sauerkraut

  • 2 quart jars of good-quality sauerkraut. (How do we know it’s good quality? It costs more.)
  • 1 pound of smoked bacon, cut into thin strips.
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large russet potato
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon of caraway seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons of paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of cold roux
  • 1 large beef bouillon cube
  • 1 cup of red wine – aah, make that 2 cups!

Preparation:
First, we fry the bacon strips halfway, then adding chopped onion and garlic we cook this until it’s all golden brown and the bacon is crispy. During the last 5 minutes, we add the caraway seeds, beef bouillon cube and brown sugar to the pan. Now we add the 2 cups of wine and the sauerkraut and let this come to a simmer. At this point, we grate the raw potato into the mix! After seasoning with paprika and black pepper, we mix the cold roux (equal amounts of flour and butter, gently cooked for about 15 minutes) into the kraut. Turn the heat to a low setting and simmer the dish for an hour or two. Bohemian sauerkraut, like so many other stews, tastes even better when reheated the next day.


China… {potluck!}

Friday, May 4 –

To tell you the truth, I thought that there would be more interest in this potluck. Maybe Chinese food is so accessible in this city that it wasn’t as interesting? I don’t know. We had five people this time: ZombieMode (lychee vodka drinks), BestieExtraordinaire (shrimp and veggie stir-fry), GingerNuts (crab rangoon), and NoPoots. I made general tso’s chicken and rice.

Making the general tso’s chicken was an interesting process. First, you coat the chicken in an egg and cornstarch mix. Then you fry them, cool them, and then fry them again (just like regular fried, battered chicken). It was a little deceiving though, because the recipe tells you to watch for it to turn light brown the first time and then deep brown the second time. The cornstarch didn’t really turn light brown the first time, but the chicken did. The second time the cornstarch and chicken both turned a nice golden brown color, so it was easier to tell when it was done. If you aren’t used to frying chicken, that’s definitely something to pay attention to. The sauce was incredibly easy to make, following exactly as the recipe is written. I did change the amounts a little, however, and would probably recommend doing the same. The recipe calls for 1.5 pounds of chicken for one batch of sauce and I made 2.5 pounds of chicken for two batches of sauce – and it was barely enough. I would recommend making double the sauce it says for the same amount of chicken (if you like yours gooey and saucy like I do).

The lychee vodka drinks were a little sweet for me, but I’m not such a huge fan of lychee flavor. ZombieMode and GingerNuts seemed to like them quite a bit. BestieExtraordinaire was drinking sake and NoPoots and I drank wine. The crab rangoon was good, but by the time we got to eat it they were a little soggy. Unfortunately, GingerNuts lives pretty far from us, so sitting in a Tupperware for the drive wasn’t very kind to them. If they had been crispy, they would have been amazing. Real crab meat in them makes a huge difference! The shrimp and veggie stir-fry was really good. He used rice noodles to make them gluten free, and the texture of the veggies and the shrimp was a perfect combo. And finally, the general tso’s… was AMAZING. That recipe makes the flavor exactly like the best I’ve had at some of the restaurants around here. If you like the flavor of the sauce, I would highly recommend saving this one. I will be making it again soon with sauteed chicken rather than fried. Double yum!

Like last week, I was taking these photos as quickly as I could so people could eat. I apologize for them being so hurried. Food quality before photo quality in my house, so if you want to enjoy the full experience you will just have to come over! The next dinner will also be a potluck for Columbia (Sat. 5/12). Hopefully more people will come to keep the potluck idea alive for some of these dinners. Stay tuned for more amazing dishes!

{general tso’s chicken}

{shrimp and veggie stir-fry}

{crab rangoon}

{crab rangoon with sauce, shrimp and veggie stir-fry, general tso’s chicken, and rice}

China
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.allrecipes.com)

General Tsao’s Chicken II

  •     4 cups vegetable oil for frying
  •     1 egg
  •     1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  •     1 teaspoon salt
  •     1 teaspoon white sugar
  •     1 pinch white pepper
  •     1 cup cornstarch
  •     2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •     3 tablespoons chopped green onion
  •     1 clove garlic, minced
  •     6 dried whole red chilies
  •     1 strip orange zest
  •     1/2 cup white sugar
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  •     3 tablespoons chicken broth
  •     1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  •     1/4 cup soy sauce
  •     2 teaspoons sesame oil
  •     2 tablespoons peanut oil
  •     2 teaspoons cornstarch
  •     1/4 cup water

Directions:

Heat 4 cups vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Beat the egg in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken cubes; sprinkle with salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and white pepper; mix well. Mix in 1 cup of cornstarch a little bit at a time until the chicken cubes are well coated.

In batches, carefully drop the chicken cubes into the hot oil one by one, cooking until they turns golden brown and begin to float, about 3 minutes. Remove the chicken and allow to cool as you fry the next batch. Once all of the chicken has been fried, refry the chicken, starting with the batch that was cooked first. Cook until the chicken turns deep golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir in the green onion, garlic, whole chiles, and orange zest. Cook and stir a minute or two until the garlic has turned golden and the chiles brighten. Add 1/2 cup sugar, the ginger, chicken broth, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and peanut oil; bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the water, and stir into the boiling sauce. Return to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens and is no longer cloudy from the cornstarch, about 1 minute. Stir the chicken into the boiling sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook for a few minutes until the chicken absorbs some of the sauce.


Cape Verde…

Friday, March 30 –

This dinner was one of the easiest to make so far from this project. Anything that you can make all in one pot is good and easy in my books! There were five of us for dinner: Wonderful Boyfriend, Roommate Extraordinaire, Sassy Country Girl, and WingWoman.

We started with mojitos – supplied by the amazing Sassy Country Girl. We had them a bunch of different ways: raspberries, blackberries, sprite, ginger ale, club soda… they were amazing. It’s was a great change from our normal red wine with these dinners.

While we were enjoying our cocktails, I got started on the dinner. I took thinly sliced chicken breasts and sauteed them in a little olive oil, letting them start to brown on both sides. Then I threw in some sliced onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. After the onions were translucent I added the paprika, chili paste, and a large can of whole, peeled tomatoes. Then I added the water and the rice, covered it and let it simmer.

Roommate Extraordinaire was also very helpful by picking up some naan from the store (two different kinds even!) so that we would have something to scoop up the stew with. Once we were all ready to eat it was a simple dish to scoop and serve.

The flavors were good, not too spicy, not too sweet, not too salty, not too bad! It ended up more as a casserole texture than a stew – not a lot of left over liquid. The naan was a great addition, and it was hard to pick which flavor was better (garlic or herb).

The dessert was a little ridiculous. Coat banana slices in corn meal batter and then fry them? Um, yes. Ok. I can do that! They were so good I had to make everyone wait just a moment to get a photo of them, or else they would have been gone before I had a chance. Our brilliant taste buds decided that they would be much better with peanut butter – so we heated some up and scooped away. I don’t even want to know what kind of calories that might have been, but they were definitely tasty (and gluten free!)!

And… I finally have a map update! Hooray! I spent Sunday morning pinning and connecting threads to catch up to today. I had to trim off the extra white space on the note cards or else I would run out of room before this project is over – so they might look a little less orderly now. I will be filling in the blank spots as I go.

As you can hopefully see in this close-up shot I took, I’m making each letter a different color of thread – A’s are orange, B’s are green, and C’s are pink.

That’s all I have for today – but tonight is Cayman Islands so I’ll have another story for you tomorrow!

Things I have learned: I tend to reach into ovens with no protection on my hands to grab things like toasting naan. It’s not so smart, but I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember. I need to work on remembering hot gloves so I don’t burn my hands (again).

Cape Verde
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.food.com and www.celtnet.org.uk)

Canja de Gahlinha (Cape Verdean Chicken Stew)

  • 1 whole chicken (about 2 kg)
  • 300g rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes, blanched and peeled
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • sage leaves, to garnish
  • chili paste, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Method: Clean and wash the chicken then cut into serving pieces. Add to a pot along with the salt, garlic, onion, oil and bay leaf. Mix together, cover and allow to marinate overnight. The following day place the pot on the heat and cook until the meat has browned. Add about 600ml water and bring to a boil then add the tomatoes paprika and chili paste along with the rice. Stir to mix thoroughly then return to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 25 minutes. By this time the rice should have cooked and absorbed all the water. Spoon the stew onto serving platters and place in the center of the table. Decorate with fresh sage leaves and add more chili paste, if desired.

Fried Bananas

  •     olive oil (for frying)
  •     1 cup cornflour
  •     1/4 cup sugar
  •     1 tablespoon butter
  •     1 egg
  •     1/4 tablespoon salt
  •     2 tablespoons white rum
  •     2 tablespoons milk
  •     4 ripe bananas
  •     1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •     2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Directions:
1    Heat oil in a dutch oven or deep fryer to 375°F.
2    Mix the corn flour and sugar together in a bowl.
3    Add the butter, egg, salt, rum and milk, stirring constantly until you have a thick batter.
4    Peel the bananas, cut them into quarters, and sprinkle them with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
5    Roll the banana quarters in the batter and dip them into the hot oil a few at a time.
6    Fry them for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, turning once until they are golden brown.
7    Drain on absorbent paper and dust with the cinnamon sugar.
8    Serve warm.


Benin…

Friday, December 9 –

This week was terrible, tragic, and hilarious all at the same time. The one word that describes this dinner: fail. I didn’t even want to write this post, to tell you the truth, but this journey is about the failures as well as the successes – so here it is.

I thought to myself, “Self, you really love peanut sauce. So how could this recipe go wrong?” Apparently very, very wrong. I started off with ground chicken instead of a whole chicken thrown into a blender. I added the peanut butter, green onions, and jalapeno and blended. I think my blender decided it wanted to die from the sheer wrongness of what I put in it; needless to say I need to buy a new blender now. So I scooped the goop and smooshed it into balls. The smell was so bad that Roommate Extraordinaire had to stand back to the dining room instead of the kitchen. (Should have told me to stop, right at the very beginning.) I left the frying of these to Wonderful Boyfriend, and turned to making the bean patties.

To save time I thought I’d use canned white beans. That was probably where this went wrong. I did the recipe as it called, and it turned into a very liquid-y paste. I tried to fry it anyway, and it turned into bean soup that mixed with the oil. (Can you hear the puking sounds I was thinking in my head?) As you can see by these tragic photos, it wasn’t pretty. I have had people tell me that they didn’t want to eat something because of the texture (I blame Mr. Hero for a lot of that in my life…) but I had never experienced it… until now. I put one bite of the chicken/peanut butter mixture into my mouth and it got promptly spit out into the sink. Um. Yuck. Wonderful Boyfriend didn’t like it either, but he managed to swallow it. Roommate Extraordinaire said, “I could eat this. It’s not so bad.” So I shoveled it all into a tupperware and sent him off with it. It saddened me to even have it in my kitchen, so I made him take it away as quickly as possible.

Then we went out for Mexican food. *sigh* Next week will be better!

Things I have learned: If I doubt the recipe even at the beginning, maybe rethink my strategy! And don’t be afraid to fail, it makes for a funny story at the very least.

Benin
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.celtnet.org.uk and www.cdkitchen.com)

Chicken Meatballs with Red Sauce

  • 1 chicken, jointed and deboned
  • 200g peanut butter
  • 1 hot red chilli
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, washed and chopped
  • 4 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 6 tomatoes, blanched, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
  • 250ml red palm oil
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Method: Place half the peanut butter in a bowl and work in a little hot water, so you have a smooth paste. In the meantime, combine the chicken flesh, the remaining peanut butter, chili, spring onions and salt in a blender. Process until smooth then scoop out. Take teaspoons of the meat mixture and shape into balls. Heat the red palm oil in a pan, add the chicken meat balls and fry until golden brown all over. As soon as they are nicely cooked add the onions, tomatoes and diluted peanut butter. Season to taste with salt and black pepper then bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Turn the mixture into a serving dish and serve immediately.

Akkra Funfun (Benin) Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cup dried white beans
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • oil for deep-fat frying (a mixture of two parts peanut oil to one part palm oil gives an authentic taste)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
  • salt, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste

Wash and soak the beans and cook them according to directions on the package. Drain them well and place in a blender with the water and salt. Blend until they form a thick, dough-like paste. (Add more water if necessary.)

Heat the oil to 350 to 375 degrees F in a deep, heavy saucepan or a deep-fat fryer.

Fold the chopped onion, salt, and cayenne pepper into the bean paste. Drop the mixture into the oil 1 tablespoon at a time and fry until golden brown. Drain the fritters on paper towels and serve while hot. Coarsely chopped hot Guinea pepper-type chilies or finely chopped okra may also be added to the mixture.