Baked Curry Chicken, Vegetables, and Rice

CROSS CULTURAL RECIPES #1

BAKED CURRIED CHICKEN, VEGETABLES, AND RICE

 

Dear faithful readers, I apologize for being away so long.  I’ve been concentrating most of my spare time working on a novel (or series of novels) which is progressing at a glacial pace but is certainly enjoyable for me.  Unfortunately, that has kept me out of the kitchen and zapped most of my creative juices in 2018.  I don’t intend to be as active on www.dointhatragu.com as I was when I conceived this website but I do promise to post an occasional new creative recipe and commentary a few times per month.

In the meantime, I want to focus on something I really enjoy about cooking and that is to blend different food staples from one country to another.  This first entry for this category is something I whipped up last night that blends a lot of different ideas from Asia into a casserole dish that comes from Europe or the United States.  This is simple to do, and you can certainly substitute beef, lamb, pork, shrimp, or tofu as a protein and use any combination of vegetables you might fancy.

Thank you for understanding and being patient.  If anybody has a suggestion or something, they would like to see on this website please don’t hesitate to write.  I look forward to creating more unusual menu items for you in 2019!

 

 

THE RECIPE

 

INGREDIENTS:

4 TBSP Olive Oil or Canola Oil, divided

 

3 ½ TBSP Basic Curry Powder, divided

1 lb. boneless, skinless Chicken Breast, medium diced

Salt, to taste

Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1 TBSP grated or finely chopped Ginger

1 TBSP grated or finely chopped Garlic

3 Scallions, thinly sliced, white parts and green parts separated

1 Head of Broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces

2 medium size Carrots, peeled and medium diced

6 oz. Shiitake, Oyster, or White Button Mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup Water

14 oz. can Unsweetened Coconut Milk

4 cups cooked White or Brown Basmati Rice

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a wok or large frying pan, heat 2 TBSP Olive Oil over medium high heat
  3. Add 1 TBSP Curry Powder and fry for 30 seconds
  4. Add the diced Chicken Breast and sauté, turning a few times till the Chicken is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove cooked Chicken from wok or pan and place in a large bowl.  Wipe out the wok or pan.
  5. Heat 2 TBSP Olive Oil in the same wok or pan over medium heat
  6. Add the Ginger, Garlic, white parts of the Scallions, and 1½ TBSP Curry Powder in fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute
  7. Add the Broccoli, Carrots, and Mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes. Add the Water and scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the wok or pan.  Simmer until water is absorbed and vegetables begin to wilt, about 4 minutes.  Add more water to wok or pan if too dry.  Remove cooked vegetables to bowl with Chicken.
  8. Meanwhile, shake the Coconut Milk so it blends, in a bowl or measuring cup add the contents of the can of Coconut Milk and 1 TBSP Curry Powder. Whisk until smooth.
  9. In a greased baking pan, add the cooked Rice and the Chicken and vegetables from the bowl and mix together. Add the Coconut Milk and Curry mixture and mix together.
  10. Cover the baking pan with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes then add the green parts of the Scallions as a garnish.  Serve hot in shallow bowls or plates.

 

WINE PAIRING:  There are two types of wine I always feel go best with a curried dish and they are Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer.  The latter I think works much better with this recipe especially if you decide to spice up this dish with a little Siracha hot sauce or chili.  If you prefer red to white you can probably get away with a Gamay or Beaujolais.

 

THE EAGLES – Bake It Cheesy

CLASSIC ROCK BANDS RECIPE #22

THE EAGLES

BAKE IT CHEESY

BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE

 

It’s about time we got to a recipe at DoinThatRagu.com that the kids can enjoy too.  That’s why I’m doing a family sized portion for you this week with plenty of leftovers.  If you don’t need that much just divide all the ingredients in half and use a smaller baking dish.  But this is not a store bought, processed, do it all on the stove Mac N Cheese meal.  This is real pasta with your own cheese sauce that’s easy to do as the late Glenn Frey and The Eagles told you so.

The Eagles are always the first band thought of when somebody mentions “easy listening” music when it comes to Classic Rock N Roll.  Ironically, they are also one of the first groups mentioned when it comes to in-fighting within the band.  Their history is well documented, and they have given us some of the finest music of the 70’s which is a part of our American culture.

We tend to think of Mac N Cheese as a side dish for fried chicken, ribs, or even burgers.  A lot of fast food places will serve it this way.  This recipe is to remind everyone it is still a pasta dish.  Baking it brings out the better part of the cheese sauce in my opinion.  I recommend using an aged Cheddar rather than a generic, factory processed type.  I also awaken the flavor a bit with smoked paprika and give you the option to spice it up more with hot pepper.  Bread crumbs are the traditional topping and many versions, including this one, use Parmesan cheese to add a bit more flavor to the dish.  It’s all about the cheese so take it easy and get baking.

 

 

THE RECIPE

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs. dried Elbow Macaroni

2 TBSP Olive Oil

6 TBSP Butter

6 TBSP all-purpose Flour

3 cups Whole Milk

9 oz. shredded Aged Cheddar Cheese

1 TSP Smoked Paprika

½ TSP Salt plus more to taste

¼ TSP Ground Black Pepper plus more to taste

1/8 TSP Cayenne Powder or a few drops Hot Sauce (optional)

½ cup Plain, dried Breadcrumbs

½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese

2 TBSP finely chopped Italian Parsley

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Fill 2 stockpots with 6 quarts of water and cook the pasta separately al dente according to the instructions on the box. Drain the Macaroni and return to a pot.  Add the Olive Oil to coat the pasta and keep it from sticking together.
  3. In a bowl combine the Breadcrumbs, Parmesan, Parsley, Salt and Pepper and mix evenly
  4. While the pasta cooks make the sauce. In a 3 qt. pot melt the Butter over medium heat.
  5. When the Butter is melted add the Flour and stir constantly to make a roux. About 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Gradually add the Milk and raise the temperature to medium high. Bring to just a simmer and then lower the heat to maintain a tiny simmer.  Keep stirring to make sure no lumps form.
  7. When tiny bubbles start to form add the Cheese, Paprika, Hot Pepper (if using), Salt, and Pepper. Keep stirring to blend.  Make sure no lumps are in the sauce and it is well blended.  About 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
  8. In a very well-greased large baking pan add the Macaroni and then the Cheese Sauce. Season a bit with Salt and Pepper. Mix together until spread evenly.  Top with the Breadcrumb mixture spread evenly over the pasta.
  9. Bake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes until the Parmesan cheese and Bread Crumbs are toasty brown. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

WINE PAIRING:  My top choice to pair with this dish would be a Dolcetto.  This is a Northern Italian red wine that marries well with cheese and pasta.  Aged Cheddar may not be the best combination, but it works well especially with the Parmesan.  This recipe would also work with white wine or rosé.  Dolcetto is a very light red wine that resembles Pinot Noir in many ways.  This is of course a recommendation for serving this as a stand-alone dish.  If you are serving it as a side, then you must take the main dish and other side dishes as well into consideration.

 

 

CHICAGO – Just You and Miso

CLASSIC ROCK BANDS RECIPE #21

CHICAGO

JUST YOU AND MISO

 

Welcome to a special edition for Valentine’s Week at DoinThatRagu.com.  Yes, I said “week”.  Doesn’t your special someone deserve more than just a day from you?  I know it’s also Mardi Gras today and I could have chosen that route instead but that also means it’s the first week of Lent too and the three recipes in this entry are devoid of meat so that works too.  But this about you and your partner and I’ve put together a few recipes using the wonderful flavor of miso that are so popular in modern cuisine for you to try together.

I am a child of the seventies and I certainly have strong recollections of the music my parents used to listen to.  I was too young to really appreciate the complex rhythms, the interplay of the horns and percussion, and the legendary guitar playing from the late Terry Kath.  These are feel good songs that evoke a lot of great memories and innocence.  Chicago’s music has left an enduring impression on me that I’m happy to share this week.

I’m giving you three ideas for miso that you can do as a three-course meal too for Valentine’s Day together.  I don’t do desserts as you’ve probably realized if you’ve been following this blog.  Some of you who check in regularly or from time to time do such amazing things with dessert recipes I could never compare.  Miso paste is available in most supermarkets and certainly every Asian specialty grocery.  It’s very healthy and flavorful when combined with other seasonings.  So, have some fun cooking with each other this week and share the good times and memories to come.  And to my better half, “You are my love and my life.  You are my inspiration.  Just you and me, simple and free.  Baby, you’re everything I’ve ever dreamed of.”

 

 

 

THE RECIPES

 

Miso Soup with Ramen Noodles and Vegetables

INGREDIENTS:

2 Eggs

¼ Purple Cabbage, cored and sliced thin

1 TBSP Rice Wine Vinegar

1 TSP Sugar

5 oz. Ramen Noodles

4 cups Vegetable Broth

1 TBSP Olive Oil

1 TBSP Sesame Oil

2 oz. sliced White Button Mushrooms

½ small Daikon Radish, peeled and sliced thin

3 Scallions, diced, white and green parts divided

1 TSP Dashi

1 TBSP Soy Sauce

2 TBSP White Miso paste

Salt, to taste

Ground Black Pepper, to taste

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small pot boil enough water to cover the Eggs by a couple inches. Once boiling carefully add the Eggs to the pot without cracking the shells.  Boil for exactly 8 minutes.  Remove the Eggs from the pot and immediately run cold water over them to stop the cooking process for about 1 minute.  Set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl place the Cabbage strips, the Vinegar, and the Sugar. Stir a few times and let marinate for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large pot cook the Ramen Noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and immediately wash with cold water to stop the cooking process for about 1 minute.  Set aside.
  4. While the Cabbage marinates, and the Noodles cook, in a large pot heat the Vegetable Broth to a boil then turn the heat till the Broth is just at a simmer
  5. While the Broth is heating in a medium frying pan heat the Oils on medium. Add Mushroom, Radishes, Cabbage, and the white parts of the Scallions and fry for about 3 minutes.  Turn off the heat.
  6. Add the Vegetables to the Broth and give a quick stir. Add the Dashi, Soy Sauce, and Miso and stir.  Add the green parts of the Scallions.  Turn off the heat.
  7. Peel the Eggs and slice in half.
  8. Label the Soup into 2 bowls and add two Egg halves to each. Season the Eggs and Soup with Salt and Pepper and serve immediately.

 

Garden Salad with Miso Dressing

INGREDIENTS:

1 TSP Finely chopped fresh peeled Ginger

1 TBSP White Miso paste

½ TBSP Rice Wine Vinegar

1 TSP Soy Sauce

1 TSP Honey

½ TBSP Sesame Oil

1 ½ TBSP Peanut Oil

4 oz. Spring Mix Lettuces

1 large Carrot, peeled and shaved

½ pint Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, halved

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Make the dressing first. In a small bowl combine the Ginger, Miso, Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Honey, and Oils and stir together until well blended.
  2. In a large salad bowl place the Lettuce, Carrot shavings and Tomatoes. Top with the dressing and toss until combined.
  3. Serve on salad plates or into salad bowls

 

Grilled Salmon with Miso Glaze

INGREDIENTS:

½ TBSP Crystalized Ginger finely chopped into powder

1 TBSP Red Miso paste

1 TBSP Mirin

2 TSP Soy Sauce

2 6 oz. Salmon filets

2 TSP Olive Oil

Fine Sea Salt, to taste

Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Make the glaze first. Combine Ginger, Miso, Mirin, and Soy Sauce in a small bowl.  Stir together until blended.
  2. Rub 1 TSP Olive Oil over each Salmon filet. Season with Salt and Pepper.  Let rest on a plate while you prepare your grill.
  3. Prepare a grill or grill pan for cooking. Spray with cooking spray and heat on high.
  4. When grill is ready place each Salmon filet on the grill or grill pan and cook on one side for about 5 minutes. Flip and cook on opposite side for 2 minutes than apply a layer of glaze on the top cooked side.
  5. Grill 2 minutes longer and remove filets from heat to a warmed plate. Flip again and apply another layer of glaze. Let sit 2 minutes on plate before serving.
  6. Serve immediately on separate plates with Jasmine rice and your favorite green vegetable such as broccoli or asparagus.

 

 

WINE PAIRINGSake would make a lot of sense here and you can’t go wrong there.  This is a romantic dinner for two so Champagne or any Sparkling Wine would do the trick even and the flavors work but not ideally.  A fruity white wine such as a Fume Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc is also a good match for all three of these dishes.  A Riesling would also match the Salmon dish very well.

THE ROLLING STONES – Jumpin’ Jack Flash Fried Shrimp

CLASSIC ROCK BANDS RECIPE #20

THE ROLLING STONES

JUMPIN’ JACK FLASH FRIED SHRIMP

 

We’ve done just about all the super groups now except The Stones so it’s their turn now.  We get to use one of their most well-known song titles and a technique used by a lot of Asian chefs and familiar to most of us.  Flash frying is very similar to deep frying so a lot of you may be questioning me on this as I’ve shied away from that on a number of blog posts so far.  I am not using a batter for this recipe although you certainly could for flash frying.  Shrimp taste really great when infused with oil and they don’t allow much to penetrate the flesh due to their texture.  This is a very simple recipe that has a lot of Spanish origins, but I think you will agree it makes a great appetizer or part of a main course.

Yeah, The Stones, man.  Everything about them says cool.  Contemporaries and rivals to the Beatles in the 60’s, superstars of the 70’s, enduring the awful 80’s, and continuing beyond to give us so many decades of great music.  Sticky Fingers remains as one of the greatest rock album of all time in my opinion.  So many of their studio albums were so special.  The Stones will always have their own identity and deserve a spot on the Mount Rushmore of Classic Rock.

Flash frying requires an oil with a smoking point.  Grapeseed oil has the highest of all commercial oils available in local supermarkets.  It is a lot more expensive than canola or vegetable blends but if you want to get this right that’s what you should use.  An electric frying pan is also used to gauge the correct temperature to cook as in deep frying.  Not everyone has that appliance either so be careful.  Shrimp cook very fast so working in batches is never a bad idea as they are also delicate, and you never want to over fry them.  I’ve kicked them up a bit to match the Jumpin’ Jack title with a bit of Spanish flavoring.  We know Mick and Keith et. al. would love that.

 

 

THE RECIPE

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. Large Shrimp (16-20 ct.), peeled and deveined, tails left on if desired

½ cup All-purpose Flour

½ TBSP Hot Paprika

½ TSP Garlic Powder

1 TSP Fine Sea Salt

½ TSP Ground Black Pepper

Grapeseed Oil for frying

½ Lemon

1 TBSP Italian Parsley, finely chopped

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Wash the Shrimp before using and pat dry with paper towels
  2. On a plate spread the Flour out and season with the Paprika, Garlic Powder, Salt, and Pepper. Mix thoroughly until blended.
  3. Coat each Shrimp in the Flour mixture and set aside on another plate while the Oil heats.
  4. In a heavy, high sided frying pan heat 2 inches of Oil on high until it reaches 350 degrees F
  5. Working in batches if necessary fry the Shrimp for 1 minute until just pink and remove from the pan with a splotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate or tray
  6. After all the Shrimp are fried and drained a bit move them to a serving plate or bowl and squeeze the Lemon juice all over them. Garnish with the chopped Parsley and serve hot.

 

 

WINE PAIRING:  A crisp White Wine or Beer would be excellent choices, but my personal recommendation is a nice Sherry from Spain like an Amontillado for instance.  I think that would be the best compliment if serving these as an appetizer which I also recommend.

 

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER – Chili Con Karn Evil 9

CLASSIC ROCK BANDS RECIPE #19

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER

CHILI CON KARN EVIL 9

 

It’s Super Bowl week and even if you are not that into the game almost everyone loves a good gathering for the event.  And no Super Bowl Party would be complete without a classic version of America’s favorite southwestern dish, chili con carne.  Con carne simply means “with meat” and we won’t skimp on that.  Karn Evil 9 is a selection of music from ELP that most people are familiar with the 2nd Impression.  There is no such thing as 9 Alarm Chili, but I do have a ladder of suggestions of how you can increase the spice and heat content from the basic recipe.

I find myself listening to Emerson Lake & Palmer much more in the past few years than I did in my youth.  Seventies Progressive Rock is a lot of what interests me lately.  ELP are one of the pioneers and biggest names of the genre.  Carl Palmer has always been my favorite percussionist, but I’ve really zoned in on Greg Lake’s influence on the band including his prior work with King Crimson.  One of my great regrets is to have never had the pleasure to see this trio in concert and now that Keith Emerson has left us that will never happen.  ELP remain one of the driving forces in blending Classical music and Rock together and their work has had a tremendous effect on my understanding of the great composers like Mussorgsky and Copland.

This is a basic chili recipe with ground beef and kidney beans as the focus.  I recommend using pure chili powder such as ancho chili powder which is very mild.  It’s obviously more expensive so if your budget is a little tighter please use your basic brand chili powder.  If you want to increase the heat use some chipotle powder to blend with the ancho chili powder depending on how spicy you like your chili.  Chipotle packs quite a punch so be careful.  I have a lot of suggestions among the ingredients ranging from adding Jalapeno or Serrano chili peppers which are very hot.  There is nothing hotter than a Habanero chili or chili powder as far as you can purchase from your basic grocer.  There are plenty of chilies from India that are even hotter but only available at specialized stores and not relevant here.  Please be careful my fellow Gringos when adding very hot peppers and powders to spice up your chili.  We want you in good spirits for your Super Bowl party and your guests happy.  Serve this chili and your friends will sure to be back.

 

 

THE RECIPE

 

INGREDIENTS:

3 TBSP Olive Oil

3 lbs. Ground Beef

2 large Yellow Onions, peeled and finely chopped

3 15 oz. cans Crushed Tomatoes

4 15 oz. cans Red Kidney Beans

3 TBSP Pure Chili Powder (* see note)

1 ½ TBSP Ground Cumin

1 TBSP dried Mexican Oregano

2 TSP Salt

1 TSP Ground Black Pepper

1 TBSP Cocoa Powder (optional)

¼ to 1 TSP Cayenne Powder (optional)

1 to 8 Jalapeno or Serrano Chili Peppers, seeded and finely chopped (optional)

1 or 2 Habanero Chili Peppers, seeded and finally chopped (optional)

1/8 to 1 TSP Habanero Chili Powder (optional)

A few or many drops Hot Sauce (optional)

6 cups Beef Stock or Water

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large, 8 qt stock pot heat the Oil on medium
  2. Add the Ground Beef and start breaking apart with a large wooden spoon
  3. Add the Onions and fry together until the meat is browned
  4. Add the Tomatoes and stir together to allow the juices to sink into the meat and onions for a minute or two
  5. Add the Beans and give a few good stirs to blend everything together
  6. Add the Chili Powder, Cumin, Oregano, Salt, Pepper, and any additional ingredients you wish to use and give everything a good stir several times for another minute or two
  7. Add the Stock or Water and raise heat to high and bring to a boil
  8. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking till most of the liquid is absorbed and chili has the consistency you desire. About 2 hours.

 

SERVING SUGGESTIONS; Serve over plain white rice in bowls topped with shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese, chopped red onions, hot sauce, and/or chopped Jalapeno peppers

 

WINE PAIRING:  Yes, you can drink wine with chili but c’mon man nothing goes better than a cold BEER no matter how hot or mild you serve it.  Grab your favorite brew and have a second helping for the big game.

 

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – Cadillac Ranch Fries

CLASSIC ROCK BANDS RECIPE #18

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

CADILLAC RANCH FRIES

OVEN ROASTED, SEASONED POTATO FRIES WITH RANCH DRESSING ON THE SIDE

 

OK New Jersey this one’s for you.  Our hometown hero is up next.  The ever-popular side dish, the French fry, as we call it in The States is the perfect compliment to the universally adored Bruce Springsteen.  The challenge for us is to conceive the Cadillac version.  Ranch seasoning is very delicious and easy to replicate, and I’ve included a homemade recipe for Ranch dressing to dip your fries.  We cut our potatoes big and bold with accessories just like your grandpa’s Cadillac you remember as a kid.  Thus, we have our Cadillac Ranch Fries.

Rarely will I deep fry so the name French fries is doubly misleading.  You could use a deep fryer for this recipe, but I prefer to roast in the oven for the taste and for health reasons.  In either case the trick with preparing potatoes is to try to get as much moisture out as possible.  Potatoes have a lot of water in them.  Use paper towels and allow them to dry out a bit before roasting.  To save time you can buy frozen fried potatoes in which case you would opt to bake instead of roast as these would have been previously fried or roasted.  Season after you bake but you won’t get the same taste as it will not penetrate the same way if you use fresh Russet Potatoes.  Any way you choose to do these fries will still be like … sooooooo Bossssssssssss!!!

 

 

THE RECIPE

 

INGREDIENTS:

3 lbs. Russet Potatoes, peeled or skin left on if desired

2 TSP Dried Dill Weed

2 TSP Dried Parsley

½ TSP Ground Thyme

1 TSP Onion Powder

1 TSP Garlic Powder

1 TSP Fine Sea Salt

½ TSP Ground Black Pepper

Olive Oil for coating

 

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cut the potatoes into large strips/wedges to resemble steak fries in shape. Dry with paper towels and let rest for moisture to evaporate.
  2. Make the seasoning. Combine Parsley, Dill, Thyme, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Salt, and Pepper in a small bowl.  Mix until blended.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  5. Coat the potato fries with a little Olive Oil. Sprinkle evenly with the seasoning and place in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  6. Roast until edges start to brown and potatoes are crispy. About 25 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately with Ranch dressing on the side for dipping

 

RANCH DRESSING FOR DIPPING:

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup Buttermilk

½ cup Mayonnaise

½ cup Sour Cream

1 TBSP White Wine Vinegar

¼ cup finely chopped Yellow Onion

1 Garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped

1 TBSP finely chopped Italian Parsley leaves

2 TSP chopped Dill

Fine Sea Salt, to taste

Fresh ground Black Pepper, to taste

¼ Cayenne Powder or a few drops of Tabasco Sauce (optional)

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small to medium bowl and whisk together until blended together
  2. Serve in small dishes or one large dish with a spoon

 

WINE PAIRING:  This is as universal a dish as you are going to get from me.  Anything you feel like drinking will work.  I think Bruce would appreciate you popping a cold one on his behalf so if you want a recommendation have yourself your favorite brand of Beer and then have yourself another.  I know I would.