Tag Archives: mace

Nostalgia Beat: Tuna

15 Sep

Tuna is a crazy overfished…fish.  It’s enormous.  Way bigger than the little tin can or convenient foil pouch you scratch the flakes out of, this fish has dominated American life from cradle to grave.  As a kid, I loved eating the sandwiches on hikes with my Dad and at home for a change from PB&J (a life partner) with my mom.  High school provided the warm cat-food smelling tuna casserole that I actually adored and devoured.  At college, Middle Ground Café made a zesty refresher course of traditional mayo/celery/chicken of the sea by replacing mayo for vinaigrette and opting for ginger instead of celery.

Coming back from the whirlwind of graduation, I found myself sleeping for a week, watching Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion and listening to 90’s songs.  But I also was eating a lot of tuna.  Was it the protein I was so lacking at school for 4 years or a shameless wallowing in nostalgia for the good ol’ days?  Frankly I don’t care, and I can’t stop eating the stuff.  It’s become my on-the-go snack on my road trips to Chicago so I don’t have to kill myself with McDonald’s or the incredulity of the KFC Express/Pizza Hut.  I love it plain from the pouch with a fork, in salads, in lettuce wraps, on English Muffins, in a bowl with Miracle Whip and a hefty portion of mace or on a sandwich with my own arugula/radishes/blueberries and cheese.

Whichever way you cut it, the world and I are going to have a hard time if this great fish disappears and yellowfin isn’t going to be the answer.

Chicken Skin

21 Jan

Chicken skin is a beautiful, beautiful thing. It starts off slimy and with goosebumps, can turn chewy if sauteed a bit and then golden brown crunchy. To utilize about half a dozen chicken breasts (obviously not skinless), I decided to make a curry the other night. I removed the skin and left it to use later on in the curry. Grab a wok, toss in chopped up chicken breast to brown up with garlic, shallots and onion. Over top pour coconut milk and peas (even if they start off frozen they’ll thaw and cook perfectly within the heat of the curry), then as much mace, turmeric, yellow curry, cayenne pepper as you want. I would have loved to throw in some cherry peppers too but my mother’s palate is a little more sensitive to heat than mine. Cherry peppers are possibly the cutest hot pepper I’ve run into and they have a much sweeter and slightly less spicy quality than jalapenos. They would also give the curry another vibrant color to play off the yellow of the curry powder and the bright green orbs of peas.

While the curry is simmering and melding the spices, start some white rice in another pan. Then while both of those are going, get a small sauté pan, some butter, white wine vinegar and the chicken skins from before. Melt a good amount of butter in the pan, then toss in the skins and pour maybe 3 tablespoons of vinegar over them. The vinegar gives the skin a nice tanginess that plays nicely with the spice and sweetness of the curry. Once the skins shrivel up a bit and brown, drain the liquid from the pan and dump the skins on a cutting board and slice length wise. Then serve the rice in each diner’s dish (preferably a pasta bowl), spoon curry over top and then sprinkle the skin over top. You get a combination of textures: chewy, crunchy, tender and the snap of the peas make this a more interesting variation on the traditional curry.

I felt like it Chili

20 Jan

If there’s one thing I’m head over heals for, it’s chili and cornbread.  I’m a good sharer of food and drink unless it’s taken from me without permission and I’ve been known to get viciously protective of my cornbread and chili.  My last few days at home I found myself overcome by the craving for the aforementioned foods.

Chili:

Can of whole peeled tomatoes

Large bunch of chopped fresh cilantro

Ground beef or “chili meat” as my grocery store labeled it, second time ’round I used bison to AWESOME effect – highly recommended

As much of the following spices as you want = mace, Cajun Seasoning (whatever that is, I just found it in the spice cabinet and seemed like a good idea), cayenne pepper, black pepper

Lemon juice

2 cans of kidney beans and 1 of black beans

3 cloves of garlic and 1 large shallot, maybe one large yellow or red onion

Start it like you start any stew by cooking down the garlic, shallots and onion then browning the meat over it, then layering all the other goodies and let simmer for an hour.  The cilantro should go in at the last moment!  Another golden rule: it’s always the better the next day.

Now for the cornbread.

1 cup flour + 1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup honey

2 large eggs

1 cup heavy whipping cream (or milk if you prefer)

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup melted butter

Combine wet ingredients with dry, preheat oven to 400ºF.  I baked mine in a muffin tin for 15 minutes and they came out beautifully.  A nice slab of Kerry Gold doesn’t hurt them either.  In any case, it’s now my favorite chili and favorite cornbread so I guess take my word for it that these dishes are delicious, because they are.

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