Rockin’ Indian Kabobs at New South Street Eatery

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We were tipped off to this rockin’ new restaurant, Kabobeesh, just south of South Street by our discriminating Singaporean friend, who claims that Kabobeesh’s kabobs have become her standard go-to, for midweek family takeouts.  This new Tandoori restaurant is (conveniently for us) situated in the old Latest Dish space on 4th.

Kabobeesh on 4th is the second of its kind in the city.

The original Kabobeesh, which claims to be “the oldest Pakistani restaurant in Philadelphia” is located in West Philly (42nd and Chestnut).

The menu at both is the same; chefs prepare an array of beef, chicken and lamb by marinating the meats overnight in Pakistani herbs, yogurt and spices.  The kabobs are then charcoal grilled on long, dramatic looking, metal skewers in a traditional tandoor (a wood fired oven) and served wrapped in a nan (a traditional Indian flatbread).

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The kabobs are available solo or you can buy a meal, which includes a choice of vegetable sides such as chutney, spiced yogurt, lentils and vegetable curries.  This hearty food is well priced; the tandoori chicken kabob comes in at $8.50, a mango lassi is just $2.99, and the portions are ample.

Admittedly the food is not pretty to eat; you use your hands and the nan wrap to stabilize the delectable kabob.

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It’s much like eating a Philly cheesesteak or a really good gyro – if you make an enthusiastic mess while devouring your meal, then you know it’s good.

We made a mess.

If kabobs are not your thing…no worries; Kabobeesh’s menu is packed with traditional Indian dishes such as chicken tikki masala, samosas, curries and chana masala.  Best of all, the restaurant works through grubHub, so when pressed for time you can go online and get a takeout delivered to your door.

To sample first-hand, go to www.kabobeesh.com.

 

 

 

Bircher Meusli: Breakfast of Champions



meusli

I discovered this delicious, nutritious traditionally Swiss breakfast dish in Mexico of all places.  It was part of the breakfast buffet in our resort, and once I tasted it, I was hooked. I was determined to replicate it at home, and fortunately, it was a simple task.

Here’s my version for one serving:

1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 apple, chopped

1/4 cup unsalted nuts (almonds, pecans, or walnuts are my faves)

1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup (to taste)

sprinkle of cinnamon

Mix all and enjoy.

meusliingredients

A few notes:  This can be made in bulk, stored in the fridge, and enjoyed all week as it keeps very well.     You can vary the ingredients based on what you have on hand.  Wheat germ, bran, raisins or other dried fruit, fresh berries, bananas are all fair game.

I’m a fan because this is light and healthy, but also full of protein and quite sustaining.  When I start my day with a bowl of meusli, I’m not hungry til lunch.  Not to say that I won’t be tempted by a cherry scone or nutella bar, but I’m less likely to forage if I’ve fueled up on meusli first thing.

 

Warm Winter Salad

 

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How do you get kids to eat greens in winter when the choices are pretty thin on the ground?  This pretty looking warm winter salad does the trick…

Ingredients

Asparagus spears

Olive oil

Lime juice

Salt and pepper

Pre-cooked edamame

Mixture of interesting greens (no not spinach…everyone is a little tired of that now..); try some pea shoots, snow peas or similar

Cucumber, peeled and sliced very thinly

tomatoes roughly cubed

 

Directions

  1. Prep asparagus and sprinkle with a little water, olive oil and about 2 tsps of lime juice; generously season with salt and pepper
  2. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes until asparagus is wilted and even slightly charred – set aside
  3. Prep all salad greens and cucumber and set out on pretty plate
  4. Chop the tomatoes and toss in some olive oil, salt and pepper and a sprinkling of sugar.  Let sit while the asparagus is cooking
  5. Put edamame in microwave for about 30 seconds.  Set aside
  6. Lay all warmed ingredients on salad and serve immediately

Serve this salad together with your favorite dressing; it works well with a chunky blue cheese or balsamic dressing.

 

 

Billionaire’s Shortbread

billionairesshortbread

I found this recipe in last month’s Food and Wine, and in a few short weeks it has become part of my regular repertoire.    Once I saw the combo of caramel, dark chocolate and salt, I knew I was a gonner.

The recipe is, quite literally, an upgrade on the British confection “Millionaire’s Shortbread”, which comprises a layer of buttery cookie crust, filled with condensed milk and topped with  milk chocolate.  By using homemade caramel and dark chocolate ganache, and adding some cornmeal to the shortbread layer this version is much richer, hence the name.

Sure, it involves more steps than the average bar cookie, and use of a candy thermometer.  Admittedly, I strenuously object to undue fuss in the kitchen.  But I promise, when you try these, you’ll agree they are worth the extra effort and steps.

candythermometer

I have so far made them for:  book group; a dinner party; my pediatrician’s office as a thank you for “finding” my sick daughter an appointment  on a very busy Monday; and for myself as a palliative after a very stressful week.

Give them a try–you’ll be glad you did.  Or maybe not, as they are addictive.

Venison Burgers with Parmesan Crostini

Thankfully a number of family friends like to hunt!

Thankfully a number of family friends like to hunt!

We are lucky enough to know several guys who hunt deer; this means our freezer is well stocked with all kinds of venison.  We have minced venison, venison sausages and if we are very very lucky then we also have a couple of venison filets.

Venison is one of the healthiest red meats you can eat.  The meat is so low in fat.  It is a dense, flavorful meat, which you either love or hate, depending on how “meaty” you want your meat to taste.  Chicken lovers go take a hike…

The minced venison came wrapped in a fat sausage like tube.  All I needed to do was defrost the tube and slice into fat burgers.

I then added a glugful of olive oil, a dash of chili oil to a pan, popped in the burgers and seasoned them with salt, pepper and Beck’s Devil Dust (a spicy New Orleans rub available from Beck’s in Reading Terminal Market).

The burgers are pretty fragile, being 100% meat (unlike most commercial burgers).  So it’s best not to play around with them too much.

Serve with hearty home made crostini and a gutsy green or pasta salad.

Easy as pie.

 

Fried Green Tea Ice Cream

 

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Isn’t this beautiful? Mine looked nothing like it.

 

 

I learned the hard way that this is something best ordered in a restaurant.

My daughter loves green tea ice cream–personally, I think it tastes like sweetened seaweed, but that’s actually good news for me.  I can stock up the freezer with abandon for her and I have absolution no temptation to indulge.  She asked if I would make fried green tea ice cream for her in lieu of a  birthday cake last week.  While I personally pined for what would have been a delicious, buttery, layered delight, frosted with chocolate ganache, I recognized that it was not my birthday, so I googled “green tea fried ice cream”.  I found this recipe and I marched forth.

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The initial phase was simple enough–I formed the green tea ice cream into balls and froze them for several hours.  (the recipe had you mix matcha green tea into store-bought vanilla ice cream, but as we had green tea ice cream, I skipped that step).

The subsequent steps involved mixing a basic egg-milk-flour batter, dousing the balls in it, and quickly frying them in hot oil.  This final step was where things went rather badly, resulting in this unsightly mess:

friedicecream

 

After the first batch, we decided not to bother with the rest.  The good news?  She ate it anyway, said it tasted good, and the rest of us enjoyed funnel cakes made from the remaining batter.

If she’s still on this green tea ice cream kick next year, we’ll take her out for Japanese on her birthday.

Pulled Pork Soft Tacos

Get creative with your toppings...

Get creative with your toppings…

Pulled pork is a monthly staple in our family.  One big hunk of pork slow-cooked will last me for about 4-5 different meals.

My son is a mad carnivore and loves it; my more dainty daughter is not a fan of the traditional pulled pork rice ‘n’ beans dish, but will deign to eat soft tacos.

What I love about pulled pork is its versatility – you can just make up recipes based on whatever you can scratch together from your pantry or whatever leftovers you stumble across in the fridge.

Here’s two versions I tried out this week.

For me, the key element in these tacos is the savory lime mayonnaise (recipe below)

Cook your pulled pork slowly (These days I use ginger ale in which to cook the joint; I used to cook it in beer, but as my daughter is gluten-intolerant, so ginger ale is the next best thing).  Shred the meat so you have a plateful with which to play.

Preheat oven to 250.

Lay out your tacos or tortillas on a baking tray and start to have fun!

Drop on some shredded spicy cheese.  Build up a nice pile of pulled pork and put into warmed oven until the tacos and tortillas are heated up.  Remove and plate up and quickly dress with any of the following:

Lime Mayonnaise:

2 tbsps of mayonnaise

1 heaper tbsp of sour cream

1/2 lime squeezed into this creamy mixture

Pepper and salt to taste.

 

Use this lime mayo to drizzle directly over the pulled pork.  You can also use the mayo as a dressing in which to toss crunchy coleslaw and chopped apple…

 

Tomato relish

Sun dried tomatoes and 1 tsp reserved oil – chop roughly

Fresh tomatoes – chop finely

2 small shallots very finely diced

1 tsp of rice vinegar

Sprinkling of sugar

Pepper and salt to taste

 

Prep all ingredients and add in a single bowl and stir.  Let marinade in fridge for at least an hour so tomatoes soften.

 

The main thing is to have fun.

Hasta La Vista.

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Cream Pie

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My version did not look this pretty. But it was delicious anyway.

My son requested banana cream pie this past weekend.  As one who will do almost anything to make her teenage children be nice to her, I gamely assembled the ingredients.  If you have teenagers, you will understand this immediately, and if you don’t, then suspend your judgement.  When your adorable little ones enter these tumultuous years, you’ll see what I mean.

But back to the pie.  It is a very simple preparation, and if you are inclined toward shortcuts, you can ‘cheat’ on the crust by purchasing a prepared graham cracker shell.  You can also cheat on the pudding and buy a mix, but that seriously downgrades the result; the vanilla pudding is rapturous and really makes the pie.

Let me state for the record that my pie tasted great, but the visual wasn’t all it could have been. Knowing that it was just a dessert for the family, and it was a busy Sunday which involved shuttling various members of the family to sundry activities in distant locales, I didn’t fuss with making it look pretty.  But it didn’t matter.  It was a hit. And for a brief moment, it accomplished the intended goal.  My son actually said to me:  ”Mom, thanks for making me banana cream pie.  It was good.”  Success!

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Here’s what I did:

1.  Make graham cracker crust according to this recipe.  Cool completely.

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2.  Make philly food lovers vanilla pudding.  Cool Completely.

3.  Slice 3 ripe bananas and sprinkle them into the pie crust.  Spoon pudding over bananas and spread to cover.  (There will probably be about 1 cup leftover; save it for breakfast!)

4.  Chill until ready to serve, and garnish with fresh whipped cream.

So, like I said, mine wasn’t pretty, but it was a hit.

 

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Arugula and Apricot Quinoa

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I used to make couscous with roasted veggies about once a week.  I much prefer couscous to pasta, because of how well its crunchy nuttiness combines with so many other textures and flavors.  Couscous is off the menu these days; it’s made from wheat and is therefore a no-no in our household as my daughter is a Celiac.

Quinoa has replaced couscous on my weekday menu, and much to my delight, my 18-year old son, who wouldn’t touch couscous, will readily devour a bowl of quinoa.  How come?

I simply converted my tried and tested couscous recipe and threw in some fresh arugula for extra crunch.

Here’s how:

Ingredients

1 cup of uncooked quinoa

Chicken stock

Knob of salted butter

1 handful of arugula

About 8-10 dried apricots

2 tablespoons of pine nuts

2 small yellow onions

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

Glugful of olive oil to roast vegetables

1 heaped tsp of minced garlic

Pepper and salt to taste

 

Instructions

  1. Follow instructions on Quinoa packet to cook, using the chicken stock and knob of butter
  2. Chop peppers and onions roughly; place in ovenproot tin and drizzle with olive oil and add the minced garlic.  Roast at 350 until veggies are nearly cooked through and may even be beginning to burn at the edges (45 minutes?) Remove from oven and let cool.
  3. Chop apricots finely and add to cooked quinoa; add oven roasted garlic veggies
  4. Just before serving add the arugula and stir everything together

Serve alongside roast meat or fish.  You can warm the quinoa which wilts the arugula and makes it more like steamed spinach.  You decide!

Chicken Under a Brick

brickckninpan.I’ve mentioned before that my husband takes over the kitchen on Sundays.  His latest addition to the repertoire is “Chicken Under a Brick.”  I’m not really sure that the whole brick thing is necessary; it seems like a bit of a gimmick to me, but if he’s willing to man the stove once a week and turn out delicious vittles, who am I to criticize the method?  Here’s the Recipe, along with a pictorial journey through his steps:

First, he marinated the chicken pieces:

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Then he seared them in an oven-proof skillet:

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Then he covered the skillet with another heavy skillet laden with bricks, and roasted it in the oven.

bricksinpan They say that the additional weight spreads the heat more evenly and cooks the chicken more quickly and thoroughly. I’m skeptical, but again, the bird was delicious; well-seasoned, moist and flavorful. So if he wants to haul some masonry into the kitchen on occasion and produce such good results, I’m not complaining.