Gyros

Gyros

This is a pretty easy meal to make at home, especially as I did here using pre-marinated Burgundy & Pepper Lamb Tips from Trader Joe’s. These tips are pre-packaged and sold by weight, for 4 generous servings (8 medium-sized gyros) I chose the least expensive package at about $12.

First, prepare the tzatziki sauce consisting of Greek style plain yogurt (e.g., Trader Joe’s), peeled cucumber – cut into small pieces, minced garlic, lots of dill (fresh and/or dried), black pepper, and a bit of apple cider vinegar or other vinegar if you like a bit more sharp flavor.
Tzatziki is great for other dishes and sandwiches, so just put the left-over portion back in the yogurt container and keep even up to a week or more.

Trim the lamb tips to remove any fat and sinew, cut the pieces across the grain to bite or two-bite size and sauté the pieces in a bit of oil until cooked to just nearly medium well.

Warm pita in a pan until they just begin to brown, both sides (brush pita first with olive oil if the pita doesn’t contain oil, such as those from Trader Joe’s), and serve topped with lamb, slather on the tzatziki sauce, and add thinly sliced red onion, fresh tomato.

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Orange Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

Orange Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

Boneless skinless breasts baked in a marinade (later reduced to a sauce) including fresh orange juice & zest, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic & ginger, red pepper flakes, and cilantro. The chicken, sliced after cooking, was served on rice, accompanied by steamed Brussels sprouts with chinese hot mustard butter.

Here are a couple related recipes:
“Fragrant Orange Chicken with Scallion Mashed Potatoes”
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fragrant-Orange-Chicken-with-Scallion-Mashed-Potatoes-355349

“Mustard Butter”
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mustard-butter/

Ginger Catfish

Ginger Catfish

I wanted to use the fresh ginger root and catfish I had on hand and found this, apparently popular, Vietnamese dish.

Here I prepared it much as describe in the following recipe, except I added diced eggplant (at the same time as the catfish) rather than bell pepper and substituted brown sugar for white. Also, cutting thicker catfish strips, as in the video below, will keep them from disintegrating during cooking. Instead of fillets, you can use the less expensive catfish chunks sold at, Hy-Vee, for instance.
Optionally, you can carmelize the ginger and add water to make a browner sauce.

“Ginger Catfish (Trey Cha K’nyei)”
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Ginger-Catfish-Trey-Cha-Knyei-100931

“ginger catfish” video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5g96jdqtIU

I served it on sticky Calrose rice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calrose_rice) and with sesame rainbow chard.

Interestingly, the Vietnamese fish is likely to be “basa”, a catfish but not so closely related to those in the U.S.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basa_fish

Poached Eggs Italia

Poached Eggs Italia

Sourdough topped with sliced Parmesan Reggiano, sliced heirloom tomato, oregano, sliced scallion. Toasted in toaster oven, along with slices of dry salami sliced into strips, to brown slightly. Once toasted, topped with poached egg, salami strips and scallion greens.

Inspired by this recipie for Poached Eggs Caprese: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/poached-eggs-caprese/detail.aspx

Spicy Curry with Catfish

Spicy Curry with Catfish

Tonight I made a hot curry spiced with one fresh habanero chili.

This curry was prepared similarly to an earlier curry, with garam masala, cumin powder, toasted cumin seed, turmeric, nutmeg, star anise, cinnamon, a spicy chili powder, a thinly-sliced fresh habanero and these vegetables and fruits: onion, garlic, red potatoes, acorn squash, apple, eggplant, rainbow chard, a yellow tomato, and cilantro. I also added a can of coconut milk, some honey, and peanuts. The large catfish fillet was splashed with lemon juice, seasoned with salt and pepper and pan-fried in canola oil, then divided into smaller pieces to serve.

I’ve definitely overcome my aversion to cooking things with very many ingredients since this dish has more than twenty-five!

Firecracker Chicken with Cilantro Rice

Firecracker Chicken with Cilantro Rice

I love spicy dishes and that chili sauce that they serve in asian restaurants, so that seemed like a great ingredient to spice up chicken. For this dish, use either use a prepared chili oil or chili sauce or make one yourself. (Here, I made a chili sauce from sliced fresh red thai bird peppers, minced garlic, canola oil, and a bit of sesame oil. Thesesauces are usually made from dried peppers, but fresh should be fine if you use the sauce immediately.)

Using whole chicken pieces with the skin on (here I used thighs), coat the meat with chili oil underneath the skin. Place the pieces in a greased baking pan, slightly oil the pieces on top of the skin and coat lightly with a blend of five-spice powder and coarse salt and black pepper. Bake as you normally would, e.g., 50-60 minutes at 360-375°F. Perhaps 10 minutes before done, moisten the skin with drippings and sprinkle with sesame seeds, and return to oven. If skin is not crispy, finish cooking under the broiler. Either serve the pieces whole, or pull the meat from the bone and tear the skin into pieces bite size pieces (as shown here.)

Serve on cilantro rice, i.e., simply white rice with torn fresh cilantro leaves mixed in after the rice is cooked, and garnish with more pepper slices.

Sesame Swiss Chard

Sesame Swiss Chard

Here’s a simple, tasty Korean or Japanese-inspired vegetable dish that I served with the aforementioned Firecracker Chicken and Rice.

To prepare: roll washed and trimmed swiss chard leaves, leaving some stalk pieces intact, and cut across the leaves in perhaps 1.5 inch strips; tear these in half to manageable eating length if necessary. Sauté chard with minced garlic in oil. Add a splash of soy sauce and bit of freshly ground black pepper. When done (stalks a bit translucent but still slightly firm), mix in some toasted sesame seeds; splash with a bit of sesame oil and top with more sesame seeds to serve.

(This is based, I think, on something I saw on a favorite cooking show: Simply Ming. http://ming.com/simplyming)