Travel Expands the Mind, and Sometimes the Waist

zucchini

Monday:              Shaved Zucchini, Almond and Herb Salad with charred bread, ricotta and cherry salsa

tagliatelle

Tuesday:              Ricotta with crudités and toasted baguette, Tagliatelle e Fagioli con Radicchio (Tagliatelle with Radicchio and Two Beans)

braised chicken

Wednesday:      Braised Chicken and Tomatoes

Eggs

Thursday:            Eggs Kerjiwal

Cathedral

Cathedral of trees, Casa Stuarti – early morning light

Friday:                 Take-Out from Taipei, Fox Chapel (recuperating from 7th and 8th MOHS surgeries)

Mexican Corn

Saturday:             Dinner at the Harts – All time best Lamb Chops, Great Mexican Corn

Ribs

Sunday:                Extended Family Dinner
Toasted Baguette with Ricotta and Blackberry Salsa and Crudités
Barbecued Ribs and Chicken Chemuin with Cole Slaw and Baked Beans
Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte

 

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

“Wandering around a new city or country without a timetable is a great experience, so long as you have dinner reservations.” – me

Well, we were actually at home in Pittsburgh, all of last week.  But our dinners were all over the compass with food of Italian, Greek, Indian, Chinese, Argentinian and American provenance.  And it was seriously good food – another smashing week of cooking and eating, with John and Janice’s Lamb Chops being the stand-out dish, though our Braised chicken and Tagliatelle (and Janice’s Mexican corn) were not far behind.

Here are the cuisines beyond the obvious (Italian, French, Chinese and Mexican), that we truly enjoy – Greek, Spanish, German, Indian (Beez dissents slightly), Korean, Thai and Vietnamese and, courtesy of Billy’s friend Lydiah, Kenyan.  Alas, we have no Kenyan recipes, though we hope to correct that in the near future, nor did we cook Korean, Thai or Vietnamese last week.  But we’ve got a knockout of a dinner from Greece to share and a-we-don’t-have-the-time-or-energy-to-cook egg and cheese toast from India that will expand your waist line as it satisfies your taste.

The chicken dish is good enough for sharing at a dinner party.  The cheese toast is not something for company, but for that very reason, perhaps, an even better find.  This is food to be shared with your spouse or close family.  Something comforting and tasty, with no pretensions to be anything other than filling and tasty.

braised chicken 2

BRAISED CHICKEN AND TOMATOES

(adapted from bon apétit)

Timing                    2 hours and 15 minutes (can be cooked up to 3 days ahead)

Ingredients:                                                   Serves 4

Note:  The onions, the tomatoes and the cinnamon make this dish.  The cinnamon Is more subtle than you might think (you must use stick cinnamon, not ground) and gives the dish a unique flavor that we will now think of as Greek.

4 Chicken Legs (thigh and drumstick in one piece)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced (we used ½ or slightly less of one those beach-ball sized supermarket onions)
2 lbs. of tomatoes, cut into wedges if large (we used beefsteak and cut into maybe 1 inch wedges)
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon lemon juice – plus lemon wedges for serving
Kosher salt, ground pepper

Prep:

Slice the onions and cut the tomatoes into wedges

Pat chicken dry and season generously with salt and pepper

Cook:

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven medium-high or slightly less.  (You want to brown, but not burn the chicken)

Cook the chicken, skin-side down, reducing heat as you need to, to avoid scorching, until the skin is a deep golden-brown (maybe 10 minutes).  Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium, add onions to the pot and cook, occasionally stirring, until very soft (just beginning to brown around the edges) – maybe 8 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and the cinnamon sticks, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften and the juices thicken slightly. – maybe 7 minutes.

Return chicken to the pan, skin-side up.  Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low and simmer, gently, until the chicken is cooked through – around 50 minutes.

Uncover the pot and keep simmering until juices thicken and the meat is nearly falling off the bone – around 50 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and correct the seasoning.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Eggs 2

EXTRA                                  Eggs Kejriwal (adapted from the NYT Magazine, 4/19/17)

Timing:                        10-15 minutes (take butter out 2 hours before cooking, to soften)

Ingredients:                 Serves 2

2 eggs
2 thick slices of bread (a good country white would be best – we used Whole Foods Farm Loaf)
4 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
1 serrano chile, finely sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons mustard
1 tablespoon minced red onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Heinz Ketchup for Beez and other Pittsburghers (optional)

Cook:

Turn on the broiler in your oven.

Butter the bread on both sides and brown lightly in a frying pan (the same pan you’ll be using to cook the eggs).

Smear one side of the toasts with mustard and place on a sheet pan, mustard-side up.

Mix the cheese, chile, cilantro and onion and pile on the toasts.

Place the toasts under the broiler, just until the cheese is melted.

Just before placing the toasts under the broiler, start frying eggs.  [This requires help from someone keeping an eye on the toasts, or a sort of toggling between the egg and the toasts]

Fry eggs until the edges are crisp but the yolks still soft.

Assemble and Serve:

Place one egg on each toast.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve (with ketchup, if you like).

Harts taqble

The Table at the Harts

2 thoughts on “Travel Expands the Mind, and Sometimes the Waist

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