September 14 – September 20, 2020
Monday: Steaks at Laurel Valley Golf Club after 18 holes, while watching Steelers beat Giants
Thursday: Chicken Vindaloo with Rice
Friday: Niçoise Salad
Sunday: Stone Harbor, NJ – Hamburgers, Caprese Salad, Charcuterie – Mere and Hoddy’s place
September 21 – September 27, 2020
Tuesday: Green Goddess dip with Crackers and Cruités, Onion, Pepper and Bacon Frittata
Wednesday: Spiagetta Ristorante
Thursday: Creole Shrimp on Creamed Corn
Once again, I seem to have lost an entire week before addressing the blog. I’ll try to make up for that by giving you a bit of a travelogue as well as a powerful Indian dish that will have you saying ‘namaste’. Please note, “Indian” here means the original ‘Indians’, the ones that Columbus thought he had contacted while falling about 13,000 miles short (the distance from the Bahamian island of San Salvador to Pondicherry, India – although, the Panama Canal not having been built, the trip would have been much longer, requiring the rounding of Cape Horn).
As for the travelogue – we spent the week before last at the Jersey Shore as guests of Howard and Mere, out of reach of this computer, away from those flimsy campaign signs that have sprouted up in our neighborhood and missing Rusty, the perfect dog, who spent another happy week at Camp Puppourri.
The weather struck me as fine – cooler golfing than I’ve have in some time – but SWMBO, attracted to the beach and the sun like a moth to a candle, found it just acceptable. Howard and I got in 1 ½ rounds of golf, including a terrifying 18 at a course that shall go nameless where, as Howard put it, “I heard ‘Fore’ shouted more times today than I have in a lifetime of playing golf.” We escaped unscathed but shaken and recuperated at Jay’s on Third with a wonderful dinner.
Meanwhile, Mere was cooking up a storm, cleaning out the garage of her shore house as well as trying to manage the construction project at their home back in Pittsburgh, and finding plenty of time to catch up with us and correct Hoddy. And we were all reading, inching the cocktail hour closer and closer to noon and generally relaxing in the way that being away from home and routine and forgetting what day of the week it is encourages.
Now for that Indian dish. Indian food is bursting with flavor, in my experience (limited, admittedly). Ginger, garlic, lots of spices and ghee will do that to food. And Chicken Vindaloo is a dish I have wanted to cook ever since having it in a London Restaurant along with several pints of Ruddles County Bitters. The dish in London was mouth-numbingly hot – just my cup of tea. But the version below, while it has nice heat and a ton of flavor, will allow you to feel your lips (of course, you can always add more cayenne). But if you drink the same amount of Ruddles County that I drank in England, you won’t be able to make anyone understand what you say anyway.
This is a dish for savoring – calling for a mild appetizer to set you up for the wallop of hot spiciness the chicken brings and a dessert of sherbet (absent the Ruddles County) to calm you down, afterwards.
(adapted from Milk Street Magazine)
Timing: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Ingredients: Serves 4 (serve with rice as a side dish to sop up the sauce)
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and halved – for large thighs, cut into more than two pieces (you want something about 3 times bite-sized)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons white vinegar, divided
12 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled (we used 10)
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
4 whole cloves, or ¼ tsp ground
2 ¼ ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
¾ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons neutral oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
For serving –
Fresno or Jalapeño Chiles, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
Fresh cilantro leaves (we used parsley)
Trim and cut chicken thighs
Put into a blender the vinegar, garlic, ginger, paprika, brown sugar, cloves, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, 1 ¼ teaspoons each of salt and pepper and 3 tablespoons of water. Purée until smooth.
Pour into medium bowl, add chicken and toss to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes.
In a large Dutch oven heat oil over medium until shimmering. Add the chicken and the marinade and arrange in an even layer. Cook without stirring until the marinade has browned and the chicken releases easily from the pot – around 7 ½ minutes.
Stir and then add 1/3 cup of water (we added a bit more) – you can scrape any chicken that stuck to the bottom of the pan off now with a wooden spoon.
Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to medium-low.
Cook, stirring from time to time, until cooked (35-45 minutes). A skewer stuck into the chicken should meet no resistance.
Now stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar and increase heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened (a spoon drawn through it should leave a trail). This will take about 8 minutes.
Taste and correct salt and pepper.
Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with sliced chiles and cilantro.
Serve with rice on the side. Note: We served with rice steamed in chicken broth with bell pepper, raisins and butter. We also sprinkled some scallions over the chicken.