Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fake Tuna Sandwich

Ok so we all know about fake meat products. They are all some weird smashed soy stuff with food coloring (or in the case of Quorn: mycoprotein translates into fungal sludge).  I know, I eat the stuff and I genuinely like it. However, I like this better: real food. This is how I made fake tuna sandwiches out of real food.

Combine equal proportions of cooked chickpeas* and artichoke hearts (canned or frozen but probably don't want do use marinated as it will change the taste and texture). Pulse in a food processor until the consistency is like tuna from a can. Then add other stuff you like: mayo, green onions, white onion, pickle relish, lemon juice, salt and pepper for me. You could do it like a chicken salad too and add grapes and walnuts. Get creative. Then I just spread it on some nice sourdough bread with crisp romaine leaves and ripe tomato.  It hit the spot. It has protein like tuna and a lot of fiber. I served it with an Israeli couscous asparagus salad on the side.

*I always buy dry beans and soak them overnight. After I boil in salted water, drain and rinse them, I let them cool to room temperature. Then I put them in a large freezer bag and lay flat in the freezer. This gives me a lot of beans on hand to use and they are a lot better than those from a can.

**For this recipe you could also use white beans.

Indian Pizza

I had this great idea for making Indian inspired pizza. I thought about it for a week and knew it would be a lot of work. I did it over the course of two days. I make the homemade paneer and marinated the Quorn chicken tandori on the first day. On day two I made the chutney and pizza dough. I also make lemon pickle swiss chard but found that the pizza was better without it. For the dough I used Fleishman's pizza yeast which does not require doubling time. I just followed the recipe exactly as written on the package. I could have made naan bread to be more Indian but I was looking for a short cut time-wise. I suppose I could have bought naan.

Indian Tandoori Chik'n Pizza
serves 4 (or 2 hungry bears)

Dough made according the package instruction or you can use my dough recipe here.

I always precook my dough. Usually I do this on the grill but I did it in a pan this time. I brushed it lightly with olive oil and cooked both sides on medium heat until bubbles formed.

For the paneer:
1/4 gallon milk
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (lime juice or vinegar would work as well)
cheese cloth

Place the milk in a heavy bottom sauce pan and bring to a boil. Then add lemon juice. The milk will form curds and whey. When your whey is greenish and thin it's time to strain. Tie your cheese cloth around the ball of curds and hang above the sink for 30 minutes to an hour. (As you can see I could not find my cheesecloth, so I found a shirt with open weave like a cheese cloth and made it work. It's kind of funny.) Then I pressed mine into a plastic container and put it in the refrigerator overnight. This helped to make it more firm. When it was time to use I cut it into cubes.
Making it work!

For the chutney:
1 bunch cilantro
2 hot peppers, serrano or jalapeno
1 handful shelled pistachios (I guess this is about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons lemon juice or to taste
salt to taste
Blend it!

For the tandoori chik'n:
1/2 bag Quorn chicken pieces
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Tandoori spice and paprica (enough to get the red color you desire for me this was about 1/4-1/3 cup)

Just mix this together and pop it into the refrigerator to marinated for however long you have. Mine marinated for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. When it was time to assemble  I smeared the chutney onto the dough, placed the paneer and marinated "chicken" on my pizza. I let it cook for about 25 minutes if memory serves me correctly.

In retrospect the chutney lost it's acidity in cooking so I would probably change the recipe by cooking the dough and chicken in the oven on their own, then assembling all of the ingredients. Paneer doesn't really melt anyway so it doesn't need to be cooked in the oven. The other option would be to make the tandoori marinade as your sauce instead of marinating your chicken with it. I think I might try to make a saag paneer pizza or a madras mixed vegetable curry pizza.... mmmm.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to make enchiladas

I have been making enchiladas for a few year but have only been making them well for about a year. It took a lot of toying with because they often just turned out so squishy. Being from Texas this simply would not work. 

Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas Verdes
serves 4

12 ounces mushrooms (I used shitake because that is what I have)
12 ounces fresh or frozen spinach
8 ounces light cream cheese (I used Laughing Cow light)
10 tortillas
1 jar tomatillo sauce (or make your own)
oil for frying
shredded cheese for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in pan for tortillas. Cook down sliced mushrooms in oil. Then wilt the spinach or defrost if using frozen. Mix spinach and mushrooms with cream cheese. Place a tortilla in oil and cook on each side for about 5-10 seconds, until slightly puffed and soft fried. Then place tortilla in pan and spoon filling into it to fill it about 1/3 way. Roll, preferably using tongs. Do this with each tortilla. Then cover with tamatillo sauce and top with cheese. Put in oven for 25 minutes. Ta-da!

This is just the basic way to make enchiladas and can be used to make any number of combinations. I served mine with avocado and tomato salad.