Monday, May 25, 2015

JGE 39 – Harira

Good Day,

Thank you Emeril Lagasse. A short time ago I stumbled upon Emeril Lagasse’s recipe Harira: Moroccan Chickpea Stew with Chicken and Lentils on the Food Network site.  I’m always looking for something different, but in this case I filed the recipe away because I was not willing to spend 10 hours and 25 minutes working on something that maybe I could fix in at least 1 hour. Hell when Jim’s gotta eat, Jim’s gotta eat.

And so I tweaked Mr. Lagasse’s recipe a wee bit.

The tweaked part - I substituted a can of chickpeas. I have never had success soaking beans or peas from the dried stage. Mine, no matter what I do, always seem to be too, too raw, that is, hard. So I figured what the hell, there isn’t anyone judging my dish. There’s just the two of us.

And as I had pulled a chicken breast out of the freezer I figured I would replace the call for chicken thighs.

But wait I also exchanged dried orange lentils for the suggested dried green lentils.

My ingredients – Chickpeas, Olive Oil, Skinless Chicken Breast, Salt, Freshly Ground Pepper, Onions, Celery, Carrots (this was my add-in), Ground Ginger, Tumeric, Ground Black Pepper, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Nutmeg, Can of Roasted Diced Tomatoes, Chicken Stock, Dried Lentils, Long-grain Rice, Cilantro, JalapeƱo, Lemon Juice, Plain Yogurt.

My secret – Prep before I start cooking. I have a tendency to pull things out of cupboards as I go along. It is ever so much easier to have everything in place and ready to go.

Mirepoix - Onions, Carrots, Celery

On low for 30 minutes.

Yes I had two helpings… and leftovers for lunch.

Hell, Jim’s gotta eat.



Saturday, May 23, 2015

JGE 38 – Pasta alla Norma alla Smith

Good Day,

A recipe that I have never heard of before...not that that means that I am a walking encyclopedia of cooking techniques and recipes. Pasta alla Norma. I saw a picture in The New York Times, Mark Bittman's recipe, and I decided about a week ago that Jim's gotta eat and definitely try this one.  (The picture to the right is my creation.)

An Internet Google search of the phrase "Pasta alla Norma" produced 228,000 results.

I got myself a great looking eggplant from Urban Oasis.  And I had, more or less, all of the ingredients here in the house.

Pasta all Norma is a Sicilian dish, purportedly named for the opera Norma by Vincenzo Bellini. One could say a vegetarian meal, is something I would make again.

My concoction - Pasta alla Norma alla Smith. Jim's Gotta Eat.

Ingredients: Linguine, Eggplant, Mushrooms, Chilies, Tomato Pasta, Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil, Parmesan Romano Cheese, Salt, Oregano, Parsley. Filling and delicious, and who’d a think that eggplant could be so deceptive…in a very positive way.

Sliced eggplant fried in olive and vegetable oil. Removed from pan and not drained.

Oh yeah, my early morning blood sugar count dropped 15 points to 99.

And who was Norma?

"Simple to make and yet classy enough for a first course in a serious dinner, Pasta alla Norma was so popular in 19th century Sicily that it was named after Sicilian composer Bellini's hugely successful opera Norma to honor both the dish and the opera, whose perfection matched each other in the eyes of Nino Martoglio, a famous Sicilian theater director. It kept the name."

And Jim's gotta eat.



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

JGE 37 - Quiche in a Mug, Sort-of

Good Day,

You know that sometimes, a lot of the times, most times, I do not watch the clock and the time creeps up on me and it's time to eat supper and I say to myself


You ever had one of those days?  (And I talk a lot to myself.)

Well last night was one of them.

And this time I was prepared for it. I had been researching and checking out a specific type of recipe on the Internet and on YouTube, a recipe to make a quick Quiche in a Mug. And I was shocked how many, 25,600 hits, I found on Google Web Search for the phrase "Quiche in a mug". The phrase "Quiche in a coffee cup" hit 1,760 results and "Quiche in a Cup" 14,500.

So guess what I made last night?

That's right I had a not so bad, actually quite good, Quiche in a Mug, sort-of supper last night.

Oh yeah I sprinkled it with some freshly ground pepper. Next time with a nice green and/or watermelon salad.

Jim's gotta eat.



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

JGE 36 - Thai Chicken Curry - A Quick Method

Good Day,

By now you've probably got the impression that I like food.

Hell yes, I do. Period. It's a wonder that I could eat all day. And if I didn't cycle daily, (for you neophytes to Jim's Gotta Eat that's the Jim's Trek part), I probably would be a major CP. (Oh yeah Couch Potato). And more than likely I would have to use some sort of hoist to get me out of my chair.

I love to cook but I like fresh air. Let me explain.

I keep the house open most days. In Tampa around 4 o'clock, and the with the house and doors wide open there seems to be some sort of atmospheric heating. Yes it seems that with the beginning of the setting sun, this house just begins to get warmer and warmer. The heat and the growing humidity just does not make me feel like prepping and food or even cooking.  (Praise be that I have a pool just outside my kitchen.)

And this is where I find that if I can prepare a meal in 30 minutes with the minimal amount of effort the better. Restaurants, take-outs, frozen dishes are fine, but I do like a meal made from scratch. Hell Jim's Gotta Eat.

Don't get me wrong, I do eat out and/or order in at a somewhat considerable basis, but I do prefer to make for myself...and anyone else who's willing to sit down with me.

And this is where I may then check what's in my refrigerator. I also check and scope out my pantry regularly.

Last night - leftover grilled chicken, of the KFC species,  just sitting on a shelf in the fridge. A red and a white onion. Half a red bell pepper. Can of coconut milk in the pantry. Open jar of Panang Curry Paste. Fresh green beans and a couple of Cubanelle peppers from Urban Oasis. Dried red chilies.

Rice, the steamer, water and some sesame oil.

Mise en place. Wok on the stove. Total time 30 minutes -

Ta-da. Thai Shredded-Chicken Curry on Steamed Rice.

Jim's Gotta Eat.