I came home at 5 p.m. last night and decided to make 300 sugar cookies and decorate them for Easter Sunday because I thought everyone at church would be delighted by them. It was a brilliant idea that quickly lost it’s luster. First, I’ve not actually decorated sugar cookies before, well at home with the kids but not to pass out to people who are not family. Secondly, what was I thinking? I often have these crazy ideas and find myself knee-deep in projects of my own making. Which means, I completely forgot about dinner. I had a sea of cookies cooling on the kitchen counters and about a gallon of royal icing but NOTHING, absolutely nothing to eat for dinner…..Dang it! I opened my pantry and gazed at the contents in desperation and inspiration struck. Bengali people love to smash food. We call it “Vortha”. Sometimes, we like to smash stuff and then fry it up in oval shapes, we call those “Chops” (I have no idea why, it could have been another desperate cook at dinner time who came up with the name).
So, I found a can of chicken. I didn’t even know I had such a thing in the pantry. It wasn’t expired (yay). So I decided to make Chicken and whatever veggie was in the refrigerator chops. It was good. Really good. I think I’ll actually make them again…..on purpose.
Here’s the recipe.
1 12.5 ounce can of unexpired chicken breast
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 Serrano Chile, seeded and chopped
Cilantro – chopped, about a handful
1 tsp cumin powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Zucchini, grated
1/4 cup bread crumbs (helps absorb moisture)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
little vegetable oil for shallow pan frying
Mix everything together and shape into little patties. Heat a skillet with about a 1/4 cup or less of oil. Add the patties in the oil and fry until golden brown. Serve with some rice or in some pita with lettuce, cabbage and fresh tomatoes. Makes 10 patties.
I discovered this wonderful recipe from a delightful food blog called www.whilehewasout.wordpress.com There are great ideas and recipes in this blog so you need to check it out. What caught my eyes was this artisan bread recipe because you don’t have to knead it and you can store it in the fridge until you need to bake it. It’s like bread for dummies. Could it really be that easy? So I decided to try out the recipe and make both bread and baguettes since I was getting ready to make some Bruchetta later as well. The dough is so versatile you can make rolls, pizza, calzones, stomboli and a myriad of other bread type recipes. If you let it rest in the refrigerator the flavors of the dough deepen and give it some delicious almost sourdough like qualities.
Here’s the Recipe:
No Knead Artisan Bread and Baguettes
6 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons of active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil (a little more or less won’t hurt, I like a bit more)
3 cups warm water
In a large bowl (about 5 – 6 quart size) add water, yeast, salt and olive oil. Add all the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours. You can use this dough right after the two-hour rise time or stick it in the refrigerator for use later. It can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator (make sure it’s covered well but with a little venting). When ready for use, dust dough lightly with flour, take out amount of dough that you want and shape it into any shape, place it on a cookie sheet or pan lightly dusted with corn meal, cover and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until double in size. Right before putting the bread in the oven score it with a knife (this makes it look all fancy and professional). Pre-heat oven to 440 degrees Fahrenheit or 230 degrees Celsius. Place a small oven safe bowl or cup with warm water in the bottom rack and place the bread on the rack above it to bake. Bake for 20 -25 minutes until it is a deep golden brown color. Take the bread off the pan and place it directly on the rack and bake for another 5 -10 minutes to give it a nice even crust all around. Cool completely to room temperature before cutting and serving.
Recipe courtesy of www.whilehewasout.wordpress.com
When I was first introduced to Fry Bakes while visiting my husband’s side of the family in Barbados, I couldn’t figure out why it was called “Fry” Bakes. You either fry something or bake it, at least that is what I thought. But this is the local name in pretty much any English-speaking Caribbean island. They are also referred to simply as “Bakes”. It’s an easy way to make bread without using an oven. Usually it’s enjoyed right on the beach, cooked up fresh and hot and served with fresh fish Ceviche or salt fish stews or in Jamaica it’s served with Salt Fish and Achee (a small green, tart fruit). It’s delicious, it’s portable and it’s simple to make. I’ve learned that if I want to make the Caribbean side of my family happy, all I have to do is cook up some Fry Bakes and cut up some good quality aged English Cheddar and watch everyone go crazy eating it. Enjoy!
Caribbean Fry Bakes
7 cups All-Purpose flour
2 tablespoons of Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups warm water
Vegetable oil for frying
In a glass measuring cup add sugar to one cup of warm water, stir and add in yeast and let it proof by bubbling and foaming. In a large bowl, mix together flour salt and baking powder. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add oil and proofed yeast. Mix in with your hands and slowly add in remaining two cups of water. Knead until dough is soft and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for about 20-30 minutes. Dough will rise during that time. Make little dough balls, about 1 1/2 inch in diameter and roll out on a lightly floured surface into about 3″ circles. Heat oil in a small frying pan (medium heat) and gently place dough in oil and fry until golden brown. Serve hot with sharp cheddar cheese slices (we love Dubliner or aged English Cheddar) or with fresh Ceviche. Makes about 35 fry bakes.