Tag Archives: Black peppercorn

Here’s how I cooked my Thanksgiving turkey, and what I did with the leftovers

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We had guests in town for the holidays, so I was honored to cook the Thanksgiving turkey in our house this year. It’s not every year that I get to cook because we typically eat Thanksgiving lunch out with my family and then fill our bellies at night with Nadia’s family, but lucky me, this bird had my name on it.

I wanted to make something a little different this year, so I went with orange and orange juice, and a few Asian ingredients I had in the pantry. I guess we’ll call this one Asian Orange Turkey. Keep reading to see how I brined and cooked the bird, and what I made with the leftovers. Continue reading Here’s how I cooked my Thanksgiving turkey, and what I did with the leftovers

Stretching your pesos: Fat Dude’s Mexican fiesta, Part 1—Shredded chicken tostadas

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We had Nadia’s cousins and brother over for football this weekend. We’re all big, hungry dudes, so you know I had to whip up something tasty.

I bought a lot of chicken–too much chicken for the tostadas I planned to make–so I’ve been tinkering with new ways to use the leftover ingredients since Sunday. But before we get into reincarnating the leftovers, it’s best to show you the recipe that left me with a Mexican bounty.

If you are looking for a healthy, frugal meal that will carry you through, look no further than the humble tostada: Corn tortilla, beans, meat, veggies, salsa, cheese and condiments.

For the recipe I made, the ingredients were: Pinto beans, chorizo, shredded chicken breast, shredded iceberg lettuce, pickled jalapeno, Oaxaca cheese, cotija cheese, Mexican crema, salsa verde, cilantro and lime.

A healthier me would have omitted the chorizo and the crema, but it was game day and I splurged. But, a little bit of either—about two tablespoons of chorizo and a two teaspoons of sour cream or light sour cream—ain’t gonna hurt none. (Read more: 8 Fatty Foods with Health Benefits—Sour Cream.)

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You will get 8 to 10 tostadas from two chicken breasts, depending on how large they are. Forget the quantity I use in the pictures, as I said, I cooked for an army and still have leftovers. Anyways, let’s cook!

Make the dry rub: It made enough for 10 large chicken breasts: 2 T kosher salt, 2 T garlic powder, 2 T onion powder, 1 T Cambodian Kampot peppercorns from Pepper Project (any black peppercorns will do though), 1 T of paprika, 2 t Mexican oregano, 2 t cumin, 2 t chili powder, 1/2 t cayenne pepper and 2 bay leaves.

Run the mix through a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and that’s it.

For an alternative dry rub made with chipotle chili powder, use Chef Brian’s Chicken Taco Spice.

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Your best bet to get the chicken tender enough to shred easily with a fork is to braise the meat. To get the chicken ready for braising, give it a good massage with the spice mix and let it sit out and temper for about an hour.

The braise: Heat an appropriate amount of oil in the pan for the number of chicken breasts you are using and sear all of the meat, browning both sides for 2-3 minutes per side. In my version, I first cooked the chorizo in the pan and then removed the meat, leaving behind the chorizo fat to cook the chicken in (with the addition of some canola oil). Once all the chicken is done, add a chopped onion and 3 cloves of chopped garlic to the pan, scraping the bottom free of whatever’s stuck to it.

Add a little tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes, until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Deglaze the pan with chicken stock (Video: How to deglaze a pan). Add the chicken back to the pan, and fill it about halfway up the height of the chicken with more stock. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

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When the chicken is done baking, it will be in a pool of braising liquid. Gently remove the chicken (it’s tender now, so it might fall apart) and leave the braising liquid to cool. When it has cooled, reserve it in a plastic container and put it in the fridge for later use (which we’ll get to on the blog soon).

Make the beans while the chicken bakes: Pinto beans or black beans, either one works here. Black beans are better nutritionally, so that’s a plus, but sometimes I like the lighter flavor of pinto beans better.

Heat 2 t of oil in a small pot and sautee 1/2 white onion and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. You can add spices at this point, including cumin and corriander, if you wish. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and 1 can of drained black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Break up the beans while they cook. The liquid will boil out and the beans will thicken into a paste. Salt to taste.

Bake the tortillas: Crank the oven up to 400 degrees once you’ve pulled the chicken out. Hit as many corn tortillas as you’ll need with a spritz of cooking spray and a dash of salt (a solid serving is two per person; a lighter eater might want one and a side salad) and bake directly on a sheet pan for about 10 minutes. I start checking mine at 8 minutes, and keep checking them until they’re done around the 10-12 minute mark.

You want to leave them space on the pan and have the patience to cook them until they’re done right, or else they will be chewy and gross instead of crisp and awesome.

Knock out everything else while the tostadas bake: Shred the chicken with the backs of two forks. Slice the lettuce super thin with a sharp knife. Get spoons in the sour cream and the salsa. Whatever you gotta do to make it Tostada O’Clock.

Layer properly: Beans. Then meat. Then veggies. Then cheese. Salsas. Crema. Herbs. Lime.

Bonus! Breakfast tostadas!

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Tomorrow: Mexican rice bowls with braised chicken and pickled red onion.

Week 28, Meal 2: Classic shrimp ‘n’ grits

Of all the stupid walls I built up around food, my preconceived hatred of grits has to be the stupidest one.

Seriously, grits are essentially cornmeal pudding, smooth and creamy, but totally filling (just like polenta, though one is yellow corn and one is white corn from what I Googled) — and polenta/grits have quickly become a food I totally love. That being said, I admit that Week 28, Meal 2: Shrimp and grits is the first time I’ve had the dish and it’s everything I was hoping it would be.

Chef Brian’s version features a spicy shrimp gravy punctuated by salty bacon, the slight burn of jalapeno and a nice kick of cayenne pepper. It’s a dish so good that you’ll want to lick the plate after you’re done.

Feel free. I won’t tell.

Continue reading Week 28, Meal 2: Classic shrimp ‘n’ grits

Week 19, Meal 2: (Indian) wedding soup

I’ve had this curious case of the sniffles for the last week — a reprisal of the yuckies that sidelined me a few weeks back — and it threw off my kitchen game last week.

The whole time I was cooking Week 19, Meal 2: Indian spiced lamb meatball soup with kaboucha squash, kale and wild rice I ran into problems. I couldn’t smell if the spices had toasted enough or taste if the dish had enough salt.

I planned to package the soup up for the following day, but there was a little miscommunication in the kitchen and we ended up leaving the soup out overnight in our comfortably warm condo.

I wasn’t so keen on trying it the next day as the cold hadn’t subsided (it still isn’t gone) and I wasn’t willing to test the boundaries of food poisoning.

So here goes the soup that never was. Continue reading Week 19, Meal 2: (Indian) wedding soup

Week 18, Meal 2: Not your everyday chicken dinner

I love basil for its lemony fragrance and cooling flavor, but I’ve mostly used the leaves as a garnish to pasta dishes in the past.

Week 18, Meal 2: Black pepper and parsley crusted chicken breast over green beans in basil vinaigrette with cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, garlic and pecorino romano is a dish that puts the bright herb up front, balancing its essence with super-salty sheep’s milk cheese and peppery, herb-crusted chicken.

Eat with your eyes and it’s just chicken and veggies, but take just one bite and you’ll know this is not your everyday chicken dinner. Continue reading Week 18, Meal 2: Not your everyday chicken dinner

Week 18, Meal 1: Another gussied up fish dish

Sure, it’s rewarding to make great-tasting food at home, but there’s always an extra level of satisfaction when I put together something that looks like it belongs on some fancy restaurant menu.

Now, Chef Brian might disagree, but I think he’s at his best when he’s working with ahi tuna. There’s just something about the way he is able to contrast that neon pink flesh against eggplant, cous cous, beets … whatever.

Week 18, Meal 1: Fennel, black pepper, and parsley crusted ahi tuna over eggplant and pomegranate caponata with pomegranate balsamic drizzle is yet another stunner from his repertoire of  food that’s both beautiful to look at, and delicious to eat. Continue reading Week 18, Meal 1: Another gussied up fish dish

Week 16, Meal 2: Super salmon bowl

I love Fat Dude cooking nights where I come away from the kitchen feeling like I put together something that people would pay big bucks for at a fancy restaurant.

Week 16, Meal 2: Fennel Crusted salmon over braised fennel, onion, and carrot with roasted fingerlings is one of those dishes. Though it didn’t take much work to put it together, the sweet, light broth and assertive fennel/pepper mix make this a quick fish dish to keep on hand when you’re looking to impress with both flavor and presentation.

Follow the jump to see how the magic happened. Continue reading Week 16, Meal 2: Super salmon bowl

Week 13, Meal 1: Parsley and black pepper-crusted ahi over tabbouleh with mint yogurt and roasted bell pepper

I tried to make this meal look as beautiful as I could to show my appreciation for my wife’s family, which hails from Jordan.

I often joke that the best part of marrying her was the food. Before, I only had an appreciation for the flavors, but now I have respect for anyone who has ever made tabbouleh, because in all honesty, the wheat-based staple is a pain in the ass to prepare.

No matter though. The effort was worth the final product. Here’s Week 13, Meal 1: Parsley and black pepper-crusted ahi over tabbouleh with mint yogurt and roasted bell pepper. Continue reading Week 13, Meal 1: Parsley and black pepper-crusted ahi over tabbouleh with mint yogurt and roasted bell pepper

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