Hi everyone, I hope you’re doing well. I’m still around, just haven’t been posting. I visited this site the other day and noticed that the most recent recipe was for a ButcherBox promotion back around Thanksgiving, and and it kind of bothered me. So I thought I would post a new recipe to at least push that one down a bit in the stream.
I developed this recipe when writing The Heritage Cookbook, but I ended up with too many recipes from the Caribbean, and so it didn’t make the final cut. But it’s still a simple, delicious recipe, with some subtle tropical notes that bring sunshine to your plate. There’s a lot of flexibility here; if you cannot find breadfruit or callaloo locally, I’ve included some more conventional substitutes.
I recommend eating this dish with your hands. It’s worth it.
This is always my favorite time of the year to be in the kitchen. Not only do we get to start focusing on soups and stews to break that oncoming winter chill, but it’s roasting season.
Every year my friends at ButcherBox run a one-day promotion where they offer a free turkey plus $10 off any new signups with their program. The turkey is 10-14lbs, all-natural, and animal welfare certified — and will ship right to your home in time for Thanksgiving.
We’ve been using ButcherBox for several years now. They ship monthly curated boxes of 100% grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, and wild-caught seafood. You can customize the box for specific types of meat (like an all-beef box), or even customize which cuts you want to receive. Each box ranges from 9-14 lbs, which is enough to feed my family of four for at least a week (but often more). I like the program because we can decide whether to be surprised with new cuts of meat that challenge us to come up with new creations, or fall back on our favorite cuts — all conveniently shipped to our door. They’ve also recently expanded their wild-caught seafood selection, which now includes Alaskan sockeye salmon, Alaskan cod, sea scallops, haddock, and cold-cracked Maine lobster.
Click here to sign up, and be sure to enter the code “TURKEY10” to get an additional $10 off. The turkey deal will be available until November 15th, but the $10 off code will only work today (November 6th).
Hi everyone. It’s been a bit since I posted a recipe. Someone wrote me the other day and asked whether I had a Chicken Tagine recipe. I did (and do), and it reminded me that I have many tasty recipes that didn’t make the final cut into The Heritage Cookbook. So instead of letting them waste away in some random Google Doc, I’ll try my best to post a recipe here and there.
Things are fine. Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. I thought that all this telework and social distancing would give me an opportunity to return to my more prolific days here on the blog, but I’ve found that since I’m sitting in front of a computer so much doing work-related tasks, I haven’t been interested in returning to my computer in the evenings. So perhaps once things eventually normalize I will get back to my old blogging routine, but for now, let’s just enjoy some Chicken Tagine and figure all that other stuff out later.
Memorial Day is right around the corner. It’s often considered the first grilling weekend of the season across the United States, although it might feel a bit different this year without friends coming over. Either way, this recipe is tasty enough that it will hopefully compensate for the lack of Memorial Day parties we’ll all be attending in 2020.
While Tandoori Chicken recipes are found in my first two books, this beloved dish is making its blog debut today. It gets its name from the traditional clay oven found in South Asia, known as a tandoor in Hindi/Urdu. This dish as we know it today was likely developed in the 19th century, but evidence of similar grilled poultry dishes can be traced back to the Harappan Civilization, which existed in the Indus River Valley over 5,000 years ago. Given that most of these spices are native to the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia, it’s no stretch to believe that these flavors have existed for thousands of years.
For this recipe, we’re going to go as economical as possible – we’ll break down a whole chicken and grill its individual parts. If that doesn’t seem to be up your alley, no worries, you can use any combination of chicken parts on their own (more details below the recipe). Bear in mind that bone-in chicken imparts the most flavor, and you’ll want to remove the skin so that you can get as much flavor into the meat as possible.
Yesterday was my 40th birthday. I’ve spent many years thinking about this specific trip around the sun, and this milestone is important to me for several reasons. But perhaps most meaningfully, I clearly remember when my parents reached 40, and I felt that it was a significant time for each of them: a time to reflect on that transition from young-ish adult to middle age. It feels like by 40, most of your life’s decisions have lined up in a way that is relatively hard to break away from. And in that sense, I’m proud of the direction my life has taken, and those who have shared this journey with me.
So to celebrate, I’m sharing one of my most celebratory recipes. This is the recipe I usually take to potlucks, parties, and other gatherings. I shared a down-and-dirty version of this dish about five years ago (which you can find here, along with some history of the dish). I’ve made some fundamental changes over the years, and I’m positive that this is the definitive version. To give you some context: for Christmas this past year, I vaccuum-sealed, froze, and gifted this dish to my close friends and co-workers. If I was to ever open a restaurant, this dish would not only be on the menu, but it’d have an asterix by its title to indicate that it’s something special, something worth pausing and enjoying.
The dish requires a good amount of preparation up front: the day before you make it, you’ll want to make your stock, prep the meats, and chop the vegetables. That way, you can whip up the rest in the morning with minimal effort. Don’t let the planning intimidate you–it’s worth the effort.
The signature flavor of Aji de Gallina (“hen chili”) comes from aji amarillo peppers (Capsicum baccatum), which are prevalent in Peruvian and Bolivian cuisine. Fiercely spicy and naturally yellow, this pepper is eaten fresh (or in paste form) in Peru, like in today’s recipe, but they are often dried in Bolivia. Aji amarillo pastes can be found online or in your local Latin grocery, but can also be (somewhat) replicated using more conventional ingredients (more on that in the notes below).
This dish uses a unique mixture of New World and Old World ingredients. The aji amarillo paste and potatoes are native to the Americas, while the others — chicken, walnuts (to thicken the sauce), olives, milk, and parmesan cheese are all Old World staples introduced after the 15th century.
This dish is from Liguria, the coastal region in northwest Italy. This area is known for its abundant pine nuts, which make an appearance in this dish (fun fact: pesto, which relies heavily on pine nuts, is also from this region). Liguria also borders with the eastern side of France, and this dish shares French culinary staple — namely slow-braised meat in a wine sauce.
Cooking with rabbit can be intimidating to Westerners, but it’s actually quite simple. Just think of it like an oddly-shaped chicken, that’s made with all white meat. The hardest part is finding a whole rabbit, which you can often find at specialty butchers or Asian markets. They’re also available online, and my friends at US Wellness Meats regularly carry whole rabbits — just throw it in your box the next time you get an order of their incredible 75% lean grass-fed ground beef.
Some news: we’re moving back to Hawaii this week. I lived there from 2001 to 2008, and met my wife Janey there in 2002. Even though it’s been over 11 years since we left, and I spent my first 20 years in Washington state, I still consider Hawaii home. I wrote a little about what this state means to me a few years ago, in my Hawaii Oxtail Soup recipe. Janey is especially excited to get back to her hometown, and to spend time with friends and relatives we’ve only seen a precious few times during our years away. The boys will be going to the same schools their mother attended as a child, and they’re pretty stoked, too.
So to celebrate this return to home, I’m sharing my mother-in-law’s Nishime (vegetable stew) recipe. To be honest, when we lived there, my wife and I weren’t huge fans of this dish — its earthy and subdued flavors are a far cry from the savory, sweet, and crunchy delights you can find out in town. But since moving away we’ve come to appreciate the comforting warmth that Nishime can impart.
Note that this recipe is difficult to make without access to a local Japanese grocery store. For example, nishime kombu is a softer version of the more popular dashi kombu seaweed you can find in most asian markets, but is not sold online. Similarly, fresh burdock root (gobo) can only be found in person. And finally, you’ll want to find a block of konnyaku (the same material used to make shirataki noodles), which is not easy to find online either. All this is not meant to dissuade you from trying this recipe — far from it — but to let you know that this is a hard recipe to replicate if you don’t have access to a Japanese grocer. And because of its simple seasoning (just a bit of dashi, tamari, and honey), each of the ingredients are pretty important to get that signature nishime flavor (although there is a bit of wiggle room here — losing an ingredient or two won’t break the dish).
I’ll be taking the next two weeks off from posting while we move everything from Virginia to Hawaii. Hope you have a happy holidays and see you after the New Year.
Hi everyone, my friends at ButcherBox are offering a deal that I thought would interest you – for today (November 1st) only, they’re offering a free turkey plus $10 off any new signups with their program. The turkey is 10-14lbs, all-natural, and animal welfare certified — and will ship right to your home in time for Thanksgiving.
We’ve been using ButcherBox for several years now. They ship monthly curated boxes of 100% grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, and wild sockeye salmon. You can customize the box for specific types of meat (like an all-beef box), or even customize which cuts you want to receive. Each box ranges from 9-14 lbs, which is enough to feed my family of four for at least a week (but often more). I like the program because we can decide whether to be surprised with new cuts of meat that challenge us to come up with new creations, or fall back on our favorite cuts — all conveniently shipped to our door.
Click here to sign up, and be sure to enter the code “TURKEY10” to get an additional $10 off. The turkey deal will be available until November 15th, but the $10 off code will only work today (November 1st).
This is it: my last post before the limited edition hardcover version of The Heritage Cookbook is no longer available for purchase. This special edition shop will only be open until midnight Sunday, June 30th, because after that I must submit my order to the printer in time for an October delivery. We’ve sold a little over 500 copies at this point, which means I’ve reached my target goal and won’t be losing money off this endeavor. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders! Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy for yourself or a loved one — your support means a lot to me, and I think you’re going to love the finished product.
So to celebrate this milestone, I’m sharing one of my crowning achievements from this book’s recipe development: a recipe for Cantonese roast duck that rivals the versions you’ll find in restaurants. I found that the trick to getting that crispy-all-over texture comes from lots of exposure to air: air out the chicken in the fridge, then brush on the glaze while airing it out with a fan, and propping the duck upright using a bottle so that the air hits every part of it.
Be warned that there are a few unconventional ingredients in this dish, but a) most Chinese markets will carry them at a fair price, b) you can find on them online for a little bit more (links below), and c) because they are all shelf stable, you won’t need to reinvest in these ingredients for some time. While you’re there at the market, pick up an extra Chinese rice wine bottle, the ones with a squared base — they’re the best bottles for keeping the duck solidly upright (see the picture above).