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Hard to Pronounce Names and Simple Awesomeness

Hard to Pronounce Names and Simple Awesomeness

Time seems to running away, at least from me! I am a few hours away from heading out for a close couple's wedding, and then, a month long travel, and, I still have so many loose threads trailing around me. I am consciously not calling it my 'to-do list', you see. 

Meanwhile, in between, I am happy that I atleast manage to feed myself well, actually, really well. Bless the person who invented the freezer and then all the technology revolutions that made it a affordable home appliance! I use it as much as I can for make ahead meals. Recently a friend recommended a Greek chicken soup that I was shocked to not have heard of before. It is one of the most comforting, incredibly delicious and satisfying and stupidly easy soups to make. 

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A Chicken Story and A Summer Salad

A Chicken Story and A Summer Salad

It is natural that as the Summer haze sets in, there is less and less inclination to spend in the kitchen. Yet, the desire for tasting the splendor of the season does not abate. So, we all find ways to get around it - from barbeques to salads, outdoor fun and rooftop joys to easy dinners, cooking big and making the most of leftovers. Summer offers the best chance for making magic with mere leftovers.

Recently, I have taken a partiality to whole roast chicken.

The chicken giveth in spades and every bit of edible or can be made into something edible. A farm, pasture raised chicken typically weighs about 3.5 lbs and you can get a fair bit of meat from it, even though not as much as its larger industrial cousins. What I like is that the leg and thigh is about the same size as the breast and I have always the darker and juicier meat from here! The first meal from the roast is always the thigh with a side of vegetables. 

Then, I peel every bit of the meat off the carcass and use it over a week in several dishes, from salads to tarts to sandwiches to curries to rice toss, oh, endless...! The carcass itself becomes ideal for stock with a bunch of vegetable scraps. The jus, becomes gravy or vinaigrette based on what I am making. All savored, nothing lost.

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Happy Birthday FSK!!!! :) and a Pulled Tandoori Chicken Sandwich

Pulled Tandoori Chicken sandwich

Yes! Three years ago, this month, this wonderful creature was born. She came into this world, rustic and small and changed my life completely. I watched her grow and blossom, fondly listening to every breath, inhaling her sweet smells every morning and any number of times during the day.

I nurtured her and nourished her with constant attention, bestowing my deepest creative moments in a quest to mold her and a whole lot of hard work to prime her to be as perfect as I could. Isn't she beautiful?! :)

Yes, today, I sing a joyous birthday tune to celebrate her third year of existence! Happy Birthday to Fork Spoon Knife!! :)

Pulled Tandoori Chicken sandwich1

And to celebrate this third anniversary of my blog, I have a treat for all you wonderful readers. I think you will really appreciate and enjoy what I have lined for your this month! More on that in the next post. Let me just say that it is perfect for the fun and frolic of the warmer months, for long walks around the park and city and picnics with friends.

For this one, I want to keep it short and sweet and leave with this succulent creation that is a true fusion of traditional Indian flavors and mordern Western dining. Bring home a piece of India with this bold and aromatic Pulled Tandoori Chicken Sandwich!!!

Pulled Tandoori Chicken

Pulled Tandoori Chicken sandwich

Prep Time: 3 hours to overnight
Cook Time: 45 min
Total Time: 4 hours

4 chicken thighs , bone-in, skinless
4 tsp butter

For the marinade:
3/4 cup diced red onion
4 cloves of garlic
5 dry red Kashmiri chillies (not very spicy but deep red)
1/4 cup vinegar
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground chillies
3 T olive oil
1/4 cup thick, whole milk yogurt
salt to taste

Soak the chillies in vinegar for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the chillies. Grind all the marinade ingredients to a smooth paste. Coat the chicken thighs generously with all the marinade. Place the thighs in an oven proof bowl and refrigerate atleast 3 hours, preferrably overnight to allow the flavors to soak in.

Remove the chicken and thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes before you are ready to cook. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the butter over the chicken pieces. Bake until the meat is fully cooked, about 40 minutes. Taste the marinade and check to make sure the onion is cooked. If not, leave it in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and shred the meat. Toss the meat in more of the cooked sauce and set ready for the sandwich.

To assemble the sandwich

1 baguette, sliced horizontally
4 T fromage blanc
pulled tandoori chicken (from above)
sliced red onion
sliced tomatos
sliced cucumber
boiled egg

Coat the inside of the baguette with fromage blanc. Arrange all the filling ingredients on the baguette and serve immediately.

Hot Pockets!!

Chicken and Red Bell Hot Pockets - Copy

Oof! It's Friday already!!! Where does time fly? Feels like it was only yesterday that it was New Year's eve and I was kicking everyone's b*** at Xbox games. And, in a blink of the eye, it's already the South side of February! Every week seems to be simply whizzing by.. My point here is, I am aging way to fast!!!! I mean, way too quickly...that is a fair concern, right?!

Well, anyway, as always, I'll just console myself with food, shall I?!

Homemade Marinara

We had friends over and sometimes the easiest decision to make is Pizza for dinner. And, it does help that there is an awesome pizza store right beneath our apartment.. making the decision becomes all the easier...So, we did just that.

Except, we didn't pick up the phone but actually the rolling pin. Usually, I prefer to make my own dough coz a. the kneading is a great stress reliever b. homemade always tastes better, especially when you are the one making it! However, last minute decisions better lend themselves to ready made dough.

Hot Pockets sliced

I just popped over to that great store downstairs and got a great big ball of well risen dough. We had, oh 2 or even 3 pizzas and I still had leftover dough. So, the next day, as I stood contemplating over the contents of my fridge for lunch inspirations, I was struck with the tune from the Hot Pockets commercial.

It was a spontaneous decision that became a really good and actually quite healthy lunch! Fresh bread stuffed with roast chicken and bell peppers flavored with Lebanese spices and served with a side of homemade marinara sauce. Perfect!

Lebanese Chicken and Red Bell Pepper Hot Pockets

5 boneless chicken thighs
2 T za'atar
1 T sumac
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper as needed
1 large onion, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 tsp dried mint
zest of 1 lemon
2 pizza doughs

Pat the chicken dry. Rub olive oil on all sides and season with salt and pepper. Generously sprinkle za'atar and sumac all over the chicken. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes until the meat is fully cooked. Let cool enough to handle. Shred the cooked chicken and set aside.

Meanwhile, saute the onion and bell pepper until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the dried mint over the mixture and saute for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and toss the shredded chicken in the mixture.

Divide the dough into three parts. Roll out into a thin circle. Place a third of the chicken mixture off center and fold the dough over into a semi circle. Crimp the edges and brush the dough with egg wash.

Bake at 450 F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve with Homemade Marinara sauce.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

1 medium onion, diced fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
14 oz crushed tomatoes (or freshly crushed tomatoes)
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 T oregano
2 tsp thyme
1 T fresh basil, chopped + more garnish
1 cup stock
salt and pepper as needed
1/4 cup olive oil

Heat the oil and saute the onions and garlic until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add the crushed tomatoes, fennel and the dried herbs. Cook covered for 5 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil. Serve with hot pockets of used for pizza base.

Hot Pocket half

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK