Cheap, Fast & Out of Control: The Great Pumpkin
ILLUSTRATION BY JOCELYN GOTLIB
Cheap, Fast & Out of Control: The Great Pumpkin
ILLUSTRATION BY JOCELYN GOTLIB
Chicken with pumpkin seed sauce6 large chicken breasts, pounded flat 1 ⅔ cups shelled pumpkin seeds 6 whole black peppercorns 12 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped ¼ cup chopped white onion ½ cup washed cilantro Juice of two limes 2 garlic cloves, chopped 1 teaspoon fine sea salt 3 tablespoons corn oil Pinch of red chili flakes Olive oil for cooking Chicken stock Procedure In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil on high for a few minutes. Place as many chicken breasts that will comfortably fit without crowding in the pan. Brown both sides. Cook the rest of the chicken, and then set aside. Meanwhile place the pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan, and toast at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the seeds are nicely brown. Don’t overcook. Place the toasted pumpkin seeds, the cilantro, garlic, tomatillos, onion, lime juice, corn oil and peppercorns in a blender. Blend into a smooth puree. Add a little water if the sauce is too thick. Add the puree to the sauté pan and bring to a simmer. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan. Add about a half cup of chicken stock. Add the chicken back to the pan with the sauce, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Pumpkin tempuraHalf of a kabocha-squash (Japanese pumpkin), peeled and sliced into quarter-inch slices. 1 cup of all-purpose floor (can use whole wheat flour or a mix) 1 tablespoon of cornstarch 1-2 quarts peanut oil or safflower oil for fryin Dipping sauce* ¼ cup vegetable stock ¼ mirin ¼ soy sauce Pinch of grated ginger ½ teaspoon of honey or sugar (optional) 1 teaspoon of chopped scallion *can use store-bought sauce Procedure Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan or deep fryer to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the flour and the cornstarch. Add water to the flour and stir until the batter has the consistency of thin pancake batter. Place one slice of pumpkin into the batter to coat, and then carefully add to the oil. Repeat this until you have about 4-5 pieces frying. Fry the pumpkin slices on both sides until they are golden brown. Strain on a wire rack and continue to fry the rest of the pumpkin slices. Make more batter if you need to. For the sauce, combine all of the ingredients. Serve the tempura pumpkin with the dipping sauce.
Pumpkin coconut milk ice cream2 cans of coconut milk ½ cup white sugar 1 teaspoon freshly sliced ginger ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 cinnamon stick ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ cup packed, dark brown sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier, rum or brandy (optional) ¾ cup canned pumpkin puree Toasted coconut flakes (optional) Procedure In a saucepan, add the coconut milk, both white and brown sugar, the cinnamon stick, vanilla extract, any alcohol, if using, and the sliced ginger. Stir and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes. The idea is to dissolve the sugars and infuse the ginger and cinnamon into the coconut milk. Strain out the cinnamon stick and ginger and discard. Blend in the pumpkin puree. Cover and chill the mixture. When chilled add the mixture to an ice cream-maker and follow the manufacturer instructions. Freeze for a few hours or overnight. Serve toasted coconut. Variation: Add chopped ginger snaps to the mixture before adding to the ice cream maker. Another option is to add chopped toffee candy.
Cheap, Fast & Out of Control: No—stir oven risotto
Cheap, Fast &Out of Control:
Staff WriterTacos have come a long way from the grade school lunch line. They are cheap, fun to make, provide infinite variety and they work well for both casual meals or to impress a date. One idea is to go Tex-Mex style with crunchy shells, cooked hamburger with taco seasoning, topped with sour cream, cheese, chunky salsa and shredded lettuce. Another way to go is Mexican taqueria style with classics like chorizo (spicy Mexican sausage), chicken (pollo) and steak. These tacos are served simple with a lime wedge, chopped onions, red or green salsa and cilantro. Diced avocado makes a nice addition. Then there are the upscale tacos made with lobster, duck and sushi-grade tuna, which one might see at restaurants with dishes cooked by celebrity chef Rick Bayless, winner of Top Chef Master. A cabbage-and-corn salad with a citrus dressing compliments a taco meal, or one could simply have more tacos. Each of these recipes works with crunchy corn, soft white, yellow, blue corn or wheat tortillas. You can use store-bought tortillas or you can make your own with masa harina (fine corn flour) and a tortilla press. Make one kind of the taco filling listed below, or prepare a few for a variety. Have fun with the fillings and toppings. Fish tacos have become popular with use of all sorts of fish like salmon, and white fish like pollack, cod or halibut. Fish can be lightly coated in flour and fried or sautéed. Pastrami tacos have also become a popular offering at taco food trucks. For a vegetarian option, substitute pinto or black beans for these recipes.
Tex-Mex beef tacos1 pound of lean ground beef 1 packet of taco seasoning 1 white onion diced 1 can of pinto beans (optional) 1 jar of thick tomato salsa ¼ cup of sour cream 1-2 limes cut in wedges 1 cup of shredded cheddar or jack cheese 1 cup of shredded lettuce 6-8 crunchy taco shells Heat the ground beef in a large skillet until brown. Add the spice mix and a quarter cup of water and cook until the water reduces, about 10 minutes. Add the ground beef mixture to the taco shell and top with any and all of the toppings. Squeeze some lime juice on top.
Taqueria styleEach of these taco for this style are served with chopped cilantro, raw diced onions, salsa and a lime wedge. Recommended: Frontera Brand green tomatillo salsa and red salsa chipotle with roasted tomatillo.
Chicken Tacos1 cup of cooked, shredded chicken 2 cloves of garlic, chopped 2 tomatoes, diced Juice of one lime ½ teaspoon of chili powder 1 tablespoon of peanut oil or olive oil 10-15 taco shells Heat the oil in a pan. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the chicken, chili powder and lime juice and stir. Simmer until the mixture is warm. Serve one-to-two tablespoons of filling per soft wheat or corn tortilla and top with some onion, cilantro, lime juice and salsa.
Shrimp variationSubstitute 8-12 ounces of peeled and deveined shrimp. Then chop into a medium dice. Cook the shrimp just until they turn pink.
Chorizo1 pound of ground chorizo sausage 1 medium onion, diced 1 clove of garlic In a pan, heat the sausage on medium high until the fat starts to render out, about five minutes. Add the onion and cook for five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Take off the heat and serve.
Steak or pork1 pound of sirloin, top round or pork loin 1 tablespoon oil for cooking
Marinade½ cup of diced pineapple Juice of one lime 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cloves of garlic minced 1 tablespoon of chipotle chili sauce Salt and pepper to taste Place the steak in a glass container. Combine the marinade ingredients. Spread them over the steak. Cover the container with plastic and marinate for two hours in the refrigerator. Remove the marinade from the meat and discard. Dice the steak into small cubes. Heat the oil in a pan, and brown the cubes.
Citrus cabbage slaw½ small cabbage, shredded (can use both green and purple cabbage) 1 cup corn kernels ½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon of honey (optional) Salt and black pepper to taste Mix all of the ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve on the side with tacos.
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