Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wow - I'm really here! I'm soooooo behind!!!

Really, I am so sorry for anyone who subscribed to my blog when I was making daily entries and who now wonders what is going on. I really would love to post something every day, but without cooking frequently or another writing challenge like I was doing then, it's not easy to come up with a daily topic. But, I do want to at least post something once a week. If I happen upon another challenge that pushes me to do more, I will try to take it on because I really enjoyed interacting with everyone.

Now, with food in mind, let me tell you about my most recently cooked meal. Definitely nothing fancy, by any means, but it was pretty good nonetheless. Last night, I decided to get some chicken out and quickly thaw it to make something for my daughter and me. When I discovered that she had bought a pack boneless, skinless thighs, I thought breading and pan-frying them would be nice. I used to do that for my mother when I was caring for her. But, instead, I decided to bake a couple of them since there was just the two of us. I put a small rack in a casserole dish to keep them above the drippings and set about to mix up a coating to put on them.

One of the things I like about Indian cooking is that they will mix their spices with yogurt and marinate their chicken in that. The acid in the yogurt helps tenderize the meat and helps adhere the spices to it as well. It's likely the reason so many recipes call for soaking chicken in buttermilk before breading, as well. I've done something similar with sour cream, although with other spices rather than Indian, and I've been happy with the results. This time, though, I didn't have any sour cream. So, I took some mayonnaise and mixed it with some spicy Mexican salad dressing and covered the thighs, front and back. I placed them on the rack (bone side down - I know there was no bone, but that's the side I put down). Then I sprinkled bread crumbs on top and a little "soul food" seasoning on top of that. I baked them for an hour at 325°.

Now, one thing I learned is that mayonnaise doesn't "meld" into the chicken like the sour cream did when I used it. That may prove to be a negative for some. Additionally, the saltiness of the mayonnaise and the saltiness of the seasoning was a bit much, so thankfully the seasoning was only on top. But, I still think they turned out otherwise well and I will use the same technique in the future, although either with plain yogurt or sour cream. I paired them with corn and enjoyed a tasty impromptu meal.

This dish has sweet potatoes, which I'd rather have.
I've gone out to eat a couple of times this past week and wanted to talk about that as well. The day before yesterday, we went to Aunt Berta's Kitchen in nearby Oaklyn. She specializes in Southern cooking and I've always enjoyed everything I've gotten there. Her sweet potato pie is the most glorious thing I've ever tasted. I'll take that any day over pumpkin. We ordered the family chicken dinner. Eight pieces of chicken plus three large sides and corn bread. We got half fried and half roasted. OMG, her roasted chicken is the most delectable chicken I have ever set my teeth in. Tender, moist, and so full of flavor, I just can't get enough. Our sides were macaroni and cheese (another spectacular dish), collards (which are delicious!) and cabbage (his favorite, not mine). All of this for $19.99. There is enough food to feed 3-4 people. We took home the leftovers. It's been several years since I was there, so I was happy to go. I've been wanting to go for a while, and it was well worth it!!!

One type of kofta

A few nights earlier, we went out and he wanted Indian food, which I love, but he only wanted buffet. Well, unless you're going for lunch, Indian buffets in Jersey are rare. The one we had gone to the week before is good, but they've changed their seasonings and their foods are a lot hotter (it used to be that the buffet was more mild to allow people to try the cuisine, but I guess since most of their clientele is Indian, they've bumped up the heat factor). I didn't want to go again, but knew that there was at least one Indian buffet over in Philly, which is actually closer than the one in Jersey. Other than the parking, which is a pain in the ass (sorry, but it is) in the city, there are so many places to eat in the city and, surprisingly, the Indian places are very reasonably priced. We ended up at San Samosa on Walnut Street, between 12th & 13th Streets. I swear, I died and went to heaven, it was the most wonderful flavor experience for me. Just walking into that heady aroma of curry and then tasting the chicken tikka masala with basmati rice as well as the kofta, which I'd never had before. They look and taste like meatballs, but are actually vegetable balls in a wonderful, thick, mild curry gravy. They're texturally different than meatballs, but not so much that someone who didn't know they weren't meat could tell. They'd probably more think that someone put too much filler in the meatball. They were seriously good eats! I would even eat them as a vegetarian meatball sandwich if I had them and a roll on hand!! The only thing I was disappointed with was the naan which was fairly dry. Everything else was wonderful!! I'm going to try to go back there again soon.

Well, that is all for this time around.


  1. I love your description of the Indian restaurant. It seems amazing. I wish I could convince my husband to try Indian food!

  2. Your chicken sounds delicious! I've never had Indian food, but I'd love to try it. We have several Indian restaurants in town. Maybe it's time to pay one a visit. :)

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