Quick Bites: Hot Sauce Pulled Chicken

The élan with which true aficionados attack a steaming platter of Buffalo wings is at once fascinating and terrifying. The single mindedness of their behavior – eschewing drink, napkin, and decorum – can only be understood in terms of a drug addict trying to achieve the sensation of their first “high.” Indeed, it is the endorphins released by the bucketful that try to counteract the searing pain brought on by the gluttonous consumption of capsaicin that is very much like an addict’s reaction to drugs.

Pulled chicken makes it that much easier.

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Quick Bites: Curried Pulled Chicken

Sometimes, you just have to have Indian food. You need something filling, simple, and with just the right amount of heat. Well, I do, anyway.

I don’t have a tremendous repertoire of Indian food that I cook, but I can make Vindaloo and Tiki Masala, and I get how Indian flavors work, more or less.

I’ve been into this pulled chicken thing for a while now. Basically, I take the weekly chicken that my wife uses for her Shabbat soup, and pull the breast apart along the muscle lines. What you can do with it once it’s pulled is relatively endless, and since it’s already cooked, whatever you want to make won’t take that long.
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Garlic Knots

Sometimes I like cooking because I can replicate foods that I remember from my childhood. And that comes in handy when living in our blessed land. Take, for instance, your average pizza shop in Israel. You can’t even get a side of fries, because they simply don’t think of a pizza shop as anything other than a store that sells pizza. In my first paying job in food, I worked in a pizza shop. It was called The Promised Land, in Plainview, NY. There were salads, lasagna, eggplant Parmesan, fish, calzones, and garlic knots.

Those garlic knots were good. Oh yes.

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Quick Bites: Barley Risotto

Dinner one night a couple of weeks ago was a barley risotto cooked with red wine (Merlot), with sauteed onions and mushrooms, diced pumpkin and seared portobello mushrooms. The chiffonade is Melissa, an herb I failed to grow this past summer in my garden.

I like to use pearl barley as an alternate risotto grain because it gives off a nice amount of silky starch, and remains al dente. It also has flavor to add to the dish.

This is very similar to a popular appetizer that we served at Abagail’s in Cedarhurst when I worked there. This isn’t meant as an homage. This is me kicking that dish’s culinary ass. (And that’s me resenting a $0.50/hour raise)

Quick Bites: Apple Chips

Apple ChipsApple chips are exactly what they sound like: crispy disks of natural apple. And they’re dead simple to make.

You’ll need a mandoline or a V-slicer to make thin, even slices. They’re pretty cheap around here, between ₪50 and ₪100.

Directions

Fasten an apple to the slicer hand guard. You can peel it or leave it unpeeled, whatever you choose. You can core it or leave it whole, wahtever you choose.

Slice the apple with the thin slice attachment.

Lay the apple slices out in a single layer on a lined sheet tray. Whisk away the seed bits and the bottom slices.

Season the slices. Use cinnamon and sugar, nutmeg, ground ginger, pumpkin pie spice, or cardamom. Or mix it up.

Put in a low oven 90°C (200°F). If you have a convection option, use it.

Let the apples dry in the oven until they’re pale brown, shriveled and leathery, about an hour or so. Ovens vary; keep checking every 20 minutes.

Let them cool. That’s when they crisp up.

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That’s it. Easy, healthy, delicious. Pick three.

Quick Bites: Polenta

polentaI’m surprised I’ve never written about polenta before, but maybe that’s because when I’ve made it the reaction I’ve gotten in the house was a little less than positive.

As it turns out, last night was the right time to try again. And apparently I hit the nail on the head. One of my kids had four portions, and the ones who decided to make themselves fleishig on a Motzei Shabbat kvetched the whole time.

So now the cornmeal is gone until after Pesach, the kids have something new they like, and everyone’s happy.
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