Sunday, January 04, 2009

Multicultural Dinner

On my last day as a free man before I start my PhD program in Agricultural Chemistry at UC Davis, I wanted to do some cooking as a relaxation exercise. A quick glance through the pantry guided the meal, a meal that had no respect for borders or traditional pairings.

Pantry contents: Koubideh spices, flour, Lacinto (aka Dinosaur) kale from Capay Organic, and ground turkey.

In addition to the pantry contents, two recipes I found on the internet today also guided the meal: Onion marmalade and Naan.

Pantry and internet came together to guide tonight's dinner:

Turkey Koubideh, Kale with Caramelized Onions, and Naan

I suppose I will go through the recipes in the order that I made them.

Modified from this recipe

1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbs warm water
200 g plain flour
0.25 tsp salt
0.5 g baking powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp soy-based sour cream
2 tbsp soy milk

Note: Use yoghurt and real milk in place of the sour cream and soy milk if you have no reason not to.

Dissolve yeast in water and add sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes while doing the next step. It is ready when you see bubbles on the surface. Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Add vegetable oil, sour cream, and soy milk. Add yeast mixture. Stir until it comes together. If it is to dry to form a dough, add more water until you get the right consistency.
(Aside: I have found that the only way to *know* what the right consistency is for a dough is to remember what the dough feels like every time you knead and when a bread comes out perfectly, recall what the dough felt like. Each kind of dough seems to need a specific hydration percent (water to dry ratio) to come out right.)
Turn out dough onto floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes. Put back into bowl, cover with damp tea towl, and let sit in a warm place for an hour.

After an hour or so, pull the dough out of the bowl, split into four pieces, and form into balls. Let the balls sit for another 45 minutes, or so.

After the second rise is finished, get out a cast iron skillet or a heavy bottomed pan. Heat the pan to medium high heat. In the mean time, roll out the dough balls into ovals ~1/8" thick. Once the pan is hot, brush with a bit of vegetable oil (or butter) and put a dough oval on in the skillet. Let sit on the first side until bubbles form on the top. Peak at the bottom after a minute or so, and check for brown/black patches. Once it has a good bit of dark spots, turn it over and cook the other side for 10-15 seconds. I find that the bubbles on the second side burn before the rest really gets brown, but it still turns out good. Let cool, or don't - they are good both ways.

Caramelized Onion Marmalade
Modified from BBC Good Food

4 lbs yellow onions
4 cloves of garlic
6 tbsp olive oil
140 g brown sugar
a big pinch of chili flakes
the last sad sprig of thyme from the garden
950 mL red wine 1 bottle (750mL) + 200 mL
335 mL red wine vinegar

Peel and cut onions in half, slice thin. Slice garlic thin. Heat up oil over high heat. Add onions and garlic, stir to coat. Add sugar and chili flakes, stir in. Reduce heat to medium high and let cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes. By the end they will be brown and sticky and 99% of the liquid will have evaporated. If the onions seem to be browning so quickly that they start to blacken, back off on the heat.

Add red wine and vinegar to onions, turn up heat to high, and evaporate the liquid for 40 minutes, or until the wine has turned into a thick syrup. When a wooden spoon drawn across the bottom of the pan leaves a dry trail, it is done.

Kale and Caramelized Onions
by me.

1 bunch Lacimento kale
1 big scoop (1/2 c) onion mixture, above.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Clean kale, take out the ribs, and roughly chop. Add kale to boiling water. Let boil 5 minutes, until tender. Drain and lightly press out some of the water.

Add a scoop of the onions to the kale.

Turkey Koubideh
from the package directions.

1/4 cup water
1.25 lbs turkey
1 package Sadaf Ground Meat Seasoning

Dissolve spices in generous 1/4 cup water. Mix into the turkey. Let sit for 15 minutes. Cook on a grill or grill pan until done, about 15 minutes.

Now, for the best part: putting it all together.

Make a gyro-like sandwich of the naan, turkey koubideh, and kale. This was honestly a heavenly meal. It has no respect for borders but pulls freshness, seasonality, and flavor together for a wonderfully flavorful, light meal.