Posts Tagged ‘buttermilk’

Unrecipe of the Week: Eggplant With Yogurt + Pomegranate Seeds

October 19, 2016

epicurious

Last week, I was looking for a few great side dishes that were hearty enough, and interesting enough for a vegetarian to eat in lieu of the racks of lamb that I was serving to the carnivores. After searching through famed chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s book “Plenty,” I stumbled upon his recipe for roasted eggplant with a buttermilk yogurt sauce, topped with za’atar and pomegranate seeds. It fit all of my criteria and then some. It was special enough to stand on it’s own. It had seasonal elements, was healthy, and full of flavor. The cool buttermilk yogurt sauce was smooth and creamy against the texture of the roasted eggplant, and the pomegranate added a touch of sweet crunch. The fact that it came together quickly was a bonus. It’s no wonder that Mr. Ottolenghi chose this for the cover recipe of his book!

roasted eggplant

roasted eggplant

Roasted Eggplant With Buttermilk Sauce adapted from “Plenty”:

Split 4 small eggplants vertically. Brush with olive oil until the pieces are fully saturated. The oil eggplant will absorb the oil, so be liberal with it. Sprinkle the halves with thyme leaves and salt and pepper. Roast in a 350-400 degree oven for about 30 minutes until the flesh is soft and they are nicely browned. Allow them to cool slightly.

For the sauce, whisk together 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt with about 8 or 9 tablespoons of buttermilk and 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir in 1 clove of garlic, minced as finely as possible, or pressed in a garlic press, and a pinch of salt.

To serve, spoon the sauce over the eggplant halves, sprinkle them with za’atar* and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy!

*Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix. It is available at specialty markets, and it is also easy to make at home.

Za’atar:

Combine about 1 tablespoon each of oregano, ground cumin, salt, pepper, and sesame seeds. Many people also use sumac, but I didn’t have any and I didn’t miss it!

Photo: top: Epicurious | bottom: indigo jones

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Buttermilk

March 10, 2015

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What do you do if a recipe calls for buttermilk, and you don’t have any?
Do you frantically dash to the store and get some? Calm down. There is no need to make the trek to the store if you have the ingredients to make your own.

Buttermilk adds an acidity to batters and reacts with the baking soda or powder to create airy, fluffy and tender baked goods.

To make a good substitute, add a tablespoon of plain white vinegar or lemon juice to a scant cup of milk and let it sitat room temperature

for 5 to 10 minutes. The lemon or vinegar will begin to curdle the milk, and it will thicken slightly. If you use a heavier dairy product, like half and half or cream, the end result will be thicker than if you use regular milk.

Another option is to thin out plain yogurt or sour cream with one part water to three parts dairy. For instance, 3/4 cup of yogurt, thinned with one quarter cup of water. Stir until it reaches a more liquid consistency, and use in place of buttermilk in recipes.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Fried Chicken

June 17, 2013

It was Father’s Day, and bandaged hand or not, I wanted to make a special dinner to celebrate. I usually shy away from fried foods…partially because of the health aspect, but more because of the mess. I have a commercial stove and even vigorously boiling water leaves spatters. The kitchen is open to the rest of our loft, and the thought of all of my guests hanging out in the kitchen while I hover over a pan of sizzling hot oil doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time. Tonight however, I persevered. I poked around on all of my favorite websites, looking for tips for the perfect fried chicken. Soaking overnight in buttermilk seemed to be a commonality. Many recommended adding a little baking powder to the flour mixture for a little extra crunch. Given my recent run of mishaps, most of my Facebook friends suggested ordering out, or baking it in the oven to avoid another trip to the burn unit. Instead, I donned gloves, put on an apron and some sleeves, and went for it.

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Fried Chicken:

Soak the chicken for several hours, or overnight in buttermilk, liberally seasoned with some salt and pepper.

Prior to frying, roll the chicken pieces, still coated in buttermilk, in a large bowl of flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, a tablespoon or so of baking powder, garlic powder,paprika and cayenne pepper to taste. Lay the chicken pieces out on a parchment or waxed paper covered baking sheet and return to the refrigerator until ready to be fried.

Place about 1” of vegetable oil in a large pan. The higher the sides of the pan, the less spattering there will be. Heat the oil to about 375 degrees and add the chicken, skin side down. Work in batches, and leave ample room between the pieces. Cook covered for about 7 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces and cook uncovered for about 7 minutes. The time will vary depending on the size of the pieces. You want to cook it through, but avoid burning the outside. The drumsticks cooked faster than the breasts due to size, but generally dark meat takes a little longer than white.

Drain on paper towels. Transfer the cooked pieces to a rack placed on top of a baking sheet, and place it in the oven to keep warm. The rack allows air to circulate and keeps the chicken crispy. If you are unsure if the chicken is cooked through, leave it in the oven to finish cooking.

Serve and enjoy!!!

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I served ours with sweet and spicy corn salsa with pancetta, previously posted here.

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