"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Frozen Blender Drinks – Daiquiri / Smoothies

    A light little refresher / relaxer to cut the heat, and sooth the mind, almost as good as plunge into a vat of ice tea chilled to 34F….

    Some might consider these as “girly drinks”…

    Ah, WRONGO, BUFFALO BREATH

    The daiquirí was one of the favorite drinks of writer Ernest Hemingway and President John F. Kennedy.

    Daiquiri (pronounced /ˈdækəri/, is a family of cocktails whose main ingredients are rum, lime juice, and sugar or other sweetener. There are several versions, but those that gained international fame are the ones made in the El Floridita bar in Havana, Cuba.

    Originally the drink was served in a tall glass packed with cracked ice. A teaspoon of sugar was poured over the ice and the juice of one or two limes was squeezed over the sugar. Two or three ounces of rum completed the mixture. The glass was then frosted by stirring with a long-handled spoon. Later the Daiquirí evolved to be mixed in a shaker with the same ingredients but with shaved ice. After a thorough shaking, it was poured into a chilled flute glass. In more recent times it has become a drink blended with cracked ice or (shudder) ice cream.

    One can exclude the alcohol from the more modern versions and deliver a “smoothie” or a blended, chilled, sometimes sweetened beverage made from fresh fruit (fruit smoothie). In addition to fruit, many smoothies include crushed ice, frozen fruit, honey or frozen yogurt, although some smoothies are 100% fruit. Some may also contain syrup and ice ingredients.

    Besides consider that special person in your life melting when you demonstrate your new found proficiency with that symbol of verile masculinity, the Bar Blender…

    Blender Basics

    Whether you are creating Smoothies, coffee based drinks, or the classics of frozen margaritas or daiquiris, there are a few basic tips that will help you get the most from your blender.

    • Start Slow Start at a low speed and gradually increase speed until you get the consistency you want. If it is too thin add a bit more frozen fuit, if it is too thick add a bit more ice and continue to blend.
    • Frozen Fruit Most of the Daiquiri’s / Smoothies have some form of fruit involved. Starting with already frozen fruit will help maintain the temperature and the consistency of your frozen drink.
    • Add liquids first Again the success of a frozen drink depends on control of the consistancy, and this means controling the temperature and the formation / reduction of ice crystals. Starting with liquid ingredients, (I suggest cooling them first) will allow you to add frozen ingredients in a manner to control the texture of the final product.

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  • Chicken Shawarma from the Grill

    Remembering a wonderful meal I had in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, I’ll try to replicate a Chicken Shawarma. Again,Thank you Ben and Aryeh..

    As I seem to be in a mid eastern bend of mind, and the temperatures / humidity are keeping me there, let’s look at a favorite meal from The Levant….

    Wikipedia says:

    Shawarma is a Middle Eastern sandwich-like wrap of shaved lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, beef, or a mixture thereof. The meat is placed on a spit, and may be grilled for as long as a day.

    Shawarma is made by placing strips of beef, lamb or marinated chicken on a stick. The meat is roasted slowly on all sides as the spit rotates in front of, or over, a flame for hours. Traditionally a wood fire was used, now a gas flame is common. While specialty restaurants might offer two or more meat selections, some establishments have just one skewer. After cooking, the meat is shaved off the stack with a large knife or an electric knife.

    Shawarma is eaten as a fast food, made up into a sandwich wrap with pita bread or rolled up in an Armenian Lavash flatbread together with vegetables and dressing. Vegetables found in shawarma include cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, eggplant, parsley, pickled turnips, pickled gherkins, cabbage.

    Dressings include: tahini (or tahina), hummus, or flavored with vinegar and spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

    Chicken shawarma is served with garlic mayonnaise, toum (garlic sauce), or skhug (a hot chili sauce).

    Once the shawarma is made, it might be dipped in the fat dripping from the skewer and then briefly seared against the flame. In Israel, Syria and Lebanon, chicken shawarma is toasted after being made, whereas those made of lamb or beef are immediately eaten.

    I’ll not try to do all of this, but I believe a good solid marinade in a oil / spice / lemon sauce, a run around the grill, in the case of the lair the grill pan, and serving with the traditional sauces / pita / veggies will be more than adequate to assuage the hungers for tasty, hot food without utilizing several hundred thousand btu’s of heat.

    Just for the rogue chef twist, I’ll char these on the grill pan, and then finish with the stove top smoker…

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  • Meatless Mondays – Abakado ma’Taheena

    Wandering though the green grocer this weekend, I noticed a number of close to ripe avocados. These “alligator pears” have a number of health benefits to include lowering cholesterol levels, are natural sources of potassium, B vitamins, Vitamin E and K, plus they are just down right tasty…

    Of course the first things that pops into one’s mind is guacamole but EVERYONE does guac, some mediocre, some worse, so I’ll not follow the thundering herd in that direction, the next suggestion that bubbles up from the depths of memory is an avocado salad, and that is just so booor-ing, I might cry..

    These are subtropical fruits grow in a very few specific areas where the soil and climate conditions are right, particularly in southern Spain, the Levant, South Africa, Peru, parts of central and northern Chile, Vietnam, Indonesia, parts of southern India, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida.

    Hmm, the Levant, traditionally, the Eastern Mediterranean at large. Think the northern portions of the Arabian Peninsula, all the way up to Turkey and as far west as Egypt. Home to warm weather, and high humidity near the water, perhaps a wonderful fit for the miserable steam baths we are having this week. And they have been surviving and thriving in this type of weather since the beginning of recorded history, so I’d say they have a clue as to how to “eat to beat the heat:.

    I’ve not done Mideastern for a while … Perhaps an avocado hummus. A dish that is unlike guacamole, the dish / sauce is smooth and thick like hummus. It makes a great dip for pita bread or vegetables. Something that can be part of a evening mezze, (meze = starters) that will provide an assortment of cool / cold appetizer dishes to be eaten in place of a whole meal.

    I will of course add my own twist, in the form of either chili’s added or a dolop of zhug in the center fo the serving plate.

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  • Spicy Tandoori Chicken

    The Independence Day weekend is coming up fast, and I intend to spend it at an undisclosed location upstate.

    As I will be cooking for the Lady of Bad Wolf Manor, I’ll need to put together several of her favorite dishes, or face the risk of sleeping on the couch.. In browsing my usual reading material, sandwiched in between the M*cr*s*ft vulnerabilities posts and the latest rant about the latest Intel / AMD / SUN / Oracle / BP / etc stupidity, I found an inspiration for Tandoori Chicken on Simply Recipes. (“Thank you, Elise …”)

    I’ll NOT be a blog thief as my version of this classic Indian dish will be somewhat different. (There is always the rogue chef twist. In this case, the lovely wife of my E.V.P., who shared a marvelous recipe with me.. IT IS NOT for the faint of heart or weak of mouth.) (“Thank you, Tasmin…”)

    Wikipedia says:

    Chicken Tandoori is a highly popular roasted Indian chicken dish. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and seasoned with tandoori masala. It is moderately hot, but the heat is reduced in most Western nations. Cayenne pepper, red chili powder or kashmiri red chilli powder is used to give it a fiery red hue. A higher amount of Turmeric produces an orange colour. In some modern versions, both red and yellow food colourings are used. It is traditionally cooked at high temperatures in a clay oven (tandoor), but can also be prepared on a traditional grill.

    Tandoori masala is a mixture of spices specifically for use with a tandoor, or clay oven, in traditional north Indian, Pakistani and Afghan cooking. The specific spices vary somewhat from one region to another, but typically include garam masala, garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne pepper, and other spices and additives (e.g. lemon juice …).

    One should see my post on Afghan Rub and use that as a base adding Garam Masala and a number of dried and ground red chili’s or prepared chili powders. A trip to Kalustyan’s for some fresh spices will be needed, and Yes, fresh dried spices really do make a difference.

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  • Grilled Banana Sandwich


    HELP ME!!!!! I’m MELTin… ARRRGGGHHHH!!!!.

    No someone did not throw water on me, I merely walked across the street, and the heat from the sun and the asphalt are turning me into a dripping sponge…

    It is so hot, but I really want something other than cold soups, cold cuts, and ice cream.

    Looking around the kitchen, I have of course, banana’s that need to be eaten. From some of my travels during my youth I remember a grilled banana desert, where the bananas are cooked whole in the skin, and then are peeled and slathered with honey.. This is a bit rich on the sugar content, and a bit light on the bulk side, perhaps add a bit of bread and some peanut butter to make a really nice sandwich…

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  • Banana J*li*s

    orangeceasar

    One of my all time favorite drinks. I just can not pass a stand that makes these without getting one. Lots of bold banana / orange taste, blisteringly cold, with just the right amount of sweetness and creamy, silky smoothness to make it all go down so fast, you want to go back for another..

    With there now being too many days of hot sunshine, and too many days of 90 degree heat, this will make a great, refreshing, and cooling drink.

    Background

    Orange J*li*s, (Sorry, you never can tell when someone will want to get picky about trademarks) is a fruit drink, created by blending orange juice, crushed ice, and a optional mixture of powdered whole milk and egg whites. It has been available since the late 1920s. Now if we take this basic recipe and add banana for a nice taste combo, and add just a touch of really good bourbon for that rougechef twist.

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