When my wife and I watch television we frequently have our show end just a few minutes before we are ready to retire. Short podcasts on YouTube fills in these 20-30 minute gaps. Lately, Beryl Shereshewsky’s podcasts fill this time slot. These are generally short bits on how different countries prepare different ingredients or what foods they eat for various reasons—comfort foods, sandwiches, what to feed sick people, hangover foods, etc. People from around the world send her recipes and video clips and she prepares and eats the ones she has gathered together for each podcast. One recent show was “How the world eats onions.”
Category Archives: Chicken
Shashlik is really just the Central Asian name for a kebab, something on a skewer. In Kashgar—the westernmost city in China—at least on the street, this was almost always lamb coated in a cumin based spice blend. At that time—35 years ago—the lamb is cut into small (3/8 inch) cubes and skewered with bits of lamb fat. The stick is dipped into a tray of the spice blend and then grilled over hot coals. Wife Jan is on the Noom program, and while she wanted shashlik, she did not want it made with lamb—a “red food.” She asked me if I could make with chicken instead—a “yellow food.”
Wife Jan is on the Noom program and is constantly scanning for recipes I can make that fit both Noom’s parameters and our personal tastes. Her most recent request was for orange chicken. I did not think much of the recipe she sent me, so I went looking for something better. Many of the recipes I found were “healthy” only in the sense that they replaced white sugar with honey or brown sugar— both of which are very much Noom “red foods.” I finally found a recipe that was close to what I wanted and adapted it to be more Noom-y.
I had decided to barbecue chicken for the Fourth of July, but what flavor. A last year, I made this dish for my sister Karen, but I was overly cautious with the spices. This time I took my own advise and bumped up the spice level to four tablespoons. To go with the meat heavy main I made several vegetable sides—corn, grilled vegetables and a couscous salad. For a patriotic desert, I served strawberries, whipped cream, and blueberries.
When we lived in China we were introduced to a vegetable that was not commonly used in the U.S. pea tops (sometimes sold as “pea leaf”)—the tender ends of the pea shoots. Pea tops is not something you will find in Western supermarkets, you will only find them Asian markets—in season. Frequently, I would use these in a soup, but today wife Jan asked for them in a stir fry. Lately, there has been a bowl of Mandarin oranges on my counter and—as I was gathering ingredients for my stir fry—I decided, “Why not throw a couple into the mix?”
In the morning, I had decided to reheat the leftover chili for dinner. When my daughter Eilene finally woke up, she said, “Oh yes, I forgot to tell you that my friends are coming over tonight”—dinner for six, not three. I could have thinned out the chili with more beans, but one of her friends does not like beans. After a discussion, we settled on Thai red curry chicken soup.
Wife Jan has asked me to make blue cornbread. In and of itself cornbread is not a meal, it does though pair very well with chili. Wife Jan is on the Noom program and is pushing me away from red meat—so I am switching one of my chili recipes to chicken. This is a weekday meal, so I am taking a few shortcuts—like canned beans. I also have chili powder left over from the last time I made chili.
When I asked wife Jan what she wanted for Mother’s Day dinner she looked at the list of Noom recipes she had given me. One of the few that she listed that I have not already done was chicken skewers. Looking at the Prevention recipe—Most, if not all, of Noom’s recipes are direct links to the Prevention site—it struck me as under-seasoned and dry. Jan suggested that she really liked za’atar, so I went with that. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend of thyme, oregano, marjoram mixed with toasted sesame seeds, salt, and frequently sumac—although each country, from Morocco to Iran, has their own distinctive blend.
Wife Jan asked for another Noom recipe for dinner, Curried Sweet Potato and Apple Soup—which I determined was identical to one from Prevention. As has been the case over the last week, I have found I had disagreements with Noom’s ideas about recipes—not enough vegetables or spices. I adapted the recipe to my tastes.