31 July 2009

Yogurt Rosemary Roast Chicken

  • 3-4 lb. roasting chicken
  • 1/2 c. yogurt
  • several sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 oz. white wine
  • 4 slices bread, chopped or food-processed
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

  1. Mix yogurt, rosemary, wine and salt; cover chicken thoroughly, and place in covered container in fridge for several hours/overnight
  2. Heat oven to 450°F
  3. Stuff chicken with breadcrumbs, onion, salt and pepper; place on rack above roasting pan
  4. Roast for 15 to 20 min., reduce the heat to 375°F, and continue to roast for about 1 more hour for a total of about 1-1/4 hours for a 3-lb. chicken. For larger birds, add another 10 min. for each additional pound.
  5. The chicken is done when the leg wiggles freely in its joint and when the juices run clear from the thigh when you prick it and from the cavity when you tilt the bird. A thermometer inserted into the lower meaty part of the thigh should register 170°F.



23 July 2009

Mint Raitha

Had all the necessary ingredients, so looked into a few recipes and combined them by bits and bobs.


1 large cucumber, grated
  • 2 c. plain yogurt
  • 5 spring onions (white sections chopped and green sections reserved)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/4 c. chopped mint
  • 1 tsp. roasted cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ginger, finely chopped


  1. Prepare ingredients
  2. Mix in large bowl
  3. Chill for at least 30 min.
  4. Enjoy!


Very nice; a keeper.

20 July 2009

Fresh Summer Dinner: Baked Cod with Basil, Tomato and Garlic on Pesto Pasta

Cod was incredibly on special this week at the Teet ($4.99/lb.!) so I stocked up. A day of tropical-style rainstorms had the world smelling green and my front yard smelling of basil, so it needed to be eaten. And it was, in two ways.

Roasted Cod and Tomatoes with Basil and White Wine


  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 thick cod fillets, about 4 to 6 ounces each
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbs. fresh, chopped basil
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Place the tomatoes in a large baking dish (large enough to eventually accomodate the cod fillets in a single layer). Drizzle the tomatoes with 1/2 of the olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast the tomatoes in the oven until they are very soft, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and turn the oven down to 350°F. Transfer the tomatoes to a small bowl, add the garlic and basil, toss to combine and set aside.
  4. Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper, drizzle them with the remaining olive oil and place them in the baking dish.
  5. Pour the tomato mixture and wine over the fish. Cover the dish with foil and place it in the oven.
  6. Cook until the fish is just cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Pesto was the family fave, Marcella Hazan's food processor pesto (I did a half-batch on whole wheat pasta).

Marcella's Pesto


2 c. packed basil leaves
1/2 c. olive oil
3 tbsp. pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine before processing
salt to taste

after processing above:

1/2 c. grated parmigiano
2 tbsp. grated romano
3 tbsp. softened, room temp butter (add last and hand mix in)

when adding pasta:

use a couple tbsp. of the hot water to dilute and soften the pesto before putting pasta into bowl with pesto.


Incredibly delicious. A winner of a recipe on the cod.


J.W. Morris California Gewürtztraminer 2007: Well, fine. Not terrible but definitely pretty sweet and none of the dry finish of an actually good Gewürtztraminer. But it's $4 and as a sweet wine on a hot day, totally fine.

19 July 2009

Founder's Devil Dancer

A really, really big imperial IPA (12% ABV and 112 IBU – bigger than Dogfish Head 90 Minute, not as big as 120), Devil Dancer goes down shockingly smooth. Very tasty, nothing shocking though – neither overly hoppy nor malty, and pretty pricey at $18/4-pk. Worth checking out if you're into big IPAs, for sure, and should age well.

16 July 2009

The Four Graces Dundee Hills Pinot Gris 2007

I wish I were feeling more articulate about this wine, because it's an excellent one. It's a very archetypal mid-high-level Wilamette Valley Pinot Gris: dry, a bit tart, full of flavor and only a bit sweet. It's an excellent wine, and a very good pickup at the $15-a-bottle level. Drink it.

Carrboro Taco Review: Coma Rica

Taco Provider: Coma Rica
Location: NE Corner of W. Main and Weaver Street in gas station parking lot
Taco Type: chicken
Toppings: fresh onion, cilantro
Sauces: red, green
Tortilla: single corn, handmade right there
Cost: $2/taco
Summary: The chicken was tender, had obviously been marinated in something yogurt-and-tumeric-y, and super-tasty. The red salsa was spicy but not blindingly so, the green super flavorful and smooth. The single complaint is that the just-handmade tortilla fell apart halfway through each taco, but this is a minor quibble – the tortilla was excellent if not structurally sound.
Overall rating: Excellent. Best chicken tacos I've hasd thus far in Carrboro. Had ordered a pupusa to go with one chicken taco but the mistake was just as well; I'll simply have to go back for more. They also have tortas (including Cuban) and something semi-terrifyingly translated as "Beef Rose."

12 July 2009

Sunday is Food Day: Catfish Rice and Carrot Soup

Unsurprisingly, much of the time spent since my return to NC has been on food-related issues. There was a slight, er, incident in the freezer in my absence but the damage appears to be localized and minimal. Mostly I just needed to re-stock the larder and cook some food for what promises to be a busy week. Two-and-a-half recipes follow.

Recipe one, lifted from Bittman mostly:

Catfish with Rice


  • 3 cups fish or chicken stock (I used chicken, as it was what I had)
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes, cored, chopped and mashed (w/their juices)
  • 3 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup Madeira or other sweet wine
  • 1-1 1/2 lb. catfish or other mild, firm fish, cut into bite-sized pieces


  1. Bring stock to a gentle boil in medium sacuepan or wide skillet with lid
  2. Add rice and bring to a boil
  3. Turn heat to medium-low and cover; cook for 15 min.
  4. Turn heat to low and stir in tomatoes with their juices, shallot, garlic, butter and Madeira.
  5. Gently fold in fish, cover, and simmer for 15 min.
  6. Serve hot and enjoy!


Tasting halfway through I knew that this wasn't quite doing it for flavor – nice, but needed something more. So I began preparing a supplementary sauce (below); if I'd had to do it again I'd probably have added a bit of salt to the rice, along with some paprika and saffron. Maybe 1/2 chopped onion. However, all that said – it was really nice, delicate and all the tastes that were there, were good.

Totally-Improvised Accompaniment Sauce to Above Dish


  • 4 oz. red wine
  • ajvar (several tbsp.)
  • 3 cippolino onions, diced
  • olive oil
  • 6 preserved capers
  • several large dashes paprika
  • fewer dashes cayenne


  1. Heat olive oil to medium
  2. Add onions and cook until soft
  3. Add spices, stir in, and then add half of wine
  4. Cook wine down for several minutes, stir in ajvar, and add capers and remaining wine
  5. Cook down to desired consistency


Very nice and works quite well over the rice

Carrot-Sweet Potato Soup


  • 4-6 carrots, cut into 1/4" sections
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger root, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage, cut
  • 2 cups water


  1. Bring stock to low boil and add onions; cover and cook for 5-10 min.
  2. Add bay leaves, sage, cover and cook for 2-3 min.
  3. Add sweet potato and cook 10 min.
  4. Add carrots and cook 5 min.
  5. Uncover and add ginger; cook 10 min.
  6. Cover and cook 20 min, or until most of stock is cooked off.
  7. Add water, bring to boil for 2 min. and turn off heat
  8. Let cool and transfer to food processor; blend to desired consisentency
  9. Serve hot or cold


Sweet, flavorful, and not planned at all. A win!

Infusions and Cocktails: Update

A vacation in the woods seemed a good time to demo several new infusions and cocktail preparations. Captive audience, friends who would presumably tell me the truth and apparently – mostly success. The biggest winner without a doubt was the fennel vodka infusion, both solo and as a mixer. Annoyingly, supermarkets trim the crap out of the fronds of fennel, meaning I'll have to wait until the farmer's market on Wednesday to replenish my stocks (not that that's the worst thing anyhow), but I also think that the freshness of the fronds was a major contributor to the success of the infusion.

Typically I'm not a huge anis-flavor fan, but this came out less licorice and greener, fresher and sweeter. Really tasty chilled on its own, it was also the hands-down cocktail winner as follows:

Tupper Lake Special


  • 1 1/2 oz. fennel-infused vodka
  • ice, crushed or cubes
  • large lemon wedge
  • bitters
  • vanilla seltzer (or plain)


  1. Add ice to cocktail glass
  2. Pour shot of fennel-infused vodka over ice
  3. Add dash of bitters
  4. Squeeze lemon wedge fully, and drop in drink
  5. Fill with seltzer
  6. Enjoy!

Obscenely tasty and refreshing

Another favorite of mine on the week:

Mos Isley Bandit


  • 1 oz. fig eau de vie
  • 1 oz. cardamom-infused vodka
  • 1/4 oz. chili-infused vodka
  • 1/4 oz. dry vermouth
  • ice, crushed
  • lime wedge


  1. Pour all booze in shaker with ice; shake thoroughly
  2. Put ice in cocktail glass; pour shaker over ice
  3. Squeeze lime and add to glass
  4. Enjoy!


Spicy and weird, bitter and sour, I was definitely the biggest fan of this drink. Not bad for anyone else but certainly an acquired taste.

And a new summer number on my return:

Carrboro Carass


  • 1 1/2 oz. clove-infused vodka
  • bitters
  • 3 oz. San Pellegrino Limonata
  • ice, cubed


  1. Mix as many shots of the clove vodka and bitters as you like in a shaker
  2. Put ice in cocktail glasses
  3. Pour shaken mixture over ice
  4. Add Limonata
  5. Enjoy!


Unsurprisingly, clove and lemon work well together. Super-tasty.

Next time, on Friar Lane infusions:

...currently working up the next batch of old favorites, and a few new special guest stars. Hint: rhymes with gin.