Tag Archives: oregano

Bruschetta

BurpAndBelch Bruschetta
BurpAndBelch Bruschetta

Not the greatest of things to make and then announce it to the universe (via social media) but that child-like joy of getting something right the first time, with an itsy-bitsy twist to it; then it would be a shame to curb the surging heart. This is to the handsome bruschetta!

Picked up a good quality French baguette (with this, Italian purists would want to puree me) and cut those into roundels. Gave all those a good glug of good quality olive oil, a good lick of garlic and grilled them off lightly, to just heighten the crunch of the crusty bread.

Meanwhile, chopped some fine tomatoes. The trick is to get slightly thick tomatoes, maybe 2 notches lower than the ‘beef’ variety. I usually pick up tomatoes judging them on their suppleness and skin. Add a dash of cracked pepper and a light dust of oregano. I skipped the salt. Just wanted to focus on the mild flavours. Spooned the tomatoes over the bread and added finely chopped dil over them. I decided to forgo basil and use dil instead and it worked just fine for me.

With a perfect bruschetta, you realise that there is nothing that a good tomato cannot do!

Buon apetito!

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Can’t Go Wrong With PIZZA!

I confess liking pizza to a fault. I do not agree with the size markings of a restaurant, as my skills have helped me demolish large pizzas without any discomfort or seeking out digestive aids.

So, when the zucchinis in my fridge cried out that I had forgotten them, I decided to put them on a pizza. This is the first time I made pizza at home.

First Hand Experiment: Pizza
First Hand Experiment: Pizza

Careful not to dent my confidence, I picked up some pizza base and ladled out a spicy tomato mix. Home-made sauces work better, I feel, as one can spice them up the way you want. I added in some grated mozarella before loading up the veggies.

The zucchinis were happily laid out after a light dry grill on the skillet. A few slices of sweet potato, lightly grilled filled in empty spaces. A yellow bell pepper genially sat in on the base with them. I introduced some fresh brown mushrooms to them all. As one can see in the picture, there is a pile of veggies. Cracked on some black pepper and oregano. And then, I popped the three pizzas in the oven for about 15-17 minutes. I continually check on the food and estimate their readiness relying only on my eyes.

What came out was a crisp, biscuit-y pizza base with soft,  fragrant veggies. Threw on some chopped olives and parmesan cheese dust. I think I will have to introduce some red peppers and basil to make it more pleasing to the eye, to satisfy the photographer in me. But the pizzas certainly did the trick in making for a happy dinner. In case anybody is wondering, the wife had one and I gobbled the other two!

Before I sign off, here’s something to chew on:

“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”
Yogi Berra

Grilled Za’atar Chicken on Sweet Spud Mash

So, before I forget the password to my food blog, I decide to post the last 2 memorable meals that I rustled up. This one is “Zaatar Grilled Chicken on a bed of Sweet Potato Mash”.

Ever since I have started grilling, I realise that the meats remain the constant. The variable (read accompaniments) need to be varied timely to keep any recipe alive. This is just my rusted a-mathematical brain trying to postulate a theorem. If you want to skip this bit (and not know me) then scroll down to the recipe directly.

Grilled Zaatar Chicken on Sweet Spuds
Grilled Zaatar Chicken on Sweet Spuds

For the grilled chicken:

1 breast of chicken

2 teaspoons of za’atar

Salt to taste

Pepper to your liking

Olive oil to cover both sides of the chicken

 

For the mashed potatoes:

2 medium-sized sweet potato

1 small regular potato

100 ml of single cream

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 knob of butter

Salt and pepper

Peel the potatoes and set them to boil. I usually cut them up into quarters to ensure even and quicker cooking. While the spuds are bubbling away, prepare the chicken.

Zaatar robed chicken breast
Za’atar robed chicken breast

Beat it lightly with a mallet to get it to even thickness. Then apply salt and pepper to both sides. Then add about 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh za’atar to one side. Add a small drizzle of olive oil and let the chicken rest.

Check on the potatoes. They should almost be done. Run a knife to see if they are softening up. Once they do, drain the water, transfer the spuds to a bowl and start mashing them up. Throw in a knob of butter and a hint of oregano. Mash them further. Use all the force you think you have when you watch The Dark Knight wrestling Bane. Add in the cream and mix it all together. Add salt and pepper. And now for the dreaded part of checking on your cooking prowess – taste a bit of the mash. Good? Great! Leave it for the time being.

Get your skillet out and have it nice and hot and carefully place in your chicken. Grill both sides. You’d notice that the za’atar side darkens up. Do not fume. It is only crusting up and becoming more flavourful.

Crunchy Grilled Zaatar Chicken
Crunchy Grilled Za’atar Chicken

Once done, rest the chicken. Slice them up and serve on a generous bed of creamy mashed sweet spuds.

What I loved most is how the za’atar revealed all its flavours while on the grill. You will love the prominent sesame crunch to the grilled chicken.

Enjoy!

On my #Burp&Belch meter, I’d give it 3 and 1/2 burps (out of 5)!

Pasta Disasta!

Pastas are a favourite at home, so much so that my almost 2 year-old loves to squish them! This recipe that I am about to share is a disaster averted, or maybe so I think. At the outset, I invite severe criticism and genteel suggestions from chefs, epicures and foodies alike.

Favourite Pasta-time
Favourite Pasta-time

I picked up a bottle of tomato-basil pesto. And so dinner was buck wheat pasta with sautéed mushrooms and bell peppers in tomato – basil pesto.

I set to my task at hand. Wear apron. Put on some music. Didn’t have wine at home, so had to make-do with some juice. And then, put some salted water to boil. In another pan, heated some olive oil, added some crushed garlic and started  sautéing some white mushrooms. Just as they started softening up, tossed in the diced bell peppers and gave it a good stir.

Put in the buck wheat pasta into the boiling water. Buck wheat pasta cooks faster than durum wheat pasta. So keep a check on how long you boil. It usually gets done in about 7 minutes. Drain. Cool off in ice water.

Meanwhile, the mushrooms were getting along well with the bell peppers and were ready to be downed in the pesto sauce. I opened the bottle and realised (my folly) that the bottle I picked up was not tomato-basil pesto but tomato garlic relish. It was too late to react to my shopping-shelf folly! And so I whooped the contents into the pan and gave it a nice stir. Topped on some seasoning of salt and pepper and a dash of oregano and tried to bring it all together. Then I added the pasta to the pot and tossed it all together so most of the pasta got coated.

I plated my dreaded pasta dinner, placed some green olives and heaped up a generous shaving of parmesan cheese.

My wife is perhaps the most non-fussy eater on earth. She tucked into her plate of dinner like a boarding student takes to home food. When I asked her how it tasted, she said it was just about ok.

I wiped the sweat of my brow. Took a big forkful in. Had it not been for the mushrooms and bell peppers, it would have been the biggest pasta disaster.

On my #Burp&Belch meter, I’d give 2 burps to it (out of 5)!