so this happened

so this happened: vol. 2, week 39

September 30, 2014
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So, it turns out I did very little cooking this past week…

Last week’s debut of “so this happened” makes this week’s entry look fairly paltry. Did I not eat this week?

The truth is… take-out happened twice. Indian and Korean.

Let’s begin.

Turkey fail.

The only meat protein I eat is turkey and chicken. (And some fish I suppose.) I try to be vigilant about eating free-range/organic/what-was-the-name-of-its-parents/where-did-it-go-to-school/etc… but mostly I just need the protein. I vacillate between eating poultry and going back to being a full-fledged vegetarian, but as it currently stands this pork-free, beef-free, gluten-free, almost dairy-free soul has so many restrictions, both self-imposed and other-wise, omitting more things seems daunting. This Thanksgiving I know I’ll save a turkey, but I will also eat a turkey.

Anyway, having said that, I started out the week with my customary toasted everything tostadas. Maybe it’s a crutch, but I love tostadas. They’re gluten free and delicious. I started caramelizing onions with home-grown garden tomatoes and jalapeños. Sadly, it was all ruined by bad ground turkey. RUINED. It was one of those moments that made me reflect on meat, again. It’s gross. When it’s bad, it’s super gross.

The day may come when I finally figure it out and I’m able to subsist sans poultry.

In lieu of my Mexican fiesta… I made homemade hummus and served with some hot smoked salmon.

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Not the prettiest of dishes…

Another staple in these parts is my take on Carbonara. As I mentioned above, no pork in this household so I substitute with Trader Joe’s peppered turkey bacon. It’s actually very good when diced up and sublimated with onion–it almost acquires a pancetta-like quality.

Instead of peas, I spiced things up with some roasted jalapeños.

My carbonara sauce uses two eggs, a modicum of shredded parmesan, 1 cup of hot water (taken from the pan the pasta is boiled in) and salt and pepper respectively. For this version I used a gluten-free Gnocchi from my local Jamaica Plain market.

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The gnocchi water is so rich with potato starch that once added to the turkey/onion/jalapeño it thickens up very quickly. Good carbonara is all about timing–wait too long and the sauce gets “eggy”.

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I accept this photo is horrible and looks like twice barfed-up puppy kibble, but it was delicious… I guess you’ll have to take my word.

Thinking more about autumn…

I don’t have much of a budget for my Autumnal wardrobe. I’ve decided as much as I’m smitten with coated denim, the time has come for boots. This has nothing to do with anything. Just… you know, FYI.

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Mid-week take out leads to…

A new place opened up near my office on the edge of Chinatown. I typically don’t eat in Chinatown, if not mostly for the stench. As my subway stop en route to work is, literally, the Chinatown T stop, I have seen some fairly disgusting things, for example fully alive poultry in a restaurant kitchen. But mostly it’s just the thick heavy smell of whatever that smell is.

It’s really indescribable. Not quite maggoty trashcan. Not quite rotting entrails. Not quite pork blood stains on the sidewalk. It is, however, what you would call an incontrovertible foul stench of enormous proportion.

I do have a funny story. Kind of.

I brought my dogs to work for a dog food tasting, a story in itself, and both Cosmo and Sophie had their first Boston Subway ride. I must preface this by saying both of my dogs are extremely happy-go-lucky. They did great, and despite the stern tone of the conductor’s plea for passengers to stand away from the yellow line they had a great trip.

And then our trek through Chinatown happened.

My dog Cosmo went from happy-go-lucky to get-me-the-fuck-out-of-here. I’m not kidding… it was super weird. His ears went back, his tail tucked between his legs and he genuinely had an overall look of distress as he demonstrated his most urgent and sincerest form of necessary leash lunge.

The moment we were safely out of Chinatown, he went back to normal. I’m not making any assumptions here other than Cosmo sensed something via his olfactories that was of great concern; which is odd considering dogs love bad smells. (Please don’t leave comments telling me I own a racist dog.)

I digress.

But this new place is great!

It’s called… Crave: Mad for Chicken. That’s the name. Crave: Mad for Chicken. Which is actually a better name than the other Korean fried chicken place: In Boston. (Not making this up.) Try Googling “In Boston”. You will NEVER FIND THIS PLACE.

So, if you haven’t had Korean fried chicken it’s basically this: chicken + rice flour + twice fried + chili and garlic. And it’s amazing. So amazing I went twice in one day. I don’t eat fried food, typically, but I’m telling you this is ridiculous. Also, it’s Bell & Evans Step 2 chicken. (This means your meal comes with an iPhoto book of the chicken’s upbringing.)

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The best part of Crave: Mad for Chicken is the portions. HUGE.

So huge that there was enough Korean fried chicken to make a left-over feast combining the previous night’s Indian left-overs.

Tacos!

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First I added some scallions to the leftover Indian rice along with some chicken broth to fluff it up a bit.

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For some greens I sautéed kale, Brussels sprouts, onions and red cabbage.

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On a baking sheet I heated up the chicken and then sliced it into strips.

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This is a great trick for softening corn tortillas: in a sauté pan boil water. Place a wire cooling rack on top. Throw the tortilla on the rack and then cover with a pan lid. The steam will make the tortilla pliable and ready to eat in 30 seconds.

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For a sour cream substitute I added sriracha and a pinch of salt to a 1/2 cup of 0% fat free Fage plain yogurt.

And then… voila! Korean fried chicken tacos!

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Good news/Bad news

I’ve had a long standing history with lower back issues, but I am happy to say what normally would’ve been a three week ordeal with numerous doctor visits has been a minimal and very low-key three day ordeal. I guess my standing-desk at work, yoga, physical therapy and rigorous stretching has paid off. And hence… my kitchen standing desk.

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Seriously, despite my mini-episode I am thankful to be able to swim and pick up dog shit at this point (and only miss a few days of running).

So in lieu of running this weekend I roasted some peppers…

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And the world turns.

I’ll leave you with this… my non-racist dog Cosmo who just happens to not like the wondrous smells of Chinatown.

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