Sunday, January 18, 2015

18 January 2014








When it comes to food, it's been somewhat of an international weekend. After a busy week, we escaped to Marietta with our friends John Clark and Cory Wilson to dine at one of my favorite spots, Tasty China. Don't let the dated eighties decor at this off-beat restaurant distract you because the authentic and spicy Sichuan cuisine is the best you'll find north of Buford Highway! We treated ourselves to a BYOB bottle of wine out of styrofoam cups the waiter supplied and ordered a ton of food. This is a great place to go to with a group and share a few dishes and appetizers. Trust me, it's that good, but you have to get beyond the decor and the location in a strip center just off Franklin Road. After dinner, we came home and continued the theme by watching a fascinating documentary, "In Search of General Tso" about the origin and popularity of the most popular "Chinese" dish in the world. It was very entertaining and interesting.

On Saturday, we attempted to be a little healthier. Jeff's mom bought me a Ninja for Christmas, so the day began with juicing. I made a great tasting smoothie from organic kale, banana, apple, carrot, ginger lemon and tangerine. Believe it or not, it was quite delicious, and I look forward to trying more combinations. After a shot of turbo veggies, we drove over to Buford Dam and hiked the Laurel Creek trail. It is a beautiful, four mile trek along Laurel Creek, Buford Dam and Lake Lanier. Needless to say, the juice didn't last long, so we were famished by the time we were finished. After the hike, we headed over to one of our favorite new discoveries, Rico's World Kitchen in Buford. This little restaurant is in an old Pure gas station and garage. They label their food as "regional and world comfort cuisine," and it is comforting indeed. I started with the daily soup special, a white truffle French onion soup, and Jeff and I both enjoyed the smoked chicken Cuban sandwich for lunch. I've been talking to Rico since our first visit a few weeks ago, and he is going to come take a look around Canton in the next few weeks. I would love to entice him to open a spot here in Canton, so keep your fingers crossed!

We returned from Buford in time to rest for a few, freshen up and get ready for a night out with our good friends Micki and Frank Farley. We met this dynamic duo at The Study because we noticed they were having a live Jazz trio on Saturday night. The music was great, and the saxophonist was direct from New Orleans. We enjoyed cocktails, tapas, sushi and lots of laughter. The Study was standing room only all evening, and it was great to see their business doing so well.

Sunday began with breakfast at Keithsburg Cafe with lots of errands to follow. I even made it in to clean up my office, organize my desk and do some filing – something I have been trying to do since New Years. In keeping with the ethnic food trend, I decided to spice things up by cooking some Indian food for tonight's Sunday Supper. I am trying to eat healthier, and after a little research, I decided to make a version of Aloo Gobi, a vegetable curry with cauliflower and potatoes. Of course, I had to add some extra spices and peppers since I like my Indian food to pack some heat. I had some leftover organic chicken breasts that I didn't want to go to waste, so I threw together some yogurt and spices and ended up with tandori chicken nuggets. For starters, I served an organic kale salad with papaya and toasted pumpkin seeds. I wanted to have some Indian Naan bread to "sop" up the curry sauce, and even though you can get a version at Publix, I decided to try to make it from scratch. Believe it or not, it was fairly easy, and it turned out very well. I think it would also make a nice crust for a quick pizza. Since I experimented quite a bit with the Aloo Gobi and forgot to write down all of the ingredients, I'll leave you with the Naan recipe this time around.

Just like they said at the awesome Variety Show at the Cherokee Arts Center last weekend, variety is the spice of life! Bon appetite ya'll!

The Menu:

- Aloo Gobi – Cauliflower and Potato Curry

- Tandori Chicken Nuggets

- "Massaged" Kale with Papaya and Pepito

- Homemade Indian Naan Bread


The Recipe – Naan (Indian Flat Bread)


Ingredients:

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Melted butter
Coarse sea salt

Directions:

In a large glass, dissolve the dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar with 3/4 cup warm water. Let it sit on your counter until it's frothy, about 10 minutes.

Sift the flour, salt, remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar and baking powder into a large, deep bowl.

Once the yeast is frothy, add the yogurt and the olive oil into the glass, and stir to combine.

Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients, and gently mix together with a fork. When the dough is about to come together, use your hands to mix. Keep going until it transforms into a soft, slightly sticky and pliable dough. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let it sit in a warm place for 2 to 4 hours.

When you're ready to roll, have two bowls on your counter: one with extra flour in it, and one with water. The dough will be extremely soft and sticky. Separate the dough into 6 equal portions and lightly roll each one in the bowl of extra flour to keep them from sticking to each other.

Shape the naan. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a teardrop shape, narrower at the top than at the bottom. It should be 8 to 9-inches long, 4-inches wide at its widest point and about 1/4-inch thick. Repeat this method with the rest of the dough.

Warm a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it's nearly smoking. Make sure you have a lid large enough to fit the skillet and have a bowl of melted butter ready.

Dampen your hands in the bowl of water and pick up one of your naans, flip-flopping it from one hand to the other to lightly dampen it. Gently lay it in the skillet, and set your timer for 1 minute. The dough should start to bubble.

After about 1 minute, flip the naan. It should be blistered and somewhat blackened - that's typical of traditional naan. Cover the skillet with the lid and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute more.

Remove the naan from the skillet, brush with a bit of butter and sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt. Place the naan in a tea towel-lined dish. Repeat with the rest of the naans and serve.

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