June 13, 2010

Zucchini Couscous

This is another product of the Ruby-being-away fridge purge. I had bought zucchini, because I was in the mood for it and I was kind of thinking of making something resembling this dish. I wanted to saute the zucchini with onions and I happened to have half of a red onion left over from the beautiful toppings platter I made for yesterday's bagel lunch (it was seriously gorgeous, I regret not taking a picture). I'm glad I had it because the purple color definitely added to the visual quality of the final product. It's a pretty simple recipe, and can definitely be changed around to your liking. It's to be served warm, so I used a smaller couscous. I often make cold couscous salad (for Shabbat lunch) and I like to use the larger Israeli couscous for that. This recipe calls for seasoning (salt and pepper) at many points throughout the process; this really adds a lot to the flavor of the dish.

1 box couscous, compared according to box directions
2 zucchinis, quartered and cut into ~1/4-inch slices
1/2 large red onion, chopped roughly
~1 TBSP olive oil, to coat saute pan
Generous amount of S+P
1/4 tsp nutmeg
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

Heat oil in pan.
Add zucchini, onions, and some S+P.
Cook for 3 minutes then add nutmeg, lemon zest, and some more salt.
Continue cooking until onions are soft and zucchini are cooked and barely starting to brown in spots.
Mix into couscous with the lemon juice and a little more S+P.
Serve warm.

Beer-Battered Chicken Fingers and Scallion Pancake

Ruby, my roommate, is away for a few days at her friends wedding and I have an excess of food in the fridge to burn through. This food supply included one lone chicken breast leftover from my special kosher supply at a friend's BBQ. I decided to make a simple beer batter for the chicken. And when I had leftover batter and hot oil just sitting there dying to fry something, I searched the fridge for something else to fry. I found some cute skinny scallions and fried them up whole, they were delicious and reminded me of scallion pancakes from Asian restaurants, so I chopped up a few scallions and mixed them into the rest of the batter to make a pancake. It was a pretty good dinner for one, if I do say so myself.

One chicken breast, cut into strips
1/2 cup+ beer
1/2 cup flour
5 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
vegetable oil for frying

Pour flour into a shallow dish and dredge chicken pieces in it. Then add 1/2 cup beer and mix until a batter forms, you may need to add a little more beer.
Heat oil in pan, about 1/4 inch deep should be fine. Keep over medium to medium-high heat.
Coat chicken pieces in batter and gently place into oil. Fry first side until golden, then flip and fry second side until golden. (Sorry, I didn't pay attention to how long this took, but give it some time; raw chicken = BAD NEWS BEARS!).

Once chicken is done, remove and drain on paper towels. You can now make the scallion pancake, but don't leave the hot oil alone!

Mix scallions into remaining batter, if you turned off the heat under the oil make sure it is hot again, then pour in the batter and the scallions and fry first side until golden brown, then flip and brown the second side. This will cook a lot faster than the chicken.

Keep in mind you can make several scallion pancakes and more than one chicken breast, just maintain the 1:1 (ish) ratio for the batter.