Sunday, November 19, 2006

summer... and all that comes along with it

Summer is approaching (or should I say looming?) for those of us in the southern hemisphere, and with it come unwanted compromises (you know, bathing suit or muffins?) Having gained a few pounds during the last year, I´m leaning towards the bathing suit, that is, I probably won´t be wearing one very often, but at least I know I´m getting closer to where I was a while ago.
That said, I could never do Atkins or some strange diet like that. First of all, I love food way too much. Good food, especially carbs. Besides, diets don´t seem to be made for people who love to cook... and who are partial to flavorful food. Being a vegetable lover helps quite a bit, being a baked-goods lover does not. So I´m currently implementing a personal diet I like to call "Pip´s diet", which basically comes down to eating smaller amounts of carbs, coupling them with big salads with small amounts of light dressings concocted by myself, eating cookies and cakes less frequently, and exercising as often as possible.
The thing with regular diets is that you can´t live with them for the rest of your life. What I´m trying to device is something that works for me and doesn´t require counting points or calories, eating like crap or starving myself.

So, anyway, long story short, I started a food blog pretty much at the exact time I started this "diet." But, surprisingly, it´s actually helping me come up with good recipes that aren´t too bad for you. It sort of forces me not to get caught up in a boring menu.

A few days ago, I recalled a tandoori chicken recipe I had seen on tv a few months ago. Since I didn´t have a tandoori spice mix, I googled it to find the basic spices for it. There were quite a few differences between recipes, but it´s mainly turmeric, ginger, cayenne, paprika, cumin, coriander, a bit of garlic, some garam masala (if you have some.) I personally used turmeric, ginger, red pepper flakes, cayenne, cumin, a bit of pesto oil mix I had in the fridge (chopped garlic and parsley.) I simply mixed that in with some plain yogurt. Marinated the chicken in it for just an hour or so because I was in a hurry (it´s recommended that you marinate the chicken for 4-24 hours in it, then take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before grilling it.)

tandoori chicken in the making

All done...
tandoori chicken

Given that my "recipe" is not precise enough. I´m pasting a similar recipe from the Food Network´s site.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2001,1977,FOOD_9936_16385,00.html

1 (4 to 4 1/2 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped serrano or jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. With a fork, prick holes in the chicken pieces. Using a knife, cut diagonal slices 1-inch apart, and 1/2-inch deep into the larger pieces. Place the chicken in a baking dish.
2. In a blender, combine the oil, onion, garlic, ginger, pepper, and process on high speed to a paste. Add the paprika, salt, cumin, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and cayenne, and process until well blended. Add the yogurt and lemon juice, and process to a smooth sauce, scraping down the sides to combine all the ingredients.
3. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Turn to coat evenly, rubbing the marinade into the holes and slits. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
4. Preheat a grill.
5. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Place on the grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes on the first side. Turn, baste as needed, and cook on the second side for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn and continue cooking, as necessary until the chicken is cooked through, but still tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. (Alternately, bake in a preheated 425 degrees F oven on a baking sheet for 35 minutes.)

There´s a somewhat different recipe at epicurious, it´s a tandoori chicken sandwich with a spiced mayo. It sounds really good. Here´s the link:

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