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Going Gnudi Tonight – Spinach Gnudi with Sage Butter

In Do-it-Yourself, Gluten Free on September 29, 2013 at 11:48 am


Going Gnudi today.

What is Gnudi?

Gnudi (yep…pronounced “Nudie”…see why I love this already?) is ricotta cheese dumplings, and different from Italian Gnocchi (pronounced ‘Neeyoh-kee’), which is a type of delicious potato pasta that takes more time, kneading, and work.

With the brilliant sunshine this morning and cooler fall air, I actually woke up thinking about Gnudi today. Terrible.

I’m going to go with it! I say tonight for Sunday dinner, I’ll make Spinach Gnudi with Sage butter. For those of you who love Italian food, but don’t want it to be completely carbtastic — or for those of you who have gluten-free diets — this is a great meal. For GF – substitute the gluten free flour of your choice – I would think rice flour would keep the flavors clean. I’m willing to bet Gnudi is kid-friendly too and you can sneak a good amount of veggies in it.

Once I get the hang of this recipe, I’ll continue to mix it up later by making butternut squash or pumpkin versions!

Here are some great links and blogs for Spinach Gnudi with Sage Butter:

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Photo and Recipe Credit: Chef Bertaccini’s Blog, The Art of Italian Dining

Recipe Credit


Juicy. Spicy. Delectible. No-Dredge Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

In Do-it-Yourself, Gluten Free on September 29, 2013 at 11:35 am


MMmmmmmmMMMMmmmmm!For fried chicken that is flavorful throughout and brings you to your knees with its juiciness, I’ve taken a tip from Chef Todd Richards from The Shed at Glenwood, who actually marinates his chicken for 4 days! Other than the 4 day marination, this chicken was pretty low maintenance!My marinating liquid consisted of: 2% buttermilk, garlic powder, kosher salt, cracked black pepper, thyme, cumin, Garam Masala, ginger (and maybe some onion powder?). Fresh ginger, fresh onion, and fresh garlic paste would be even more awesome, if you can manage that. Mix enough buttermilk and spices to cover most of your chicken pieces in a big bowl and cover it with Saran Wrap and keep in the fridge between 1-4 days. Any less than a day and you risk having zero flavor in the chicken. The 4 day mark? The chicken tastes sublime.

I don’t actually like super coated chicken where you you don’t even really taste the chicken or worse, gummy chewy over-breading that doesn’t fry up properly, so I actually added about a teaspoon worth of tapioca starch (you can use cornstarch) with my cup of flour for breading the chicken. This creates a light, crispy, airy crunch. You can try another kind of base flour for gluten-free fried chicken – I like working with rice flour, but for this recipe, I think even nuttier flours or even chickpea flour would be wonderful.

I also added seasonings like smoked Spanish Paprika, kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and some curry powder to my flour too so that the batter would be tasty too. So, some of the deep coloring you see in the picture are probably attributed to the spices, as well as the frying. In this picture, I only fried up chicken thighs and legs.

You already know I just like to eat and hate extensive, longass prep, cooking, blah, blah, blahhhhh. I’m a lazy cook I actually skipped the flouring, egging, flour-dredging step and just put my already marinated in buttermilk chicken into a ziplock bag with my flour mixture and just did a quick bag shake, and with some tongs, tapped the excess off into the bag and put the chicken into my hot cast iron pan filled with oil. I had heated up enough oil to reach about 1/3 up to the chicken, to a little over medium heat. The chicken was fried roughly 10-12 minutes per side. After it was done, I transferred to a metal rack and let the chicken rest and drain for a bit and then plated.

Best part? Bag of flour tossed without any gross gummy stuff to clean up. More chicken crunchy crispy deliciousness, less mess!

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Do-it-Yourself – Sop-worthy Garlicky Mussels

In Do-it-Yourself, Gluten Free on September 29, 2013 at 11:17 am


This is a great video and recipe on making basic Garlic-White-Wine Mussels at home. Honestly, now that I’ve made it at home, I’m not going to bother ever ordering this at a restaurant. It’s THAT good. With Prince Edward Island Mussels at barely $3/pound at the Farmers Market, I can make as much garlicky savory musselly goodness to my heart’s desire, and henceforth…I’m not spending the $20 and upwards for this dish at a restaurant! Such a sense of freedom! Also, this dish looks pretty impressive on the table and whoever you’re serving it to will feel mighty special.

I used fresh tarragon, basil, and some parsley straight from my garden, as well as garlic and shallots. You can also use red onions instead of shallots for wonderful flavor.

Silly me, I ran out of butter recently and forgot to pick some up, so I used extra virgin olive oil instead; additionally, I used some grated Gruyere that I had from a previous experiment (the Gruyere Apple Pie!), and that turned out fine and added the flavor and thickness to the sauce that is totally soppable with crusty bread. I also added half a lemon’s worth of juice for a bit of bright flavor, but that’s optional. For variation, you can use chopped fresh tomatoes instead for a rich tomato sauce.



*Word of advice about mussels – don’t eat any of them that are still closed after cooking. Before cooking, mussels are usually closed but sometimes become open. I usually do a tap test even before I cook mussels to make sure they’re still alive – if open-shelled, I tap on their shell and they will slowly close their shell if alive (they’re just being lazy) and if it never closes, I toss them out. And once again, upon cooking, if the shell is fully closed, discard it and don’t eat it.

For faster cleanup and a sanitary kitchen, bag up the shells and throw it out to your main garbage can or dumpster immediately. Don’t bother keeping seafood related stuff in your kitchen and waking up to lovely scents of fragrant old shellfish.


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Brunch and Dinner-worthy: Zucchini Pancakes

In Do-it-Yourself, Gluten Free on August 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm


These zucchini pancakes were RIDICULOUSLY easy to make and were gobbled up immediately.

These aren’t sweet pancakes, nor do they have any flour – these are probably more like how hashbrowns or potato latkes are made. So maybe they’re more skillet cakes and not pancakes? I digress…

I didn’t bother looking up a recipe and poked around the kitchen and made stuff up as I went along. It turned out great. I used zucchini and chives I had from my garden.

I used a box grater to grate the zucchini into a bowl, skin on. I have a KitchenAid box grater, which is sturdy and doesn’t pop in and out like some flimsy graters do, and has an ergonomic handle. The prep time was next to nothing, but cooking time is a bit longer to help solidify the cakes.

Then as followed:

– Season the grated zucchini with kosher salt and cracked pepper, added some garlic powder too (but you can use fresh garlic, I was just lazy). Drizzle a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil into this grated zucchini bowl.

– I chopped some banana peppers I had from the garden just to add some flavor and get some more body to the cakes, but it didn’t add any heat, you can add any kind of peppers or omit. Same with onions. I didn’t add any out of laziness, but you can.

– Whisk one egg in another bowl. Add kosher salt to the egg mixture and drizzle a little bit of olive oil into the egg. Pour this egg mixture into your grated zucchini bowl.

The olive oil was added so that the mixtures don’t burn.

– Heat some vegetable oil and a bit of butter (or just use butter) in a skillet to medium heat. I used a small cast iron pan, but you can use a non-stick or stainless steel pan. Spoon in the zucchini mixture into the skillet. I made mine about 3 inches wide or less so that the shape would maintain and I could flip the cakes easily. Leave some room in between zucchini mixture mounds.

– Keep zucchini mixture on the skillet at medium heat and use a spatula to push the sides in to keep a round shape. Don’t move or flip the zucchini cake. You’ll notice that zucchini releases a lot of water and steam, so this is normal. You’ll need to keep the zucchini cakes on the skillet until most of this water is evaporated.


– Press down the cake with a spatula after about 3 minutes to get the cake cooked throughout. By about 5 minutes or so, the cake should be able to move without turning into a big mess (similar to how buttermilk pancakes need some time to cook on one side before being flipped). Flip the cakes and let it do its thing for another 5 minutes until golden brown or darker.

– Plate and top with goat cheese (or other favorite cheese), chives, and if you wish, bacon crumbles.



Make this Gorgeous, Easy, and Light Soup: White Turnip Soup

In Do-it-Yourself, Gluten Free on June 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm

This gorgeous and nutrient-packed White Turnip Soup was shared by my long-time pal, KC Scott, who formerly worked as a chef at the Ritz Carlton. Her 8-year-old daughter dubbed this Turnip Soup “divine.”

A lot of small, white turnips with full greens are available in supermarkets and farmers markets right now, but you can also make this soup out of leeks.


White Turnips with Greens

White Turnips with Greens

White Turnip Soup

Chop up some onions, shallots and garlic and sautee in either butter or olive oil (or use a combination of 1/2 butter and 1/2 olive oil).

She then whisked some chicken stock together (4-6 cups) using Better than Bouillon brand with water, but you can use other kind of pre-made chicken stock, and small-diced white turnips. Simmer this mixture for 8 minutes then add the julienned turnip greens for a quick minute or two.

If using chicken stock (and/or the butter) that already has sodium/salt in it, this recipe may not need any additional salt to season, but if using low-sodium, sodium-free stock, or unsalted butter, you can add some kosher or sea salt to taste. Use gluten-free stock or homemade stock, if you have gluten intolerance, or replace with vegetable stock if you’re vegetarian/vegan.

This soup can be paired with some crusty baguettes and cheese, Bruschetta, crudites, or anything else you’d like on the side.

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Image Credit (Soup): KC Scott
Image Credit (Turnips): Only Foods.net

Great Summer Meals: Vietnamese Spring Rolls

In Do-it-Yourself, Gluten Free on June 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm

With the summer heat already in the south and soon coming in other areas, afriend of mine was asking about light, easy to make meals that aren’t too heavy or heat up the kitchen a lot.

Vietnamese spring rolls are some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten on a hot day. They’re fun to make with people and children tend to like them too! They’re also gluten free. You can round out the meal with lots of diced fresh fruit. You can even make a yogurt-honey dipping sauce for your fruits as well. These spring rolls make for a great picnic meal as well.

This comprehensive video shows step by step how to prepare Vietnamese spring rolls and shows how to roll fresh spring rolls in 2 different ways. You can buy Vietnamese Rice Paper in any Asian grocery store – there are usually small Asian stores, if not big supermarkets in many cities.

Though pork is optional, I’ve made these spring rolls with shrimp and/or with grilled fish before too, it’s delicious! You can also add Sriracha or various hot sauces to your dipping sauce. If you have wheat or gluten issues, make sure to check the label on the Hoisin sauce to make sure it’s gluten-free.


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Photo image credit: online image

The Classics: Pan-seared Steak with Mushrooms and Onions

In Do-it-Yourself, Gluten Free on May 4, 2013 at 6:59 pm
Steak Collage

Sirloin Steak with Mushrooms and Onions

I’m the most sacrilegious semi-traditional Hindu girl you’ll ever meet.

I LOVE steak. I love meat. GROAR.

My parents are the same way.

Due to weather, and sometimes lack of charcoal briquettes, I do steaks indoors. The benefit of doing an indoor steak is having a nice buttery, mouth-watering, juicy steak and preparing some simple side dishes while it’s cooking. Though I’m sure there are more accurate recipes for timing of steaks and such online, lately, I’ve been eyeballing the steaks. If I had to judge what makes a great steak, I would say

1) Having it juicy
2) Seasoning

Choose Some Meat

I’ll briefly do an overview of what I know of cuts. I can dig deeper into this topic and include some nifty graphics I find on beef parts for another post!

Porterhouse: A Porterhouse actually is all of the cuts of meat together. You have the filet mignon, the NY strip, ribeye portion and I think the sirloin too. That’s a bigass piece of meat that nobody really can finish alone, but if you’re feeding your family, that’s a good thing to get and carve up.

Most people tend to buy the meats cut up – so here are the types.

Sirloin is the leanest, so there’s not too much fat on that, and it’s the healthiest, meatiest of the bunch. It also is easy to dry out because it doesn’t have as much fat. It’s also very budget friendly.

Ribeye is more marbled, very tender, and is all kinds of yummy juiciness. One of my faves.

Another fave of mine, New York Strip has one long strip of fat that is delicious when you put it on high heat and turns into this golden bubbly buttery crispy part bordering your steak. It’s lovely and keeps your steak ridiculously juicy. It sometimes has a thin sturdy bone in it. New York strips may be the fattiest, I am not quite sure. Ribeyes and New York Strips are pricier.

One of the most delicious is Prime Rib – which usually has an oval bone in it. This cut will make you cry it’s so wonderfully tender and juicy. Prime rib is usually on the higher end in price.

Filet is smaller, super duper tender, and is the smallest part of the big meat porterhouse piece. Most chicks like this cut, though it doesn’t do anything for me in terms of filling me up, or really flavor for that matter. Just personal choice. It’s squishy and has less flavor to me than the ribeyes, NY Strips and prime rib. It’s got similar flavor to sirloin, but is much more tender.

The above cuts don’t really need to be marinated, just the salt/pepper few spices seasoning combo I told you about earlier works here for about 10 minutes.

**The below need to be marinated.**

There are cheaper cuts of meats for other purposes. Skirt steak is good and cheap, and is great for fajitas or eating alone with sauteed onions and such, wrapping around goat cheese, which is super scrumptious. I would definitely marinate skirt steak to make it tender as well as for flavor – you can throw orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, whatever the hell you have in the fridge on skirt steak.

There’s other things like big top sirloins, eye of round, and whatever else, but those are for slow roasting in its own juices and pair well with root veggies and other things. They get tough with quicker high heat cooking, but you still can sear the outside with high heat in a pan and then stick it in your dutch oven/le Creuset, or crock pot.

Seasoning Steaks (Beef, Lamb, etc.)

The seasoning portion comes first – I liberally spread kosher salt, garlic powder, crushed black pepper, and paprika on my steaks. For lamb shoulders, I add rubbed sage. Do this on both sides and let it sit on a plate for 10-15 minutes to let the stuff do its work on the meat before cooking. There’s no need to marinate the steak for hours, this is enough time. The end result – you don’t really taste anything overpowering but a good beefy flavor when you’re done, but it’s the combination of what I mentioned that seasons everything while it’s cooking. You have to basically get a piece of steak from the package, and just be liberal about all stuff you put on it, pat it down on the meat.

Season Your Steak

Season Your Steak. Don’t Be Bashful.

Sear That Baby

The rest for me is eyeballing and I like my steaks medium to medium rare, I can’t stand tough well-done steaks. You may as well eat a shoe at that point, it would taste better.

I absolutely love to use a cast iron pan for my steaks. I put in a good mixture of pan oils and fats which probably accounts for the juiciness and lack of burning. I pour a bit of regular vegetable oil in the pan to coat the pan, drizzle some olive oil in for flavor, and then melt some butter in the pan and mix. Of the three the olive oil is more prone to burn at higher heat (high smoking point), so the vegetable oil stabilizes it. This pan should be heated at medium/medium high so that the outside of the steaks are seared. Depending on how thick the steaks are, I do a few minutes (2-3) on each side (super thick steaks). For thinner steaks, reduce this time.

From my chef friends, I’ve learned to finish my steaks off in the oven. This way the inside gets done at a lower temperature. This particular steak was a few inches thick, so I put it at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes. I got a nice medium steak with a bit of medium rare in the very middle yesterday with this (do 5-10 minutes for medium). It was perfect, soft and juicy, no weird shreddy stuff either.

Searing Steak

Searing Steak – He’s so PRETTY!

But FunnyFoodie, How Will I Know If My Meat is Done or Not?

Your meat will tell you. Listen to the meat. Be the Meat Whisperer.

Seriously though, you can take a look at it and poke the meat. As with most meaty juicy things, it will know when it’s ready to go.

Okay…I Really REALLY Want to Become a Meat Whisperer. How Do I Become The Meat Whisperer?

Take your spatula and prod and tap at the meat.

Take a look at your hand. See where the skin meets your thumb? Pinch that.

That same texture would would be raw or rare in steak. When prodding the meat, if it feels a little ‘slidey,’ the middle of the steak is rare or if the meat is REALLY squishy and dents in, the whole thing is still raw.

Take your fingers and pinch a little ways further into your hand. That’s medium-rare, a smidge further in, medium.

If you go all the way to the middle of your hand, that’s well-done. If you tap at the meat with your spatula and it’s hard, it’s well-done. And THAT, y’all,…is an absolute TRAVESTY, as I mentioned earlier.

If you like your steaks well-done, you have no business being on this site, and you and I have nothing in common. NOTHING!

Sorry. I get a little passionate when it comes to meat…

That Steak has Been Doing Some Serious Work in the Oven – Rest It

So, if you’re still with me here and like your steak with some actual flavor and not well done to all kinds of hell – when you take steak out of the oven, rest it.

Resting applies to all meats or fowl you bake, roast, or grill; let the steak sit for about 5-10 minutes to rest on a clean new plate (not the one you previously used for seasoning the raw meat, to avoid cross-contamination of bacteria).

Why Rest? *I’m* the One That Did All This Work, Not The Steak. Git This Steak In My Belly Already!

Patience, Grasshopper.

Resting the meat makes the juices that rise from the top travel back to the middle of the meat. This means that when you cut into a steak, the juices will not rush out onto your plate, but instead, will stay inside the meat and in your mouth where it should be!

This is basically the biggest trick with all meats I make. If you put anything on at high heat, the outside part of meats have a wonderful sear, or fowl skins crisp up and turns a rich golden color. Searing also flash-seals all the juices in. At a later point with all meats, after searing, you turn the heat down and let the heat circulate within the meat to cook the inside. All the juices get trapped within the meat and will not dry out.

Top or Topless?

I usually prepare and serve steak in the nude and usually have the notion that good steak shouldn’t be bastardized by strong or super-distracting toppings, but this particular day, I decided to try making a mushroom and onions mixture to top my steak. The results were fabulous.

For the mushrooms – while I let the steak rest on a plate, I put the cast iron that I used for steak pan back on the stove and sweat some shallots and white mushrooms (you can use any kind of mushroom, it would be delicious). The pan will have all that great butter, steak drippings, and seasonings already in it. To avoid it from being too salty, you can spoon some of this mixture out before putting your mushrooms in, but I had good results just adding mushrooms directly. I added some red wine to the pan to deglaze and let that work for about 5 minutes, and then covered my cast iron pan with a heat-safe lid so that the mushrooms would cook on the inside another 5 minutes. Mix and top it on the steak or serve it on the side.

Steak with Mushrooms & Onions and Caprese Salad

Steak with Mushrooms & Onions and Caprese Salad


You can choose to make any side that you like, but that particular night, I actually had a hankerin’ for a fresh springy salad rather than my usual starch dish or potatoes.

Simple Caprese Salad (Shown in Picture

The salad shown is a simple Caprese salad with some cucumbers because I had them on hand and like cucumbers. It’s just sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, sliced fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped basil, and some cracked pepper. Not shown here, but I made some balsamic vinaigrette to drizzle on top. Pour some balsamic vinegar into a bowl and slowly drizzle extra virgin olive oil into the bowl while simultaneously whisking. I added some agave nectar until it was mildly sweet and cut some of the tartness of the vinegar, but the more aged the balsamic vinegar is, it’ll naturally be on the sweeter side and you may not need any sweetening agent.

I personally love having ripe tomatoes as at least one side to my beef dishes for a few reasons: it’s a palate cleanser so you can enjoy more steak without getting that weird “my tongue is numb” feeling, and secondly, raw veggies have a lot of great enzymes to help you digest proteins…

AND … you’re gonna love this part…

…the fiber in raw veggies help you carry some of the lovely fat from foods out of the body, which is a big bonus to your waistline. So there’s a huge secret tip right there – the more fiber you have with something potentially fattening, the better off you’ll be.

Caprese Salad with Cucumbers

Caprese Salad with Cucumbers
(no dressing shown here)

For The Love of all That is Good and Meaty…EAT

Mmmmmm. Beefy.

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Cooking FAILS: Improper Seasoning & Execution

In Beef Up, Do-it-Yourself, Gluten Free on May 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm
Shark steak

Shown here: Seared shark steak; Dinosaur Kale with Fava beans prepared with garlic, shallots, and toasted sunflower seeds.

A few nights ago, I prepared some shark steak, fava beans and dinosaur kale.

The flavor combinations, herbs, used etc. were fine, but…

Basic Seasoning: FAIL
Execution: FAIL

Long story short, I treated the timing and seasoning as though I was preparing a simple white-fish dish with spinach, which was completely off-base.

Due to the dense texture of the shark, as well as the sheer thickness of the cut, I should have treated the shark steak as I would beef steak. Under-seasoning left the flavor lacking some oomph. Just like steak, I should have given some ample seasoning to the shark with kosher salt and let it sit a bit for it to go through to the core.

It was my first time cooking fresh fava beans too. The whole pods reminded me of snap peas, so I treated them as such after shelling; in reality, I should have boiled or kept them sauteeing for a bit longer than I do peas and treated them more like standard beans. Same goes for the kale – they were very fresh and tough and needed more sautee time.

Now I know for next time. I absolutely love how pretty shark steaks cook up though.

French-Pressing My Luck

In Gluten Free, Healing Foods on April 7, 2013 at 10:55 am

My throat feels like it’s being attacked by microscopic beasties pelting sand at it and happily crunching the sand beneath their beastie-microscopic feet.

*Clears throat.*

Okay, that just brought on more sand by the microscopic beasties. Needed something to remedy this.

I don’t get bad spring allergies as some people do, but with the off-the-charts pollen counts and amount of dust, smog, and lack of humidity this time of year in Atlanta, even I’m prone to some nasal drip and scratchy sore throat. This morning, I’m enjoying some French-pressed chai yerba mate with creamed/whipped honey and milk. It’s helping tremendously!

French-pressing is pretty old-school. There are some great machinery out there that makes terrific brews for coffee and tea, but I find French-pressing great in terms of easy-clean-up, quick brewing time, and mostly, flavor. From what I’ve heard and read – French-pressing allows you to have some wonderful volatile oils from your tea or coffee that like to dance on your tongue, but since you’re not overly boiling or brewing, you keep the coffee or tea from releasing too much tannin, which causes a bitter, astringent taste and can bring enough acidity in your belly to make you feel pretty horrible later.

I find joy in pouring my bag of loose tea or coffee into my French press, all the while watching steaming hot water swirl the leaves around and letting it steep while I’m fixing something else to eat. After you get a satisfying color of the brew a few minutes later, something about mashing the plunger down to unify all the grinds together makes you feel momentarily that you’ve cleared your own soul and mind into absolute simplicity.

I discovered the joy of real honey as a pre-teen. A family friend went to France and brought back home some lavender honey. Even over a decade later I can still remember biting into the artisan bread that was lightly toasted and drizzled with the lavender honey. The nutty grains of the bread with the earthy floral scent of the honey pretty much made me envision a sunny day out in rolling lush fields. A mouthful of sunshine.

I was hooked.

Something honestly awakened in me – it was as though this was some amber-colored glorious gift from the Gods. It really is a gift from nature, if you think about it. Previous to that occasion, I had your regular squeeze-bear grocery store honey or stuff in packets from McDonald’s to pour over my pancakes. What a difference – I had NO clue.

On a nutritional note, raw honey (note: not processed honey or honey-flavored corn syrup like you would find at fast food restaurants) has trace nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals which help your health and immunity.

I usually find and use local raw honey; today I’m enjoying some Cox Honey Farms’ natural creamed honey.


Creamed honey, as it suggests, is very creamy and spreadable with the amount of air whipped into it. The whipping process keeps the sugar crystals from forming and locking together, which makes honey so wonderfully sticky, but creamed honey has a bit of a different experience on your tongue than regular honey. I find both kinds, regular honey and creamed, absolutely decadent.

Wait, wait wait….What was that funky word? Yur-buh whaaa?

Okay, more about Yerba Mate.

It’s not Australian like you’d think. It’s not catnip for Koalas or anything that you may be thinking. It’s actually South American in origin, pronounced with a weird mixture of ‘s’ and ‘ch’ sounds in the beginning.

No, you won’t sound like a Clingon. Okay, maybe REMOTELY like an old woman from Long Island cursing you out with Yiddish terms. Try it with me:  SCHERE-bah MAH-tay.

Good job :).  Now go drink some.

No? Don’t know what the heck it is? Well, here you go:

Some links about yerba mate – it’s SUPER good for you, and easier on the stomach than coffee:



Okay, so it’s good for me, does it TASTE good?

In terms of the flavor of yerba mate: some people liken it to green tea with the earthiness of coffee, but it’s nowhere near as grassy like green tea or as darkly ‘thick’ and murky and earthy like coffee.  It has a mellow flavor that is great, with nowhere near the regular astringency of black or green teas.

FunnyFoodie…you keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

100 points to you if you’re a Princess Bride fan.

What do I mean by astringent? Think of a super dry, possibly cheap wine – it makes your tongue feel like it’s been dipped in rubbing alcohol to the point you have no idea if you can even produce any saliva to moisten your mouth. THAT is astringency.

Yerba mate can be mixed with other herbal teas, sweeteners and milk/cream just like tea or coffee can, and tastes wonderful hot or cold. You get about the same amount of caffeine as coffee without jitters and stomach lurching or acid-inducing lava burning, but see above for French-pressing coffee – French-pressing usually prevents some of the lava craziness. I love both tea and coffee, but truth be told – nutritionally, mate scoffs at both coffee and green tea with how many body-healthy chemical compounds and cancer-preventing properties it has. A definite winner of a drink. I say, definitely add it in your repertoire of stuff to imbibe on a daily basis.

You can take my word for it – or you can pretend you’re a fabulous Argentinian basking in the sun at the equivalent of a local hip coffee shop and go sip some yourself. I always feel happy and like a million bucks afterward.

Tamarind-Date flavored Chicken Wings

In Do-it-Yourself, Gluten Free on April 5, 2013 at 10:29 pm

These Tamarind-Date flavored Chicken Wings are good for a party snack/small party meal or for a casual meal.

Tamarind-Date Flavored Wings

Fusion Finger Foods:
American / Indian Tamarind-Date Flavored Wings

I’m all about quickly tossing things together, throwing it in the oven and it doing all the work while I relax or do something else, especially on days that I had a full day at work.

This chicken wing recipe is simple:  rinse, coat, toss, and bake. …


These chicken wings are super tasty and simple   to make. Pair it with some carrot sticks, celery, sliced cucumbers, or something remotely vegetable-based to make a very balanced meal. Since I made these wings a while back, I’ll share what I remember of the cooking process.

Grocery stores typically carry wings frozen or  fresh in packets or bags.  I rinse all the chicken and quickly pull off any stray unsavory parts (a wayward feather, extra glob of fat that is barely hanging on).  In a huge mixing bowl, toss the chicken wings in.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Get a flat baking pan or cookie sheet, line with aluminum foil and place that on the countertop or stovetop for later. In another bowl,  I used a jar of Tamarind-Date sauce from a local farmers’ market or Indian/Indo-Pakistani store. I did a quick taste test of the sauce.

Sometimes, Tamarind-Date is either in concentrated paste form, which you need to dilute a little bit with water or even sweeten it a little bit, or they already make it into ready-to-use sauce form. It also lets me know if there’s already salt in the mixture or not.  If the label does not indicate that it has any salt, you can spread a little kosher salt and cracked pepper to your wings and let it sit there for about 10 minutes or so while you’re working on your sauce.

For any sauce or paste, add some olive oil and/or butter so that the mixture sticks to the chicken, and it crisps up the skin while it’s baking. You can make enough so that you can transfer some of this sauce to another serving bowl for dipping later during the meal (this bowl will not be contaminated with raw chicken). By baking the chicken wings, this is healthier, safer, and less of a mess than frying, and makes it nice and crispy. Also, with using high heat from the oven, you’ll see that the fat from the chicken skin renders and melts off the chicken, but leaves you a crispy skin. If you use lower heat, you’ll have full-fat, rubbery tasting chicken. So in my bowl, I put in the tamarind-date sauce, and if I need to add any salt, pepper,  or any spices that I feel like throwing in there, I do, but I wanted a nice sticky tamarind wing, so I didn’t do too much to this sauce.

I added some olive oil, and whisked this mixture.  Pour this mixture in your big bowl of chicken wings and toss with some tongs or a huge wooden spoon. Spread your coated chicken wings on the foil-lined baking tray, spreading it out all over so that each piece can have its time and space to cook. You can drizzle a little more olive oil if you’d like on top of the wings.

This part is something I don’t quite remember.  I know I did the wings high heat and checked on them in about 25 minutes or so. I may have basted them again in some additional tamarind-sauce and slid the tray back in the oven until the skin looked nice and crisp. You can take one out and see if the inside is done and not red/bloody. When poking cooked chicken, it should run clear juices, not pink. If you feel like the outside is nice and crisp but the inside is still needing some help, turn down your oven to about 300 degrees F and cook another 10 minutes or so. Once chicken wings are done, let it rest on the stovetop or heat-safe countertop for about 10-15 minutes until serving.

Rest all meats/fowl  at least 10 minutes after cooking or the lovely juices run out all over your hands and plate instead of your mouth.  I simply plated the chicken on a plate for my friend and I to grab and eat, but you can garnish with some veggies, lime wedges, cilantro or anything you’d like.

Oh, and have plenty of napkins handy 🙂


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