Revelation of the Week: Penzey’s Spices. Y’all know that Marcus and I have been cooking Indian food at home partially to save money and partially because it’s fun to learn and become comfortable with cooking in another food/eating culture. Except the spices were just KILLING us. Not that we weren’t saving money (because we were, big time). But on the order that we’re cooking, buying tumeric for $4/oz or garam masala at $11/1.5 oz is EXPENSIVE.
A co-worker, remarkably enough, was the one who recommended Penzey’s. Since we don’t live particularly close to one (it would have to be part of a specific outing), I was pleased as punch to discover they have a website you can order from. And doubly pleased to find that I could order 4 oz each of Tumeric, Coriander and Garam Masala with jars for a grand total of $19 including shipping (thank you, coupon codes!).
Savings aside, what were we snarfing?
Sunday: Matt Damon Cookies
Our modifications: I halved the recipe, added a splash of vanilla, a pinch of salt (Hello? Baking 101) and a sprinkle of cinnamon. For mix-ins, I went with a combo I’ve been dying to try – dried cranberries, coconut and white chocolate chips.
They were completely delicious, but I think when I make them again, I’d add a nut for crunch, more oats and cranberries, and eliminate the coconut (it ended up melting into the cookie during cooking and made them almost TOO sweet).
Ree recommends using Flank Steak for this. Back in 1999, Flank Steak was an exciting, edgy, affordable cut of meat. Fast-forward to 2011, and Flank Steak isn’t the best-kept, most affordable beef-secret, it weighs in at around $10/lb. So Marcus and I decided to go for Flank Steak’s ugly step-sister, Skirt Steak. To compensate for the lower-quality cut of meat, we marinated it for six hours prior to cooking.
PSA: If you’re cooking with Flank Steak or any of its ugly step-sisters, DO NOT FORGET to cut against the grain. Or you will lose.
The actual cooking process was extremely fast and more of a breeze than most of the meals that we make. Now that I’ve gotten to make this dish once, I don’t think I’ll have any trouble turning to it more often/on nights where I know ahead of time we’ll need a fast meal.
Monday: Chicken Tikka Masala
As per Ameena’s advice, we just tossed the marinade in with the frozen meat the night before. Obviously this meant that we couldn’t cube it in advance, but that’s what kitchen shears are for, no?
We used chicken thighs because that’s what we had in the freezer and they did not disappoint. I’m a fan of chicken thighs. Like flank steak, they’ve transitioned from Unsung-Hero to The Same Price Or More, but the flavor and tenderness is really wonderful stuff. The only reason we turned to them in this situation is because we needed the last two chicken breasts in the freezer for another project (see below).
Once again, we chose to simmer instead of broiling, for convenience’s sake.
And, Thank God, Marcus consented to (and ended up liking!) brown rice. It’s time to rejoice, kittens. With all of the rice eating that’s taken place within our four walls as of late, I’ve just been dying to make the situation at the very least, a little healthier. You know?
Wednesday: Mom’s Green Chili and Chicken Enchiladas
I pre-made these on Tuesday night with the intention of actually doing the oven-portion of the show on Wednesday. They still turned out perfectly, despite my totally irrational fear that adding the enchilada sauce in advance (the idea was that Marcus could just pop them in the oven and prep the guacamole while I was on the treadmill) would render them soggy and horrifying.
I think that next time, I might try halving the recipe insofar as meat and sauce are concerned and go for four enchiladas instead of seven or eight.
What were your favorite feasts this week?