Archive for May 2013

A Healthy Dip

May 10th, 2013 — 8:53am
garbanzo and preserved lemon dip

Garbanzo and Preserved Lemon Dip

I really enjoy a good hummus. But more often than not it is served a bit too oily or garlicky for me. Of course the olive oil makes it taste very rich and silky. But if I want to taste olive oil I can just drink it out of the bottle. And the over-garlicky pandemic sponsored by the the Food Network has become just too much to bear. It is a bit disingenuous to think that if we add more salt, oil, and garlic to a recipe it is going to be appealing to the taste buds. What ever happened to subtlety in cooking?

While on our preserved-lemon jag, I came up with the idea of using garbanzo beans and preserved lemon to create a tasty but more healthy spread than the usual hummus. (I am not condemning hummus.) To me it has a lighter, brighter flavor while still featuring the beans. You can add one clove of garlic, or none, and still come out with a pretty close interpretation to the original concept; something to dip your pita bread into while watching the news after work. I used it in place of mayonnaise on a sandwich one day and the idea of an all-purpose spread came to mind.

So as not to be confused with hummus, the recipe does call for some changes. including, preserved lemon, cumin, cilantro, and a hot pepper. You have to watch the amount of salt you use, the preserved lemon is quite salty. If you want to cut back on the oil I found that some chicken or vegetable broth can substitute for some of the olive oil. And, of course, the garlic is optional.

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Chicken Delight

May 1st, 2013 — 9:12am
Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Meyer Lemons

Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Meyer Lemons

While researching ways to use Meyer lemons, quickly, I came across the idea of preserving them. Preserved lemons came up as a staple of Moroccan cooking. Apparently using them to make sauce for lamb or chicken (in that order) is the most common way of using them. Not being a big fan of lamb I naturally migrated to chicken for my first recipe.

Recipes for Moroccan chicken have many variations. I am sure like most recipes for every grandmother in Morocco there is a chicken recipe ostensibly handed down for generations in the family. Most of these chicken recipes do not even call for preserved lemons. Olives and dried fruits seemed to be common ingredients for most recipes. And the use of a a tangine, a Moroccan clay cooking vessel, seems to be the preferred method for cooking.

I had gone to all the trouble of making preserved lemons, so I included them in my recipe. I included olives and omitted the dried fruit. I wanted the dish to be more savory than sweet. And with no tangine I found that a dutch oven, or covered saute pan worked just as well. I am amazed by the subtlety of the lemon flavor when it is preserved. It gives the dish a silky, lemony flavor without screaming “lemon.” And the mix of spices, olives and lemons give the dish a unique taste and texture. It comes together in about 45 minutes which makes it a convenient weeknight dish. So even without a Moroccan grandmother you can make a tasty version of Moroccan chicken.

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