Faux Pasta: A Sister Cooking Blog

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Have you made the ethereally smooth hummus yet? Clearly mine has still got a case of the grainies, even after perversely disrobing my lil can of chickpeas last night. Usually I sneer at people who claim that hummus is sooooo gooooood, bucketing them with the kinds of dead-taste-bud-folks who “crave kale smoothies” (why did you just make your banana peanut butter smoothie disgusting) and are satisfied with a handful of raw, unsalted almonds. Like, it takes the tiniest tweaks to make all of those things so much better; remove the kale from your smoothie, roast and spice your almonds, and in this case, add a handful of toasted pine nuts to your hummus. Thus ends my judgey soapbox of Personal Tastes Inflicted On Everyone Else.

I accidentally used something that’s apparently not tahini but a sort of pre-hummus, with chickpeas and garlic and salt already in it. Kind of like the the sourdough starter of hummus, or the bit of existing yogurt you throw in your homemade yogurt. Perhaps I should fold a lump of this hummus into my leftover tehina can and keep the strain alive in generations of hummus to come.

-Paulina

Girl, you know you better watch out. Some spices, some spices are only about. That spice, that spice, that spiiiiiice.

Annie’s Shells & White Cheddar, peas, tuna, & za’atar. Full disclaimer, I have unlimited access to the mac since I work there. Easy Sunday lunch before the holidays. For Christmas we are doing a fish and carnitas taco bar! I’ll be pickling radishes, carrots, and onions today.

♫ Shanghai noodles, I love you oodles ♫
♫ Pork buns, you’re so much fun ♫
♫ Lychee martini, goodbye bikini ♫
♫ Tuesday night happy hour won’t make you dour ♫
- Nellie

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m taking shortcuts in the kitchen recently because I’ve had a lot going on. I’m basically halfway to Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee, which means I’m at a 75% cooking level, for those of you doing the math. Example: this is refrigerated Pillsbury dough and Muir Glen pizza sauce from a can and shredded cheese that has a light touch of cream cheese (what-what, creamy equity) from a company that starts with K, because Safeway doesn’t have shredded organic cheese and I was already kind of giving up, you know? I loaded it up with Applegate bacon (delicious), canned pineapple, and raw jalapeños. It was like the worst pizza I’ve ever made. Even the pizza stone couldn’t help. So… lesson learned, I’ll get pizza delivered if I’m in a bind.
- Nellie

Made a curried chicken salad for my plane lunch today. Keep trying to waft the curry smell away from passengers, but no such luck. Sorry, guys.

Nellie

Homemade tikka masala last night was really great. It was supposed to be chicken rogan josh (or josh rogan, the Mogul great great great grandfather of Seth Rogen?). I changed my mind midstream because I have no concept of the rules with either Indian, Korean, or Thai home cooking (unlike Japanese, where I feel like I have a decent grasp on flavor profiles).

By the way, do you know you’re not supposed to toast preground spices? It makes them lose their flavor. My recipe was totally roundabout but I’ll share it soon. Kind of want to optimize it first. Naan was a huge hit and now I have enough to make breakfast pizzas! Wonderful.
- Nellie

Confirmed: Smitten Kitchen’s Mini Meatloaves with Tomato Glaze and Trader Joe’s Green Bean Shiitake Casserole are delicious together.
- Nellie

This is a direct copy and paste from Serious Eats, because they are 100% correct about this fried chicken:

Chicken with Explosive Chili Pepper at Z&Y Restaurant, $10.95
The chicken at Z&Y isn’t all about the presentation, but it certainly makes for an impressive platter. A massive pile of fiery red dried chilies is placed on your table, with chunks of golden-fried chicken peering out. It’s up to you to dig, removing the juicy, thin-crusted pieces of dark meat with your chopsticks.

This would be fun with any kind of fried bird, but Z&Y’s chicken is standout. The meat itself is salty, juicy, and flavorful; the crust (made of cornstarch) is thin, crisp, and delicate. And then there’s that rich, spice-laced flavor, the slow-building heat. There’s an intense dose of tangy vinegar, ginger, and Szechuan peppercorns, and, of course, the tingly numbing sensation that goes with them. You’ll find that the heat doesn’t stop you, though—this is chicken that’s too good to leave unfinished.

Z&Y Restaurant: 655 Jackson Street, San Francisco CA 94133 (map) 415-981-8988; zandyrestaurant.com

- Nellie

Breakfast burrito rice bowl. Do it. Do it now. Yes, I know it’s 8:45 PM.
- Nellie