Jack is Cooking with a Tajine

Well Hello Internet!

This post has been sitting in my computer waiting for some attention for quite a while now, but finally here it is!  Two weekends ago i made a semi-traditional Moroccan dish using my Mom’s Tajine.

Tajines are pretty awesome.  Heres what wikipedia has to say about them:

tagine or tajine (pronounced /tɑːˈʒiːn/Arabic: طاجين, pronounced [tˁaːdʒiːn]) is a type of dish found in the North African cuisines of AlgeriaMorocco, andTunisia, which is named after the special pot in which it is cooked. A similar dish, known as Tavvas, is found in the cuisine of Cyprus. The traditional tagine pot is formed entirely of a heavy clay which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts; a base unit which is flat and circular with low sides, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that rests inside the base during cooking. The cover is so designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. With the cover removed, the base can be taken to the table for serving.

here’s what it looks like:

Anyways, i made a buttercup squash Tajine (but you can use any kind of winter squash.  i LOVE winter squash!)  for the most part this dish is really easy to make.  If you don’t have a Tajine, you can make the same thing in a casserole dish, but it will come out differently because of the lack of the magic cone shaped top.

To accompany this Tajine, i also made some chicken.  i’ll talk about that in a bit.

so heres what you’ll need:
For the Tajine:
squash (of any winter variety)
whole cloves of garlic (a whole bunch)
shallots (depending on the size maybe 5 or 6)  also whole.
olive oil
harrisa paste
saffron (optional)

For the Chicken:
Chicken split breast (i recommend Herondale Farm chicken!)
yogurt (2 cups)
whatever spices you want

So First i chopped up the squash (well i didn’t, but somebody did!  haha)
and we peeled the shallots and the garlic

* update! *  it has been pointed out to me that credit is due!  Roland, chopped up the garlic and the shallots!
and Julie cut up the Squash!  haha.  always give credit where credit is due!  i knew i didn’t chop that stuff up…

Then i took the Chicken, and marinated it in the yogurt along with some onions i had sauteed along with some indian spices that i don’t know the name of.  i will try to find out the name and update this post!!  so yeah, take the sauteed onions and mix it with the yogurt and let the chicken sit in it for maybe 30 minutes:

Now for the Tajine!
first take a couple good dregs of olive oil and start cooking the shallots and garlic over a medium heat.

once they are getting a little soft add in 1/3 cup of almonds, and 1/3 cup of raisins.   Cook for 5 minutes.

Next add in the squash and get it coated in the oil.  (ALSO!  put the chicken (yogurt and everything!) in a baking dish, and bake it in the oven at 375° for about 30 minutes )

After the Squash has been added its time to spice the dish up.  The only thing that is complicated about this dish is finding Harissa Paste.  this basically makes up the Tajine flavor.  (WARNING) this stuff is MAD spicy!!!, so dont use too much.  i used 2 teaspoons, i could have used a little more but not a whole lot.  so throw that in, along with 2 tablespoons of honey.
The Harissa Paste and the honey will melt into the oil.  toss everything around so everything is nicely coated in the oil.  Then add some water to the pot.  just enough to cover the entire bottom of the pan, but you don’t want everything swimming in it.  This is going to steam everything

Well that’s pretty much it!  oh yeah, i added some saffron just for kicks.  then i put the top on and let it sit for 20 minutes steaming away!

20 minutes later this is what came out!  everything was all soft and delicious and had soaked up all the flavor of the Harissa.
A couple of minutes later the Chicken was ready – check to make sure its cooked all the way through

Here it is all on a plate, chicken, tajine, also served along side some brown rice and some sauteed greens.
Lemon slices are always good too for both the chicken and the Tajine!

MMM MMMM MMM delicious!!!

Jack is cooking (Baking) Sourdough Bread 11/02/09

Well Hello Internet!

Tonight i baked a new loaf of bread, and i did it exactly the same way as i did the last loaf, except i baked it a little longer.  I think i seem to have finally got it down!

heres what i did:

this morning (at 9 am)
i took 1.5 cups of starter
mixed it with 3 cups of water
and 4 cups of white flour

i let it sit until 7 pm

this is what it looked like:

i then removed 1.5 cups of this sponge and put it back in the starter

to this i then added
half a cup of olive oil
1.5 tablespoons of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar

after i folded in those ingredients i folded, and then kneaded in
3 cups of flour

i let it sit for 20 minutes:

After that i removed 1/3 of the dough to save to make pizza tomorrow! (follow link!)

I folded the remaining dough into the loaf and let it rise for 2.5 hours (it seems to take longer now that the summer is over).

I baked it in the oven for 15 minutes at 450° and then turned the oven down to 350° and baked it for another 35 minutes.

Here it is:

Jack is Cooking (Baking) Sourdough Bread 10/12

* update *

this loaf is the most perfect loaf of bread i have made!
hopefully i will be able to repeat it!


Well hello Internet!

Tonight I baked a new loaf of bread, and I think this is the best one
yet! I’ve carefully recorded everything I did this time so if I can
repeat this and get exactly the same results I’ll know I’ve got it!

Here’s what I did this time

I took 1 1/2 cups starter and mixed it with 3 cups of water and 4 cups of flour

I let it sit for 7 hours

Then I removed 1 1/2 cups of the sponge and put it back in my starter jar for the next loaf

To the sponge I added half a cup of olive oil and one tablespoon of salt.  Then I added between 2 and 3 cups of flour – until the dough was just right – that is until it was just past sticky. I believe this is the most important part, and what I have been failing to achieve in the past.

So I let the dough autolyze for about 15 minutes before shaping the loaf. Then I let it rise for 2 hours

I baked it in the oven for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, and then 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Jack is Cooking a Spanish Omelette (Tortilla)

Well hello Internet!

Tonight I am making a Spanish Omelette, also known as a Tortilla.  My mom used to make this for me all the time when i was a kid.  its delicious and very easy to make.  I have thrown in a little twist to the standard omelette but otherwise the method is the same.

First I put some onions and potatoes that I had sliced very thinly into a pan with a good amount of olive oil. Next I added some broccoli, but only the stalk of the broccoli which I also sliced very thinly.

Here is everything in the pan:

i cooked everything in the oil over a medium low heat for about 20 minutes.  then i turned the heat up quite high just for 5 minutes, to give the potatoes a little crispy edge around the outsides, and to get the onions to caramelize just a bit.

after that i took 4 eggs that i scrambled and poured them over the potatoes

let that cook a little bit and then when the omelette is mostly cooked its time to flip it.  you need to use a plate.  slide the omelette onto a plate so that the uncooked eggs are still on the top.  now then holding the plate in your strong hand, put the pan upside down over the plate.  then flip!

cook it for just a minute or two more and then slide it back onto the plate.  and your done!

its good with some salad, and some toast.

its quite filling so i will have leftovers for lunch tomorrow also!

Ingredients list:

olive oil

Jack is Cooking Shrimp, Swordfish, and Tuna

here’s what you’ll need

1/3 cup olive oil
the juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup white wine
salt pepper

1-1&1/2 lb shrimp
swordfish steak
tuna steak

a bbq or grill