This month, I decided to participate in Taste&Create, a food-blogger-community event that pairs you off with another food-blogger and you each have to cook something from each other's blog and blog about it. Sound fun? It is! Interested? Click on the Taste&Create logo to the right to go to the site and learn more. (Okay, wait, nevermind that doesn't work. It just takes you to the picture which you see here and clearly don't need to see again. Click here to go to the site.)
Anyway, I was paired with Dave from My Year on the Grill. At first I was excited because, as you know, I've been looking forward to grilling things. And then I saw that he had to abandon his grill to go live in the Caribbean (U.S. Virgin Islands, to be specific) and I became extremely jealous. Which doesn't really make sense. I hate the sun and I don't swim and I don't like beaches but the Caribbean is just gorgeous. Anyway, this meant that his most recent posts were not about grilling and I was too lazy to go back months and months to find something that was, especially when he had so many delicious-looking posts since he's been there. He even made my life easier (totally not intentionally) by having a recent post that was basically a list (with pictures) of everything that he'd done since he got there, so I looked through that to decide what looked good.
Well, it all looked good, and I was having quite a hard time making a decision--a few different things caught my eye, but they all had ingredients that I didn't have access to because we don't have the same foods around here as he does in the Caribbean. And, though not everyone does this, I wanted to stay fairly true to his recipe and not make something I didn't have the ingredients for. After all, the whole point is to taste something that, in theory, someone else made. (I guess we do this whenever we follow a recipe directly, but I adapt pretty much everything these days. I even ended up adapting this, albeit accidentally.)
Okay, so I was trying to decide whether I should make one recipe and use wine instead of whatever crazy flavor of rum he had used, or another one and just plain leave out the black sesame seeds, when Mike and I went to my grocery store and found a half off bin that had two jars of black sesame seeds in it. My grocery store doesn't normally carry black sesame seeds. Not that I've ever looked for them specifically, but I have spent quite a lot of time staring at the spice shelves wondering why sage is so expensive or what I would do with allspice, and I tend to enjoy oddly-colored variations of normal foods so I would have noticed and remembered black sesame seeds. The point here is that the fates made my decision for me: I would make Dave's Sesame Chicken Points.
He tells an interesting story with these points. He made up the recipe based on something he'd had years ago at a Thai restaurant (ooh, is this asian fusion?), and a couple weeks later got an email from a cook at a Thai restaurant giving him a more accurate recipe, which he then followed to make shrimp points. The cook also mentioned that sales increased drastically when they started calling them "fried pizza," but I agree with Dave--points sounds better.
Anyway, I said above that I adapted the recipe--basically, I took his chicken points post and tried to add a few elements of the shrimp points post (specifically, more chicken and ginger). So! Here's the recipe, along with pictures, and you should all go check out Dave's blog because it's funny and has good recipes and he spends one day a week making all the bread and doughs he'll need for the rest of the week, and that's just cool. (I want to do that someday. When I have one day a week that I can dedicate to making breads. Right now I just try to make homemade pasta whenever I run out so I don't have to eat boxed pasta.) Oh, also? I need to give you two recipes. Because I used his pizza dough, too. (But I didn't take pictures of that because, I mean, it looked like pizza dough. Not really all that exciting.)
RECIPE: Quite Excellent Pizza Dough
Recipe (indirectly) from The Bread Baker's Apprentice
-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, chilled
-1 3/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp instant yeast
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1 3/4 cups cold water
1. Make sure you have cold water and flour. If you don't, flash-chill it in the freezer for about 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for a few hours.
2. Combine flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Stir thoroughly.
3. Add the olive oil and water in bits (about a quarter of each at a time). Stir until it becomes doughy and you need to knead it. (Dave kneaded his in a gallon ziploc bag, I did mine in a bowl with a quart ziploc bag over my hand because dough feels icky.) Once it forms a ball, continue kneading for about 10 minutes.
4. Flour a surface and put the ball of dough on it. Then flour the ball of dough. Then cut the ball of dough into six pieces. This will make individual pizzas; if you want larger pizzas, then cut it into fewer pieces.
5. Spray the inside of sandwich-sized ziploc bags with oil (hooray for Pam's extra virgin olive oil spray!) and put each small ball of dough into one bag. Refrigerate for at least six hours or overnight.
Woo! Pizza dough! I never made pizza dough before, and it was SO easy. It took about 15-20 minutes total, and from what I found googling pizza dough, this is just about the best you can make. I'll definitely keep some in the freezer for homemade pizza nights! Okay, onto the chicken points.
RECIPE: Sesame Chicken Points
Adapted a tiny bit from My Year on the Grill which I already linked you to
-two balls of the pizza dough I just told you how to make
-about 1 cup of pulled-apart leftover rotisserie chicken (oh yeah, one of the reasons I liked this was because it meant that I'd have an excuse to get a rotisserie chicken and make soup with it later. I don't care that it's summer, I like chicken soup.)
-3 cloves garlic, sliced thickly (for once I didn't increase the garlic, and I was quite happy with how it came out--then again, my garlic cloves were abnormally huge)
-1 large shallot or tiny onion, also sliced thickly
-about 2 tbsp olive oil
-about 1 tsp powdered ginger
-2-3 green onions, chopped fairly thin
-about 1 tsp black sesame seeds
-about 1 tsp normal sesame seeds
-salt, to taste
-a bunch of oil for the pan (they cook in about 1/8 in. of oil)
1. Combine chicken, garlic, onion/shallot, olive oil and ginger in a food processor. Make the blades spin around until you have a thick chickeny paste. If it seems too dry, drizzle a little more oil in until you reach a good consistency. (I started with 1tbsp but ended up adding at least one more to make it not just minced chicken-garlic-onion-with-ginger.)
2. Flour a work surface (cutting board) and stretch each ball of pizza dough into a roughly 6-inch round. Coat each round with chicken paste. (Use all the chicken paste!)
3. Sprinkle the green onions over the chickeny discs and press them into the paste. Sprinkle half of each sesame seed onto them (about 1/4 tsp on each).
4. In a large skillet, heat about 1/8 inch of oil on high heat (Mike refers to this setting as "LOTS OF FIRE!" The caps are important here.)
5. While the oil is heating, cut the discs into sixths.
6. Once the oil is heated, reduce the heat to medium/medium-high (or "less fire" as Mike is insisting I should tell you, but that doesn't help those of you with electric stoves and it also doesn't tell you how much less fire, so it's not very helpful. But if you have fire, there should be less than there was.)
7. Place each triangle chicken-side down in the oil, trying not to splash the oil all over your skirt. (I did each disc separately, letting one cook while I put the other one together. This might have been a bad idea because the first one sorta burnt, but not really, and that's probably because I didn't reduce the heat. LESS FIRE.) Allow to cook for a few minutes until they reach a nice golden-brownish color.
8. Flip the points over and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds (again, a quarter teaspoon per circle, so...1/24th of a teaspoon per point. But you don't have to be that obsessive about it. (If you are, I might recommend making an appointment with a psychologist, who can probably give you some excellent anti-anxiety pills that will quell that OCD.) (Oh, wait, Mike says they'd taze you. Nevermind.) Then sprinkle lightly with salt.
9. Remove the points from the pan and place on a plate. Eat. Enjoy.
So, um...I think I could take any recipe and make it look really complicated with my instructions. Seriously--if you go back through my older posts and look at the recipe I adapted them from, it's usually a few sentences, but I manage to write a million steps. I'm not sure how. The point here is that these are SO EASY to make, and they're delicious.
Step 1: Chicken, garlic, onions, olive oil and powdered ginger in the food processor, ready to go.
Also step 1: A satisfactory paste-like consistency.
Step 5: Wow, I skipped a bunch of steps in the photo-taking. Luckily they were not complicated steps. This is what they'll look like before you put them in the hot oil. (They might have fewer green onions, if you use fewer green onions. Or something like that. They'll look roughly similar to this.)
Step 7: frying chicken-side down.
Step 8: chicken side up, more sesame, a little bit of salt, almost done!
The last step is always "eat."
So these were DELICIOUS, and as I said above, sooooo easy and quick. I was a bit worried about the chicken-paste, but it was great and I'd do it again. The best part is that these seem so easily adaptable--different kinds of meat, different spices, different toppings, completely different dish! I can't wait to play around with it (and see if it works in a pan brushed with oil instead of with a lot of oil). I was happy to be able to get to know another food blogger a little bit and can't wait for next month's Taste&Create. And if you see more posts with recipes originating from My Year on the Grill, don't be surprised!