What's more fun than cooking something until it falls apart, and then coaxing it into a state of total collapse by having at it with two forks? If this sounds like your idea of a good time in the kitchen, you need to get your slow cooker on and make a batch of tandoori pulled chicken. While a slow cooker can't replicate the smoky char of a tandoor oven, the spices do a good job of mimicking the flavor. Use the shredded chicken on wedges of naan bread, as we have here, or in a salad or wrap. You can go a bit further, and dress it up with typical Indian condiments, like yogurt, chutney, or chopped nuts. When I make this chicken, I use a kabsa spice blend I found at a gourmet market; it's easy to make your own, or substitute turmeric, as indicated in the recipe. Tandoori pulled chicken freezes well, so you can make it ahead and have lunch or dinner at the ready.
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In the house where I grew up, my dad took charge of weekend breakfasts. Every Saturday, he made challah French toast, with rich, eggy bread left over from Friday night dinner. The surprises came on Sundays, from a repertoire that included "spit in the ocean", fried eggs and salami, and eggs scrambled with cheese or, if we were very lucky, leftover spaghetti and meatballs. I still eat eggs for breakfast on most mornings, and I like something sturdy to hold them up. When Cousin Martin visited a few weeks ago, we made these savory Southwest cornmeal waffles with red cornmeal from Rhode Island's iconic Kenyon's Grist Mill. I much prefer heat to sweet for breakfast, so we topped our slightly crunchy waffles with fried eggs and some spicy habañero salsa. You could go the maple syrup route, too.
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Over a lifetime, Cousin Martin and I have traveled to many faraway places together. In Australia, I watched him eat a witchetty grub in an Andrew Zimmern-like moment that, for me, sealed his reputation as an omnivore. So when I suggested we make pesto a couple of weeks ago, and he informed me he doesn't like garlic, I was stunned. My first thought: how did I not know? My second thought: roast the garlic! The flavor of raw garlic can be harsh, but slow cooking mellows and sweetens the garlic, so that's what we did. Then, we added some roasted red peppers, also sweet, and fruity extra virgin olive oil. The pesto, which I tossed with pasta and extra parmesan cheese, almost won my cousin over. Not quite, but almost. My husband Ted and I happily polished off every leftover mouthful.
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Anyone who knows me in real life or follows me on Facebook knows how proudly I support President Obama, but despite the fact that today is a special election day in Massachusetts (please vote!), this post isn't about politics. It's about chili. I found the recipe for the president's chili online, and I have to tell you, I have issues. Well, one issue. Mr. President, I hope you don't think it presumptuous that I've altered your recipe just a little bit. With all due respect, it needs more heat. The flavor is great, and really, I've never used turmeric in chili before, so that was fun. Now, you've got to spice it up! In the recipe, I've called for up to three teaspoons of hot sauce, but that's just a guideline. When it comes to chili, every cook has the right to choose.
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