Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Chicken Shawarma

No Pita this time, but it would totally work.  You could add some pickled veggies with the shawarma and some tzatziki or spiced tahini and that would work great.
But for tonight, we're just mixing it up with some tomatoes, olives and onions and calling it a meal.
Like many fine roasting dishes, this takes no time as long as you think ahead.  You just need that one moment in the morning where you say, "Hey!  It's time to marinade something!"  and ultimately, that's all it takes.  There's almost no active cooking involved.  It's really just about marinading something ahead of time and reaping the benefit later.

Chicken Shawarma


  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ½ c. plus 1 Tb olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika, sweet or hot based on preference
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2# boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 1-2 chopped tomatoes
  • 12 olives, cut in half
  • 2 Tb parsley, chopped


  1. Marinade: Combine lemon juice, ½ c. olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the chicken and coat.  Cover in the refrigerator for 1-12 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F
  3. Use remaining olive oil to grease a rimmed sheet pan.   Add the quartered onion to the chicken and marinade and toss to combine.  Remove the chicken and onion from the marinade and spread on the pan.
  4. Put the chicken/onion in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest for a few minutes.  Then slice the chicken further.
  5. Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Toss the chicken and onions in the pan until a bit more crisp and browned.  The remove and add to a bowl.
  6. Add the tomatoes, olive and parsley to the bowl, and mix before serving.
Note: On the turmeric front.  It's not like annato.  It's not just something to make your dish turn yellow.  If the turmeric doesn't have a scent, it's not going to be as good.  Turmeric should always have a scent when using it, and if it doesn't, purge what you've been storing and get some new turmeric.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Smoking Smogasbord

Got a dinner coming up so I wanted to make sure I have some stuff available...some smoked stuff.
I'm making another smoky baba ghanoush (although slightly different technique), some more Zak Palaccio inspired bacon, smoked duck breast for a salad, and some smoked eggs.

The smoker will be set at 250F and I'm using oak.

For the bacon, this is a fennel and coriander seed rubbed bacon.   I have let the pork belly sit in the dry rub for just about a week in the refrigerator.  I rub off the dry rub and let the proto-bacon sit at room temperature an hour or two before smoking.

For the duck breast, I have chose not to brine it this time.  You can do all sorts of overnight brinings should you want, but it's really not necessary.  The one issue with the non-brine approach is that you definitely don't want to smoke it too long - not more than 6 hours for sure, else it will dry out.  At the slightly higher heat of 250, we definitely don't want it too long.

For the baba ghanoush, the eggplants will solely be cooked in the smoker this time.  However, prior to smoking, I'm spending a couple hours getting some of the moisture out.  To do this, I cut the eggplants lengthwise and sprinkle the non-skin side with salt.  Then I place the eggplants cut side down on a rack sitting in a cookie sheet and place these sheets in the refrigerator for 2 hours.   This should get some of the excess water out of the eggplant allowing us to smoke them for an hour or two and absorb the tasty smoke flavor.

Time wise in the smoker, the bacon and duck will be the longest at this temperature.   The eggplants are in there for about 60-90 minutes and then I drop the temperature to around 225F to finish off the meats.   The duck will be ready before the bacon, 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours to reach a target temperature of 135F.

The bacon will be longer - it needs to be around 175F - so keep the wood smoking.

Oh yeah, the smoked eggs.

Smoked Deviled Eggs


  • 12 eggs


  • ½ c. mayo
  • 1Tb Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  •  Salt & pepper


  • Chives
  • Smoked paprika
  • Caviar
  • Bacon
  • Smoked Salmon


  1. Hard cook the eggs via the CIA method.  Put eggs in sauce pan and cover by a couple inches.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 11 minutes.   Put pan off heat.
  2. Fill the sauce pan with the eggs with COLD water, then shell the eggs.  Return eggs to cold water to cool, then drain and dry.  Can be done a couple days ahead.
  3. Preheat smoker to 225F.
  4. Smoke the eggs until bronzed, around 20-30 minutes.  Let cool.
  5. Cut the eggs in half and pop out the yokes.  Place the yokes in a food processor.  Add mayo, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce and purée.  Spoon mixture back into eggs.
  6. Et voilà!