Surprisingly Good Chicken: Buddha’s Hand Marinade

Last week, when I did our grocery shopping, I spotted something nifty:


It’s a citrus fruit thing called Buddha’s hand, and I had to get it.  I just love trying out new and strange produce.  Heh, just ask my mother for stories of shopping with me as a kid and begging for a star fruit or some other foreign looking botanical specimen.  (Back then star fruit was really strange, and I remember the first time we started seeing kiwis on offer and marketed with special little spoons.  It was the boonies, okay?)  Anyway, I didn’t realise that there wasn’t going to be any fruity pulp to try, but luckily I planned to do something involving the zest as I shopped.  Often I’ll make a lemon based marinade, so I figured that work with this thing, and grilling sounded tasty… maybe shrimp kebobs?

I ended up with boneless chicken thighs.  I’d also planned on getting a pork loin to cure, but the store wasn’t running any specials (as they always seem to usually, darn it!)  Chicken was dirt cheap though, and after some consideration I went for it.  I’m not a big fan of chicken.  Generally I kind of dislike it even, and I only prepare it a couple of times a year.  Usually I bake thighs covered a bit of mayonnaise, dill, scallions or onion, black pepper, paprika, and garlic salt.  Occasionally I’ll dredge cutlets in coconut flour for a sort of schnitzel.  Other than soup I think that is pretty much it.  I’m just not into chicken.

Once I finished putting away the groceries I threw the thighs into a bowl with thin slices of the Buddha’s hand, the juice of a few lemons (after seeing there was no pulp in this thing,) a bunch of garlic salt, a little black pepper, and a little bittersweet Spanish paprika.  My idea was to kind of brine it, I guess, hence more salt than usual and put it in the fridge for a few hours before grilling.  I didn’t even photograph this since I didn’t plan to blog anything about it.

But it turned out to taste AMAZING.

This was days ago, so describing it is difficult, but L and I were really, really, really surprised and amazed at just how delicious this chicken was.  The flavour ended up penetrating through beautifully, every bite had a delicate and tangy goodness with a bit of the grill char too.  Freaking awesome.

This isn’t pretty, but I did take a photo of the chicken after grilling, because I tasted a bite and was wowed.  I don’t even remember what was in the foil, shishito pepper?  Yeah, shishitos with olive oil and salt:


So, the point of this post is to encourage you to try cooking with Buddha’s hand.  Figure out what went right with my experiment, or Google for recipes, but do try it if you ever see it in the shop.

Roasted Pork Encrusted with Green & Long Black Peppercorn

The other day I found a ridiculously large cut of pork loin at an equally low price, so I bought it and left it in the fridge until I was ready to do something creative with it.  Creativity did not strike before it was the last thing around to make for supper, but as I was seasoning it something came to mind: long black peppercorns.

green and long black peppercorns

I’d bought some of these a long time ago at Whole Paycheque Foods, but it has been months or more since I remembered to make use of them.  (The last time was in a ham based stew, yum!)  They taste very different from black pepper in my opinion, and I think it can be distracting in some dishes, which is probably why I forgot to try using it again for so long.  Pork is one of my least favourite meats, however, so I didn’t mind the idea of a strong and possibly distracting flavour.  I hadn’t given myself enough time to marinate the loin as I normally do, so I’d planned on making a herb or spice crust.

First I lined my pan with foil and doused the pork with white wine before giving it a generous coating of garlic salt.  I sprinkled it with hot paprika, MSG, whole mustard, and coriander seeds before thinking of the long peppercorns.  It turned out that I didn’t have much in the way of herbs, and the pepper occurred to me, so I ground the long and green peppercorns in a mortar and pestle then rubbed them into the pork.  It went into the oven at 350F for… an hour or two?  I uncovered the meat towards the end to let the fat at the top get crispy.  For a side I made a salad with whatever I had, which was rocket, tomato, dill, red pepper, and scallions dressed with salt, lemon, and olive oil.

It was tasty!


Romanian Lamb Pastramă & Carrot Top Pesto

This is a post that I have wanted to write for a long time.  Long story short, pastramă is a delicious, delicious grilled main course that ought to be more well known (in my opinion.)  Pretty much everyone has had or at least heard of pastrami, and the two share history, but unless you are in a Romanian restaurant you aren’t going to find grilled pastramă.

Lamb Pastrama and Carrot Top Pesto

To make pastramă you must plan a few days ahead, but it is quite easy and fairly quick to actually cook.  Just make a brine/marinade of dry white wine, salt, crushed cloves of garlic, coriander seed, and freshly chopped oregano or thyme.  Then let the lamb soak in it for a few days before grilling.

The other night I grilled pastramă and tried something new for a side dish.  Our supermarket had some gorgeous purple carrots on offer, and I’d grabbed a few bunches.  They came with the tops on, and I vaguely remembered reading a recipe to make use of the greenery.  It took some digging to find the link, and then I was missing an ingredient too.  Rather than sunflower seeds I improvised with tahini.  As usual I did not measure and kind of ignored the ratios given.  For my pesto it was: the most decent looking carrot tops, a few cloves of garlic, two spoonfuls of tahini, the juice from one lemon, a bit of olive oil, and salt.  The carrots were cut up, tossed in olive oil, given a sprinkling of salt, and convection roasted at, ummm… 400 for… a while until done.  More or less.

They turned out to be pretty tasty with the pesto.  🙂

ingredients for pesto


Nasturtium Chimichurri

nasturtium, garlic mustard, parsely, spicy oregano the blend

My husband is a huge fan of skirt steak.  I like it very much as well, but he has pretty much decided that most of our evening meals should be skirt steak if it going to be any sort of steak at all.  I’m not complaining since it is easy to prepare and very tasty.  (The price is inconvenient compared to other rejected cuts, alas.)

Having skirt steak so often and preparing it simply with salt and pepper means that I’ve been trying some new things to dress it up.  Actual chimichurri is delicious and all, but I have been playing with a new food processor and trying different purees to spoon over the steak.

The food processor:

food processor

While I prefer not to clutter my countertops and tend to take the long route in all things this appliance has been a big help now that I’m in the city for work and am exhausted by suppertime.  The reviews were correct about the gasket being a particle trap, and the smaller bowl isn’t entirely as awesome as it sounded, but it still helps.  If I buy another few pieces maybe that would be best since our dishwasher is the world’s slowest (and I agree with some reviewers that this is a machine wash item.)  Anyway, I like the look and design a lot too besides having a choice to use less dishwasher space or the big bowl as needed.

One night I wanted to use the piquant little nasturtium leaves growing all over for something, and the food processor made it possible to do more than add them to a salad.  I used a handful of them, some parsley, a red pepper, garlic mustard from the yard, a little onion, and spicy oregano together. Of course I added olive oil, salt, and a bit of vinegar too.  Another night I put a garlic clove into the mix since the wild garlic mustard was about done.  Either way it is good.

skirt steak with nasturtium chimichurri skirt steak another night