Quench editor Aldo Parise recently interviewed Vikram Vij for an episode of Off Menu. They discuss ethnic cuisine, exploring why people are afraid to branch out of their comfort zones and how even we can create delicious dishes in the comfort of our kitchens.
According to Vij, the reason many people are afraid to try their hand at creating ethnically different dishes, like Indian cuisine, is due to a fear of the unknown. The solution to this is simple: travel the world, taste every dish you can and enjoy the cultural experience.
"I want people to enjoy Indian food once a week, and I want them to have Turkish food once a week, and I want them to have Vietnamese food once a week and then just have your meat and potatoes once a week and your salads once a week," says Vij. "Create different cuisines for different days and just enjoy."
Cooking with Spices
Vij mentions that the best thing you can do when cooking with spices is to understand how the different flavours and spices work together. Like the ingredients in a croissant, the amounts play just as important a role in cooking as the spices used.
"Do your homework and learn about the spices, and understand that," says Vij. "Spices mean a lot to a ... chef, as notes mean to a musician. They have to be understood and played."
Your Cooking Guides
Cookbooks exist to guide you and provide you with the framework you need to explore the cuisine. Once you're familiar with the recipe and the basics, you can experiment with the different flavours to create something that is uniquely your own creation.
"Experimentation is the only part [of being a home cook]," says Vij. "You aren't going to have all the spices in the cupboard that you want.... So you improvise whatever you want, get closer to this and closer to that ... and create your own style. I think that's the important part for everyone to understand. Don't stress out while you're cooking. It's not rocket science, it's love on a plate."
Quench Magazine is a food and drink magazine, so it’s no surprise that each issue features an exciting array of recipes (with wine/drink pairings) that will excite the taste buds. In fact, food editor Nancy Johnson’s "Good Food" column has easy, time-tested recipes that will give you the chance to experiment in the kitchen with great ease.
Read about “The Sandwich” in the November 2014 issue of Quench Magazine.
Chicken Panini with Brie & Apple-Pear Compote
The Apple-Pear Compote is delicious as a side dish with roast chicken, turkey or pork. If desired, substitute shredded rotisserie chicken for the chicken breast fillets. If you have an electric Panini press, use it. If not, follow the directions below using a ridged cast-iron pan and cast-iron Panini press.
2 chicken breast fillets
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth or water
4 ciabatta rolls, sliced open and outer crusts buttered
Apple-Pear Compote (recipe follows)
4 slices brie cheese, rind removed
- Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally. Pound until ½ inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet, sauté chicken breasts in hot oil until browned on both sides. Add chicken broth or water. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Spray a cast-iron skillet with cooking spray. Place on medium-high heat.
- Spread mustard on the inside of each buttered roll. Arrange chicken on roll. Spoon Apple-Pear Compote over chicken (use sparingly and pass the rest at the table.)
- Top with brie and top half of roll. Using a spatula, press down on top of each roll to flatten slightly. Place rolls, two at a time, in hot cast-iron skillet.
- When bottom of rolls are toasted with grill marks, flip and place hot sandwich press on top. Cook until cheese melts and tops of rolls are grill-marked.
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and diced
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and most of the juices have evaporated, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Cornish Hens Rock
Find out why they rock in the February/March 2015 issue of Quench Magazine.
Honey Butter Glazed Cornish Hens
Nothing says lovin’ better than a generous dollop of honey butter as a basting sauce. The Dijon mustard adds a bit of heat. Try substituting Sriracha or buffalo wing sauce instead, adding more or less to taste.
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Cornish game hens
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, combine buter, honey and mustard. Arrange hens in roasting pan.
- Roast 30 minutes. Pour honey butter over hens and roast an additional 30 minutes until cooked through, basting occasionally.
(See article for the other two delicious Cornish hen recipes!)
In addition to writing new recipes for her Good Food column, Johnson also writes “Bouquet Garni” for Quench Digital. Browse her recipes and try something new tonight!
Cocktails come in many forms. Bartenders take the classics and transform them into new and exciting experiences. One such cocktail that has been shaken, stirred and twisted into new variations is the James Bond Martini. Read on to discover how you can make the classic James Bond Martini and then experiment with it.
3 oz gin
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc wine
Pour the gin, vodka and Lillet blanc into a cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon and serve.
3 oz gin
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz bianco vermouth
5 crushed mint
Mix liquor into a shaker over crushed ice. Shake well, then pour and garnish with mint leaves.
1 part Stolichnaya vodka
1 part dry vermouth
2 parts Sprite
The sprite takes some of the sting out of the smell, but the drink will have you buzzing a lot quicker than you would anticipate.
Mix Vodka, Vermouth, and Sprite in a glass with ice. After well mixed, drink and enjoy!
2 oz Lillet Blanc wine
1 oz Apple vodka
1/2 oz London gin
Place a good amount of ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and pour into a chilled Martini glass. Build a snowman out of cocktail onions, sit back and see the snow fall.
3/4 - 1 oz vodka
2 - 3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 tsp sugar
4 oz Champagne
Saturate a sugar cube or teaspoon of sugar in a champagne flute with angostura bitters. Add vodka, fill with champagne and serve.
Q School is a micro-publication dedicated to helping you get the most out of life. It's like a snack for your mind.
Published by Quench Digital.
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