The Lazy Gourmet, Part 2

08Jul17

This year hasn’t been the first that I discovered the joy of lazy recipes — I posted about cold brew coffee and no-knead bread a while back. However, I’ve made more additions to my slacker recipe collection since then.

  1. Breakfast is a glorious thing and pancakes are delicious. But I have to admit that even with a relatively simple recipe, there’s still the extra work of getting buttermilk, and the time it takes to babysit the pancakes, pouring them out in batches and watching them for the right time to flip. Because of this, I felt relieved when I started making dutch babies instead, which are basically one giant pancake you cook in the oven and slice up to share. Plus, they are a lot more fluffy than any pancake I’ve ever made, and taste great even with just a simple topping of lemon juice and berries.
  2. I own a pie bird, I’ll admit it. I think I’ve used it exactly once. And the apple pie that contained it was pretty delicious, but it was an awful lot of work. There’s the fact that you need two crusts for top and bottom (or if you’re masochist, a lattice crust on top). There’s the need for a starch in the filling so that it properly gels. There’s pre-baking the bottom crust. The egg wash. And, that bird. So from these over-engineered origins I recently switched to making galettes instead. This still has the crust, but only on the bottom, with the sides folded up on the edges to prevent leakage, or as someone in my family observed, it’s kind of an apple pizza. And, I was happy to find a recipe by Jacques Pépin that doesn’t need any fancy stuff. (Alton Brown’s apple pie recipe, by way of contrast, uses a half-dozen things I never have bought other than to make a pie.)
  3. Back in the day, I liked to make fajitas. These are pretty delicious, but require a ton of time spent in front of the stovetop, checking on the meat, peppers, onions, mushrooms and sauteeing them all in batches, only to have them get cold by the time you eat anyway. I switched this out for a shredded chicken recipe, which braises the meat in some simple ingredients and gives you a tasty sauce at the same time.

The recipes all use a food processor/stick blender, so I guess I have to recommend them to achieve optimal laziness. Here are the basic recipes.

  • Dutch Baby
    • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F; bring 1/2 c milk and 2 eggs out of the fridge to come up to room temperature.
    • Put 1 tbsp butter in a 8-10″ cast iron skillet, and leave 10 min in the oven. Melt 2 more tbsp of butter.
    • Whiz 1/2 c flour, 3 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt in a food processor.
    • Add eggs, milk, the 2 tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp vanilla to food processor and whiz about a minute, until homogeneous and frothy.
    • Pour into pan, and bake 20 min without opening the oven.
    • Serve with: berries and lemon wedges, or maple syrup.
  • Apple Galette
    • In a food processor, combine 1.5 flour, 1.5 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp salt.
    • Cut 1 stick (1/2 c) of cold butter into small pieces and put into processor. Prepare 1/3 c of vodka or rum, chilled with ice. (Or, ice water.)
    • Process the dry ingredients + butter, drizzling the cold liquid into it, for 15 seconds or less. The dough should still be a little crumbly, but stick to itself when you squish a bit by hand.
    • Form into a rough disk and refrigerate 1-24 hours. When ready to continue, take this out of the fridge to warm up a bit, to be rollable.
    • Peel 4 apples. Slice: I use a gizmo like this to get slices that cook uniformly. Take half the slices and chop into small pieces (1/2 cm).
    • Roll the dough. Avoid doing this in a hot area (i.e. right next to the oven), since you want the butter to remain solid. Aim for something like a 14″ diameter circle or a 12×14″ rectangle.
    • Layer on the tasty things, leaving a 1″ border to fold later: add the chopped apples; 1 tbsp honey; the sliced apples; 2 tbsp sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon; and 1 tbsp butter cut into small pieces. Fold up the sides.
    • Bake 1 hour, or until browned. Let cool before slicing and serving.
  • Shredded Chicken for Tacos
    • In a dutch oven or heavy pot, briefly brown 1.5 lb of boneless chicken (thighs and/or breasts) in oil.
    • Add a 14oz can of crushed tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tsp each of oregano, cumin, and powdered onion, 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and salt+pepper to taste.
    • Simmer, covered, about 45 minutes. If it looks dry, add some beer.
    • Remove the chicken and shred with 2 forks.
    • Puree the cooking liquid, e.g. with a food processor or stick blender and add back to the chicken.
    • If you need to reheat, use a frying pan + oil, working in small batches.
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