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Entries in lunch (19)


Pineapple Curry Chicken Salad; and How I Develop New Recipes

I have never claimed to be a real chef, nor do I have the credentials to really say I know what I'm doing when I have an adventure in the kitchen. Mostly, I just sort of channel lots of enthusiasm toward whatever my end goal might be (dinner, normally) and hope for the best.

But anytime I want to make a new dish, or add some Hungry Sam flair to a food I already like to eat, I find that a little forethought and a general strategy helps. I follow three steps whenever I develop a new-to-me recipe:

  1. I pick a general type of dish.
  2. I think about similar foods I've cooked before.
  3. I think about similar foods I've eaten before.

That's it! So easy -- easy, because if you don't feel your cooking experience is sufficient, you can let your eating experience fill in the gaps. You can do this. Trust me. 

Today's dish follows just this approach: Pineapple Curry Chicken Salad!

This, of course, is the end goal. We'll get here. Strategy, more pics, and the recipe after the jump!

Click to read more ...


Super Fast Dinner Idea: Avocado and Chicken Open-Faced Sandwiches

We've all felt that...feeling. Exhausted, uninspired, and hungry RIGHT NOW. Sometimes, you just don't feel like carefully crafting the dish of your dreams. You could make something from a box, but that means you're locked into whatever shelf-stable ingredients and chemicals, healthy or otherwise, the manufacturer included.

Here at Hungry Sam, we feel that you can do better. That's why I try to offer reasonably easy and cheap ideas (e.g. oven "fried" plantains) alongside more intense recipes (e.g. chicken, shrimp, and sausage paella). So if you're feeling that unhappy feeling, here's a super fast dinner or lunch idea:

If I were feeling snooty, I might call this a "deconstructed chipotle chicken-avocado salad sandwich."

Instructions after the jump!

Click to read more ...


Chocolate-Chipotle Chili is Alliterative, Awesome Chili

There's almost no way to make chili photograph well. Obviously, alliterative foods are the best foods. Such is the case with a recent creation: my Chocolate-Chipotle Chili!

Sometimes, the dishes I feature here at Hungry Sam seem to constitute a survey of "how to make awesome reasonably healthy food when you're broke." ("On a budget" is such a cliche. Besides, aren't most people, rich or poor, "on a budget" of some sort? Even a badly thought-out, credit-heavy budget?)

Chili is the perfect, ultimate, ideal "awesome reasonably healthy food for when you're broke." (So many adjectives!)

Now, I know you're already aware of my chili fixation (See my posts/recipes for Pumpkin Turkey Chili and Epic Turkey Bean Chili), but this is really something special. That's because this time, I thought to myself, "how can I make chili even more hardcore and decadent while adding more ANTIOXIDANTS!?!?" Because these are things I think.

The answer sprang to mind at once: I should use chocolate!

Click to read more ...


How to Improve Canned Chicken Noodle Soup

I've been sick the last few days. It's felt a bit as though some sort of demon virus was trapped in a little cage in my throat, tearing at my vocal chords in an effort to break free. Or something.

Accordingly, I've been eating/drinking a lot of chicken noodle soup. And, as Hungry Sam, I've put what little energy I've had into experimenting with improvements to an often bland, texture-less experience!

As my base, I've been using Epicurious' favorite canned chicken noodle soup, Progresso Traditional 99% Fat Free Chicken Noodle Soup:

Yeah, I know it's not the 99% fat free version.

Having eaten six cans in the last two days (truly I was sick, else I would have made some soup from scratch) and experimented with each one, here are my findings and suggestions (after the break). Also, apologies in advance for the totally unnecessary Star Wars references.

Click to read more ...


Mini-Post: Super Seafood Pizza

I'll keep it super quick. As part of the Triumphant Return of my boss, she elected to take us all out for a tasty lunch at our friendly neighborhood and strangely-punctuated upscale trendy restaurant, Bar-Cöde on L St. NW. (See why we celebrate her return?) 

I've eaten here three times, but my experience last Friday was by a significant margin the best of the three -- in large part due to this pizza stuffed chok-a-blok with seafood. 


The best part was that each shellfish element of this seafood smörgåsbord was well cooked in its own right: the giant mussels had garlicky tomato sauce; the shrimps were clearly pan seared in a little garlic, butter and wine; the calamari were fried spicy and tender (not at all rubbery); and the little octopi were peppery and delicious.

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Apparently, Freedom Tastes Like...Cheese

This shouldn't surprise me, but it would seem that freedom tastes like cheese.


How do I know? Well, as self-appointed office Food Czar (yeah, it's in my email signature...sometimes), I'm the "organizer" of sporadic department potlucks or food excursions. I equivocate on the term "organizer" because all I do is send an Outlook invite and come up with an absurd, poorly thought-out theme. 

For the potluck I "organized" last week -- a thank you and farewell lunch for our awesome interns -- my absurd, poorly thought-out theme for the dishes was the following: I encouraged everyone to make and bring a dish that provides an answer to "What does freedom taste like to me?"

Really, don't ask me how I think of these ideas.

Anyways, it turns out that we had an extreme preponderance of cheese. I brought freedom baguette with freedom Camembert and a homemade strawberry-thyme compote (get it? Ok, lame, but tasty), but there were pizzas (freedom to order over the internet, i.e. speech), cupcake-sized cheesecakes (I think this one was freedom to choose your own toppings), and a classic fondue lovingly crafted in a rice cooker (BRILLIANT; meant to symbolize freedom of association AND America's melting-pot nature).

To dip in fondue.

I also covered pizza in fondue, which sort of makes a First Amendment sandwich (freedom of association and speech, plus the freedom to later practice a religion in honor thereof).

It's a lousy picture, but trust me: It's pizza with a healthy glomp of Gruyere fondue

Other dishes were tasty and creative too. We had a pasta salad that, to the creator, represented freedom in that it's the first dish she could make with confidence after leaving home. One of my Yehudi brethren made a Ashkenazi charoset, the traditional apple, walnut, wine and honey dish eaten at Passover -- which is ALL about freedom. We had vegetables to be slathered in a number of different dips (freedom of choice) and chips to dip in choices of salsa.  But clearly, the focus was cheese.


All in all, we had potluck success. And each of us ate many times the recommended daily serving of cheese.


The Sandwich on my Desk: With Basil!

THAT's the basil.
This sandwich features thyme-rubbed fresh turkey breast with Boar's Head aged swiss, spinach, avocado, tomato, and stone-ground mustard on some totally mundane whole wheat bread. Although everything but the bread would have otherwise constituted an excellent sandwich, what pumps this sandwich up into the realm of exciting new hotness is the addition of fresh basil leaves.

The herb infused every other element of the sandwich with fresh, spicy goodness. Plus, since I'm actively growing this basil (I've managed to avoid killing my plants so far) I feel super awesome and self-reliant -- a fun illusion.

The basil (which indeed, I fear, nary a Hungry Sam sandwich will again omit) was not my idea -- Jen's mom made us sandwiches with fresh basil for our recent drive out to Annapolis for a wedding. Her sandwiches were better than my lunch today, in that they were constructed atop superb and nutty sunflower-seed encrusted whole grain bread -- but I managed to emulate the effect.

I seriously cannot think of another sandwich I'm likely to make that couldn't be improved with fresh basil. Tuna melts -- with fresh basil! Grilled cheese -- with fresh basil! Croque Monsieur -- with fresh basil!

The possibilities are endless.

Also, quick point on that wedding -- there was a PAELLA BAR. Like, they provided the rice/spice/tomato-base, then mussels, shrimps, sausage and chicken for folks to add. BRILLIANT.