So You Think You're Hungry?
Ever since I brought to life my concept of reimagined in-flight meal, I have been meaning to follow up with my version of TV dinner. The idea has been sitting at the back of my mind for almost a year but I’m pleased to at last unveil Dessert By Candy’s Hungry-Man TV Dinner!
Rather than your run-of-the-mill Salisbury steak or fried chicken or roast turkey, my hearty TV dinner (1lb. of food!! Of course it’s hearty) takes plenty of culinary influence from North Africa. A juicy piece of sesame lamb burger is served with garlicky tahini yogurt sauce and sprinkled with dukkah. It is paired with crushed new potato & pea salad in mustard seed dressing, sour cherries Israeli couscous, and flaxseed sesame lavash. Are you hungry yet?
How is this menu related to this week’s French Fridays with Dorie for our assigned recipe of Broth-Braised Potatoes? Well, cooking new potatoes in chicken broth is a basic concept to infuse the root vegetable with flavour. Throw in a bunch of aromatics such as lemon peel, garlic cloves, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs only enhances the taste. The spuds are perfect players with other ingredients to make a fantastic potato salad. One look at the freezer aisle and I immediately came to the conclusion that TV dinner must contain green peas. What better way to incorporate green peas than Melissa Clark’s Crushed New Potato and Pea Salad with Mustard Seed Dressing? The sweetness of the peas and the pungent shallots delivered huge flavour without packing on the fat.
Next minute I found myself face to face with a pot of leftover chicken broth from cooking the potatoes. Nothing may go to waste. So I grabbed a bag of Israeli couscous and cooked the tiny pearls of pasta in the broth. They inhaled every last drop of broth and were plump with savoury taste. I threw in handfuls of dried sour cherries and chopped cilantro for added contrast. Lastly, a drizzle of olive oil finished off yet another side dish.
When I think of North African cuisine, lamb immediately comes to mind. In keeping with the more thrifty nature of TV dinner, I decided to serve sesame lamb burger as a play on Salisbury steak. The juicy patty was seasoned with cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, mint, pomegranate molasses, onion, and lots of garlic. What a great combination from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe in The Guardian! I pan seared it medium rare and slathered on a thick creamy dressing made with Greek yogurt, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice. The dressing is inspired by a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe. To echo the crunchy sesame seeds in the burger, I sprinkled lots of dukkah on top of the sauce for added taste and textural interest. I couldn’t stop myself from taking bite after bite!
Phew, that was enough name dropping for a day. With inputs and inspirations from four cookbook authors who I greatly admire, my TV dinner was complete. What took me so long to bring my version of TV dinner to reality? The reason is actually pretty mundane. For the life of me, I couldn’t find divider serving plates all these months. I kept an eye out for them everywhere I shopped to no avail. It was only last week that I spotted these kids serving plate at my local grocery store in the most cheerful colours. And they are only $3 for 2!! Oh how I love a good bargain. So, um, what’s on TV tonight?
If TV is not your cup of tea, why don’t you hop on over to French Fridays with Dorie and check out what other bloggers did with their Broth-Braised Potatoes?
(Originally published at Dessert By Candy)
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By Rita Arens