One of the many projects I try to tackle in January is eliminating paper clutter.
I’m hopeless when it comes to clipping; I cut out and put aside articles all the time because I feel like later it will be vital to me.
Recipes. How-to’s. Best of’s. Top 10 Lists. Must-do’s. Travel suggestions.
You name it — if it promises a juicier steak, a more organized me, or some product that I’m not currently using (but apparently should be), chances are in its one of my various stacks.
Ditto that for reviews of some undiscovered restaurant, reviews of lipsticks, teenager gift ideas or lovely entertaining spreads.
It’s so bad that I already have fifteen binders of saved articles/recipes/blog ideas — each one in page protectors, probably one thousand pages total, all categorized by topic.
In this day of Pinterest, wouldn’t you think I be ready to say goodbye to paper and say hello to the paper-free world?
Fact is I straddle both worlds; not only am I an inveterate Pinner, but we have multiple newspapers and magazines coming to the house, and I read all this paper (and then save far too much of it for a second read or in the case of recipes, a try in my own kitchen).
(Compounding the problem further is I can’t pass by a garage sale without picking up more magazines or cookbooks, even if it’s from 2005 like the Sunset magazine seen below).
So yesterday I gathered a couple mini stacks found throughout the house — whole cooking magazines, clipped recipes, travel sections, ear-marked library books, the whole deal. I decided that I’d only allow myself to save five things from it.
Yikes. Did I really limit myself to just five?
And that’s when I bumped into this Sam Sifton recipe from the New York Times.
Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma.
Time to take this baby for a test drive.
I gathered the ingredients — easy enough. And I decided to double it because if it was any good, I knew the second night I could make some knockout sandwiches of the meat.
The recipe calls for dark meat but I used breasts here; that’s what was on sale at the market and my family enjoys both.
I also substituted Meyer lemons for the regular lemons — it’s what I had on hand and I adore them.
The paprika and turmeric give it a rich, vibrant color — and the marinade took hold in no time.
I saw that the recipe called for oven roasting (and I’m sure that too would have worked well), but I was in the mood to grill.
It was pouring outside so that ruled out the outdoor grill, but I used my two-burner flat-top griddle, and that worked out perfectly.
I added some chicken stock when it was almost done to make it extra moist.
While that was cooking, I pulled together the rest.
I grabbed a couple things from the fridge and counter to complete the meal.
I love these Naan — and thrilled that I can now pick them up at Costco.
I toasted the Naan and then prepared some feta to go alongside.
Good feta doesn’t need a fancy party dress to look or taste good.
Just add some toasted pistachios, a drizzle of oil and lemon, and a tiny bit of cilantro and then it’s ready to walk out the door, pretty as a picture.
I sliced up a few tomatoes, cucumbers and mini peppers and tossed them with a quick tahini sauce.
See what I was doing here?
Yes, I was going for a deconstructed Chicken Shawarma Sandwich.
When the ingredients look this good, there should be no hiding them under the cloak of warm bread.
I pulled the chicken from the grill pan and the meal was ready to go.
The chicken was moist, tender and tantalizingly fragrant; all it needed then was a little more lemon zest and some more cracked pepper.
What a spread we had.
(You know your meal is a hit when your kids inquire about leftovers when you’re making them lunch the next day.)
So thanks Mr. Sifton and the N.Y.T. — this recipe is a winner.
De-cluttering never tasted so good.
- 2 lemons
- ½ C. plus 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- a pinch of ground cinnamon
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
- 1 large red onio, peeled and quartered
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro)
- Prepare the marinade for the chicken. Combine the lemon juice, ½ c. olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper flakes in a large bowl, then whisk to combine. Add the chicken and toss well to coat. Cover and store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
- When ready to cook, heat oven to 425 degrees. Use the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to grease a rimmed sheet pan. Add the quartered onion to the chicken and marinade, and toss once to combine. Remove the chicken and onion from the marinade, and place on the pan, spreading everything evenly across it.
- Put the chicken in the oven and roast until it is browned, crisp at the edges and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to rest 2 minutes, then slice into bits.
- To make the chicken even more crisp, set a large pan over the high heat, add a Tbs. of olive oil to the pan, then the sliced chicken and saute until everything curls tight in the heat.
- Scatter the parsley over the top and serve with tomatoes, cucumbers, pita, white sauce, hot sauce, olives, fried eggplants, feta rice -- really anything you desire.