Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quick Curried Chicken

1 ½ fl oz olive oil
1 medium onion
14 oz chicken (2 breasts)
2 cloves of garlic
1 green chili
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp tomato purée
1 tsp curry paste
1 fl oz double cream

Finely chop onion and chili. (Note: I'm a weenie when it comes to spicy hot food. I sometimes skip the chili altogether - or just use a little.) Cut chicken into bite-sized chunks. Mince garlic.
Fry onion in olive oil for 1 minute. Add chicken and continue frying 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and chili; continue frying another 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add spices; stir until well mixed. Add tomato puree, curry paste; stir well. Add double cream and stir to combine all ingredients. Serve over rice or with naan. Serves 2.

I'll post my naan recipe. Naan isn't hard to find at grocery stores (or Trader Joe's), but eating it still warm, fresh baked out of the oven...delicious!

My World Literature classes at school are now into our Indian literature unit…a curry dish was a fairly easy/obvious choice – and quite traditional. Samosas would be too, and I have a good recipe, but it would take a LOT of time to make samosas for 50+ people. Curried chicken was my choice! To stretch the recipe (with the expense of a lot of meat) I made vegetable/chicken curry…with carrots, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and green beans.

Naan

Great with Quick Curried Chicken.

Combine, and let sit for 5 minutes or until frothy/bubbly:
2/3 C milk
2 Tbls yeast
2 Tbls sugar

While yeast is sitting; mix together:
4 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt



Add yeast mixture to flour mixture.
Then, add to dough:
4 Tbls warm milk
2/3 C plain yogurt
1 egg, beaten
Mix thoroughly.

Coat a bowl with olive oil. Place dough in bowl, turning to coat with oil.
Top with a damp towel, and place bowl in a warm place for 2 hrs, until dough has doubled and is puffy/spongy.

Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead 2-3 minutes.
Divide into 8 pieces, form into balls.
Roll each ball (with a rolling pin) into an oval – pulling/stretching as needed.
2 Tbls melted ghee (purified butter or oil)
½ C chopped coriander

Brush ovals with melted ghee (butter) and top with chopped coriander. Place dough ovals on a cooking sheet or in a baking dish. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes until naan is golden brown. Serve warm.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Italian Roast Vegetables

This is easy, tastes delicious.

4-6 C cut mixed vegetables
2/3 C +/- Italian salad dressing
1 C shredded parmesan

Cut up--in fairly large chunks--whatever vegetables you like: potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, asparagus, peppers (red, green, yellow), broccoli, cauliflower...you could even throw in string beans, snow peas or corn (baby corn would be great...loose kernels could work too though).





Pour salad dressing over veggies in a large bowl; toss to coat evenly. Pour all the veggies into a casserole dish lightly coated with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 375° until veggies are tender-crisp, roasting lightly on top (almost an hour - depends on the size of your veggie chunks). Stir once or twice during cooking to re-coat vegetables with dressing. When veggies are almost finished, top with shredded parmesan for the last 10-15 minutes.

I use baby potatoes (or fingerlings). I sometimes mix a little extra cheese--grated fresh or from a shaker jar (like you'd put on spaghetti)--in with the dressing and vegetables before cooking instead of or in addition to the cheese topping at the end.

For a variation, try ranch dressing; try a different kind of cheese.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Peanut Butter, Apple & Bacon Sandwich

PB&J is great for kids, but you're not looking on a blog for a recipe for PB&J! When I get a peanut butter craving, here's a grown up sandwich that satisfies.

peanut butter
thinly sliced granny smith apple
bacon
toasted bread

I didn't have bacon strips and had to make due with bacon bits (REAL ones, not the fake salad toppers - we're going for a gourmet sandwich here!) I used fresh ground honey roasted peanut butter (from Bellwood Acres... Mmmmmmm!) and spread it on when the bread is still warm so the peanut butter gets a little soft and gooey. I had a loaf of vienna bread, but this sandwich is also delicious on a toasted honey wheat.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

My brother was in town last weekend; we went out to dinner and shared a spinach artichoke dip appetizer. (I didn't know he liked it!) With friends coming over for an informal dinner party, I was grocery shopping...artichoke hearts were buy-one-get-one-free at Safeway. :) I thought I'd see if I could mix up a nice homemade dip. The recipe below is a blend of a few I found online: simplified from some of the more time-consuming versions, and with a bit less cheese than many called for! I may tweak it more in the future, but it's really quite tasty.

1/2 oninon finely chopped
6 oz butter
6 oz cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
1 C shredded parmesan
10 oz chopped spinach
1 15 oz jar artichoke hearts, finely chopped/puréed
garlic powder
crumbled bacon
scallions

Sautée onion in butter until very tender. Add the next five ingredients (reserving some of the shredded cheese for topping), successively, blending well after each addition. Add garlic powder to taste. Remove from heat. Put into an oven safe dish; top with remaining shredded cheese. Place in the oven just long enough to melt cheese topping. Garnish with crumbled bacon and thinly sliced green onion (scallions), as desired. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, pita bread, etc.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Corn Bread

2/3 C butter
1/2 C sugar
4 eggs
1 16 oz can creamed corn
1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
1/2 C grated jack cheese
1 C flour
1 C corn meal
4 tsp baking powder





Cream butter and sugar; beat in eggs. Stir in corn and cheeses. Gently combine remaining dry ingredients. Pour batter into a greased 9x13" baking pan or dish, or into muffin tins (greased, or use paper liners). Bake at 350°; 30 minutes for 9x13" pan, about 20 minutes for corn muffins.



Serve with honey butter.

Tomato, Apricot & Chickpea Chicken

4 chicken breasts
salt
pepper
olive oil
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/3 C chopped dried apricots
1 Tbls sugar
3 minced garlic cloves
1 15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzos)
1/4 C chopped parsley



Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin, coriander and cayenne; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken and cook until golden, turning once (about 6 minutes); transfer to a plate and set aside.







Stir tomatoes, apricots, sugar and garlic together in skillet. Simmer 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to blend (and to reduce juices).

Return chicken to pan and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through (about 10 minutes). Drain and rinse chickpeas (garbanzo beans), and add to skillet along with parsley. Cook until heated through.
OR...



Place chicken in casserole baking dish, cover with tomato-apricot mixture, top with chickpeas and parsley; bake in oven (350°) until chicken is cooked through.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blackberry Cobbler

1/2 C sugar
1 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbls cold butter, diced
1/4 C very warm milk

2 Tbls cornstarch
1/4 C cold water
1 C sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbls lemon juice
4 C blackberries

In a bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Blend in butter, coarsely; add warm milk and stir until mixture just forms a dough. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in cold water. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and berries; combine gently. Bring berry mixture to a boil, stirring gently; cook 1 minute.

Pour berry mixture into 9" squre or round baking dish. Drop dough mixture by spoonfuls over top of berries. Bake 20-25 minutes at 400°. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

I love blackberries, and this makes a delicious cobbler! However...this time of year I start to get a little stingy with the dwindling supply of berries I still have in my freezer (more fresh, local blackberries won't be available until August). I'm having a few friends over for dinner, so I doubled the recipe, but used 4 C blackberries and 4 C diced apples. I have a recipe for apple-blackberry pie (I'll have to post that one sometime too), and it's a nice flavor combination; the apple flavor is milder...so in a sense, it's a way to stretch the berries. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ratatouille

eggplant
tomato
zucchini
garlic cloves
olive oil
salt
pepper
parmesan cheese
(salami)








Arrange thinly sliced eggplant, tomato and zucchini in a deep casserole dish in alternating layers. Add crushed garlic cloves between occasional layers; sprinkle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Ratatouille is a traditional peasant dish...which would typically be all vegetarian. Or...you can slip in a layer of salami somewhere in the middle. SLOW cook at a LOW temp (250°) for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Grate parmesan cheese over the top for the last 15 minutes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sweet & Sour

I love some store-bought sweet & sour sauces. But here's a quick and easy 'from scratch' recipe:

1 Tbls corn starch, cold water
(or use the pineapple juice)
1 8oz can pineapple chunks/tid-bits
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 C brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ginger
1 Tbls soy sauce
diced peppers
chopped onion
sliced carrots
sliced mushrooms
cooked, cubed chicken, beef or pork, or
meatballs (recipe posted recently)

Dissolve corn starch in a few tablespoons of cold water. Combine cornstarch, pineapple - including the juice, vinegar, sugar, garlic and soy in a skillet. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until sauce thickens. Add cooked meat (or omit it for a vegetarian dish) and diced peppers, chopped onion, sliced carrots and mushrooms (or whatever other vegetables you like). How much? More of what you like, less of what you don't! :) Cook it all long enough to heat the meat through, and until vegetables are crisp-tender.
Serve with rice. And crunchy chow mein noodles. :)

It's not exactly traditional, but I love to cook this up using ground breakfast sausage for the meat. Adds a whole different flavor to the sweet & sour.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Meatballs

I need a meatball recipe. When I try to make them without a recipe (just adding some spices, some bread crumbs or oatmeal, an egg, maybe some onion...) they always end up tasting great...but they often break apart in the pan. Here's a basic one. Dress it up with various spices, sauces, etc.

Easy Potluck Meatballs
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
2/3 C bread crumbs
1/2 C grated onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine everything in a bowl and mix well. Shape into balls. Brown meatballs in a skillet over medium heat. Transfer to a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° until no longer pink in center; baking time will vary with the size of your meatballs. If you make little bite-sized meatballs, they may cook right through just from browning in the skillet; you could serve directly from there.

Variations:
1. Use ground turkey.
2. Use seasoned bread crumbs.
3. Add 1/2 tsp spice-of-your-choice instead of allspice. (Thyme is delicious. Like things hot? Add chili powder. Serving the meatballs with spaghetti & sauce? Use oregano; or, for a sweeter blend, try cinnamon. - A little cinnamon in marinara sauce is nice.)
4. After browning the meatballs, make a simple gravy (see below) in the skillet -- to incorporate all the browned bits of meat left in the pan; dump it over the meatballs before baking.
5. Sweet and sour meatballs...try this recipe.


Meatballs in Gravy
Make meatballs according to recipe above.
Combine 1 Tbsp cornstarch with 1 10 oz can of beef consummé (undiluted) in the skillet. Heat to boiling stirring and gently scraping up the browned bits of meat in the skillet. Boil until consummé thickens. Pour over meatballs; bake as directed above. I added some extra, finely-diced onion to the gravy.

Easy Thai Peanut Sauce

Gayleen, this one's for you! :) EASY. And I know you like Thai peanut dressing.

2/3 C peanut butter
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp soy
1 crushed clove of garlic
1 tsp curry powder
3/4 C low-sodium chicken broth

Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan or microwave safe bowl. Heat, stirring periodically. It's fairly thick - good for dipping chicken strips or any meat (meat-on-a-stick?). If you plan to use it as a salad dressing, thin it with more broth.

You can use garlic powder instead of a clove. I'm usually not picky about "low-sodium", but with this recipe--DO IT. Or...eliminate the soy until you've taste-tested it. It may be plenty salty already! Oh, and I used a honey-peanut butter that was DELICIOUS! You could just add a tablespoon of honey to the recipe...

Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

1/2 C white wine vinegar
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbls poppy seeds
2 Tbls finely chopped onion

You don't have too, but I usually mix everything but the poppy seeds in a small sauce pan and heat it just until the sugar is completely dissolved; remove from heat and add poppy seeds. Chill; serve.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Summer Salsa

Everyone loves chips and salsa. But you don't want to be boring with the same old thing. Here's a sweet alternative. (I like it with white corn chips; but if you really want to be different...go blue.)

3-4 ripe peaches; peeled, pitted, diced
1-2 plums (red or black); pitted, diced
1 pint blackberries (or raspberries)
julienned mint leaves
blackberry vinegar

Mix diced peaches and plums with blackberries. Add blackberry vinegar and julienned mint leaves to taste. Best served fresh.

Honestly, it tastes fine the next day, but it looks bad (everything turns purple from the blackberry juice). :) It is better fresh...the flavors are each still distinct.

If you can't find blackberry vinegar at the store, make your own. Easy, just takes time: Recipe.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Steak Diane

This is a very simple recipe for Steak Diane. Quick, easy, and delicious!

1 1/2 lb beef tenderloin
cut to 1" thick strips
6 Tbls butter
1 C fresh sliced mushrooms
2 Tbls minced green onion
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbls lemon juice
1 Tbls Worcestsershire
1 Tbls chopped parsely
1/2 tsp thyme
dash salt

Melt 4 Tbls butter in skillet. Cook mushrooms, onion, garlic, salt, lemon juice and Worcestershire until mushrooms are tender and slightly browned. Add parsley and thyme; cook an additional minute. Set aside.
Melt 2 Tbls butter in skillet. Cook tenderloin over medium-high heat; 3-4 minutes on each side. Return mushroom mixture to skillet with tenderloin; heat thoroughly. Remove from heat; cover and let sit for approximately 10 minutes (allowing flavors to blend). Heat again and serve.

My dad hunts, and shares. :) This is actually an elk steak, not beef tenderloin. Use what you like...beef, elk, venison, buffalo?, etc.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chocolate Eclairs/Cream Puffs

An old favorite. :) For Cream Puffs, make the recipe below and fill puffs with sweetened whipped cream flavored with a little vanilla; dust with powdered sugar. For Chocolate Eclairs, fill with Rich Custard Filling (recipe below) and top with melted chocolate, thinned with a little cream.

Pastry Ingredients:
1 C water
1/2 C butter
1 C flour
4 eggs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°. Heat water and butter to a rolling boil in saucepan. Stir in flour all at once; stir vigorously over low heat until mixture leaves the pan and forms a ball (about 1 minute). Remove from heat. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat mixture until smooth and velvety. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet (in balls for puffs, or form into logs for longer eclairs). Bake until dry; 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool slowly. Once cool, slice open and scoop out soft centers if needed. Fill with Rich Custard Filling. Top with melted chocolate.

I like a generous amount of chocolate; but you can drizzle more judiciously if you like.

Rich Custard Filling* Ingredients:
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C flour
2 C milk
4 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla

Directions:
Place egg yolks in a bowl and set aside. Mix sugar, salt and flour in a saucepan. Stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring until it boils. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir 1/2 this mixture into egg yolks and stir until well blended. Add yolk mixture into hot mixture in saucepan. Bring just to boiling point. Cover with Saran wrap gently pressed directly on surface of custard (so custard won't form a skin). Cool. Blend in vanilla.



* As the lower picture shows, the custard is delicious as a dessert pudding on its own, or topped with a bright, mixed berry puree or even fresh fruit...