Tag Archives: successful recipe

Indian-ish feast

A good day's work in the kitchen!

A good day’s work in the kitchen!

It all started when Marc left town for two weeks. There I was on a Sunday night, opening and closing the fridge, asking myself, “What do I want to make?” and coming up with the inevitable answer, “Nothing.” Eventually I took myself out to dinner to a Vietnamese place around the corner and vowed that I wouldn’t let it happen again.

Monday I woke up with a plan. I had to go groceries anyway, and I’d just seen a lovely crock-pot recipe for lamb korma. I found some chicken thighs I decided to use instead of the lamb, but it seemed like the recipe would work regardless. From there, I found myself in a spiral of, “Well, if I’m doing it anyway…”

See, the chicken korma uses half a can of coconut milk. So what to do with the other half? There’s a recipe in The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss that I’ve been meaning to try for a while: coconut cauliflower curry mash. It’s sort of like the cauliflower version of mashed potatoes. It uses half a can of coconut milk. So I picked up a (rather overpriced) cauliflower at the grocery store too.

Of course, the recipe only used about half the cauliflower. So what to do with the other half? Roasting is always a safe bet, so I did that, along with a little garam masala, because I figured I had a theme going.

I also had a bunch of leftover root vegetables from a pot roast stew I made last week, and I figured I really should use them up before they started going bad on me. So I roasted up about two pounds of carrots, also with garam masala, and about a pound and a half of baby white-fleshed potatoes. (This time with thyme, because I like to be contrarian.)

I had about three cups of cut-up butternut squash that I had to use also, and I’d found a nifty recipe for that too. (Hence why I had the thyme on hand for the potatoes.) It wasn’t quite Indian, but what the heck, I felt like trying out the recipe and nothing as obvious as a themed dinner was gonna stop me.

Since I was doing all this work in the kitchen, I figured I might as well fry up the 3/4 of a package of bacon I had lying around, so I cut it into lardons and spent some time pushing it around the pan and draining it when there was too much grease at the bottom. (Probably about four times — there was a lot of grease!)

And, finally, some rice. I had one last tupperware of home made vegetable stock that I used instead of water, and I figured that since I was on an Indian kick anyway, I’d try to add some Indian spices and see how it went. Into the pot went a cinnamon stick, some ground cardamom, a few cloves, and about a half-tablespoon of cumin seeds.

The crock pot chicken korma happened on Monday night and got packaged up around midnight, and all the rest I did over about three hours on Tuesday. (Not counting the 45 minutes of making up my chart of what spices needed to go with which dish, what appliances needed to be in action at what time, and so forth. I may be a geek.) I’d also bought a pumpkin pie at my grocery store on Monday, because I’d never had pumpkin pie before and couldn’t find anywhere to buy just a single slice. So I had about 3/4 of that left.

Suffice it to say, there was a lot of food.

Tuesday morning, I put out the call to my friends, begging them to come over and eat dinner with me. I got four RSVPs, and one of them even brought wine, so we had an absolutely lovely time. The chicken korma was a big hit, and most of the vegetables were gone as well. (Mmm… roast vegetables.) The cauliflower mash was surprisingly tasty, definitely something I’d make again. My only sadness about the veggies is that the potatoes were nice and crispy out of the oven, but had gotten soggy by the time we ate them. So sad…

In any case, a good time was had by all, and I’ve got enough korma and rice leftovers to last me the rest of the week, I think. So… yay! Not sure if I’ll do a big cooking job again before Marc gets home, but you never know.

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Let there be steam! (Steamed chicken and broccoli)

Steamed chicken and broccoli

Steamed chicken and broccoli

The latest in my Rouxbe lessons involved steaming. Today in particular was steamed lemon-garlic chicken with thyme and steamed broccoli with soy and sesame oil.

Since the steamer basket I have is actually kind of dangerous to use — it’s the kind that opens up like a flower, but there’s no easy way of removing it from the steaming pot without risk of burn — I decided to buy myself a present of a new steamer insert for my pots. This involved a bit of running around and a mishap at the store where they’d set aside the wrong thing for me (steamer basket =/= double boiler), but it all worked out in the end. Conveniently, the “universal” steamer basket from Lagostina actually fits two of my pots. This means that I could, say, make rice in my big saucepan and steam the meal in a smaller saucepan. Except that I need the same lid for both jobs. So… pasta it is! Pasta doesn’t need a lid! Yay!

Surprisingly, this was a remarkably simple meal. Prep everything in the steamer basket, put over the water, cover, wait for a while, eat. I put the chicken breasts on top of sliced pieces of lemon (a trick I learned from the Rouxbe lesson on steaming) and then did the shorter broccoli after the chicken was done. I lost quite a bit of steam as it was going, but the steamer basket sits very high above the water, so I could put a lot in and not worry about it all boiling off.

I was worried about the timing for this, but in the end it all worked out. I turned on the burner for the pasta water the same time the chicken started steaming. It boiled around the time the chicken was done (remember how I needed the lid for the steamer?) and the pasta was done right around the same time as the broccoli. I was able to do the broccoli prep while the chicken was steaming and the plating while the broccoli was steaming. Yay for timing!

In this end this was a very tasty meal. Marc and I both enjoyed it very much. Definitely a keeper.

Sweet Indian lassi

Sweet Indian lassi

Sweet Indian lassi

For a few days, I’ve been craving mango lassi, but haven’t been able to get anywhere that sells it. So I decided to make it myself. Problem #1: I didn’t have any mangos at home, and all the stores were closed. However, I’ve seen recipes for “sweet lassi” that don’t actually contain any fruit, so I decided to base myself on those.

Into the container for my hand blender went about 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (the 3.25% fat kind), 1/2 cup cold water, 3 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon (it should have been cardamom, but I don’t have any cardamom in the house), a splash of vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Blend the whole thing up until it’s smooth, serve over lots of ice cubes.

In the end, the texture was just about right (maybe just slightly too thin). The taste, though… Weirdly, it tasted like apple pie with ice cream. Must be the mixture of cinnamon and vanilla, because there weren’t any apples in there. Very tasty, but just… unexpected. Marc and I both enjoyed it, and I’d probably make it again. It’s very easy, very fast, and uses stuff I’ve got on hand. (Though I’d love to get some cardamom to try it “for real.”)

Jean Talon Market feast

Mmm... farmers' markets...

Mmm… farmers’ markets…

The spoils of a successful trip to the Jean Talon Market. Supper tonight will be beer-battered cod with a side of spinach pasta in a butter-tomato-bell pepper sauce. Appetizer of baguette and awesome boar-grape pâté. Throughout: nibbling on the most delicious maple pecans I’ve ever tasted. Yup… we done good.

Taco time

Taco station, ready to go!

Taco station, ready to go!

A veritable feast tonight! Some friends came over and decided they were in the mood for tacos, we we put together a taco night with all the fixin’s: taco meat (obviously), home-made salsa, bell peppers, home-made guacamole, some left-over rice, yogurt (to use instead of sour cream). Colorful and delicious! What more can a girl ask for?

Lemon chicken with pine nuts

Lemon chicken with pine nuts

Lemon chicken with pine nuts

This was my latest Rouxbe recipe, as I’ve started a unit on chicken. The recipe is here. For those who don’t feel like clicking through, the short version is that you marinate chicken legs in olive oil, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Then you make a short stock with the backbones from the chicken legs and a bunch of vegetables. When you’re ready to cook, you caramelize the skin side of the chicken in a hot pan, then finish it up in the oven, and then use the sucs (caramelized bits), onion, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, stock, toasted pine nuts, honey, and cilantro to make a pan sauce. (In the original recipe, there’s supposed to be olives, but I don’t really like olives, so I left them out.)

The end result is extremely tasty, but also takes quite a lot of time, especially making the stock.

I did this recipe over two days, making the marinade and stock yesterday and cooking the chicken today. It took about an hour and a half each day, though admittedly about 5-10 minutes of today was spent dealing with an unrelated spill in the refrigerator that got into and under my vegetable drawer. (Sigh.)

There were a lot of firsts in this recipe for me:

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Matzoh brei

Matzoh brei: looks terrible, tastes delicious.

Matzoh brei: looks terrible, tastes delicious.

This, my friends, is matzoh brei. Specifically, it is matzoh brei that Marc made for me this morning. Matzoh brei looks horrible and tastes delicious, and is perhaps the only Passover food I like more than rest-of-the-year food. Essentially, it’s moistened matzoh that’s then fried with an egg. It’s wonderfulness embodied. You should have some. Mmm… matzoh brei…