Tuesday, November 9, 2010

spiced potatoes and peas (side dish)

One of my favorite favorite Indian dishes is something called Aloo Gobi, a sort of dry curry dish with potatoes and cauliflower. Here's an example recipe for it.  I was really really wanting some Aloo Gobi, or at least wanting to chant the words aloo gobi over and over, so I came up with this very simple dish.

spiced potatoes and peas

4 potatoes, baked, boiled, or microwaved and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
3 tablespoons butter
1-2 teaspoons curry powder or seasoning mix of your choice (Mrs. Dash, etc.)

Melt butter in a skillet.  Add curry or seasoning mix and stir for about 10 seconds.  Add peas and cook for about 1 minute.  Add potatoes and toss until coated.  Serves 4.

Friday, November 5, 2010

pumpkin stuffed with everything good

I hope it's ok to pull an entire recipe off a website and repost it here... I'm afraid the link will soon disappear and I'd hate to not share this with you.  It's from Dorie Greenspan and I heard her describe how to make it on NPR.  It *sounded* amazing.

I remember eating "Dinner in a Pumpkin" as a child (and I've made it a few times since).  Rice, ground beef, mushrooms, soy sauce, celery, cream of mushroom.  I really like it.  This recipe is more of a true stuffing sort of situation with bread.  I can't wait to try it.  Glad my kids are ok with exotic cheeses (they especially love Havarti).

pumpkin stuffed with everything good

Makes 2 very generous servings
1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyere, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2–4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
About 1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that's just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you'll have to serve it from the pot — which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn't so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I've always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I've been lucky.
Using a very sturdy knife — and caution — cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween jack-o'-lantern). It's easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot. Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper — you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure — and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled — you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little — you don't want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (But it's hard to go wrong here.)
Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours — check after 90 minutes — or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully — it's heavy, hot, and wobbly — bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you'll bring to the table.
You have choices: you can cut wedges of the pumpkin and filling; you can spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful; or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I'm a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls or wedges, it's just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.
It's really best to eat this as soon as it's ready. However, if you've got leftovers, you can scoop them out of the pumpkin, mix them up, cover, and chill them; reheat them the next day.
Greenspan's Stuffing Ideas
There are many ways to vary this arts-and-crafts project. Instead of bread, I've filled the pumpkin with cooked rice — when it's baked, it's almost risotto-like. And, with either bread or rice, on different occasions I've added cooked spinach, kale, chard, or peas (the peas came straight from the freezer). I've made it without bacon, and I've also made and loved, loved, loved it with cooked sausage meat; cubes of ham are another good idea. Nuts are a great addition, as are chunks of apple or pear or pieces of chestnut.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

slice and bake sugar cookies

I'm a huge fan of sugar cookies but I absolutely hate the mess of cutting them out with cookie cutters. (My kitchen is a mess as it is because of an ongoing priming and painting project.)
Anyway, hooray for holidays that involve oblong or circular shaped items (Easter eggs, pumpkins, ornaments, etc.) because I'm all about slice and bake these days. Don't substitute for the orange juice; it adds an amazing taste.

slice and bake sugar cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour

Mix first six ingredients with electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually stir flour in by hand until well mixed. Put about 1 cup of dough onto a largeish piece of plastic wrap; form a log and wrap plastic wrap around it. Flatten slightly so when you cut slices later, the slices will be oval. Chill 2-3 hours until firm.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 400, slice 1/4 - 1/2" slices of dough and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Pinch off bits of dough from your log to make the stems at the top of the pumpkins. Bake 6-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to brown. Cool on wire racks.

2 cups powdered sugar
4 tsp light corn syrup
4 tsp milk
food coloring (opt)

Mix thoroughly and spread over cookies as a base for decorating. It will dry shiny and firm.

Buttercream Icing
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter
1-2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla
food coloring

Combine completely.

chicken tikka masala

A recipe from my beautiful and fancy sister, Camus.
chicken tikka masala

I usually add some frozen cauliflower and peas to the sauce with the half and half, and I also grill or broil the chicken before cutting it up rather than after.

1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground red pepper
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 piece gingerroot, minced (1/2-inch long)
1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno chile, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup whipping cream OR fat-free half and half OR fat-free evaporated milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
For marinade, combine yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, red pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, salt and ginger in a medium bowl or food-safe plastic bag; stir in chicken, marinate in refrigerator 1 hour.
Meanwhile, soak six 6-inch bamboo skewers in water to cover 30 minutes and set aside.
For sauce, melt butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat, add garlic and jalapeno; cook 1 minute.
Stir in coriander, cumin, paprika, garam masala and salt.
Stir in tomato sauce, simmer 15 minutes, stir in cream; simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat grill to medium-high (or heat broiler). Remove chicken from refrigerator.
Thread chicken onto skewers; discard marinade. Grill or broil chicken, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove chicken from skewers; add to sauce.
Simmer 5 minutes. Serve with basmati rice, naan or pita bread.

crock pot red beans and rice

In my Former, Warmer Life I had neighborhood friends over every Thursday for dinner.  Once I made red beans and rice, and I wasn't sure if the kids would eat it... but they did! Lots of it! (And tons of crusty bread and then like 3 pieces of pound cake EACH. They were all starving, apparently.) Here's the recipe I used. It's from Scouting Magazine, not a place I normally find recipes. I think it's a keeper. Low fat, high fiber, tasty herbs.

crock pot red beans and rice

1 lb dried red or kidney beans (don't use canned)
2 T oil (I omitted this and used a nonstick pan)
1/2 lb spicy smoked sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalked celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
6 cups water or low-salt chicken broth
4 cups cooked rice

To soak beans, rinse well. Place in a bowl, and add enough water to cover by at least 2 inches. Let sit 8 hours or overnight. Drain before using.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute sausage until slightly browned, about 3 min. Remove and set aside.
Add onion, bell pepper, and celery to the skillet and cook until softened and fragrant, about 3 min. Add garlic and cook for 1 min.
Season with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and cayenne; stir and cook 1 min. Add reserved sausage and beans and stir to combine.
Pour sausage/bean mixture into a 5-6 quart slow cooker (water should cover beans by at least 1/2 inch; more if you like a soupier meal).
Cover and cook on high for 2 hours; then on low for 6 hours. Remove bay leaves before serving over cooked rice.
Serves 8.

kale salad

Kale:  not an immediately appealing vegetable, right? Won't ever compete with eggplant or even cucumber. It looks like it might get stuck in your cheek like a fish hook. I'm here to ask you to give kale a chance. My fancy beautiful attorney sister made a kale salad that changed my life. In the spirit of hope and change I share it with you.

1/2 a head/large bunch of kale
1/2 - 3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
olive oil
fresh lemon (about half of a lemon's worth)
freshly ground pepper

Toss. Eat. Enjoy the antioxidants.

ruth's chris chop salad

ruth's chris chop salad

The chopped salad is a mix of julienned iceberg lettuce (I used romaine), spinach (I substituted kale), radicchio, tossed with red onion (I skipped the onion), mushrooms, green olives, bacon, hard-cooked eggs, hearts of palm, croutons, blue cheese and lemon basil dressing ... topped off with cherry tomatoes and crispy fried onions (these are key). Oh, and everything is chopped to a somewhat uniform size.

Below is the lemon basil dressing. It was really tart; probably should have added some sugar. I substituted Marie's Blue Cheese Vinaigrette (a favorite at our house).

lemon basil dressing

2 tablespoons Pommery or Dijon mustard
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 basil leaves, very thinly sliced
coarse salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste

cilantro rice

This is pianogal's recipe, tweaked slightly.

cilantro rice

1 cup fresh cilantro (go ahead, leave the stems on, no one will ever know)
2 garlic cloves
1 fresh jalapeno chile, stemmed, or ½ can green chilies
2 ½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 carrot, cut into chunks

2 tsp olive oil
1 ½ cups long-grain white rice
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp ground cumin

In a blender, whirl cilantro, garlic, chile, carrot, and broth until smooth. In a 3-4 quart pan over medium heat, stir oil, rice, onion powder and cumin until rice is a pale golden color, 5-8 minutes. Stir in cilantro/broth mixture. Cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 18 minutes. If desired, season to taste with salt.
Serves 5-6.

pumpkin waffles

pumpkin waffles

2 1/3 cups Original Bisquick mix
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
2 eggs
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Powdered sugar, if desired

Combine everything with a whisk. Heat up your waffle iron. Make waffles like you always do. Why am I typing instructions? You know how to cook waffles.

If you don't happen to have pumpkin pie spice in your pantry in the middle of March, here's how to make it:

*pumpkin pie spice

1. Measure 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon into a small bowl or cup.
2. Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger.
3. Add 1/8 teaspoon of ground allspice or ground cloves.
4. Add 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.
5. Stir to blend.
6. Makes 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

chipotle nachos

chipotle nachos

This serves one but is infinitely scalable.

1 cup cooked pinto beans
1/2 of a chipotle chile (from a can, the kind "canned in adobo sauce")
3 T grated cheese (any kind will do--maybe not romano or whatever)

1/2 of one tomato, diced
splash of balsamic vinegar

Microwave the first 3 ingredients. Stir in the last 2 ingredients. Eat with chips. Think about sunny places where food like this is widely available.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

carolyn's salsa

carolyn's salsa

1 Gallon Recipe
4  28 oz. Cans of whole peeled tomatoes
3/8 pound yellow chilies, seeds and stems removed
3 large jalapenos, seeds and stems removed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/8 cup cilantro
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon oregano
1 Tablespoon ground cumin

Put one can of tomatoes at a time in food processor or blender, blend 2-3 seconds. Pout into a big bowl. Repeat until all tomatoes are crushed.
Process chilies, jalapenos, onions, and garlic in food processor until chopped. Pour into tomatoes.
Process cilantro for 5 seconds. Add to mixture.
Add salt, oregano, and cumin. Stir together. Chill and serve.

2 gallon quantities
8 28 oz. cans of whole peeled tomatoes (or 1 10 pound can)
¾ lb. Yellow chilies, seeds and stems removed
6 large Jalapenos, seeds and stems removed
2 medium yellow onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
¼ cup cilantro
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons oregano
2 Tablespoons ground cumin

make-ahead cajun rice (made in the rice cooker)

make-ahead cajun rice (made in the rice cooker)

I like this recipe because you can do the chopping and sauteing before church (or any 2-3 hour commitment) and it cooks while you're out. Plus it's full of vegetables. Yum.

1. Saute in a pan or cook in the microwave:

1/4 lb polska kielbasa or sausage of your choice, sliced

After the sausage is cooked, cover and refrigerate.

2. Saute in a pan until crisp-tender:

2-3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, scraped and chopped
2 T olive oil

3. Combine the vegetables with the following ingredients in the rice cooker and set it to cook at the time you desire.

1 1/2 cups vegetable juice (V-8)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
1 tsp dried onion
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp Tabasco (optional)
1 bay leaf

4. When you return home, reheat the sausage and combine the cooked rice/vegetable mixture.

Serves 4-5.

any cheese alfredo-ish sauce

any cheese alfredo-ish sauce
4 oz light cream cheese, cubed
1 cup milk
1/3 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese OR havarti/gruyere/other cheese, cubed
3 T butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Cook all ingredients in a saucepan on medium-low until cheeses have completely melted. Stir occasionally with a whisk.

I usually toss this sauce with 3/4 lb whole wheat rotini/penne and broccoli or zucchini. Top with more shredded cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

broccoli and cheese soup

I made this recipe tonight for my kids.  One of them LOVED it, the other ate his serving with a little prodding.  It is adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light:  the Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook.  I served it with Cheese-Garlic Biscuits

broccoli and cheese soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup roughly chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
16 oz frozen broccoli

2 1/2 cups milk
1/6 cup (scant 1/4 cup) cornstarch OR 1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 oz processed American cheese, cubed (I used 10 slices of wrapped American cheese)

Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes or until tender.  Add broth and broccoli and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium; cook 6 minutes or until broccoli is no longer frozen.

Pour broccoli mixture into a blender or food processor and blend/process for about 15 seconds.  Return to soup pot.

In a medium mixing bowl combine milk and cornstarch (or flour) with a whisk.  Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until soup is slightly thick.  Stir in pepper.  Reduce heat to low; add cheese and stir until it melts.

Yield:  9 cups