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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Chili

I found another fun use for a pumpkin! In chili, it give it a nice soft texture that is very enjoyable and is a great way to eat more veggies!
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2clove garlic, crushed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup broth
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup corn
1 diced green chili
salt and pepper, to taste
Throw everything but the bell peppers in the crock. An hour before serving, add the bell peppers.

Serve topped with green onions, cheese, and sour cream!

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lamb Korma with Rotis

Here's another treasure from my Indian cookbook! I did it as a test to see if it would be good enough for company, and it's definately a winner!
Lamb Korma
serves 4-6
1 1/2 lb boneless leg of lamb, cubed
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp saffron (I used turmeric)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinammon
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
To Blend:
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
1 inch piece fresh ginger
2 green chilis, deseeded
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup water
toasted flaked almonds
for Rotis:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
approximately 3/4 cup water
all purpose flour for rolling
1. Place the pieces of lamb in a bowl and mix together with the yogurt, saffron and 2 tbsp hot water. Leave to marinate for 2 hours.
2. Blend the ingredients for the blended mixture to a thick paste and set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a pan, add the ground cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander and cook over gentle heat for 1 minutes. Stir in the blended paste and cook, stirring frequently for 5 more minutes.
4. Add the coconut milk and the lamb and marinade. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until lamb is tender and sauce is thick.
5. Stir in the chopped cilantro and sugar. Serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro and toasted almond slivers.

makes 8
1. Mix the whole wheat flour and salt in a large bowl and pour water in little at a time while kneading. It should make a soft pliable dough. Your hands will get all sticky, but you'll eventually find the right consistency. Let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll out each piece on a floured surface to a circle about 7-8 inches in diameter. I realized at this point that I did not have a roller, so I took the label off an empty bottle of wine and used that.. good thing we emptied that bottle last night!!
3. Heat a large heavy based frying pan on high heat.
Place the rotis on the dry pan one at a time. When it starts to puff, turn it over until it puffs again. Serve promptly or they cool and harden.

I was so proud of myself for making this! I had some leftover mushroom curry and rice that I ate this with. The rotis/chapatis were excellent for soaking up the sauce. I really felt like I made a completely Indian lunch. We could have had the tandoori chicken as appetizers but I'd rather save those for lunch tomorrow!

**recipe from Indian Food Folklore... best Indian recipe book out there!

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mushroom Curry

Here's an A+ recipe. When my dad came to visit, he brought with him an Indian cookbook for me to study that has all the Indian classics and a few authentic secrets. Since it is so precise, this is the very first time I followed the recipe to the letter. I've never been disciplined enough to do that before!
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
6 scallions, sliced
1 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 lb mushrooms, thickly sliced (you can use a mix of portabellas and button)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
2 Tbsp lemon juice
sprigs of cilantro to garnish
1. Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan. Add the garlic, ginger, and scallions and fry over gentle heat, stirring for 2 minutes or until softened.
2. Stir in the curry powder and mustard seeds and cook for 1 more minute. Add the prepared mushrooms and salt. Stir well to mix, then cook, covered for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the garam masala and coconut milk and cook, uncovered until the sauce has thickened slightly (about 5 minutes).
4. Stir in the lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning, then serve garnished with cilantro sprigs.

I served mine with tandoori chicken and basmati rice cooked with a small amount of lentils and peas.

Eric and I both loved this! He even told me to bust it out next time we have company!

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seafood Linguine

I'm so not over seafood... and I'm so not over pasta either, so I love it when they get together and party with veggies and cream!
Serves 6
1 box linguine (500g)
1 cup frozen baby shrimp
1 cup frozen mussels
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 zucchini finely sliced
1 tomato, chopped
few shakes chili powder
drizzle fish sauce (wth?)
some EVOO
1/4 cup dry white wine
handful fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup (or more?) heavy cream
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
red pepper flakes
fresh ground pepper
1. Start boiling salted water for your pasta.
2. In a frying pan, cook the garlic in some EVOO 2 minutes and then add the zucchini until the color just starts to change. Add the seafood until they defrost and heat through.
3. Add some pepper, chili powder and fish sauce, stir, and pour in the white wine. Let simmer on low for 5 minutes.
4. Add the chopped tomatoes and half the chopped parsley. Keep on low and cover until your pasta is done cooking. Don't forget to reserve some of the cooking water before draining when they're done.
5. In a large dish, toss the seafood mixture with the pasta and some cream. Pour in some of the reserved pasta water little at a time adding more cream until the sauce is the desired consistency.

Serve with fresh parsley, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, parmesan and/or swiss...
and then go back for seconds
and then think about it the next day!

I guess I could have added some bell peppers, but I didn't have any. This is very good. I don't know when I started adding fish sauce to my seafood pasta, but I think its a nice touch.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Baked Oysters on the Half Shell

I've been nagging Eric since Christmas about buying oysters every once in a while. Yes, they are pricier than our usual groceries, but every once in a while doesn't hurt! Anyway, we finally got a good reason to buy some (our 5 year wedding anniversary!) and since we spent the day in Lille and ate at the restaurant of his choice, dinner was my choice... oysters, shrimp, champagne, and a mean bubble bath! I always eat my oysters raw because they're just delicious with a squirt of lemon, but I've been hearing an awful lot about baked oysters and I'd never been able to try them because I'm always too busy chowing them down raw. Since we got such an excellent deal (24 oysters for 12€ unheard of!!) we saved a few for my experiment... which turned out delicious!!
Appetizer for 2
10 fresh oysters
1/2 of a camembert or brie cheese, skinned
1 handful shredded swiss
1/4 cup white wine
1 shallot finely diced
2 tbsp heavy cream
a few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
fresh ground pepper
a huge heap of large salt, or foil to hold the oysters in place
1. In a saucepan cook the shallot in the wine and reduce. Add the cheeses and parsley on low heat and melt, stirring. Stir in the heavy cream.
2. Carefully open the oysters and pour out the liquid. You can reserve the liquid for a sauce in another recipe if you want. Eric deeply cut himself while doing this and left 2 unopened, so please be careful.
3. Pour the heap of salt into a baking dish and place the oysters inside. The salt is just to hold them in place and will not salt the oysters.
4. Spoon the mixture into each of the oysters with some fresh ground pepper on top. Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 400°F
This would also wow some company if you take the time to present it well. I made this today as a snack and I didn't even bother to shower or get dressed yet...
Anyone who says they don't like oysters should try them this way. The texture is much different than raw!

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Pork Chops on Bulgur Wheat

I discovered bulgur wheat through eating kebabs (Doner Kebob for all you connaisseurs...). They serve their meat with fries, salad, and this stuff that is not couscous, but not rice. It is actually broken wheat that you can cook in water and season as you wish. I decided to experiment with this stuff as a side to my pork chops for a change, which by the way is probably sacrilegeous considering bulgur is mostly eaten in Turkey.. haha
1 cup bulgur wheat
2 tbsp EVOO
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
handful grean peas
1 chopped chili (if you wish)
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups or more stock (choose whatever)
1. In a pot, brown the onions and garlic in the oil. Add the spices, peas, and chilies and heat through.
2. Add tomato paste and stock and heat. The liquid does not need to full on boil, but should be hot.
3. Add the bulgur and turn down the heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the liquid has absorbed. Taste and add more liquid if needed.

Serve with a nice pork chop, or whatever you want!

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Papa's Indian Okra

I grew up eating this okra dish. When I finally got my hands on some okra (almost impossible to find in this little French countryside of mine) I literally jumped for joy in this little paris minimarket. The guy must have thought I was insane, but hey, I found OKRA! Try explaining that to a frenchman who keeps wondering what the heck is okra...
Serves 5-6
1 lb okra (heads and tails cut off, and sliced into chunks)
1 whole container plain yogurt
1 bunch cilantro
2 green chilies
1 inch chunk of ginger
7 cloves garlic
1 tbsp gram flour (chickpea flour)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (which can increase milk supply if breastfeeding btw)
2 whole cloves
some red pepper flakes
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp brown sugar
2/3 cup rice
1/3 cup yellow or red split peas
1 handful green peas
2 cups water
some dry cranberries or raisins
green onions and lime for garnish

wow this is a lot of ingredients and surprisingly, the only thing I didn't have on hand was cilantro and okra...

1. In a blender, blend together 3 cloves garlic, the gram flour, ginger, 1 chili, cilantro, and yogurt with a little water. Set aside.
2. Chop the 4 other cloves garlic, 1 chili, and get the spices ready.
3. In a deep sautee pan, heat the oil and ad cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and fenugreek until they start to crackle. Then add the chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, chili (depending on how spicy you want it) and 1 tsp turmeric.
4. Add the chopped okra, and cook for 5-10 minutes until okra starts oozing. Stir constantly to prevent the spices from burning, and add a little water if it gets too dry.
5. Meanwhile, heat your salted water with 1 tsp turmeric and cook the rice with the split peas, green peas and dried fruit.
6. When the okra is slimy, add the yogurt mixture with 1 tsp brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered until rice is cooked. Add salt to taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve either separately as 1 small bowl soup and 1 small bowl rice, or combine in a large soup bowl and top with chopped green onions and a squeeze of lime.

This seems like a lot of steps and technique, but once all the chopping and preparing is done, it comes together quite easily. I love this recipe! It is healthy and has enough protein and fiber that you forget it's vegetarian!
Each of the spices has amazing nutritional properties, especially turmeric and fenugreek. The gram flour is a thickener, but gives lots of flavor to the dish. I don't recommend using a substitute. If you want it to be more soupy, use less of it.

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Double Berry Muffins

My StepMom gave me this recipe and I just love it! What I love about baking is that even if you are the occasional baker, you most likely have all ingredients on hand from previous recipes.

1.5 cups Flour
1/2 cups wheat germ
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbls baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup Orange Juice
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 egg whites, beaten
1 cup+ frozen or fresh blueberries
1/4 cup raspberry spread - any jam/jelly that you have will work

1. Pre heat oven to 400*. Line 12 muffin/cupcake tins with paper liner OR just spray with cooking spray so they don't stick.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder and salt- mix well. In a medium bowl, combine OJ, margarine and egg whites until well blended. Add to flour mixture, stirring until the dry ingredients moisten to make batter-y texture. Gently stir in blueberries.

3. Fill muffin tins 1/2 with batter. Then spoon in 1tsp with jelly and cover with remaining batter. Sprinkle add'l wheat germ on the very top. Bake about 20 minutes- or until golden brown.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Velvety Pumpkin Soup

I finally made a good pumpkin soup! I tried this jamaican recipe a few weeks ago and it was just funky. This being said, this may be my last soup recipe for a while because Eric HATES eating meals with a spoon (even though I love it)
1/2 pumpkin (or whole butternut squash)
2 onions, chopped
2-4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cups chicken broth
1 whole head of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
parmesan to garnish
1. Place everything but the heavy cream in the crock pot.
2. Blend
3. Stir in heavy cream before serving.

Velvety goodness! Since Eric now refuses to eat soup, I brought some to work and it was very much enjoyed there too!

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Chateau Guerin

I had to share this...
We found Guerin wine!! And it's St Emilion, too!! Needless to say, we bought 2 cases and to top it off, it is VERY VERY good.
I wonder if I could find a Chateau Patel... hmm

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Fish Chowder

Holy mackerel, fishy goodness!! I have been really into soups lately, and since it's nippy here, I'm not breaking any cultural laws. Growing up in the desert means the weather is definately not going to decide what you feel like eating when. If that was the case, I wouldn't even know what soup is. Here, there are "times" for certain meals. Like if you feel like having a tomato salad in the winter, people will be surprised.
Anyway, I found this to be particularly tasty!
Serves 4
1 lb white fish, chopped into cubes (I used monkfish/angler fish)
1 cup frozen baby shrimp
handful of frozen mussels (if you have any)
4 cups chicken broth
4-5 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 can corn, drained
1 chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used yellow)
handful of frozen green peas
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp EVOO
chopped green onion
fresh ground pepper
red pepper flakes (those find their way into everything these days)
parmesan/shredded swiss

Interestingly enough, I had everything on hand already!

1. Brown the onions in the oil while you finish chopping your potatoes and carrots, then throw those in your pot.
2. Add the celery, corn and chicken broth, bring to a boil, and let simmer covered for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender.
3. Add the fish, peas, and bell pepper and simmer for 3-5 minutes (until the fish is cooked).
4. Add the shrimp, mussels, and cream and heat through. This soup should be chunky.

Serve with desired garnish and pat yourself on the back!

I actually did this in my pressure cooker... the only difference being that my potatoes and carrots cooked under pressure for about 6-7 minutes. This is also adaptable to the crockpot, if you do steps 3 and 4 an hour before serving.
I really loved this soup. Eric liked it too, but he probably would have preferred chunks of T-bone instead of (purse your lips) Angler fish. Angler is cool because the flesh stays firm, and doesn't disintegrate.

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