Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chicken Cashew Curry

This is a simple, delicious curry with the use of ground cashews to thicken the sauce.

1/4 cup butter or ghee
2 medium onions, diced - about two cups onions
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 to 1.25 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (breasts, thighs, etc) - cut into chunks (about 1/2 to 1 inch)
2 cups diced tomatoes plus 1/2 cup water or stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup cashews, soaked and dried - grind in a food processer until fine
3/4 cup plain, Greek yogurt (one container)
2 cups cooked rice

How To:
1. Heat butter in 5 to 6 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and stir, cooking until soft, about five minutes. Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne and cook about two minutes, stirring.

2. Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, about five minutes. Add tomatoes including juices and 1/2 cup water or stock. Add chopped parsley. Simmer, then reduce heat, cover and cook about 15-20 minutes (until chicken is done).

3. Add ground cashews and yogurt and simmer about five minutes until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Serves about 4-6, takes about 30 to 45 minutes to cook and prepare.

The original recipe is at the following link, but I've modified it a bit. This came highly recommended from my friends and favorite foodies, Steve and LeAnn. I am so happy I tried this recipe. Everyone in the family enjoyed it. I serve over rice, and Steve and LeAnn recommend basmati. Any type will be great.

You should note that the original recipe uses cilantro and not parsley. I don't care for cilantro, so have substituted parsely instead. However, if you are a cilantro type, then I would suggest using that instead of the parsley.

Finally, when you soak your cashews be sure not to soak for more than six hours as they have a tendency to become slimy if you do so.

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Sesame Bok Choy

1 bunch of bok choy, cut into bite-sized pieces
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon peeled ginger, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 to 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2-3 T low sodium soy sauce
About 1 teaspoon arrow root powder
1 T sesame seeds, black or white

Heat sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl to coat the bottom. Add garlic, ginger, and red pepper - cook about 1 minute until fragrant. Add bok choy and cook about 3 minutes stirring often. Stir in broth, soy sauce, and sesame seeds, bring to a boil. Push bok choy to one side of pan (away from the liquid). Sprinkle the arrowroot power into the liquid portion and stir (whisk) to thicken (will happen quickly). Mix with bok choy and serve.

This makes several servings as a side dish, about four to six. Pretty quick to cook and easy to do on the side while preparing other dishes.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pork Chili

About 10-12 tomatillos, husked and quartered
2 poblano peppers, chopped
2 red onions, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic
2 1/2 to 3 pound pork loin
1 cup vegetarian refried beans
4 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
Olive oil
Corn tortillas

Seasonings to taste, approximately as follows:
Cumin about 2 t
Chili powder about 1 t
Onion powder about 1 t, plus sprinkled on roast
Garlic powder about 1 t, plus sprinked on roast
Salt and pepper to taste

Add two cups chicken broth and pork roast (season with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders) to crock pot and cook until meat is tender - shreddable. Prepare vegetables for oven roasting (or grilling). When the pork is done, add vegetables to a greased (olive oil) cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring twice. You could grill as an alternative. Add roasted (or grilled) vegetables to the crock pot after shredding pork. Add another two cups chicken broth and cook for another 2-4 hours. If too thin add refried beans. Season with the above.

Comments: Until today, I haven't made pork chili in over a year. The last time I made it, it was so delicious, I will forever be trying to re-create that taste. I have a recipe written down, but this time it did not taste as delicious (I don't think). I will try this again later this season and tweak the recipe. That being said, husband and son LOVED this dish as is. Both had numerous helpings and the boy even told me it tasted as good as the food at our favorite Mexican restaurant! Ha! 

This makes a lot - I am not sure how many servings, but I would guess 8-10. Hands-on time is relatively minimal, I think all together about 10 minutes, but you'll have lots of cook time in the crock pot (plan on an all day simmer).

Pre-roasted vegetables

Post-roasted vegetables

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Apple Breakfast Cake

When the weather starts getting cooler and with apples in season, this is a favorite fall breakfast. For a little flavor twist, you might try cooking your apples in a little Root (a couple of tablespoons).  

2-3 tbsp. butter, to cook apples and grease baking dish, plus a little extra for serving
2 tbsp. Root liquor, optional
3 medium apples and/ or pears, cored and diced (I use Gala apples because they are sweet and high in antioxidants)
6 pasture eggs
1/2 cup whole milk (you can use soured raw milk)
3/4 cup spelt or Einkorn flour
1-2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup, to taste, plus a little extra for serving
1/2 teaspoon heaping of ground cinnamon, plus additional for sprinkling over apples
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/4-1/2 tsp. sea salt or Real Salt, to taste

How To:
1. Prepare Apples: Preheat oven to 425. Cook diced apples in a skillet on the stove top over medium heat in butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and cook about 6-8 minutes.

2. Make Batter: In the meantime, combine eggs and milk. Beat until smooth. Add flour, honey, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Beat until smooth with no lumps. Batter will be very thin.

3. Bake: Pour cooked apples into a greased 9x9 baking dish and pour batter over top. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

We like to serve this with chicken breakfast sausage or bacon, top with butter, and drizzle with a little pure maple syrup or honey. You can save a step by cooking apples in a cast iron skillet, then pouring the batter over the cooked apples in the skillet and transferring to the oven to bake. This serves about 6 to 8 people and hands-on cooking time is about 15 minutes.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cabbage Slaw

This is a great side dish or would be delicious in fish tacos.

About 2-3 cups shredded red cabbage
About 1/4 cup green pepper, julienned
About 1/4 cup onion (or a little less), thinly sliced
About 1/4 to 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
About 1-2 T honey, drizzled over the slaw
Salt and pepper to taste

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sauteed Cabbage

1/3 to 1/2 red cabbage, shredded
1/2 small onion, sliced thinly
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
olive oil
2 T honey
1-2 teaspoons mustard seed
salt and pepper

In a skillet over medium heat, saute the oninon about 5 minutes until tender. Add cabbage and saute until wilted about 5-10 minutes. Add vinegar and stir to cover, then add honey and stir to cover. Season with the mustard seed, salt and pepper to taste. Cook another ten minutes stirring occasionally.

Comments: I made this recipe to use up cabbage in the refrigerator and because cabbage has some definite positive nutritional qualities. However, this really isn't my favorite dish. That being said, I think if you like cabbage, you will like this dish (and it makes a "pretty" addition to the table). I will probably make again if I have more cabbage to use up, but would not buy cabbage to make this specifically. This makes a lot.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fried Potatoes

I came up with this recipe after having some really delicious home fried potatoes at the Pink Cadillac diner in Wildwood, NJ. I think this recipe is very close in taste and a really easy, delicious addition to breakfast. I have even made them with dinner as a side dish. All the ingredients are nutritious and I always use Russett potatoes for maximum antioxidants. This dish tastes and smells like it would be bad for you! It is that good.

2 medium Russet potatoes
1 small poblano pepper (diced) or 1 small can of diced green chiles (rinsed and drained)
1/2 medium onion, sliced then halved
Olive oil
About 1 teaspoon paprika
About 2 teaspoons Emeril's Original Essence
About 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay (a light sprinkling over all the potatoes)
Sea salt and pepper to taste

How To:
Peel and slice potatoes thinly (1/8+ inch slices), then cut in half. In a large saute pan, boil potatoes in a little salted water until water absorbs/evaporates completely and potatoes are done. You can do this over medium to medium-high heat. See photo below to get an idea of the amount of water. You'll want the potatoes to be mostly covered, but not too much water.

When potatoes are done, drizzle olive oil in the pan and add onions and peppers. Saute until softened. Season with paprika, Emeril's, Old Bay, and salt/pepper as needed.

If you are worried about "heat" use the canned green chilis or a non-spicy pepper. I have made this recipe without the Old Bay, and it is still good, but the light dusting of Old Bay at the end really gives the flavor added deliciousness. Pictures below show the potatoes "before" in the water and then the completed dish.

This recipe was shared at Just Another Meatless Monday.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chicken Stir Fry

1 package (about one pound) chicken
Assorted chopped vegetables such as zucchini, onion, pepper, baby corns, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, carrots, etc.
About 2 to 3 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice seasoning
Soy sauce, low-sodium, to taste
Sesame oil

How To:
1. Over medium heat, cook chicken until done - season with soy sauce and 5-spice.

2. Add sesame oil to pan if needed, and add the remaining vegetables.

3. Sauté and season with soy sauce until vegetables are crisp cooked.

Comments: Using the vegetables above, I used half a zucchini (julienned), about 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped bell pepper, half a can of baby corns, half a small can of bamboo shoots, half a medium red onion, and one whole carrot sliced at an angle. This serves 4-6 people.

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Vegetable Fried Brown Rice

2 to 2 1/2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
1 small onion, diced
1 T sesame oil
2  eggs, beaten with 1/2 t soy sauce and 1/2 t sesame oil
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
4 T soy sauce (low-sodium) - approximate, to taste

In wok or skillet and over medium heat, saute onions in a little sesame oil until browned. In the meantime, beat eggs with the 1/2 teaspoon each of low-sodium soy sauce and sesame oil. Add to pan and cook about five minutes, the flip over and cook the other side (in one big piece) - about two to three minutes more. Use a spatula and chop into small pieces. Add rice, carrots, peas, and soy sauce to taste. Fry until cooked through, flipping if needed.

Comments: This was suprisingly better than I thought it would turn out. Husband loved --he kept asking me if I was sure it was healthy. Yes! As a side dish, this is probably 8 servings at least - filled an entire skillet. Maybe I made more than 2 cups?? Could have been three....

Red Cabbage & Carrot Asian Salad

2 cups julienned red cabbage
1 carrot, julienned
1/3 cup sliced red onion
1 tbsp. white sesame seeds
1 tbsp. black sesame seeds

2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. hoisin sauce, try this one

How To:
Mix the above together in a medium bowl. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Tastes better the next day! Serves about 4-6 as a side dish. Other than slicing the carrots so thinly, this was very quick to make.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ricotta Gnocchi (from the Washington Post)

Every once in a while I come across a recipe that just seems so incredibly fun and interesting to make, that I feel compelled to try it, even if it's not quick or easy. This recipe is one of those times and as soon as I saw it, knew I just had to give it a try. This recipe is basically from the link below, with slight modifications.

About 2 cups well-drained ricotta
2 eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup finely minced fresh herbs (dill and tarragon)

How To:
1. Make gnocchi dough: Mix the above listed ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add a little flour (I added half spelt and half white flour) until "spoonfulls of the mixture hold their shape while remaining soft"-- about 2/3 cup, you might quickly poach one as a sample to be sure.

2. Make gnocchis: Spoon mixture into a plastic baggie, snip off a corner (1/2 inch diameter), and squeeze one-inch lengths into simmering salted water, preferrably in a shallow pan. Slice off each with a knife as it exits the baggie. Simmer for about four to five minutes.

3. Make a sauce: In the meantime, prepare a light sauce. The Washington Post recipe suggests a simple sauce comprised of seared whole tomatoes, olive oil, and salt (you can follow the link above for exact directions). I prepared a simple marinara sauce for my gnocchi and it was de-lish.

4. Put it all together: Remove the gnocchi from the water very carefully, drain very carefully, and serve with sauce on top (add carefully). Sprinkle with added grated parmesan if desired.

I do not have a picture for this either as I did not think they would turn out and the picture above is from the original recipe. However, these little pastas were quite good and the boys really loved them a lot. In fact, I think the recipe should normally serve about four to six but we ran out very fast. They were not too difficult to make and took probably about 20 to 30 minutes altogether, at a leisurely pace. 

I would like to have used all spelt flour rather than white, but I was worried that the spelt would be too strong of a flavor for the light pasta and I think it would have been. If using homemade ricotta, but sure to drain it well before using so it is not too wet; store bought should be fine but drain any liquid off the top. Tasty little treat overall, but I would prefer something without white flour. Will have to experiment and let you know....
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