While I suffered from the killer cold from outer space this weekend, the only thing I craved was spicy foods. I hoped that it would: A. Allow me to taste strong spices since I couldn't taste anything else and B. clear my nasal passages.
Well, this dish definitely did the trick. I love Indian food because it is so complex, yet is relatively healthy. I added what felt like 1000 seeds from the chili peppers and kept pouring pepper sauce into the dish. It definitely cleared up my stuffy nose for the time being, yet still seemed pretty subtle in spice for me. However, when my boyfriend took a bite, his face flushed red and he reached for the water. So you may want to take note when making this dish that you might want to tone down the spices a bit.
This is a fantastic dish that incorporates a lot of wonderful spices and flavors and pairs perfectly with basmati rice and homemade roti.
Curry Chicken Recipe Serves 4
1 cinnamon stick
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 tablespoons Vegetable Or canola 0r sunflower oil
4 chicken breasts, cubed
2 Tomatoes & 1 Can Crushed tomatoes
2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 or 2 Cut chilis
1 tablepsoon pepper sauce (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add cinnamon stick, cloves, and bay leaves and cook for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add onions saute until golden brown. Add crushed pepper, garlic, ginger to the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the chicken to the onions. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the remaining spices and mix well. Stir for a couple of minutes letting it setle into the beef. Then Reduce heat to medium, cover dish and let it cook for another 5 to 10 minutes stirring inbetween so that beef does not stick to bottom of dish .
Add the crushed tomatoes can and also the cut tomatoes and stir well . Let it cook for another 15 minutes or so stirring and checking the dish inbetween or until beef is tender.
I feel that it is important to not only share my successes on this blog, but my failures as well. We all have our mishaps in the kitchen, some worse than others.
I've mentioned on this blog before that my boyfriend and I have a friendly competition as to who is the better cook in our apartment. I think I win because I can cook and bake and have a better understanding of cooking methods, ratios, food storage, and techniques. His argument is that he cooks chicken better than me and is better at creating a dish off the cuff.
potatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 450 degrees until golden but
not overcooked, about 1 hour. Cut blanched and shocked haricots into
bite-sized-pieces. Place diced red onion in nonreactive pot with red
wine vinegar and sugar; bring to boil and remove. Let cool and strain. Toss in
pears and bacon with sherry vinegar.
Grill pork until done, about 2-3 minutes on
each side, depending on size of the tenderloin. Saute pears in butter
until golden brown. Season with Salt and
I will write this quickly because I am still fighting this cold Mortal Kombat Style. If my nose doesn't stop running, I'm going to have to hadouken this cold like Ryu in Street Fighter.
If you cannot find rabbit (we found ours in the frozen food section), you can easily substitute a small chicken.
Oh, and if you do not subscribe La Cucina Italiana, the magazine where I found this recipe, you are missing out. It is a fantastic magazine and I am so glad I subscribed. I have every recipe in every edition doggy-eared. I gots a lots of cooking to do.
Pappardelle al Ragu` di Coniglio e Funghi Porcini (adapted from La Cucina Italiana)
2 hours, 30 minutes cooking time
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1/ cup finely chopped onion
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (3-pound) rabbit, cut into 10 pieces
3 1/2 ounces fresh porcini, shiitake, or Cremini mushrooms
2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/4 cups finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 pounds fresh pappardelle egg pasta (click for recipe)
Yesterday I talked about making a recipe and keeping it simple.
Well, if you don't want to do that, then you may not want to make this recipe.
But if you want to have a bit of a challenge that ends in an elegant and absolutely delicious dessert, this is for you, my friends.
This dessert was published in The Last Course: Desserts of Gramercy Tavern. Unfortunately, the book is out of print. Bring it back! Luckily, I stumbled across this on another website and tried it out.
Homemade graham cracker crust (not made with graham crackers) that is deliciously crisp yet soft and chewy with the most nuanced hint of cinnamon. A creamy and rich filling. And topped with juicy blueberries and sweet, poached kumquats that burst in your mouth.
It is truly an amazing dessert, and well worth the time and effort. The kumquats are poached for two days. In that time, the tart fruit goes through a metamorphosis and leaves the fruit succulently sweet and chewy.
Make the cream cheese filling a day in advance. It is even better the second day. Softened cream cheese is mixed with a creme anglaise that marries to form a light and fluffy filling that is not too tart nor too sweet.
Seriously, if you have the time, just do it.
Blueberry & Kumquat Cream Cheese Tarts with Graham Cracker Crust (Adapted from L'Atelier Vi)
Graham Cracker Tart Shells
makes about 10 flute shell & 14 tart shells
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup Demerara sugar
¼ cup honey
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Place the butter and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth over medium speed until the mixture is smooth, fluffy and light in color. Add the honey and beat until combined; set aside.
Combine the flours, salt, and cinnamon in another bowl then add to the butter mixture in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Mix until the dough is well combined. Wrap the dough in plastic and form into a disk. Chill until firm, at least an hour and up to two days.
Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Use a rectangular cutter or knife to cut out the dough to fit the tart pans, press the dough gently into the tins, trimming away any excess dough. Prick dough all over with a fork and let chill for 20 minutes or until the dough is firm enough. Chill longer if necessary.
Bake tart shells until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They can be made a day in advance. Also, they can be kept up to 3 months in the freezer when stored in an airtight container.
Cream Cheese Pastry Cream
makes about 4 cups
1 cup milk
5 tbsp sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 ½ tbsp corn starch
6 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Combine ¾ cup of the milk and 3 tablespoon of the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Whisk the remaining ¼ cup milk into the yolk mixture. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and add a little of the hot milk to the yolk mixture to warm it, whisking constantly to keep the yolks from cooking. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly as you pour.
Return the custard to the stove and bring it to a boil, whisking constantly. Let the custard cook for 1-2 minutes until it thickens. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Using a fine sieve; strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
Beat the heavy cream over medium speed until soft peaks form. Whisk the pastry cream until smooth and fold in the whipped cream until combined.
Blueberry Compote - 2 1/2 cups
2 ½ cups blueberries
1 tbsp sugar
In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of the blueberries with the sugar. Cook over low heat until all the berries have popped and the juices come out.
Strain the mixture into a bowl and discard the solids. Add the rest of the blueberries into the syrup and toss to combine.
Make 48 halved kumquats
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup water
Wash and pat dry kumquats. Remove calyces, cut them in half horizontally then pit with a fork. Bring sugar and water to boil, add the kumquats. Cover with a paper towel (directly on kumquats) and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.
Remove from heat and let sit overnight at room temperature. Trash the paper towel and remove the kumquats and transfer to a bowl. Reheat the poaching syrup to a boil then remove from heat. Add the kumquats back into the syrup and let sit overnight at room temperature. Place the compote (discard the syrup) in an airtight container and keep refrigerated; good up to a week.
Spoon the pastry cream into each tart shell and top with the blueberries or candied kumquats, sprinkled with finely chopped pistachios. Serve soon after assembling.
Well, as usual, “we are going to cook” turned in to “Teanna is going to cook a three course meal for you while Jack watches the NCAA Elite 8."
How this always happens, I’ll never know.
Jack is always a big supporter of my capabilities in the kitchen, but often lets me know that I seem to “choke” when cooking for large groups of people (like my ice cold brunch). He is such a sweet boyfriend.
To prove him wrong, I decided to keep it simple:
Caprese Salad with Basil Oil and Basil Sea Salt
Grilled Sirloin with Shrimp Potato Pancakes and Asparagus
Chocolate Mascarpone Brownies and Kumquat and Blueberry Cream Tarts (Recipe Tomorrow)
Let me get off subject a bit here. For those of you who watched Top Chef Season 5, you may remember an episode where Ariane won the Today Show Challenge with her Beefsteak Tomato Salad. You may recall the ire of fellow “cheftestants” and viewers alike due to the fact that Ariane won for a dish that require no cooking – at all.
You know what I say? Ariane is smart. She knows what most people like. Most people like simple. Easy. Something they can recreate at home quickly. And she WON! Jeff, who cooks dishes with 46583739 components, had his food spit out on live TV by Kathie Lee Griffen, yet the judges couldn’t keep their forks away from Ariane’s dish.
I personally like to eat dishes that are complex, cook things that are challenging or different, and learn about techniques because I feel that it helps me grow as a home cook and hopefully, one day, more. But you know what? Most people I know would be more interested in eating a slice of mozzarella cheese and a deliciously ripe tomato with fresh basil than Tomato Confit with Marinated Tomatoes on a Crispy Tart (although, I SO want to try this recipe).
But most importantly, IT IS FAST.
I didn’t need to stress. I already made the desserts in advance. The steak dish would take about 15 minutes to make. And all I needed to do was about 5 minutes of prep work before we were ready to dive in. And for a little something different, the basil oil and basil sea salt added a bit of a wow factor that really took little effort to make.
Guess what? It was probably the most pleasurable cooking experience I have had to date. No stressing. No running about. Just pure, delicious food.
They don’t call her the Cougar for nothing, my friends.
Caprese Salad with Basil Oil and Basil Sea Salt ( Basil Oil Recipe Adapted from Top Chef)
For the Caprese Salad:
4 Heirloom or Vine-Ripened Tomatoes, ends discarded and sliced ½ inch thick
2 balls fresh mozzarella, sliced ½ inch thick
4 leaves fresh basil
Grape or Cherry Tomatoes (optional)
For the Basil Oil:
2 cups basil
1/2 cup olive oil
For the Basil Sea Salt:
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp sea salt
Good Quality Balsamic Vinegar
For the Basil Oil: Blanche basil in boiling water. Shock in ice bath and set aside.
Place basil into a blender with ½ cup olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt and puree until smooth. Pass through a fine chinois or strainer.
For the Basil Sea Salt: Crush dried basil with a mortar and pestle until it becomes a powder. Mix with 1 tsp sea salt. Set aside.
To Plate: Place alternating slices of tomato and mozzarella in the center of the plate, starting and ending with a tomato slice (you should have three slices of tomato and two slices of mozzarella). Repeat with the other three tomatoes. Top with a fresh basil leaf.
Drizzle basil oil over tomatoes and around plate. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar (careful not to use too much).
Strew grape tomatoes around plate and sprinkle with any chunks of leftover mozzarella, if desired. Serve with basil sea salt.