Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Red Lentil Curry


I learned to love the spices of India when I was part of a study program and lived there for a summer. It was a wonderful experience.  I had never eaten spicy or spicy hot foods like those that I was served. Our study program was to learn about the country and different aspects of the Indian Culture.  We did it by taking courses at the University of Delhi, living with families in the city and village and by traveling the country.  It was an exciting adventure!  When we first arrived, we were invited to the home of one of the professors for an evening.  I remember that the food was so hot I wasn't certain that I could eat it..my eyes watered, my tongue burned and I must have been all shades of red!   I was on fire...it was hot, really hot, but the flavors were wonderfully intense.

I left India appreciating the land, the people, the food and the culture.   When I got home, I learned that not everybody shares the same appreciation for Indian Cuisine and sometimes I thought I would always be eating it alone!  Over the years, Mr. T has come to appreciate the flavors.

To accompany the Grilled Chicken Tandoori-Style, we made a red lentil curry for a side dish.  It was really tasty.

Red Lentil Curry
adapted from Real Simple

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, chopped
8 green onions, white and green tops, separated
1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garam masala
3-4 medium carrots
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup red lentils
4 cups chicken broth or stock
kosher salt and black pepper
Naan bread and lime wedges, for serving

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the ginger, garlic and green onion whites and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the curry powder, cumin and garam masala.  Add the carrots, potato, lentils, broth, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils and vegetables are soft, about 15-20 minutes.  (We allowed it to cook about 45 minutes.  We wanted the vegetables to be very soft.)

To serve, sprinkle the curry with the green onion tops, and serve with naan and lime wedges.

Note:  The recipe reviews indicated that the curry lacked enough flavor so my daughter increased the amount of curry and added the cumin and garam masala.  We were really happy with the end result!

PRINTABLE RECIPE


I am sharing at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Grilled Tandoori-Style Chicken

Visiting the Pacific Northwest is always a treat for me.  I get to do some cooking with my daughter and son-in-law, visit some great wineries, and play with my granddaughter, of course!

On this day we visited Adams Bench Winery located in Woodinville, Washington to pick up my son-in-law's Collectors Club shipment.  We tasted some fine red wines while visiting with the winemaker and his wife.  It was a great afternoon.

We had a lovely bottle of wine with our dinner....Grilled Tandoori-Style Chicken...yum.



Grilled Tandoori-Style Chicken

1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne (We used Peri Peri.)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trim excess fat)
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Mix the cumin, curry powder, salt, garlic powder, ginger, and cayenne in a medium bowl.  Heat the oil in an 8-inch skillet over low heat.  Stir the spices into the oil and heat until they bubble and become fragrant, 30-60 seconds.  Return the spice blend to the bowl and stir in the vinegar and then the yogurt.  Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat evenly.  Let sit 10 minutes or cover and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.

Grill on medium high for until one side has dark grill marks, 5 to 8 minutes on one side (depending upon the size of the thighs).  Turn and continue to grill until well marked on the other side (5 to 8 minutes, depending upon the size).  Move the thighs to a platter and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.

PRINTABLE RECIPE




Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chocolate Cassis Cake



We had a wonderful treat at our last gourmet group meet-up.   One of the gals made this delicious Chocolate Cassis Cake...it was so delicious....pretty much heaven with every bite!  When my friend told me what she was making, I had to pause and ask if I even knew what Creme de Cassis was....and of course I had some in the liquor cabinet....or should I say cupboard?

Anyway, if you are curious, Creme de Cassis is a liqueur from France.  It is made from blackcurrants...it is sweet and dark red in color.  Currants are grown in many regions of France and the liqueur is labeled with the region...such as Creme de Cassis de Dijon.  As to the quality of the product, it is based upon the variety of the fruit, the content of the berries and the production process that is used.  Creme de Cassis as we know it dates back to 1841.

Prior to that it was called "ratafia de cassis".  This drink is known to date back to 1000 AD in Italy where officials of the Catholic Church used the phrase Rata Fiat to announce the official ratification of a marriage.  The inventor of the liquor named it so after the strong liquor enabled a large population of Andormo, Italy to survive the plague.   The man's son survived and was able to marry...thus "Ratafia de Cassis...his marriage was ratified.

Chocolate Cassis Cake
Slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

For the cake:
Baking spray for the springform pan
1 1/2 sticks of butter
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons creme de cassis liqueur
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the glaze:
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 tablespoons creme de cassis liqueur
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To serve:
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup creme de cassis liqueur

Cake
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Spray a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray.
Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray it again with baking spray.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.  Whisk in the cocoa powder, cassis, and vanilla and set aside.

Using a mixer (whisk attachment, if available), beat the eggs, sugar, and salt on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until pale yellow and triple in volume.  Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and carefully but thoroughly fold them together with a rubber spatula.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until just barely set in the center.  Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then release the sides of the pan. Invert the cake carefully onto a flat serving plate, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.

Glaze
Melt the chocolate and cream together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until smooth.  Off the heat, whisk in the cassis and vanilla.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes and spread over just the top of the cake.

Fifteen minutes before serving, toss the berries gently with the sugar and cassis.  Cut the cake in wedges and serve with the berries on the side.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

The raspberries were omitted on Saturday....I wouldn't have noticed had I not seen it in the recipe! It has been a fairly warm winter with much sunshine....so, strawberries are ripening early this year. For the first of the season, these were really sweet!  It will be a good year....

I am sharing at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage and at Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Turkey Chili


I have rarely balked at change.  Change can be invigorating...it is most often challenging...and there is a sense of satisfaction when one achieves the end result.  Granted, since I have retired, change in my life has not been the steam engine that it used to be...steady and constant.  That said, change still presents itself...lately, in the technology arena.  I know, you can't imagine that technology could ever be a challenge....  "smile"  What's the issue?  I had to get a new computer which translates to, "I am trying to have an open mind and learn Windows 8."   I am doing pretty good....but, I haven't set up a Microsoft account....I am a Google girl....

Actually, Windows 8 is not the big problem....transferring files is the challenge....and I do not wish to buy the new software...alas, I must, which leads to the software changes....  You get the idea...

Since change was on my mind....I played with the chili recipe....chili is something that is easily changed and the results are always delicious and sometimes intriguing!.   The new Fine Cooking magazine featured an article on making Chili Your Way....it was like choosing your own adventure....select two items from this list, six from the next list....

In a nutshell here it is:

Kate's Turkey Chili

Meat:  Ground turkey
Flavor accents:  jalapeño (1), tomato paste (1 Tbsp), chipotle powder (1/2 tsp), oregano (2 tsp)
Liquids:  Beer (lager), chicken stock, water
Beans:  black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans
Vegetables: corn, tomatillos
Garnish: sour cream, cilantro, cheddar, chipotle salsa

The magazine broke it down into steps....

Step 1:  Brown the meat in a tablespoon of oil.  Salt and pepper the meat.  When browned, remove from pan and set aside.

Step 2:  Sauté the aromatics:  In a tablespoon of oil brown 2 cups chopped onion, 4 garlic cloves, chopped.  When soft, stir in 2 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp cumin and flavor accents.

Step 3:  Add the liquids:  Deglaze the pan with the beer.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.

Step 4:  Add beans:    Drain and rinse the beans.  Turn down the heat and add the beans as well as the meat and any juices.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  If the chili is too thick, add a little water.

Step 5:  Add vegetable:  Add 1 can of corn, drained and two tomatillos, chopped.

Step 6:  Finish the Chili:  Add fresh lime juice. (1 lime)

Step 7:  Garnish:  Add your favorites.  I used sour cream,, cilantro, cheddar cheese and a little chipotle salsa.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


The chili was delicious...a hint of spicy and great flavors...that was the easy part.  The challenge was the photo program I was trying to use....


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes

Last summer we shared our vacation spot, the Central Oregon Coast, with my oldest daughter and their friends.....and a few other folks who just happen to enjoy the area!  We have claimed this spot for just about the last 25 years and have so many wonderful memories of our summers there.

Sharing the area with folks who have never been is always fun to do....and we were fortunate to be invited to share picnics and brunches with the group.   One morning we had the most fantastic Blueberry Pancakes. After one taste I knew that I would be making these when we got home.  I know that you know about my difficulty making pancakes but since I had conquered them once, I decided it could happen again...with a little pre-planning....


The key is to allow the oats to soak in buttermilk overnight!  Blueberries can be included it you desire....You can use fresh or frozen blueberries and there is no need to thaw the frozen berries.  Press the berries into the individual pancakes after the pancakes have cooked on the first side for a minute or two to set.

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes
adapted from the Inn at Fordhook Farm and Orangette

Yield 12 pancakes

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted but not hot
Vegetable oil or spray for greasing the pan
Maple syrup, for serving

The night before:
Combine the oats and the buttermilk in a medium bowl.  Stir to mix.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning:
Take the bowl from the refrigerator and set aside.

In another medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

Add the eggs and melted butter to the oat mixture, and stir well.  Add the flour mixture and stir to blend.  The batter will be very thick.

Warm a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and brush with vegetable oil.  To make certain that the pan/griddle is hot enough, sprinkle a few droplets of water onto the surface.  It they sizzle, it is ready.

Scoop a scant 1/4 cup batter onto the pan, taking care not to crowd them.  (After the pancake has set, it is time to add the blueberries to the individual pancakes.)  When the underside is nicely browned and the top looks set around the edges, flip the pancakes.  Cook until the second side had browned. Remove the pancakes from the skillet/griddle and place on a platter.

Re-grease the skillet/griddle and repeat with more batter.  If you find that the pancakes are browning too quickly, reduce the heat.

Serve with additional blueberries, if desired, and maple syrup!

PRINTABLE RECIPE


These were the very best of the best pancakes!!  You won't be disappointed if you should decide to make them!!

I am sharing at Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Buttered Rosemary Dinner Rolls


Sometimes having a fire burning and the oven heating are just what is needed to keep warm and make something satisfying at the same time!  Yesterday, in the late afternoon it became cloudy and cold....not the East Coast kind of cold just the California cold...but cold, just the same.

I was digging around in the freezer and found a bag of frozen, unbaked dinner rolls...so, in the spirit of trying to create freezer space by using up surprises in the freezer, I decided to give them a try.  There really isn't anything easier...you just need a few hours of lead time!  There is a recipe in one of Ree Drummond's cookbooks about dinner rolls that she bakes in a cast iron skillet and before baking, she brushes with melted better, sprinkles chopped rosemary and sea salt....easy.  Of course, I had to dig around in the garage to find the cast iron skillet....it had gone on a camping trip with Mr. T....

With my skillet in hand I deftly opened the package of dinner rolls......here are the steps for the dinner rolls...

Buttered Rosemary Dinner Rolls

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

1) Melt one to two tablespoons of butter in the skillet.   Let the skillet cool for about ten minutes.
2) Place the frozen rolls in the skillet.  Do not crowd...you want space so that they can raise.
3) Cover the rolls with a dish towel and set aside, in a warm place to raise for at least two hours.  I placed the skillet on the fireplace hearth....and it took them about three hours to raise to a nice size.  I peaked and turned the skillet once during the raising time.
4) When they have raised they will be puffy and soft.  Brush them gently with melted butter.
5) Sprinkle the rolls with chopped rosemary and then with sea salt.
6) Bake for 15 to 20 minutes and are golden brown.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


These were really quite tasty and they didn't take me all day...yes, I know that I could have made my own dough...or if I had a bread machine I could have quickly turned out some great dough...but, I didn't...I took the short road....the one less traveled....

I must admit that I had never used unbaked dough until this recipe.  I wouldn't be opposed to doing it again!