Saturday, May 31, 2014

Chicken and Vegetable Curry


Sometimes I crave the aroma and taste of curry. Recently, the pantry and frig just said curry everytime I opened one of the doors.  It didn't take much convincing...I had everything...no trip to the store!!

I started off making a vegetable curry but I noticed a lonely chicken breast in the freezer so I decided that it could easily join the mix!

What is a curry?  According to Neela Paniz, cookbook author and owner of The Bombay Cafe in Los Angeles, curry is not a spice bought in a jar....however, I do happen to have a couple of jars in the spice cabinet...  Kard, the Hindi word from which curry is derived, means "to cook over a long period of time."  It is a dish that starts with a slow browning of onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and ground spices.  The proportions of the spices, usually, cumin, coriander, cayenne and turmeric, vary by cook and palate. So, you may have to doodle with them to find the right proportions for you.

Chicken and Vegetable Curry
adapted from Fine Cooking

2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into chunks, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 yellow onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional...taste first....)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup light coconut milk
Sea salt and ground black pepper
1/2 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 can (15 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (15 1/2 oz.) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

In a 5 to 6 quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and brown.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

Wipe the pan and add two tablespoons of oil.  Add the onion and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes.  Reduce the heat and cook until the onion is nicely browned about 5 additional minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger, cook, stirring for about a minute to blend the flavors.  Add the coriander, curry and cumin and stir for 30 seconds to toast the spices. Add the tomato paste and stir until well blended with the aromatics, about another minute.

Add the broth, coconut milk, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the chicken, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and carrots.  Increase the heat and return the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 20-25 minutes.

Stir in the chick peas, lime juice, and zest.  Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.  Season to taste with salt.  Serve over rice, garnished with cilantro.

Note:  Curry should be the consistency of a thick gravy.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


While we loved this curry, it was a pretty spicy curry so I would suggest that you taste before adding the cayenne pepper.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime and Mint Syrup


I haven't been very active in the kitchen of late.  I am having a battle with bronchitis and along with that is fatigue...so, I seem to spend a great deal of time reading and sleeping.  Things are improving some so I made my way into the kitchen to make a fruit salad.  I don't usually put a syrup on fruit salad but this was suggested to me by my daughter, Alison.

It was very refreshing and popular at a family dinner that we went to last Sunday.  It was simple to make...an easy contribution!

Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime and Mint Syrup
adapted from Epicurious

Syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Salad
1 basket of strawberries, hulled and halved
4 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes
2 cups watermelon, cubed or scooped out with a melon baller
1 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, pieces
2 cups honeydew, cubed or scooped out with a melon baller
2 cups cantaloupe, cubed or scooped out with a melon baller

Mix the honey, lime and mint together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Mix the fruit together in a large bowl.  Pour the syrup over the fruit and toss to combine.  Allow the salad to stand for about 15 minutes for the flavors to blend.  The salad may be made up to three hours ahead.



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

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Broccoli Salad

I promised to post another salad this week, but bronchitis got in the way and I am late.  The up side of being sick is that I am in Seattle enjoying beautiful weather and an amazing view from my daughter and SIL's deck.  But...onward...I made a Broccoli Salad that I had always wanted to try. You have probably tried this before it has lots of broccoli florets and crunchy red onion, sunflower seeds, raisins and, of course, bacon!  What's not to like?


Broccoli Salad
adapted from Angela's Kitchen

Yield:  4-6 large servings

Salad
5 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds) A bag of florets from Costco works great!
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 small red onion, small chop
8 slices bacon, chopped, cooked and drained
Salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar


Prepare the dressing:  Mix together all of the ingredients and refrigerate for two hours.  (Taste the dressing to make certain that it has a ratio of vinegar to sugar that pleases your palate.)
Prepare the salad:  Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Dress with the chilled dressing before serving.
Note:  All of the salad ingredients may be measured and placed in ziplocks until you are ready to eat or taken to a potluck and mixed just before serving.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

We have a restaurant in town that serves this salad as part of their buffet. While working, I attended many meetings there and enjoyed this salad at lunch.  That salad is my measure...and this is pretty darn close.   I am going to have to make it again soon and have a very large bowl!  I can hardly wait.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

German Cucumber Salad aka Gurkensalat

When I was growing up German Cucumber Salad aka Marinated Cucumbers aka Gurkensalat was a regular part of our meals during the summer, when cucumbers were in abundance.  I always looked forward to this fresh and crunchy, sweet and tangy dish.



German Cucumber Salad 
aka Gurkensalat
adapted from Angela's Kitchen

2 cucumbers, thinly sliced 
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cider vinegar or you might try white wine vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons white sugar, to taste

1/4 cup finely minced fresh dill (traditional)
1-2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste, if desired)
1 tsp Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper


Wash, the cucumber but do not peel (unless it is your preference).  Slice the cucumber very thin using a mandolin or food processor.  It is very important that the slices be very thin as it enhances the flavor and the delicate texture of the salad.

After the cucumbers are sliced, place them in a bowl or colander.  Mix in the salt.  Allow the cucumbers to sit for at least two hours. This draws out the water assuring that your salad will not have a diluted vinegar dressing!!  Using a paper towel, gently pat the cucumbers dry.

Thinly slice the red onion.  You may separate the onion into rings or slice each piece in half and then separate.  Add the onions to the bowl with the cucumbers.

Add the vinegar, sugar and mustard to a small bowl.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.  Add the dill, salt and ground pepper to the dressing.  Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and onions.

Chill for one hour before serving.

Note:  
I would use a taste as you go method as everybody has a different palate when it comes to a vinegar and sugar dressing!

If you would like a creamy gurkensalat, drain the chilled mixture and stir in about a quarter cup of sour cream or yogurt. Serve garnished with a bit of fresh dill.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

This was so much fun to make and brought back so many memories....I have no idea why I waited so long to once again enjoy this wonderful accompaniment to my meal!  Thank you, Angela for the motivation and memories!



Who is Angela, you ask?  Angela is the author of the blog, Angela's Kitchen.  Yes, you are right, it is Secret Recipe Club time, once again!  Angela is a lady who has taken the bumps that life has dealt and made roses, daisies and rainbows!  Angela is one of the first dairy free and gluten free blogs in cyber-space!  She faced life's challenges head-on and has become quite a resource for folks who require this special diet.  Hop on over and take a look.  You won't be disappointed.

I had a difficult time selecting just one recipe to make....and since I am trying really hard to BE GOOD, I was headed toward salads.   I found three recipes that I wanted to make and so far, I have made two of them....today's recipe, Cucumber Salad, was a winner.  

Angela makes her salad with rice vinegar.  Knowing that my childhood memories did not include rice vinegar, I set up a taste test.  I determined the proportions I would need of vinegar to sugar and mixed three dressings. One with rice vinegar, one with cider vinegar and one with white vinegar.  I decided that the cider vinegar best represented what I remember but it was a narrow difference between cider and white vinegar!  I am going to try white wine vinegar next...just because.

I also added some Dijon Mustard to the dressing and of course, dill is the traditional herb in Gurkensalat, so I knew I had to include it!

And...if you are interested in what the other salad was, check back later this week.  You will love it!!