Chicken Curry – Northern India – Punjab

wWe are celebrating Northern India for February.  Saturday I visited the local Indian store to grab some ingredients.  The menu that I chose was red lentil soup, chicken curry and for dessert carrot halwa.  When I went up to the counter with a scant few ingredients, the owner asked me why I wanted the red lentils. I told her the menu I came up with. She said you don’t want lentil dal (not soup) and curry, they do not go together. I ended up spending 2 hours with her. She wrote out recipes explaining how to make chicken curry, okra/potato dry spice and taro.  I didn’t even get her name.  However, I know she was born in Punjab and grew up in Bombai.  She told me that in De Pere the Indian community is mainly from southern India.  The flavors in southern India are with more heat and coconut.  Northern India are with some heat and water/milk.  Then we went back to her writing out this menu to share with my family.  She said next time I come back she will write up Tandoori.  Also, I will get her name!  Thank you owner of Astha Grocery and Gifts, De Pere WI.  If you love Indian food give her a visit and make sure you have time to visit.

Chicken Curry
(serving for 6)

img_5051

 

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons butter (ghee is preferred)
6 – chicken legs and thighs, bone in, cut at joint
2 red onions, diced fine
4 tomatoes, pureed in food processor or chopped very fine
1 head/knob of garlic (yes, that much garlic), diced fine
ginger root, 1 1/2 inch slice, diced fine
3 green chili, sliced, remove seed and diced small
1 bunch coriander leaves/cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 small potato, diced, about 3/4 inch in size
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder for marinating chicken and 1/2 teaspoon for curry
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (Kashmiri Mirch)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
2  teaspoons Chicken Masala powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
pinch brown sugar
Juice of lime

Directions

  1. Marinate chicken with salt and turmeric. 30 minutes.
  2. Cut ginger root 1 1/2 inches, dice into small pieces
  3. Full head of garlic, dice into small pieces
  4. 2 red onions, diced into small pieces
  5. Green Chilies, slit from middle to end and take out the ALL of the seeds, dice into small pieces. (Next time, one or two more chilies)
  6. Tomatoes, you can cut into small pieces or put in food processor to puree.  It is recommended to use the food processor. Cut out top stem part. No need to deseed the tomato. Cut into quarters and put in processor, puree.
  7.  Bunch of cilantro, chop off ends.  Cut in 1/2.  Chop leaves and set aside.  Chop leaves/part stem and set aside.
  8. In large pot over medium heat quickly brown both sides of chicken.  You do not need to add oil at this time.  Take out chicken and set aside.
  9. In the same pot over medium to medium low heat, put 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of butter (ghee is preferred but for my first recipe she said butter was acceptable.  If I continue to make Indian dishes, ghee is a must purchase item).
  10. Add, cumin seed, ginger, garlic and green chili.
  11. When color changes, put in diced onion, wait until it turns brown.  Add salt.
  12. Saute until the onions are browned, about 30-40 minutes.
  13. Add chili powder, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, tomato puree, chicken masala, wait for tomatoes to cook down stock by covering pot.  30 minutes. (Next time I will increase the spices.  Instead of 1/2 I will go to 1 teaspoon.)
  14. Add chicken, potato and 1/2 coriander/cilantro into pot.  Cook until chicken falls off bone.  45-60 minutes.
  15. If the gravy is dry, add 1/2-1 cup water to your liking.  The chicken releases liquid and you may not need to add any liquid at all.  (I did not need any liquid.)
  16. When done add salt to taste, pinch of brown sugar, garam masala, lime juice and cilantro for garnish.img_5060

We all enjoyed the Curry.  Next time I will play around with the dry spices.  I think they could have been kicked up a notch.  It was definitely simple and delicious.

 

 

Classic French Canadian Tourtiere

2017 will be a year of trying different recipes from countries around the world.  When I checked my son, Eric (who enjoys cooking also) which country and recipe we should start with his choice was Canada.  Reason – Poutine.   I started with Tourtiere.  This is a traditional meat pie typically served around Christmas.   I made this for our Saturday dinner.  Kent and I enjoyed it.

For our first Sunday in January, we had Poutine, Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwiches (used Pastrami that I picked up at Ski’s Meat Market) and Nanaimo Bars.  Each originated from Quebec except the Nanaimo Bars. They originated from Nanaimo, British Columbia.

End result for Canada;  Poutine was passable – go to Canada for great Poutine, this meat pie was delicious but it was a lot of meat (hence, meat pie), the sandwiches were enjoyed by Kent and Martin, the Nanaimo Bars – well I think we know how those went over.  🙂

Classic French Canadian Tourtiere
(Compliments from Kitchen Vignettes)

img_4983

Ingredients
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-large baked potatoes, mashed with skins removed (or about 1 cup mashed potatoes.)
3/4 cup beef broth (or water)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Pie Crust
Use your favorite recipe or Pillsbury Pie Crusts (that is what I used!)

Egg Wash
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1.  In a large skillet add olive oil medium heat.  Add chopped onions and saute until soft and golden.
  2. Mix ground meats together in a bowl.  Add the ground meat to the onions and cook for about 10 minutes.  Stir to break up the meat.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix together.  Reduce heat to medium low and cover.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat.  Taste the meat and add more salt, pepper or spices to your taste.  Refrigerate 2 hours, until completely chilled.
  5. Line a 9 inch pie place with pie dough.  (I prebaked the crust.  That is up to you.)
  6. Spoon in the meat mixture (all of it, this will fit in the pie plate). Patting down lightly to compress it.  Brush rim with water and place on top dough.  Trim and flute.
  7. Brush egg wash on top dough.  It is worth the time to do this.  The egg wash gives you a nice golden crust.
  8. Cut some steam vents on top of your pie.
  9. Place in oven.  Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes or until the top of the crust is golden.

Kent and I enjoyed this dish.  It was great for leftovers too. Next – Pakistan.

Enjoy!!

 

Nanaimo Bars

I would like to make foods from other cultures each month for 2017. I thought the last Sunday of the month was a good day for this.  In January we chose Canada.  The dessert chosen was Nanaimo Bars.  This is a rich, layered bar.  Simple and Delicious.

Nanaimo Bars
(compliments King Arthur Flour)

img_4989

Crust
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg
1 cup sweetened or unsweetened coconut (I had sweetened)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I used pecans)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups graham cracker crumbs

Filling
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
2 Tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
2 Tablespoons milk

Icing
1 cup bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips)
1/4 cup heavy cream or 2 Tablespoons butter (I used cream)

Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 9×9 or 11×7 pan
2.  Make Crust; Place all of the crust ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Beat at medium speed until combined. (I hand mixed this entire recipe.)
3.  Press the mixture into a prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
4.  Make Filling; Using a medium sized mixing bowl, combine softened butter, 1 cup of sugar and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.
5.  In a small bowl, combine the vanilla pudding and milk.  Mix together until thick and smooth.
6.  Add the pudding mix to the butter/sugar mixture.  Stir to combine.
7.  Add the remaining sugar, beat until the filling is smooth.  Spread over the cooled crust.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.  (about 2 hours)
8.  Make icing; Combine chocolate and cream in a saucepan or microwave safe dish. Heat the cream until steaming.  Stir until smooth. (I use the microwave-30 second intervals)
9.  Spread the frosting onto the bars.  Refrigerate until set.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

delli

 

Purple Pig (or Pulled Pork Pizza)

I make this pizza enough I think it deserves it’s own post.  It is also posted under Indiana for the 50 States, 50 Pizza challenge.  (That is the reason I started my blog.  This pizza is the biggest hit in our house.  I keep trying to top it but it still comes out the winner, hands down.  Simple and Delicious AND Unbeatable!   🙂

Purple Pig Pizza

img_4879

 

Ingredients

Small head purple cabbage, sliced thin
Marzettis Cole Slaw Dressing (or whatever brand you like or make your own)
Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt roast or spare ribs
Barbecue Sauce (we use Sweet Baby Ray’s)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
3-5 cheeses (I use a combination of mozzarella, cheddar, monterey jack, provolone and Parmesan.  You can use as many cheeses as you want, one or five.  I like combos on this pizza)

Directions

1.  I buy a large roast (5-7#), slow cook over night in the crock pot. (Or do during the day while at work.)  I generously season with salt and pepper. (I will also use a rub it just depends on my mood and what I feel like doing that day.) When the roast is done I let cool down and then shred it.  I freeze what I don’t use in small baggies.  That way I have it for spur of the moment Purple Pig pizzas or pulled pork sandwiches.
OR
2.  Buy a 1-2# package of spare ribs.  Preheat oven to 275. Place on baking sheet (or slow cooker).  Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil. Cook low and slow for 2-3 hours.  The ribs are easy to shred. They fall right off the bone and work great with this pizza.  I ended up doing this method yesterday and it worked out perfectly!
3. I slice the cabbage and add coleslaw dressing. Be careful when adding the dressing, a little goes a long way. (Sometimes I will add a shredded carrot to the mix.)
4.  I take the shredded pork that I will be using for the pizza and mix barbecue sauce with it.  It is up to your taste how much you add.
5.  Combine the olive oil and minced garlic.
6.  Brush the pizza dough with the olive oil/garlic mixture.
7.  Add cheese, pulled pork mixed with the barbecue sauce and purple cabbage.
8.  Bake at 475 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Enjoy!!

 

 

Baklava – Simple and Delicious

I have wanted to make Baklava for at least 10 years.  I have been a bit hesitant and decided this year to just do it.  Martin called his grandma to get her recipe.  We discussed and we did her recipe with a few tweaks of our own.

Baklava

img_4840

Ingredients

16 ounces Phyllo dough
1 Tablespoon vegetable oi
3 1/2 sticks butter, melted

Filling

4 cups of chopped walnuts (If you have leftover nuts, place the extra on a baking sheet and toast at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes)
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of lemon
zest of orange (you could do both or just one fruit)

Syrup

2 cups of water
1 cup sugar
1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

  1.  Layout phyllo dough and cover with damp towel. They dry out fast.  I learned that today!  I cut the dough in half and that was the perfect size for my 9×13 metal baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt those sticks of butter.
  2. Mix together the nut filling ingredients.
  3. Here is where Grandma Olga comes into play.  Her way of making baklava is not the usual process you see and read about. Lightly oil the baking pan.  I used sunflower oil. You can use vegetable oil.
  4. When you layer the phyllo you do not butter each piece.  Layers as follows;  6 pieces on bottom, top 1 cup nut mixture, layer 6 pieces, top 1 cup nut mixture, layer 6 pieces, top 1 cup nut mixture, layer 6 pieces phyllo dough. Top layer is not covered with nuts, as you see from the above photo. (When layering be sure to layer one by one not just grabbing six pieces and setting down.)
  5. Cut the baklava into squares/diamonds.  Make sure you are careful when you are doing this.  (You want to be sure you cut all the way through. The melted butter and syrup have to get through the entire pan.)
  6. Pour the 3 1/2 sticks of melted butter into every nook and cranny.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  8. While the baklava is baking, make the syrup.  Put all ingredients in saucepan.  Over medium heat stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
  9. When baklava is done baking.  Set aside to cool. (I put in the cold garage as my fridge was full.  If you are lucky enough to have room in your fridge this time of year, after it cools a bit put it in there.)  When cooled pour the warm syrup over the entire pan.
  10. Lightly cover with a towel. Let set for at least 6 hours.  Overnight is best.

This was absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to make again.  Next time, pistachios with almond flavoring.  Hmmm, maybe for New Years Eve!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triple Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Rachel and I had our Christmas Cookie Baking Day yesterday.  We baked our usual suspects the Italian Lemon cookies, Almond Paste cookies and our new one this year…Triple Chocolate Hazelnut cookies.  As always, we listened to our Christmas music (Funny, Kent and Eric do not enjoy as much as we do.), chatted about all kinds of stuff and as always Rachel loves to sneak cookie dough.  I used to give her the Caruso eye on that but 8 years of it, I decided this year to just let it go.  😉

Triple Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

img_4798

Ingredients
(Compliments, Food Network Magazine – December issue)

1 cup blanched hazelnuts, chopped
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (we used 10 ounce bag of Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
6 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Spread hazelnuts on baking sheet and bake on the upper rack until golden, about 8-10 minutes. After they cool – 5 minutes, try to get as much of the skins off as possible. ( Just know it is kind of difficult to get the skins off hazelnuts.  Do the best you can.  No big deal leaving the skins on.)
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl, set aside.
  3. Combine the chopped chocolate (or chips) and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring, until melted.  Add the vanilla and whisk until smooth, set aside.  (Rachel loves this job.  She can taste every 30 seconds!)
  4. Beat the eggs in stand up mixer (or large bowl with electric mixer) on medium speed until foamy, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Medium speed, add sugar and beat until thick and pale yellow, about 5 minutes.
  6. Medium speed, gradually add the melted chocolate mixture and beat until combined, about 1 minute.
  7. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, beat until combined, about 1 minute.  Fold in chips and hazelnuts.
  8. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Drop heaping tablespoons of batter 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  9. Bake until the cookies are slightly puffed and crackly, 12- 15 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

These are really delicious especially after they cool.  Enjoy!

 

Fruit Topping – Simple and Delicious

We always have fruit in our home.  I can always pick up berries.   Our favorites; strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.  Occasionally we like to add some extra sweetness to our fruit especially on Friday nights.

Fruit Topping

img_4720

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
7 ounce container marshmallow crème (Jet Puffed or Fluff)

Mix above together.  Top on your fruit.

That is it! YUM!!

 

 

Breakfast Pizza

The holidays are arriving.  Breakfast pizza is great for a crowd or a hungry few.  You can prepare the dough, meats and shred your cheese the night before.  Wake up and throw it together the next day.  For this pizza I use my cast iron skillet.  You can do any combination you want.  We generally do sausage and Canadian bacon for the meat combo. Bacon is also a nice touch.  We had it on Friday and today to be sure we have it down right! 😉

Christmas 2012 food 044 Christmas 2012 food 047

Breakfast Pizza

4 pieces of bacon, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
4 pieces of Canadian bacon, cut in quarters.  I did not fry this bacon.
6 ounces ground breakfast sausage
1 small onion or 1-2 green onion, chopped
1 small green or red bell pepper, sliced thin
4 eggs
1-2 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon butter, softened to brush over pizza dough
Mozzarella, Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese (1-2 cups depending on size of dough)

1.  Fry bacon until crisp, remove from fry pan with slotted spoon and place on paper towel.
2.  Fry sausage until done, also remove from fry pan and place on paper towel.
3.  Whisk eggs with 2 Tablespoons milk
4.  Brush dough with butter
5.  Top pizza dough with sausage, onion, pepper, bacon, Canadian bacon, pour egg mixture over the meat and add cheese of your choice or a combination of all.

Bake at 475 for 20-25 minutes.  (You may want to prebake the pizza crust (5-10 minutes) prior to adding the toppings.) Simple and delicious!

Stuffing or Dressing-Your call

I start thinking about Thanksgiving sometime in July.  This is my favorite holiday.  I love thinking about the menu and getting everyone involved.  I drive my kids nuts talking about it more incessantly as the months go by and the day gets closer.  It is quite enjoyable. 😉  This year my stuffing was incredibly awesome.  Here is the recipe;

Checkerboard Stuffing

img_4761

Ingredients

16 ounces bread (mix of Pepperidge Farms Hearty White, Dark Pumpernickel and Rye)
12 ounces breakfast sausage
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
16 Tablespoons Butter (2 sticks.  I know it’s a lot of butter. That’s okay, it’s Thanksgiving!)
1 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
5 cups turkey stock (or chicken broth)

Directions

  1.  Weigh out 16 ounces of combination of above breads.  I placed slices of bread on a wire rack and covered with parchment paper.  I left out for 3 days so it could get hard rock stale. Next year I will cut into cubes before I do this.  However, it was simple enough to break/slice into small cubes. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In medium skillet over medium heat brown breakfast sausage.  Set aside.  Place in bowl last. That will give it time to cool.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat melt 16 Tablespoons butter.  Add onions and celery along with salt and pepper.  Saute until transparent, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. While onions and celery are cooking chop your herbs.  Add herbs to the bread.  Then add the onions and celery along with the turkey stock and mix well.
  6. Place stuffing in 13×9 baking dish.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake another 15-30 minutes depending on how crispy you like your stuffing.

This was so flavorful.  You will love it. I know our family did!  Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a GREAT night!