Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Quick and Easy Chicken Veggie Curry with Saffron Rice

Quick and Easy Chicken Veggie Curry
Did you ever walk into your kitchen to make dinner and think, I'd like to serve curry tonight?  Only it is already 5:30 and everyone is hollering for dinner.  No time for stewing anything for long periods of time.  And so, this quick recipe came about for a quick curry dinner.
Saffron Rice

Saffron Rice
Make rice per directions, using 2 cups rice and 4 cups water. As rice is cooking, mix a few strands of saffron with 1/4 cup water.  Once rice has finished cooking, add the saffron infused water to the rice and mix well.  The saffron gives the rice a beautiful golden color and subtle taste.

Chicken Veggie Curry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 large tomatoes, sliced or 2 cups canned tomatoes
4 cups water
1 cup garbanzo beans, drained
2 cups diced sweet potatoes
1 cup frozen peas
1 pound skinless, boneless (organic, antibiotic-free, free range) chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1.  In a heavy, large skillet, heat olive oil and saute onions until transparent and golden, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic. cumin, mustard powder, ginger, cayenne and cook for 2 minutes.

2.  Add tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, turmeric, garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes to the skillet.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.

3.  Add peas and chicken chunks.  Cover the skillet and simmer 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  Serve by placing a heaping serving of rice into a bowl.  Cover with a heaping of curry.  Lay chicken chunks along the side of the bowl.  A dollop of sour cream may be placed on top.

4.  This dish may be converted to a vegetarian dish by omitting chicken pieces.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Feeding the Multitude or A Little Snack.....

Chocolate Corner Dipped Cookies, Fresh Strawberries, Cheese with Accoutrements.

So the second and fourth Thursdays each month, I join friends from my church for Fx2, Fellowship and Food.  So it was recently my turn to host and I wondered what I could come up with that would be yummy, vegetarian, and cost conscious.  I don't think that I did too badly.

Variety of Cheese, Water Crackers, Boozy Cherries, Peach Chutney, Olives

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1Peter 4:8-9)  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip and Clementine Confite Muffins

What happens when you mix chocolate chips and orange candy in a muffin recipe?  Deliciousness.

Now take it to the next level and make it Ghirardelli chocolate chips and Clementine Confite to the muffin recipe..... divinity in a muffin which is moist and tender and melts in your mouth.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 cups Ghiradelli chocolate chips
2 small Clementine Confite, diced small
1 and 1/2 teaspoon Clementine Confite syrup
1 teaspoon Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare muffin tins by buttering or using those cute little paper muffin liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt.  Add the diced Clementine Confite and Ghiradelli chocolate chips.  Fold gently.

In a small bowl, combine the milk, oil, Clementine Confite syrup, Madagascar  Bourbon Pure Vanilla, and egg, whisking well.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the liquid all at once, stir quickly with a fork, just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Spoon the batter into a buttered muffin tin, and sprinkle the tops with a little sugar.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pink Lady Apple Spice Muffins

Growing up in the Midwest in the 70's, there was not a lot of fruit choices in the winter months as I recall.  Basically, fresh produce consisted of apples, oranges, bananas, iceburg lettuce, potatoes, and onions.  The time of plentiful had not yet arrived...  No Costco or Sam's on every corner with their fresh raspberries flown in from Peru in February.  No farmer's market in January meeting in a local farm's barn on Saturday mornings with fresh goodies grown in "greenhouses".  The lucky ones had domesticated mommas who stored up in the freezer all sorts of yumminess for their families to have when the North winds blew and the snow reached epic proportions as the little ones walked uphill to school and uphill back home with cardboard in their shoes....  Yeah, I had an eccentric, artsy mom.  No berries in January, apples, oranges, bananas, iceburg lettuce, potatoes, and onions were in our kitchen, plain and simple.

So it was with some nostalgia that I looked at a bowl of Pink Lady apples sitting on my kitchen cupboard a few weeks ago and decided to make a muffin.  Here it is, Pink Lady Apple Spice Muffins.  Although filled with good for you ingredients, do not be afeard, they taste delicious.  They are a heavy muffin, yet moist and tasty with a definite spiciness to them.  If you do not have food allergies in your family as we do regarding differing types of apples, I would definitely consider switching up to your basic Granny Smith Apple, which would lend a crunchier, tartier taste to the muffin.  Granny Smith excluded, the Pink Lady apple held up well and gave the muffins a softer taste with the spices.  Give them a try.  My dear family loved them!

Pink Lady Apple Spice Muffin

1/4 cup flaxseed meal
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry
1 cup white flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon maple sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup milk
 4 tablespoons applesauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 eggs slightly beaten
2 cups diced Pink Lady Apples
extra sugar to top muffins

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flaxseed meal, whole wheat pasty flour, white flour, wheat germ, oatmeal, sugar, maple sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, salt.  Gently stir in apples to coat with flour mixture.

3.  In a small bowl, combine the milk, half and half, oil, applesauce, and egg.  Mix well.

4.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  Pour the milk mixture into the well all at once.  Gently fold with a large spoon until all the dry ingredients are moistened.  Be sure to not over fold the mixtures together.  The batter should have some lumpiness.

5.  Spoon the batter into large muffin tin that has been sprayed with Pam.  Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a little sugar.

6.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.  Enjoy!

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas. (George Bernard Shaw)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Lebanese Couscous Salad and Feta Hummus

Last year, while leaving Louisville, KY, and heading north towards home, I happened to stop by a small Italian gourmet grocery store, Lotsa Pasta Louisville.  There are no true words to describe this little gem.  It is filled with all sorts of yumminess, from stuffed baby eggplant to fresh made pasta of every sort to aromatic baked bread to canned delicacies too many to name.  I cannot encourage you enough to stop by.  I never get out of this grocery without a cartload of goodies I am sure that I need in my kitchen.  So it was on this trip that I came across Lebanese couscous, which was without a doubt the largest sized couscous I had ever seen.  Tossing it in my cart, I thought that for sure I could come up with something delicious to make out of it.  Once I got home, I was overcome with a reluctance to use it in any recipe.  The grains seemed overly large.  I was not sure how to cook it and afraid it would be tough or worse burnt to the point of fire alarm in the kitchen ringing in my attempt to make it soft enough to use.  So it sat and sat and sat on my pantry shelf.  Finally, I figured it was time to screw up my courage, shake a leg, and experiment.  Sometimes, perfection can be paralyzing, which is a cooking issue many of us deal with when it comes to trying something new in the kitchen.  So we must remind ourselves that good or bad, playing with new ingredients in the kitchen should be filled with joy and laughter and curiosity.  So in that vein, I made my mistakes with Lebanese couscous, but I also found some delicious food when I figured it out!   Hence, Lebanese Couscous Salad, which is filled with all sorts of delicious ingredients.

The Lebanese Couscous for Dummies goes like this:   Lebanese couscous is a mainstay of this salad and is unlike any couscous you have probably eaten in the past.  Unlike its cousins, the Tunisian or Moroccan couscous, which are small and fluffy, the Lebanese couscous has grains which are quite large.  Spring pea size!  Think of couscous as a baby pasta, as it is made from Semolina flour, which comes from Duram Wheat.  Couscous tastes wonderful in side salads, soups, replacement for rice, and as a breakfast cereal.  It is extremely versatile. In today's grocery story, it is also relatively inexpensive and easily found.

Lebanese Couscous Salad

1 and 1/3 cup Lebanese Couscous
1 and 3/4 cup water
3 green onions sliced
3.5 oz jar of sour cocktail onions
7.5 oz jar of marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
handful of baby carrots, sliced
1 cup of mixture of olives, sliced
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1.  In a rice maker, place the couscous and water.  Cook until soft.  Fluff with a fork and place in a medium size bowl.

2.  Add green onions, cocktail onions, artichoke hearts, baby carrots, olives, and sunflower seeds.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice.  Pour over couscous mixtures, and gently mix to combine.

4.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!
Lebanese Couscous Salad

Now if you really want a delicious meal, combine your couscous salad with Feta Hummus and mini pita bread.

Feta and Olive Hummus

2 cans garbanzo beans
1 cup variety of olives
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tablespoon tahini
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor, combine garbanzo beans, olives, feta cheese and tahini, pulse several times to chop ingredients.

Now begin processing ingredients.  While the food processor is processing, pour in the olive oil in a steady stream.  Continue processing until the hummus is smooth and shiny.

Transfer to a pretty bowl.  Place on platter with mini pita breads and lemon or lime slices for dipping.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Himalayan Cinnamon-Berry Coffee Cake

Wowza, did you ever just have an idea of what would constitute the perfect coffee cake on an early spring Saturday morning?  Yeah, well, yesterday, I looked through my fridge and found a bag full of the ripest, sweetest strawberries that we have enjoyed so far this season and a package of blackberries that were simply ginormous.  So off to the counter I went to create a coffee cake that is moist and healthy and filled with all sorts of sweet tasting, good for you ingredients.  This is definitely a keeper in our home.  In fact, I just snuck down to the kitch for a quickie snack before we leave for Mass this evening and low and behold that is all that was left:  a small piece about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch.  A morsel, really.  Quite depressing......  Guess I will have to make another one soon!

Himalayan Cinnamon-Berry Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake
1 and 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
2/3 cups olive oil
1 :Meyer lemon, juiced to about 1/4 cup
1 cup raw sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoon Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
2 and 1/2 cups white all purpose flour
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 and 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan cinnamon
 4 and 1/2 cups assorted washed berries (please slice strawberries)

1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons Himalayan cinnamon


1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Lightly grease two 8x8 inch or one 9x13 inch baking pan with baking spray.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla extract til smooth and glossy.

4.  In a large bowl, mix together gently flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon.  Add berries and gently fold into flour mixture to combine well and coat berries with flour.  Make a well in the center of the flour and berry mixture.  Pour in all at once the liquid folding gently to moisten and combine the mixture til a nice batter consistency is obtained.

5.  Pour batter into the one large baking sheet or evenly into the two small baking sheet.  I prefer to make two cakes so that I have one for our family and one to give away to a friend in need of a little TLC.

6.  Combine brown sugar, melted butter, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.  Drop onto the cake batter evenly around the cake top.

7.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until tester comes out clean and cake is nice and brown on top.  Let the cake cool before slicing into it.  Enjoy utter deliciousness!!

Servings: 15-20 depending on size of slices
Cost:  $0.50 per slice approximate

Simple Tomato Salsa

Sometimes, the freshest and simplest recipes taste the best.  Once you have had simple tomato salsa, or better known as pico de gallo to some, you simple cannot go back to the" jarred, cooked" stuff unless under duress!

Simply chop finely:  2 tomatoes

a handful of green onions

a jalapeno.

Add salt and pepper

and 1/4 cup olive oil.

Stir to combine.

Enjoy a little bit of heaven on earth!!
Simple Tomato Salsa with Homemade Tortilla Chips!

Now if you want over the top scrumptiousness, do this:

Heat an inch of canola oil in a 10 inch skillet.

Take one corn tortilla at a time, set in the heated oil and cook until crisp (about 1-2 minutes). Drain.
You now have homemade tortilla chips by breaking them into bite size pieces.