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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thai Green Curry Chicken



Thai Green Curry Chicken

Ingredients

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, divided
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3-4 Thai bird’s eye chiles, seeded and minced
2 ounces (1/2 jar) Thai Kitchen green curry paste
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced thin or cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small sweet onion, sliced
1 bell pepper (I use half red, half green), cored and sliced
1 medium green zucchini, chopped
8 oz broccoli, stems and florets, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 bunch Thai basil, chopped

Method

Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and Thai chiles to the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add green curry paste, stir, and cook for another 2 minutes to release the flavors of the paste. Pour in the coconut milk, 1 cup water and fish sauce. Stir, bring to a strong, bubbly simmer over medium heat and allow to cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate large skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add chicken to the pan and cook until browned, but not cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add sliced onions and bell pepper and cook until vegetables are soft and chicken is cooked through, another 4 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and pour curry sauce into the pan with the chicken and vegetables. Stir to combine and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Add a little water if it seems too thick, or allow to bubble longer if it seems too thin.

While the curry is simmering, bring 1 cup of water to boil in a large pot with a steamer insert. Pour in the broccoli and zucchini, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and let steam for 5 minutes, until tender (pierce with a fork to test). Drain and add the broccoli and zucchini to the curry.

Stir in the scallions and Thai basil. Remove from heat and serve immediately over white or brown jasmine rice.

NOTES

Tweaked to perfection. Steve and I are mad about this curry, a dish that has been a long time coming.

When I first attempted Thai green curry chicken, I thought it would be just like making my Thai Red Curry Chicken, but with the paste swapped out. Wrong! The flavor profile is so different, it required an entirely different set of vegetables to balance it out - and less water, too. Hence, this ended up being one of those recipes that took a half dozen attempts before getting it to a point that I considered blog-worthy - and I love that. I love doing it over and over until it is exactly what I want it to be, for my permanent reference. In my opinion, it is worth the work.

And now I have another Thai meal in my small Thai repertoire. Hooray!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pasta alla Norcina


Pasta alla Norcina

Ingredients

12 ounces small shaped pasta (e.g., medium shells, penne, orecchiette)
16 ounces ground pork
Kosher salt
Black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon olive oil
16 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced or finely chopped
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup water
1 ounce fresh grated parmesan
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Method

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt and add pasta. Cook until al dente (about 10 minutes). Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

Place the pork in a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, half the garlic, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary and nutmeg to pork and mix by hand until well combined.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in large deep skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add pork and saute until cooked through, about 5 minutes, breaking the sausage into chunks as it browns. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to bowl, add half and half, and set aside.

Add mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, and another 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in water, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in sausage/half-and-half mixture and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water and simmer for an additional 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in parmesan until smooth. Add cooked pasta to the sauce, along with the parsley and lemon juice, and toss well to coat.

Before serving, adjust consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with additional cheese, black pepper, or red pepper flakes, as desired.


NOTES

Steve and I first saw this recipe on an episode of America's Test Kitchen and immediately felt we had to try it. The only problem was... well, sometimes ATK can be a bit, um, fussy. It's one of the reasons I love them, really, but sometimes they go a little overboard and end up making a big production out of something that really should be very straightforward. I personally feel this is one of those times.

This is a dish Italian grandmothers cooked and they didn't add baking soda to the pork or use a food processor for the mushrooms or cook the sausage in a large patty, only to slice it on a cutting board later. Too much fuss. So. I changed their method to suit my typical m.o.: simple and quick. I also changed the ingredient ratios to suit my other m.o.: much lower-calorie but still filling - and I think my version is phenomenal, if I do say so myself.

Don't let the minimal ingredient list fool you, folks. This is one of the most intensely-flavored dishes I have ever made. We were blown away at first bite. Steve could not stop mm'ing and oh'ing and yelling about it at the table - to the point that it was almost comical. Give it a try. You won't be sorry!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Chicken and Vegetable Coconut Curry


Chicken and Vegetable Coconut Curry
adapted from Very Culinary

Ingredients

1-1/4 lb boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1 cup julienned or chopped carrots
8 ounces snow peas, ends trimmed, large ones cut in half
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 can (8 ounce) pineapple chunks, drained, juice reserved
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 15-ounce can light coconut milk

Method

In a large nonstick pan, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken and saute until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken to a bowl and set aside.

Add onion, bell pepper, carrots, snow peas, ginger, garlic, curry powder, salt and red pepper flakes to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender.

In a small bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice and cornstarch until dissolved. Add the mixture, along with the pineapple chunks, coconut milk, and reserved chicken to the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened; stir gently.

Serve over jasmine rice with extra red pepper flakes or Sriracha on the side.

NOTES

This is MAGNIFICENT. I never really thought about blending Indian curry powder with coconut milk, which I tend to associate with Thai curries, but holy wow. Steve and I both flipped for this. Flipped, I tell ya!

It's been a while (my archive indicates eight months) since I was able to add another stir fry or curry to my permanent repertoire and I'm thrilled. I owe you one, Amy!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Beef and Black Bean Chili


Beef and Black Bean Chili

Ingredients

4 slices bacon, chopped
1.5 pounds lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon Ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1/2 tablespoon New Mexican chile powder
1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 (15-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 quart stock or water
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Suggested for serving: shredded cheese, scallions, avocado, corn chips, hot sauce

Method

Place bacon in a large soup pot. Cook over medium low heat until evenly brown and crispy. Remove bacon to paper towels and drain off excess fat from the pot, leaving just enough to coat the bottom.

Add beef to the pot over medium high heat and saute until well browned and cooked through, breaking the meat into chunks as it cooks. Drain, leaving a small amount of fat in the bottom of the pot. Set meat aside.

Stir in the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper and garlic. Saute until vegetables are moderately soft, about 5 minutes, then add cumin, Ancho chile powder, Mexican oregano, New Mexican chili powder, and salt and stir to combine. Return beef to pot along with petite diced tomatoes and 3 cups stock or water

Bring to boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, bacon and 1 cup stock or water and continue simmering for another 10 minutes.

Add cilantro. Serve with desired toppings.


NOTES

I think black beans and beef are a match made in heaven, and this recipe showcases that pairing beautifully. So savory and delicious, with just the right amount of heat.

Originally, I had intended to post a steak and black bean stew recipe here, but after making it with steak last week and ground beef this week, it was obvious this more chili-like version was the winner. 10/10 will make again. And soon.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions


Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions
slightly adapted from Inspired Taste

Ingredients

1 pork tenderloin (1 to 1-1/2 pounds)
2 teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large apple, cored and sliced
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter

Method

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees Celsius).

Trim tenderloin of any silver skin. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Then, using your hands, rub the tenderloin all over with 1 teaspoon of the oil, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt, and rub until evenly coated.

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a large cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed oven-safe frying pan over medium heat. Add the pork tenderloin and cook, turning occasionally, until evenly browned all over (this should take about 8 to 10 minutes). Transfer the browned pork to a large plate or cutting board.

Add the apples and onions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned around edges, about 4 minutes.

While the apples and onions cook, use a pastry brush (or use your hands) to rub the pork all over with the mustard, sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon of the thyme and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and rub until it is evenly coated.

Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of thyme to the apples and onions, stir. Then, place pork tenderloin on top of apples and onions and slide into the oven. Roast 10 to 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads between 145 and 150 degrees. Transfer pork to a large plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest about 10 minutes.

While the pork rests, place the pan with apples and onions back onto the stove and turn heat to medium. Add chicken stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape the pan, lifting any brown bits from the bottom. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Add butter and stir until melted.

Slice pork into 1-inch slices then serve on a bed of the apples and onions with pan sauce drizzled on top.



NOTES

I am super proud of this recipe. I've been trying to make some kind of pork chops, apples and onions dish for ages and while they were mostly very good, none were mind-blowing. I abandoned the idea for a good couple of years. Then I stumbled across this beautiful looking recipe using tenderloin instead of chops and I knew I had to try again. My kitchen skills are much improved since my last attempts and I had a feeling I would not only be able to find the right balance of meat to onions to apples to herbs, but also pull off a pan sauce worth raving about.

And I did. It was a resounding success. Steve, who was rather, um, not fond of any of my previous versions and was hesitant when I told him what I was making, said after a few bites: "You have to make this again next week. This is ridiculous."

Agreed. It is a spectacular, delicious, repeatable dish. Finally. Success!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

M&M and Chocolate Chip Cookies




M&M and Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Sweet Anna's

Ingredients

2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup (6 ounces) mini m&ms

Method

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line three baking sheets with silpat mats or parchment paper (I don't have three; I rotate two).

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda & salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in the egg, egg yolk & vanilla until smooth.

Beat in the flour mixture until just combined and then stir in the chocolate chips and m&ms.

Spoon the dough by rough tablespoons onto the baking sheet. Allowing plenty of space in between cookies so that they have room to spread.

Bake for 12-18 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your cookies - until the cookies are barely golden brown around the edges. Keep an eye on them. Don't over-bake.

Remove them from the oven, leaving the cookies on the baking sheets until they have firmed up enough to lift off the pans, 2 or 3 minutes.

Enjoy warm or transfer to cooling racks, then store in an air-tight container.

NOTES

The M&M cookie recipe I have been looking for. Not too thick, crisp around the edges, dense and moist in the middle, with plenty of chocolate and candy chunks all the way through. One for the books.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Snickerdoodles



Snickerdoodles
with help from Foodie with Family and Sally's Baking Addiction
(makes 3 dozen)

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

For topping:

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Method

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed, until smooth. Add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 parts. The dough will be quite thick and you may have to stir the last of it by hand.

Toss 2 tablespoons granulated sugar with 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl. Take a heaping tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Roll the dough ball in the cinnamon-sugar topping. Sprinkle extra cinnamon-sugar on top if desired.

Bake cookies for about 12 minutes. The cookies will be very puffy and soft. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Method

I finally made snickerdoodles! I couldn't be happier. These came out puffy, tall, soft and light, just the way I wanted them, and they were absolutely stunning with coffee the next day:

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Fudgy Chocolate Chip and Peanut Brownies

No, not peanut butter, actual peanuts. Apparently this is not a thing? Read more after the recipe.



Fudgy Chocolate Chip and Peanut Brownies

Ingredients

3/4 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons water
20 ounces + 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts

Method

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease (or spray with non-stick cooking spray) a 9x13 baking dish.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter and water. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat. Stir in 20 ounces chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 4 ounces of chocolate chips and the peanuts with a tablespoon or two of flour to lightly coat. Gently fold into the batter, then pour into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies set up. Do not overbake! Cool in pan, then cut into squares.

NOTES

So. Peanuts. Steve really likes peanuts in the chocolate chip cookies I've been making, so I was intent on making brownies with them as well. But, much to my surprise, I couldn't find a recipe for brownies like that anywhere. I hunted for an hour and no luck. Hm. I decided I was just going to have to invent my own. I'd never made brownies at all, though, so I at least needed a base. I carefully studied six or eight different recipes and gathered ideas from all of them before venturing off into the kitchen. That's my favorite way to create a recipe, really, and I have great success that way. This time was no exception.

(Side note: obviously if you don't like/are allergic to peanuts you can omit them or substitute with chopped pecans or walnuts!)

These were decadent, rich, fudgy, delicious BLISS. I did underbake them a little, I think out of fear of overbaking, AND I cut into them too quickly. Our first plates were basically a goopy chocolate peanut mess (oh. darn.). Later in the evening and the next day, completely cooled, their texture was flawless. So yeah, I do recommend leaving them in the full 30 minutes and also letting them cool completely before cutting.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Turkey Noodle Soup



Turkey Noodle Soup

Ingredients

1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1-1/2 pounds cooked turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 quarts stock (preferably homemade turkey or chicken stock)
1 12-ounce bag wide egg noodles
1-1/3 cups frozen green peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Method

Heat oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, garlic, and celery and saute about 5 minutes, until soft. Add turkey, thyme, salt and black pepper and stir to mix well. Add stock and bring mixture to a boil. Add egg noodles. Cook 10 minutes, until egg noodles are just tender. Stir in peas and cook until peas are just heated through, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve.

NOTES

Best noodle soup ever. Simple, delicious, nourishing, and the perfect thing to do with the first couple of quarts of homemade turkey stock from Thanksgiving.

(Note: obviously, if not holiday time, this could easily be made with chicken instead.)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chicken, Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry


Chicken, Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry

Ingredients

4 to 6 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small bites (see notes)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1-inch piece of ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon each of cumin, cardamom, coriander, garam masala, kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 14.5-oz can of petite diced tomatoes
2 cups hot water
16 ounces cauliflower florets
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 "bunch" cilantro, finely chopped

Method

Heat a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and saute until nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add onion, ginger and garlic and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes, until barely tender. Add cumin, cardamom, coriander, garam masala, kosher salt and cayenne and stir for another 30 seconds until very fragrant. Immediately pour in the petite diced tomatoes, scraping the pan until all the cooked bits come loose. Add the hot water and cauliflower, bring just to a boil, and cook until cauliflower is soft, about 6 or 7 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in chickpeas and cilantro. Serve over rice or with naan, if desired.


NOTES

Simple, nutritious, very quick - and so delicious I made it twice in one week. I ate mine pretty "soupy," with no grain or bread, though obviously that would be the preferred way for most.

Cooking note: this could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the chicken and starting the pan off with a tablespoon of olive oil instead. Additional chickpeas could be added for bulk and would make the end result less liquid.