Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Roasted Cashew Chicken with a Fenugreek Sauce

Although this chicken says it's roasted, it's cooked on the stove top. I made it using only thighs and drumsticks. The sauce is incredibly rich and nutty.

Roasted Cashew Chicken with a Fenugreek Sauce (from 660 Curries)

4 tbsp canola oil
2 medium red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1/4 cup cashews
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1/4 tsp cardamom seeds from green or white pods
2 fresh green Thai, cayenne or serrano chiles, chopped
1 cinnamon stick broken into pieces
1 chicken, skin removed and cut into 8 pieces
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 cup chopped fenugreek leaves or 2 tbsp dried soaked in water and skimmed off

1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, cashews, cumin, cloves, cardamom, chiles, and cinnamon. Stir-fry until brown and fragrant, 4 - 6 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Pour 1/2 cup water into blender and add onion mixture. Puree.
3. Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in same pan over medium heat. Add chicken pieces and cook turning until evenly browned.
4. Add onion sauce to chicken. Add 1/4 cup water to blender jar and add to pan. Stir in salt, turmeric, and fenugreek. Stir.
5. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until cooked through, 15 - 20 minutes.
6. Serve with sauce over chicken.

Pork Tenderloin with Spiced Rhubarb Chutney

The spiced rhubarb chutney alone makes this recipe worth it. I used garlic scapes in place of garlic, but otherwise stuck fairly faithfully to the original.

Pork Tenderloin with Spiced Rhubarb Chutney (from, originally Bon Appetit)

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes fresh rhubarb (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup (generous) chopped red onion
1/3 cup dried tart cherries or golden raisins (about 2 ounces)
2 pork tenderloins (about 1 1/2 pounds total), trimmed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fresh cilantro sprigs

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in heavy large Dutch oven. Bring to simmer over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
2. Add rhubarb, onion and dried cherries; increase heat to medium-high and cook until rhubarb is tender and mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.
3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Sprinkle pork with cumin. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to roasting pan.
5. Brush pork with 6 tablespoons chutney. Roast until thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 145°F, brushing occasionally with 6 more tablespoons chutney, about 25 minutes.
6. Slice pork into medallions. Garnish with cilantro and serve with remaining chutney.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Garlicky Cashew Pork and Pineapple Skewers

Other than the marinating time, this dish comes together very quickly and the sauce is every bit as good as I hoped it would be. The only changes I might make when making again is (1) increase the pepper flakes even more and (2) toss the pineapple with brown sugar and cayenne so it will caramelize a bit.

Garlicky Cashew Pork and Pineapple Skewers (from In The Kitchen with a Good Appetite)

1 cup roasted salted cashews
6 tbsp chopped cilantro, divided
1/4 cup safflower or olive oil
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 - 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
juice of 1 lemon
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pork tenderloin, cut into 1.25" chunks
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (see notes above)

1. In a blender or food processor, combine nuts, 2 tbsp cilantro, oil, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and 2 tbsp water. Blend until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Season pork with salt and pepper. Smear on enough cashew mixture to coat (about half of it) and reserve remainder. Refrigerate for up to 12 hours before cooking.
3. Preheat broiler. Thread pork and pineapple onto skewers, alternating. Broil skewers, turning once until pork is singed and center is cooked, 2 minutes.
4. Sprinkle with remaining 4 tbsp cilantro and serve with remaining cashew sauce.

Pasta with Garlic Scapes Pesto, Sugar Snap Peas, and Ricotta

I couldn't resist the first of this season's garlic scapes at Jean Talon. The pesto in this dish is excellent and with some added prosciutto (optional) and ricotta, it goes from good to fantastic.

Pasta with Garlic Scapes Pesto, Sugar Snap Peas, and Ricotta (from Cook This Now)

1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3/4 cup cilantro or basil leaves
1/2 cup thinly sliced garlic scapes
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup olive oil
450g cavatelli or other pasta
1 tbsp butter
113g sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced 1/4" thick
prosciutto, slivered
fresh ricotta (get the good stuff)

1. Over medium heat, toast nuts in a small, dry skillet until they start to smell nutty and turn golden, 3 minutes. Pour onto plate to cool.
2. In a food processor or blender, combine herbs, garlic scapes, cheese, and salt and process until finely chopped. Add nuts and oil and process until smooth.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and pasta and cook until al dente.
4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet and add peas and pinch of salt. Saute until crisp tender, 3 minutes.
5. Turn off heat on peas and stir in prosciutto.
6. Drain pasta and toss with pesto. Top with peas and sprinkle with black pepper. Dollop spoonfuls on ricotta on top when you serve it.

Raw Rhubarb, Cucumber, and Mint Salad

This salad is a change of pace from a normal salad routine. It's a bit tart and very refreshing. The author suggests serving it with olive oil poached salmon.

Raw Rhubarb, Cucumber, and Mint Salad (from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen)

2 young rhubarb stalks
1 crisp medium cucumber, peeled
2 tbsp coarse salt
2 handfuls arugula
1 - 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded mint leaves

1. Cut rhubarb and cucumber into very thin slices.
2. Toss rhubarb and cucumber with coarse salt and let stand 10 minutes. Rinse and drain.
3. In a salad bowl, toss rhubarb and cucumber with arugula. Drizzle on lemon juice, scatter mint leaves on top, and serve.

Ricotta-Filled Zucchini Blossoms

I couldn't resist the zucchini blossoms at Jean-Talon this weekend. I'd never cooked with them before, but this recipe exceeded all of my expectations. As luck would have it, I also came home from my shopping expedition with some high quality ricotta. The two paired together beautifully. The batter on this produces an incredibly light taste and the ricotta filling is simply wonderful. This may seem like a lot of work, but it's well worth the effort.

Ricotta-Filled Zucchini Blossoms (from Around My French Table)

3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup very cold club soda
12 zucchini blossoms
3/4 cup ricotta
1 large egg yolk
1 shallot, finely minced
2 tbsp minced fresh herbs (basil, mint, and/or parsley)
salt and pepper
dash of cayenne
peanut oil, for frying
mayonnaise or other sauce for serving, optional (not really needed)

1. To make batter, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and a grind or two of pepper. Whisk in club soda. Keep in fridge if not using immediately.
2. In a bowl, whisk together ricotta, egg yolk, shallot, herbs, salt and pepper to taste, and a dash of cayenne.
3. Wipe blossoms with lightly dampened paper towel. Don't wash them! Pry blossoms open and remove pistils and stamens.
4. Fill blossoms with ricotta mixture and twist the top to gently seal.
5. Pour about 1/2" of peanut oil in small skillet and heat until very hot but not smoking. Line a plate with double layer of paper towels.
6. One by one, without crowding the pan, run blossoms through batter and drop in hot oil. Fry for a minute or two on first side and a minute on the other until coating is golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season with fleur de sel if desired.
7. Serve immediately with mayonnaise if desired.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Jetalah Pineapple, Cucumber, and Chili Salad

This salad is something a little bit different. It's nice and refreshing and a good change of pace. This does require quite a bit of chopped, but it's well worth the effort.

Two years ago: Tex-Mex

Jetalah Pineapple, Cucumber, and Chili Salad (from Mighty Spice)

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
6 tbsp rice wine or apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1/2 pineapple, peeled
1/2 cucumber, halved lengthwise
1 large tomato, seeded and roughly chopped
1 red chili, finely sliced
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

1. Put onion, vinegar, and sugar in large mixing bowl. Season with salt, mix well, and set aside for 5 - 10 minutes.
2. Cut pineapple into quarters, remove and discard core, and cut flesh into thin slices.
3. Seed cucumber and thinly slice into half moon pieces.
4. Mix pineapple, cucumber, tomato, red chili, and black pepper with onion mixture. Serve.

Carrots with Wilted Spinach in a Peanut-Coconut Sauce

I liked this recipe quite a bit more than I expected given I mostly chose it as a way to use up some carrots. The carrots didn't seem to have much flavour in the dish, but the peanut and coconut worked wonderfully together. It does generate quite a bit of sauce (I might cut back the water a bit next time), but the sauce is lovely with the coconut and a slight yellow hue from the turmeric. The heat from the chiles was just the right amount and not overly aggressive.

One year ago: Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange
Two years ago: Fajita Steak Quesadillas

Carrots with Wilted Spinach in a Peanut-Coconut Sauce (from 660 Curries)

1/4 cup peanuts
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp shredded dried unsweetened coconut
3 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
450g carrots, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp sugar
113g spinach, coarsely chopped

1. Combine peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut, chiles, and garlic in food processor and pulse to form a coarse blend.
2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add peanut mixture and fry until honey-brown and fragrant, 1 - 2 minutes.
3. Sprinkle turmeric on and stir in.
4. Add carrots, salt, sugar, and 1 cup water. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally until tender, 12 - 14 minutes.
5. Stir in spinach until wilted. Remove from heat and serve.

Cashew Lamb with a Coconut Milk Sauce

Beware this recipe makes an incredibly large amount of sauce for the amount of meat. Do not forget to serve with rice. My sauce also turned out a bit thinner than desired, so I thickened it up some with cornstarch. You may want to consider cutting back on the added water a bit. I expected this dish to be a bit creamier with coconut milk in the title, but there's not much added and the vinegar gives it a bit of a kick. All in all, the dish was very good and I greatly enjoyed the leftovers as well. It was just a little bit different than what I expected.

This recipe also requires a bit of timing. Ideally, let the lamb marinate overnight. The rest of the recipe comes together fairly quickly.

One year ago: Rhubarb Streusel Muffins
Two years ago: Blackberry Coffee Cake

Cashew Lamb with a Coconut Milk Sauce (from 660 Curries)

1/2 cup cashews
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
450g boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed and discarded, cut into 1" cubes
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large red onion, cut in half and into 1/4" cubes
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cardamom seeds from green or white pods
6 whole cloves
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
7 slices fresh ginger (1.5"x1"x1/4"), finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tsp cayenne
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

1. Puree cashews, 1/4 cup water, and salt in blender jar. Pour into medium-size bowl, add lamb, stir to coat. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes - overnight.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and stir-fry until caramel-brown, 8 - 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom, and cloves and grind until smooth.
4. Add lamb to onions along with marinade. Cook over medium until sauce is absorbed, 8 - 10 minutes.
5. Sprinkle in ground spices, turmeric, ginger, and garlic and cook until aromatic, 1 - 2 minutes.
6. Add 1 cup water (or less) and stir to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, 18 - 20 minutes.
7. Stir in coconut milk, vinegar, and cayenne and simmer uncovered for 2- 4 minutes.
8. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Rhubarb Snacking Cake

I had high expectations for this recipe and I have to admit, I wasn't thrilled when it came out of the oven. Then I gave it to a friend to try a piece and she loved it. Some time passed and I tried it again and I wasn't so bitter towards the recipe.

First, the frustration. The bottom layer does not make a lot of batter. It also doesn't spread easily. It's good once it cooks up, but it's a pain to work with. You might want to try a slightly smaller pan or a slightly larger batch. She also says that the middle layer should spread into a single layer, but I measure based on weight and had very thin stalks and that was clearing not the case. Because the bottom layer was so small, the rhubarb overflowed on the edges. It also seemed to just be a watery mess that didn't want to set while baking, but it did once cooled. I had no major complaints with the crumb. At the end, she also suggests using a tester to see if the cake is done. I have no idea how a tester would work since the tester must pass through the wet rhubarb layer. If you can solve this mystery, you are a smarter person than me.

Is the recipe worth it? Probably. Would I be less frustrated with it if I increased the cake layer back up (she cut it in 2/3)? Definitely. You're free to do as you so desire.

One year ago: Tomatillo Pork Enchiladas
Two years ago: Jalapeno Cheddar Scones

Rhubarb Snack Cake (from Smitten Kitchen)
1 1/4 pound (565 grams) rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths on the diagonal
1 1/3 cup (265 grams) granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice (save some zest)
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups (165 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup (80 grams) sour cream
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces, or 55 grams) unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter or a nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper, extending the lengths up two sides.
2. Stir together rhubarb, lemon juice and 2/3 cup sugar and set aside.
3. Beat butter, remaining sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one at at time, scraping down the sides after each addition.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon table salt and ground ginger.
6. Add one-third of dry mixture to the batter, mixing until just combined. Continue, adding half the sour cream, the second third of the flour mixture, the remaining sour cream, and then the remaining flour mixture, mixing between each addition until just combined.
7. Dollop batter over prepared pan, then use a spatula — offset, if you have one, makes this easiest — to spread the cake into an even, thin layer (see notes above if you skipped over them).
8. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the cake, spreading it into an even layer.
9. Stir together the crumb mixture, first whisking the flour, brown sugar, table salt and cinnamon together, then stirring in the melted butter with a spoon or fork.
10. Scatter evenly over rhubarb layer.
11. Bake cake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. It will be golden on top. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Vegetarian Dry-Fried Vegetables

This recipe is originally meant for green beans but is very adaptable for whatever green you'd like to cook (I made asparagus). It gives your vegetables a bit of a kick and Chinese flavour.

One year ago: Bourbon Lemonade with Maple Syrup
Two years ago: Sausage and Goat Cheese Macaroni

Vegetarian Dry-Fried Vegetables (adapted from Land of Plenty)

280g roasted asparagus or other green vegetable cooked
2 scallions, cut into 1.5" slices
8 dried Sichuanese chiles, snipped in half
1/2 tsp sichuan pepper
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tsp ginger, thinly sliced

1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in wok over high heat. Add chiles and Sichuan pepper and stir-fry until fragrant.
2. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions and stir-fry until fragrant.
3. Add cooked asparagus and toss, adding salt. Serve.

Breakfast Sausage

I have so many happy childhood memories associated with breakfast sausage and this recipe didn't disappoint. Best of all, it's quick, easy, and requires no weird ingredients. Serve your breakfast sausage patties inside homemade buttermilk biscuits and enjoy breakfast bliss!

One year ago: Rhubarb-Lamb Stew
Two years ago: Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Breakfast Sausage (from The Homesick Texan Cookbook)

900g ground pork
1 tbsp dried sage
2 tsp dried marjoram
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Mix together all ingredients and form into patties.
2. Heat skillet on medium heat.
3. Fry sausage patties 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Bulgur Pilaf with Swiss Chard and Dried Cranberries

It's rare that a pilaf upstages roast chicken, but this one did. I wouldn't mind having only this dish as a meal in fact and may've been a little annoyed when the boy took this as leftovers to work. Don't skip on the dried fruit. I used dried cranberries, but you could also use apricots, raisins, or whatever you desire. You could also make this with quinoa if you don't have bulgur on hand.

One year ago: Fudgy Mocha Cake
Two years ago: Lemon Curd Pavlovas with Strawberries

Bulgur Pilaf with Swiss Chard and Dried Cranberries (from Cook This Now)

1 cup bulgur
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachios
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and leaves chopped
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
pomegranate molasses (or lemon juice) for drizzling

1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add bulgur and cinnamon and cook for 9 minutes.
2. Stir in cranberries and cook 2 - 3 minutes more or until tender. Drain and discard cinnamon.
3. In large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add pistachios, cumin and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook, stirring, until golden, 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl.
4. Wipe out skillet. Return to medium heat. Add oil, garlic, and shallot and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
5. Add chard, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper. Cook until chard is wilted, 3 minutes.
6. Stir in bulgur mixture and pistachios. Toss over heat for 1 minute.
7. Transfer to serving plates and drizzle with pomegranate molasses.

Crisp Roasted Chicken with Chickpeas, Lemons, and Carrots with Parsley Gremolata

CSA boxes seem to be excellent at achieving vegetable overload. Currently, we're in carrot overload mode. I decided this recipe would be a perfect way to use up some of those carrots, especially since I have cooked chickpeas hiding in the freezer after I cooked a whole bag at once in the slow-cooker. I have to admit, despite the crispy skin on this roast chicken (I only roasted the thighs), I wasn't in love with this dish. Mostly because the mustard crouton chicken from this book completely overshadows this one. However, the leftovers of chickpeas and carrots were amazing. It may not be quite mustard crouton level, but it is pretty darn good.

One year ago: Orzo Salad with Feta, Olives, and Bell Pepper
Two years ago: Blueberry Crumb Bars

Crisp Roasted Chicken with Chickpeas, Lemons, and Carrots with Parsley Gremolata (from Cook This Now)

2 lemons
2 cans chickpeas drained or 3.5 cups cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp garam masala
3 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 chicken, rinsed and patted dry
4 thyme sprigs
3 tbsp butter, melted
450g carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1" rounds
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Quarter lemons lengthwise and remove seeds. Thinly slice 6 lemon quarters crosswise. Toss lemon bits with chickpeas, oil, 1/2 tbsp garam masala, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.
3. Season inside of chicken with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Fill with remaining lemon wedges and thyme sprigs. Rub outside of chicken with remaining 1 tbsp garam masala, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Brush butter over skin.
4. Scatter carrots in bottom of largest roasting pan you have. Place wire roasting rack over carrots. Place chicken, breast-side up on rack. Place in oven and roast, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
5. Scatter chickpea mixture into bottom of roasting pan. Roast until cooked through, 45 - 60 minutes longer. Let rest 5 minutes before carving.
6. Meanwhile, combine gremolata ingredients. Spoon carrot-chickpea mixture onto platter. Arrange chicken on top. Sprinkle gremolata on dish and serve.

Stewed Radishes with Tamarind

This is a simple side curry that's surprisingly good. It came out a little on the salty side for us, so go easy on the salt if you don't usually oversalt things.

One year ago: Big Crumb Coffee Cake with Rhubarb (still a favourite!)
Two years ago: Broccoli, Tomato, and Goat Cheese Pasta

Stewed Radishes with Tamarind (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp canola oil
6 whole cloves
2 - 4 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles
2 cinnamon sticks
10 - 12 medium red radishes, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp coarse salt (or less)
1/2 tsp tamarind paste

1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cloves, chiles, and cinnamon and cook until sizzling, 10 - 20 seconds.
2. Add radishes and lower heat to medium. Stir-fry 1 - 2 minutes.
3. Cover pan and simmer, stirring occasionally until fork tender, 15 - 20 minutes.
4. Stir in sugar, salt, and tamarind and simmer uncovered for 3 - 5 minutes.
5. Remove whole spices if desired and serve.

Apricot Chicken

You know you've fallen behind on recipes when you go to post the backlog and your first thought is "oh, that was this week?" This recipe came about because apricots were on sale. The original calls for dried apricots, but I think it cooks very nicely with fresh as well. This isn't my favourite recipe from this book, but it is something a bit different. The fruit, tamarind, and chiles all balance each other very nicely. I was more than happy to have leftovers of this dish. We found the original (below) just a tad on the salty side, so you might want to adjust the salt down a bit. The original also includes potato straws on top, but I skipped those.

One year ago: Spring Vegetable Pasta
Two years ago: Potato Pesto Pasta

Apricot Chicken (slightly adapted from 660 Curries)

8 - 10 apricots, quartered
2 tbsp ghee or canola oil
1 medium red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
4 slices of ginger cut into thin matchsticks (1.5"x1"x1/8", julienned)
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, stems removed, cut into 1/4" slices
1 chicken, skin removed and cut into 8 pieces (or just use your favourite cut)
1 tbsp Bin bhuna hua garam masala
2 tsp coarse salt (see notes above)
1/4 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 tbsp crumbled jaggery or dark brown sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro for garnish

1. Heat ghee in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic, and chiles and cook, stirring until light brown, 5 - 8 minutes.
2. Add chicken, garam masala, and salt. Brown meat, 5 - 8 minutes.
3. Add apricots, vinegar, and jaggery. Scrape skillet to deglaze.
4. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, turning occasionally and basting until meat is cooked though, 20 - 25 minutes.
5. Transfer chicken to serving platter and top with sauce and cilantro.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Watermelon Salsa

This watermelon salsa is very refreshing with just a bit of heat to it and some texture from the radish. I forgot the red onions when I made it but have left it in below. I purposely omitted 1/4 tsp cumin because the author and I don't see eye to eye on cumin in salsas. She suggests you could also make this salsa with cantaloupe or honeydew which also sounds delicious to me. You could also add some Cotija cheese to this, but it's not necessary. My first bite of this seemed a bit too spicy, but it seemed to mellow as it sat, so don't be afraid.

One year ago: Prosciutto and Cream Pasta
Two years ago: Blackberry Lemon Meringue Pie

Watermelon Salsa (from The Homesick Texan Cookbook)

2 cups peeled and diced watermelon
2 radishes, finely diced
1/4 small red onion, diced
1 serrano chile, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp lime juice
salt to taste

1. Toss together watermelon, radishes, red onion, serrano chile, cilantro, and lime juice. Add salt to taste.
2. Place in refrigerator and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Triple Coconut Muffins with Raspberry

My officemate at work first tried this recipe and we were both a little underwhelmed by the result. The end result was a very dense muffin with an odd texture. The coconut flavour just didn't come through enough either. I decided to liberally adapt this recipe, taking Deb's suggestion to use coconut milk instead to add more coconut flavour and adding some raspberries. I made quite a few changes as well (buckwheat flour, dark brown sugar) and the end result was great. The flavour seemed to get even better after the first day. Note this recipe only makes 10 muffins.

One year ago: Mint and Scallion Soba Noodles
Two years ago: Raspberry Lemonade

Triple Coconut Muffins with Raspberry (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1/2 cup (110 grams) virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 grams) buckwheat flour (or you could use whole wheat)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup brown sugar sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature is best
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
3/4 cup (90 grams) sweetened shredded coconut, divided
1 cup raspberries, frozen or fresh

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Either grease 10 muffin cups with butter or coconut oil, or line them with papers.
2. In a small saucepan, warm your coconut oil just until it melts. It should still be on the cool side.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together your flours, baking powder and salt.
4. Stir in 1/2 cup shredded coconut.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, coconut oil, coconut milk and vanilla.
6. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups then sprinkle the top with remaining 1/4 cup coconut, about 1 to 2 teaspoons on each. [I omitted the coconut on top.]
7. Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out batter-free, about 20 minutes. Transfer muffins to a rack and let cool.

Thai-Style Roast Chicken Pieces with Lemongrass, Red Peppers, and Shiitakes

The chicken takes a while to roast, but with a little bit of planning the night before, this recipe comes together very quickly. It also produces an almost complete meal with the vegetables. I just added a simple side salad. The original calls for a whole cut-up chicken, but I limited it to thighs and drumsticks.

One year ago: Lentils with Tomatoes and Gorgonzola
Two years ago: Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew

Thai-Style Roast Chicken Pieces with Lemongrass, Red Peppers, and Shiitakes (from All About Roasting)

Spice Paste
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and stems
2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
2 tbsp thinly sliced lemongrass
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped (2 tbsp)
1 jalapeno or serrano, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp peanut oil
one chicken, cut into 10 pieces
280g shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed, caps halved or quartered
1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, ribs removed, and cut into 1/4" strips
1 tbsp peanut oil

1. Combine spice paste ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree to a coarse paste.
2. Rub chicken pieces with half of the spice paste. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 (I did overnight).
3. Preheat oven to 375 and let chicken come to room temperature.
4. Combine mushrooms and red pepper in shallow roasting pan (9x13). Toss with remaining spice paste and 1 tbsp oil. Place chicken pieces skin side up in pan on top of vegetables.
5. Put in oven and roast for 20 minutes. Stir vegetables. If you're using drumsticks, flip them so the skin crisps on all sides.
6. Continue roasting chicken until cooked through (180F for leg pieces), a total of 40 - 45 minutes.
7. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes. Stir vegetables to coat with pan juices. Serve with chicken.