Thursday, September 29, 2005

Chicken Coconut Curry

I was a bit suprised yesterday when I came on this site to get the recipe for this dish. I planned on making it for dinner and wanted to verify the ingredients for shopping, but low and wasn't on here...shame on me.

This is one of the easiest dishes to make! And super delish. I can be adjusted for heat, any way you like. Milder or hotter!

Chicken Coconut Curry
Serves 4

1lb, red potatoes, quartered or halved so they are the same size
Coarse Salt
1 1/2lb, boneless skinless chicken breast, cut to bite size pieces
1TB curry powder for mild curry taste (1 ½ TB curry for stronger taste)
3tsp oil (vegetable or olive)
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes for mild level of heat (½ to 1 tsp for higher level of heat)
¾ Cup of Coconut Milk (sometimes I use a full can for a more saucy dish)
1TB tomato paste
1 ½ cups, green beans, trimmed and cut in 1 to 2 inch pieces, or use frozen.

1) In a kettle, cover potatoes with salted water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil until fork tender (10-12 minutes). Remove potatoes with slotted spoon, leaving water in pan. Add green beans and blanch-if using fresh gofor about four minutes, if frozen--just a minute or two to thaw. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

2) Meanwhile, in a bowl, toss chicken with curry and 1 tsp salt. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat. Cook half the chicken, turning often, until browned and cooked through (5-6 minutes). Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.

3) Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook garlic and red pepper flakes in remaining oil, until fragrant (1 minute). In a small bowl, whisk coconut milk, tomato paste and ¼ cup of water. Pour into pan and stir until liquid just begins to simmer.

4) Return chicken to pan along with potatoes and green beans. Toss until warmed through and coated with sauce (2-3 minutes).

NOTE: After adding the coconut milk, do not let the sauce boil as the milk may separate. Most recently I used two TBS of MADRAS CURRY (HOT), and a fresh hot pepper--I added it with the garlic. I have also added fresh ginger...not anything amazing.

NOTE 2: If you think you have frozen green beans in the freezer and plan to use those, make sure they are in good condition before going to the store. I saw I had 1/2 a bag, so I was set. When I went to use them, they were so dehydrated, wrinkled and freezer burned, a rat wouldn't eat i just had potatoes and chicken...tasty, but needed the crunch of good green beans.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Extra Reading

I've been quite busy and haven't much time to cook up any delights lately, and probably not until next week.

In the meantime, there are several articles in today's Washington Post about Whole Wheat Pasta and Sauce, they are worth the read.

"Brown Spaghetti and a good sauce"

"Whole Wheat Pasta taste testing"

"Sauce: A Family Tradition" This could be a name of a musical in a fringe festival!

There is also an article on fun wines.

Outside of this, not much is happening. I suspect today I will be buzzing** around the office driving everyone nuts...and tonight is the LOST SEASON 2 premiere!!!

**it's good. espresso and cream, sweetened. not as sweet as a bottled actually it may be better, but it was $2.99! Give it a trrrryyyyY!!!!!!!! twitch twitch shake shake buzz buzz!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Chicken Peanut Curry

I saw this recipe on the SIMPLY RECIPES Blog. This blog gave me the idea to start my blog.

When I first saw the recipe, I skipped the introduction and just looked at the ingredients, I thought the dish was Thai, but it is actually from a West African themed cookbook. I do recommend this dish. Depending on your chopping skills, the dish will be done in 30 minutes or less!

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken pieces, cut into 1 1/2 inch wide chunks or strips
1/2 cup flour
4 Tbsp curry powder
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground peppercorns
1/2 cup olive oil (this is necessary for the full recipe-see note below)
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 serrano chili peppers, (seeded, de-veined--to tame the heat, if you like), minced
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup peanut butter (if using freshly ground peanuts, add 2 teaspoons of sugar)
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
8 green onions, chopped, greens included
1/3 cup each finely chopped mint and cilantro
2 limes cut into wedges

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry. In a small sturdy paper bag, combine the flour, curry powder, salt and pepper. Shake well. Add the chicken pieces and shake to coat well.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Add chicken pieces. Cook 5-10 minutes (depending on size of chicken pieces) tossing occasionally to cook chicken evenly. Add the ginger, garlic, chili pepper and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth to the saucepan. Cook for 3 minutes, scraping the pan with a spatula and stirring to combine everything well.

3. Add the peanut butter, stirring quickly to incorporate it with the chicken. Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups of broth slowly, stirring continuously to maintain an even texture. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Right before serving, add the coriander and green onions. Salt to taste.

4. Serve with rice. Top each serving with fresh cilantro and mint. Squeeze a little lime juice over it as well.

Serves 6-8.

NOTE: The recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of Olive Oil. I thought this was too much and was about to go with much less when I thought that maybe there was a purpose. Sure enough. The olive oil, with the flour that coats the chicken, makes the base for a roux, which makes the sauce thick and tasty later. A roux is most often seen in cajun cooking with butter and flour.

*I'm thinking the next time I make this of adding green peppers cut into strips and maybe some carrots, just to add some veg.

*I used two jalapenos, one seeded, one not. This was one the cusp of just hot enough, but J-Lo would like more.

*I would recommend a bit more grated ginger.

*I happened to have both mint and cilantro on hand from some previous recipes. At the very least I would try to have cilantro. You use equal amounts of both and I couldn't taste the mint.

*I only used 4 green onions, could have used the full eight the recipe calls for.

*Following the directions above are fine, but I would like to suggest that in step 2, when it calls for adding 1/2 cup of broth, that you wait until you are ready for the peanut butter and mix the 1/2 cup of broth (warm it up) with the peanut butter, so that it blends in better. I really had to whisk this up to get the peanut butter blended. Wetting it with the broth would have helped.

*Speaking of Peanut Butter, I used a new variety of Skippy. SKIPPY NATURAL. Not bad. I think following the recipe above, if I would have thought this through a bit, I would have added a bit of sugar, not that it really mattered.

*I used some of the lime juice in the cooking liquid for the rice. A just barely there flavor but nice, as I only had plain Giant brand rice, lacking in flavor.

*I solicited the advice of a veggie friend and here's what she had to say about tofu: " Tofu should work with a peanut curry. I would highly recommend firm or extra firm tofu instead of silken tofu. You can sautee it but it doesn't really brown like meat does. I just gets hot and absorbs whatever fat you are trying to sautee with. You could just cut the tofu into small cubes (press all the water out of it first though) and then just put them in your curry early on so it absorbs a lot of the good flavor. Or you can deep fry (or shallow fry) the tofu. It is really tasty fried, but not as healthy. You can also bake tofu. I haven't tried it myself but I'm sure it isn't hard. I think you just have to bake it at a low temp (maybe 325 or so?). " Let us all know if you try this recipe as a veggie version, using tofu and a veggie broth.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Recommended product

Hey all,

Had this as a quick dinner last night. Safeway had Barilla Tortellini on sale last week, or two weeks ago, so I thought I would try a package of Three Cheese Tortellini. When I put the kettle on the fire to boil, I diced a 1/4 of an onion, 2 garlic gloves and sauted in a little olive oil. I tossed in 1 tsp each of dried basil, oregano, thyme, plus a pinch of red pepper flakes and some salt & pepper. I then added a can of petite diced tomatoes, with their natual juices, letting this simmer until the pasta was done, about 10 minutes after you add it to your boiling water. We had dinner in about 20 minutes. And it was good. A nice pantry staple to have on hand. It looks like they had many different flavors, so check out the pasta section of your store.



Thursday, September 08, 2005

3 of 3 new recipes

Over the past week I have received three recipes from readers who wanted to pass along recipes they have had or from their own friends saying they were great recipes. So for my own readers, I want to pass them along to you. Enjoy and be sure to post comments so the original reader can see what you think and can pass it back to the creator of that recipe.

PS: I have not had any of these yet, so the recipes are being posted as sent to me.

Hey scott!

I've had this recipe a long time, but I think you might enjoy this. I've
made this 4 or 5 times now because it is so easy, and it tastes like
chipotle or california tortilla.


Easy Burritos

1-2 TBS of olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves
1 medium onion (yellow or red) doesn't matter
1 package of Southwestern chicken (pre-cooked/sliced)
1 can of Del Monte diced tomatoes with green chiles (called zesty)
1 can of light red kidney beans (any brand you want)
1 sml can of sweet kernal corn
lime juice
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Cinnamon (to taste)
shredded cheese - amount up to you (we use pepper jack and cheddar)
sour cream
2 cups Jasmine thai rice (we always have left over rice)
burrito wraps (we just eat the rice and everything else in a bowl

Ok so I've never written a recipe so I'll try to do it step by step.

1 We have a rice cooker so we always put the rice in before we start cooking. That way everything gets done about the same time. Whatever rice you use, think about how long it takes to cook. The rest of the recipe doesn't take long to cook.

2. Dice your garlic cloves and chop your onion. Heat the olive oil in a wide sauce pan (that has a lid) over med-high heat. Add your garlic and onion to the oil in th pan. You want to stir the garlic and onions until the onion softens and starts to lightly brown.

3. While the onion/garlic is cooking get everything else ready. Open the can of diced tomatoes and corn. Open and rinse off the kidney beans in a strainer. And then open the chicken and cut the strips up into cubes or bite size pieces. Once the onions are brown, add everything to the pan.

4. Now you should have the garlic, onions, chicken, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and corn all in the pan. Now you can season it with salt, pepper, and a little bit of cinnamon. Put a couple squirts of lime juice in as well. You can turn the heat down to medium or medium low. The goal is to heat everything up. If you're still waiting on the rice, turn the heat down on the mixture in the pan and cover it until the rice is ready.

5. You are ready to eat when the rice is done. Time to make the burrito. Grap the wrap, put some sour cream on it, add the rice, put the mixture from the pan on, add the cheese, wrap and eat.

Voila! That's it.

~~~forwarded to Eat With Me by Skang!


2 of 3 new recipes

Over the past week I have received three recipes from readers who wanted to pass along recipes they have had or from their own friends saying they were great recipes. So for my own readers, I want to pass them along to you. Enjoy and be sure to post comments so the original reader can see what you think and can pass it back to the creator of that recipe.

PS: I have not had any of these yet, so the recipes are being posted as sent to me.

Trader Joe's' Style Cookies

Hey everyone,

If you've tried the Zen's cookies from Trader Joe's, they are really good! But 6 cookies for $4.00 is pretty steep... so I've found a recipe pretty close!

6 tbs Margarine (softened)
1/4 cup fat free sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1 egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
1.5 cups cooking oats
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 raisons or craisons (dried cranberries)
1/2 cup nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Beat in brown sugar. Mix in combined oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix in raisons and nuts.

Drop as much dough onto a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. (The cookies won't get much bigger, they pretty much stay the same size). Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes (if you make larger than 2 tbsp, may take about 16 minutes or so).

Calories: 100
Fat: 3 grams

Some of my personal variations:
I used old fashioned cooking oats and it turned out fine.
Also tried with Craisons and Raisons both, and I like the Craisons betters
Walnuts for the nuts works great! (and you can buy already chopped)
I used whole wheat flour and it turned out really yummy.Also doubled the recipe and used half splenda and half brown sugar and it turned out good too!

~~~Forwarded to Eat With Me by SO.CAL. Becca

1 of 3 new recipes

Over the past week I have received three recipes from readers who wanted to pass along recipes they have had or from their own friends saying they were great recipes. So for my own readers, I want to pass them along to you. Enjoy and be sure to post comments so the original reader can see what you think and can pass it back to the creator of that recipe.

PS: I have not had any of these yet, so the recipes are being posted as sent to me.

Shrimp Skewers

The shrimp recipe comes from the "Healthy Cooking" book by Williams-Sonoma, the recipe is as follows.

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic minced (use fresh garlic)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb large shrimp, peeled (except keep the tail on) and deveined

What to do:
This is the best part. Simply combine all of the ingredients and stir until blended and smooth. Add the shrimp to the mixture, be sure all of the shrimp are coated, and store in the fridge for about an hour to marinate. Then using skewers, thread the shrimp and then BBQ for about 8-9 minutes, turning the skewers 2-3 times and using the remaining marinade to coat the shrimp. Serve as appetizers or as part of a main course over rice (wild or brown rice would be best).

The best part of this recipe is that it is easy - even I can do it. Now, if you want slightly spicier shrimp, use the smidgen approach to cooking. Two suggestions: 1) add a smidgen more of the red pepper flakes and basil; and 2) let the shrimp marinate in the fridge for three hours. For information purposes, a smidgen is a small pinch, no more.

That's it! Enjoy!

~~~Passed to Eat With Me by Lady Brandenburg


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Katrina and the Kitchen

No, it's not a new show on HBO.

There was an article in today's Washington Post about the effects of Katrina and supplies to your grocery store. A good read, at least to give you a heads up on what kitchen items will have higher costs in the weeks/months to come. Chicken, Oysters and COFFEE are the big items hit.

Cautious Grocerys

Also, tonight is the Eat With Me special event Cooking WithoutBorders. Hope you'll be able to join us! Send me an email if you have any questions prior.

Good Day.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Cutting and cleaning leeks

Hello all,

As we prepare for Wednesday night's dinner: Too Easy Chicken with Leeks, I want to offer some tips on preparing leeks.

You'll notice where I indicated on the photo below where to cut the green leaves/blades off the main body of the leek.

Also cut off the root end.

Leeks are grown in a sandy/loamy soil, they collect all sand in between each of those layers. To get that sand and sediment out, cut the leeks lengthwise, the crosswise into 1/4 inch slices. Place all the cut leeks into a large bowl of cool water and sloosh around, this will dislodge the dirt and it will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Don't pour the water and leeks into a colander. This will just get the dirt back into the leeks. Lift the leeks out and place in a drainer. You'll see all the dirt sitting on the bottom of the bowl.

Let your leeks dry for few minutes before adding to the don't want too much extra water in the pan.

Hope this helps you prepare for the tasty treat!

Beef Stew--Asian Influenced

The following recipe is pretty easy, with an extra step or two that are crucial. I've made it twice now and it's the same both times! I love when that happens.

I saw this prepared on Martha Stewart's show awhile back...I haven't seen an episode it ages, I do think this was the last time I saw it. Probably October/November 2004. The recipe is called Lily's Beef Stew. "Lily" actually prepared the dish on the show, but I don't remember who Lily is. Anyways, here is:

Lily's Beef Stew

The secret to this Chinese version of beef stew, is to cook the meat three times. It’s first boiled, then sautéed in a hot wok, and finally simmered until tender. A traditional Hunan dish, this stew is flavored with star anise and cassia (a close relation to cinnamon that’s available in Asian food stores).

4 lbs boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
3 TBS olive oil
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced 1/8 inch thick
¼ cup dry white wine
2 TBS dark soy sauce
1 TBS dark-brown sugar
4 star anise
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 ½ cups water
1 ½ tsp coarse salt
Steamed rice, for serving

1. Fill a large pot halfway with water, and bring to a boil. Add cubed beef, stirring often to prevent sticking. Cook for 1 minute. Drain beef into a colander, and shake to remove excess water.

(NOTE: This step helps to render out some of the unwanted fat. But do keep the time brief, otherwise the meat will toughen and need longer to cook to become tender again.)

2. Heat wok over high heat. Add olive oil, swirling to coat the sides of wok. Add drained beef, and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add ginger, white wine, soy sauce, brown sugar, star anise, and cinnamon. Continue to sauté until evenly browned, about 5 minutes, stirring to combine.

(NOTE: I used a regular kettle for this, I could have used a skillet as well. We no longer have a wok, so we make do, you can to! If you have some cheese cloth laying around, wrap your star anise into a bundle with it. When it cooks slowly, it opens up and releases these larger seed type pods that you don't want to eat, wrapping them up keeps them contained for easy disposal.)

3. Add 1 cup water, and transfer beef mixture to a large pot. Add remaining 1 ½ cups water, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook until meat is almost tender, 1 ½ hours. Season with salt, and continue to simmer until meat is tender, ½ hour. Serve with steamed rice.

(NOTE: If you use a regular kettle, you do not need to transfer. I transfer to a slow cooker! The first cup of water helps to 'loosen' the sauce so it all transfer more easily. If you use the regular kettle, check about every 20 minutes, give it a stir, to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. Once the meat is tender, the sauce may be watery. If so, I take a tablespoon of cornstarch with about a tablespoon of water, mix into a slurry, then pour into the sauce, while simmering. It will make a nice thick sauce! And I served it with Jasmine Rice. Yum! Leftovers of this are GREAT!)


Monday, September 05, 2005


This summer, I had the privledge of growing three tomato plants on my patio! And several basil plants. I've used the basil all summer long. What a joy! The tomato plants, did really well, but not GREAT! When is was said and done, I got two tomatoes from the plants. Small tomatoes!

Here is a side by side a fake lemon!

But here is the end result! We snacked on

Tomato, Basil & Mozarella tonight!
Homegrown tomatoes and homegrown basil!



Saturday, September 03, 2005

Current Favorite Comfort Food

A specialty of northern Italy, risotto has earned a place as a legendary Italian dish. Rich, creamy, and irrestible, it has become a favorite outside it's homeland as well. Because risotto can be embellished with any number of savory ingredients, from a wide variety of cheeses, vegetables, meats, and seafood as well as sweet additions such as dried fruit and chocolate, it will quickly become one of the most versatile and well-loved dishes in your cooking repertoire.

--Williams Sonoma Risotto book

I love it. LOVE It. A bowl of simple risotto will fill me up and make me feel better than most other foods. If I could get away with making it on a daily basis, I would. I hope you will give it a try and add it into your recipe book.

That said, risotto is a finicky temptress. She likes to have everything her way, all the time. Risotto isn't going to reheat very well. She won't hold out for a long time. Basically, make what you're going to eat and deal with it. Make sure you time your cooking just so, you want the risotto to be ready for the plate when everything else is ready.

Here is what I do to make basic risotto...I've stopped using a recipe, so most of my measurements are estimates.

1 cup of Arborio rice
5-6 cups of stock (veggie or chicken), kept hot in a separate pot.
1 small/medium onion, finely diced
2-3 TB olive oil
1 cup of real, top of the line Parmigiano Reggiano, DON'T use the green kraft substitutes please.
Chopped fresh parsley-optional, or other favorite fresh herbs
bite size pieces of par-boiled/cooked fresh veg (asparagus, green beans, peas or mushrooms)

In a medium saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Sweat the onion until translucent and tender, about five minutes.

Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat with the oil. Give the rice about a minute. Then add one cup of stock.

For about the next 18-25 minutes you will be repeating this process...add the stock, stir slowly to incorporate, simmer, as the stock cooks into the rice and evaporates, add another cup, repeat.

At about 15 minutes, really start to watch the rice. You will notice the rice grains get all fat and tender. Take a small taste, like pasta, you want an al dente bite to it. Sometimes I run out of stock before my rice is cooked completely. At this point, I'll add water, just to get it tender. No real flavor will be lost, as you've already used several cups of stock.

When you rice is cooked to the proper tenderness, remove from the heat and add in about 1/2 to 2/3rds of the grated parmesan. Stir to incorporate, it will melt and get all gooey. If you want to add any herbs, toss in now. This is also the time to stir in any veg you want to add.

Serve immediately.

As I said, this is my recipe. Later this fall, I'll post the infamous Pumpkin Risotto recipe I have. If I have had one dish requested more than any other, it's pumpkin risotto....I'm just saying!

Good luck and please do try this!!! I've had restaurant risotto once, it was good....but having your own is such a pleasure!