Thursday, May 27, 2010

settling into my new digs

You may have noticed that I have been nesting. Yes, I have been decorating my little blog. Who knew that there were so many "accessories" for blogs! I changed the main picture - how do you like them apples?- added a widget here, changed the colour there. I even added some music for your listening pleasure.(CTL END)

Decorating is a passion of mine that started way back. I believe it was the Friendly Giant who started this obsession..... "just move this little chair here to a cozy spot by the fireplace" while Jerome the giraffe softly played his flute in the background. It was my favourite show as a little girl. Ahh, happy place.

But now that I have everything in order and my OCD tendencies have been satisfied, it is time for a recipe.

I have been loving Indian food lately and have been making it quite a bit. I seem to change it up every time I make it and sometimes the Great White Hunter makes it. This time, I did.

Curried Chicken
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 28 oz. can tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic
2 Serrano peppers
3 tbsp medium or hot Patak's curry paste
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup red wine
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt, Balkan style

Saute onions, garlic and peppers in a frying pan with a little oil until tender. Process onions, garlic, peppers and undrained tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Set aside. Cut chicken into bite size chunks and cook in saute pan with a little oil. Add the processed mixture to pan along with remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer. Add yogurt.

2 cups plain yogurt, Balkan style
1 cucumber, peeled, finely chopped and drained
2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup chopped cilantro or mint

Combine all ingredients.

Fresh Tomato Chutney
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 chopped cilantro
Hot fresh chili pepper
1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients

Serve with basmati rice and Naan bread. I usually buy President's Choice Naan bread. Cut a clove of garlic in half and rub one side of the Naan. Wrap in foil and warm in oven. Brush with melted butter.

I had an amazing mango salad at my cousin's. She made it to accompany a wonderful Thai dinner, but I thought that it would also go with this Indian dinner so I added a few different spices. I thought it complemented the meal well.

Mango Salad
1 mango, julienned
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp mayo

Combine all ingredients.

There are so many different types of peppers and in the store it is sometimes difficult to determine the varieties unless they are labeled, which often they are not. This site defines some peppers as well as shows the heat level.

Friday, May 14, 2010

mother's day weekend

To celebrate Mother's day and my sister's birthday most of my family gathered at our house for the weekend. Our house seems to be the gathering place and I am totally okay with that in my control freakish, first born child, Monica Gellerish sort of way. My sister's birthday and Mother's Day happened to fall on the same day this year so we decided to celebrate her birthday on Saturday night. The menu planning began as soon as the gathering was proposed. What could I make that she would really like? Well, she loves potatoes so we could have potato salad, scalloped potatoes and baked potatoes. Wait. We've already done that!

So, instead I decided to make Greek dinner for
the Potato Princess because everyone loves Greek dinner.

Pork Souvlaki
Greek Lemon Potatoes
Greek Rice
Pita Bread
Greek Salad

Moussaka Recipe
How do you say "comfort food" in Greek? I think it is "Moussaka"! This is a recipe that I have tweaked over the years. Mine is actually "Mooseaka" because I make it using moose meat. My husband is the Great White Hunter and I always substitute moose meat for beef. Moussaka is made in three layers.

Meat Sauce Layer
1 onion
4 or 5 cloves of garlic
2 tsp. oil
2 lbs ground meat
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 sm can tomato paste
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Cook meat in pan with oil, onions and garlic. Add remaining ingredients and simmer while you are preparing next layers.

Vegetable Layer
2 small zucchini
1 medium eggplant
4 or 5 medium russet potatoes
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Peel potatoes, wash zucchini and eggplant. Slice all vegetables so that they are about 1/2 inch thick. Layer on parchment lined cookie sheets. Drizzle with oil and add salt and freshly ground pepper. Broil in oven until slightly browned. Turn and broil other side until slightly browned and vegetables are tender.

Bechamel Sauce
6 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
salt and pepper
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Melt butter and add flour to create a roux. Slowly add milk and stir with whisk while cooking on medium heat. Continue stirring until sauce thickens. Add remaining ingredients and continue whisking until thickened and bubbly. Set aside.

In a baking dish layer the meat sauce on the bottom. Then evenly layer the veggies over top. Finally add the sauce and sprinkle with a little nutmeg for colour. Bake in 350 oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

My other sister, the twisted one, made these two amazing cakes for dessert -

One for the Potato Princess

And one for Mother's Day

However, my Twisted Sista, in keeping with her non-conformist reputation, wrote this sentiment on the Mother's Day Cake.


The decision for the Mother's Day menu was taken completely out of my hands. My mother printed a recipe from the Internet, presented it to the guys and said, "I think this is what you should make for Mother's Day Brunch." The recipe was for Strata and it had to sit overnight so after dinner on Saturday night, they proceeded to make the Strata for the following morning's brunch. I must say they were good sports about it and it only took about 2 hours and 2 - 3 Rusty Nails.

It is a thing in our family, that when there is a special occasion - birthday, anniversary or whatever - we must cook. I suppose it is our way of showing we care. So my mother, by giving the guys a recipe, was ensuring that us mothers were going to be cooked for, damn it! Thanks for stepping up to the plates, guys. We feel the love.

P.S. The strata was yummy.

Friday, May 7, 2010

celebrating cinco de mayo

Cinco de Mayo, translated as the 5th of May, is a Mexican holiday celebrating the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. Yes, another excuse to eat and drink! So in keeping with the theme (I love themes), I cooked with Tequila.

Actually, I started warming up last Friday night when I made Chili Chicken Nachos.

Chili Chicken Nachos
Tortilla Chips
3 cups (750 mL) diced or shredded cooked chicken
8 oz (250 g) shredded cheese (2 cups/500 mL)
(I used a combination of cheddar and mozzarella)

2 tbsp (30 mL) Jamaican Jerk Rub*
1 small yellow or red bell pepper or combination
1 lime
2 tbsp (30 mL) snipped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup (50 mL) sour cream
1 tsp (5 mL) additional Jamaican Jerk Rub* (optional)
1 jalapeno, sliced

In a bowl, combine chicken, cheese and 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the rub; mix gently. Sprinkle chicken mixture evenly over tortilla chips. Bake 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted; remove from oven to cooling rack.

Meanwhile, dice bell pepper. Cut lime in half crosswise. Juice half of the lime into a small bowl (I use a fork); add bell pepper and remaining rub and mix well.

Snip cilantro. Slice remaining limes; cut slices in half.

Spoon bell pepper mixture over nachos; sprinkle evenly with cilantro. Combine sour cream and additional rub in resealable plastic bag; trim corner to allow sour cream to flow through. Pipe sour cream mixture over nachos. Enjoy!

* Jamaican Jerk Rub is a Pampered Chef product

Then on the actual day of Cinco de Mayo, I continued....

Tequila-Spiked Queso Fundido

Preheat oven to 350° F.

1/3 cup chopped, seeded Serrano peppers
(if you like it hotter, leave the seeds in)
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup tequila

In a medium oven proof skillet, saute pepper and onion in hot oil until tender. Remove pan from heat and carefully add tequila. Return to heat and simmer, for about 30 seconds or until most of the tequila has evaporated but the veggies are still moist.

1 1/2 cups shredded Chihuahua, queso quesadilla, and/or Monterey Jack cheese
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

In a medium bowl, toss cheese and flour. Sprinkle cheese mixture over the onions and peppers. Bake, uncovered about 10 minutes or until cheese is just melted.

1/3 cup finely chopped tomato
3 tbsp snipped cilantro

Sprinkle with tomato and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips. Don't touch the handle. Just ask me, I know.

And then we had.....

Fish Tacos

1 lb fresh or frozen firm-flesh fish fillets (I used halibut)
1/4 cup tequila
2 tbsp lime juice
1 fresh jalapeno or Serrano pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves minced garlic

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over fish and marinate in fridge for 30 minutes , turning fish occasionally. Preheat oven to 350° F

6 - 6 inch flour tortillas

Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in oven for about 10 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Drain fish and discard marinade. Pat fish dry. Place fish on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Broil 4 inches from the heat for about 5 minutes. Carefully, turn the fish and broil for a further 3 to 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Mix together in small bowl:

1/2 cup diced
1/2 cup diced mango

1/2 cup diced red pepper

1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp lime juice

Mix together in small bowl:

1/2 cup mayo
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce

Place shredded lettuce on warmed tortilla shells. Divide chopped veggies and chunks of fish on shells. Top with a generous dollop of sauce. Fold tortillas in half over filling. Yummy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

trying it on for size

People that know me may have noticed that in the past few years I have entered "Life's Fitting Room" many times to try on a new "outfit". Sometimes it's obvious right there in the store that this "outfit" is just not going to work, kind of like that J. Lo bikini that would have looked great twenty years ago but is absolutely not working right here and right now. And sometimes you think it looks great in the store, only to wear it a few times and decide that it's just not you. Sometimes, {sigh} you outgrow them and sometimes they just become old and worn.

So this blog, is my newest "outfit". The cooking portion of the outfit has been in my closet forever and I have worn it over and over again. In fact, it is a very comfortable piece. But now I am adding something new to the ensemble and so far it feels pretty good but I will have to wear it for a while to determine whether it is me or not.

So.........what do you think, does this blog make my butt look fat?
Related Posts with Thumbnails