I have a great idea for dinner this week – Thai Coconut Chicken and Noodles. This dish comes together quickly, easily and tastes way more complex than the ingredients suggest. I was able to find all of the ingredients at my local, big box grocery store. Agave nectar, red curry paste, coconut milk and fish sauce are great pantry staples that you will use over and over again once you have them. Any noodle will do, really, but I used udon noodles, which are a Japanese wheat noodle. I served mine over a bed of baby spinach to add color and dark leafy greens to the mix. Ethnic comfort food at its best. Saucy and delicious! Enjoy.
Chicken Madras Curry July 11, 2010
On Fridays, we like to eat dinner at home. It’s a nice way to unwind from the week and catch up again before the weekend takes off. This past Friday, I had to work (cooking, of course), so I knew in advance that I wanted dinner to be simple, tasty, and comforting. I went to my recipe binder and came across this old favorite – Chicken Madras Curry. Yahtzee!
My friend Jennifer gave me this recipe years ago after having enjoyed it at her house. Ever since, it’s been a standard of mine that continues to satisfy. I’ve tweaked it a bit over the years in the spice department, and I’ve made some substitutes along the way, such as replacing heavy cream with lite coconut milk.
It’s a one-pot meal, which is nice. It calls for a variety of toppings including chopped apple, green onions, raisins, and peanuts or cashews – so everyone can “have it their way.”
The word “curry” actually comes from a word that means “sauce,” and is used to refer any number of spicy, saucy dishes. Curry powders are usually blends of spices, herbs, and seeds. I buy a lot of my spices online from Penzeys. They have an entire page devoted to curry powders, including salt-free blends and tips for choosing the right spice for your tastebuds. Enjoy!
Zucchini Patties with Yogurt Cucumber Sauce June 24, 2010
Last week, I went to the farmers’ market in search of squash blossoms for recipe testing. I searched high and low and was not able to find them. Since I had squash on the brain, I bought some zucchini, as I was intent on trying something new with this summer staple.
Inspired by several sources, I came up with these Zucchini Patties with Yogurt Cucumber Sauce. These tasty little patties can be made “mini” and served as one-bite appetizers with dollops of yogurt cucumber sauce on top. Or, serve three small patties as a lovely starter.
Keep this recipe dairy free by skipping the feta cheese and replacing the egg with a mixture of 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water. Just stir the ground flaxseed and water and allow it to sit for several minutes before adding to zucchini mixture. You can serve the patties with wedges of fresh lemon.
Summer squash come in all sorts of varieties including zucchini, yellow crookneck, and patty pan. They should feel plump and firm and appear unblemished with glossy skin. When it comes to choosing squash, smaller is better and they should feel heavy for their size. Also see recipes for Summer Squash Salad and Zucchini Bread. Enjoy the bounty of summer!
Grilled Salmon with Dill-Pistachio Pistou May 31, 2010
Turkey Meatballs with Pesto April 15, 2010
Earlier this week, I mentioned that I was trying a new recipe with Portobello mushrooms – Portobello Pizzas, to be exact. I had high hopes, which were not met, so I am not posting the recipe here. I don’t know, as much as I love the idea of using a mushroom cap as a pizza crust, they just weren’t great. I mean, they were good enough, but I’m not looking for good enough. I’m looking for super yummy, in a “pass it on” kind of way. Alas, it is in this spirit that I present Turkey Meatballs with Pesto. The pesto packs such a flavor punch that you get to skip fussing with all the seasonings and you won’t miss the fat typically found in the beefy version.
I suggest you make your own pesto. Arugula is in season now and it makes a delightful pesto – try it. Freeze whatever remains and use it in the future for a dip (mixed with plain yogurt), as a topping for fish or chicken, as a dressing for pasta, or for more meatballs!
Also, in my mission to spring clean my cupboards and refrigerator, I used flax meal as an egg substitute, which keeps this recipe dairy-free. To replace one egg, simply mix one tablespoon of flax meal with three tablespoons of water and let it sit for two minutes. It works like a charm in this recipe. Enjoy!
Chicken with Dijon, Sage, and Parmesan March 21, 2010
I’ve been out of town for a while, so tonight was the first night my husband and I have shared a home cooked meal in weeks. Given the special occasion, I asked my husband what he would like for dinner. He said, “How about that chicken?” I knew what he meant immediately. I make this Chicken with Dijon, Sage, and Parmesan and it’s totally yummy.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are covered in a Dijon mustard sauce. Then they are dredged in a toasted bread crumb mixture that includes sage and finely grated Parmesan cheese. I use Panko bread crumbs, which are the Japanese version of bread crumbs, because they are crisp, light, and flaky.
Dijon mustard is one of those condiments I use a lot for adding bold flavor. Other easy, go-to items for flavor include capers, olives, citrus juice, citrus zest, fresh herbs, garlic, fresh ground pepper, and of course, salt. I use sea salt to avoid chemical additives and processing. Maldon is some of the best. I also use Celtic Sea Salt, which comes in both coarse and fine grains. Both can be found on the Internet or in gourmet grocery stores.
Small Plates With Big Taste March 5, 2010
My brother-in-law was in charge of the grill and I was in charge of the sides. I have been wanting to experiment with several tapas recipes and this turned out to be the perfect occasion. Tapas, or small plates, make perfect side dishes and are a fun way to try new things. Yippee!
I started with Roasted Vidalia Onions. Roasting them brings out their sweet, mellow flavor. Topped with Gorgonzola cheese, pine nuts, and chives, these onions practically melt in your mouth. They are a wonderful accompaniment to grilled meat.
Traditional Garlic Shrimp is a very simple dish that packs big flavor. It comes together in minutes. Spinach, Catalan-style was also a big hit. Apples, pine nuts, and raisins are tossed with sautéed spinach making it anything other than typical. I like the idea of using small plates as a way to add big taste to family meals – hopefully you will too!
What’s for Dinner? Chicken Marbella February 26, 2010
I first heard of Chicken Marbella at Three Stone Hearth, and now I wonder where I’ve been all this time. As I went searching for the original recipe, I realized that it has quite the following. Apparently this was one of the first dishes served at The Silver Palate ( if you don’t have The Silver Palate cookbook, go get it).
At first glance, it may seem like an odd combination of chicken, capers, green olives, and prunes. Yes, prunes; but it works wonderfully. The bold flavors are a wonderful combination of sweet and salty. The kitchen makes their version extra nutritious and delicious by adding sweet sliced carrots. I like the addition of carrots for color, taste, and texture. I also had the pleasure of topping it all off with fresh parsley growing in my sister’s garden. I’ve adapted both recipes a bit for home cooking. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine did!
Rice Pudding with Almonds and Apricots January 25, 2010
It’s been raining like crazy! I am very happy indoors, stirring up some new things, including this Rice Pudding with Almonds and Apricots.
At the kitchen where I’m working, they make a heavenly coconut milk rice pudding with raisins, so I’ve had rice pudding on the brain. This one has a different twist. Brown rice is mixed with almond milk and infused with orange zest, cardamom, and cinnamon. It is best served warm and topped with toasted, sliced almonds. I even enjoy it for breakfast in a “hot breakfast cereal” sort of way. If you have leftover brown rice, this dish comes together very quickly. Just skip the section on preparing rice and add 2 cups of cooked rice to the recipe for pudding.
Almonds are high in healthy, monounstaurated fats and cinnamon was named as one of the “11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating” in one of my favorite blogs. On top of it all, this recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and packed with whole grains. What are you waiting for?