Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Who is Sick of Leftovers? -- Easy Chicken and Shrimp Curry

I'm not a leftovers person. I just cannot eat the same thing for dinner two nights in a row--it just doesn't work. So while I love Thanksgiving and all of the glorious food it provides (post to come about all the wonderful stuff that was on our table last week!), after about one turkey sandwich the next day I'm pretty much done with it.

Me and Finn preparing our contributions to Thanksgiving Dinner

This year my momentum for cooking slowed after making whiskey cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts with caramelized onions and bacon, and a pumpkin cheesecake. It did not translate to creative genius in making leftovers stomach-able for the following days.

I made broth from the turkey carcass and saved some stripped meat for a recipe and... did nothing with it. How long does turkey last? I still really REALLY want to make Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini but I fear it might be passed. I'm blaming the onset of cold/flu that I've been dealing with since Black Friday and not my laziness on my lack of cooking, by the way. Yep. Don't want to be Typhoid Mary and infect everyone with my current illness, no!

I have so many pumpkin recipes and pictures. Pumpkin is still relevant until Christmas, right?

This is a suitable lunch for a hike, yeah? My friends think so.
This was a fun day.

The leftover-phobia isn't good for my 20-something budget, no sir. Especially a 20-something budget for a 20-something who loves trying new recipes and spends too much money on things like truffle oil and mascarapone cheese. Sigh. I need to get better at this, I know. I KNOW.

Anyway. If you're sick of turkey too, you should try this instead. Hey, I bet you could even use leftover turkey bits (they're almost chicken, yeah?) and any straggler shrimp cocktail shrimps that are still hanging out in your fridge--actually, on second thought, no, don't do that. Seafood is rather ooky after even just 24 hours in the fridge.

...nobody can tell that these were just pictures I've had foreverrr and felt the need to blog about, right? Right. I'll unfortunately be fashionably late with my Thanksgiving post because, uh, reasons.

Here is a picture of my cat instead.

This is an excellent curry and a nice change of pace from Thanksgiving food. Also I've heard spicy food helps with a cold so I need to whip up a batch of this, and soon. In the future I might add some mango or pineapple chunks to give it a burst of sweetness, plus a bit more curry and spice. It was a mild curry for sure, and I like my curry hot.

Easy Chicken and Shrimp Curry
(Recipe from One Life to Eat)

  • 2-3 cups of shrimp – raw or cooked – deveined, shelled and thawed
  • 1 large boneless chicken breast
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, or one can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (use a mortar and pestle or buy the pre-pureed stuff and mix together)
  • 4 tablsepoons vegetable oil + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, separated
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Paprika powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • a handful of chopped cilantro leaves

-In a large pot, heat 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil. When well heated, fry the onions on medium heat. When the onions are softened and translucent, add the ginger-garlic paste. Mix well and allow to fry for about 30 seconds.

-Add the chopped tomatoes with the tomato paste. When the tomatoes are soft and well incorporated with the onions, turn off the heat, and empty the contents of the pot in a food processor. Add 1/4 cup water to the mixture and blend into a paste.

-In the same pot you used before, heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil on medium heat. Once well heated, reduce heat to low and then add the Bay leaves, and allow to fry for a minute, then add the blended onion and tomato paste. Allow the paste to re-fry for 30 seconds or so.

-Mix in all the dry spices. After a minute of stirring, add the coconut milk and mix everything well together
Add salt to taste, and allow the gravy to simmer on low heat for 1-2 minutes.

-Just before serving, add the shrimp and allow it to cook in the curry until pink and cooked through. Season with lemon juice and garnish with Cilantro leaves, serve with steamed white rice

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Busy Beeing as per usual, and Apple Cider Donuts

Yup, these pictures are bad. I told you, I'm working on it. I AM WORKING ON IT.

I've let my acting hobby take up so much of my free time lately that when I do have a chance to bake, or cook, I don't have a chance to actually take the time to photograph it well. My box of food props and back drops goes sadly unused in my closet and when I snap a picture or two of my food it looks like a picture I would have taken two years ago. Sigh.

I live with a legit photographer, I really have no excuse for shoddy pictures. If nothing else I should be attempting to bribe my roommate with my baked goods in exchange for snapping a few shots.

I fear I'll miss out on the awesome Thanksgiving Recipe Blog stuff too. MISSING A HOLIDAY ON A FOOD BLOG IS NO GOOD.

On the upside, I'm spending lots of time with my theater friends, putting on some absolutely fabulous shows that I truly am proud of (this weekend at the Shea Theater we're doing the last run of Streetcar Named Desire, and coming up in December I'll be playing Rhoda in White Christmas), and finding some time to cuddle up with my new kitten:

And my new... boyfriend...?

Yep, that happened. Sorry I've kept you guys so out of the loop. I do apologize. What's a food blog without a little piece of my personal life thrown in? We met on a dating site of all places, but discovered we had a mutual friend who could verify that neither one of us was/is a serial killer. He had a step above the competition because his messages had no grammatical errors of note (if you've ever been on a dating site you know how rare this is). It's been a whirlwind romance but it's still fun.

Can you believe I haven't cooked for him yet? Seriously. This needs to be remedied.

Anyways, these adorable little donuts--I swear, they're adorable, and tasty, pay no attention to the pictures--have been a staple in my apartment this fall. I've brought them to numerous gatherings and play rehearsals and they were all devoured in minutes. I had one friend claim they even rivaled the ones you can get at a local orchard, which is a great compliment. The original recipe did not suggest rolling in cinnamon and sugar BUT smart people know that an apple cider donut is not an apple cider donut without a thick coating of cinnamon sugar.

I used my mini donut maker (which I got from a Groupon deal for $5 this past summer--boo-yah!) but I am sure you could use a donut pan just as easy. Or, mini muffin tins to make "donut holes" hehe.

Apple Cider Mini Donuts
(Recipe from The Babycakes Shop)

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon

-Reduce apple cider over medium heat until 1/4 cup remains.

-Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a mixing bowl.  Add vegetable oil, egg, buttermilk, and apple cider liquid. Stir until well blended.

-Fill each cooking reservoir with about 1 tablespoon of batter. Bake 4 to 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into donut comes out clean.

-Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Immediately toss hot donuts in the mixture.

Friday, November 9, 2012

World's Best Chicken? Skeptical. Truffle Oil Brussels Sprouts? -- I'm a Believer.

Crappy Pictures still because I don't have time to figure stuff out right now

So. This Pinterest thing. Apparently it's the new big deal, right? The Next Big Thing.

Well, aside from being an epic time waster, I haven't been too thrilled with it. I'll spend ten minutes or so on it every so often, and try to diligently pin my recipes on my blog because it doesn't have the same rigid restrictions as Tastespotting or Food Gawker... but overall, meh.

I guess it is the reason I'm dying for a pair of oxblood skinny jeans.... but that's neither here nor there.

However, I do have a new somewhat-related obsession: Pintester. This lady actually goes through and tests the most popular pins and gives her reviews--with all the pith and snark of an excellent humor blog. It's awesome to read because I KNOW that I'd have similar results. Pinterest tricks us all into thinking we're Martha Stewart, making magnificent works of household art with mere items you find around your house. But, if half of us were to actually TRY these "EASY!" pins, we'd have similar results to dear Pintester. Which is why the blog is so hilarious.

Anyways, I was inspired to try my hand at testing a pin. And so, I give you, "World's Best Chicken," also known as "Man Pleasing Chicken" --pretty sure the "World's Best Chicken" link I have there is where it originated, but who knows.

Since at this point I was still sans-man (uhh... developments there recently, more info to come) my roommate was my taste-tester. We joke that we switch off who is the "husband" and who is the "wife" based on who is cooking dinner that night because we are mature adults with a juvenile sense of humor and because we're kind of feminists so we can joke about traditional gender roles and such and it's totally okay, right?? Uh. Yeah, let's go with that for now and hope the fellow feminists don't come after me. Click that link, it's awesome. Anyway.

It's a very simple recipe, and odds are if you cook at all or even just eat at all you probably have most of the ingredients on hand, save for the rosemary. Just mix the stuff together, drizzle on chicken, bake.

World's Best Chicken
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper
  • Rosemary

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together mustard, syrup, and vinegar. Place chicken breasts into 9×13 baking dish. Season with salt & pepper.

The verdict? Eh... My roommate liked it. It definitely is flavorful--like, really, crazy flavorful. Almost too much. I, personally, had pretty crazy indigestion afterwards, probably due to all the salt and crazy flavoring.However, you must remember I have a sensitive digestive system thanks to getting my gallbladder out last spring, so take from that what you will. If I were to do it again I might bread the chicken and use the sauce as an afterthought rather than bake it in the stuff. It's just too much. I imagine kids would LOVE this though--it's kind of like chicken fingers baked in your favorite sauce.

The real star of this meal I made wasn't something I pinned at all. Actually, this fun little side dish seems to outshine the main course in most situations. And yeah, it's totally a coincidence I had this post lined up for today and it totally goes along with Sarah's at A Dash and a Pinch--and her pictures blow mine out of the water so go check it out. Basically, if I'm unsure as to whether or not I'll like a particular recipe, I make these, so I know I'll have something I love just in case.

Truffle Oil Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 package (or bunch) brussels sprouts
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • drizzle of truffle oil*

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper and arrange in a single file on a baking sheet. Drizzle with as much truffle oil as you'd like.**

-Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crispy and cooked through.

*Truffle oil is pricey, I know. However, if you live near a TJMaxx or Marshall's, they often have reasonably priced bottles in their gourmet food section. This is my new go-to supplier of truffle oil AND saffron for that matter.

**I know you're supposed to add truffle oil post-baking because of the chemical composition or whatnot. However, when I do this, the oil flavor is just too intense. I like adding it before baking to ensure a slight truffle oil flavor that is not overpowering to the delicious vegetable itself.