Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Meatless Monday...Veggie Curry

We've been doing a meatless dish a week here for a while.  Now we've decided to just pick a day to go meatless and be a little healthier in the process.  Part of our "what can we do to live in a healthier way" mindset for a while.  Why meatless...a lot of health reasons, not that this confirmed omnivore has any intentions of going vegan or vegetarian anytime soon.  Its just about balance and making sure we get enough fiber and veggies into our system each week.

I happen to have been doing a lot of curry type stuff of late.  The fun stuff with curry is there is no right nor wrong way to do it, there are as many variations as there are Indian grandmothers out there.  Pick and chose your favorite veggies, curries, spices and vary according to your own personal taste.

I served this with Garam Masala Rice...which is just rice made with a teaspoon of Garam Masala spice blend added to the rice.  And this wasn't exactly vegetarian as I cheated and used chicken broth, you can use veggie broth if you have some lying around, or just use plain water.

Veggie Curry 

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 1 red jalapeno minced
  • 1 small head cauliflower chopped
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can baby corn
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 T curry powder
  • 1 T Fennel Seed
  • 1 T Cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2T olive oil

In large sauce pan add olive oil and heat over medium high heat.  Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, fennel seed, cumin and cook until onion is translucent.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.  Add remaining ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to boil then reduce heat.  Cover and simmer until veggies are tender crisp about 15-20 minutes.  Serve over rice.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp

I know I have ranted about blueberries in the past, but if you can't pick your own wild buy the frozen wild from either Trader Joe's or Safeway's "O" brand.  Do not buy those dreadful grape sized flavorless gritty things that the markets try to pass off as blueberries, you are doing yourself a grave disservice if you do.  Call me a blueberry snob, I fit the profile.

That said, Rhubarb is in season.  That is one of those love it or hate it plant materials.  I love it. I remember getting a bit stalk as a kid and a bowl of sugar and eating it raw as a kid on my grandma's farm.  It was quite the treat.  And the things she would bake up with it were simply amazing and whenever I make it now it brings me right back to their kitchens.

Rhubarb is a very tart, stringy and tough stalk.  It does need to be pre-cooked, or at least that is how I remember it being done as a kid.  As it is very acrid I'd suggest you use a non-reactive pan when cooking it so you don't pick up any metallic aftertastes. Pre-cooking also tenderizes it so it will be perfectly tender to the tooth in your baked goods.

Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp

  • 3 stalks (about 2 c) diced rhubarb
  • 1 12 oz package frozen wild blueberry
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 1 1/2 c oat meal
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/4t cinnamon
  • 1/2 c butter melted

Combine rhubarb, sugar and water in sauce pan.  Bring to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and cool to room temperature.
Toss blueberries with corn starch.  Fold in rhubarb mixture.  Put into an 8"X8" baking pan
In mixing bowl with paddle attachment mix oat meal, flour,cinnamon and brown sugar until blended.  Slowly pour in butter with mixer on slow speed.  Mix until it resembles course sand.  Sprinkle mixture over fruit.  Put in 350F oven and bake 35-40 minutes until bubbly and top is browned.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Breakfast Pizza...just don't call it "Quiche" in my house

Call it a "Breakfast Pizza" and I get 100% compliance when it comes to eating it and raves at the brunch table.  Call it a "quiche" and oddly only the lovely Mrs and I will eat it.  Go figure, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck...

Breakfast Pizza

1 package crescent rolls
2 packages breakfast sausage
5 strips bacon
2 cups mixed shredded cheese blend
6 eggs 
1 cup heavy whipping cream
pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350F

Sprtiz 13X9 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Roll out the crescent rolls long wise in the pan.  pinch to seal the edges.

Cook the sausage and bacon.  Cut to bite size pieces and sprinkle over the dough.  Sprinkle cheese evenly over the meet. Combine egg, whipping cream, salt, pepper and pinch of cayenne.  Pour evenly over the meat and cheese.

Place in preheated oven and bake 30-40  minutes until eggs are set and center tests clean with a tooth pick.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cocktail du jour - the Sidecar Martini

Ah...I love a good classic cocktail.  The Sidecar Martini fits the bill for me.  Just the right blend of sweet and sour and oomph.
I use Korbel brandy, my brandy of choice for something like 23 years every since I toured their facility on our honey moon back in the day.  Its a pretty marvey moderately priced brandy that is smooth as silk.
I use the real deal Cointreau for the orange liqueur.  It too is perfectly smooth and orangey with no funky aftertaste that the lesser brands will leave you with.  Worth the splurge, plus it makes for the perfect Margarita. Stick with the best when making classic cocktails.
I use Meyer Lemons for the juice...mainly because I have a tree that creates quite the booty this time of year, but have used lesser Ponderosa that you usually find in the grocs to equal success.  Just don't buy those from concentrate plastic squeeze bottles.  Fresh is best.
This recipe makes a small pitcher enough for 4 Sidecars.

Sidecar Martini

  • 1 Cup Korbel Brandy
  • 1/2 C Cointreau
  • 1/4 C fresh squeezed lemon Juice
  • lemon peel and maraschino cherry for garnish
  • sugar

Combine liquors and lemon juice and stir well.  Chill before serving.
Using vegetable peeler peel a strip of zest from lemon.  Skewer peel strip with cherry.  Cut lemon.  Rub lemon half on rim of glass and dip in sugar to coat.  Pour in chilled Sidecar mix.  Serve and enjoy!

ZOMG TV Chefs to the Rescue for a dinner party

I was totally not going to use my dinner guests as guinea pigs for test recipes so I opted to go with what looked good on TV this week or in my recipe archive of things I had been meaning to try.  For the former it was Cauliflower Gratin from Laura Calder whom I adore on Cooking TVs French Food at Home.  For the latter it was Alton Brown's Molasses and Coffee Pork Chops that served as the protein for the event.

A couple of things on the pork chops.  I didn't have ground ginger so I opted for fresh ginger that I always have on hand. I used a microplane to prep the ginger for the marinade. A caveat too, since you do have molasses and apple cider vinegar in the marinade that you reduce down to a glaze for the chops after they are grilled use a non-reactive sauce pan to reduce the marinade.  That would be a stainless steel  or stainless steel lined sauce pot to prevent picking up a metallic aftertaste in the glaze.
In the end my dinner guests were so impressed with the meal I sent them home with the recipes so they can duplicate the results at home for themselves.  Do click the links and try it sometime, they are very easy to do and the results are pretty amazing.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Things we're working on in fraz's kitchen

Sometimes things just flow right out of the kitchen, other times it takes a few tries.  I have a few things going on these days in the kitchen that will eventually make it here.

First off I am trying to top a brownie with a 7 layer bar....sometimes called a magic cookie bar depending where you are in the country.  I thought how cool would it be to switch out the graham cracker crust for a brownie.  First attempt I wound up burning the brownie base before the topping turned to caramel.  I'm stubborn and will get it to work, have no fear.

Next thing I am working on is finding yet another use for all those Meyer lemons I have laying about.  Don't get me wrong, lemon bars are a hit around here, but am thinking lemon cheese cake bars with a cheese cake layer on top of the lemon curd would be fun.  First attempt I got a funky cheesy lemony topping that didn't quite work.  Tasted fine but the texture was wrong.  Will get it right eventually and blog it here too.

Lastly I lost my carrot cake recipe given to me by my friend Dee Dallaire from Phoenix from when I lived there back in the mid-80's.  Oh noes.  I need it for this Friday for a dinner party I am hosting.  Either gotta find it or try to recreate it from memory.  All I remember was that it included pineapple to tart it up...or was that another recipe?  Yikes.