Sunday, February 28, 2010

Soul Satisfying Chicken Curry

It has been a snowy couple of days in the Northeast so that always inspires me to cook up something that warms me to my in browsing through my stack of cooking magazines that I now have the opportunity to read since I am snowed in with a day off work and the kids are having a pajama movie marathon I have discovered a winner!!! This is adapted from Bon Appetit, I have changed it slightly to make it a little less involved....the spices make this recipe look like a lot of ingredients BUT if you like Indian food you will use these spices over and over!! I did cut the spice measurements in half from the original recipe so that it is not overpowering as well as ensuring the kids will eat it too, but feel free to double the measurements if you have a LOVE of Indian spices (or save half in a labeled zip- lock bag for ease the next time you make this because trust me you will want to make it again really soon!!) we go!!!

Serves 6 (the leftovers are divine!!)

Spice mixture (combine in a small bowl together)
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (I couldn't find this ground so I chopped the seeds finely with a good knife)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like spicy!!)
5 Tbsp canola oil
1 head of cauliflower cut into 1-inch florets
Kosher salt
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs trimmed and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 bunch green onions (white and green parts chopped separately)
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
2 garlic cloves , peeled and chopped
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1Tbsp peanut butter
1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped (recipe called for dried cherries but I had cranberries)
1 1/2 cups FROZEN peas
1/3 cup coconut shavings (these are inexpensive and a very WORTHWHILE ingredient!!), lightly toasted (either on a tray in toaster oven or dry saute pan on stove top)
White basmati or jasmine Thai rice for serving

Prep everything first as listed above and then the hard work is done! At this point it is safe to pour a glass of wine....if your favorite cooking music isn't already on have your husband/significant other put Olympic Curling on mute and rock out some tunes (can you hear Michael B singing to me!) Let the magic begin.....

Prepare rice according to package directions. Heat 3 Tbsp of oil in a large deep pot over medium-high heat, add cauliflower and lightly salt, saute until slightly golden brown (6-7 min), remove and set aside. Add remaining 2 Tbsp oil and add chicken pieces (try not to crowd pan, may need to do in 2 batches depending on size of your pan), season again with salt and freshly ground pepper. Saute until golden brown (it is ok if little bits stick to the bottom of pan...that is what I call flavor goodness!!) Remove chicken and set aside. Add the white part of onions, garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant about 1 min, add spice mixture and cook another 30 seconds or until it instantly smells like you have transported your kitchen to India. Stir in chicken broth being sure to now scrape and flavor goodness bits off the bottom of the pan to make the start to a unbelievable sauce, add in tomatoes, peanut butter and dried cranberries and stir all together bringing to a simmer. Add cauliflower and chicken in and simmer for 20 minutes. Add frozen peas and cook 5 minutes more. Serve a generous ladle full over rice and sprinkle with toasted coconut and green onions......drum roll please........YUM!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cheesesteaks baby!!

Ok...first I have to say that this may sound a little "fancy" in comparison to the king of all cheesesteaks and by that I mean "Philly Cheesesteaks" but I promise if you give it a whirl even the one that pays homage to "man food" in your house will be singing your praises and may even fold that basket of laundry that has been haunting you for the last week! I make this an open-faced sandwich so that you can pile on all the goodness and not fill your belly with too many carbs in the process!! Ingredients are pretty important to me....when I can I always opt for organic produce, whole grains and grass-fed beef (basically nothing with artificial fillers/ingredients or hormones) Yes it is true that these ingredients can be a bit pricier but my philosophy is you get one body so pay now or pay later!!

Serves 4 (can easily be doubled!)

1 loaf of ciabatta bread
1 steak approx 1.5-2lbs (sirloin is fine but if you can swing it filet mignon is heavenly)
2 green peppers sliced
2 yellow peppers sliced
2 onions sliced
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 clove garlic cut in half
1 5 oz bag of arugula
1 package sliced mushrooms (optional)
4 oz sliced Jarlsberg cheese (or any other good swiss)
4 oz grated Gruyere cheese
crushed red pepper
salt and freshly ground pepper
2-3 tbsp Olive oil

Preheat grill/ grill pan to medium heat. In a separate pan heat olive oil in saute over medium heat, add sliced peppers, mushrooms and onions sprinkle with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste. Saute over medium-low heat until peppers are soft and onions are translucent approx 10-15 min. While that cooks rub the steak with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, grill medium heat 6 minutes first side, 5 minutes second side for medium rare (or until desired doneness but remember steak will cook a bit more when you broil the sandwich) Remove from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 min. Add chopped garlic to onion mixture and cook 5 minutes more being careful not to burn the garlic. Set aside, keep warm. Sliced the ciabatta bread in half lengthwise so you have two open-faced halves. Drizzle the cut side with olive oil and either toast oil side down on a grill pan or in broiler until golden brown. Remove from grill and rub toasted side with halves of garlic. Slice steak thin. Spread arugula evenly over both halves of bread, top with onion, pepper mixture, slices of steak, then top with sliced Jarlsberg then the grated Gruyere. Place until broiler at high heat for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden. Cut each half in half again and serve with forks and knives, a yummy glass of vino (milk for the kids!!) Pop on some Michael Buble tunes, light a candle because we need a little ambiance after our day of work and kids and connect with whom ever you have decided to share this scrumptious meal with !! Enjoy!