Tag Archives: curry

Kiribati…

Friday, August 9 –

Tell you what, changing the blog from every week to every other week probably saved the entire project. I’m back to looking forward to it and hope that you are too!photo(26)

For this dinner we had Mr. Hero, WingWoman, BestestFianceEver, and yours truly. Eventually CoinSlot and MoneyShot showed up too.

I made the three lobster tails exactly as it is written below (thawed, cut, cracked, pulled from the shell, placed on top, then baked). I also made the sauce as written, but probably with a little bit more curry powder. On the side I caramelized some onions and cooked some white rice. WingWoman brought some rockfish and we salted and peppered them, putting them into the oven at the same time as the lobster. Everything turned out pretty good. People were generally fans of changing the typical melted butter for the lobster to the sauce. It had a little bit of a kick but not too much for the not-too-spicy people. Overall, the dinner was a win.

Now that I’m working on making the blog better I have a new rule that I’m going to try to stick with, which is no more than six people to any dinner. It will keep the timing of the meals easier and the overall cost down. So if you’re interested in one of the meals, speak up before your chance is gone! And if you want to host a dinner at your house, it’s up to you to set how many people are invited.

Looking forward to Korea! Cheers!

Kiribati
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://globaltableadventure.com)

Roasted Lobster Tails with Coconut Curry Dipping Sauce

  • 4 Australian lobster tails (frozen)
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp homemade curry powder
  • salt

Method:  How to make a fancy lobster tail at home: Thaw tails overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 375F. (1) Then, using kitchen shears, cut each one down the back, stopping at the last segment before the tail piece. (2) Take hands and bend back the tail until you hear a loud crack. Run fingers between the meat and the bottom membrane, freeing tail meat from the shell. (3) Pull meat up and over the shell, pressing the shell shut beneath it. (4) The tail meat can thus piggyback on top of the shell. Give it the lobster meat a generous coating of oil. Bake for 1 1/2 minutes per ounce of weight. TIP: Have the fishmonger tell you what each tail weighs (or wrap them up separately so the tag will tell you). My tails weren’t all the same size, so I just took the smaller ones out first so as not to overcook them. Meanwhile, whisk together curry powder in a small saucepan with the coconut milk and salt. I used light coconut milk, but you can go as rich as you’d like. Cook until hot. To finish off this meal, serve the curry mixture on the side, instead of butter. Serve with rice.


Ghana…

Wednesday, December 12 –

This dinner, hosted by Hot Momma, was like a family dinner that happened to be a blog post. So much goodness when I can share dinner with the besties in my life. We also had GrandpaBear, BabyBear,  photo(8)SlotMachine, MoneyShot, and of course my BestestFianceEver.

I knew that taking the time to put all the shrimp on skewers to bake them wasn’t going to happen, so I decided to make a curry dish out of it on the stove and serve it over rice. Maybe not true to form for the recipe, but much more appealing on a cold winter night.

So I started with melting butter in a pan, adding onions and cooking until translucent and aromatic. In next went button mushrooms, which I cut in half. Then I liberally sprinkled salt over the veggies and added the curry powder and the white pepper. Once the spices were incorporated I added the lemon juice and the tomato juice. I let the liquid heat up and then I added the shelled, de-veined shrimp. It wasn’t quite right, so I started adding more curry powder, black pepper, and a few drops of hot sauce. It was much better with those added to it. I let that simmer until the shrimp were pink throughout and then I served it over rice that Hot Momma had cooked in a rice cooker.

SlotMachine made a green salad to go with dinner and gari biscuits (more about those later). Dinner was served!

I think that the curry dish left a lot to be desired (more spice, coconut milk, more veggies) but the base of it was pretty decent. Some of the people thought it was too spicy (sorry!) but I thought that it had just the right kick. The gari dish was pretty terrible. It tasted like paste with some sugar on top. Definitely not recommended!

All in all we had lots of wine, a few spicy mouths, and some sass talk. Perfect for a Wednesday night! Next up is Gibraltar – on 12/21/12 – which could be the end of the world! Let me know if you’re interested in joining us.

Ghanaphoto(9)
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.ghananation.com)

Shrimp Kebabs

  • 2 pounds fresh large shrimp, cleaned
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • l/2 pound mushrooms (optional)
  • l/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • Rice to serve

Directions: Season Shrimp with lemon juice and salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Clean Mushrooms. Mix remaining ingredients together. Alternate Shrimp and Mushrooms on skewers; coat with mixture of remaining ingredients and arrange in a shallow baking dish. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F., turning from time to time until Shrimp are done and sauce dries up. Baste constantly. Serve hot. Serves 4 Cooking time: 1 hour


France…

Saturday, October 20 –

I am not even sure where to start with this dinner. It was a potluck and there was so much food that it still hurts to even think about it. A HUGE thank you to Sassy Desserts and ManlyMan for hosting this French food explosion. This might be my favorite dinner so far, and I feel like it’s going to be hard to top in the future (but I will certainly give it a shot!).

DevouringWorld & BestestFianceEver: saffron mussels bisque, au gratin potatoes, mushroom garlic escargot, french bread, 3 types of french cheeses, crackers, wine
ChinUp & MyBuddy: ratatouille, wine
Sassy Desserts & ManlyMan: artichoke tartlets, shrimp cucumber & curry cream cheese canapes, apple clafouti
Kid Kreole: etouffee
Miss Sweets: nutella crepes
Harvey Danger: drinks, garlic bread
RubsWithLove: stuffed pumpkins with everything
Mr. Hero & Hot Momma & BabyBear: wine, french bread
SlotMachine: wine, eclairs
OurCuz: food photographer for the night

I started with the au gratin potatoes, knowing that they had to bake the longest. I sliced up four russet potatoes, which actually filled two 9×12 casserole dishes and needed twice the amount of sauce. I made it exactly as it is written, and it was simple and straight-forward. Butter, then flour, then salt, then milk, then cheese – stirring often. Presto! Cheese sauce! Covered with foil and into the oven for 1.5 hours it went.

Multi-tasking around the sauce thickening I started the escargot. Again, this recipe was followed exactly as it was written and it was simple and easy to make. I soaked the escargot in water and then cut each of the snails in half. In the pan was the butter and garlic, then the mushrooms and snails. Wine, cream, flour, pepper, and tarragon were whisked together and poured on top. Left to simmer for a few moments the sauce thickened and I took it off the heat. Into the baking dish went the mushrooms first, then the escargot into the caps, then the sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese, then into the oven for about 15 minutes.

As the mushrooms were softening, I was starting the mussels bisque. Lucky number three, this recipe didn’t need much in the way of change either. Mussels cooked in water and wine, drained with liquid reserved. Butter, onion, garlic, leek, and fenugreek cooked until soft. Flour, then saffron mixture, then broth and reserved liquid. Simmer until flavors are all mixed together. Then parsley, salt, pepper, and cream – and finally the shelled mussels.

My thoughts on all of this:

  • saffron mussels bisque and french bread – Flavorful without being heavy. I usually think of bisque as a creamy, heavier base and this was not. With the fresh French bread dipped in it the flavors made a perfect fall-time soup.
  • au gratin potatoes – This dish was all of the best things that I love about cheesy potatoes, especially the crispy cheese on the edges!
  • mushroom garlic escargot – Creamy, garlicy, heavy sauce on top of cheesy, baked mushrooms = heaven. I could have easily left the snails out and been just as happy with the flavor. Yum!
  • 3 types of french cheeses and crackers – There was a creamy white, an herbed, creamy white, and a sharp, nutty orange cheese. This managed to keep the hunger at bay while the oven worked overtime trying to get all of these dishes done.
  • ratatouille – The last time I had ratatouille it was slightly mushy and mostly flavorless. This time, it was heavenly and very, very flavorful. Apparently if you make it like Disney, you get a great dish!
  • artichoke tartlets – Picture it: flaky pastry, gooey cheese, ripe tomatoes, and salty artichoke. Sounds amazing, right? It was. Very, very. Have a party you’re throwing soon? Make these, they won’t disappoint.
  • shrimp cucumber & curry cream cheese canapes – These were indulgent squares of flavorful goodness. It was almost overwhelming how much flavor they had in them, but then you reached for another and realized that you didn’t mind.
  • stuffed pumpkins with everything – Get up. Go to the store. Get the stuff. Go home. Make this recipe RIGHT NOW. Your mouth (and whoever you decide to share it with) will thank you. I could easily see this becoming a base for many recipes in my kitchen.
  • etouffee – This was a homemade recipe, hence no link. It was spicy, slightly creamy, and very flavorful. He even plated it for everyone so that it ended up beautiful when served.
  • nutella crepes – I only managed to eat half of one of these, but it was dangerously good. With banana and nutella inside and whipped cream on top – how could you say no?
  • apple clafouti – Almost like a pie, almost like a tart, and almost like coffee cake – it was amazing. And the very last thing that I could possibly eat.
  • eclairs – I couldn’t even have one of these, I was so full. But they looked amazing and I am sure they were delicious.

Food and wine and people everywhere – holy cow. Thank you to everyone who came to this dinner and made such wonderful food. All of it collectively knocked my socks off and I’m so happy it turned out the way it did. Three cheers to our France potluck!

France
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.allrecipes.com)

Saffron Mussels Bisque

  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  • 1 1/4 cups white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 leek, bulb only, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, finely crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 saffron threads
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream

Directions:  Place saffron threads in a small bowl, and cover with 1 tablespoon boiling water. Set aside.

Scrub mussels clean in several changes of fresh water and pull off beards. Discard any mussels that are cracked or do not close tightly when tapped. Put mussels into a saucepan with wine and water. Cover and cook over high heat, shaking pan frequently, 6-7 minutes or until shells open. Remove mussels, discarding any which remain closed. Strain liquid through a fine sieve and reserve.

Heat butter and oil in a saucepan. Add onion, garlic, leek and fenugreek and cook gently 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add saffron mixture, 2-1/2 cups of reserved cooking liquid and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, keep 8 mussels in shells and remove remaining mussels from shells. Add all mussels to soup and stir in chopped parsley, salt, pepper and cream. Heat through 2-3 minutes. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired, and serve hot.

Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

  • 4 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 onion, sliced into rings
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 1 quart casserole dish. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes into bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the remaining potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake 1 1/2 hours in the preheated oven.

Easy Garlic Escargots

  • 1 (7 ounce) can escargots, drained
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 20 mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:     Place escargots in a small bowl, and cover with cold water; set aside for 5 minutes. This will help to remove the canned flavor they may have.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8×8 inch baking dish.

Drain the water from the escargots and pat dry with a paper towel. Melt butter with the garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the escargots and mushroom caps; cook and stir until the mushroom caps begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together wine, cream, flour, pepper, and tarragon in a small bowl until the flour is no longer lumpy. Pour this into the skillet, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat, and use a spoon to place the mushrooms upside down into the prepared baking dish. Spoon an escargot into each mushroom cap. Pour the remaining sauce over the mushroom caps and into the baking dish. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake in preheated oven until the Parmesan cheese has turned golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.


Fiji…

Friday, October 5 –

Fiji turned into a house full of friends, an entire kitchen full of food, and lots of empty wine bottles by the end of the night. We had: BestestFianceEver, Bestie Extraordinaire, Mistress Whiskey, MoneyShot, RubsWithLove, Sir VJ, GingerNuts, NoPoots, ChinUp, and MyBuddy. Bestie Extraordinaire and Mistress Whiskey made squash and chana dhal, MoneyShot brought a salad and wine, RubsWithLove made a ceviche, Sir VJ made crabby patties and a remoulade, GingerNuts and NoPoots brought wine and bread, ChinUp and MyBuddy made ginger fish and brought wine, and I made Fijian raita, chicken palau, and rice and brought wine. Holy goodness, it was a lot of food and wine!

I started by making the raita so that the flavors could sit and blend a little in the fridge. I grated the cucumber and lightly salted it and let it sit in a colander while I grated the carrot and chopped the jalapeno. Blended altogether in the yogurt it turned a pale orange color from the carrot juices. I wrapped it up and let it chill while I started on the chicken.

Starting the chicken dish I chopped an onion, the cloves of garlic, the jalapenos (keeping the seeds), and the chicken and set them separately in bowls. I also chopped half an onion and the cilantro for the rice. With the pan hot I put in the oil, then the onion and garlic, then the spices (using curry powder instead of curry leaves, but everything else as it is listed below). Once the onion was translucent and starting to brown I put in the rest of the spices and the jalapenos. In went the chicken and the salt. Left to simmer I moved on to the rice.

I changed up the rice so that I sauteed the onion, spices, and rice but then I dumped it all into my rice cooker. I knew I had someone that was coming over that doesn’t like to eat chicken and I wanted the rice available as a side without being tainted, so I kept them as separate dishes.

Did I mention there was a lot of food? Delicious, aromatic, mouth-watering food. The crabby patties with the remoulade were everything you ever wanted out of a crab cake. The squash and chana dhal was flavorful without being too spicy. It had a good, not-too-gooey texture. The chicken palau was spicy but a little dry. It could have been cooked for much less time. The ginger fish was moist, flaky, and simple in flavor, which worked really well with the rest of the dishes on the plate. The rice went with everything. The salad added a good crunch. And last but not least, the ceviche was so good that I can’t even properly explain it. Wrapped in butter lettuce with tender fish and a tangy sauce, it was perfect.

There might have been 11 of us, but we were all well fed that night. Three cheers to Fiji and their exceptional food!

Fiji
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.angelfire.com and www.fijibure.com)

Fijian Raita

  • 2 cups light sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili such as Serrano or jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt to taste

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Allow to sit for an hour to blend the flavors. Yield: 6 servings. Heat Scale: Medium

Chicken Palau (Pulao)

  • 1 whole chicken (cut in curry pieces)
  • oil 4 tablespoons
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • curry leaves – 6
  • cumin seeds (jeera) 1 teaspoon
  • mustard seeds (sarson) – 1 teaspoon
  • fenugreek seeds (methi) – 1/2 teaspoon
  • cardamom pods – 3
  • cloves – 3
  • cinnamon stick – 1 small piece
  • Palau masala or garam masala – 2 teaspoons
  • 3 chilies – chopped
  • salt to taste

For rice

  • water – 6 cups
  • rice – 3 cups, washed and drained well
  • ghee or oil 3 tablespoons
  • 1 onion
  • cardamom pods – 3
  • cloves – 3
  • cinnamon stick – 1 small piece
  • 1/4 chopped fresh coriander leaves (dhania)

Method:  Heat up a fairly large pot, add oil, then onion, garlic, curry leaves, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick. Cook for stir for approximately 5 minutes. You may add a little more oil if it sticks to pan. Add palau masala or garam masala and chili. Stir for a minute then add chicken. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add salt. Let cook for 45 minutes on slow/medium heat. Add 1/4 cup water if it sticks. On another burner heat up ghee [clarified butter]. Add onion, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Add rice and fry for approximately 5 minutes. You may add a little oil if it sticks to pan. Add water and let cook for ten minutes. Add cooked chicken. Stir all together and let cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes on low heat without opening lid. Lastly add coriander, stir and switch off burner. Adjust salt. Serve and enjoy.

Ginger Fish

  • 2-3 pounds of snapper, grouper or cod — or any firm white fish
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup corn oil
  • 3/4 cups white wine
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • parsley, coriander or slivered ginger root for garnish

Rinse & dry fish well. Cut lemon in half and squeeze, rubbing juice into fish, inside & out. Refrigerate for about an hour then rub with vegetable oil and place in a shallow baking dish. In a blender, mix thoroughly soy sauce, corn oil, white wine, garlic, sugar and ginger. Pour over fish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until the fish flakes easily and juices are opaque. Baste frequently with sauce. Garnish & serve. Yields 6 portions.

Squash and Chana Dhal

  •   1 cup channa dhal (yellow split peas)
  • 1 small yellow squash, peeled and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil or clarified butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1½ teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • ½ teaspoon crushed garlic
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
Wash the split peas thoroughly and place in a pan with four cups of lightly salted water. Boil, uncovered, until the peas are soft, about 20 minutes. Add the squash and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the squash is soft. While the squash is simmering, heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the onions for three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except the lime juice, and stir well. Continue to saute for 5 minutes.

Congo…

Monday, May 21 –

Of all of the dinners that I have made recently, this one is definitely at the top of my list. I’m pretty sure I could have curled up in the warm, comforting flavors of this dinner and simmered a while myself. It was just my Wonderful Boyfriend and me, so it was a quiet, rainy evening with the smell of curry filling the house.

I got three quarters of a pound of ground lamb to add to this recipe, but it would have been just as good made vegetarian. I also chose to leave out the optional potatoes, but they probably would have been great in this as well.

I browned the ground lamb, then added one diced onion and two diced red medium-heat chilies and let them soften. I sprinkled two teaspoons of curry powder, then some salt, pepper, and cayenne over the top and stirred it all together. In next went chopped ginger (about an inch of root), and one diced, salted, squeezed eggplant. Then I put in two diced on-the-vine tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste. On last went just a pinch of sugar and a can of coconut cream. As that simmered for a while I put store-bought naan into the oven to toast.

As I scooped up the curry with the naan and took my first bite, I had to close my eyes to enjoy it. There was spice, sweet, salt, soft eggplant, and browned crispy lamb. Really, I couldn’t have asked for a better dinner.

Congo, “Democratic Republic of the” and “Republic of the”
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://recipes.wikia.com and www.celtnet.org.uk)

Eggplant Curry

  •     2-3 tbsp cooking oil
  •     2 onions, chopped
  •     1-2 tsp curry powder
  •     2 cloves of garlic, minced
  •     1 tsp grated ginger
  •     1-2 hot chile peppers, cleaned and chopped
  •     2 large Eggplants, chopped, lightly salted, and squeezed to partially remove moisture
  •     3-4 potatoes, chopped (optional)
  •     2-3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  •     1 small can or tomato paste (optional)
  •     salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper or red pepper (to taste)
  •     ¼ tsp Sugar (optional)
  •     1 cup coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Saute onions for a few minutes, then add curry powder, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper. Continue frying over high heat for a few more minutes, stirring continuously.
  2. Add Eggplant and potatoes, stir fry until Eggplant begins to brown. Reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste. Adjust seasoning. Simmer until sauce is thickened and everything is tender.
  4. Stir in coconut milk. Serve with boiled rice.

Bangladesh…

Friday, November 4 –

Yes, please, Bangladesh. Please, thank you, and more. I can’t say that the leftovers were better than the dinner, but I have been looking forward to my lunches each day. This dinner had a bunch of different steps to it, and amazingly they all turned out delicious. My WingWoman (who is gluten-free and soy-free) and I made this dinner together, as she is a house guest with us for a little while. She and I hardly ever get to see each other, let alone cook together, so this dinner was a very wonderful way to end a long week.

We started with the cilantro chutney, which was incredibly easy to make. Take all of the ingredients and shove them into a food processor or blender and voila! You have chutney. It turned out like cilantro made into a dip without any other flavors, so we added more lemon juice, more tomato sauce, a little salt, and a little bit of olive oil.

Then we moved on to the lentil soup, which took quite a bit of fiddling with. We steamed the sweet potato and simmered the lentils while the veggies were sauteing. Then WingWoman mashed everything together and got it all in the pot. The flavor was almost good, but not quite. Too bland for us, who are loud flavor lovers. I let WingWoman free with my spice shelf to see if she could liven the dish up a little bit. I believe there was some cumin, some lemon juice, and some salt that happened, but believe me there was vigorous shaking, stirring, and mutterings going on about the flavor. While we did add quite a bit of water to it, it turned out more like dahl than like soup, which was very ok with us! In the end we even ended up putting bacon (I know, I know, that isn’t even close to the recipe) and it was magic! It added just the right flavor and added salt that it needed to tie all of the flavors together.

As she was fixing the dahl, I moved on to making the samosas. I’ve loved samosas ever since I was little, because it’s one of the many dishes that my mother made that just knocked my socks off every time (along with her dahl and curries – can you see why I love this dinner?). While my mother makes then with pie crust, I stuck to the recipe and used puff pastry sheets. I’ve had samosas filled will all kinds of different ingredients, but I was extra excited for this recipe, which used chick peas. The result was almost the combination of channa masala from an Indian restaurant and puff pastries. Talk about yum! Because WingWoman is gluten-free, we left some of the filling out of the pastries and set it aside for her.

At this point I threw some rice into my rice cooker for a side dish, and the guys got the table ready for dinner. The samosas were in the oven, the dahl was simmering nicely, and it was time to start the chicken dish. I started with the onions and the other veggies, getting everything browned and hot. Then instead of adding water to it, I just threw the chicken on top. I keep telling myself to stop boiling meat, so I listened this time and just let the veggies and chicken cook together until everything was cooked through and nice and spicy. I seeded the jalapenos that we put into the chutney and the dahl, so I left all of the seeds in for this dish.

Everything was dished up and we all sat down to eat. There was definitely a table full of mmmmmmmmms and aahhhhs over the flavors, and I’m pretty sure that we stuffed ourselves to the very top of our stomachs. I will definitely be making each of these recipes again!

Things I have learned: When you have an extra set of hands in the kitchen, especially hands that you’re not used to cooking with, it is easier to have them do the chopping, slicing, and mixing.  I tried to start chopping things and point out where everything was kept to WingWoman, and that just didn’t work. So we switched and everything went much more smoothly. Also, because we kept some of the samosa filling out I had some squares left over. After dinner I made a mixed berry filling (boysenberries, blueberries, and raspberries simmered with sugar and cornstarch) and made homemade turnovers out of them. Cute little pockets of sweet that perfectly rounded out the evening.

Thoughts about wine: We had several different bottles of red wine with this dinner, one was a red blend that I picked up and the other two were different types of zinfandels that Roommate Extraordinaire got for us to share. The zins were dark but smooth, and went really well with all of the spices that we piled onto our plates.

Bangladesh
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.allrecipes.com and www.deshigrub.com)

Yellow Dhal – Sweet Potato Soup

  •     1 1/2 cups dry yellow lentils
  •     2 1/2 cups water
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  •     1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  •     2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  •     1 onion, finely chopped
  •     1 tomato, finely chopped
  •     3 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
  •     salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  •     chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions

  1. Rinse lentils under running water; drain. Place lentils, 2 1/2 cups water, and turmeric in a medium pot, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place cubed sweet potato in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water. Cover and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes (time may vary depending on size of potato pieces). Once tender, mash sweet potato and lentils together; set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the onion until lightly browned. Stir in tomato, jalapenos, salt, and pepper, and continue cooking another 3 to 5 minutes. Place lentils, vegetables, and potatoes in a stockpot over medium heat. Stir in water as needed to attain desired consistency. Serve warm with cilantro or green onions.

Cilantro Chutney

  •     2 bunches fresh cilantro, leaves picked from stems
  •     2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  •     1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  •     2 green chile peppers
  •     2 tablespoons lemon juice
  •     2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  •     1 tablespoon water, or as needed

Blend the cilantro, ginger, cumin, green chile peppers, lemon juice, and tomato sauce in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Stir water into the mixture to give a sauce-like consistency as desired.

Veggie Samosas

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 (19 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons curry paste
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 3 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion until browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add garbanzo beans. Mix curry paste with apple juice until smooth, then add to skillet. Simmer mixture 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more apple juice or water as needed to keep mixture moist.
  3. Cut each sheet of pastry into 3 equal-size rectangles, then cut each rectangle in half. (You will have 18 pieces total.) Dust a clean, flat surface lightly with flour, and roll each piece of pastry until it is double in size. Dust pastry with flour as needed, to prevent it from sticking to rolling pin. Spoon an equal amount of filling into center of each pastry square. Fold in half and press edges to seal. Place on nonstick baking sheets.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Bhuna Chicken

  • 1 lb of chicken tenders or 2 large chicken breasts (diced into 1 inch pieces)
  • 3 medium sized onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1.5 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and crushed/grated
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • Spices: 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 level tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Patak’s Original Mild Curry Paste (found in most grocery stores, especially Indian).
  • Fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped.
  • 2 green chillies (optional)
  • Cooking oil

How to:

1. Heat up a non-stick pan up and add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Finely dice up 3 onions and fry on high heat.

2. Add 1 level tsp of salt (to help soften the onions) and then add the garlic and ginger prepared as above. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting, and cover. Onions should be softened and browned. Add enough boiling water (preferably from a kettle) to soften the onions further, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.

3. When all the water has evaporated from the onion paste, add all the spices and cook on high heat for 5 minutes to make sure the spices are cooked through and not still raw and powdery. Add 2 green chillies sliced in half sideways.

4. Stir in the diced tomatoes, cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.

5. Stir in the chicken pieces making sure they are coated evenly with the onion and spices. Cook on high for 5-8 minutes making sure the chicken browns all over.

6. Add 1 tsp of Patak’s Original Mild Curry Paste and stir in well.  Reduce the heat, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes, adding a little more hot water if need be.  If you prefer it with a little more sauce, add half to one cup of hot water and cook on a medium heat until the sauce thickens. (If at any point during the bhuna process you feel the sauce is getting too dry, add 1/2 cup of water).

7. Remove from heat and sprinkle finely chopped coriander leaves all over.

Recommendations:  Serve with a rice dish of your choice and a leafy side salad.


Portuguese Potluck Success…

Friday, August 26 –

Our second potluck was another great success. Some of the same people from the first potluck were there and we also had some new people that couldn’t make it last time. It was beautiful outside again, so we managed to make it another picnic buffet. I made stuffed pork chops with pomegranate sauce and also got a couple of different salsas and some chips. Other people brought white wine sangria, red wine reduction with fruit, curry chicken, custard tarts, potato and kale soup, fried fish, and beer cake. We also had a bunch of different kinds of Portuguese wines of both red and white varieties. Let me tell you, it was quite the feast! 

Pork Chops with Pomegranate Sauce: I started with the knowledge that while I didn’t have a lot of time before people started showing up, at least I was making a lot of one recipe instead of a bunch of little recipes, so I didn’t feel quite so rushed.  I decided to double the stuffing recipe and use 6 chops instead of 8, giving me a little more stuffing than meat. First came the stuffing, with the shallots and mushrooms and then breadcrumbs, parsley, and cheese. This came together quickly and easily. While that was getting all melty I sliced the pork chops open into pockets. I cut them so that one long side and one short side were still attached and the other two sides were open. Then I stuffed all 6 chops, setting them back on the cutting board. I used a big saute pan and browned the chops on both sides in butter. Then I stacked them together in a casserole dish and put them in the oven. Next came the sauce, with the pomegranate molasses, water, and white wine. I added the cornstarch slurry about half way through the cooking of the chops so that the sauce would have time to thicken. When the chops came out of the oven I put the pan juices in the sauce and set the meat on the cutting board to slice. Because I didn’t tie the chops closed they ended up squishing a little when I sliced them, but not so much that it was impossible to but them back in the pan with the stuffing still intact. Once I had the meat sliced, the extra stuffing in on top, then I poured the finished sauce all over the meat and set it out on the buffet.

The stuffing ended up tasting like Thanksgiving stuffing with goat cheese thrown in – which was so good I had a hard time not eating right out of the bowl. The meat was browned and good for pork chops. The sauce ended up really, really sweet to me. So if I had to do this recipe all over again, which I would, I would keep the sauce off and put it in a gravy boat and let people drizzle a little bit on top if they wanted to instead of drowning the whole dish in it. It vanished pretty quickly, so I know it was good, but I would have rather had much less of the sauce on top.

I’m keeping track of the ideas that we came up with for our potlucks here: Potluck Ideas.

Things I have learned: This potluck had a much better ratio of people bringing food to people who brought drinks. Keep that as a good goal to have each time. We also did much better at having a handful of main dishes, some side dishes, and some desserts. This worked out really well, and will be my goal for next time too.  Also, with the number of people who come to these potlucks it will get much more cramped/friendly once we move inside, so maybe we will have to limit the number of people who get invited? I’m not sure about that yet, because maybe it will work itself out.