Monday, January 23, 2012

Indian Food, Take One

Remember how one of my 2012 food goals is to make more Indian food? Well, I'm already on my way! Last week I slightly adapted this SUPER simple Chicken Tiki Masala recipe from Real Simple for dinner one night, and my contribution to a potluck the next! I feel like it was a bit of a cop-out since it was in the slow cooker, but I was drawn in by the short ingredient list and my love for tiki masala. Now I just need to master naan bread for the perfect combo.

Slow-Cooker Tiki Masala
Adapted from Real Simple

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons garam masala

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups rice (I did 1 cup white rice for dinner, but brought brown to the potluck)
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and season with additional salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 hours.

If you have a fancy rice cooker like me, get your rice set up in the morning and set the timer so that it's ready when you get home. If not, make it right when you get home!

In a small bowl, toss the cucumber and cilantro with the lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Just before serving, stir the cream into the chicken tikka masala. Serve over the rice with the cucumber relish.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Steak and Frites Our Way

Born to midwestern parents, I LOVE potatoes. But recently, something has taken their place in my heart. I'm not sure exactly when/how it happened, but I'm a very late comer to the cauliflower lover's group. Luke and I cannot get ENOUGH of these little white florets, most often seasoned with salt and pepper, tossed with olive oil and then an extra herb or spice to make them compliment the meal we're having that evening.

This meal is our twist on steak and frites and was a bit indulgent, but SOOOO good. Enjoy!

Steak and Frites Our Way

1 head of cauliflower, florets removed and cut into about 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ounce Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound New York Strip steak, about 1 1/2 inches thick
2 large shallots, thiny sliced
2 tablespoons balsmic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the cauliflower florest on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Season liberally with salt and pepper, add rosemary and drizzle olive oil, then toss until thoroughly coated. Bake 30-40 minutes, turning cauliflower once, until it starts to get browned and a little crispy. Remove from oven and top with Parmigiano Reggiano and serve immediately.

For the steak, preheat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Place one tablepoon butter in the pan and melt. Season steak heavily with salt and pepper, then place in skillet, careful not to move it, and sear about 3 minutes on each side. Then place in oven and let cook about 8 minutes, or until desired doneness is reached.

Remove skillet from the oven and set steak aside on a cutting board to rest. Return the cast iron to the stove top and heat to medium. Add the reserved tablespoon of butter and melt. Then add shallots and saute about 5 minutes, until caramelized. Add balsamic vinegar and cook until reduced, about 3-4 minutes. Serve balsamic shallot mixture over steak and enjoy!

Truffled Side Salad

4 ounces spring mix
1/2 teaspoon truffle oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh grated

Top spring mix with truffle oil, salt and pepper and Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve next to the steak and the delightful truffle hints will get picked up in every bite :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Queso Compuesto Pork Chops & Lemon Dijon Brussels Sprouts

For New Years, we enjoyed our black eyed peas and collard greens with a Texan twist, courtesy of the Homesick Texan Lisa Fain. I made a half portion of her Queso Compuesto, and even still Luke and I only finished half! As part of a resolution to be a bit more frugal with my cooking, I wanted to put the leftover queso to good use. Why not top some pork chops I had in the freezer with it? Also, I scored an awesome deal on Brussels Sprouts at the store and wanted to make a simple, flavor side dish. Luckily, I had everything on hand that I needed.

While I call for 1/2 lime and 1/2 lemon below, you could easily use one fruit, I just happened to have 1/2 of each reserved in my fridge!

Queso Compuesto Pork Chops

4 pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup prepared Queso Compuesto

Place pork chops in a large zip lock back and add adobo sauce and lime juice. Seal the bag and mix about with your hands a bit to coat the chops. Marinade for 20-30 minutes. Heat a large skillet (I used cast iron) on medium heat and warm olive oil. Remove chops from marinade and season with salt and pepper to taste (I went pretty heavy on the pepper). Cook 3-4 minutes on each side until done. Top each chop with 1/4 cup warm Queso Compuesto.

The smokey flavor of the adobo sauce really accents the queso and makes this a delight to eat!

Lemon Dijon Brussels Sprouts

1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the stem from Brussels sprouts and remove any outer leaves that fall off. (I reserve these to make Brussels sprouts chips!) Half the sprouts and place on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing once with tongs, until sprouts start to brown. Remove from the oven and place in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice and Dijon. Add the Dijon mixture to the Brussels sprouts bowl and toss to combine. Enjoy!

Just look at these beauties :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Butternut Squash Ravioli

How's this for meeting a New Years resolution? I invited a few friends over (Teddy and Cara) for New Years Eve dinner before going out and wanted to make something worthy of serving on the gorgeous china we got as a wedding present. Why not tackle two goals and also make some ravioli?! Since Teddy is a vegetarian, butternut squash ravioli seemed like the best way to go.

I started with my basic pasta dough recipe from my homemade pasta experiment last year, but made 2.5x the original recipe since I was feeding five. I don't know about you, but I hate ordering ravioli out at dinner to only be served 4 raviolis and leave feeling hungry, so I wanted to make sure we had plenty. Luckily I had Luke there to help me since it was quite a lengthy process! Lots of fun though, so no complaining here :)

For the filling and sauce, I used this recipe for Butternut Squash, Sage, and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Hazelnut Brown-Butter Sauce and topped it off with some shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and chopped fresh sage. I will say that I had WAY too much filling left and am still trying to brainstorm what to do with the remainder...

Note the lovely china :) Also, thanks Cara for sharing your photo!

This was a delicious combination, though I'll need some practice stuffing ravioli since some didn't get a whole lot of filling. Also, I think next time I'd run the pasta through the pasta maker a few more times to make it a bit thinner. Overall though, delightful!

Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the salad I served, but it really complemented the ravioli and I wanted to share:

Pear Salad with Hazelnuts and Parmigiano Reggiano

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 ounces baby spinach leaves

4 ounces escarole (or any lettuce you prefer)

1 large or 2 small pears, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts

2 ounces shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a medium skillet on medium heat and warm olive oil. Add red onion and saute a few minutes, then turn heat down and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. I let these go about 35 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, escarole, pears, hazelnuts and Parmigiano Reggiano. Now toss in the caramelized onions, making sure the balsamic/olive oil mixture coats the salad. Add additional olive oil as needed. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss, then serve.