Category Archives: comfort food

Chicken Stock in the Instant Pot

  • 1 chicken carcass (from a roasted chicken), including skin, bones, cartilage — everything
  • 1 yellow cooking onion, cut into chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into chunks
  • 3 large ribs celery (and leaves), cut into chunks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp PC Chicken Rub (sage, thyme, rosemary, etc)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • water

Put the steaming rack — included with the Instant Pot — into the bottom of the pot.

Place the carcass in first, pushing it down; if you can break it up, all the better.  Add the rest of the ingredients, and add enough water to just cover it all.

Put the lid on, seal, and set at high pressure for 120 minutes.

When the time is up, let the pressure naturally release; it can take up to an hour!

Using the steaming rack handles, lift out the bones and vegetables, discarding them.  Get any remaining larger bits using a slotted spoon.  Discard everything.

Pour the stock through a mesh sieve into a bowl or large measuring cup.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours if you want to remove the fat.  Once cold, the fat will be sitting, solidified, at the top.  Scoop it out and discard.

Now make some chicken soup, or anything else that requires stock!

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Filed under comfort food, food, Soups, whole food

Bonnie’s Marinated Mushrooms

Comfort food from my second mother, Bonnie.  These were *such* a treat when we would be out sailing together!  I’ve never had it with fresh mushrooms, as they just didn’t keep while out cruising on Lake of the Woods.

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar(2/3 c)
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil(2/3 c)
  • 1 small onion, sliced in thin rings(2)
  • 1 tsp salt(2 tsp)
  • 2 tsp parsley flakes(4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard(2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar(2 tsp)
  • 2 tins whole mushrooms, drained(4) 

Boil and simmer, all together, for 5 min.  Store marinade and mushrooms overnight.  You can sterilize jars and preserve, but keep refrigerated.

 

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Filed under Appetizers, comfort food, food, Marinade

What’s-in-the-fridge-pantry-garden Curry

Photo of the finished dish

Fridge:

  • 1 red pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 1 large carrot, sliced into very thin coins
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic (in a jar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger (in a jar)
  • 1/2 block of pre-made paneer, cut into small cubes
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp ghee

Pantry:

  • 1 large onion, chopped or “stripped”
  • 1 to 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 to 2 cans regular fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp good quality Madras curry powder (or more, to taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp garam masala 

Garden:

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • large handful cilantro, chopped 
  • handful of young kale, chopped

In a large, deep frying pan, heat the ghee until very hot.

Add garlic, ginger and onions.  Sprinkle a pinch or two of salt into the pan.   Sauté gently until onions are caramelized.

Throw in curry powder, stirring until the onions are coated, and the spice is fragrant.

Add the peppers, cauliflower, carrots, and chickpeas, stirring to coat with the spices and onions.

Pour in one can of the coconut milk, and stir until everything is blended together.  Add chickpeas and stir gently.

Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down.  Cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally; add more coconut milk if it’s looking too dry.

Meanwhile, fry the paneer in a separate pan until golden (I used olive oil for frying).

Add the jalapeño, kale, and paneer, and simmer for a couple of more minutes, lid on. 

Stir in cilantro, and taste for salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the garam masala over top and fold in.

Serve over brown rice.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, food, Main Course, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Alaa’s Lamb and Bulgur

Alaa had me make this recipe under her instruction, with no written recipe. I jotted down generally what I did and measured! I can’t remember what it’s called but this Syrian dish is absolutely delicious.

Scribbled down hurriedly!

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Filed under comfort food, food, Grains, lamb, Main Course, whole food

Madhur Jaffrey’s Instant Pot Dal Makkhani (with my tweaks)

I found this recipe at Food52, and just ordered her new Instant Pot cookbook!

  • 1 cup whole urad with skin (also called sabut ma; these are small and black in colour)
  • 1/2 cup dried red kidney beans (called rajma in Indian stores; I prefer the smaller ones)
  • 1 tsp salt (plus more, to taste)
  • 4 teaspoons peeled fresh ginger grated to a pulp (or from a tube)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic (or from a tube/jar)
  • 1 cup pureed or strained tomatoes or passata (I like passata)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • half a large onion, sliced very thinly (halve from roots to tip)
  • 1/4 teaspoon bright red paprika, mixed with
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon chili powder

IMPORTANT, IN ADVANCE: Wash the beans and soak them overnight in water that covers them generously. Drain them the following day.  Alternatively, put the beans into a large pot and cover generously with water.  On stovetop, bring to a rolling boil for 2 minutes, then let sit as is for a couple of hours.  Drain.

  1. Put the soaked and drained beans into the Instant Pot. Add 1 teaspoon salt, the ginger, garlic, tomatoes, chili powder, and 4 cups water. Close and seal the lid, then cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 30 minutes, and let the pressure drop by itself. Hit CANCEL to reset the cooking program.
  2. Open the lid carefully, venting the steam away from you. Stir the dal. Using a potato masher, crush the dal as much as you can. Taste, adding another 1/2 teaspoon salt as needed.
  3. Select the SAUTÉ setting and set to Normal. Stir in the 1 tablespoon butter, cream, and garam masala, heating through.
  4. Tarka: Put the oil or ghee in a small frying pan over medium heat. When hot, arrange the onions in a single layer. Stir and fry them, turning now and then, until they turn reddish gold and crisp.
  5. Sprinkle the paprika/chili mixture over the top and quickly pour all the contents of the pan over the beans, spreading it out over the surface. I stir it right in and serve out of the Instant Pot!

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Filed under comfort food, food, Protein

Vegetarian filling for Tourtière, for Ness

I’m making regular Tourtière with traditional pork,  and this is my attempt at making a vegetarian-friendly version.

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 8 oz mushrooms, chopped small
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp vegetable broth paste
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tin lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tsp salt (more, to taste)

PLUS

  • (you will need mashed potatoes: about 3 medium-sized potatoes, as per the regular tourtière recipe)
  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, over medium heat.  Add the onion, Carrots, mushrooms, garlic and seasonings; sauté for 6-8 minutes until softened and slightly caramelized.
  2. Add the lentils and stir well. Taste for seasonings.
  3. Continue on as for Tourtière

 

 

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, food, Main Course, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Broccoli Soup in the Instant Pot, for Niall

Read over the entire recipe before beginning.

Place into the Instant Pot:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • big handful of baby carrots, chopped (or a couple of regular carrots, scrubbed and chopped)
  • 1 large celery stock, chopped
  • large bunch of broccoli, chopped roughly (2-3 crowns, plus their stems)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup water

Set the Instant Pot to “Soup” for 7 minutes (most recently, I’ve been manually setting on High for 4 minutes, and it works very well).  When the cycle ends, do a quick release of the pressure valve, and remove the lid.

Using a hand blender, or potato masher, puree the contents of the instant pot.  If desired, add about:

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

and then add chicken stock until you reach the desired consistency; I use chicken stock paste and water.  Add:

  • 2 – 3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Let sit for a moment in order to melt, then stir the soup or use the hand blender again.

Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

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Filed under comfort food, food, Soups, Vegetables

Dal Makhani in the Instant Pot

(adapted from http://www.twosleevers.com)

This recipe easily doubles, however, I use a little less than 2x the water.

Place in Instant Pot:

    • 1/2 cup whole black urad dal, washed and picked through for stones, etc
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
    • 2 tsp minced ginger
    • 1 1/2 cups water

Set manually at high pressure, for 30 minutes.  Let the pressure release naturally.  When pressure has returned to normal, remove the lid and lightly mash some of the dal (to your preference).  Do not drain the dal.

While the dal is cooking, in a small bowl whisk together, and set aside:

    • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
    • 1/2 cup half-and-half, whipping cream, or cashew cream
    • 1 tsp salt

In a small frying pan or saucepan, melt:

    • 2 tsp ghee

In the hot ghee, gently toast:

    • 1/2 tsp turmeric
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala
    • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds

To the pan, add, cook, and stir:

    • 1 Tbsp tomato paste

When the tomato paste has absorbed the ghee, remove from heat to cool a little.  Whisk this mixture into the yogurt/cream mixture.

Add the yogurt/spices mixture to the cooked dal in the Instant Pot, and stir gently until combined.

Add a small handful of:

    • finely chopped cilantro

Stir gently, and let the cilantro heat through. 

Serve with brown basmati.

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Filed under comfort food, food, Protein, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 2 celery stalks, diced small
  • 1 small cooking onion, diced
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 2 cups dry macaroni
  • 1 cup to 1 ½ cups frozen peas
  • 2 tins tuna, drained and flaked

 

Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp butter at room temperature
  • ¼ cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs (or other crunchy crumbs)

 

Heat oven to 350F.  Butter an 8” x 8” glass baking dish, and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

While making the sauce, cook macaroni according to package directions, drain, and set aside in its pot. Do not rinse!

Heat butter in medium sized saucepan, and add celery and onion.  Sauté, without browning, for about 5 minutes, or until soft.  Add jalapeno and cook for 3 more minutes.

Add the seasoning and flour to the vegetable mixture, stir and cook for about 1 minute.  Add milk, and stir till smooth. Bring to a gentle boil, and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and the mustard, then stir mixture into sauce. Stir in the ¾ cup cheese.

Add the peas and the tuna to the hot mixture.  Gently stir until combined.  Pour into the buttered pan, and even out with back of spoon.

Mix the topping ingredients together in a medium bowl (I use my fingers).  Sprinkle topping evenly over casserole.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until bubbling and browned.

 

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, food, Main Course, Protein, whole food

Speedy Curried Coconut Lentils

adapted from Alexandra Stafford’s delicious recipe at Food52

Serves: 4
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced (I use the fresh stuff in a tube)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds PLUS ½ tsp ground cumin (or 1tsp of either)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cup split red lentils (they’re orange prior to cooking, then turn yellow-ish when cooked)
  • 1 398ml can full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
  • the empty coconut can filled with water
  • 1 tsp salt (or use 2 tsp kosher)
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

[to serve, see below, after step 3]

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, slowly sauté the ginger, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, and turmeric for about 10 minutes, or when all of the onion is softened, and the spices are very fragrant.
  2. Add the lentils, coconut milk, salt, and the emptied coconut can full of water. Stir together.
  3. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are completely soft, about 20 minutes; stir occasionally. Turn off heat. This will be quite loose, or soupy.
  4. Add the cilantro and stir gently until incorporated. Check for salt, and adjust, if necessary.

*To serve:

  • Ladle on top of hot brown rice, then top with a spoonful of Greek yogurt and a tiny sprinkle of cilantro. You could also use basmati 🙂
  • I love this beside, or on top of steamed, chopped fresh spinach.
  • Whole wheat naan is great with this.

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, food, lunch, Main Course, Protein, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Brown Rice: quick and easy

Rice tastes much better this way, and it’s quicker than simmering it in less water, in a covered pot.  We use parboiled brown.

  • Fill a medium pot 3/4 full of water.
  • Add 1/4 cup of rice per person.
  • Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Turn heat down till it is boiling gently, then leave lid off and boil for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Drain the excess water — I use a seive — and season with salt, pepper, and butter.

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Filed under comfort food, food, Grains, Tips, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Aarti Sequeira’s Keema

Love her recipes!

  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ~ 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp good garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tsp malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil and add onions; cook until golden (do not rush this step)
  2. Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for another minute.  Stir in the spices, and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the beef, breaking up lumps with a spoon, and sauté until the meat is no longer pink.
  4. Add the tomatoes, 1 cup of water, and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer, partially covered, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the peas, and cook another 5 minutes, partially covered.
  6. Stir in the vinegar and chopped cilantro.
  7. Serve with warm chapatis, or over rice.

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, food, Main Course, Protein, whole food

Cheeseburger Pasta Toss

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and minced
  • 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (plus more for sprinkling on top)
  • 4 cups dried fusillii noodles
  1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat, stirring occasionally to break up clumps, until brown all over. Drain excess fat.
  2. Increase heat, and add onions, green pepper, and garlic (add other vegetables, if using). Cook and stir for 5 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and their juice, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, uncovered, while you bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  4. When water boils, add noodles, and cook till al dente, according to package directions.   Drain, reserving a bit of pasta water to loosen the noodles, if necessary.
  5. In the large pot, combine the noodles with the ground beef mixture. The ground beef mixture should be fairly dry, not soupy.
  6. Stir in the cheese until melted.
  7. To serve, sprinkle with more cheese.
  8. If desired, pour the mixture into a casserole dish, top with more cheese, and bake or broil till cheese is browned.

Note: Add any other vegetables you wish to — corn niblets cut off of the cob, a handful of broccoli or cabbage slaw, shredded carrot.  Anything goes!

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, Protein

Aunt Weezie’s Barley and Mushroom Pilaf

Aunt Weezie is an amazing cook, and undaunted by hoards of hungry guests.  She told me that this recipe is from Canada’s “Chatelaine Magazine”, back in the 70’s.

  • ½ cup butter, divided
  • ½ pound mushrooms, thinly sliced (approximately 2 ½ cups)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 1/3 cups pearl barley
  • 5 cups hot chicken broth, divided

Preheat oven to 350F.

In 2 Tablespoons butter, sauté the mushrooms until they are tender, 4 – 5 minutes. Lift out the mushrooms with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

In same skillet, heat remaining butter; and sauté the onion until it’s golden, about 5 minutes.

Add barley to onions in pan, and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until barley is golden brown, another 5 minutes..

Remove from heat; stir in mushrooms, and 2 cups of hot broth.

Turn mixture into a 2-quart casserole, and bake, covered, about 30 minutes.

Stir in 2 more cups hot broth, cover, and bake another 30 minutes or until barley is tender.

Finally, stir in remaining cup of broth, and bake 20 minutes longer.

Serve hot as a “side”.

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Filed under comfort food, Grains

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

Adapted from recipe by “vegangela”.

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger root, grated
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (from a tube)
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder (we like Lahlah’s Madras)
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red lentils
  • 2 or three handfuls of sliced or chopped kale or spinach
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: chopped cilantro, plain Greek yogurt
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion, garlic, and ginger until onion is translucent.
  2. Add the tomato paste, curry powder, and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the broth, coconut milk, diced tomatoes, and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil, the lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are very tender.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the greens and cook for another minute, if desired.
  6. Serve with garnishes.

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Filed under comfort food, Soups, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Super Quick Tomato Soup That’s Better for You

Sauté in a Dutch oven or large pot, until softened:

  • 1/2 a small onion, finely minced
  • 1large celery stalk, finely minced
  • 1 medium size carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1tsp garlic paste, or one finely minced garlic clove

Add:

  • 1 28oz tin of diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, include juice*
  • 1 14.5 oz tin of diced tomatoes, include juice

With a hand blender, purée the soup. Alternatively, dump the sautéed vegetables into a blender, and add half of the tomatoes.  Purée until smooth, then pour into the soup  pot.  Add the second half of the tomatoes to the blender, purée until  smooth, and add to pot. And put back on heat. Add:

  • 3/4 cup cream (any fat content that you prefer)

Stir and heat through.  Add salt and black pepper, to taste.
If desired, top with any of the following:

  • Sour cream dollop
  • Plain Greek yogurt dollop
  • Fresh basil, chopped or chiffonaded
  • Home made croutons
  • A sprinkle of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

* you can use plain diced tomatoes and just add some Italian seasoning, or fresh basil and oregano.

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Filed under comfort food, food, Soups, Vegetables, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo), whole food

Doug’s Cowgirl Cookies

Doug makes these cookies from an old recipe book; the authors of the recipe are Bev Almageur and Nancy Fry of Fargo, North Dakota.  Doug has tweaked the original recipe a little.

Makes 4 dozen

Preheat oven to 350F

  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 (to 2 tsp) baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • + anything else you want to add, eg, dried cranberries, nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, chopped dried fruit, etc
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
  2. Combine the shortening and sugars, and cream well. Beat in the eggs until thoroughly blended.  Add vanilla.
  3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix well.
  4. Add oats and chocolate chips.
  5. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 350F for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.

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Filed under baking, comfort food

Butterscotch Sauce from Joy of Cooking

This is my never-fail sauce, that I always go back to; it’s from my 1979 copy of the Joy of Cooking, which is literally falling apart, but so wonderful that I can’t let it go!  

The use of corn syrup in this recipe prevents the sugar from crystalizing.

Boil to the consistency of heavy syrup:

  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup PLUS 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Cool the ingredients and add:

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Serve the sauce hot or cold.

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Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, comfort food, Sauce

Tuna Croquettes à la Alton Brown

  • 2 tins flaked tuna, drained and well shredded by hand (original recipe calls for a 7 ounce pouch of tuna)
  • 2 green onions, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs + 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • olive oil for sautéing
  1. Place the tuna, onions, mustard, eggs, lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup panko crumbs into a medium bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Using a small handful of the mixture, form a flattened patty, and place on a cookie sheet or plate.  Repeat with remaining mixture until all of it is used up.
  3. Allow the patties to rest for 15 minutes
  4. Place remaining 1/2 cup of panko onto a large plate. One at a time, coat each round in the panko on all sides.
  5. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a 12″ pan over medium heat until shimmering.
  6. Add the croquettes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
  7. Remove to a cooling rack set over paper-towel-covered cookie sheet ( I just put them directly onto paper towel, and skip the cooling rack)
  8. Allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

I like to serve these with a sauce created by mixing together:

  • 1 part mayonnaise
  • 1 part sour cream
  • dill, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sometimes a finely chopped dill pickle, again, to taste
  • sometimes some very finely chopped green or red onion
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, Protein, Sauce