Tag Archives: comfort 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

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

Chicken a la King 

4 to 6 servings (for on toast, biscuits, or puff pastry)
Note: prepare the sauce, and the vegetables at the same time, if able


A.  The Chicken

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded; tuna would also work!

B.  The Sauce

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, half-and-half, or light cream
  • (2 to 3 Tbsp sherry, optional)
  • squeeze of lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 to 3 pinches ground nutmeg
    1. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan.
    2. Add flour and whisk constantly for 1 minute.
    3. Remove the pan from the heat, and add 2 cups of chicken stock; whisk until smooth.
    4. Whisk in the  milk and return the pan to heat.  Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking constantly, and vigorously.
    5. Add lemon, salt and pepper, and nutmeg.

C. The Vegetables

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter or canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 carrots, finely diced
  • hand full of mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
    1. Sauté the fresh vegetables until tender, and all liquid has evaporated. Add peas.

D.  The a la King

  • Add the shredded chicken and the hot vegetables to  the sauce

E. The Chicken a la King

    1. Toast whole wheat bread, and lightly butter.  Cut into triangles and place on dinner plate.
    2. Spoon the hot chicken and vegetable mixture over the toast.
    3. Eat with a knife and fork.

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Filed under food, Protein

Cauliflower and Chickpea Coconut Curry

This is certainly not authentic, and doesn’t have well developed flavours, but it’s very quick and easy.  Chop up some hot pepper and add at the beginning if you’d like to zip things up.  Add some potato, small cubes, along with the cauliflower.

  • 2 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1” piece of ginger root, finely minced or grated
  • 2- 15 oz tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 28oz tin diced tomatoes
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut or broken into florets
  • 1 tin coconut milk (not sweetened!)
  • salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped

In a Dutch oven, heat the ghee over medium heat.  When it is shimmering, add the onion and stir occasionally until softened.

Add the garlic and ginger, and cook a few minutes longer until the onion begins to caramelize.

Stir in the spices and toast for a couple of minutes until they are fragrant.  Add a couple of drops of water to prevent burning, if you need to.  Stir constantly.

Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, chickpeas, and cauliflower.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.

If desired, take lid off and cook for a few more minutes  until sauce has reduced to the consistency that you like.

Taste for salt.  Add the chopped cilantro and stir carefully.

Serve over brown basmati rice, or with roti or naan

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Filed under food, Main Course, Protein, Vegetables, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing by Elise Bauer

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry dill (or a teaspoon chopped fresh)

In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk and mayonnaise until fully mixed. Add in the other ingredients, adjusting for taste.

Keeps for a week, covered in the fridge.

This delicious recipe is via Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes.

 

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Filed under Salads, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Utterly Inauthentic Moo Shu Chicken

  • 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into very thin strips
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh beansprouts
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4 large fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • (1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp dry sherry
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp hoisin sauce (divided)
  • 4 (6.5″ or 7″) flour tortillas, warmed

In a small bowl, combine chicken with 1 TBSP soy sauce, the cornstarch, and the pepper.

In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over high heat until very hot.  Add chicken mixture, and stir fry until chicken turns white, about 3 minutes.

Add cabbage, bean sprouts, scallions, mushrooms, and waterchestnuts to wok.  Stir fry for 2 minutes.  Add beaten egg and stir fry 1 to 1.5 minutes, until egg is just scrambled.

Add remaining 2 Tbsp soy sauce, sherry, sugar, bouillon granules, sesame oil, and 1 TBSP hoisin sauce to wok.  Stir fry for 1 minute.

Brush centres of heated tortillas with remaining 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce.  Spoon chicken mixture down the centre of each.  Fold in sides of tortilla.  Fold bottom quarter of tortilla up over filling, then roll up to enclose.  Serve immediately with additional hoisin sauce for dipping, if desired.

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Filed under food, Main Course, Protein

Freda’s Soft Ginger Cookies

Freda brought these in to the Food Bank for our coffee break, and they are soft and delicious!

    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • ¾ cup butter
    • ¼ cup molasses (blackstrap preferred)
    • 1 egg
    • 2¼ cup flour
    • 2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ginger
    • ½ tsp cloves
    • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Mix ingredients (my note:  just follow a basic cookie mixing method, ie, cream butter and sugar, mix in wet ingredients, then add the dry ingredients which have been sifted together)
  2. Roll into 1” balls
  3. Roll balls in granulated sugar
  4. Bake at 350° F on greased cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes – watch carefully, they are easily over-baked

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Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc

Pierogis, Perogies, Etc

True comfort food for me — my great Aunt Rose made the very best “cheese pillows” ever, and my Grandmother’s and Mom’s were fantastic.  The “Kleckner Girls” made two varieties:  one with dry curd cottage cheese, and another with basically mashed potatoes with lots of sharp cheddar mixed into the mashed potatoes while they were hot.  A fiddle to make, but worth the effort.  This is the recipe for the dough, and the filling. Makes approximately 75 perogies.

  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 4 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  1. In a large bowl, miss all of the ingredients and knead into a soft, pliable dough.
  2. Cut in half and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Roll out each half into a thin circle ( about 1/8”).
  4. Using a drinking glass or biscuit cutter, cut the dough into round circles.
  5. Fill them with desired filling (we like a potato/sharp cheese filling*).  Place less than a tablespoon of filling in the centre of each circle, and fold in half.
  6. Press and seal into a half moon.  If desired, rub a bit of water around the edges to ensure a tight seal.
  7. Cook for 10 minutes in boiling salted water, until they float to the top.  Drain.
  8. Pan fry in butter, and serve with caramelized onions, fried crumbled bacon, and sour cream.

*For potato and cheese filling, boil approximately 1 ½ pounds of peeled potatoes.  Drain and mash well with a little butter and milk.  Add grated sharp cheddar, to taste (lots is good — a ratio of 1:1 is my favourite).  Taste, and season with salt and pepper.  Sometimes some caramelized minced onions can be added for a change.

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Filed under food

Tomatoey Chicken Curry

  • 2 ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp ground fennel seeds
  • pinch red ground Indian chilies
    • 3 tbsp ghee
    • 2 medium onions, minced
    • salt
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced (appx 2 tbsp)
    • 1 tbsp minced or grated fresh ginger
    • 1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed (include seeds if you want it hotter), minced
    • 1 tbsp tomato paste
    • 2 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken
    • 1 cup water
    • 2 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped finely (about 1 cup)
    • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
    • ½ cup coconut milk or whole milk plain yogurt
    • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
    • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
    • ground black pepper
  1. Combine the spices and set aside.  Heat the ghee in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the spices and sauté until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
  2. Stir in the onions and 1 tsp salt, and cook, stirring constantly until the onion is softened and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in the chicken to coat with the spices and cook, stirring often, until it is just opaque, about four minutes.
  5. Stir in the water and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until no longer pink.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a plate and shred into bite-sized pieces using two forks.
  7. Stir the tomatoes, peas, coconut milk or yogurt, cilantro, and butter into the sauce until combined, then stir in the shredded chicken.
  8. Return the curry to medium heat and cook, until the butter is melted and the sauce is hot, 1 to 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

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Filed under food, Main Course, Protein

Grandma Ruth’s Banana Bread

Ruth's Banana Bread

The finished results of my Mom's recipe for banana bread.

I do love my whole-wheat-nutrition-packed recipe for banana bread, but sometimes I just crave my Mom’s!

  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup room temperature butter
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped roughly
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 cup bananas, mashed
  1. Mix dry ingredients together with whisk.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream butter; add sugar gradually until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat well.  Stir in nuts and rind.
  3. Add flour alternately with the mashed bananas.  Do not over mix.
  4. Bake in a greased 8”x4”x3” loaf pan, at 350F for 55 minutes, or until done (toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean).
  5. Store for at least 6 hours before cutting/serving, preferably overnight.

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Filed under "Sweets"/Cakes/Etc, Breads/Muffins/Biscuits, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Bonnie and Grandma Ruth’s Pork Pie

I grew up eating Bonnie’s pork pie; my mom also makes this recipe, and now we have started!  This recipe makes one absolutely gigantic meat pie, or two normal-sized pies.  If you want two pies, just make sure you have enough pie dough to line two pie plates.

Pork Pie

While I'm not the Queen of Piecrusts, this is what a single pie -- less about 1/3 cup filling -- looks like.


  • Pie crust for 10” covered pie (roll out 2 rounds)
  • 3 lbs lean ground pork
  • 2 small onions, minced
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp sage
  • 2 pinches ground cloves
  • 4 to 5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
  1. Cook pork over low heat with a little water, and drain off excess fat with a spoon.
  2. Add all the rest of the ingredients, stirring constantly until the meat loses its pink colour, and liquid has reduced by half.
  3. Cover and cook 45 minutes longer.
  4. Meanwhile, boil potatoes until tender, drain, and then mash them.
  5. Mix the potatoes into the cooked meat mixture, and cool.
  6. Preheat oven to 450F
  7. Lay one of the piecrust rounds into a 10” pie plate.
  8. Fill the pie so that the mixture forms a high mound.
  9. Cover with remaining  pie dough round, seal, and cut some venting holes.
  10. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes.
  11. Reduce heat to 350F, and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes, or until crust is golden and baked through.

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Filed under Main Course, Protein

Squashed Baked Potatoes

Another blast from the past; I’m not a lover of potatoes, but I do like these.

  • baking potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Put the potatoes onto a greased baking tray, and bake at 375F for about 45 minutes to an hour (until tender)

Remove from oven and make an X-cut in the top of each potato, then squash each potato with a potato masher, or a mug or plate.  The idea is to flatten them, not mash them.  You want the skins to crack and the insides to be rough.

Drizzle each potato (liberally) with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 450F for about 15 to 20 more minutes, until crispy and golden.

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Filed under Main Course, Vegetables, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Grandma Ruth’s Wild Rice Casserole

This is one of my absolute favourites from my childhood.  My mom made it with local wild rice.  It needs to be started a day ahead, so requires planning!  This recipe serves 4 people, but is very easily doubled.

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • boiling water
  •  ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ lb mushrooms, sliced or chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons sherry
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Wash the rice under cool running water, then place in a heatproof dish or bowl.
  2. Cover the wild rice with boiling water.  Let stand for 30 minutes, then drain.
  3. For a second time, cover the wild rice with boiling water, and let sit until cool.
  4. Melt the butter in a large pan, add onion, almonds, and mushrooms, and sauté until golden.
  5. Mix in the rice, and stir until well coated.
  6. Pour the broth, sherry, and salt into the rice mixture, and transfer into a baking dish.
  7. Cover and let sit overnight in the fridge.
  8. The following day, bake for 1 ½ hours at 350F

1 Comment

Filed under Grains, Main Course

Awesome Meatloaf (yes, really)

I don’t like ground beef, and I don’t like meatloaf.  That being said, this recipe via Martha, while being a fiddle to make, is delicious and I actually enjoy eating it!  Halve the recipe if you want a small meatloaf.  This calls for a food processor, but if you don’t have one, just mince the veggies.  The meatloaf is baked with a sauce — Niall’s very favourite — which is at the bottom of this page.

    • 4 slices white bread, torn into pieces (or any white bread bun with the crust completely off — use about 4 slices of bread worth)
    • 2 1/2 lbs ground beef
    • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into chunks
    • 2 cloves fresh garlic
    • 2 stalks of celery, cut into chunks
    • 2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into chunks
    • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 cup ketchup (you’ll need another 1/2 cup for the sauce)
    • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
    • 2 teaspoons dry mustard, like Keene’s (you’ll need another teaspoonful for the sauce)

Heat oven to 375F.  Place bread pieces into a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form.  Transfer to a bowl (you do this first so that they don’t gunk up the processor bowl later).

Into the food processor bowl place: onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and parsley.  Pulse until finely chopped.

Add to the processor bowl, with the vegetable mixture: egg, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, salt and pepper.  Pulse until mixed.

Pour the bread crumbs back into the food processor, pulse until thoroughly mixed.

Into a large bowl, put the ground beef and break it up with a fork.  Gently mix the food processor mixture into the beef, until thoroughly combined.

Gently place the meatloaf mixture into an 8.5″ x 4.5″x2.5″ loaf pan (or use whatever loaf pan you have).

Mix these three ingredients together, then brush over the top of the meatloaf:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard (like Keene’s)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Place in the preheated oven, and bake for about one-and-a-half hours, until the center reaches 160F.

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Filed under food, Protein

Matrimonial Squares

This recipe, adapted from  the Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book (1966) is the closest approximation to my Grandmother’s squares. My Grandmother was born in 1910.

Preheat oven to 350F

Grease an 8” square pan

Date Filling:

In a small saucepan combine:

  • 2 cups chopped dates
  • ¼ to ½ cup corn syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Bring to a boil, and simmer until thickened and soft.  Set aside to cool.

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups lightly packed brown sugar

Stir in:

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cups rolled oats

With a fork, blend in

  • 2/3 cup butter, melted

Stir until crumbly.

Press half of the crumb mixture into the prepated pan.  Spread with the cooled date mixture.  Cover with remaining crumbs and pat down until smooth.

Bake in a 350F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until light golden brown.  Cool and cut into squares.

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Filed under food

Aarti Sequeira’s Saag Paneer, with a tweak or two

After searching for at least 25 years for a Saag Paneer* recipe that really hits the spot, we found one!  This recipe is incredibly easy and relatively quick; it is well worth taking the few minutes it takes to make your own paneer.  I’ve made a couple of minor tweaks to the recipe.

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 ounces paneer, cut into 1” cubes* (see recipe and photos below)
  • 1 16oz package frozen spinach
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced finely
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 large Serrano chili, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup water
  • generous pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • (or ½ cup plain yogurt, with no cream)

In a large bowl, whisk together the turmeric, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3 tablespoons of oil.  Gently add the paneer cubes, and toss very gently.  Let the cubes marinate while you prep your other ingredients.

Thaw the spinach in the microwave, in a microwave-safe dish,, 5 minutes on high.  Puree the spinach in a food processor until smooth, or mince by hand.

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the paneer as the pan warms.  In a couple of minutes, give the pan a shake and turn the paneer cubes.  You want the cubes browned on two or more sides.  Remove the paneer onto a plate (this also tastes good without seasoning and frying the paneer; just cube it and add it at the end of cooking the spinach).

Add the ghee/oil to the pan.  When melted and hot, add the onion, garlic, and chili.  SLOWLY sauté the mixture until golden and the oil is shimmering on top, about 15 minutes.

Add the garam masala, coriander, and cumin.  Cook, stirring often, for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the spices are well toasted.  Add a few drops of water if it is drying out and burning.

Add the pureed spinach and stir well, incorporating the spiced onion mixture into the spinach.  Add generous pinch of salt, and the ½ cup water.  Stir and cook for 5 minutes with the lid off.

Turn the heat off, add the cream/yogurt a little at a time to prevent it from curdling.  Once the cream/yogurt is well mixed into the spinach, gently add the paneer.  Turn the heat back on, cover, and cook until everything is hot.

Serve with basmati rice, and/or naan.

*Paneer

paneer making

Making the Paneer

  • Cheesecloth to line a colander
  • 8 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Line a colander with two layers of cheesecloth (available at the grocery store)
  2. In a large, wid pot, bring the milk to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning the bottom.  Be patient!
  3. Add the lemon juice and turn the heat down to low.  Stirring gently, you should almost immediately see the curds and whey separate.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour the contens into the cheesecloth-lined colander.  Gently rinse with cool water to get rid of the lemon flavour.
  5. Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth and twist the ball of cheese to squeeze out the excess whey.  Tie the cheesecloth to the kitchen faucet and allow the cheese to drain for at least 5 minutes.
  6. Twisting the ball to compact the cheese into a brick, place it on a plate with the twisted part of the cheesecloth on the side.  Set another plate on top, and weight it down with tinned food, or a very heavy pot.  A ziplock bag full of water will also work.  Press for at least 20 minutes. In the photo to the right, I’ve used our very heavy granite mortar on top of a plate.

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Filed under food, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Shipwreck Casserole

A bit of a pain to assemble, and not very gourmet, but once it’s put together it can just sit unattended for two hours in a 350F oven.  Reminds me of 70’s fare and the foil packed dinners that we used to make for camp fire cooking.

  • 2 large onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 medium potatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb lean ground beef, or lamb
  • ½ cup long grain white rice, uncooked
  • ½ to 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 10 oz condensed tomato soup
  • 10 oz soup can of very hot or boiling water
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • dried or fresh herbs, to taste
  1. Spread onions over the bottom of a greased 2-quart lidded casserole dish; sprinkle with salt and pepper and herbs, if using.
  2. Lay the sliced potatoes over the onions, and sprinkle with salt and pepper and herbs, if using.
  3. Pat the ground beef evenly over the potatoes; sprinkle with salt and pepper and herbs, if using.
  4. Evenly distribute the dry rice over the ground beef.
  5. Spread diced celery over the rice and ground beef; sprinkle with salt and pepper and herbs, if using.
  6. Mix soup and hot water together, and pour over top of the casserole.
  7. Cover the dish, and bake, covered, in a 350F oven for 2 hours until vegetables are tend

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Filed under food, Main Course, Protein

Pickled Beets in 24 hours

pickled beets

Slice the Beets and the Red Onion

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups cooked, sliced fresh beets (roast or boil them, then remove skins)
  • 1 small sweet red onion, sliced and separated into rings
  1. Layer beets and onion rings into a lidded container (the large Ziplock screw-top containers work well); you could also just toss everything into a bowl.
  2. In saucepan, combine the sugar, mustard, salt, cloves, garlic, vinegar and water; bring to a boil and pour over the beets and onion rings.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 day.
  4. Every once in a while, when you think of it, give the container a little toss so that the marinade ingredients move around amongst the vegetables.

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Filed under Appetizers, Marinade, Salads, Vegetables, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

A Facsimile of Boston’s Creamy Chicken Curry Pasta for Niall

  • 3 cups dry penne
  • 2 Tablespoons or so of butter, or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons hot madras curry powder
  • pinch of dried chili flakes
  •  2 to 2 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces*
  • ¼ cup to ½ cup pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces (fresh or canned, drained)

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a rolling boil.  Add dry penne, stirring to prevent it from sticking together.  Cook according to package directions, approximately 7 or 8 minutes.  Drain well, but do not rinse!

Meanwhile, melt the butter or heat the oil, and add the red onion.  Stir and cook until it begins to sweat, and then add garlic and red pepper.  When they are softened, but still have a bit of a “fresh bite”, add the curry powder and chili flakes.  Stir and cook for a minute or two.

Stir in the heavy cream, bring to a very gentle boil and cook until it begins to thicken to the consistency you like for your alfedo-ish sauce.  Gently stir in the cooked chicken pieces and the pineapple, and cook till they’re heated through.

* to cook the chicken, one can bake in the oven or cut into bite-sized pieces and sauté with the vegetables until no longer pink.  To bake ahead, put two boneless, skinless chicken breasts onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Turn twice, two coat the entire breast.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then bake for 40 minutes or so in a preheated 350F oven.

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