Tag Archives: Protein

Cashew Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews or cashew pieces
  • Water to cover, OR, *boiling water to cover

1. a) Put the cashews into a bowl, or 2-cup measure, cover with water, and let sit overnight ~8 hours.

OR

* b) Put the cashews into a heat-safe bowl, and cover generously with boiling water. Let sit for ~2 hours.

2. After soaking period is over, using a fine colander, drain the water off of the cashews, discarding the water. Rinse cashews well.

3. Put the drained and rinsed cashews into a small blender with 1/2 to 1 cup fresh water.

4. Blend on high speed until the cream is smooth, and at your desired consistency. Add a pinch of salt, if desired.

Comments Off on Cashew Cream

Filed under food

Fraser’s Butter Chicken

Based on a recipe from Vice chef Matty Matheson.

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
    2 birds eye chiles, seeded and minced
    2 long red chiles, seeded and minced
  • 2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 1/2 cups  tomato puree (crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon dried Fenugreek leaves
  • Protein of choice (for example: 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 kg); a block of paneer or tofu cut into chunks; cooked chickpeas, etc
  • Vegetables (for example: cauliflower floretes; frozen green peas; cubed potatoes, etc)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • handful of fresh cilantro

1. Place the olive oil, garlic, chilies, onion, and ginger in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.

2. Heat ghee in a large dutch oven over medium-high. Add the onion purée and cook until the mixture darkens slightly and softens, about 15 minutes.

3. Add the tomato paste, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala, coriander, and cumin and cook for 5 minutes, or until dark and sticky.

4. Add in 1 1/2 cups water. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan.

 

5. Stir in the tomato puree and fenugreek leaves and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 1 hour.

6. Add your protein and vegetables, and simmer until  cooked, about 15 minutes more.

7. Add the cream and butter and stir to combine. Season with salt and serve garnished with fresh cilantro

Comments Off on Fraser’s Butter Chicken

Filed under dinner, food, Main Course, Sauce

Black Bean and Corn Patties

This is a recipe from Food52.  Smoked paprika is a must, as is a food processor.  We serve on top of mixed greens dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, and top the patty with N’s Killer Guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and thinly sliced red onions (we don’t think it would taste good on a bun).

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cupscooked black beans, DIVIDED (or approximately 1 1/2 cans, rinsed and drained) 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2/3  quick oats, plus extra as needed
  • 3/4 cups fresh corn cut from cobs
  1. Sauté onion and garlic in the olive oil for eight to ten minutes, or until golden, soft, and fragrant.
  2. Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, sea salt, and peppers to taste. Stir in the sauté pan till spices toast lightly.
  3. Add 2 cups of the beans and stir to coat with the spices and onions.  Turn off heat.
  4. Add the oats to the bowl of a food processor and pulse them a few times. Add the onion, garlic, and bean mixture. Process everything together, until it’s well combined but still has texture.
  5. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the last cup of black beans and the corn, and mix well with your hands. Check for seasoning and season to taste. If the mixture is too mushy to form into patties, add a little more oats or bread crumbs.
  6. Shape mixture into six patties. Pan fry them in olive oil until golden on each side, and heated through.

Comments Off on Black Bean and Corn Patties

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

Moroccan-style Vegetable Pie with Chickpea Crust

This recipe is from CBC’s “Best Recipes Ever

 

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 sweet yellow pepper or red pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 3 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup (250 mL) rinsed drained canned chickpeas
  • 1 cup (250 mL) tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander or parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp almond butter or peanut butter

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; fry onion, carrot, garlic, cinnamon, ground coriander, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add yellow pepper, zucchini, cauliflower and chickpeas; fry, stirring often, until pepper is softened, 8 minutes.

Add pasta sauce and lemon juice; cover and simmer over low heat until vegetables are tender, 20 minutes. Stir in peas, fresh coriander and almond butter; let cool. (Make-ahead: refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours; to continue, let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.)

Chickpea Crust*:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) rinsed drained canned chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp milk

Meanwhile, in food processor, pulse together chickpeas, butter, 3 tbsp (50 mL) cold water, salt, cumin and turmeric until crumbly. Add flour; pulse until combined.*

Turn out onto floured surface; knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Cut in half; roll out each to 10-inch (25 cm) circle. Line 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate with 1 of the circles; spoon in vegetable mixture. Lightly brush pastry edge with some of the milk. Top with remaining pastry; trim edge. Using tines of fork, press edges together to seal and crimp. Brush top with remaining milk; slash steam vents.

Bake in bottom third of 400°F (200°C) oven until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

*Note:  I had to add about 2T more butter, and 3T more cold water to make the dough hold together enough to knead it.

Servings: 6

2 Comments

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

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

Comments Off on Tuna Croquettes à la Alton Brown

Filed under comfort food, dinner, Protein, Sauce

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

Comments Off on Cauliflower and Chickpea Coconut Curry

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

Spinach Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Almonds

This salad tastes much better to me with a double batch of the dressing.

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted in dry frying pan or in oven
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup dried cherries, chopped OR 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 medium English cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/3” dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup plain, low-fat yogurt (not Greek)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
  • salt & pepper to season
  1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a pot over medium-high heat.  Stir in quinoa.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed.
  2. Remove from heat and cool, covered, in pot.
  3. Lay 5 or 6 spinach leaves flat on top of one another on a cupttingboard. Roll tightly into a cylinder, then slice crosswise into slivers.  Repeat with remaining spinach.
  4. In a large bowl toss together the cooled quinoa, almonds, spinach, cherries, cucumber, chickpeas and red onion .
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.
  6. Pour over salad and toss to coat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Chill for 30 minutes to allow flavours to develop, then serve.

Comments Off on Spinach Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Almonds

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

Anne’s Quinoa Salad (via Pat Tamosetis)

  • 2 cups cold water or broth
  • 1 cup quinoa   (rinse well before using – I use organic white quinoa)

Combine water and quinoa in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer until quinoa “pops” (~15-20 min).   The water should all be absorbed and the quinoa should be tender.  Let cool to room temperature.  I like to cook the quinoa in the morning and then make the salad in the afternoon when it is cool.

  •  1 sweet onion (Vidalia or similar) finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tblsp olive oil/butter/coconut oil
  • Pinch each of white sugar and salt

Caramelize onions and garlic in the oil with salt and sugar over med-low heat, for about 25 minutes or until golden yellow and very soft. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Chop:

  • 2 stalks celery
  •  1 red pepper (half and half red and yellow)

Grate:

  • 1 peeled carrot
  • 1 peeled apple
  • 1/3 cup raisins or cranberries
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds

You can add any nuts, seeds, fruit or veggies that you like – be bold!  If you use apple, get the dressing on the quinoa quickly so the apple does not go brown. Combine the quinoa, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and berries in one large bowl/pot.  Pour on the dressing.

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or less)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • a squeeze bragg or soya sauce
  • bloop maple syrup (up to 1/8 cup)
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • Orange zest (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper as suits your taste

Combine all the dressing ingredients together in a glass container and give them a good shake. Pour over quinoa and veggies.  Fold to disperse dressing.  I stir the salad every hour or so to combine the flavours.  Refrigerate for an hour or overnight – enjoy!

Comments Off on Anne’s Quinoa Salad (via Pat Tamosetis)

Filed under Grains, Salads, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

Tofu with Spicy Sesame Sauce

We’ve decided that we prefer this method of frying tofu to the General Tso version, but the sauce for the General Tso Version is better!

For the sauce:

  • ⅓ cup liquid honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons red chili pepper flakes (use less if you like things less spicy)

For the tofu:

  • 14 oz. extra-firm tofu, pressed*
  • ¼ cup cornstarch with a good pinch of salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying

 For tossing with the sauce and tofu:

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted if you have the time
  • 4 green onions, minced

Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Simmer the sauce on low while you prepare the tofu.

Making sure that the pressed tofu has been thoroughly dried, cut it into ¾” to 1” cubes, and place them onto a large plate; we slice the entire block in half “sideways”, and then cut each shallow block into smaller pieces (we end up with 24 pieces).  Sprinkle the cornstarch mixture over the tofu, and toss the cubes and cornstarch gently with your fingers until the cubes are completely coated.

Heat half an inch of vegetable oil in a deep frying pan until just smoking.  Gently put the tofu cubes into the hot oil  and fry them on all sides until light golden. Carefully lift the tofu from the oil and set on paper towels to drain.  You may need to do it in batches, however, our 12” frying pan is large enough to hold an entire block’s worth of tofu.

When all of the tofu has been fried, place the cubes in a large bowl. Remove the sauce from the heat and pour half of it over the tofu, tossing to coat. Sprinkle in the sesame seeds and green onions, and toss gently to coat evenly.

Serve immediately, with remaining sauce on the side for dipping or pouring over the tofu.

*To press tofu:  wrap the block of tofu in several layers of paper towels and set it on a flat plate. Place another plate on top of the tofu, and weigh it down with something heavy, such as a can of tomato juice. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes, or longer, if you have more time.

1 Comment

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

General Tso Tofu (Stephanie Kepman’s version)

This is SO good!

  • 1 package (350 g) extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) ginger root, minced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) garlic, minced
  • 1 Thai chili, finely chopped with seeds (optional)
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons (25 ml) soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup (50 ml) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) mirin
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) chili paste
  • 2 cups (500 ml) vegetable oil for frying
  • ¼ cup cornstarch with a good pinch of salt and pepper
        • This is the original method for “breading” the tofu, which we don’t like:
          • 1 egg
          • 1/2 cup (125 ml) cornstarch
  1. Drain tofu; wrap in clean kitchen towel or paper towel for at least 15 minutes, gently pressing down occasionally to absorb excess moisture (see this method for better pressed tofu)
  2. In small bowl, mix 1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch with 1 tbsp (15 ml) water to form paste.
  3. In small saucepan, heat 1 tsp (5 ml) oil over medium heat. Cook, onions, ginger, garlic and chili (if using) for 1 minute, stirring often. Add broth, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, mirin, chili paste and cornstarch paste. Bring to boil for 1 minute, stirring. Remove from heat; set aside.
  4. In wok or medium saucepan, heat 2 cups (500 ml) oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Cut tofu into ¾-inch (2 cm) cubes; place back on kitchen towel to absorb more moisture.
  6. Making sure that the pressed tofu has been thoroughly dried place the cubes onto a large plate.    Sprinkle the cornstarch mixture over the tofu, and toss gently with your fingers until the cubes are completely coated.
    • (In small bowl, whisk egg. Place ½ cup (125 ml) cornstarch in another small bowl. Dip tofu cubes in egg, letting excess drip off. Lightly toss in cornstarch.)
  7. Add coated tofu to wok; cook, turning often, for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tofu to bowl; drizzle sauce over top.

1 Comment

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

Cheesy Quinoa Cakes

I’ve been testing out quinoa cake recipes for a while now, and this is the winner, hands down!  The whole family really likes it, which is saying a lot.  I serve it with a lemony aioli (stir up some real mayo with some pureed garlic, fresh lemon juice, and s & p).

  • 2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked will yield 2 – 3 cups of cooked)
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place all ingredients, except for the oil, into a mixing bowl and stir together until well combined. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat oil into a large sauté pan over medium heat; it is hot enough when a droplet of water jumps when sprinkled into the pan.
  3. Form 1⁄4 cup patties with the quinoa mixture and place in the heated sauté pan, 3 or 4 at a time.
  4. Cook quinoa cakes for 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Repeat with the remaining patties until all of the cakes have been cooked.

Serve with

Comments Off on Cheesy Quinoa Cakes

Filed under food, Protein

Turkey Burgers

This is from America’s Test Kitchen, and is very good.

  • 1 ¼ lbs ground turkey
  • ½ cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • (I tablespoon canola oil, if cooking in frying pan)

Combine the ground turkey, cheese, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in a medium bowl until blended.  Divide the meat into 4 portions.  Lightly toss one portion from hand to hand to form a ball, then lightly flatten the ball with your fingertips into a 1” thick patty.  Repeat with the remaining portions.

Grill/BBQ:

Grill the burgers over medium fire until dark spotty brown on the bottom, about 7 to9 minutes.  Turn them over, and continue to grill for 7 to 9 minutes longer.  The centre needs to be completely opaque.

Stovetop:

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until very hot.  Swirl the oil to coat the bottom.  Add the burgers and cook over medium heat without moving them until the bottom of each is dark brown and crusted, 3 to 4 minutes.  Turn the burgers over; continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer.  Reduce the heat to low, and cover, with the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape, and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes longer, flipping once if necessary to promote deep browning, or until the centre is completely opaque.

Serve on crusty buns with lettuce, tomato slices, red onion slices and mayo.

Comments Off on Turkey Burgers

Filed under Protein

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.

Comments Off on Tomatoey Chicken Curry

Filed under food, Main Course, Protein

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.

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

Filed under food, 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.

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

Filed under food, Main Course, Protein

Candied Pecans

  • ½ large egg white
  • ¼ cup granulated white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¾ teaspoon sea, or kosher, salt
  • Large pinch to 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons water
  • 2 to 3 ½ cups raw pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.Using an electric mixer, or a whisk, beat egg white until foamy, about 1 minute with the mixer.Add sugar, brown sugar, spices, salt, vanilla and water.  Whisk until well combined – it will get thick-ish – about 45 seconds with the mixer.Gently stir in pecans until well coated. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of pecans for this amount of “candy”, but it will coat almost 4 cups very nicely.Pour nuts onto baking sheet, and spread out so that they are in a single layer.Bake for a total of 40 minutes, taking out and stirring/flipping the nuts after the first 20 minutes.Remove from oven and cool completely.
  3. Break apart into single nuts.
  4. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

These are great on a spinach salad dressed with citrus vinaigrette.  For nuts that are great “out of hand”, try Maple Roasted Almonds.

1 Comment

Filed under Appetizers, food, Protein, Salads, Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)

West Indies Style Rub for Pork Tenderloin Kebabs

Toast over medium heat in a dry skillet (about 2 or 3 minutes):

  • 2 Tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 Tablespoon coriander seeds

Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature. With a mortar and pestle, grind to a fine powder.  Transfer to a small bowl and add:

  • 2 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 Tablespoon ground red pepper

Stir well.  Will keep for a few weeks if kept airtight and dry.

Cut the tenderloin into large cubes, and rub the spice mixture into it.  “Marinate” in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours to a maximum of 24 hours.  Tastes better if marinated longer.  Thread onto skewers and grill.

 

Comments Off on West Indies Style Rub for Pork Tenderloin Kebabs

Filed under food, Main Course, Marinade, Protein

Niall’s Summer Pasta Salad

Really an “anything goes” kind of salad, adapted from LLL’s “Whole Foods for the Whole Family

The Salad Ingredients:

  • ½ lb pasta, cooked and drained
  • ½ cup celery, chopped small
  • ¼ cup red or Vidalia onion, finely diced (use spring onions if you don’t have)
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • ½ red or green pepper, diced
  • 2 tins water-packed tuna –no hydrolyzed plant protein – flaked
  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded, a handful
  • ½ cup cucumber, seeded and chopped

The Dressing/dip Ingredients:

This makes way more than the above recipe requires!

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup real mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Gently combine all of the salad ingredients.  Add dressing, tossing, until the salad is coated to your preference; it’s likely that you’ll have about 2/3 to ½ of the dressing left over.  Refrigerate until flavours mingle.

The left over dressing makes a great raw veggie dip.


Comments Off on Niall’s Summer Pasta Salad

Filed under food, Grains, Main Course, Protein, Salad Dressing, Salads, Vegetables

Grilled Chicken Kebabs, with Dressing and Dip

Read through the entire recipe before beginning, as there are several steps and components to this meal.  Six hours maximum is required for marinating the chicken, but you may marinate for three hours if necessary.

Total amounts of common ingredients – that require prep — for all three components:

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

The Chicken:

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes

Whisk together yogurt, olive oil, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.  Transfer to a large ziplock freezer bag, and add cubed chicken.  Marinate, refrigerated, for approximately 6 hours, or a minimum of 3 hours.  Do not marinate longer than 6 hours!

The Veggies:

Prepare the following to put on the skewers:

  • 2 red bell peppers , cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large red onion. peeled, with outer 3 layers cut into 1-inch pieces*

The Kebabs:

When six hours have passed, remove chicken from the marinade and discard remaining marinade.

Thread each skewer with the vegetables and chicken as follows:

  1. 2 pieces pepper
  2. 1 piece onion
  3. 2 pieces chicken
  4. 1 piece onion
  5. 2 pieces pepper
  6. 1 piece onion
  7. 2 pieces chicken
  8. 1 piece onion
  9. 2 pieces pepper
  10. 1 piece onion
  11. 2 pieces chicken
  12. 1 piece onion

The Dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Whisk all ingredients together, and set aside for later.

The Grilling:

Grill the kebabs over high heat, on all four sides, for 3 minutes per side.

Transfer to a serving platter, and brush the kebabs all over with the dressing.  Serve with the following dipping sauce.

The Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded then finely chopped

Whisk the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, basil, mint, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl.  Stir in the cucumber.  Let rest for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerated, for several hours.

*Cut the root and growing end of the onion off, peel it, then cut onion in half lengthwise.  Remove the centre of the onion, leaving the three outer layers intact.  Cut each half lengthwise into two pieces.  Now cut each chunk of onion into three pieces lengthwise.  Cut each of the remaining pieces crosswise into three pieces.  Aim for approximately 1″ squares which are three layers thick.  Save the centre of the onion for another purpose.

Comments Off on Grilled Chicken Kebabs, with Dressing and Dip

Filed under food, Main Course, Marinade, Protein, Vegetables

Indian Flavoured Kebabs

Soak 9 bamboo skewers in water while making the meat mixture.

Mix together in a large bowl:

  • 1 cup very finely minced onion (1 large)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • one 2 ½“ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Add and mix with hands until evenly combined:

  • 1 ½ lbs ground beef

Shape this mixture into 9 flattened sausage shapes, approximately 4” long, 1 ½“ wide, and 1” high.   Carefully thread each sausage shape onto a skewer.

Grill on a barbecue until browned and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.  You may also broil them in the oven, for 3 to 5 minutes per side, using a slotted broiling tray.

Serve wrapped in a warm naan or pita, or with basmati rice, and raita.

1 Comment

Filed under food, Main Course, Protein