Titanic Curried Chicken and Rice

My blog absence had nothing to do with the Boston Marathon Bombing, and yet it was hard to focus on technical problems with everything going on.  Special thanks to WP Site Care for resolving my technical issues so quickly.   The effects of the Boston tragedy will certainly linger, but I do feel ready to get back in kitchen, and back writing again.

But first, we need to go back in time to 2 weeks ago, when my cooking club had a Titanic-themed meal.  The idea was to recreate some of the dishes served on the ship, whether they were enjoyed by First Class, Second Class, or Third Class.  There is a whole book dedicated to this topic, but many of the recipes are posted online.

I decided to make the Curried Chicken and Rice discussed here, with a clear influence from India, a British colony at that time.  I used boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken and made a few other changes for convenience.  I was really happy with the end result; the chicken was very tender and the dish had a great flavor.

We had many great dishes that evening, including my favorite: Punch Romaine.  It was a ‘palate cleanser’ featuring wine, champagne, orange juice, and simple syrup, mixed with crushed ice.  It’s always interesting to go back in time and explore food history!

 

chickentitanic

 

 

Titanic Curried Chicken and Rice

1 lime
1/4 c. garlic ginger paste
3-4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 T canola oil, divided
2 T curry powder
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 T honey
1 1/3 c. white rice
2 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. golden raisins

Zest lime.  Squeeze juice.  Toss lime zest, lime juice, and garlic ginger paste with chicken thighs.  Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Heat 1 T oil.  Brown chicken thighs, working in batches as needed.  Remove from pan onto a plate and set aside.

Heat remaining oil.  Add curry powder and stir for 1 minute.  Add chopped onion and honey, and saute for 10-15 minute, until tender.  Add rice, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown.  Add broth and raisins.  Nestle chicken pieces into pan, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

 

Egg and Tomato Wrap

I spied some grape tomatoes at the grocery store last week.  They’re not local, or in season, but I still wanted them.  When I got home, I immediately tossed them in the oven with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  30 minutes later, I had a dish of roasted tomatoes, ready for something.

That something turned out to be this egg and tomato wrap.  It’s more of a meal idea than a recipe, but so good that I had to share.  I put some of the roasted tomatoes in a frying pan, and added 2 beaten eggs.

When the eggs were done, I place them on a tortilla and sprinkled cheese on top.  I wrapped the tortilla, and placed it seam side down in the still-hot frying pan.  I flipped it after a few minutes to brown the other side, and then breakfast/brunch/lunch? was served.

 

Oven Fajitas

For those times when you want fajitas but don’t want to stand in front of the stove, this recipe from Budget Bytes is for you!  You mix your fajita ingredients, a blend of spices, and a bit of oil in a baking dish.  When it comes out of the oven, you give it a spritz of fresh lime juice.  It’s just like something you might get at your favorite Mexican restaurant.

The recipe is incredibly flexible; if you would like to make a vegetarian meal, just leave out the chicken.  I don’t like peppers, so I used a mix of 1 lb. chicken, 1 large onion, 1 large zucchini, and an 8 oz. package of sliced mushrooms.  I might even throw in some tomatoes next time.

The key to the flavor is the blend of spices including chili powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.  I used an extra dash of cayenne so the mixture had some heat.  I served it on a whole grain tortilla with cheese, which cooled things down a bit.  This made lunches for the week, but would also be a good dish to serve for your next fiesta!

 

 

Asparagus Strata

When Easter was over and the kitchen was clean, I realized I still had a bunch of asparagus left in the refrigerator.  I couldn’t risk it going to waste with a busy week ahead.  So I decided to make a quick (and small) strata.

You could combine just about any vegetable with bread, eggs, and cheese, and it would be good.  But asparagus has a fairly strong flavor that works really well here.  A quick saute on the stove ensures that the asparagus doesn’t get overcooked.  🙂

I don’t usually make strata unless I am having company because it doesn’t freeze well, but this loaf-pan sized version is perfect for just a few meals.  If you have a big family, or if you are having company, go ahead and multiply this by 2 for an 8″square pan, or by 3 for a 13″x9″. Easter may be over, but it’s still asparagus season so enjoy!

 

Asparagus Strata

2 t olive oil
1 lb. asparagus, ends removed, cut into 1-2″ pieces
2 pieces Great Harvest Old Fashioned White Bread
4 medium eggs
1/2 c. nonfat milk
3/4 c. part skim shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add asparagus, and saute until tender, 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, beat eggs with milk; season with salt and pepper.

Coat an 8″x4″ loaf pan with cooking spray.  Place bread slices on the bottom of the pan.  Cut them if necessary for a good fit.  Place prepared asparagus on top of the bread.  Pour egg mixture on top.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours.

Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown.

Egg-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

We had a fun Easter dinner, but I think the best part was dessert.  So many Easter recipes feature eggs, but I found this Egg-Free Chocolate Cupcake recipe with Orange Buttercream Icing.  I should have made the icing a different color, to avoid the ‘Halloween look’, but these were great tasting cupcakes.

The cupcakes use basic ingredients like flour, and sugar, and cocoa powder, with chocolate chips for good measure.  You don’t need flax, or chia or any other egg substitute; the recipe just works.  They are so moist, they stick to your fingers when you eat them.

The frosting is a basic butter/powdered sugar blend, with orange juice for flavor and gelatin powder for color.  So you really could make these any flavor and color.  This will be my new go-to recipe for holiday cupcakes!

 

 

 

Crockpot Ground Turkey and Vegetables

I wasn’t sure what to call this, really.  It’s kind of a goulash, I guess.  Or maybe a stew?  Like chili, without any chili powder.  No matter what you call it, it made some balanced meals for the week.

It’s a very simple dish of browned ground turkey and vegetables.  Browning the turkey is an extra step, but worth the effort.  This also allows you to drain off some of the extra fat.  The vegetables came right from my freezer, no chopping required, but you could use any combination of fresh or frozen.

And now I am off to make preparations for Easter dinner, no crockpot required!

 

 

Crockpot Ground Turkey and Vegetables

1 (20 oz.) package ground turkey, browned and drained
1 (16 oz.) package frozen stew vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and potatoes
1 (16 oz.) package green beans
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 c. water

Mix all ingredients in your crockpot.  Cook on High for 5-6 hours.

Asparagus and Egg Salad

Asparagus is here!  A sure sign of spring, even if there is still snow on the ground.  I was so excited that I went ahead and bought 2 bunches.

I had seen this recipe on Serious Eats, but I had to make things a little simpler.  This is really just like traditional egg salad, with over a cup of steamed asparagus mixed in.  There’s enough vegetable to provide some flavor and crunch (well, it would have been more crunchy if I didn’t overcook the asparagus like I always do!)  The dressing of mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar gives the salad some tang.

This makes a great spring lunch, and you’ll forget all about that white stuff that still litters the ground.

 

 

Asparagus and Egg Salad

5 medium eggs, boiled for 10 minutes, peeled and chopped
1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1″ pieces, and steamed
1/3 c. light mayonnaise
2 T mustard
2 T red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Place egg and asparagus in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, mustard, and red wine vinegar.  Mix dressing into eggs and asparagus.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve in pita, or on top of a green salad.

Koulourakia

My cooking club theme this month was “My Big Fat Greek Dinner”.  We had a great buffet of Greek specialties including spanakopita, Greek chicken, Greek pasta salad, and baklava.  There was plenty of feta and phyllo dough to go around.

I made these Lenten Koulourakia.  Many traditional recipes featured sesame seeds, but this recipe used almonds which I like better. Plus, this recipe also included wine, always a crowd favorite.

The dough uses oil, not butter, so the texture is dense and the cookies are nice and crunchy.  They are not overly sweet, but still taste like dessert.  They actually remind me a bit of Italian biscotti; they’re the kind of cookie you want to dip in something.  Coffee, tea, wine…your choice!

 

Tindora

I love finding new produce to try!  I went to an Indian grocery store the other day, and picked up tindora.  I didn’t photograph them next to a reference, but they’re similar in size to pickling cucumbers.

 

I appealed to some friends from India for help in cooking the tindora, and they made some great suggestions.  I stuck to a fairly simple preparation, and sauteed them in a bit of oil and spices.  It works for almost any vegetable.

I was surprised that the tindora stayed fairly crunchy, even after almost 20 minutes in the frying pan!  The taste was mild, so the spices really made this dish.  I enjoyed them, but even more, I had fun trying a new vegetable.

 

Tindora

2 t. oil
1/4 t turmeric
1/4 t coriander
1/2 t cumin
1 c. tindora, quartered lengthwise

Heat oil in a pan.  Add spices, and stir for 1 minutes.  Add tindora, and saute on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes.

Chicken and Cabbage Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

Every year around St. Patrick’s Day, the grocery store has a huge display of cabbage.  But you don’t actually have to eat cabbage with corned beef.  While I like a good boiled dinner once a year, cabbage is a versatile vegetable.  Remember these egg rolls?

This time, I used cabbage in a stir fry, inspired by this recipe from Eating Well.  I substituted chicken for the beef in the original recipe, and added sliced baby bella mushrooms which were on sale.  I turned up the heat in the peanut sauce with cayenne pepper, and the end result was a tasty (and vegetable-packed) meal.

I served the stir fry over rice, and there was plenty of sauce to soak up.  You could also serve this with noodles if you like.  So hurry up and grab a head of cabbage before the grocery store takes down the display!

 

 

Chicken and Cabbage Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

1/4 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. Trop 50 orange juice
1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
Dash cayenne
4 t canola oil, divided
1 T garlic ginger paste
1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
1 bunch scallion, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 (8 oz.) package sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
1/4 c. water

In a small bowl, whisk peanut butter, orange juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and cayenne.  Set aside.

In a large pan, heat 2 t oil. Sauce garlic ginger paste for 2 minutes.  Add chicken, and saute until chicken is cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat remaining 2 t oil in pan.  Saute scallion for 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms, and saute for 5-10 minutes, until beginning to brown.  Add cabbage and water, and saute until tender.  (If all the cabbage doesn’t fit in the pan, add a portion and allow it cook down, and then add the rest.)  Add reserved chicken and peanut sauce.  Stir, and heat through.

-Adapted from Eating Well