Tag Archives: spicy

Cheddar Chicken Pie with Broccoli Sentinels (is Only Platonic Friends with the Curry Cabbage)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 frozen, unbaked pie shell
  • 1 can chicken breast, drained and rinsed
  • 2 c large broccoli florets
  • 2/3 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 “roasted chicken” flavored gravy packet
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c minced onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch asafoetida

I have had so. much. pie. this holiday season. It really is kind of ridiculous how pies culminate for an annual winter slaughter of the human diet and pride: pecan, caramel apple cheesecake, plain cheesecake with a mandarin orange pie winning the pie-ze this year for both deliciousness and moxie. After rounding out the last family jaunt yesterday with a pizza, I feel it is safe to start officially distancing myself from rich meals and desserts that do nothing but inadvertently complicate my health and/or well-being.

That being said, I made a pie for dinner tonight. Don’t you judge me.

In the freezer still lived the other half of a crust two-set I’d gotten on sale, canned chicken in the cupboard and cheese in the fridge. Oh, and fresh broccoli; that’s probably the healthiest and therefore most important part of things. Before you get to arranging health around the edge of your pie, start your onion and garlic in butter heating to M. After five or so minutes of making sure everything gets coated and tossed, add the turmeric and asafoetida; stir. While that’s being perpetrated drain and rinse the can of chicken and mix your gravy packet with almond milk. Add eggs to this mixture one at a time and whisk until blended. Return to the stove and stir in 1/3 c of broth and the chicken; toss everything together and spoon into the pie crust. Add the remainder of broth to the egg/gravy mixture. Arrange chunky florets around the edges and secure it all with a pour-over of casserole gravy. Bake in a 375° oven for 45 minutes, remove to sprinkle 1/3 c cheddar over and into the florets and continue baking until a knife comes out of the middle clean. And because I made this earlier today in advance of dinnertime, when I warm it back up at 35o° for 10m I will have sprinkled on another 1/3 c cheddar. This ended up being delicious in flavor, but a little unsatisfactory to me in consistency… then again, the bottom crust I found too soggy was forked off my plate and eaten by my wife. Still, my conscience tells me to go with just 3 spoons on this.

Also, while making that I had also started some cabbage that’s been waiting patiently in the fridge. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet — I don’t want to take the easy way out by throwing it into broth and declaring a soup; I’ve got plenty of that in the freezer right now. No, I want this cabbage to go places, travel the world and be better than freezer soup:

  • 1 medium head cabbage
  • 1/2 c onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1-2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

cabbageThis one’s easy. Start the mustard seeds out in a ghee-oiled pot heating to M. When it’s near full heat, add the onion and garlic. When the seeds start snapping, add the spices and stir into a pasty mess. Add a dash of broth. Add cabbage in by little handfuls, all the while mixing and adding broth as needed to get everything spiced right proper. Add enough broth to cover the pan bottom, then put a lid on it and dial the heat down to the L side of ML. I cannot yet give this spoons because I do not feel it is yet a finished product. Good luck to my imagination!

 

Nutty Broccoli, Fried Rice and Chinese Food for Dogs

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c broccoli florets
  • 1 c dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c blackberry preserves
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/4 c tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 tbsp corn starch

Broccoli is delicious and I wish I had not overcooked it — that, of course, is really my largest complaint of last night’s dinner, and one which only you can avoid in the future (or me, but lets not play a game of semantics here). It’s easy as sin to cook onion slices to near-sheer on ML then to add peanuts. Take the pan from the burner and let the nuts toast for a few minutes. While that sits, get another pan and start the broccoli cooking on MH. When it turns a full, bright green go ahead and add the peanut/onion mixture. Stir together all the other ingredients  (starting from blackberry preserves –> down) and toss your nuts. And the broccoli. And bring it to a low boil on M for the corn starch to thicken things up a little. In the pan from whence the onion/nut mixture came, there should be an oily enough residue to start the rice.

  • 3 c cooked, cold rice
  • 1/3 c frozen peas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil

Scramble your egg and set aside. Add frozen peas and rice to hot pan , toss. Add the egg back in, squirt in some soy sauce and continue tossing until the rice is hot. Serve everything together and call it a night of order-in. 4 spoons!

Oh, and I’ve been making that dog food for a while now. It was referred to once as “Chinese Food” from its appearance in refrigerated clear Tupperware; the dogs love it, I love what it doesn’t have in it, but I don’t love how quickly it spoils. I’ve prepared in advance the meat/barley mixture to freeze and have ready on those days I feel tired enough to buy another can of rendered, rotten meat. Rice is something we usually keep on hand cooked so I can usually add it later, but that can obviously be mixed in and frozen with this mess.

  • 1 c cooked barley
  • 1/2 c cooked ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c cooked rice for mixing in after thawing

Mix the turmeric and cinnamon into the boiling water when you cook the barley, salt the turkey while it’s cooking. When both have cooked to completion and cooled enough to combine, add the flax and olive oil along with some cooked brown rice. I did forget to add a little bit of mixed vegetables to this batch… but that it won’t faze the animals. Freeze whatever you can’t use in 3 days.

 

Succulent Strawberries, Salad and Sauce

In my pantry today:

  • Rainbow salad with strawberry vinaigrette
  • Monday Marinara

To be fair, this is two days’ dinner in one lump sum; life is for the living, after all, and I have been doing a great deal of it lately. Yesterday I had to have several items meet their maker (through me rather than by nature’s wicked hand). I had just bought those strawberries and the next day showed why they had been on sale. Shelf life costs.

Rainbow salad:

  • 1 small head Butter lettuce
  • 4-5 leaves rainbow chard
  • 1 c quartered strawberries
  • 1 ear sweet white corn
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2 tbsp crushed walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp red hot chili powder

Take the corn off of the ear, raw, and mix with your crushed walnuts and red hot chili powder. Set aside. Chop everything to your personal liking; toss greens then layer on the corn/walnut mixture, tomatoes and strawberries. Top with…

Strawberry Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 c pureed fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 c pomegranate red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

The remainder of the strawberries were not rotten but were also not pretty. What couldn’t you make with those suckers after a trip through the food processor? Put all the ingredients in a cruet and shake heartily until emulsification happens. 4 spoons!

Monday Marinara:

  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 large Vidalia onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

And today there were four ripe-n-ready vine tomatoes on the counter that looked perfect to blanch. First thing was first; chop your onion and garlic and add to olive oil warming to ML in a large stove top vessel. While that’s doing it’s thing you’ll have time to blanch the tomatoes and dice up the skinless little goons. Sprinkle the naked chunks with salt and brown sugar then have them wait panside until the garlic begins to brown at the edges. Mix tomatoes in along with thyme, oregano and hot red chili powder. Let everything come to a boil and stir periodically for 10-15m. Reduce heat to L and let simmer until dinnertime. Ours was served over spinach tortellini and topped with Parmesan cheese. 4 spoons!

Too Many Modifiers Meat Meal with Black Bean and Cashew Butter Hummus Lettuce Wraps

In my pantry today:

  • .74 lbs stir fry beef
  • 1 c Basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp minced Vidalia onion
  • 6-8 leaves off a head of leaf lettuce
  • 1 tsp safflower oil

Marinate your meat for an hour or two in:

  • 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Soak and cook rice with:

  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Black Bean and Cashew Butter Hummus:

  • 1.5 c cooked black beans
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1.5 tbsp cashew butter
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Drizzle it all with:

  • 2 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder

Wow. So this is apparently what happens when I’ve gone three days without kitchening. And come back one day after having had six cups of coffee. I also made kale chips, loaded the dishwasher and cleaned out all the dog food and soda cans in the sink (followed by cleaning the sink). I love taking as full advantage possible when I’m having a good day; ring the gong, then, and begin your cooking adventure!

Massage the marinade into your meat; set aside. After your rice has been rinsed and soaked, start it out to boil with the addition of [everything listed above]. Put the ingredients for your drizzle in a sauce pan on L to begin melting and melding; stir gently until it’s one love and keep at the ready.  Make your hummus by throwing everything into the food processor and blending to a reasonably hummus-like paste. Roll little bits of it, with accents of onion, in lettuce leaves, then:

Heat 1 tsp safflower oil to MH (more H than M) and when the pan is hot-n-ready, rapidly stir fry your beef then serve hot over your equally hot rice. Surround the dish with lettuce wraps and drizzle it all with the spicy cashew butter drizzle. This meal was worth all the effort and earns 5 spoons!

Whole Bird with Tubers!

In my pantry today:

  • 1 2.65 lb chicken
  • 1 extra large baking potato
  • 1 average sweet potato
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 pearl onions, skinned
  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c dill seeds
  • 1/3 c hot curry powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp sea salt

Turns out I ate some spoiled cippoline sott’aceto in Venice about a decade ago that forever ruined pearl onions for me — just go ahead and use regular onions. I’m giving the rest of the uncooked onions to my brother upon this memories’ harkening to one of few moments that were un-outstanding during my summer in Italy. Grossballs.

"Living Room of the Renaissance"

I lived here in 2000. Jealous? (You should be.)

Fortunately, I had been too lazy to peel many and the potatoes and carrots were still just fine. Preheat the oven to 425° and set about to the washing, peeling and prepping of your root vegetables. Lay them in a gently overlapping layer inside a large casserole dish and drizzle 1/4 c olive oil atop. Layer seasonings:

  • 1/8 c dill seeds
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Toss until everything’s evenly coated, then cover the pan and stick it in the oven for an hour.

Now it is time to handle the larger part of something’s carcass. Mix the remainder of your seasonings with the remainder of your olive oil until a nice, paste-like uniformity reveals itself. Rinse your chicken inside and out under cold water and cut off that little dangling fat turd that dangles off its butt. Cut finger-sized slits in the skin on the wings, legs, thighs and breasts and first massage in some of the seasonings and olive oil between the meat and skin, then move to all other major outer areas, and end with a cavity massage with 1/4 of the paste.

When the tubers come out, downgrade your oven temperature to 350° and slap in your foil-covered chicken pan. Now, I was under the impression that 20 minutes per lb was the general chicken-roasting rule. Maybe I should’ve checked the internet for a brain-freshening on this, because it’s taken a bit more than that. I’d budget 90 minutes before your first check, and possibly another 30 after that depending on your oven’s maw. Regardless, the deliciousness will repay your patience: 5 spoons!

Tonight’s bonus (since I just flipped through some old pictures) is this classy photo of me in my room at the Università degli Studi di Urbino. Nobody thinks to tell the fattest girl on the plane that a summer anywhere in Europe unofficially requires a physical fitness certification. I remember having waking paralysis in my bed there some nights, but above all else — the heat, the sun, forcing my legs up mountains — the determination to never be the last straggler on walks. It would be another eight years before my diagnosis and I just assumed all of my problems were due to my heft. That’s what all the doctors said, and who doesn’t believe their doctor? So, dogged in my resolve, I traveled the peninsula at about 300lbs with another 200lbs of luggage in my arms (art history courses abroad should be considered suspect to the over-burdened traveler). I like to regard the entire amazing odyssey as a small turning point in just how much shit I was willing to take from my body — nothing was going to steal even a moment of where I got to be. Not even that pubescent gypsy who stole my wallet on the subway in Milan.

Spring Snap Soup (& Cheese Quesadillas)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c leftover hibachi rice
  • 1 15 oz can snaps-n-peas
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tbsp diced onion
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/4 c diced roma tomato
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp asafoetida

Well, hello tonight’s low of 44° in April! I generally swear by the delineation between “soup weather” and “salad weather,” but every now and then things happen in this world that we (as not-meteorologists) cannot explain. Just when I was bemoaning the first day of the year to hit 90° along comes one week later, and I am glut with the fast food that extra-routinized variables bring even after two days of Norovirus‘ enforced foodlessness. All current conditions point to a forecast of soup!

The post ratio of the last week and shameful public admittance to eating too much fast food should tell all of you junior detectives this: leftovers. Crap, leftovers. Start some ghee melting in a pot on M while you first being pulling various things out of the fridge. Throw in those leftover diced onions from the bacon tacos and after a minute or two, toss in the also taco-leftover tomatoes and garlic paste. Swirl. Open, rinse and rain your snap peas and add them to the pot. Sprinkle on your remaining seasonings and stir. Add broth, stir, add rice, stir, add uncut cilantro leaves, stir. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to L and serve before your rice swells up and kills the mood.

For leftovers, applaud! This is an easy 4 spoons of soup, and will be served alongside tiny quesadillas made from taco night’s three leftover rounds.

No Thanks to You, Parsley.

In my pantry today:

  • 1 tbsp reserved sausage grease
  • 1/4 large onion, chopped clumsily
  • 1.5 c cooked lima beans
  • 1.5 c chopped parsley
  • 1 10 oz can Hunt’s rosemary & oregano tomatoes
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • cooked angel hair pasta
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

Ok, let me start out by being completely up front: parsley is unattractive to my palette. I’ve recently boarded the phytonutrient bandwagon and because of that am giving all manner of new-to-me vegetables a try. And parsley is losing the office pool. I do not recommend using parsley in this, and most other, dishes. The health benefits of parsley are well-known enough, and I do not deign to refuse it entrance to my kingdom on all counts… it did very well with the walnut pesto recipe, but when not ground by a food processor can be a little too prickly for the roofs of mouths.

Anyway, we’ve still gotta do this thing, don’t we? Start your sausage grease and onions in a cold pan heating to M. Once it reaches full heat and the bottom of your pan shows the slightest indication of browning, turn heat to L and gently fold in lima beans along with seasonings. Add the undrained can of tomatoes, mix gently enough not to puncture or smash your beans (that’s for later! with forks!). Cover and let simmer for as long as you’ve got, but enjoy at any point now with angel hair pasta and Parmesan cheese. Excepting the parsley (for which, you see, I did not allow room in these instructions) this gets 5 spoons.

Spicy Kale and Celery with Quinoa

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c quinoa
  • 2.5 c vegetable broth
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 c kale, stems removed
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida

Slice your onion and celery with industrious attention to detail so as to ensure you’ve got the thinnest intact slices possible. Mince your kale with only slightly less care. Put the onion and celery in a cold pan with the olive oil and heat to M. Once you’ve heard the pan sizzlin’ propa for a minute or two, add the kale and toss until coated. Add garlic, red chili, asafoetida and salt; toss. Toss in 1/2 c broth then cover, turn off and walk away. Cook quinoa using broth instead of water. When it is finished, fluffed and cooled add back to the reheated pan of kale. Mix it all together until hot, then serve. I used 1 tsp of butter as garnish here because, well, I thought it would be tasty. And lo, it was good. 4 spoons!

Spicy Crockpot Chicken with Parsely-Walnut Pesto (or, “The Corned Beef is All Yours Today”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1.5 c chicken tenders
  • Ancient Harvest® garden pagodas
  • 1 c parsley sprigs (stems removed)
  • 1/2 c walnuts
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 3 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Start your chicken out on the train to Easytown — plop it in the slow cooker with 2 tbsp garlic paste, cayenne and black pepper and cover with water. Set the cooker on L and walk away for a few hours. It’s a great set up, actually, because your pesto will only taste better after it’s sat a minute:

Put parsley, walnuts, Parmesan, salt, flax, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp garlic paste into the food processor and puree the heck out of it. When it’s good and chunk-free (even the little chunks! be vigilant!), move it to an airtight container in the fridge and pray your patience will bring a huge, delicious payoff.

At dinnertime, boil water and cook your gluten-free pasta; drain. While it’s still hot mix in all but 1tbsp of the pesto, making sure to get a little all up in the crooks and spirals of your self-proclaimed “pagodas” — really, they taste nothing like a Buddhist or Taoist temple of worship, but the flavor of your earlier endeavor should eclipse this misnomer. Strain your chicken and mix it up with the remaining tbsp of pesto, then marry the pasta and the meat. Mazel tov, 4 spoons!

And because it is St. Patrick’s Day, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Please note that, despite often having my Irish red hair belie my Italian heart (and that birthmark on my head that grows black hair), I did not make corned beef today. Did I just forget? Not have it in the pantry and have no vehicle with which to go procure some from a grocer? No and yes. I have never liked it, and even if I wasn’t dead-set (so to speak) on getting to an animal-free diet you would never catch it on any plate of mine. And a day that forces it down your throat (along with copious amounts of alcohol)? I am no fan. Despite the red damn hair. Here, let me have another disenfranchised genetic Irish speak:

“I have never been greatly tied emotionally or sentimentally to my own Irish background. The Irish in America are sometimes more Irish than the Irish and I suppose some of my indifference is a reaction against that.” – Flannery O’Connor Letter, 7/25/63

To summarize: I have red hair and a genetic heritage linked in part to the Irish culture but will consume neither corned beef nor copious amounts of alcohol. Happy St. Patty’s!

 

 

Standing Ovation Vegetarianism*

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c cooked lentils
  • 2 c finely cubed butternut squash
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 14.5 oz can vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp ground brown flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp garlic-ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 c Basmati rice

This was one of those dishes where I felt like an orchestra conductor around all the separate in-progress sections of a single, delicious meal. And when that symphony — er, meal — comes out as well as this one did, it deserves a standing ovation.

Let mustard seeds and the chopped onion cook on M in butter until the snappling begins, then transfer pan contents to the food processor and add pastes. Process until it’s reached the consistency of soupy grits and leave it set aside for a moment.

Oh, be boiling your lentils in straight-up water until they’re ready, then, upon draining, set those aside.

In that pan where you were just onioning, put your butternut squash and broth in and bring to a boil on MH. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes, then turn off the burner, uncover and selectively smash 50-80% of the pan. Add food processor contents with flax seeds and the remainder of your seasonings to this. Fold lentils in with milk backup and serve over Basmati rice. Or eat it alone from a mug. Or just take the whole dang pan upstairs with you. This is totally a 5 spoon dish.

*To make this a vegan meal, just substitute vegetable ghee for the butter!