When I’m perusing the buffet at an Indian restaurant, there are a couple of staple dishes I always get excited about. Chana Masala happens to be one such dish. When I eat chana masala, I’m convinced I could be a vegetarian. It’s everything I want in a dish. Hearty chickpeas, spicy tomato sauce. Serve it with a piece of warm naan bread and I’m in heaven.
This spicy chickpea curry is my quick and easy version of chana masala. There are tons of variations and recipes for chana masala but I promise, this is a good one. (more…)
This casserole is dangerous. Because once you make, unless you have super human self control, you won’t be able to stop eating it.
It’s an old family recipe. I’m not exactly sure where it originated, but I think it was my great Aunt Esther’s recipe. My grandma and mom both make it frequently, and recently, I’ve started making it too. I have to admit, I’d kind of forgotten about it but, the other day, my mom invited me over for dinner with some friends of ours and she made this casserole. I couldn’t stop eating it! It had been years since I’d had it last but, that night, I was reminded of its deliciousness. So, last week when I was thinking of what to make as a last minute meal for some friends of ours last week, this casserole came to mind. It’s a great recipe to fall back on when you don’t know what else to make because it’s always a crowd pleaser. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like it. Even the kiddos like this one. (more…)
Sometimes, after a long day at work, when I’m watching TV (most likely Food Network or The Real Housewives of somewhere), I like to pick a cookbook off my bookshelf and just flip through it. I do this, one, because I find it immensely relaxing, and, two, because it often inspires me to come up with new recipes of my own.
A few nights ago, I was looking through Ina Garten’s newest cookbook, Make it Ahead. All of her recipes look absolutely mouth watering, but I found I kept flipping back to one in particular, her Moroccan lamb tagine. This recipe stuck out to me because I love Moroccan food and tagines (although I don’t actually have a tagine), and also because it looked simple to make. As I thought about it more, I wondered if I could make it even simpler by making a slow cooker version. Ina’s Moroccan lamb tagine is definitely a party dish. It’s a show stopper, and although the recipe is easy enough to follow, it takes a bit of time to assemble and 3 hours to cook in the oven. It happened to be the middle of the week, I hadn’t planned on having company over, and I didn’t want to wait 3 hours after work for dinner to be ready. So, I brainstormed a bit and came up with my own slow cooker version of her recipe. I swapped out a few ingredients and traded lamb shanks for beef stew meat, but it still resembles her recipe and it definitely is reminiscent of those famous Moroccan tagines I love so much. Think of it as the weeknight version of Moroccan lamb tagine. It’s just as delicious, just a little less fancy. (more…)
I know I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again, I love my slow cooker. I broke mine out this week, after neglecting it for several months, to make spicy slow cooker pulled pork with salsa verde. I was watching an old episode of Mexican Made Easy, and Marcela Valladolid was making cochinita pibil, a slow roasted pork dish that combines onions, citrus flavors, achiote paste and pork shoulder. She made it in the slow cooker and it looked absolutely delicious when it was finished. It inspired me to make my own version of slow cooked pulled pork.
Cooking confession: Sometimes, giant cuts of meat are intimidating to me. But I promise you, this is so easy and delicious and it makes a ton. We had pulled pork tacos the first night and bbq pork sandwiches the second night and I still have enough for a 3rd meal. Not sure what I’ll do with the leftovers yet. Maybe some tostados or nachos. Anyway, don’t let the big cut of pork shoulder intimidate you. By the way, a pork “butt” is actually the same thing as a pork shoulder. Another cooking confession: For years I did not know this. I’m still not sure why they call a shoulder a butt, but whatever, it’s the same thing. A nice, fatty piece of pork that is perfect for slow cooking and pulled pork dishes.
I figured January called for a healthy recipe. After all, it is the month of resolutions and new starts. The problem is, because it’s cold, dreary and dark here in January, I never really feel like eating salad, or anything cold for that matter. Granted, there are so many things you can do with vegetables besides make a salad, but I’ve been lazy on the food front lately. But this weekend I felt inspired and on Sunday, I spent a good portion of the evening cooking. This healthy vegetable curry was, by far, the best thing I made that night. I also made a delicious beef and asparagus stir-fry for Matt, but it doesn’t really count as my recipe because I used Trader Joe’s Soyaki Sauce for the marinade. Guys, that sauce is so delicious. I rarely buy bottled sauces, because I like to make my own but, as I already mentioned, I’ve been lazy on the food front this month. If you ever need a quick dinner, marinate some meat or tofu in this sauce and stir-fry it with some veggies. It is so versatile and so delicious. But, back to the veggie curry, the star of this blog post. (more…)
I love Ina Garten and am often inspired by her recipes. I was watching Food Network the other day, as I often do, and an episode of Barefoot Contessa came on. Ina was making all kinds of delicious things, including tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons, which I quickly added to my “to make” list. She also made lemon chicken with broccoli and bow ties which was the inspiration behind this recipe. Tonight I needed to make a quick, satisfying dinner and her recipe came to mind. Only, I didn’t have time to marinate the chicken and I don’t have an outdoor grill. Even if I did, it’s way too cold to be outside. So, I came up with this quick version and called it lemon chicken pasta with broccoli. It combines many of the same flavors and ingredients but it cuts out a lot of the steps in Ina’s original recipe. I’d venture to say that it’s probably just as good as Ina’s, although, I can’t say for sure, because I’ve never tried hers. (more…)
If you know me at all, you know I have a long standing love affair with Indian food. And although I tend to gravitate more towards the vegetarian Indian dishes (like palak paneer) I enjoy the meat dishes as well. And I love me a good chicken tikka masala. Between the mildly spiced tomato cream sauce and the tender pieces of juicy chicken, what’s not to love? Seriously, if you think you don’t like Indian food, give chicken tikka masala a try. I’ve never met anyone who tried it and didn’t like it, and I’m not sure I want to. (more…)
I’m so sorry for my absence on the blog, as of late. I realize it’s been almost a month since I last posted but it’s been an incredibly hectic few weeks for me. Between the day to day grind of work and social obligations, as well as participating in my friend’s wedding and a recent trip to Saint Lucia (which I will be sharing about on the blog soon), September just flew by. BUT I have a delicious, healthy crab pasta to share with you today to make up for my lack of posts this past month. You guys, this pasta is DELICIOUS. (more…)
Gnocchi reminds me of my childhood in Bangkok. Isn’t that weird? Small, potato dumplings, native to Italy, remind me of my childhood growing up in Thailand, the land of chili peppers and fish sauce. But, believe it or not, the first time I ever tried these incredible, pillowy dumplings of deliciousness was in Bangkok. My family used to eat at this little Italian restaurant and, although I hardly remember any details about the restaurant itself, I remember the happy times with family and friends and I remember the amazing gnocchi. The important stuff. (more…)
I like to cook (obviously) and most of the time, the stuff I make turns out pretty well. Granted, this doesn’t happen all the time. One time I attempted to make “Indian stuffed peppers” and they were completely inedible. It was a total waste of ingredients because, after attempting to choke down half a pepper, I threw out the second half along with the other five peppers I made. Even my husband, who usually manages to eat even the so-so meals, admitted they were terrible. So, yes, I definitely have some moments I am not proud of in the kitchen but, most of the time, I manage to turn out pretty decent meals. I feel like I have to defend myself and say that the Indian pepper catastrophe was fairly early on in my cooking “journey” and also let you all know that only the good stuff makes it onto this blog. I don’t post the bad recipes, or even the so-so ones. Maybe that goes without saying, but I’m feeling slightly self conscious after admitting that not everything I make turns out delicious, in case any of you were under that impression.
This is all to say, that even though I’ve had some kitchen mishaps, I’ve also had “wow” moments in the kitchen and creating this pasta with heirloom tomatoes and feta (and basil and pancetta) was definitely a wow moment for me. This is a recipe I’m really, really proud of. Sometimes after I make something, I think of all the things that could be improved upon for next time. Additional ingredients I would add, or ingredients I’d omit the next time I make the dish. I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe. I’ve been thinking about it all day and I can’t wait to eat the leftovers for dinner tonight. That’s how good it is. I felt that way about my brunch casserole with eggs, potatoes and bacon as well. There’s something extraordinarily satisfying about creating a dish that tastes this good. I’m proud of all my recipes on this blog, and they’re all special in their own right, but this one has to be one of my favorites. (more…)