5 Oct 2012

Curried Potato Salad

Curried Potato Salad
If you know me you will know I love curry!! Indian, West Indian, Thai curry, red, yellow, green curry & more! What is curry? It's really just a name given to different spices mixed up.  I have an earlier post about curried veggies with shrimp. The best curry is freshly ground & for a while I always made it & never bought it already ground. I have a recipe book of 660 curries, but hardly every followed it exactly. I would lightly roast whole spices, then cool & grind.  I use store bought curry powder for a more basic curry recipes because not everyone in my family likes my spice combos.  I like it a little spicier then most.  This is a pretty basic recipe.  

Ingredients:
8 medium potatoes peel or not.  I semi peeled, cubed then boiled & cooled
2 small to medium onions (I used yellow) quartered    then sliced.
2 carrots, peeled then chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon or more of grated ginger (optional)
1 cup of frozen peas added after I cooked onions &    carrots so not to over cook
2 tablespoons of curry powder
2 heaping tablespoons of Mayo
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil for frying veggies

You can use other veggies or things such as cilantro, raisins, chick peas or what ever veggie you might like.   I semi peeled the potatoes, cut, then boiled in salted water.  I think I over cooked mine, but it still tasted great.
I then sautéed the chopped onion, carrot, garlic & grated ginger in 2  tablespoons of olive oil.  
Then I added the curry powder, & frozen peas.  I then sort let cool.  
Mixed in 2 tablespoons of Mayo with potatoes & then added curried sautéed veggies. 
 Then put in fridge to cool! Voila yum!

26 Oct 2011

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE BARS

For all those PB & Chocolate fans out there this is your recipe! Its hard to eat just two squares. This does not require any baking, can be made in 30 min or less & requires only 5 ingredients! I have never been a big sweets fan, but LOVE PB & C!  I used to trade all my Halloween candy with my siblings for their Reese's cups or pieces.  And around the holidays one of my favorite treats my Grandma D would make (besides rum balls) were peanut butter/chocolate balls.  I had trouble not eating them all!
  
The ingredients;
2 cups of crushed Graham Crackers ( I have used Cheerie O's & animal crakers)
1.5 cups of Peanut Butter (any kind you like)
1 cup of confectioner sugar
1 stick of butter & 1 table spoon for melting chocolate
1.5-2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips

Blend Graham Crackers till all the chunks are gone & then melt butter. 
Mix Graham Cracker crumbs, Peanut Butter, powdered sugar & butter until well mixed.
Press Peanut Butter mixture into a pyrex dish (I usually use a 7x10" or something like that) or any cookie tray that has sides that are 1" or higher.  Press evenly with a spatula.  Use the glass measuring cup that you melted the butter in to melt chocolate chips.  I usually add 1 table spoon of butter while melting to make it smoother & easier to spread.  Be careful not to over heat. I heat for about a minute, then mix with a fork.  It might need 30 sec or more if not smooth enough to spread.
Then I spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the peanut butter mixture using a spatula.
I chill for about 1hr or in freezer for 15-30 min, until its hard enough to cut into bars to serve.
Its very tasty with chunky peanut butter and less sugar.  Jiffy or other brands of peanut butter that aren't all natural have sugar added, so you don't need as much.   I have also used 1/4 cup of honey & 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.  Enjoy!!

20 Sep 2011

BANANA NUT BREAD


As you can see we grow our own bananas! & have fresh ones even in our winter! The island bananas are all very different in taste, shape, and size.  When ours ripen we have a ton so I will freeze them with peels off for blending, using later, and/or make a bunch of banana bread.
There are so many great easy banana bread recipes out there.  But this one has 'stuck' for me and is my favorite! My lil bro Paul came to visit a while back, whipped up this banana bread and it was big hit! He is such a great baker! What a lucky women, Nina is soon to be wife is! Here it goes...
2 cups of flour (i like to use half whole wheat & regular)
2-3 very ripe bananas
2 eggs
3/4 cup of brown sugar or regular (my brother used a cup & extra to sprinkle on top with cinnamon)
1/2 cup of oil
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsn of cinnamon
dash of salt (1 tsp)
1 cup of chopped nuts, like walnuts (optional)
Mix all liquid ingredients; bananas, eggs, & oil, then add dry ingredients.  
Mix all dry ingredients in separate bowl.  Heat oven to 375. Add nuts last by hand.
Pour in buttered or greased bread dish about half way, then sprinkle on top sugar & cinnamon for extra yummy taste! Optional additions;1/2 cup or more of Peanut Butter and/or 1 cup of chocolate chips.
I usually add a little of this or a little of that each time I make it & it always turns out yummy! Thanks Paul!!

CURRIED VEGGIES WITH SHRIMP

Indian is one of my favorite ethnic foods; I love the spices and variety of an Indian buffet.  I have taken Indian cooking classes and read various Indian cook books but rarely have the time or patience to make it quite like the restaurants do.  Here is my own variation of Curry Veggies with shrimp (or you can use chicken).  
As you can see below I used the store bought curry in this recipe to 'keep it simple'.  There are many store bought Curries that I have have good flavor.  If I use store curry, I always use extra fresh ginger, garlic, onions and cumin powder or seed to make up for some of the lost flavor in the shelved pre-ground mixes.  
If I have more time I like to make my own curries.  I recommend reading Madhur Jaffreys book 'An Invitation to Indian Cooking'.  This was her first book written in 1973 and the copy I have, has no pictures, newer copies might.  She doesn't just have recipes but great description.  Madhur considers the word 'Curry' as degrading to most Indians and as a 'catchall' word that the Brits created as an oversimplification for Indian cuisine.  She's states that Indians when speaking in their own language don't use the term 'Curry', they refer to each dish with a specific name.  The English term 'Kari' means sauce or mixture of spices.  I used to always buy curry powder at the store until I read her book.  She recommends buying whole spices, roasting then grinding them yourself in small quantities.  A blend of whole spices that is popular in Indian dishes is called Garam Masala; cardamon pods, black peppercorns, cumin seed, coriander seeds, cinnamon sticks, & whole cloves.  I dry roast what whole spices I like in a pan on medium heat, until the seeds start to pop & release flavor (be careful not to burn) then cool & grind.  There is no perfect science to making curry, lots of combinations of spices are good together.

Ingredients;
2 tablespoon of oil (sesame or olive oil)
1 med onion chopped
1/2 of a green pepper chopped
2 tablespoons of ginger diced small
1 cup of carrots (or sweet potatoes)
3 cloves of garlic diced small
1 head of cauliflower about 1-2 cups
2 tablespoons of curry powder or more
1 can of garbonzo beans
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of coconut milk
1 bunch cilantro chopped (leave some aside to garnish the top)
1 cup of frozen peas

1-2 cups of shrimp or chopped chicken (optional)

Saute first 4 ingredients on high heat until onions soft & translucent.  Then add the next 4 ingredients & saute for a few minutes, then add the next 4 ingredients, cover and simmer on low heat for 15-20 min, until carrots are soft.  Lastly add frozen peas saute for a couple minutes until thawed, then put over rice or potatoes.  Garnish the top with cilantro.
You can add most any variety of veggies.  I usually like to use at least 3 different kinds that have different colors.  You can use fresh tomatoes instead of canned or omit tomatoes.  I also like to add sweet potatoes or regular potatoes.  If I add potatoes, I boil them in salted water first (with or without skin) then chop and add toward the end.  This really is a very easy recipe! I have also added all ingredients to my slow cooker and let it simmer all day on med heat.  If you use a slow cooker add the shrimp last. Enjoy!

24 Aug 2011

EASY MAC AND CHEESE

Where has the summer gone!? Has it really been over a month since I last posted a recipe. Hopefully, I will be better now that I am back home from vacation and trying to get back to a schedule.  I have been busy cooking (and taking pictures).  I just need to write about all this food! Which is not as much fun as cooking as far as I am concerned.
I got this recipe from my friend Susan... who got from a friends' mom or friend's friends' mom...or something like that.  I have made this a ton since first having it! It is the perfect "go to" recipe when I have to bring a big dish for a gathering.  What I love about this recipe is that it calls for a mere 3 ingredients! & it can feed a lot of people! Plus you bake it, so there is no standing over the stove top.
Okay three ingredients plus salt and pepper.  
1 lb. of macaroni - a box and kind doesn't matter 
1 lb. of sharp cheddar cheese - about 2 cups or more
2 cups of milk or more
salt and pepper
Cook the pasta until it is al dente (almost done).   Then layer pasta with cheese, add salt and pepper to each layer. Be sure to put some cheese on the bottom of the pan.  Pour milk just till you can see it down the side of the dish, 9"x13", about 2 cups.  Bake on 375 for 30-40 minutes until top is crispy and cheese/milk are bubbling up the sides.
Also recipe can be made more healthy or gourmet by adding broccoli, peas, ham, bacon or different cheese; like swiss, provolone, parmesan or combination.




16 Jul 2011

QUICK QUICHE

This recipe is one that I like to make when I have friends coming over for brunch.  I have made with store bought crust (Pillsbury makes great crust), or make your own my crust recipe is below, or omit crust of you are watching calories.  I found this whole wheat crust recipe that I can make fast.  I like it because it uses oil instead of butter; cheaper, lighter on calories, plus I always have oil in the house.  I try to add whole wheat flour instead of white as much as possible.  I add salt to my crust when making quiche, but if you want to use it for a sweet pie, you can use sugar instead or with salt.

Whole Wheat pie crust
2 cups flour - regular, whole wheat or half of each
1/2 cup oil -Olive or another kind
1/3 cup of milk
1tsp salt
Mix flour & salt (sift if you have time or if clumpy), then add oil & milk.  If too moist add more flour, if too dry add a little more milk.  If I use whole wheat flour its a little more dry.  I roll thin between wax paper and form in my pie dish.  Recipe usually yields two pie crusts.
Quiche Filling
6 eggs
3/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup of cheese of your choice or a mixture (cheddar, feta, parmesan, aseago, or mozzarella
1 cup of sausage, veggies or filling of your choice

Mix in blender eggs, 1/2 of cheese, milk, & a dash of salt/pepper or season salt.  Reserve a little of the cheese for the top (about 1/4 cup).  Sprinkle the sausage or pie filling evenly in base of pie crust.  Then pour egg mixture to top of pie dish, add the remainder of cheese on top.   Cook on 375 for about 30-45m, until browned and cooked through center.

I usually make a quiche with sausage & cheese for the meat lovers and one with all veggies.  Some ideas of some veggies to add are chopped artichoke heart, tomato, onion & mozzarella.  Sausage, ham or bacon with cheddar.  Sauted broccoli with feta or sautéed onion, garlic, spinach and tomato.

The pictures are just of the sausage.  The veggie quiche went too fast for me to get a picture.  If you are running short of time, you can buy frozen veggies, heat in the microwave with a little butter and garlic salt.  I like to use frozen peas with ham, or frozen spinach with tomato, frozen broccoli and cheese.  Anything will work, it's so simple to prepare and great to have around for a quick healthy breakfast on a rushed day or for company.  It can also be froze and reheated for a later day.

15 Jul 2011

CHICKPEA HUMMUS

Looking for a quick dish to bring to a party, make for a snack or have for guest.  This is your dish! I make this usually with Chickpeas (aka Garbonzo beans), but it can be made with black beans, white beans or just about any bean you might like.  This recipe is the traditional Greek or mediterranean  hummus, with a little bit of my own twist.  My own twist usually consists of me substituting what I have in the house.  This recipe usually calls for Tahini (sesame butter), but I was out.  So I used sesame seeds and sesame oil.  If you have it great, buy it if you want or substitute.

Basic Hummus recipe
1 can of Chickpeas (rinsed or with some of the liquid is fine)
1/4 cup of sesame seeds (or Tahini)
1/4 cup of sesame oil or olive oil if you don't have sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic
juice from one medium lemon or more (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon of sea salt or seasoned salt like garlic salt, lemon pepper, or taco seasoning salt (I use McCormicks because it has no MSG & is tasty on everything)
1 teaspoon of pepper
Put all the above ingredients in a blender to puree on high.  Then voila you have a healthy dip.  I also like to make a mexican black beans dip; add a lime, cilantro, salsa, garlic, cumin, tomatoes or sour cream.  I have also made italian white beans; added sundered tomatoes and artichoke hearts, capers or olives with garlic.  Experiment with what you like! Any version is a great dip with cracker, chips, veggies or spread on a sandwich. My husband likes to top on his salads instead of dressing.  So simple!