Monday, November 24, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala II

I liked this easy recipe that I made it twice in two weeks.  Most of my kids loved it too, especially my 8-year old, who kept going back for more.  I've made Indian food (even Tikka Masala) in the slow cooker before, and it was wonderful, but this is a super, super easy, dump and go type of recipe that still has great flavor. At the end, you stir in either heavy cream or coconut milk, and we really prefer the coconut milk. (We tried it both ways.)  The recipe calls for cutting up the chicken before adding it, but I skipped that and just pulled it apart with two forks after it was done cooking.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
adapted from the Kitchn

1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts/tenders
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece whole ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 to 2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Plain Greek yogurt
2 cups cooked rice, to serve

1.  Place the chicken in your slow cooker. Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, paprika, and  salt until the chicken is evenly covered with spices. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices.

2.  Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Fifteen minutes before the end of cooking, pull the chicken apart with two forks and stir in the heavy cream or coconut milk. If you prefer a thicker sauce, leave the slow cooker uncovered for the last 15 minutes. (This really does work to thicken it!  I tried it with another recipe and it also worked.) Taste and add more garam masala or salt to taste.

3.  Serve over rice with Greek yogurt and fresh cilantro sprinkled over the top of each serving. The tikka masala can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Canja de Galinha (Portuguese Chicken & Rice Soup)

I have made Canja once before, when I first moved to the Azores.  I just used a regular Portuguese cookbook, though, not an Azorean one, and the recipes are quite different.  The one I made before was really simple and had mint.  This one is still simple, but more hearty.  This is the closest to the Canja from my fave Pastelaria there.  (I love that place, but they wouldn't give me their Canja recipe. Sheesh.)  I made homemade Massa Sovada- Portuguese Sweet Bread- to go with it.  I'll share that recipe later.  It's from the same blog.    I think the Pastelaria sometimes added chopped hard-boiled eggs to theirs, but I don't remember anymore.  :(
Canja de Galinha (Portuguese Chicken & Rice Soup)
adapted from Azores Gal

3 bay leaves
10 whole allspice
1 clove of garlic cut small/minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 of a chicken ( or whole if you wish)
1-2 teaspoons of sea salt ( salt and taste the water to your liking)
12 cups of water ( + 5 more cups, if needed to add during cooking the chicken)
½ cup of white rice (can use up to 1 cup) 
lemons, optional

1.  Put 12 cups of water, bay leaves, allspice, salt, garlic, onion, and chicken in a pot, cover with the lid. Bring to the boil. Let boil until chicken is cooked, about an hour. During cooking time, check to see if you need to add some water, as it will reduce as it boils. Remove the chicken when it's cooked, and shred or cut into bite-size pieces and set aside. 

2.  Taste the broth, and adjust the salt to your liking. To the broth now add in the rice, and let it cook for about 20 minutes, simmer on low heat. Do not cover with the lid, as this sometimes, will make it boil over. After the 20 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes, the rice will finish cooking. At this time add in the shredded chicken. It´s now ready to serve! You can squeeze some lemon juice in your bowl (this is the best!) or add a splash of vinegar.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spinach Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

The other day I needed to use up some leftover baby spinach, and we hadn't had salad in a while, so I looked for an easy vinaigrette I could make to go with it.  I found this recipe for a whole salad and it Iwas delicious!!  I didn't mix the dressing with the salad, but let everyone add it at the table.  It would be good either way, though.  The apples, onions and bacon were wonderful flavors with the vinaigrette in this.
Spinach Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette
adapted from My Recipes

1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons minced shallots or red onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon country-style Dijon mustard or spicy brown
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup chopped Braeburn apple
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add  remaining ingredients; toss well to coat.  (Or can prepare vinaigrette in separate small bowl; salad in a bigger one; pass vinaigrette at the table for individual salads.)
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Japanese Dry Curry

My friend and I were chatting online a few weeks ago and she mentioned she was making "Dry Curry" for dinner.  I had no idea what that was, so I asked.  She is Japanese, and I have so many good recipes from her.  Yakisoba, Croquettes, Sushi, and she also taught me how to make Lumpia.  I'm missing her today, so I thought I'd post this recipe.  This is called a "dry" curry in that it's not saucy like a regular curry.  It's simple to make and a good weeknight dinner.
Japanese Dry Curry
adapted from Japanese Cooking 101 and my friend H.S.

1 tsp oil
1 lb (450g) ground beef
1 1/2 cup onion (minced)
1 cup green bell peppers (minced)
1 cup carrot (minced)
2 cloves garlic (minced) (Can mince all veggies together in food processor- easy and saves time.)
1-2 tbsp curry powder
1 can whole tomatoes (28 oz = 800g)
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
salt, to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup raisin
Steamed Rice
4 hard boiled eggs (peeled & chopped)

1.  Heat oil in a pot and brown ground beef.  Add minced vegetables and saute for 5 minutes. Add curry powder and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients (except rice and eggs) and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.

2.  Serve it over rice and top with chopped hard boiled eggs.
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bigoli Con L'anatra (Pasta with Duck Sauce)

Bigoli with Duck Sauce is my 8-year old son's favorite dish here.  Bigoli just describes the pasta shape; it's like a large spaghetti.  The noodles are usually made with egg and hearty and chewy. The Bigoli combined with the duck sauce is a specialty of this region of Northern Italy that I live in.  It's at almost every restaurant, and was also featured on the menu of our local villages's Sagra, or town festival.  We tried it there and it was delicious!  When we first got here and were in a hotel, my son ordered either this, pizza, or penne with pesto pretty much every time we went out to eat.  :)
The sauce is onion, carrot, and garlic sauteed together in butter and olive oil, then cooking the duck, then red wine is added and reduced, and then you add some cream.  I don't drink wine, but felt that leaving it out of this dish would make it taste totally different, as it really adds a lot of the flavor.  Our neighbor/realtor showed us a wine store in our town.  I had asked Chef Lucas exactly what kind of wine I needed for this, so once I had the name, it was easy to find.  It's a locally produced red wine, Valpolicella Ripasso.  I was also able to find duck in my local grocery store; they even ground it fresh for me (ground duck is macinato d'anatra).  This dish tasted just as good as the restaurants here, and my son was very happy.  The first time I made it, I didn't reduce the broth, and it was soupy.  The next time, I did reduce it, and it was so much better.  The sauce isn't very saucy, but it's perfect on the pasta.
Valpolicella Ripasso wine and Ground duck 
I've been to two of Lucas's cooking classes, but not a class for this recipe.   I just went to one last Monday and we made authentic Lasagna, fried calzones, and chocolate salami.  He has so many recipes on his website; I want to try them all!

Bigoli Con L'anatra (Pasta with Duck Sauce)
From Veneto Region of Italy
Adapted from Cooking With Lucas

1 lb bigoli pasta
4-6 oz ground duck meat
1 oz butter
2 Tablespoons Extra virgin Olive oil
1 cup good chicken broth
1/2 one onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 carrot, chopped finely
3 ½ oz red wine (Valpolicella Ripasso)
4 tbs of heavy cream
thyme to taste
marjoram to taste
1 bay leaf
Grana Padano to taste (this is a local cheese; Parm-Reg would be good too)
parsley to taste

1.  In a pan, coming the oil and butter, and brown the onions, garlic and carrot, add the duck meat and brown that also. Mix thoroughly.  (May wish to drain off a bit of fat if your duck is fatty). 

2.  Pour the red wine over the mixture, allow to evaporate, and then salt to taste.  Add the broth and cook until broth has reduced to only a few tablespoons.  Can cook this mixture a long time- about an hour, adding more liquid if needed.  Sauce shouldn't be very liquidy. Add the herbs, the bay leaves and finally the cream. In the meantime, cook the pasta in abundant boiling and salted water.

3.  When the pasta is cooked, when it is still “al dente”, drain it, put it in the pan with the sauce and toss it.  If you think it's too much pasta, don't add it to the sauce all at once.  Remove from the heat and sprinkle with freshly grated cheese, finely chopped parsley and arrange on the serving dish.
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Friday, November 7, 2014

Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup

This soup was easy to put together and very flavorful.  You can change up the flavors, even, but just adding new and different toppings; fresh lime juice, chopped avocado, fresh cilantro.  (I didn't have any of those on hand or I would have added them myself!)  It was good with just cheese, sour cream and broken tortilla chips, though.  

My internet has been SO bad lately that I've been unable to post much.  I guess it comes with living in Italy?  Hope we can find a solution soon, as it's really hard not to have internet when I need/want it!  We had way better internet living on a tiny island in the middle of the Altlantic!!
Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup
adapted from The Kitchn
For the soup:
Neutral cooking oil, such as canola or sunflower
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Mexican-style chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sugar
2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken stock, plus more for thinning if needed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
2 (approx) pounds chicken thighs, skins removed (or use boneless, skinless chicken)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, optional

For serving:
Grated cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Tortilla chips
Lime Juice & Sliced Avocado, optional

1.  Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and jalapeño and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, then transfer to the bowl of a slow cooker. (Optional: skip the stovetop cooking altogether and just throw everything into the slow cooker!  That is what I did and it was still delicious.)

2.  Add the corn, beans, and chicken thighs to the slow cooker. Cover and set on low for 6 to 7 hours (or high for 4 hours). Shred the cooked chicken using two forks (if using bone-in thighs, remove the chicken to shred; discard bones and return meat to the soup).  Season the soup with additional salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, to taste.  Serve with any or all of the garnishes.
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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Fettucine

This is a delicious, creamy, and rich fall dish.  It's very decadent and flavorful.  I loved it.  It's also perfect for using up that small amount of pumpkin puree (1/2 cup) that you may have leftover when making another pumpkin dish.  I made my own pumpkin puree out of a small sugar pumpkin this year.  I used most for pumpkin bread but had a small amount leftover, which was just right for this recipe!  I also have a ton of fresh sage growing in my yard so I finally got to use some of that.

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Fettucine
adapted from Closet Cooking

6 ounces pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup heavy cream or milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
4 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
1 tablespoon fresh sage, sliced thinly
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or just a dash)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 handful fresh sage leaves

1.  Cook the pasta as directed on the package and drain.  While pasta is boiling, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.  Add the cream, pumpkin puree, goat cheese, parmesan, sage and pumpkin pie spice and simmer until the cheese has melted.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

2.  Melt the butter in a small pan or skillet over medium heat, let it turn a light brown, add the sage and fry until crispy.  

3.  Serve the sauce, hot over the pasta garnished with more parmesan and the crispy fried sage.
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