Curried Chicken w/ Sweet Potatoes & Plantains

This one’s from a reddit post on r/paleo – thanks to u/shelovesbier for this! ūüôā

  • 1.5 lbs cubed chicken breast
  • 1 green plantain, sliced into 1/2″ rounds and¬†quartered
  • 1 large white sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 small carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper w/ seeds, no stem, minced (optional)
  • 2 cans coconut milk, shaken
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1-2 Tbs sea salt
  • 1 Tbs pepper
  • 3 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 c. packed baby kale leaves

Suggested spices:

  • curry powder / curry mix /¬†garam masala / other Indian spice mix / whatever makes you happy
  • cilantro (optional)

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat coconut oil over medium/low heat.  Once shimmery, add chicken and cook thoroughly, tossing frequently to avoid sticking and burning.  Once cooked, move to separate bowl.

Add onions, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and ginger to skillet.  Cook until softened & onions are transparent around the edges.

Add carrots, sweet potato, and plantain.  Cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

Add water, tomatoes, and coconut milk. ¬†Add minimum amounts of spices (curry powder, curry mix, garam masala, cholla masala, cilantro if you’re in to that kind of masochism, whatever you want). ¬†Stir well, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add kale, stir to incorporate.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more spices as desired.  Simmer for another 30 minutes, or until starchy vegetables are soft.

 

 

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Dark Chocolate for BREAKFAST! :D

This is a very adjustable recipe, since it’s basically just melt shit in pot of chocolate and call it ‘breakfast’¬†so feel free to make adjustments!

  • 1 lb good dark chocolate (preferably chips or chunks, not a solid brick)
  • 8-10 slices bacon, cooked crispy and chopped/crumbled
  • 1.5 c. plain granola, gluten-free and so forth
  • 1/2 c. “sweet-spicy” pecans or almonds – make your own or try Trader Joe’s
  • 1/2 c. chocolate-covered espresso beans
  • 1/8 c. cocoa nibs
  • 1/3 c. dried fruit of choice (raisins, cranberries, etc. – or chop larger dried fruit, like apricots or dates)
  • 1/4 tsp hickory smoke flavoring (can use own spice blend for this, or a bottle)
  • 1/8 tsp chipotle powder (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • sea salt to sprinkle on top

Sub-Steps:

For good, baked bacon: (the problem with this is that is uses the oven, and your kitchen should be cool when working with the chocolate, not warm, so do this step ahead of time if possible)

  • Line a baking tray with foil; place bacon in a single layer.
  • Put in cold oven; set temperature to 380 F; set timer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove tray and drain fat. ¬†If desired, sprinkle bacon with seasonings (ex. cumin, chipotle powder, etc), then flip each piece over.
  • Return to oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until crispy.
  • Drain fat again if necessary – bacon must be crisp! ¬†Set slices on paper towels & dab off excess fat. ¬†Let cool completely, then crumble.

For DIY flavored nuts:¬†See my post about “rosemary roasted nuts” and just replace the rosemary with other spices, like some brown sugar and paprika or cumin or cinnamon or allspice or whatever strikes your fancy.

For DIY ‘plain’ granola:¬†You can get some premade at the store, but if you want to make your own…

  • 2 c. oats
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil of choice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. ¬†Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix until all oats are moist. ¬†The whole mixture should be a bit clumpy and wet. ¬†If you like clusters, add a splash of water (1-2 tsp) to help some of the oats clump together. ¬† Spread into a thin layer on a baking tray lined with foil; bake about 20 minutes (stir halfway through baking to ensure none of it gets too dark). ¬†It will harden as it cools, so don’t dry it completely in the oven.

For good, tempered DARK chocolate: (the temperatures are a bit different for milk chocolate)

  • Use microwave method to melt chocolate, rather than a double-boiler, to eliminate any chance of getting water in your good chocolate!
    1. Put chocolate in glass bowl; microwave on high 30 seconds; stir & wipe down sides with clean spatula.
    2. Microwave another 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds, stir (total of 3x).
    3. Microwave another 15 seconds, stir, 15 seconds, stir, repeat until chocolate reaches 100 F.
    4. Microwave another 10 seconds, stir, and repeat until chocolate reaches 115 F (about 5x).
    5. Remove from microwave and cool by stirring occasionally, until chocolate cools to 95 F.
    6. Add other ingredients until chocolate cools to 90 F.
    7. Test the temper of the chocolate by spreading a small amount in an even layer on a metal surface over an ice pack.  It should set within 3 minutes, and be shiny and streak-free.
    8. If necessary, use a hair dryer to keep the chocolate at 90 F while working with it.

Actual Directions: 

  • Lightly butter bottom and sides of 8×8 square pan. ¬†With one long-ish strip of parchment paper, line the bottom and two sides, creating a makeshift sling. ¬†Re-grease top of parchment paper.
  • Follow directions 1-5 for tempered dark chocolate.
  • In step 6, add all the other ingredients; mix well. ¬†Keep chocolate at 90 F while incorporating the other ingredients.
  • Pour / Spoon mixture into pan. ¬†Let sit on counter until solid (or, if necessary, place in refrigerator 10-20 minutes).
  • When set, loosen sides with a butter knife and lift out the chocolate with the ‘sling’ handles. ¬†Cut into desired pieces with a sharp knife.

OTHER TIPS:

  • Cover your work area for easy clean-up.¬†
  • Make sure everything you will need is already out and easily accessible.
  • Make sure the ambient temperature of the room is a bit chilly. ¬†Wear a sweater; don’t turn the heat or the oven on.¬†
  • Use a larger bowl lined with a dish towel to place chocolate bowl in while working (the ‘snuggle’ effect helps it keep warm).
  • Only put chocolate in refrigerator if necessary, for a max of 10-20 minutes (to prevent condensation).
  • Keep finished items in an airtight container in the coolest room of the house.

Final Note:¬†To make this fructose-free, use dried blueberries instead of other fruit, and make sure the granola you use doesn’t have any hidden fructose!

Chocolate Bar Source: http://julesfood.blogspot.com/2013/10/dark-chocolate-breakfast-bar.html
Granola Source: http://www.tinyurbankitchen.com/2010/04/homemade-granola.html

Whiskey Bacon Jam

This recipe looks absolutely un-believable. ¬† I’m going to make this as a gift for a few of my co-workers (that I actually like), and I’m going to split it into ‘little to no spice’ and ‘super-spicy’ for giving to different people. ¬†I’ll update this once I have reviews for how the spiciness affects the overall flavor.

  • 500 g streaky bacon, chopped into small dice (just over 1 lb, or 17.6 oz)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 50 g brown sugar (1.76 oz)
  • 50 ml maple syrup (1.69 oz)
  • 50 ml cider vinegar (1.69 oz)
  • 150 ml freshly-brewed coffee, not instant (5.07 oz)
  • 100 ml whiskey of choice (3.38 oz)
  • 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 2 fresh red chilies, finely chopped – adjust to taste

Sauté the bacon over medium heat until beginning to crisp.

Remove bacon from pan and pour off most of the fat; leave enough to fry the onion.

Sauté the onion in the bacon fat about 5 minutes (until soft but not colored).  Add garlic and sauté for another minute.

Transfer bacon and onion/garlic to a large pot with sugar, maple syrup, cider vinegar, coffee, whiskey, and chilis.

Simmer gently for 1 hour, adding a little water if necessary towards the end.  

Add red wine vinegar and simmer another 5 minutes.

If you chopped everything very small, it can be served as-is; if it’s too coarse, pulse it briefly in a food processor, but don’t get rid of all the texture!

Optionally, can in small mason jars to use as gifts!

Source: http://eatlikeagirl.com/2011/12/22/recipe-whiskey-bacon-jam/

Brownies! (w/ apples, bananas, zucchini)

“Healthy” Brownies… can it be done? ¬†Ehh, not really, because this still has a cup and a half of sugar in it, but it’s all relative, right? ¬†I mean, if I eat a medium-healthy thing instead of some ultra-unhealthy crazy confectionery from a store, then I’m still doing¬†better¬†health-wise; that has to count for something, right?

Anyway, this is a recipe for a “very moist, low-fat chocolate brownie alternative” … so I’m a bit suspicious, to be honest, but the ingredients sound like it’s worth a shot. ¬†I already like zucchini as a vegetable, so I doubt I’m going to notice the flavor, and having applesauce and bananas contribute some of the sweetness is good, while still having enough sugar that I won’t mentally dismiss it as ‘health food pretending to be tasty food’ – so we’ll see what happens. ūüôā

  • 1/2 c. applesauce
  • 2 small-medium bananas, mashed
  • 1.5 c. sugar (1 + 1/2 c.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda (1 + 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c. finely shredded zucchini
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. nut pieces (walnut is recommended, but I’ll probably substitute pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease and flour a 9×13″ baking pan.

In large bowl, combine applesauce, mashed bananas, and sugar.

Add vanilla and cocoa; mix well.

Add baking soda and salt; mix well.

Add zucchini; mix well.

Add flour and walnuts; mix well.

Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake 25 minutes, or until brownies spring back when gently touched.

Source: ¬†http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=474935¬† Normally, I recommend going to the source website for pictures and stuff, but not this website; it’s full of pop-ups and it re-loads unexpectedly (and the re-loading of the page re-triggers the pop-ups) and there’s only one picture, so really, I can’t think of any reason to encourage you to check out that site. :/

Pumpkin Chai Donut Holes

This recipe could be made into actual donuts, but I don’t have the requisite pan for that, so I’m going to take the easy path and use my mini-muffin pan, and just CALL them donut holes! ¬†Hah, I don’t know why I feel sinister/tricky about this ‘deception’ that I’m freely admitting to. ūüėõ

Chai Spice Blend (this makes more than needed for the donut recipe, so try using it with other things too! ¬†If you like it, multiply the recipe and keep it in a mason jar – they are the BEST! ¬†I’ve completely stopped buying plastic containers, and store everything in mason jars now. ¬†Seriously, everything, not just when doing actual canning; I use them to store craft supplies, dry food, everything that comes in a plastic bag that isn’t resealable, my homemade broth I make on the back burner on my cooking days, EVERYTHING. ¬† ¬† …sorry about the tangent)

  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 2 tsp cloves (or allspice)
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper

Donut Batter (or ‘donut hole’ batter, but that sounds weird AND takes longer to type, so forget it)

  • 3 c. flour
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder (2 + 1/2 tsp)
  • 0.25 tsp baking soda (1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp nutmeg (1/2 tsp)
  • 0.25 tsp allspice (1/4 tsp)
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1.25 c. pumpkin¬†pur√©e (1 + 1/4 c.)
  • 10 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (or 3 medium)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease your donut / mini muffin pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice.

In a medium bowl, combine milk and pumpkin purée.

In electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs individually, scraping down the sides between each.

In increments, alternately add the dry mixture and the pumpkin mixture to the electric mixer until everything is homogeneous.  Batter will be thick.

Fill your pans appropriately.  (According to the lady who made both kinds, a mini ice cream scoop is good for the mini-muffin tins; for donuts, put the batter into a baggie and cut off the tip, like a makeshift icing-piping bag, and pipe the batter into the donut pan.)

Bake 13-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

The icing/sugar/glaze/frosting/whatever:

  • 6 tsp Chai Spice
  • 0.75 c. sugar (3/4 c.)
  • melted butter (about 1 stick)

Remove donuts from oven and allow to cool 10-15 minutes.

During this time, melt about 1/2 c. butter.  Be sure to use a bowl big enough for dipping!

In a different bowl, also big enough for dipping, whisk together 3/4 c. sugar and 6 tsp Chai Spice.

Remove slightly-cooled donuts from pan, dip in melted butter, and toss in sugar-spice mixture until coated.

If possible, let them cool for another 10 minutes before eating. ūüėÄ

Source: http://dailydishrecipes.com/pumpkin-chai-donuts/,
who sourced/adapted from
http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/04/pumpkin-chai-donut-muffins.html,
who sourced/adapted from
http://sundaysweets.blogspot.com/2011/03/pumpkin-doughnut-muffins.html¬†… oh, internet *sigh*

Cardamom-Almond Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I’m always a fan of moist, heavy pound cakes, and this combination of flavors sounds divine! ¬†The original recipe calls for whole spices, which are always superior (well, superior for flavor, but not superior for your finances), but if you don’t have whole vanilla & cardamom pods, just substitute a splash of vanilla extract and some ground cardamom. ¬†When I try this, I’ll measure how much cardamom I get from 3 pods, and update the recipe.

  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 c. (5 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • thinly sliced almonds, to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350 F and generously coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray.  Line the bottom of the loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a bit of overhang.  Coat the parchment paper with nonstick spray as well.

In medium bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

In electric mixer, combine butter and cream cheese until blended.  Slowly beat in the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Crack open the cardamom pods and remove the black seeds.  Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cardamom.  Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean pod.  Add the vanilla seeds and ground cardamom to the butter & cream cheese mixture.  Mix until incorporated.

On medium-low speed, individually beat in each egg.  Scrape down sides of bowl, then incorporate the almond extract.

Turn mixer speed to low, then slowly add the dry mix, beating until just incorporated.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.  Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake about 60-70 minutes, until top is golden brown, springs back when pressed, and toothpick in the center comes out clean. ¬†If the almonds start to brown too early, you can tent the cake with foil until it’s fully cooked through. ¬†If desired, serve with whipped cream, ice cream, and/or poached fruit.

Source: http://www.turntablekitchen.com/2013/10/cream-cheese-pound-cake-with-cardamom-vanilla-and-almonds/

Mango, Macadamia, Avocado Salad

The source recipe calls for arugula, but I find it has a weird aftertaste, so I always substitute the best lettuce I can find at the farmer’s market or, if I can’t make it to the FM that week, one of the “living lettuce” roots-still-attached lettuces at the regular store.

  • 5 c. lettuce, ripped
  • 1 large mango, cubed
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • (optional meat to make into a main dish – leftover cold chicken, cubed; leftover ground turkey, crumbled and refrigerated; leftover bacon, if such a thing exists; cold deli meat, ripped into bite-size pieces, etc.)
  • (optional ingredients – it’s a salad, you can get creative! Try pineapple tidbits, apple slices, golden raisins, other things you have on-hand…)
  • 3/4 c. roasted, lightly salted Macadamia nuts (if necessary, rub with paper towels to remove excess salt)
    • If you’re too cheap/lazy for Macadamia nuts, unsalted slivered almonds are the 2nd-best option

Combine all ingredients; toss with vinaigrette (below).

  • 2 rounded tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 rounded tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 Tbs fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 c. white wine
  • 1/4 to 1/3 c. olive oil (to preference; I can’t deal with a whole 1/3 cup in mine)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients; toss with salad (above).

Source: http://kitchenofzig.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/arugula-mango-macadamia-nut-and-avocado-salad-drizzled-with-an-orange-and-cumin-vinaigrette/

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