Posts tagged ‘food’

Recipe Review: Jamie Oliver’s “My Favorite Curry”

Jamie Oliver always makes fresh, fun food.  Best of all, his recipes aren’t fussy, precise things that must be adhered to perfectly in order to work.  This curry sauce is beautiful, flexible, and seems to be delicious no matter what meat or veggies you throw in.

This is Jamie Oliver’s “Favorite Curry”.  And it’s mine, too.


Jamie Oliver’s  Favorite Curry Sauce – Chicken Version

from Happy Days with the Naked Chef, 2002

  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds (or 1 tsp mustard powder)
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (I omit these, as I detest them)
  • 3 fresh green chillies, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 handful of curry leaves
  • 2 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 3 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped (or one large can tomatoes)
  • 1  14 oz can coconut milk
  • salt
  • 4 chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed

Heat the oil in a pan, and when hot add the mustard seeds. (Or lightly toast the mustard powder, strirring frequently, in a dry pan.) Wait for them to pop, then add the fenugreek seeds (or don’t), fresh green chillies, curry leaves and ginger. Stir and fry for a few minutes. Using a food processor, chop the onions and add to the same pan. Continue to cook for 5 minutes until the onion is light brown and soft, then add the chili powder and turmeric. Using the same food processor, pulse the tomatoes and add these to the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add 1 or 2 wine glasses of water and the coconut milk. Simmer for about 5 minutes until it has the consistency of double cream, then season carefully with salt.

Stir-fry the chicken strips and coriander seeds until lightly colored, then add your sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with steamed basmati rice.


February 3, 2009 at 1:12 pm 17 comments

Mini Flatbread Pizzas

mini flatbread pizzas

Who doesn’t love homemade pizza?  Everyone gets to put exactly what they want on their pizza, it’s cheap to make, and it’s so much more flavorful than delivery.

The only problem was the dough.  Either you had to buy it already made, or you had to spend a couple of hours making it, letting is rise, rolling it out, letting it rise again.  By the time the pizza was ready, my friends would have already resorted to cannibalism.

That’s why I’m so madly in love with flatbread pizza.  The dough is crazy quick and easy to make, tastes amazing, and holds even hearty toppings with ease.  The only downside is that it’s not as filling as bready pizza, but that just means more room for dessert!


Mini Flatbread Pizzas

For the sauce

  • one 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • two cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • one TB olive oil
  • one tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the dough

from Gourmet magazine, with slight changes for use as pizza dough

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

for the toppings

  • whatever you want

Start with the sauce.  Using a medium saucepan on medium heat, saute the garlic in olive oil until soft but not browned.  Add other ingredients.  When sauce begins to simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and flavor concentrates.

While sauce is simmering gently in the background, make the flatbread.

Preheat oven to 450°F with a heavy baking sheet on rack in middle.

Stir together flour, chopped rosemary, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead dough gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times.

Divide dough into 3 pieces and roll out 1 piece on a floured work surface.  Roll dough as thin as you can get it.  Cut into sturdy shapes (no reindeer or bunnies or anything with protruding limbs) or into 4″ squares or roll into 4″ circles.

Slide shapes onto preheated baking sheet and bake until pale golden but not browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer flatbread to a rack to cool, then repeat the process, using up the rest of the dough.

Take the sauce off the heat.  Lay the flatbread shaped upside down (so the least cooked side is facing down), spread a little sauce on the flatbread with the back of a spoon, add your toppings, and place back into the oven until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

Enjoy with friends and family, or eat them all yourself.

January 29, 2009 at 12:18 pm 2 comments

Recipe Review: Chuck’s Jambalaya


I got it in my head the other day that I wanted to try jambalaya. Living in the Southwest, the only option for me to try it was to make it myself. So I went, as I often do, online looking for recipes. Some of the recipes I have found online have ended in complete kitchen disasters. (Homemade mayonnaise. Ha! More like oil soup!!) Others, such this recipe have become absolute treasure that I plan on making over and over again.

Though this recipe is a bit more work than some of the others out there, the extra time spent caramelizing the tomato sauce will be rewarded with rich, deep flavor, and a smell that will have your family lined up at the dinner table a half-hour early.

Chuck’s Jambalaya


  • 1 lb. boneless chicken, cubed; AND/OR
    • 1 lb. shrimp, boiled in Zatarain’s and peeled; OR
    • 1 lb. leftover holiday turkey, cubed; OR
    • 1 lb. of any kind of poultry or fish, cubed; OR
    • Any combination of the above
  • 1 lb. (hot) smoked sausage, andouille or chaurice, sliced on the bias; OR
    • 1 lb. diced smoked ham
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 – 6 cloves garlic, minced (amount to taste; I like lots)
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 small cans tomato paste
  • 4 large Creole tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced; OR
    • 1 28-oz. can tomatoes
  • 8 cups good dark homemade chicken stock [I used store-bought, it was fine]
  • Creole seasoning blend to taste (or 2 – 3 tablespoons); OR
    • 2 teaspoons cayenne, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon white pepper, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked (Some people like converted rice, others prefer good old Mahatma. I use Uncle Ben’s converted, as the rice doesn’t get sticky or lumpy that way.) [I just used regular rice, and it used up all the liquid without being cooked fully, so I added more water. I wasn’t thrilled with the rice, I would recommand adding 2 cups extra water when adding the rice. Or try the Uncle Ben’s and let me know how it works out.]
  • In a sauté or frying pan, brown the chicken, sprinkling with Tony Chachere’s seasoning if you’ve got it; a bit of salt, black pepper and red pepper otherwise. Don’t brown if using leftover cooked bird, but you still might want to season the meat. Tear or cut the meat into bite-size pieces.

    Brown the sliced smoked sausage or andouille and pour off fat. In the pot, sauté the onions, garlic, peppers and celery in oil until onions begin to turn transparent.

    In the same pot, while you’re sautéing the “trinity”, add the tomato paste and let it pincé, meaning to let it brown a little. What we’re going for here is an additional depth of flavor by browning the tomato paste a little; the sugar in the tomato paste begins to caramelize, deepening the flavor and color. Keep it moving so that it browns but doesn’t burn. Some friends of mine hate this step, so you can skip it if you want, but then it won’t be Chuck’s jambalaya. :^) [Nooooooo, don’t skip this step! The caramelized tomato sauce was so good that we were eating it straight out of the pan. It takes a long time for the flavor to develop, but don’t rush it or it will burn.]
    Once the vegetables are translucent and the tomato paste achives sort of a red mahogany color, deglaze the pan with the about 2 cups of the stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to mix up any browned bits, and stir until smooth, making sure the sautéed vegetables, paste and stock are combined thoroughly. It should be fairly thick.
    [Since I live in a household of two, at this point I froze half of the caramelized sauce, and finished the recipe using only half the ingredients. That way, next time I want jambalaya I’ve already done all the hard work. Just pop the frozen sauce into a pan, add the chicken stock, and cook until hot. Then continue with the recipe as usual.]

    Add the Creole seasoning, tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the meat and/or seafood and cook another 10 minutes; if you’re using seafood, be careful not to overcook it.

    Add the rest of the stock, check seasonings, and stir in the rice, combining thoroughly. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is cooked through. If you haven’t checked your seasonings before adding the rice, it’s too late! It’s much better for the rice to absorb the seasonings while it’s cooking. Check seasoning anyway, then turn the heat down to low-medium and let the sauce thicken up a bit, with the pot uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Stir thoroughly to combine all ingredients. When the jambalaya has thickened up a bit and has reached the “right” consistency (you’ll know), it’s done.

    Makes 8 giant servings. And you’ll want giant servings.

    January 27, 2009 at 12:04 pm 3 comments

    Round Labels for Spice Jars

    Nice RackWhat you’ll need:

    24 spice jars*

    1 sheet of printable adhesive paper

    1 of the files below (click to download)

    It’s simple! Just print the labels onto the adhesive, cut out individual labels with scissors and apply labels to clean lids.

    Then invite guests over to check out your nice rack. Er, spice rack, that is.


    *empty, such as the ones sold at dollar stores, or already full of spices, so long as the lids are flat

    January 25, 2009 at 8:06 pm 11 comments

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