Chicken and Pork Stew

I came across the basis for this recipe a couple of years ago on the King Arthur Flour blog flourish. I made it as they suggested and found it a bit bland. A bit of cayenne pepper helped however I thought I could do more with it.

On this retry I used the remainder from a pack of bacon plus an odd bit of kielbasa we had sitting in the fridge to boost the meatiness. The celery went in to add a bit of bulk.

[Chicken and Port Stew]

Chicken and Port Stew on toasted potato bread


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Curried Rice and Chickpea Salad

This dish was well received at our holiday party. The curry flavor plays well with the sweetness of the papaya. The chickpeas kind of blend in to the background, hiding with the rice and cashews, while the papaya, peas and scallions catch your attention. Very filling and tasty.

Curried Rice and Chickpea Salad
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes (see note)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped chutney
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 4 cups plain white rice, cooled
  • 1 14.5 oz can low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup peas (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped cashews, toasted
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced on a bias (green and white parts)
  • fruit from 1 papaya, cubed

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl combine the yogurt, mayo, curry, chutney, ginger and salt until well blended. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the remaining ingredients. Add dressing and gently stir to distribute.

Notes:
Make the rice up to the night before, cool to room temp and refrigerate overnight. If you include that time in this recipe then it’s probably closer to 1 hour 20 minutes total.

In addition to making the rice the night before this recipe can be prepped up 6 hours in advance. Make the dressing and refrigerate it. Combine the rest of the ingredients except the cashews and refrigerate that. When ready to serve just add the cashews and dressing to the rest of the salad, combine and plate.

This recipe is adapted from a great book I picked up years ago named Something for Everyone. The premise was to provide recipes that would make a dish for a family of vegetarians and non-vegetarians from one recipe. It appears to no longer be in print.

Tortellini with Asparagus and Peas

I had fresh tortellini, asparagus and a desire to use both up in one dish. It was rainy out, my shoes were off and I really didn’t want to put them back on to go outside to pick any of the fresh herbs we have growing hither and yon. I wasn’t in the mood for tomatoes either. The following recipe is the result and I’m pretty darn happy with how it came out. Enjoy!

Tortellini with Asparagus and Peas
Servings: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes (plus however much longer it takes a pot of water to boil)
Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, 1/8″ dice
  • 1 red pepper, julienne
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • 1 Tbsp. Penzey’s Mural of Flavor spice blend (or see note)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb. fresh tortellini
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Directions:

  1. Fill a pot with 6 quarts of cold water and set it over high heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt and bring to a boil.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. When shimmering add the onions and peppers. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat with oil and cook for 5 minutes. The veggies should be slightly softened.
  3. Add the garlic, stir to incorporate and cook until fragrant; 30 seconds to a minute should do it.
  4. Hopefully the pasta water is at a boil by now. If not turn off the heat under the skillet and wait until it is. When the pasta water is ready cook the tortellini per the instructions on the package. Mine took ~12 minutes, which was enough to finish the rest of the dish.
  5. Add the asparagus, peas and veggie broth. Stir and cook, uncovered, for around 5 minutes.
  6. Add the spice blend and heavy cream. Stir to incorporate. Cook for another 5 minutes or so until sauce has reduced. Check veggies for doneness. If you are happy with the texture then turn of the heat; if not then cook a little longer.
  7. Drain the tortellini, shake off excess water and return to the large pot. Add the sauce and veggies to the large pot along with the grated cheese. Stir until sauce has coated all the pasta and the cheese if well distributed.
  8. Enjoy with a bit of freshly ground black pepper (and more cheese, of course).

Notes:
If I didn’t have the Mural of Flavors spice blend I’d cry. Then I’d mix together 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, 1/2 tsp. ground coriander and the zest from a lemon or orange. Finally I’d make a trip to Penzey’s to get more of the spice blend; it is that good.

I used a ‘4 cheese tortellini’ in this dish. Anything you like will probably work fine. Well maybe not Gorgonzola and anchovies tortellini, that might be a bit strong.

Vegetable Curry

This recipe takes some time to prep and assemble. Once you get it in the pot you can mostly concentrate on other things though. I think it is worth the time and effort.

Vegetable Curry
Servings: 12+
Prep time: 60 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 lg. red onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 3 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 heaping tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 3 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices (on the bias)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz. lite coconut milk
  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place onions in a food processor and pulse until finely cut. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Place peppers in the food processor and pulse until finely cut. Transfer to a strainer to remove as much moisture as possible.
  3. Combine the spices in a bowl and stir until well blended.
  4. Prep remaining vegetables and set aside.
  5. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until smoking.
  6. Add the onions and drained peppers along with a good pinch of kosher salt. Stir in the oil to coat and allow to cook for ~5 minutes until softened. Add the ginger and garlic; cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds, a minute at most.
  7. Add the spice blend and stir into the onions/peppers. Allow to cook for about a minute, stirring a few times to prevent burning.
  8. Add the carrots and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes
  9. Add the coconut milk, cauliflower and drained tomatoes. Bring back to a simmer, recover and cook for 15 minutes
  10. Add the frozen peas and cook to heat them through, about 5 minutes.
  11. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley (if desired).

Notes:
You may ask why I process the the onions and peppers separately. I found that the peppers produced so much liquid when chopped in the food processor that I wanted to strain that off so the dish didn’t have to work at evaporating the liquid. I actually took the pepper liquid, and the drained tomato liquid, combined them in a small pan, and simmered them until they reduced to about 1/3 of the original volume. I added that into the curry along with the coconut milk. I really didn’t notice them in the final product so I left that out of the recipe text.

This recipe is adapted from a great book I picked up years ago named Something for Everyone. The premise was to provide recipes that would make a dish for a family of vegetarians and non-vegetarians from one recipe. It appears to no longer be in print.

Red Curry Shrimp and Peas

Here’s a taste of (Americanized) Thai food in your own kitchen. Yeah, that sounds a bit cheesy. Honestly this is just a simple combination of a handful of ingredients that can have a big impact. Plus, it comes together quickly so it is great on a crazy weeknight. I think it took longer for the rice to cook than it did to complete this dish.

Red Curry Shrimp

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Petite Peas with Mushrooms

On a recent Saturday night I needed a second side dish. After finding a bag of frozen peas I set about figuring out how to make them more interesting than just microwaved frozen peas.

Petite Peas with Mushrooms

Petite Peas with Mushrooms
Servings: 10-12
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium red onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 12 oz. white button mushrooms, stems removed and caps quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. frozen petite peas
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 Tbsp. pieces
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Special Equipment:

  • Food processor

Directions:

  1. Combine the onion and mushrooms (stems & caps) in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse in 1 second increments until mushrooms are cut fine, scrapping bowl as necessary. About 10 pulses did the trick for me.
  2. Add the olive oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet and place over low heat. Add the mushroom mixture in an even layer; sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes. The mushroom mixture is ready for the next step when most of the liquid has been given up by the mushrooms.
  3. Add the frozen peas to the skillet and cover. Cook for 5 minutes then stir to incorporate the mushrooms and peas. Continue cooking until peas are just heated through, about 5 minutes longer.
  4. Add the butter to the pan, allow it to melt and stir to coat the contents. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Serve and consume.

Note:
My first thought was to just slice the mushrooms, cook them in a little butter and add them to microwaved peas. As I started to prep the mushrooms I decided that was still a little bland and boring. I decide to make a sort of mushroom duxelles. I think the finely chopped mushrooms went well with the peas. The end result was tasty.

Chicken Biryani

I’m not entirely sure where I found this recipe. I may have clicked on a colorful web-ad; I do that some times out of curiosity. The recipe I found was pretty basic and I had the stuff in the house to make it so I gave it a try. It was a winner.
Chicken Biryani

I like that each bite provides a slight, um, tingle (for lack of a better word) on the tongue. It isn’t spicy hot; rather it a subtle building of flavors as you eat the dish.

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