Indian Chicken and Cabbage

It’s not quite chicken tikka masala, but it’s very similar, and it is a great way to incorporate cabbage into dinner.

Pour olive oil into a skillet until it completely covers the bottom and has a bit of depth. Whisk in 1 tsp each of garlic powder, dried ginger powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cardamom, cayenne pepper, ground turmeric, Himalasalt, and ground black pepper. Turn the heat to medium and let the skillet heat up a bit.

Cut one pound of chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and set all the pieces into the skillet. Simmer them gently (lower the heat if you need to — it shouldn’t be hot enough to bubble or splash) for several minutes, then flip each one with a fork and simmer them until they are cooked through.

Stir in 1/3 cup of yogurt (I prefer whole milk plain yogurt from Stonyfield), 1/3 cup of ketchup (freshly chopped tomatoes are more authentic, but Organicville ketchup is usually what I have in the refrigerator), and a “punch” (like Donnie Brasco) of white sugar. Shred one head of green cabbage and add it to the skillet. Stir it all together and let it simmer until the cabbage is crisp-tender. Serve on small plates with a dollop of yogurt.

Note: The cayenne pepper can be pretty spicy, especially for small fry. Eating a piece of bread or drinking a glass of milk will take the spice out, as will topping each bite with a bit of yogurt. (I think beer works as well, for the over-21 crowd, but I haven’t tried it — I’ve read that both gluten and casein take the bite out of spicy foods.) Enjoy!

The Broccoli of Our Discontent, Part II (and Part III)

Just a quick update to let you know that I have found one other good broccoli recipe and one less-than-stellar one (at least as far as our resident six-year-old’s palate is concerned).

First, the good stuff: I enjoy cooking from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, although Suzanne Goin does tend to say things like, “This recipe is best when it’s prepared with habdaboop, a product only available two weeks a year from the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market. If you can’t find habdaboop, you can substitute plain olive tapenade.” Um, OK.

Anyway, good old Suzanne has a recipe called “James’s broccoli with burrata, pine nuts, and warm anchovy vinaigrette” that I modified just slightly (couldn’t get my hands on the burrata, so I substituted plain fresh mozzarella; also used GF breadcrumbs). My family ate it up, although my daughter did not go back for a second helping. Basically, cheese is a good reason to eat broccoli, but only bacon can make it worthwhile to eat more broccoli. I don’t want to plagiarize Suzanne, but I will tell you that this dish is menu 26, so you can stop by your local Barnes & Noble and flip to that menu to see if it’s worthwhile to buy the book. Suzanne’s tone can be off-putting, but most of the recipes are actually quite accessible to a home cook of even my own modest skills.

The third broccoli recipe I tried — I made a “bulk” order of broccoli from Pure Sprouts, our local organic delivery service, so I had quite a bit of broccoli to prepare last week — came from Taste of Home. No, it’s not the egg one I mentioned earlier, but it does have eggs in it. Lots of eggs, in fact. It’s a frittata. Again, I won’t plagiarize, but you can find the book at a local bookseller and check out the recipe. I recommend the cookbook to beginners or people who only make their own regional recipes and want to try some other (American) regions’ cooking for a change. Nothing in the book is earth-shattering, but it does give step-by-step instructions for things as basic (but new to beginners) as carving a turkey or making a pie crust. Anyway, the frittata was fine with the adults in our house, but I think it was too much egg for Junior. (She asks me, “Can you just add in that it was ‘chew-forever’?”) Maybe she would have liked it better if I had added bacon? 😉 Onward…

GF Pizza Foray

My general rule for cooking gluten-free is to seek out recipes that were never intended for wheat or other gluten-containing grains. For example, I love Asian recipes that feature rice, or Mexican recipes with corn tortillas. However, there are some traditionally wheat-based dishes that are just too much a part of our culture for me to ignore them — like chocolate chip cookies — so I make them with an “alternative flour,” as my dad calls it. You can use the classic chocolate chip cookie recipe very nicely with amaranth flour instead (plus two teaspoons of xanthan gum), for example.

Now, the pizza: I am not a gluten-free pro, because GF is not a necessity in our house, but more of a lifestyle choice. Therefore, making GF pizza crust is somewhat hit-and-miss for me, and has included the panicked addition of lots of extra flour — not exactly a relaxing evening in the kitchen. Imagine my happiness at finding a tasty GF pizza crust in the freezer case at Giant! I forget the brand, but based on the ingredients, the maker appears to have used a variant of this recipe. Whipping up a tasty pizza was pretty easy, with the crust already made.

First, pre-heated the oven to 375 degrees. Then I pan-fried some bacon and set it on a paper towel to dry. We get our pastured bacon from Stryker Farms, via Pure Sprouts organic delivery. I am incredibly happy with their quality, selection, and service. We get most of our groceries via Pure Sprouts. If you’re in eastern Pennsylvania (Northampton County and the surrounding area), check them out!

Next, I put the crust on a pizza stone, and poured half a bottle of strained tomatoes on top. After smoothing out the tomato sauce, I covered the pizza with three cheeses I had grated: Kerrygold Vintage Dubliner, Parmesano Reggiano (the real deal, from Italy, via Wegmans), and Jarlsberg. Then I sliced up a couple of onions, separated the rings, and spread them over the cheese. Finally, I topped it all with the pieces of bacon and put it in the oven for 12 minutes. Amazingly tasty. I could have eaten the whole thing, but my husband and our daughter wanted some, too 😉

Warm Chicken Salad

Tomorrow, I’ll be eating next to nothing, but tonight, my daughter made up a great Holy Thursday dinner recipe, which worked out very well. Here goes:

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Put half a stick of butter (4 oz) into a skillet and turn the burner on low. Cut 1.5 pounds of chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and add them to the skillet. Cook them until they’re done. (I like to slice a few in half to be sure no pink is left, but you can also scoop one out of the pan and use a meat thermometer.) Add one package of frozen corn and 1 to 2 cups of water. Stir it all together, cover the skillet, and cook until the corn is done (roughly 5 minutes more). Then add 1 cup of fresh peas, cleaned and rinsed. Stir again and cook for 5 more minutes. With a slotted spoon, scoop the contents of the skillet into an oven-proof bowl and put the bowl in the oven to keep warm.

Pour 1 cup of sauvignon blanc into the skillet, stir it all together, and increase the burner to bring the liquid to a boil. Let it boil for several minutes, whisking steadily until it thickens. Pour the thickened sauce into a gravy boat and serve it alongside your bowl of warm chicken salad. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are not casein-free, dairy-free, or vegan, but they are gluten-free.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Soften 16 ounces (two sticks, usually) of grass-fed butter. (I like Organic Valley, Natural by Nature, and Kerrygold). In an electric mixer, cream the butter and 1.5 cups of organic sucanat. Beat in two eggs.

In a separate bowl, sift together 2.25 cups of organic amaranth flour (I LOVE Bob’s Red Mill), 1 teaspoon of baking soda (Bob’s again), and 2 teaspoons of xanthan gum (again, Bob’s). Add these sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix it all together until it’s completely combined. Turn the mixer down to a very low speed and empty in a bag of SunSpire organic chocolate chips. (You can also do this last step by hand, with a large spoon.)

Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of batter onto a cookie sheet. (I like to line the cookie sheet with parchment paper, because aluminum is fairly food-reactive.) Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, but make sure they look done before you take them out of the oven. Remove them from the cookie sheet and let them cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Salmon Plate

My daughter created this recipe. although I did all the oven-related and sharp item-related work 😉 This is a hearty, savory meal that’s just perfect for cold fall and winter evenings.

Ahead of time, make the mashed potatoes: clean, peel, and cut 1 pound of potatoes into small pieces. Put the pieces in a pot, cover them with water, put a lid on the pot, and heat the potatoes and water on “high” until the water begins to boil. Remove the lid (with a pot holder), reduce the heat a bit (so it’s still boiling, but not overflowing), and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and drain the potatoes (using a pot holder — be careful when handling any hot pot), then add five tablespoons of butter and a shake of Himalasalt, and mash them so they’re smooth and fluffy. Put them in a Pyrex dish, cover the dish with foil, and put it into the oven. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees.

Now start the salmon: put as many pieces of salmon filet as you have guests (one filet per person, in other words) into a Pyrex dish, and put the dish (uncovered) into the oven. You’ll want the salmon to cook between 15 and 30 minutes — it depends on how thick the filets are, so you’ll have to experiment with baking salmon before trying this recipe to be sure you get it right.

Around 20 minutes before the salmon is schedule to be done, start boiling water in a pot. When the water boils, drop in 1 cup of Ancient Harvest quinoa pasta (I like the “pagoda” shapes) and cook for nine minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, melt five tablespoons of butter in a shallow pan. Add three tablespoons of corn starch (or tapioca flour, if you are sensitive to corn), a shake of Himalasalt, and a shake of pepper, and whisk it all together. Add 1.5 cups of milk, raise the temperature, and bring the mixture to a boil while whisking it to keep it smooth and thicken it. Add 6 ounces of shredded cheese (any flavorful, melty cheese will work — I like Emmi cave-aged Gruyere, Kerrygold, smoked Dutch Gouda, and raw milk Amish farmer’s cheese … which is why my wallet is always empty when I leave Wegman’s) and keep whisking. When the salmon, the pasta, and the cheese sauce are ready, drain the pasta, and prepare to assemble the salmon plate:

Place a generous helping of mashed potatoes in the center of each plate. Surround the mashed potatoes with a decorative rim of pasta. Place a salmon filet on top of the mashed potatoes. Pour (or drizzle, if you’re less of a cheese addict than I am) cheese sauce over everything and serve immediately. Enjoy!