Monday, August 29, 2016

Thai Peanut Curry with Salmon and Veggies

Tonight I wanted to order Thai takeout, but couldn't order Thai takeout, so I responsibly made this at home instead and was in fact infinitely more pleased than I would have been with takeout.  I recommend serving this over coconut rice - cook rice as you normally would, but replace half the water with coconut milk (and make sure to stir the coconut milk well before adding).  For this recipe, I'd also stir some chopped fresh cilantro in the rice when it was done cooking. I was inspired by a few recipes, but mostly took a few concepts and ran with them.  This is a single-lady portion, so double/triple/quadruple etc. as needed.

1 salmon fillet (I use frozen, because that's the stage of life we're in here)
Spices to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lay salmon on tinfoil and rub salmon with paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, turmeric, curry powder and ginger. Place in tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in foil and place in a baking dish.  Bake for 10-12 minutes if unfrozen, roughly 30 if frozen - until it flakes easily with a fork.

Peanut Sauce:
1/4 of a yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
2 T red curry paste
1/2 can coconut milk
2 T honey
1 T sesame oil
2 giant spoonfuls of peanut butter (sorry, I am trying to have exact measurements here, but sometimes it's hard!)
Chopped peanuts (for garnish!
Chopped cilantro (for garnish!)

Dice onion and garlic and sauté for five minute in some olive oil over medium heat. Add red curry paste, cook two minutes longer and mix curry paste well with onion. Add coconut milk, stir well and bring to a light simmer. Stir in honey, sesame oil, and peanut butter, simmer until it thickens into a nice sauce. Keep sauce on low heat until other recipe elements are ready.


I chopped up carrot, bell pepper and cauliflower and sautéed them in another frying pan in some olive oil.  I put in the carrots first to allow them to soften, then the cauliflower, and the bell pepper last. I added some of the spices that I used on the salmon (curry powder, paprika, etc.) and let them char a bit in the pan.

Serve salmon and veggies over rice, top with peanut sauce.  Garnish with cilantro and chopped peanuts.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Guest Post: Bacon and Bell Pepper Quiche

It's high time my long-ago college roommate turned BFF, Tori, was invited to guest post.  Our freshman year of college, we would haul all the kitchen items she had stored in her dorm room down the stairs to our sad dorm kitchen and make elaborate things that the kitchen was not built for, like lemon olive oil muffins. Her kitchen skill and dedication was an important starting point for my own love of cooking. Most importantly, she's a kind soul who on a recent visit to the sisters' childhood home made our loving Mum some of this in mini-quiche form to freeze for breakfast for the coming weeks:

1 ½ cups cold salted butter cut into small pieces
3 cups flour
1 egg
5 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

Onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ bell peppers, chopped
8 slices bacon, fried and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
8 eggs
1 ½ cups milk
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Any crust will work for the quiche. I made an extra crust awhile back and had stuck it in my freezer so I used it for this quiche.

Here’s what I did to make the crust. In a large bowl, combine the cold cubed butter with the flour using a pastry cutter (or forks if you don’t have a pastry cutter) until the mixture is crumbly. Beat an egg in a separate bowl. Add the beaten egg to the flour mixture. Then add the cold water, vinegar, and salt. Stir all ingredients together until combined. Divide the dough in half and put each half in its own gallon sized plastic bag. Slightly flatten each ball of dough until it forms a disk about ½ an inch thick. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer. If you want to use the crust right away, pull it out about 15-20 minutes later. Otherwise pull the frozen crust out and leave it on the counter for about 30 minutes before rolling it out.

Preheat the oven to 400°. To make the filling, melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes. Remove the sautéed vegetables from the heat and allow them to cool. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pepper, and a bit of salt. After it is whisked well, add the vegetables, bacon and cheese to combine. In a pie dish, place your crust and then pour in the egg mixture. If you have extra egg mixture, you can spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and then fill the tin with leftover mixture. These will bake faster than the quiche, but will still taste really good. Also you can freeze them after they are cooked. Cover the quiche lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

making mini quiches for the Mom! These had spinach and tomato, and you can use crust for the mini form as well.
food allergies and considerations: Could easily be made crustless, just be sure to grease the pan really well. Filling additions are easily adjusted, so you could leave out the bacon to make this vegetarian, but otherwise...bacon!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Stuffed Chicken with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Tomatoes

I am about to post a recipe that *gasp* I do not have photos of, but as I've gone nearly a year without posting, I am making an exception for myself (mostly because I am the one who cares the most about our blog having photos with the recipes).  I feel fairly sad about that, because I will note that this chicken turns out quite aesthetically pleasing.

I have a semi-part-time job which involves cooking nice dinners for small groups of people, and it's highly enjoyable, particularly when I get to choose the dish.  I forgot how much I enjoy the challenge of creating a meal that many people enjoy regardless of differing tastes and dietary requirements.  Here's what I made tonight, an easy crowd-pleaser:

Stuffed Chicken with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Tomatoes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup pesto
1 lb mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb cherry tomatoes
Olive Oil
Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet or glass pan. Dredge outside only of chicken in olive oil, then breadcrumbs. Butterfly the chicken halves by slicing the long, thin side nearly all the way through (but leave enough to keep the pieces together).  Spread pesto evenly across all four pieces.  Slice mozzarella and spread evenly across all four pieces. Slice cherry tomatoes in half, place roughly 4 tomatoes on each open piece of chicken.  Fold chicken closed and securely fasten with toothpicks. (Pull sides of chicken as tightly together as possible, potentially using multiple toothpicks.  The risk is having some melted cheese and pesto drip out, not to worry if you do, just spoon back over the top of the chicken once cooked).  Slice the rest of the cherry tomatoes and place on top of chicken and in the pan.

Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  These chicken breasts were quite large, so I cut them in half and found that this comfortably served 8 with sufficient side dishes, or you could make the chicken the focus of the meal with a small salad on the side.

note: I tried to include measurements here for those that prefer them, but you should follow your instincts and use less cheese, if you aren't a cheese fanatic like us sisters, or more tomatoes, if you have an abundance, etc. etc. I would consider stuffing some spinach leaves in there in the future, as well.  Could easily be gluten-free w/out breadcrumbs, or with gluten-free ones, so that's why it is tagged as such.