Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kheema (Indian Ground Beef with Peas)

Consider this Indian name just a foil to pretend that you're very gourmet.  Really this is an Indian version of Sloppy Joes but I love the idea of introducing my kids to spices beyond parsley.  Serve with basmati rice, naan or pitas for an exotic but familiar dinner. 

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1-inch thumb) fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon store-bought garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, optional
1 pound ground beef (probably could use ground lamb or ground turkey as well)
2 can diced tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 teaspoons malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few extra leaves for garnish
4 naan or pitas, warmed or serve over rice

In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden. Add the garlic and ginger, and saute for another minute. Stir in the coriander, paprika, garam masala, cumin and cayenne, if using and cook for 1 minute.

Add the beef, breaking up lumps with a spoon, and saute until the meat is no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, 1 cup of water and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in the fresh English peas. Stir well and simmer, partially covered, about 10 minutes or if using frozen peas, add them now, and cook another 5 minutes, partially covered.

Stir in the vinegar, lime juice and chopped cilantro.  Serve with naan, rice or pita bread.
Recipe adapted from Aarti Sequeira on the Food Network

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Simply Good Beef Stew

October just begs for slow cooked comfort food.  Perhaps it's because October is so hectic with work, soccer, kids, birthdays, etc. that most evenings I just want a bowl of something warm, a blankie and my mommy.   This simple stew was a snap to assemble and once it's on the stove, you're free to catch up on all the Housewives of Beverly Hills episodes that you've been missing.  You could get ambitious and make some dumplings or biscuits to serve with it but it was great as a solo act. 

1/2 - 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon season salt
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 pounds Stew Meat
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 can Beer, 12 Ounce Can
4 cups Beef Stock
2 cups Water (additional, If Needed)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1-1/2 teaspoon Sugar
4 whole Carrots, Washed and Roughly Sliced or 1/2 bag baby carrots
1 pg. sliced baby Portebella mushrooms
4 whole New Potatoes, Quartered
Minced Parsley (optional)

Place four in large plastic baggie and add season salt and paprika to bag.  Toss in stew meat - in small batches if needed to coat with flour.  Heat oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown meat in two batches, setting aside on a plate when brown. Set aside.

Add diced onions to the pot. Stir and cook for two or three minutes until softened, then add mushrooms and garlic for another minute. Pour in beer and beef stock, then add Worcestershire, tomato paste, paprika, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add beef back into the pot. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Add carrots and potatoes, then cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. (If stew gets dry, just add a cup of hot water at a time to replenish the liquid.) Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve in bowls next to crusty French bread. Sprinkle with minced parsley, if desired.

Adapted from Pioneer Woman's Beef Stew

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Candy Corn Cookie Bark

This should be outlawed as it probably could send the average person into a diabetic coma but as it so happens, I everything on hand and a bored 6-yr. old.   Perfect combination for a Sunday afternoon activity.  This is one of those recipes that you can (and should) alter to suit whatever candy you have leftover.  I'm wasn't even going to post this but my mom was kindly dropping off some dinner in my fridge when she discovered this.  She then promptly called me at work and declared that whatever she just found in my fridge was the best thing she ever ate.  Since we all shamelessly consumed our first tray, I'll be making more of this next week for teachers and maybe a lucky friend or two! 

14 whole Oreos, broken up (use Halloween Oreos if you can find them)
1 1/2 cups pretzels - any shape, broken into pieces
16 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup candy corn
brown and orange colored sprinkles

Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper, parchment paper or use a silpat mat.  Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 30-second intervals until full melted.  Spread chocolate on cookie sheet and the sprinkle with broken cookies, pretzels and the candy corn. Gently press cookies, candy and pretzels into chocolate.  Sprinkle with decorative Halloween sprinkles.  Place bark in refrigerator until set and firm. Remove and gently break bark into small pieces. Store in air tight container.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

I thought I had lost my baking mojo over the last few months.  Then this recipe came into my life and my baking love was reborn.  Well, at least for a moment and I'll explain.  On a rainy Sunday afternoon my youngest daughter pulled up a chair to the kitchen counter and offered to help me make these snickerdoodles.  She was excited to measure, stir and generally be a good sous chef - until the pumpkin had to be added.  The very smell of the pumpkin sent her running from the kitchen and yelling that I had ruined a perfectly good cookie.  She then proceeded to lock herself in her room until I was done baking whatever smelled so bad.  Weird, huh?  Who has that strong of a reaction to pumpkin?  Isn't it the smell of fall, of Thanksgiving , of pilgrims?  (Well, maybe not pilgrims since they probably were a bit rank.)  In any case, these are fantastic -not too sweet and the pumpkin keeps them moist.  Overall, a great cookie despite what my pumpkin-hating daughter thinks!   

3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the coating:
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
Dash of allspice

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Blend in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Cover and chill the dough until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats (just started using them and they are great) or parchment paper. Combine the sugar and spices for the coating in a bowl and mix to blend. Scoop the dough (about 2½ tablespoons) and roll into a ball. Coat the dough ball in the sugar-spice mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough to fill the sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart. Dip the bottom of a flat, heavy-bottomed drinking glass in water, then in the sugar-spice mixture, and use the bottom to flatten the dough balls slightly. Recoat the bottom of the glass in the sugar-spice mixture as needed.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until just set and baked through. Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough. Store in an airtight container.

Source: adapted from Recipe Girl