Thursday, August 26, 2010

Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani

There is something about Indian food that I find addictive. Coriander, turmeric, cumin and curry are the distinctive blends that make Indian food such a creative cuisine. The best way to describe Indian food is elaborate, fragrant and spicy.

I try to introduce as many of my customer to this cuisine as possible in order to change their opinions about spice versus heat.  I find that if select the right dish for their palates, they slowly convert over to Indian food fanatics.

Chicken Biryani is one of those dishes that is highly customizable given that it's a rice base dish.  Wikipedia describes Biryani as a set of rice-based foods made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and meat, fish, eggs or vegetables. The name is derived from the Persian word beryā(n) (بریان) which means "fried" or "roasted".  Each region has its own version of Biryani - much like Chili in the US.

The best part about Biryani is that you can use whatever meat or vegetable your family enjoys.  You can use potatoes (including sweet ones), peas, carrots, bellpeppers, onions, brocoli -- you get the picture.  This recipe is not authentic, however, it's much less time involved than the real McCoy.  I hope you will give it a try.


Ingredients

1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
2 Tbsp garam masla
1 tsp of Indian chili powder
2 Tbsp salt
1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
6 green cardamom pods, bruised
1 tsp saffron strands
4 Tbsp olive oil or ghee
3 Tbsp turmeric
1 1/2 lb. chicken tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces (you may also use boneless skinless chicken thigh meat)1 large potato, cooked, peeled and cubed (can be microwaved or boiled)
2 onions sliced
1 red bell pepper
2 cups basmati rice
2 1/4 cups water or chicken broth
2 Tbsp cilantro leaves, roughly chopped


Method

1. Mix the ginger, garlic, 1 Tablespoon garam masala, chili, half the salt, yogurt, and half of the cardamom pods in a bowl. Toss in the chicken and mix well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours or over night.  (by the way, this is a great marinade for grilled chicken)

2. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a saucepan, add the onions and cook until golden. Transfer the onions to a bowl and set aside. Now, add another Tablespoon of oil, saute the peppers until the edges begin to soften. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Finally, add the one more Tbsp of oil and saute the potatoes, cook for one minute then sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon of turmeric and 1/2 tsp of salt.

3. In a medium size pot, add rice, water, 2 tsp of turmeric, 1 tablespoon garam masala, saffron and salt to taste. (taste the water and adjust salt accordingly). As soon as the rice comes to a boil, stir, then cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, and reduce to low. Cook for 20 minutes.

4. While rice is cooking. Remove chicken from mixture, and pat dry. In a large non stick skillet, add the remaining oil, and then saute chicken pieces in batches. Be sure not to over crowd the pan as you want the pieces to brown.

5. On a platter, add a layer of rice, followed by the onions, potatoes, and peppers. Add another layer of rice and veggies. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and enjoy!!

If you need some help finding spices, please check out our store below.



  

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

Chicken Salad

After a long day of cheffing, I really didn't have much energy to cook another meal when I got home. However, because I keep a well stocked fridge and pantry I knew I could throw something together.

On Sundays, I roast a chicken to use during the week for quick snacks and dinners like quesadillas, or chicken salads. If you don't have time to roast your own chicken, pick up a good rotisserie chicken from your favorite supermarket.

Ingredients:

Dressing:
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2/3 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons buttermilk (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Salad:
4 cups shredded lettuce (I prefer romaine)
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado (optional)
1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Savory Zucchini and Onion Bread

Monday, March 1, 2010

Last week, I was cooking for a family with dietary food restrictions. They asked for a black bean soup and I was in need of a side item to go along with the soup. I thought a cheddar corn bread would be good, but decided something with more nutrients was in order. Since they have children, I like to sneak in veggies wherever I can. I searched around for zucchini bread recipes, but all of them seemed to be on the sweet side.

I'm not much of a baker. I'm not a patient cook and really don't enjoy measuring out ingredients. Feeling adventerous, I decided to play around with some recipes and see what I could come up with. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this recipe turned out.

Recipe By : Chef Somer
Serving Size : 6
Categories : Bread

Ingredients
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 large zucchini -- grated
1 medium onion -- grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese -- shredded
3 cups flour
1 stick butter -- room temp
3 large eggs - beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk -- if necessary

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter a loaf pan or place parchment paper in it.

First start by shredding onions and zucchini. I used my food processor for this step.



Stir together the zucchini, onion, eggs, and butter.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and then add the Parmesan.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry.

Depending on the amount of juice from the zucchini and onion, you may need to add some milk to the batter if it is too thick to combine. I ended up adding about 1/3 cup of milk.



Put the batter in the pan and bake for about 30 minutes.

If the top is golden brown then test it with a skewer or knife to see if its done (the skewer or knife will come out clean). If not, bake until it is done.



Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then on a rack for at least an hour. This bread is better if wrapped and refrigerated then served the next day.

Awafee

Spaghetti Alla Ceci


Sunday, January 10, 2010





After a few days of cold, snow and freeze, we are finally having warmer (hmmm) weather and plenty of sunshine to melt the snow. Being from Florida this was a bit too much to bare. I had to run a few errands on Friday and encountered too much ice and snow I decided I was staying in this weekend.
Since I've been home bound, I decided that it was a good time to look into my well stocked pantry to create my meals this weekend. After looking around I thought Spaghetti alla Ceci would be perfect. I always have beans, pasta, and canned tomatoes on hands. And chickpeas happen to be one of those items that I stock on a regular basis because they are versatile going from a salad topper to creamy hummus dip in minutes.
This is my take on Spaghetti Alla Ceci. Most recipes don't call for anchovies or Romano cheese, but I happen to find both give a nuttier dimension to the dish. This dish is a great week night meal because it comes together quickly.
* Exported from MasterCook *
Serving Size : 4
Ingredients
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 pound spaghetti
3 tablespoons Olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 can garbanzo beans, chickpeas -- drained (14 oz)
1/2 cup wine
1 can crushed tomatoes -- unsalted
1/4 cup half and half or milk
1/2 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes -- to taste
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste -- optional
1/4 teaspoon Thyme -- dried
flat leaf parsley -- chopped
Parmesan cheese or Romano cheese -- ribbons

In a large pot, boil the water for pasta, salt it, and cook spaghetti according to package directions to al dente.

While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil crushed red pepper flakes, anchovy paste (if using) and garlic.

Drain the canned garbanzo beans, then put them in the food processor and pulse-grind them to a fine chop. Or you can place them on a plate and use a fork to mash them.

Add chopped garbanzos to the pan and season with thyme, salt, and pepper then sauté for 4 to 5 minutes.

Add wine and cook down for about 30 seconds, then stir in the crushed tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are heated through, then adjust seasoning to taste. Right before serving ask half and half or milk.

Drain pasta (do not rinse), and pour onto serving dish. Top with the sauce and toss with tongs. (Or you can add the drained pasta to the pan and toss with the sauce, then pour onto serving dish.) Top with parsley and some of the grated Parmiginao Reggiano cheese.

Serve with remaining grated Parmiginao Reggiano or Romano Cheese ribbons.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 543 Calories; 12g Fat (20.9% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 87g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 48mg Sodium. Exchanges: 5 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 2 Fat.

Ham and Cheese Strata

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What to do with Christmas Leftovers?

You spend a few days trying to plan out your holiday menus. Marinate, brine, roast, bake, grill, the possibilities are endless.

The day finally arrives and you've prepared your menu, your family and guest arrives, you share good food and good times on that special day of the year. But, what happens to the food once the meal is over?
Here are some ideas of what you can do with your leftovers?
Ham leftovers:
Ham and Cheese Strata
This easy strata is made by arranging ham and cheese sandwiches in a baking dish, then pouring a mixture of eggs, milk and cheese over them. Top everything with a bit more cheese, then put it in the oven and walk away. You can even make this recipe a day or two ahead.
Ingredients:
10 slices sandwich bread or dinner rolls
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
5 slices of ham
5 slices deli Cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese or your favorite cheese
1/2 lb. thinly sliced prosciutto (optional)
Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
Use the bread, mustard, ham and cheese to make 5 sandwiches. Arrange the sandwiches in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. You may need to cut 1 of the sandwiches in half to get them to fit evenly. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, salt, black pepper and Parmesan. Pour the mixture over the sandwiches, then press the bread gently with a fork to help them absorb the liquid. Top with Parmesan cheese (and prosciutto if using). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the strata comes out clean and the strata is lightly browned at the edges. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Go eastern. Did you have steak for Christmas dinner? Cut the leftovers into thin strips. With a few stir-fry vegetables you have created a new dinner meal. If stir fry is not your cup of tea, you can make lo mien, fried rice and other Asian dishes that include steak. Or if you had the traditional turkey, go wild with turkey chow mein.
Create a pie. This is not the sweet treat but a dinner pie. Turkey, chicken, ham and even beef can be placed inside a crust with tons of delicious veggies (whatever left over veggies you may have - corn, field pea, carrots) to make a pot pie your family will love. Top with mashed potatoes and cheese.
Finally is one one of my favorite treats uses leftover mashed potatoes.

Add a couple of tablespoons of corn starch to the mashed potatoes, knead until well blended. Divide dough into pieces the size of a golf ball.. With moistened hands flatten a piece into a wok like think disk. put about 2 Tablespoons of filling** in the middle, gather edges, and close the piece into a ball. Then flatten it into a disc.
Dredge disks in bread crumbs (plain, Italian or you can use panko). Shake off excess crumbs.
In a frying pan, place oil in a skillet (about a half inch). When hot, fry discs turning once to brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on a cooling rack lines with paper towel.
** filling: You can fill with your favorite shredded cheese like pepper jack or mozzarella. You may also use leftover chicken, ham, turkey, etc. Or you can make the following filling:
1/2 lb. of lean ground sirloin
1 small onion (chopped)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. chili pepper
1/4 c. chopped parsley (optional)
1/4 c. blanched slivered almonds
1/4 c. currants
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Heat a medium sized skillet, heat oil, and cook ground meat, stirring occasionally to break down the lumps (3-6 minutes). Add onion and cook until transparent. Add remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Cool mixture before using.

Button, Crimini, and Portobello Mushrooms

Sunday, November 1, 2009




My love affair with portobello mushrooms began in college. When I wanted to get away from campus in search of some comfort food, I would head over to The Loop. Of course, visits to The Loop were reserved to mid terms, finals and days when I needed a pick me ups - due to a limited student budget. My order was always the same, grilled portobello sandwich with a cup of tomato bisque. YUM! The meal was light but extremely filling.
Most people either love mushrooms or hate them. For me, mushrooms are a great substitute for meat in most dishes, they are filling and just plain tasty. They are great as a main dish, a pizza topping or secret ingredient that can add depth to any dish.
A few weeks ago I had a very vivid dream of preparing a vegetarian friendly mushroom sandwich on a french baguette using only ingredients in my fridge (I guess I was watching Top Chef). My best friend and I joke that I'm the only person who has dreams about recipes and food combinations to try.
The next day, I thought I could prepare the sandwich for lunch. After looking in my fridge here is what I came up with:
Ingredients:
1 large white onion - sliced
1 clove garlic - crushed
1/2 pint of crimini mushrooms - sliced
1/2 pint of button mushrooms - sliced
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. Thyme
1 1/2 tsp. of Tony Chachere Cajun seasoning
3 Tbsp. Pesto (I had some home made arugula pesto) - you may use a good quality store bought pesto
1 Vine Ripe tomato
Parmesan Cheese - Shredded
1 French Baguette - cut into a 4 inch sections
Directions:
First, start by slicing your onions. I normally buy pre-sliced mushrooms because they make life easier.

Heat a medium sized skillet on (med-high), once heated add the butter and olive oil, then add the mushrooms and onions. Cook for a few minutes then stir. Be sure not to add any salt at this point as it will draw out the water from the mushrooms and you'll end up with a wet mixture. After about 3 minutes add the Thyme and garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes.
While the mushrooms are cooking, slice the bread and toast (I happen to like the bread toasted, if you don't, then don't toast), slice the tomatoes and set a side.


After about 5-6 seasoning with your Cajun seasoning, stir, and then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Now its time to assemble the sandwich. Spread pesto on both sides then top with tomato slices.

Once the mushroom mixture has slightly cooled add a couple of heaping tablespoons of mushrooms, and finally top with Parmesan cheese.

I hope you will try this recipe a try the next time you have some mushrooms handy. Feel free to make any substitutions. You can use Hummus in place of the pesto, or roasted red peppers in place of the tomatoes. This is just a method - use your favorites.
Mushrooms contain about 80 to 90 percent water, and are very low in calories (only 100 cal/oz). They have very little sodium and fat, and 8 to 10 percent of the dry weight is fiber. Hence, they are an ideal food for persons following a weight management program or a diet for hypertensives.
Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, a rich source of riboflavin, niacin, and selenium.
Awafee

Fasanjoun or Morgat Sharab Al Rumman

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Fasanjoun has Middle Eastern in origins, popular in Iran, Iraq, Armenia, etc. This is a sweet and sour stew that is definitely worth a try. Some of my pickiest clients love this dish and in fact, its a winter favorite. This stew is made by cooking with sour pomegranate juice, and thickening the sauce with walnuts. I normally start this stew early in the day and leave cooking for several hours. You may also start this stew and then transfer to a slow cooker.
Directions:
2 lb. chicken - I used boneless, skinless (chicken breast or chicken thighs)
1 Large White Onion - sliced
1/4 c. pomegranate syrup
2-4 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup of toasted walnuts (finely chopped)
2 cups water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 350 and toast walnuts. Be sure to remove the walnuts after about 5 minutes or as soon as you are able to smell them.

While walnuts are toasting begin by slicing your onions.
Sliced Onions
Then prepare your chicken and set aside
cubed chicen piecees
In a large heavy pot, heat the olive oil. Then add the onion and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Saute Onions
Once the walnuts have cooled transfer to a food processor to pulverize or place in a plastic bag and pound with a mallet or rolling pen. I find that later method quiet therapeutic.

Once the onions have cooked down, add chicken and toss around the mixture to coat.



Cook for 5-8 minutes. Then add the walnuts, water, pomegranate syrup and sugar**. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce heat and let simmer gently for about 40 minutes, or until the chicken is tender, and the sauce is thickened.

chicken stew
Garnish with chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds, and serve with rice or nann bread.
** I normally taste the stew at this point. I happen to like the stew on the tart side thus I add a little less sugar. I suggest adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time until you reach the correct balance for your palate.
Food Facts:
The pomegranate is thought to contain nearly three times as many antioxidant vitamins as either red wine or green tea, and the fruit is also a rich source of such vital nutrients as potassium, niacin and dietary fiber.
The pomegranate is widely available in most supermarkets, and they can often be found throughout the fall of the year. The best and most nutritious pomegranates are those with the richest color, and those which have a heavy and substantial feel. A refrigerated pomegranate will keep for up to three months, while an unrefrigerated fruit has a shelf life of a mere two to three days.

Hot Coco

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Hot Coco
Well, it looks like winter is here to stay in North Georgia. I woke up this morning to a cool 44 degrees. Feet are cold, and the cat seems to be hogging the blankets. I talked myself into getting out of bed to make a warm cup of hot chocolate. When the air turns chilly and the change in weather keeps you inside, there are few things more comforting than a mug of hot chocolate.
I make it into the kitchen, begin heating my water and then realize, there isn't a single canister of hot chocolate in the house. I could have some coffee, but on cold mornings, I really like a cup of hot chocolate. I begin rummaging through my baking supplies, coco powder (check), sugar (check), powdered milk, (check). OK..plan b.
While the hot water is boiling, I pull out a pint size jar, and begin adding my ingredients:
  • 4 ounces dry milk powder
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons non dairy creamer (vanilla flavored)
  • handful of small marshmallows
Place lid on jar, shake, Viola, instant hot coco mix. The water is now boiling, I stirred in approximately 2 heaping teaspoons of mix into 1 cup of hot water. Then I added 2 tablespoons of 1/2 and 1/2 - just for extra richness.
You may also add flavoring like mint extra, orange extra, or even Bailey's.
Now, I should have enough hot chocolate for the week.

Hot chocolate gifts can make a lovely holiday gift, hostess gift or just something to brighten someone's day. They are also affordable to make and can be presented quite prettily, depending on your budget and the recipient.
If you would like a more elegant presentation, put your cocoa mix into a pretty and decorative wide mouth glass jar. Dip the bowls of plastic spoons into melted dark, milk or white chocolate and allow to cool; give the chocolate spoons alongside the prettily packaged cocoa mix. You could even package several small jars of cocoa toppings, such as crushed candies and homemade marshmallows.
OK, now off to work! Stay warm. Awafee.

Basic Chicken Stock

Sunday, October 11, 2009
Now that winter has is upon us, we normally turn our attention to the most basic and warming of foods. Home made soups have nourished generations. When the wind bites there is nothing to rival the comfort of a steaming bowl of home made soup. A good stock is the foundation of a good home made soup.
There is very little in common between commercially made stock and home made stock. A good home made stock can make any soup, or meal go from good to great. It's cheap and easy to have homemade chicken stock on hand: all you really need is time.
My grandmother would make her chicken stock when she had enough chicken necks, backs, and wings saved. Then she would clear out her vegetable drawer and use up any veggies that needed to be used ASAP. For me, I don't have the patience to collect chicken pieces, instead, I used a whole chicken. Or if I have roasted a chicken or Turkey, then I will use the carcass to make the stock. I normally, make stock when I'm going to be home for a couple of hours. I put all the ingredients together and go on about my business. Here my recipe for chicken stock:
**
**On the day I made this stock - I made Mexican Tortilla Soup thus the tomatoes
Chicken Stock:
Ingredients:
1 whole organic chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded, and skin removed (optional)
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 large white onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved
1/4 bunch fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon pepper flakes (optional)
Directions:
1. Begin by chopping your veggies. NOTE: you don't have to chop veggies, if you would like, you can wash the veggies and leave them whole.
Celery

2. Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat.

Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak.
3. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil.
Stock
Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface (because I remove the skin - I don't need to skim as often) ; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.
Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.
Yield: 2 quarts
I hope you will try to make your own stock. It will add a new dimension to your recipes.
Awafee

Southern Pepper Sauce

Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm not sure how it happened, but it appears that fall has made an arrival. Walking through my vegetable garden this weekend, I found the plants to be some what sad and withered. Looking around the garden, I found a few cherry tomatoes and about 1/2 lb. or more of cayenne peppers and jalapeno peppers. I planned on making some grilled jalapeno poppers for my best friend, but the weather being what it is, I don't see that happening any time soon.
I was talking to my mom this weekend and mentioned that I had some peppers that I wasn't sure what to do with. She suggested I make pepper sauce with the cayenne peppers. What a genius idea! Why didn't I think of that?
Now, if you aren't from the south Pepper Sauce is a sort of condiment. The peppers are topped with a vinegar and salt solution and allowed to marinate for a few weeks or months. The sauce (the vinegar and pepper liquid) can be poured on greens, peas, butter-beans, and other vegetables for seasoning. Pepper sauce adds a wonderful dimension to any vegetable.

So if you hanker for a fresh mess of greens doused with pepper sauce, but are unsure how to prepare the pepper sauce read on.

From what I can tell there isn't an exact recipe for pepper sauce. When I asked my mom how she made her pepper sauce the response: find a bottle for the peppers, then boil some vinegar with a little of salt, then pour into the bottle. When I asked how much vinegar she said enough to cover the peppers! I had to chuckle to myself because I realized this is just how my family cooks. A little of this and a pinch of that. I did some online research and found similar instructions:
"1. Put the peppers into a cruet or jar. Use 2-3, or fill the jar full to suite your own taste.
2. Bring the vinegar to a boil, and pour over the peppers. (Careful, boiling vinegar is pungent stuff.)
3. Let it sit a few days to absorb the flavors. The longer it sits the better.
4. Drizzle over peas, greens, or barbecue. Enjoy! "
I realize I'm on my own here since mom is over 300 miles away and I had to use these peppers while they were still fresh. First I looked around the kitchen for some sort of bottle or jar to hold the pepper sauce. Jelly jars, mayo jar, and then I found a old bottle of balsamic vinegar that I could use. I proceeded to peel off the label and then sterilize the bottle. (Boil in hot water).
I gathered some ingredients:
Pepper Sauce Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb. of Cayenne Peppers
  • 3/4 cup White Distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Sterilized glass bottle
  • 2 cloves garlic
My mother's recipe did not call for garlic, but I have to make this recipe mine ;)
First, fill your bottle with the peppers. One at a time. I then used a chop stick to move them around and make room for more. I also added 2 garlic cloves to the bottom of the bottle.
Pepper Bottle

Then you will need to boil 3/4 cup of white vinegar and one teaspoon of salt. Please be careful as boiling vinegar has a strong smell. I cracked a window and turned on the vent.
boiling vinager
Once the vinegar comes to boil, place a funnel on top of the bottle, and carefully pour the vinegar salt solution. Put the cap on the bottle. Let the bottle sit 2 to 3 days undisturbed so the vinegar can absorb the other flavors. The longer it sits the hotter it gets. Store the bottle in the refrigerator or in a cool place. Until the pepper flavor gets weak, you can top off the bottle with fresh vinegar as needed.
Pepepr Sauce Final Product
Now..what to do with the jalapenos. Do you have any suggestions?

Chili

There are many legends and debates about where chili originated and it is generally thought, by most historians, that the earliest versions of chili were made by the very poorest people. And that is not where the controversy ends, chili ingredients are also debated, some say, "If you know beans about chili, you know chili ain't got no beans." - so for our Texas friends, no beans. Then some cooks choose to use stewing meat that is cut into bite-sized pieces while others use a coarse ground beef. Spices also vary depending on region, some use cinnamon, powdered coco, oregano amongst others. I'm sure Bobby Flay uses some sort of chipotle variation - seems he uses that with everything.
The only ingredient that everyone seems to agree on is tomatoes - chopped, stewed, sauce, fire roasted, paste- you see where I'm going with this - some type of tomato product.
Regardless of how you prepare your chili, I think its a winter time staple for most. I've always prepared an extra large pot of chili because it's so versatile and can lend itself to so many other dishes. If you have a well stocked kitchen, chili is simple to put together with your basic kitchen staples. My pantry is always stocked with several varieties of canned beans, tomatoes and chili seasonings. Also, when ground sirloin is on sale, I usually purchase a couple of pounds to store in the freezer. If you need some help figuring out what staples you should keep on hand, sign up for your FREE pantry staples guide.
It's my opinion that any dish containing large amounts of tomato sauce is best eaten the day after. Thus making chili left overs extra YUMMY.
From what you've read, there are several chili recipes out there, and I'm sure you have your favorite. For me, the spicier the better. I'm not going to tell you how to make chili because your I'm certain your family has their own version. What I am going to do, is give you some suggestions on how to make over your chili left overs. You can stretch out chili left overs by serving using the chili as a topping for hot dogs. Or you can also serve the left over chili as a topping for french fries.
Serve your chili on a bed of steamed basmati (my favorite) or long grain rice - in Hawaii this is known as chili rice; in southwest Texas, its called New Orleans-style chili. Chili Mac can also be prepared by combing you left over chili with macaroni or some other pasta. Chili mac is a standard dish in the U.S. military and is one of the varieties of Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) - from what I hear.
An old Sonic favorite of mine was 'Chili Pie' a small serving bag of Fritos corn chips served with chili poured over the top, usually finished up with grated cheese or onions, jalapenos and sour cream. I'm not sure if this is still on their menu, but it's worth it on a day where your willing to splurge on extra calories.
A large baked potato can also be spruced up with the addition of other ingredients, such as chili, cheddar/Munster cheese, butter, jalapenos, sour cream or chopped onions.
Last night, I was too exhausted to make an elaborate dinner so I began rummaging through the fridge to see what I had on hand. Chicken salad--had that for lunch; eggs: no, salsa....hm-mm...chili...YEA, but it wasn't enough for dinner.
I had some corn tortillas, cheese, sour cream, and an avocado that needed to be used before it became unrecognizable. OK, I can make this into Chili Enchiladas. Here is what I had on hand:
  • Left over Chili
  • My famous home made salsa
  • Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Corn Tortillas - 3
  • Sour Cream
  • Avocado
You will also need some type of baking vessel. Use what you have - I used an 8" baking dish.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Chili Enchiladas - Dinner Make Over

First start by placing a couple of tablespoons of your favorite salsa at the bottom of the baking dish.
Line baking dish with Salsa
Then take your first tortilla, fill with a couple of tablespoons of chili and top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Gently roll the tortilla and place in your baking dish seam side down. The corn tortillas can fall apart if your not careful. You may brush the tortilla with some olive oil - this will add moisture to the tortilla, thus keeping it from breaking apart -and allows the enchilada to crisp while in the oven. I couldn't be bothered by this step because well, I was being lazy.
Continue this process until all your chili and tortillas are used up.
Enchiladas in pan
Top with more salsa and a few ounces of cheese. You may also top with Crystals hot sauce, enchilada sauce, jalapeno slices olives (whatever you have on hand)

Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese and tortillas are warm and bubbly.
Before serving, I topped with a few avocado slices, salsa, and a dollop of sour cream.

Chili Enchilada served with avocado and sour cream
I made three enchiladas, two for dinner and one for breakfast - yes breakfast. That reminds me, I have an enchilada waiting for me.
I hope you will try out this recipe the next time you have some left over chili to use up.




Health Facts*:
Kidney beans are a very good source of folate (vitamin B9), dietary fiber and manganese. A cup of cooked kidney beans provides 45.3% of the recommended daily intake for fiber. Kidney beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.

Tomatoes contain lycopene that is considered a potential agent for prevention of some types of cancers, particularly prostate cancer. Processed tomatoes (e.g. canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste) contain a higher amount of lycopene because cooking breaks down cell walls, releasing and concentrating carotenoids. Eating tomatoes with a small amount of fat enables lycopene to be better absorbed. The tomato is also an excellent source of vitamin C (one medium tomato provides 40% of the RDA) and a good source of vitamin A (20% of the RDA).
Avocados are one of the best sources of monounsaturated fat, the fat known to lower artery-clogging LDL cholesterol and raise heart-healthy HDL cholesterol. A few slices of avocado also contain a hefty serving of folate, one of the B vitamins that helps promote healthy cell and tissue development, as well as potassium, which helps maintain the electrical balance important for nerve conduction.
* facts provided by http://health.learninginfo.org

Curried Egg Salad



Egg Salad
Boiled eggs have always been a favorite of mine. The ultimate healthy fast food, portable, and filling. Growing up my dad always looked forward to Easter because he knew that there would be plenty of left over boiled eggs to eat. His favorite way to eat them was to cut them into wedges, then top them with pickled curried mango, tomatoes and onions, wrapped in a whole wheat Lavash type bread. Cool tomatoes, spicy mango and creamy eggs - YUM! So for me, curry and eggs are a match made in heaven.
I must admit, my first encounter with traditional egg salad was not pleasant, mushy eggs, heaps of mayo, in white mushy bread--eek. This made me avoid the traditional egg salad for years until I had an egg salad prepared by one of my college roommates mom. She made her egg salad with dill relish, onions, bacon and a touch of mayo. I was willing to give egg salad another chance after this.
Over the years, I've played around with several egg salad recipes, but noticed that the trickiest part was a properly boiled egg. If you do some online research you will find several methods. I tested a few one of which called for bringing the eggs to a boil, taking off the stove, covering for 12 minutes, plunging in an ice water bath, returning them to a boil, then plunging them back into cold water. The reason eggs are chilled after each step is to eliminate the dark line from forming on the eggs. While this method works perfectly, it's entirely to time consuming.
Here is a simple method for properly boiled eggs:
Place eggs in a pot and cover with 1/2 inch to 1 inch of cold water and bring to a boil. Now remove from heat, cover the pot, and let it sit exactly 8 minutes
boiling eggs
When the time is up, place the eggs in an ice water bath for two minutes or until the eggs have completely cooled. Cooling them also makes them easier to peel.
Ice bath
OK, so now that you know how to properly boil an egg for egg salad, here is my favorite recipe:
Somer's Curried Egg Salad

Ingredients
  • 6-8 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt or whole milk yogurt
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder (I used Madras - use your favorite)
  • A splash of lime juice
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 green onion or small of bunch chives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries or cherries (optional) I didn't have any on hand so I did not use them
Directions:
1. While the eggs are boiling and cooling, combine the yogurt, dijon mustard, curry powder, lime juice, and mayo in a tiny bowl. Set aside.
Curry Sauce
2. Next chop your scallions and celery. I find that if I cut the celery stalks in half, then into fourths, it makes the whole process much easier. Line them all up and chop.
Celery Stalk

3. Toast the Walnuts - spread walnuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet (one with walls is best) . Bake at 400 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes or as soon as you can smell them.
Toasted Walnuts
4. Crack and peel each egg, and place in a medium mixing bowl. Then you will mash with a fork, don't over mash as you want the eggs to have some texture.
Mashed boiled Eggs
5. Mix in your veggies and stir to combine.
Egg Mixture

6. Add half the curry sauce and combine, if the egg mixture is still too dry, then add the remaining sauce. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
Enjoy as is, or as cracker topping, wrapped in lettuce or tortilla or between toasted whole wheat bread.
I hope you will give this salad a try. Awafee.