Sunday, September 29, 2013

Barley and Roasted Squash Pilaf Recipe

Butternut Squash season is here.  This recipe is originally from Food and Wine Magazine but with a few modifications to suit our tastes.  This is a light and hearty meal that is a big hit for potluck gatherings.  It would make an a nice Thanksgiving Entree for vegan or vegetarian guests.

Barley and Roasted Squash Pilaf 
serves 10-12 (side dish)

4 cups peeled, diced (1-inch) butternut squash (1 1/3 pounds)
10-12 small peeled shallots, 1 minced
12 small sage leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups pearl barley (14 ounces)
8 cups Turkey Stock or chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups vacuum-packed whole, roasted peeled chestnuts (about 9 ounces), coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Preheat the oven to 375°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the diced squash with the whole shallots, sage and 1 tablespoon of the oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, turning once, until the squash and shallots are softened and browned in spots. Crumble the sage. Leave the oven on.  **this may be done a day ahead of time the bring to to room temperature the day you prepare the dish.

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the barley and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, 7 minutes. Add the minced shallot and cook until softened. Add the Turkey Stock and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake for 35 minutes, or until the barley is al dente.

Stir the chestnuts and garlic into the barley and simmer over moderate heat until the liquid is thickened and nearly absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the roasted squash, shallots, sage and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Massaman Curry แกงมัสมั่น

The weather is beginning to cool and with that comes the craving for spicier foods.  On the menu tonight is a 15 minute Thai Massaman Curry.  

This recipe is based on a recipe from but modified to use ingredients I enjoy.

Using a good quality massaman paste is a must.  You can check your local Asian store to see if they carry Mae Ploy Thai curry pastes or you can purchase it from 

To start your Massaman, cook the curry paste with coconut cream for a few minutes.  Then add in chicken broth and coconut milk, tangy tamarind, and a little bit of brown sugar to balance out the flavors.  Add in the protein ( beef stew or chicken) and a handful of veggies or the traditional potatoes   Then it goes into the pressure cooker for 15 minutes and voila, dinner is ready.

Massaman Curry

Serves 4


1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

2 medium onions, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
3  tablespoons Massaman curry paste
1 pounds beef chuck cut into 1 inch cubes or chicken breast or a combination (as I did)
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup low sodium chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon fish sauce (plus more to taste)
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce (plus more to taste)
2.5 teaspoons tamarind paste (plus more to taste)
1 tablespoon brown sugar or palm sugar (plus more to taste)
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, rinsed and cubed or about 2 cups of chopped vegetables (I used green beans, red pepper, and carrots)
Cooked Jasmine Rice or Roti

Optional Garnish

1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, crushed
Avocado Slices


In the pressure cooker pot, add oil and saute the the onion for a few minutes.  Remove and set aside

Scrape the cream from the top of the can of coconut milk and place into pressure cooker. Whisk in the curry paste.  Cook, stirring often for about 6 minutes.    Add in the beef or chicken, and mix to combine with the curry mixture.  

Add the remaining coconut milk, chicken broth, tamarind, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar.  Stir to combine.  Add in vegetables (including the sauteed onion).  Place lid on you pressure cooker.  Bring to temperature and cook for 15 minutes.  Allow pressure to release gradually.  After 10 minutes, release any remaining steam, and allow to sit for 5 minutes to cool.

Serve on a bed of Jasmine Rice or with fresh roti bread.  Garnish and enjoy.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Olive Stuffed Chicken Rollatini

Serve Olive Tapenade with Crostini or Baked Pita Chips 

Stuffed Chicken Rollatini makes an appearance on our table at least once a week or so. I take seasoned chicken cutlets, fill them with whatever I have on hand, dunk in eggs, then into breading (panko, pecans, bread crumbs, you get where I'm going).  Place them into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray, then spray the chicken or drizzle with olive oil.  Then bake till golden.

I'm particularly proud of this meal because it allowed me to use my pantry ingredients without having to go to the store for the third time today. Without further adieu:

Greek Stuffed Chicken Rollatini

Olive Spread
1/4 cup black olives
1/4 cup green olives
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 teaspoons feta
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon, parsley
1/4 t black pepper, cracked
1/2 lemon, juiced

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all the ingredients and process until smooth. Keep in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 2 cups. (2 tablespoons per serving)
This mixture may be spread on crostini and enjoyed as an appetizer.

1 lb. Chicken Breasts, 2 breasts cut in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs, scrambled
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 14 oz. diced tomatoes and garlic, drained
2 teaspoons oregano

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breast halves between two sheets of wax or parchment paper; pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin to a quarter inch of thickness.

Dry chicken cutlets, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder.

Scramble the eggs, season with salt and pepper.  Create a dredging station, by filling a shallow plate, or paper plate with bread crumbs.  Set Aside.

Arrange chicken breasts on a flat surface.  Top and spread each piece of chicken with the olive mixture.  Starting from the shorter end, roll up chicken.

Dip in  egg mixture then roll in bread crumbs.  Spray baking dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.  Arrange chicken rollatinis in a pan then lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, top with diced tomatoes and oregano.  Baked an additional 10-15 minutes.