nwhiker: (sunset)
I posted this a few months back: Seekh Kabobs. It was a bit soft to actually grill, but we all liked the taste.

I had frozen some of the leftover (raw) meat, and made it tonight with some mods:

Sauté an onion until softened
Sauté the meat with the onion

Remove 3/4 of the meat, set aside.

Add 1.5 cups rice, saut&ecute for a few minutes, add 3 cups water and a blob of BtB Chicken.

Cook until rice is done, about 20 minutes, put meat back in.

Cook a bag of spinach, drain slightly, add the spinach into the rice/meat mixture.

Twas delicious. I think one could also add the spinach at the last minute, as the rice was cooking, but I forgot until the rice was done, so I just cooked it separately. I'd also add more spinach but one bag is all I had on hand.

ETA: it clearly smelled good. I took leftovers to school with me, and three of my fellow grad students were sniffing and wanting the recipe. :-)
nwhiker: (Cottage Lake)

OMG. Delicious. This recipe arrived in my email from Penzey's today and I decided to try it.

My mods are in blue.

Seekh Kabobs

If you don’t feel like fussing with skewers, the mixture would also make great burgers.

1 1/4 lbs. fresh ground beef (80/20 is a good mix); frozen doesn’t work as well2 tsp.

CAYENNE PEPPER About 1/2 tsp

2 tsp. salt









2 1/2 TB. garlic paste

2 TB. ginger paste

2 TB. roasted chickpea powder (this is helpful for keeping the kabobs from falling apart; use 1 TB. all-purpose flour if you can’t find chickpea powder) Flour, heh.

2 TB. lemon juice

1/2 Cup oil I used about 1/4 cup at most

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the oil. Mix well with your hands. Refrigerate for 21/2-3 hours. Add the oil and mix well. Roll the meat into small, round meatballs. Thread each meatball through a skewer. Dip your hands in water to prevent sticking, and flatten the meatballs in a thin layer around each skewer. Grill over low heat, turning the skewers at least once, after about 5 minutes, until the meat turns to brown on both sides. Don’t overcook or they will not be as deliciously tender.

I'm glad we decided to make these on a "veggie grate", because they were incredibly soft and felt apart. Next time I'll just make patties and not bother with the skewers

I cannot imagine using that much cayenne for that amount of meat. I used about 1/4 of what they suggest, and it's quite spicy but the flavours of the other spices still come through something I'm not sure would happen with four times the amount of cayenne.

I served it with rice pilaf (Trader Joe's, doctored up a bit), but it would be wonderful in a wrap with lettuce and yogurt sauce.

There is still something missing compared to the ones I've eaten at various restaurants, but I can't figure out what it is yet. I think next time I'll skip the cayenne entirely to see if I can better evaluate the balance of spices.

Anyhow, if anyone else got this recipe, I highly recommend it!

nwhiker: (Cottage Lake snow)
It's straight, give or take spicing, from the Penzey's catalog. I did go to the website and didn't find it linked, so I'm typing it in, with my minute changes.

Note that Penzey's, always a bunch of suckers :) for a cooking/kindness/happiness angle, has some wonderful stories on their site about four of the couples who challenged Wisconsin's marriage laws and eventually won. As one of the people commenting on the story said, "I didn’t think a spice catalog would ever make me cry, but yours did, and it wasn’t from the onions! When I read “kindness works” in your catalog, I thought “how nice”, but I wondered if you meant what you said, and if you really meant “all people”, and if you really meant to be as inclusive as you sounded. The reason I wondered is that often “nice people” and “kind people” think of themselves as inclusive but are not."

So. Recipe. My comments in purple.

Molasses Cut-Out Cookies Gingerbread Cut-out Cookies

1 Cup butter
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/3 Cup dark molasses
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp powdered ginger I'm pretty sure I x4 that, and then some!
1/8 tsp nutmeg Probably doubled.
1/8 tsp cinnamon Probably doubled as well
Large pinch of allspice.

I didn't quite measure the amounts of spices that I added, and I adjusted by taste. I always add a sprinkle of allspice and I'm wary of cloves, but any combination of those spices mentioned is probably great.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy; gradually add the sugar. Blend in the molasses, flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix well. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in waxed paper. Chill for several hours. I was out of wax paper, and it was easy to roll between two pieces of plastic wrap. It did not need to be chilled at all, though it was easier to work with slightly chilled. Several hours was too long, I had to let it sit for a long time.

Preheat oven to 350F. Remove 1 package of dough from the refrigerator at a time See above. Roll the dough very thin and cut with desire cookie cutters. I went a bit thicker than "very thin, probably 4mm or so.. Bake on greased cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes. Greased cookie sheets? I. Don't. Think. So. Parchment paper. Watch closely as thin cookies tend to overcook in no time. Cool. Frost and decorate as desired.

The cookies aren't very sweet, and since I was adding royal icing frosting, that was fine, but if planning on eating plain, they might benefit from a sprinkling of sugar or some such. The dough was wonderful to work with, even right from the mixer, parchment paper was perfect. Greased cookie sheets. I do boggle at that. I haven't greased a cookie sheet in.... Humm... Since I had the money to buy parchment paper, so probably grad school!

Prep time: 30 minutes plus chilling time.
Baking time: 8-10 minutes per sheet
Yield: 4.5-5 doxen depending on the size of your cookie cutters.
nwhiker: (Default)
I'll have an extra teenager on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings! I'll double my pizza dough recipe, I think....

Rotisserie chickens usually last three meals, four if I make stock then stew with the carcass, which I might or might not do here.


Grilled salmon, roasted potatoes, veggies, rhubarb cake


Rotisserie chicken, pasta, and broccoli

Vietnamese spring rolls with leftover chicken, mint, etc

Tortilla casserole with leftover chicken, olives.. veggie

Sunday: My birthday! :-) Salt and pepper potato chips, this tart, seriously modified, grilled steak and green onions on homemade Kaiser rolls.
nwhiker: (Default)
My mom will be visiting from tomorrow though Saturday, which of course means that there will be bags of chips all over the place. Rhetorical question: How can she eat so much junk food and stay so thin? I just wish I didn't have to be around it all week.

Anyhow, menus for the week. I'm not feeling very inspired.

I, as of yet, don't have a recipe for the Chinese bbq pork. Yeah, I can google, but if anyone has tried a recipe and liked it, I'd love a link!

I'm nervous about the jerk chicken. I make my own blend of jerk spices, and I lost the post-it with the proportions at some point. I'll be experimenting again, I suppose.


Jerk chicken with yams and sauteed spinach

Chinese bbq pork with white rice, Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce

AC Middle School Graduation and Reception. No dinner planned.

Chicken samosas with curried cauliflower and carrots

Asian Noodles with Pan-Seared Flank Steak

Frittata (mushrooms and chicken Italian sausage)
nwhiker: (Default)
A friend of mine had some issues about volunteering and desserts this week, and I too have one, though mine if very minor.

Tomorrow is the staff luncheon at the kids' school. I volunteered to make an orange chocolate tart which is in the oven right now.

All this is good.

I figured I'd put the tart on a plate, send in a bowl with whipped cream and a spoon and be done with it.

Uh, no. You need to send in "anything needed to serve the dessert".

I don't have a tart serving thing. Normally I use one of these. I can send mine in, no biggie.

But a sharp knife is needed as well, and give me a freaking break. I'm sorry, folks, but nice school or not, I'm not sending in one of my very expensive knives. And VERY sharp. Bzzzt.

I used to have a cheapie chef's knife I picked up at the clearance rack at Target for times like this but it has long since been lost (as a school picnic, iirc!).

Sorry volunteer people, but having a standard set of utensils for events like this makes sense. Maybe I'll donate some.

I suppose I'll just cut it in the morning before I send it in, which is a shame because a) it's pretty, and b) they say to cut everything in 8 slices. 8 slices of that tart is waaaay too few, it's very rich. I might just cut it in 12 and be done with it.

In the meanwhile my house smells like delicious baking chocolate and that makes me very happy!

[eta] It's done, and looks good... except that I'm betting the crust is very crumbly. That is my biggest gripe about that recipe. I added extra butter, but maybe not enough. Two little pieces broke off when I was removing the rim of the tart pan. Of course that's all I can see. I'm actually debating making a second one, but with a crust from another recipe. That's pretty dumb. And GAH IT'S WINDY!
nwhiker: (Default)

Yes, it seriously looks like cat hack. We all laughed. A lot.

But the kids ate it. Kinda. AC liked it, Perry and Linnea were more ambivalent.

I got the recipe from a friend. She adapted it from FIX-IT and FORGET-IT LIGHTLY : Healthy, Low-Fat Recipes for Your Slow Cooker. I'm giving it as I made it.

Sweet Potato Lentil Stew

4 cups chicken broth
3 cups (about 1.25 lbs) yam, peeled and cubed (
1.5 cups pink lentils, sorted and rinsed
3 handfuls baby carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sweet curry
large pinch hot curry
1/2 tsp ginger
large pinch cayenne pepper

Saute the onions (I just cannot make myself put raw onions into a crockpot) until golden.

Combine everything in the crockpot. Cover and cook until done, basically all afternoon.

My friend said the recipe suggested adding raisins, nuts, or coconut towards the end of cooking, and that she put them out on the table for people to add themselves, and that the walnuts and coconut were delish.

Me? I sauteed a few apples until golden and soft, and served those on top.

It was good. I'll be making it again. The original recipe calls for cumin instead of curry, but I like curry better than cumin, and this worked.

Except that it really looked like cat hack.
nwhiker: (Default)
1. Rhubarb is just a joy of a plant. Poisonous leaves make it interesting (that is how I got Perry to try rhubarb crisp for the first time...), and the colour is so beautiful, it makes me happy to cook with.

2. I must either buy myself a pastry cutter, or teach the kids to make streusel topping. It is one of the tasks I most loathe in baking, and 90% of the time I'm too lazy to haul out the Cuisinart, so I make it by hand, and I just hate doing that.

Anyhow. These fruity oaty bars are cooking, and she's never let me down before on a recipe, so I expect them to make a nice dessert. I'll add a review later.

[eta] OK. Recipe review. They were good, but not extraordinary. The almond shortbread was great, but dh and the kids aren't too fond of it anyhow, so that's a no go. I'll probably end up sticking to my standard rhubarb bar cookie recipe, also from Lady Disdain, this one, to which I've made numerous modifications that we all like.
nwhiker: (Default)
Monday: Potsticker soup

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Leftovers (leftover apple chicken sausage, caramelised onions, and mashed potatoes, with some cheese on top. Well liked by all kids.). Broccoli

Thursday: chili with cornbread and some veggie or another

Friday: Momos, green onion pancakes, broccolini with hoisin sauce

Saturday: Polenta with greens and poached eggs

Sunday: Grilled lamb, saffron rice, green beans.
nwhiker: (Default)

Let's see...

For four of us with loads of leftovers, I used about 1.5 l of chicken broth. Add some lemongrass, a bit of star anise, some ginger, and a few tsps of soy sauce. Left to simmer down a bit.

In the meanwhile, I cut some carrots in matchsticks, and added them to the soup.

Sliced an onion thin, sautéed that, added it to the broth. Same with mushrooms.

Shredded about a quarter head of cabbage and held that.

Made frozen potstickers according to the package directions. I didn't let them brown because, quite frankly, we were hungry, but they were completely cooked.

Add the prepared potstickers and the cabbage to the soup part, let the whole thing simmer until the cabbage was tender.

Yum. And easy.
nwhiker: (Default)
Lots of crockpot recipes 'round here, huh? I didn't grow up with one (pressure cookers) and never learned to use one until I got dh's aunt's castoff. I made one dish and it was grey and brown and icky, and that was that. Then I started making stuff in the regular way and using the crockpot to simmer it, like chili or stew.

Recently I've been trying some other recipes as well, and many of them have been ok. I still pre-brown everything, I can't just toss stuff in.

Anyhow. Recipe as written, credit to Jeanny.

Lamb Stew with Peanut Sauce
Cooker: 1 1/2 - 3 quart
Setting and cook time: LOW for 6-8 hours

2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lb lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2” pieces
double-handful sliced mushrooms
double-handful sliced carrots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp sherry or Marsala wine
1 tbsp molasses
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper to taste

1. Warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the lamb, in batches if necessary, adn brown quickly on all sides, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the slow cooker.

2. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and sauté fro 1 minute, then add the peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, molasses, and cayenne pepper, scraping up the brown bits and stirring with a whisk. Add the water to the pan, stir, and pour the mixture over the lamb in the crock.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. (I just mixed up the sauce, including the water and sherry, in a small bowl while the lamb was browning and deglazed with the already-mixed sauce.)

4. At the end of the cooking time, stir in the peanuts and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, over rice.

My mods. I made it with boneless, skinless chicken thighs. No cilantro. I pre-browned the mushrooms too. I used a lot more garlic (four gloves) and will add more ginger next time. I may also reduce the brown sugar. I used plain peanut butter, but I still found the faint underlying sweetness a bit much, a common complaint of mine with crockpot recipes. I used chicken broth to deglaze between batches of browning chicken, and instead of water.

It was quite good. It isn't very spicy, so I found that lacking. I'll probably make it again, and add... something. More cayenne, certainly. More ginger. Maybe some lemongrass at the end, dunno. But it was delicious, and the kids (Perry and AC, Linnea was already asleep) ate without protest.
nwhiker: (Default)
I still need to talk about the tarts that I made over the holidays (well, the crusts and fillings etc) but we had a great dinner tonight that I wanted to share.

First of all, HT to M for this one. She tasted it at a local restaurant, described it to me, and I tried to re-create it from her description. It was delish.

Butternut Squash, Caramelised Onions, and Goat Cheese Quesadillas.

Roast a butternut squash. When it's done, scoop out the flesh, purée. Season with salt, pepper, a pinch of pumpkin pie spice, a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of chipotle or the like. Or to taste. Or just salt and pepper. WhatEVER.

Sauté onions until caramelised.

Grate cheese.

Everyone has their own way of making quesadillas, but the idea here was to smear a layer of squash purée on the tortilla, sprinkle with onions, cheese, and goat cheese, and make it whatever way you usually do.

I ended up using a lot less cheese than for standard quesadillas. The creaminess of the squash and the melty goat cheese was wonderful.

M, does this sound anything like what you actually had? Heh.

Yup. Reasonably healthy too, and the kids all ate 'em.
nwhiker: (Default)
May as well put the recipe here. My brother gave me the initial recipe, and I've modified it somewhat. They're quite simple, and can be reheated. I've added spices to the dough at the thought struck, but in the end simpler was better. Also, the thinning you roll, the more flaky the pancake, since this is just a very simple puff pastry type dough.

Green Onion Pancakes

3 cups flour
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup cold water
Veggie oil (a few tablespoons?)
Chopped green onions (about 1/3 cup?)
Kosher salt.

Mix flour and boiling water. Let rest about 5 minutes

Add cold water, knead until silky, and let rest 15 minutes.

Divide dough into 4-8 balls. I usually do 6.

Take one dough ball, roll it out to a circle, brush some oil on top, sprinkle with green onions and salt.

Roll like a jelly roll, then coil it, ie flat round snake with stuff inside then snake coiled up. (I should take photos next time I make these).

Next roll the coiled snake flat until it's about 1/2cm or 1/4in thick.

Fry in an oiled frying pan until crispy. More oil might be needed as you flip them.

I tend to store them in the oven at 200F while I do the others.

Serve with soy sauce, or dipping sauce.

The dipping sauce I make has soy sauce, sesame oil, hot oil, crushed garlic, grated ginger, stuff like that.
nwhiker: (Default)
Crockpot lasagna sounded like a recipe for crockpot disaster when my friend K posted about it on facebook. But then she said it had turned out well, and that her son, who is AC's age, had liked it.

I clicked through to the recipe she'd linked, from Super Easy CrockPot Lasagna, and I thought it looked like a vile watery mess.

Now I'm not a crockpot person as a rule. I made two things in it, and everyone refused to eat them, they came out browish grey and watery, and maybe tasty, but ugh. My MIL liked them, though. Since then I've used the crockpot for one thing: simmering things I've made in a real pot, like chili or stew. I don't cook in it. Oh wait. I made apricot butter in it, and it was ok, though it took much much longer than my usual method.

But K had said it was good. And had made some recipe edits, and I thought what-the-heck, I can try this. It's still clean-out-the-pantry-and-freezer month and I had some lasagna noodles to use up.

So I made yet more mods the the recipe, and didn't use my usual recipe and made it yesterday.

And it came out great.

Now normally I don't use ricotta in lasagna, I use a béchamel sauce (ok, since I add cheese, technically a sauce Mornay). But I was too lazy to make the béchamel for an experiment, so I bought ricotta, the lowest fat variety. I also used jarred sauce. I wasn't sure about the recipe and didn't want to invest too much time into it.

I don't use meat in lasagna ever.

Anyhow, it came out a lot better than I expected and it made A BUNCH. This is the way to make lasagna quickly for a crowd.


I mixed a small container of ricotta (lowest fat I could find) with an egg, nutmeg, salt etc. Added a few tablespoons of parmesan.

I sauteed an onion and then added mushrooms and cooked the snot out of them, until I was sure they didn't have any water left. Added about 4 cups of tomato sauce and cooked that for ten or so minutes to make sure it was thick. I did not use spinach because while I love spinach lasagna the first time, I don't find it reheats well and I did expect leftovers on this one.

Layer of t sauce, dry, uncooked, regular lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, teeny bit of cheese, t sauce, repeat.

I did add the last bit of water, rinsing out the leftover sauce from the jar, and poured it on top. Oregano, and then I slapped the cover on the crockpot and turned it on low.

Left it on for... oh seven hours? A long time.

Anyhow, it was good, and well worth a repeat. I may try it next time without the egg in the ricotta, but I was wanting it to bind a bit -that watery thing- It was nice and firm, not watery at all. Looked nothing like the photo in the blog above.

So, K, thanks for the idea!!!! It was a good one, and I'll certainly make it again. Next time no egg, time after, maybe I'll try my usual béchamel!

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