Lamb Curry

Lamb CurryCurry Curriculum
No matter what the calendar says, when the kids head back to school my mind flips a switch and I am convinced that it is fall—even when it is 95 degrees outside. My delusion means that I start to look at more fall-like foods for dinner. But, who really wants to turn the oven on when it’s still hot out? To soothe my fall food craving, I have been giving my Instant Pot a workout.

Since everything is done in the Instant Pot, we end up with fewer dishes. And, it doesn’t heat up the whole kitchen like turning on the oven does. Plus, it makes meat amazingly tender in half the time it would normally take. This means you can pretty much make whatever you want mid-week.

I am one of those people who likes to eat spicy food when it’s hot out. I mean, I will eat spicy food anytime, really. But, something about a warm night and some spicy curry seems right. (Of course, it could also be the cold beer to go with it.) And, if I am making curry, chances are I am making it with lamb.

Chicken curry is fine but when I really want a rich, aromatic curry, lamb always seems to fit the bill. There are a lot of different recipes for Lamb curry and all its different iterations. (I once almost killed my husband with an uber hot lamb Vindaloo.) If I am making it mid-week though, I like to go for a more basic version.

The Lamb Curry is my go-to recipe—though I do change it up from time to time. It can be made both in the Instant Pot or on the stove on a low simmer where it will just take longer.

Lamb Curry
Adapted from Piping Pot Curry
Yields 4 Servings Read more…

Saag Paneer (Indian Spinach and Cheese)

Saag PaneerCrazy Cravings
Cravings are weird. Sometimes when I have a craving I am able to fake my way out of it by eating something similar or, strangely, just by drinking some water. Other times that craving hits and there is no denying it. When that happens, I can get a little psycho…

The most recent incident happened when I had some boneless chicken thighs that had to be used so I decided to marinate them in tandoori paste and throw them on the grill. This prompted the search for something that would complement the chicken as a side dish and thus my wicked craving for saag paneer was born.

As luck would have it, I had everything I would need to make the saag on hand but the paneer was a different story. Although making paneer is relatively easy, I did not have the whole milk needed nor, frankly, did I have the time. But, there was no way I could NOT have this side dish. Just thinking about it was making my mouth water. So I ventured to my local store (Alas, I do not live close to Piedmont Grocery) to see if, by chance, they had paneer cheese. No dice.

Panicking, I thought maybe I could cheat with something from the frozen section…but that was a non-starter as well. (Mainly because I am a food snob and just couldn’t bring myself to do it.) By now I’m hangry and frustrated. So, I took a chance and went with those small bite-sized balls of mozzarella. Sigh.

I’m not saying it was bad. It wasn’t. It wasn’t great either. But, it did satisfy my craving and cure me of my food-induced craving mania.

Below is my Saag recipe that also includes a recipe for making paneer. While this recipe may not be super authentic, it is quite tasty. And, can actually be made during the week for those who make dinner to relax. I would recommend playing with the level of spice. Some in my family found it too spicy and others said it wasn’t spicy enough…

Saag Paneer Recipe
Yields 4 Servings
This recipe for the classic Indian spinach and cheese dish uses frozen spinach which is much easier than fresh. If you have extra time and choose to use fresh, first steam it, chop it and squeeze out the excess water.  Read more…

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori ChickenLucky Thirteen
Every year at this time I get a little crazier than normal…it’s birthday week. In the span of 6 days we will celebrate the Boys’ birthday, my birthday, Mother’s Day and my Daughter’s birthday—all on top of our usual insane schedule.

Not surprisingly, food plays a big role in our celebrations. Birthdays, at least for the kids, start in the morning with the Donut Cake which is basically a bunch of donuts piled on a plate with candles in it. Not complicated, but still awesome. And, as always, the birthday boy or girl, gets to pick what they would like for their birthday dinner. Sometimes we go out to eat. Other times we stay home and eat whatever they request. This year we had scheduling issues so we did a little of both. Gotta love Birthday Take-out!

When I was pregnant with the boys I craved Indian food 24/7—the spicier the better. I guess it should come as no surprise how much they love it, too. So for their birthday dinner, we ended up with container upon container of their favorite Indian dishes from our go-to Indian restaurant. This was followed up with some awesome (if not a little bit smashed) ice cream cake.

At 13, the days of the boys’ bouncy house parties are behind us. And, I am okay with that even though it means that they are growing up. It also means that have progressed beyond chicken nuggets to the good stuff like this…

Tandoori Chicken
Yields 4 to 6 servings
Tandoori Chicken is surprisingly easy to prepare for a weeknight dinner. The trick is to prepare the marinade the day before and set it in the fridge overnight. If you want to get fancy, you can purchase the red tandoori coloring from an Indian grocer. Ours isn’t as colorful, but it is equally delicious!

Read more…

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka MasalaEatin’ like a Grown Up
We’ve reached a major milestone in my household! Well, I think it’s major. To be clear, I am not talking about the real major milestones like getting your driver’s license, or being accepted into college, or even the elusive doing the things I ask you to do, when I ask you to do them, not when I am foaming-at-the-mouth-mad milestones. No, the milestone I am talking about is the spicy hot food one.

My husband and I like our food spicy. For the longest time, I have had to dial it back when cooking, because I wanted my kids to actually eat. My kids are pretty adventurous when it comes to food as far as ingredients and cuisine go. But if I made it too spicy hot they would start reaching for the fall-back banana. Lately, it’s as if the clouds have parted and the sun is shining down in my kitchen…because my kids are asking for their food to be more spicy. Yee Haw!! Bring on the harissa and chilies!

We eat Mexican food it seems like, daily. So, when I noticed a lot more salsa use I was intrigued. The other night I made blackened salmon with a fire breathing spice rub, and they kids all loved it. I started getting excited. When we went for Indian food last week, and my son said he wanted to swim in a vat of the sauce armed with a straw, I knew we had turned a corner.

Their Indian dish of choice is Chicken Tikka Masala, which ranges from medium to spicy. The good news is that you can find it on basically every Indian restaurant menu. So, you have the opportunity to taste and compare. Frankly, I’m just looking forward to a little more spice and dinner choices in our lives…

Chicken Tikka Masala
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
Yields 6 Servings
Read more…

Mixed Vegetable Coconut Curry

Mixed Vegetable Coconut CurryHouston, we have a problem.
Lately, I have been feeling rather out of sorts. Something just didn’t seem right, and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out what it was. But the other day it came to me…I haven’t been canning.

Normally at this time of year, I would have made or would be in the process of making, gallons of pickles, jams, salsas and tomato sauces. I would have been putting up peaches, peppers, beans, and tomatoes for use later in the year. Not this year.

This year’s crop was a ghost crop caused by a number of factors. The first factor? Varmints ate the fruit from my trees. It was looking like we were actually going to have a legitimate crop of nectarines, peaches, and cherries until the four-legged bandits came through.

The second factor? Water. I felt guilty about using the water so I was perhaps less vigilant than normal about keeping things well hydrated.

The third and by far the most destructive: Chickens. They ate everything. Well, almost everything.  I was able to save the butternut squash but had to harvest it all at once instead of keeping some on the vines. Needless to say, I have a glut of butternut squash, so I am trying to use it any way I can.

The really good news is that the chickens should start laying eggs soon, and we will have a glut of eggs. It may not make up for the lack of canned summer tomatoes come January, but it does lessen the sting a little. Read more…