Friday, November 30, 2012

Green Pea Bread

Soooooo good with tikka masala. 


  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 cup flour
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 cup (or less) water

In a food processor, mix the peas and cilantro for 30 seconds. 

Add flour, pepper, and oil and mix until well blended. 

With the machine running, add the water and mix until the dough forms into a ball.  You may not need the whole 1/4 cup.  Add just what is needed, otherwise the dough will be too sticky.   

Process the dough for 30 seconds more, turning the machine on and off every 5 seconds. 

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. 

Roll each piece using a rolling pin until thin and flat. 

Cook in 1-2 inches of oil heated to 375 degrees until browned and puffy. 

Source:  Britney Porter

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala

I loooooove tikka masala.  I want to try other things when I go to Indian restaurants, but it's hard because I love it so much.  The most I really branch out is that sometimes I get paneer masala instead of chicken.  My two favorite Indian restaurants in the Seattle area are Chutneys and India Gate, in case you're looking for a recommendation. (Kelly--this is specifically for you.)  

My favorite thing about Indian food is dipping naan in the sauce.  But, naan is tricky if you don't have a tandori oven, which I don't.  Luckily my sister-in-law, Britney, discovered a recipe for green pea bread years ago which is the perfect substitution for naan.  Totally different than naan, but totally perfect for dipping in delicious sauce.  Man, I love green pea bread.  So simple, so delicous. I love it.  Recipe to follow very soon.   
On to the tikka masala . . .  This recipe was such a pleasant surprise.  This is by far my favorite tikka masala that I've made.  The key ingredient is garam masala.  Garam masala is a blend of spices and includes things like coriander, cumin, pepper, nutmeg, fennel.  This recipes calls for a lot, 3 tablespoons, so head on down to the Market Spice to buy an ounce or two.  This is the only way to buy spices.

I really love this recipe.  Enjoy!


  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • ground coriander
  • cumin
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 piece (approximately 2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 can (28 ounce) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Season chicken breasts with Kosher salt, coriander, and cumin on both sides.

Coat chicken breasts completely with plain yogurt and set on a metal cooling rack over a foil lined baking sheet. 

Place about 10-12 inches below a broiler for 5-7 minutes per side. Watch carefully so as not to totally char the chicken. It should have slightly blackened edges. Remove from oven.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat.

Add the onions and sauté until they are slightly browned.

Add garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon of salt and cook for a few more minutes. 

Add 3 tablespoons garam masala and stir well. 

Add tomatoes (inlcuding the juices).

NOTE:  I used two 14 ounce cans of tomatoes.  I think I would puree one of the cans next time so that it's a little more saucy.  I'd like it to be both saucy and chunky, if that's a possibility. 

Continue cooking and stirring, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it.

Add 1 tablespoon sugar to cut the acidity.

Add cayenne pepper if you want a little kick.  I'm a spice wimp and 1/4 teaspoon was perfect for me.  Adjust accordingly. 

Simmer on medium for about 5 minutes.

Add in 1 ½ cups of heavy cream.

Chop up your chicken breasts into chunks and stir them into the sauce.

Add a handful of chopped fresh cilantro and stir well.

Serve with green pea bread or naan.  Mmmmmmmm. 

I made this turmeric rice as well, but like it just as much with just plain old rice. 

Source:  Pioneer Woman

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Creamy Peanut Butter Tart

This is what I decided to make for Thanksgiving for dessert:

It was one of the MANY desserts and did not disappoint.  Plus, it was pretty easy.  The peanut butter layer was super smooth and light, plus the ganache on the bottom?  Perfect combo.    

  • 10-12 rectangle graham crackers, crushed into fine crumbs (I needed a few more than just one sleeve)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • whipped cream, for serving (optional) 

In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the butter.  Mix until combined.

Place the crumbs in a 9-inch tart pan or pie plate.  Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Refrigerate while proceeding with the recipe.

Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl.

Pour 1/2 cup cream in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until simmering.

Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and set aside (without stirring) for 3-5 minutes.

Whisk until combined and glossy smooth. Cool the ganache to room temperature by whisking quickly for a few minutes.

Spread the ganache over the bottom of the prepared crust and refrigerate until set, about 20-30 minutes.

Using a handheld mixer, combine the peanut butter, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Blend until smooth.

Add the remaining 1 cup heavy cream and process until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Spoon the mixture over the top of the set ganache layer and smooth to the edges.

Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if you'd like.  I think everything tastes better with a little, or a lot of, whipped cream.

Source:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Banoffee Pie

I love this time of year because I have lots of reasons to make dessert.  I'm having fun trying to decide what I'll make for Thanksgiving. 

I made this last week to celebrate a friend's birthday.  I made it in individual glasses which worked well because I didn't need a whole pie.  There are lots of recipes for banoffee pie around the internet.  I'd like to try this one from Mel's Kitchen Cafe sometime soon.

I got this particular recipe from a friend several years ago.  I was very perplexed when she explained to me how to make the dulce de leche:  boil a can of sweetened condensed milk for 3 hours.  I asked her SEVERAL times about not opening the can.  It seemed confusing.  I've made dulce de leche this way many times with success, but read recently that BPA from the can can leach into the sweetened condensed milk, which makes sense.  So, I tried David Lebovitz's method which is the fastest I have found.  You can also cook it in jars in a crock pot, but it takes a while.  So, for banoffee pie, start by making the dulce de leche.  You can do this ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator. 

  • graham cracker crust, recipe found here
  • 2-3 bananas, sliced
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk, made into dulce de leche (see below)
  • 2 cups whipping cream, prepared (see below)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 tablespoons sugar
  • milk chocolate, ganache, or good chocolate topping


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Pour one can (14 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish. Stir in a few flecks of sea salt.

Set the pie plate within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate.

Cover the pie plate snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary).

Once the Dulce de Leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool.

Once cool, whisk until smooth.

Source:  David Lebovitz


Pour whipping cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla into bowl.

Use hand or stand mixer to whip the cream. 

Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time and mix well until it thickens.

NOTE:  Taste the cream to make sure it is as sweet as you'd like before it gets thick.  It will be grainy if you add the sugar too late. 


Place sliced bananas in the bottom of a baked pie shell. 

Drizzle dulce de leche on top of the bananas and spread evenly. 

Top with prepared whipped cream and drizzle chocolate on top.

Lucky for me, I had this Fran's chocolate to use on top.  I love good teacher gifts.

Source:  Karen Linn

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lime Meringue Tart

This is where I was last week:

Yep, that's Versailles, just outside of PARIS!!  I was lucky to get to go on a last minute trip there last week with my brother and sister-in-law. 

Let's just say, the French know their pastries and baguettes and I sampled my fair share while exploring the city.  My sister-in-law, Britney (who is equally passionate about food) and I started to wonder if we could make anything that came even close.  So, I started reading David Lebovitz's blog (he's an American-living-in-Paris-pro-pastry chef).  Although he's a pro, his recipes are very friendly for the average cook/baker and include lots of helpful tips and explanations.  I love that.  My first attempt was this lime meringue tart that I made for a friendsgiving get together last night.  There are a few adjustments I would make for next time, but overall, I felt like it was a success.  And, the tart dough was SUPER easy, which is a bonus because usually that is the part that really intimidates me.      


  • 8 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice (5-7 limes)
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • zest of two limes
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • a few drops vanilla extract
  • French tart dough (I used this very easy recipe from David Lebovitz's blog.) 

Preheat the oven to 375º.

In a medium-sized saucepan, warm the butter, lime juice, sugar, zest, and salt.

NOTE:  David suggests rolling the limes firmly on the counter before juicing in order to get the most out of them. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and the yolks.

When the butter has melted and the mixture is warm, gradually pour some of the warm lime juice mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly.

Pour the warmed eggs back into the saucepan and cook the mixture over low heat.

Stir the mixture constantly over low heat, using the whisk, until the filling thickens and begins to resemble soft jelly. Do not let it boil.

Remove from heat and pour the filling into the pre-baked tart shell.

Bake for 10 minutes.

While the tart is baking, prepare the meringue.  Whip the whites on high speed to soft peaks.

Gradually add the sugar and the salt, while whipping on high speed, until the meringue is shiny and stiff.

Beat in the vanilla, then pipe or spread over the tart.

NOTE:  I beat the meringue a little too long this time which made it firmer than I think it should be.  It didn't pipe onto the tart as nicely as I hoped.  Don't get carried away or distracted while beating the meringue!

Heat the broiler and move the oven rack to the top third of the oven.

Pop the tart under the broiler, watching carefully, as it will brown quickly. When the top begins to darken, remove the tart from the oven and cool completely before slicing.

Storage: The tart is best eaten the day it’s made. You can refrigerate any leftovers. I had a piece for breakfast this morning and it was still very tasty.  If you wish to make the lime filling in advance, you can make it and store it in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Source:  David Lebovitz

Monday, November 12, 2012

Beef Pitas

I've been looking for a recipe for a beef filling for gyro-like pitas that I can make at home. I'm happy I found this recipe and tried it. It was super easy and quick. I was starving when I got home tonight after working out and was able to whip this up pretty quickly. I used hummus in mine, but you could use tzatziki and top with thinly sliced onions if you want. I used store-bought hummus (The one time I made hummus I was not impressed with myself.) and the flat bread from Trader Joe's. I'll definitely make this again.


  • 1/2 large white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 small bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small tomato, diced finely
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Kosher salt

  • pita bread
  • shredded lettuce
  • sliced tomatoes
  • hummus and/or tzatziki

In a food processor, combine the onions, garlic, and parsley until finely minced.

Remove to a large bowl and add in the beef, tomato, garam masala, and lemon juice.

Season with salt.

Mix with your hands until well combined.

Cook meat mixture on medium heat, stirring periodically.

TIP: I drained off the liquid as it cooked out of the meat.

Taste and add salt if needed.

Serve in warm pitas with hummus, shredded lettuce, and tomatoes.

Source: Food Network