Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thai Shrimp Curry

My 2012 New Year's Resolution was to post on my food blog more frequently. As with most resolutions it didn't stick past January and it's now been three months since I last posted on here. I have still been cooking and trying new recipes, but my will to actually post the results online has waned. This lazy Sunday afternoon has compelled me to do something productive and write this post up. I actually made this Thai shrimp curry recipe from Emeril Lagasse back in January, but I'm just posting it now. You shouldn't take that as an indication of my feelings towards the dish because it actually turned out very well. It had a nice bit of heat without being too spicy. It's a really simple dish, which anybody should be able to make at home. I'd recommend at if you want to take a shot at homemade curry.

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 medium carrots, trimmed and shredded
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons palm sugar or light brown sugar
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons chopped Thai basil leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Cooked jasmine rice, accompaniment
Sprigs fresh cilantro, garnish

1. In a large wok or saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, bell peppers, carrots, and garlic, and stir-fry until soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Stirring, add the fish sauce and sugar, then the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
4. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and cilantro.
6. Serve over jasmine rice, garnished with cilantro sprigs.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Buffalo chicken panini

For my birthday this year my girlfriend's parents got me a Cuisinart Griddler, which is a panini press/griddle/grill/waffle maker. Since then I've been experimenting with different types of paninis. I made version of the turkey avocado grilled cheese sandwich I'd previously posted, along with a sliced chicken and brie on focaccia sandwich. I was pleased with how both of those turned out. If you're looking for a panini press, I'd recommend the Griddler. It's worked very well and has a bunch of different functions. The griddle plates pop right out which makes it easy to clean after each use.

Most recently I made a buffalo chicken panini sandwich. I found this recipe on The blue cheese and caramelized onions are a really nice cool contrast to the spicy buffalo sauce. I used Wing-Time medium buffalo sauce, which had a nice kick without being too hot for me. The recipe uses pita bread for the sandwiches. I decided to go with some focaccia loaves from Trader Joe's. 

1-1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 1/2″ strips
12-oz. bottle of Buffalo wing sauce (i.e., Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce)
1 tablespoon butter
1 large red onion, sliced into thin rings
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4-6″ pita breads
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled

1. Add chicken and Buffalo wing sauce to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through well.
2. While the chicken is simmering, heat butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute onions for 13 minutes until soft. Stir in sugar and saute for another 10 minutes or until onions are caramelized. Set aside.
3. Assemble and grill each sandwich one at a time. Place 1/4 of the caramelized onions on each sandwich. Add chicken on top of the onions with a slotted spoon, draining most of the sauce through the spoon. Top the chicken with about 2 tablespoons of the blue cheese.
4. Transfer it to the panini press. Grill for 5 minutes until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. Serve hot.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chicken Florentine Pasta

This recipe comes from the Pioneer Woman, also known as Ree Drummond. Personally, I'm a big fan of her recipes, though she has a fair number of critics. I understand why her personal manner bugs some people, and I recognize that she sometimes uses an almost Paula Deen-esque amount of butter, but she also has some really great recipes. This recipe isn't overloaded with butter and is actually a good, light spring pasta dish. I bought fresh grape tomatoes and spinach from Eastern Market in D.C., which gave the dish a nice bright flavor.

1 pound Penne
4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt And Pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
3/4 cups Dry White Wine
3/4 cups Low-sodium Broth, More If Needed
1 bag Baby Spinach
2 cups Grape Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise
4 ounces Shaved Parmesan Cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water. Drain and set aside.
2. Cut chicken breasts into chunks and sprinkle on salt and pepper.
3. Heat butter and olive oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken chunks in a single layer and do not stir for a minute or two in order to allow the chicken to brown on the first side. Turn the chicken and brown on the other side. Cook until done, then remove chicken from the skillet.
4. Turn heat to medium. Add garlic and quickly stir to avoid burning. After about 30 seconds, pour in wine and broth, stirring to deglaze the pan. Allow the liquid to bubble up, then continue cooking until it's reduced by at least half (most of the surface of the liquid should be bubbling at this point.)
5. Turn off the heat. Add spinach, tomatoes, chicken, and cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss to combine; the spinach will wilt as you toss everything. Add plenty of Parmesan shavings and toss to combine.
6. Serve with extra Parmesan shavings.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chocolate peanut butter pie

So back in my first post of the year I made a New Year's Resolution to post more often. That didn't last very long obviously, as it's been about three months since I posted on here. So I'm getting back to work with this post. I made this chocolate peanut butter pie for two parties over the Christmas season and it was a big hit. It's very rich and delicious. I used a pre-made crust, because I was feeling lazy. The filling comes from a recipe from The chocolate ganache recipe comes from

One pre-made pie crust
Chopped peanuts and shaved dark chocolate for topping

For the filling:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 package (8 ounce) softened cream cheese
1-1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 package (8 ounce) Cool Whip, thawed

For the topping:
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream

1. Beat the peanut butter with the cream cheese until smooth.
2. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
3. Add in the thawed Cool Whip and beat mixture until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.
4. Pour filling into crust, evening out the top with a knife or spatula. Chill for at least an hour before topping with the ganache.
5. In a pan, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup cream. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
6. Lower heat immediately and simmer, without stirring, 5-6 minutes until slightly thick and pale yellow.
7. Remove from heat and stir in butter and chocolate until melted. Let chocolate mixture cool slightly.
8. Pour the topping over pie and spread to cover completely and evenly.
9. Chill, uncovered, about 1 hour until firm.
10. When the topping is semi-cool sprinke chopped peanuts and shaved dark chocolate on top.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stuffed portobello mushrooms

Last Sunday, after a weekend of heavy meals, my girlfriend and I decided we needed a lighter dinner. After looking around at a bunch of vegetarian recipes, I decided to mix together a few to make my own dish. The balsamic vinegar marinade gave the portobellos a great flavor, which mixed really well with the vegetables and tomato sauce. This turned out to be a really good healthy, vegetarian option. You could use almost any combination of veggies to stuff the mushrooms, but I was really happy with how my picks turned out.

4 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 small yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
6 ounce jar marinated artichokes, drained
1 red pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (I used half a jar of Paul Newman tomato & basil sauce)
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Grated parmesan cheese
Bread crumbs for topping

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Mix the balsamic vinegar, onion powder and garlic powder. Marinate the mushrooms in the balsamic vinegar mix for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
3. Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute garlic, onions, squash, artichokes and red pepper until the vegetables become tender, about 4-5 minutes.
4. Add spinach leaves and saute until wilted, about a minute or so.
5. Add tomato sauce.
6. Fill the mushroom caps with the vegetable mixture.
7. Top with mozzarella, parmesan and bread crumbs.
8. Bake 15-20 minutes, until mushrooms are soft and the top is crispy.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chana masala

I was inspired to make this recipe after trying the chana masala at the White Tiger restaurant on Capital Hill and at the Tasty Kabob food truck. Chana masala is a spicy Indian chickpea dish. More traditional versions of this dish use amchur powder (dried mango powder), but that's pretty hard to find in the US, so I went with an alternative version. This recipe comes a blog called Orangette. The author notes that her and her husband have some disputes over whether or not to include yogurt in the recipe. Personally, I agree with her that the yogurt adds a nice cool flavor to the dish, but you can take it out if you prefer. I was very happy with how this dish turned out. Its a very nice vegetarian option if you're looking for one.

Good-quality olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garam masala
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1 Tbs cilantro leaves, roughly torn, plus more for garnish
A pinch of cayenne, or to taste
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6-8 Tbs plain whole-milk yogurt, optional
A few lemon wedges, optional

1. Film the bottom of a large saucepan or Dutch oven—preferably not nonstick—with olive oil, and place the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is deeply caramelized and even charred in some spots. Be patient. The more color, the more full-flavored the final dish will be.
2. Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, stirring, and add a bit more oil if the pan seems dry. Add the cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, garam masala, and cardamom pods, and fry them, stirring constantly, until fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup water, and stir to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water has evaporated away completely.
3. Pour in the juice from can of tomatoes, followed by the tomatoes themselves, using your hands to break them apart as you add them; alternatively, add them whole and crush them in the pot with a potato masher.
4. Add the salt.
5. Raise the heat to medium, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the cilantro and cayenne, and simmer the sauce gently, stirring occasionally, until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
6. Add the chickpeas, stirring well, and cook over low heat for about five minutes. Add 2 Tbs water, and cook for another five minutes. Add another 2 Tbs water, and cook until the water is absorbed, a few minutes more. This process of adding and cooking off water helps to concentrate the sauce’s flavor and makes the chickpeas more tender and toothsome. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
7. Stir in the yogurt, if you like, or garnish with lemon wedges and cilantro.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cranberry cippolini compote

One of my favorite things about living on Capitol Hill is how close I am to Eastern Market. The market is a great place to walk around, pick up fresh fruits and vegetables, and get brunch. A cool recent development has been the addition of cooking demonstrations on Saturday mornings. Jonathan Bardzik, author of the outstanding food blog, What I Haven't Cooked Yet, cooks some delicious food and gives very entertaining performances teaching the audience how to make his dishes.

This recipe comes from a demonstration he gave of various Thanksgiving side dishes. It's a bad sign that it took me until Martin Luther King Day to post a Thanksgiving dish. I really need to get up to speed with my posts. I'm not normally a big cranberry sauce fan. The canned cranberry sauce that comes out as one gelatinous blob creeps the bejeezus out of me. This cranberry compote is lighter than most cranberry sauce recipes. It's also more savory and less sweet than most versions. I thought it was so tasty that I had to try making it at home and it turned out quite well. This is a great side dish, even for non-Thanksgiving meals.

2 cups cippolini or pearl onions
2 tbs butter
3/4 cup maple sugar (If you can't find maple sugar  you can substitute a mixture of half light brown sugar and half white sugar.)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1.5 cups vegetable or veal stock
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup port
1/2 cup apple cider

1. Blanch onions in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove to an ice bath. Trim tips and roots of onions, be careful to leave the base of the onion intact so that they don’t fall apart. If the onions are larger than bite sized, cut them in half.
2. Melt butter over medium heat in a 3 qt saucepan. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown in places.
3. Add 1/4 cup sugar, garlic and rosemary. Cook 1-2 minutes until garlic is golden.
3. Pour in stock, reduce heat and simmer until liquid reduces to a thick glaze. Be careful not to burn the garlic as the liquid reduces.
4. Add cranberries, port, and cider. Simmer over low heat until liquid is reduced to a glaze and cranberries have turned jammy. The cranberries will pop delightfully as they cook. but don’t worry, the juices don’t spatter out of the pot.
5. Season to taste with balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt and pepper, and additional sugar if needed.

The Results

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

It occurred to me recently that I've gotten lazy about posting stuff to this blog (I missed the entire month of December), so one of my New Year's resolutions is to post more regularly. I've still been cooking a fair amount; I have three other recipes with photos ready to be posted. Two of those turned out well, the other not so much. I'm posting this chicken pot pie recipe that I made last night ahead of the older ones, because I'm excited about how good it was and it made me feel like posting.

This recipe comes from, though I made some of my own tweaks to it. I was considering getting a chicken pot pie from a new place on H Street called Dangerously Delicious Pies, but decided to make my own. I still really want to try that place out. Their menu has a great selection of both sweet and savory pies.

The recipe is below. My changes are in italics. I added some extra vegetables and herbs to give it some more flavor. The pie turned out really well and it was easy to make. Enjoy.

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup frozen corn (I forgot to include this when I made it, but I would add it in future batches.)
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
2. In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, celery, corn and mushrooms. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
3. In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, celery seed, onion powder and garlic powder.
4. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. (I mixed the chicken mixture and the sauce together in the pot, rather than in the pie plate. This worked very well and it seems like an easier process to me.)
(I would totally eat this by itself as a really thick soup. It was delicious.)

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

The Results