food amongst family and friends

Palak Paneer February 28, 2011

Filed under: Mains,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:15 pm
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As a birthday gift a few years ago, my lovely siblings bought me a cooking class to take place in my own home surrounded by people of my choosing (which turned out to be them, of course). It took us about a year and half to get around to actually booking the thing, but it was fantastic. This is one of the dishes we made that night, and I have made it several times since and loved it every time. Simple, easy, healthy, and butt-loads of flavour. We had it with a simplified Peas Pullao done in my rice cooker, a Pakistani beef curry (post to come) and Stove Top Naan. Hope you enjoy it!

2 bunches fresh spinach chopped (or frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture, or canned Saag, which is what I used this time)

1 lb diced paneer (I buy mine frozen at Superstore, although I did try to make my own this time, which I hope to perfect at another time, but I don’t think it will be as cost effective as the frozen version)

5 Tbsp canola oil (I’ve already cut a tablespoon and I think another could be cut without messing up the masala)

1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 med onion, finely chopped

1 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves/Methi (this makes a huge difference in flavour, so worth hunting out. I get mine at Superstore)

1 tsp each, gr. cumin, gr. coriander, salt

1/2 tsp each, garam masala, red chili powder (the Indian spice, very different from regular chili powder)

2 med tomatoes, diced

1. Heat oil in pan over medium to medium high heat and add ginger, garlic, onions, and fenugreek leaves. Stir until golden brown, then add the remaining spices and stir for 2 or 3 min, or until the aroma takes off (you will choke if you get too much of a face full).

The Masala

2. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Cover and lower heat to medium, letting cook for about ten minutes until the mixture resembles a thick gravy. This is the masala.

3. Add paneer and spinach, mix well, and then cover it and let it simmer for 15 min. I add my paneer frozen and it is always hot enough. If you prefer your spinach pureed and you are using fresh, you should cook it separately and then puree before adding it to the masala. I find the fresh is nice just finely chopped, but to each his own.




Breakfast (or anytime) Casserole

Filed under: Mains,Make Ahead,Quick and easy,Sausage — blisteringlydrunk @ 7:28 pm

This is a great recipe that I found in the January 2011 issue of one of my favorite magazines, Clean Eating.  I made a few substitutions of my own but will list the recipe as found in the magazine and also what I have used.  After a quick assembly, the dish can be baked right away or stored tightly sealed in the refrigerator and baked in the morning!

I loved that this recipe was so quick and easy, I finished the whole thing while my older babe was napping soundly in bed and her little brother took a good nap on mama!


  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 5 cups whole grain flax bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used multigrain from a local bakery)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb all-natural low-fat turkey sausage, meat removed from casing (really, any ground meat will do – I used an orange chicken sausage)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced sweet onion
  • 1&1/2 cups skim milk, divided (I used almond milk)
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper, rehydrated in hot water for 10 minutes, seeded and diced (about 1 tbsp) (I used a pinch of cayenne pepper)
  • 6 large egg whites (3/4 cup)
  • 1 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (about 1/4 cup), divided (I used parmigiano reggiano)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, cut crosswise

Tip – Dried chipotle peppers are actually jalapeno peppers that have been smoked and dried.  Look for them in the spice aisle of larger grocery stores and specialty food markets.


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Lightly mist an 11-cup (2.6L) casserole dish with cooking spray and line bottom with bread cubes in an even layer; set aside. (I used a 2.3L dish and this worked just fine).
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add turkey (or any type of ground meat) and onion and cook, breaking meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon and stirring until meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add 1/4 cup milk and chipotle to a blender and mix until chipotle is finely chopped.  Add remaining 1&1/4 cups milk and blend.  Add egg whites, half the cheese and parsley and pulse until combined.  Pour mixture over bread in casserole dish and spoon turkey mixture evenly over the top.  Finish with an even layer of tomatoes.  Using your hands or a rubber spatula, lightly press tomatoes into egg mixture to moisten.  Sprinkle the remaining half of cheese and bake until puffed and golden brown on top, about 40 minutes.  Serve hot from the oven or at room temperature.

Enjoy!  Kristi 🙂

The final product


Smoky, Sloppy, Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Filed under: Chicken,Mains,Sandwiches — blisteringlydrunk @ 4:40 pm
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It looks like we’re all getting our recipes from the same place this week,  because I also found this recipe on Everybody Likes Sandwiches (ELS). There’s a great Southern-style barbeque and smoke house near our place called Holy Smoke. Lately, we’ve found ourselves there about once a week for a smoky pulled pork sandwich or a stack of spicy, smoky ribs. Really, I can’t get enough of it. I wanted to make something at home that would satisfy my craving for a messy, smoky, sticky, barbeque-y sandwich without the hassle of setting up a smoker in the back yard and trecking through the snow to operate it. This sandwich, slightly adapted from ELS, was everything I wanted for flavour with the bonus of using chicken thighs to change things up.

Hold onto your socks: this is a spicy one!


4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
salt & pepper
3 t cumin
1/2 – 3/4 t chipotle powder
3/4 t dried thyme
3 t olive oil

1 2/3 cups apple cider vinegar
3 t kosher salt
3 t ground white pepper
1 t dried chili flakes
1 1/2 T white sugar
3 T packed brown sugar (or just short of 1/4 cup)
1 t fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup ketchup

1/3 medium green cabbage head, shredded or finely chopped
2 medium carrots, grated
1/3 medium red onion, grated

2-4 ciabatta buns

Mix together salt & pepper through thyme, then rub well into chicken thighs. Combine vinegar through ketchup and set aside. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Sear chicken a couple minutes on each side until nicely browned. Pour 2/3 of the dressing over the chicken and pop into a 450F oven for about 40 minutes until the meat falls nicely  from the bone.

Meanwhile, toss the vegetables with the remaining dressing. When the chicken is done, remove the bones and use 2 forks to shred up the chicken and mix with the sauce. Slice the buns in half and fill with chicken, then some of the slaw. Serve the remaining coleslaw on the side.

For us, this made 3 good-sized sandwiches, but I think you could stretch it to 4 if needed or just go for 2 giant ones.


Teriyaki Chicken February 26, 2011

Filed under: Chicken,Mains — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:11 pm
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I grabbed this from Everybody Like Sandwiches – Yum!

1/3 c honey
3 T soy sauce
2 limes, juiced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger, minced
1/4 t cayenne pepper
8 skinless chicken thighs

Teriyaki Sauce

In a small bowl, mix all but the chicken.  Add thighs – either in the bowl or all in a ziplock bag and let sit for at least 20 min.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Heat up a cast iron skillet (or any oven proof skillet) and when hot, add chicken.  Grill for about 5-8 min per side.

Grilled chicken








In the meantime, add the remainder of the marinade to a small saucepan, bring to a boil for a few minutes, then reduce heat and keep simmering.

Teriyaki chicken





Place skillet and chicken in the oven and bake until chicken is cooked; about 15 minutes, brushing occasionally with marinade.  Serve chicken with reserved marinade.

Cheers!  Ren


Yam Fries with Garlic Mayo Dip

Filed under: Quick and easy,Sides — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:23 pm
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Although this is a very easy side to make, my friends always looked forward to my dinners when this was part of the menu.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Yam fries


Any size yam will do.  Chop it into bake-able sized chunks.  Throw the chunks into a large bowl and toss with an egg white, olive oil, salt, thyme and lots of sesame seeds.  Spread onto a baking sheet and cook until soft – Dipping sauceabout 30 min. depending on the size of your chunks.






Dipping sauce

Mix together about 3-4 T of mayo with 1 crushed garlic and about a t of mustard seeds.

Enjoy! Ren


No Knead Bread

Filed under: Breads,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:14 pm

I can’t make bread. My four-year-old made the dough for this. I baked it. It is amazing. It is easy. Just do it.

Also, don’t be like me and go into carb overload and eat the whole thing immediately upon removing it from the oven with some old Piave (delicious cheese) you found in the fridge. Or do, it’s up to you.

Adapted from Dinner with Julie and a ton of other places.

1 1/2 cups each, all purpose flour and whole wheat flour

1 – 2 Tbsp milled flax seed (optional)

1 tsp salt

3/8 tsp active dry yeast (or 1/4 tsp instant yeast)

1. Mix all of the above together in a large bowl (I use a whisk). Add 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp of water. Stir until everything is wet. Cover with a plate.

2. Let sit on counter (at room temp) for 18 – 24 hours. It is done when the surface is nice and bubbly, but anywhere in that six hour period should be fine, go with what is convenient.

3. Generously dust your counter with flour and dump the dough on there. Dust with more flour. Turn the dough in on itself a couple of times to make a nice looking seal on the top.

4. Generously flour a dishtowel (not terrycloth), then place dough on it seam side down. Cover the bottom of the dough with more flour then wrap the tea towel around it and let sit for another 1-2 hours.

5. Heat the oven to 450, heating a pot/dutch oven/oven-proof dish with a lid in it. Remove dish from oven, flip the dough into it, cover with lid and bake for 30 min. Remove lid and bake for another 10 min or so until browned.



Update: I found a new version of this in Spilling the Beans by Julie Van Rosendaal & Sue Duncan wherein you puree 1 cup rinsed and drained white kidney beans and then stir them into the dough with the water. It tastes the same, the texture is the same, but you greatly increase the fiber and protein content of the bread: Yay!


Raspberry/ Blackberry Breakfast Bars February 24, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Bars,Make Ahead — blisteringlydrunk @ 5:18 pm
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As the mother of two young children who can eat their way through almost any outing, I am constantly on the lookout for healthy, portable snacks. This would also apply to long hikes  through alligator infested swamps, or breakfast in the hotel when traveling clandestinely to meet with other secret agents like yourself. Or whatever. Sometimes you need something you can grab and eat on the run, that doesn’t taste like cardboard and is also healthy and filling. This is it. And my fairly picky 4-year-old loves these, which means they taste like dessert, because that’s the only thing she eats without complaint.

I have borrowed this from Everybody Likes Sandwiches and added my usual flair (at least 6 pieces), I hope you like it.

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or half all purpose and half whole wheat)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

6 Tbsp butter, cubed

1 cup plain yogurt (I used 2.5%, but I think fat free would be just fine)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup agave syrup

3 cups frozen berries (I used raspberries and blackberries, but whatever is in your freezer should work), roughly chopping half of them

2 Tbsp raspberry jam (I used this because I had it, but I wouldn’t rush out to buy some if you don’t, maybe just add an extra Tbsp of agave syrup instead)

2 Tbsp raw sugar (I used white, but raw would be way better if you’ve got it)

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a 9×13 glass pan with parchment paper, leaving enough hanging over the sides to lift out the finished product.

2. Mix the first 6 ingredients (to cinnamon) together in a large bowl. Add chopped butter and mix together with your hands until the mixture is crumbly. (Upon reading this, I snorted and grabbed my pastry cutter, which accomplished nothing because of all the oats. It really does work better with your hands. I had a flashback to my Mom teaching me to make meatloaf and forcing me to put my hands in there and squeeze the egg yolk until it broke and then mix it with all that raw hamburger. That was gross. This isn’t. Just pinch around in there till the butter busts up. No big deal. Thanks for making me overcome my fears Mom!)

3. Stir together yogurt, lemon juice, and vanilla (I did this right in my measuring cup) and then add to your crumbles. Mix with a sturdy spoon until it just comes together.

4. In a small bowl, mix together berries, cornstarch and agave syrup.

5. Press about 2/3 of the crumbles/pastry into the pan. You will have to really press and spread to get it to cover the bottom evenly, but it will work.

6. Spread the berry mixture over top and then dab the jam over top of that.

7. Crumble the remaining dough over top and then sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 50 mins, or until bubbly and slightly browned. Let cool completely before cutting. Stays good for 3 or 4 days on the counter, longer in the fridge, and much longer in the freezer.

8. Make sure you have on hand a one-booted helper around to lick out all the bowls.