Recent Kitchen Wonders

My life feels a little bit more complete whenever I stumble upon a new recipe that is absolutely delicious - as in, "where have you been my entire life?" type of recipes. Right there, that is why I love cooking.

Because of my love for fresh, in-season, local food, all my favorite recipes tend to be summer oriented. It seems easier to find a gem a of new recipe when so much food is pouring out of the garden. Winter is the bleak time, even in the kitchen. It's then that I find myself saving less of my first-try recipes. 

For years now, I've been typing up my favorite recipes, printing them off, and combing them into my own cookbook. With the internet and all of it's conveniences, I have not been doing that very much recently, especially now that I have pinterest (no, auto-correct, I do not mean interest). I usually have a hard time remembering where I found all my favorite, new recipes. Now, I can conveniently pin them. (The problem with pinterest though is that I think it is bad for my self-esteem. So forget that). However, I really like having hardcopies of my recipes, safely tucked away in plastic sleeves, waiting to aid my kitchen adventures. (Someday, I fear I am going to spill something terrible on my computer while I am cooking. 

I am telling you all this to emphasis that I don't print off recipes unless they are really, really good. You have to be drop-dead fabulous in order to make the book. If you are average, you (as in a recipe) will probably just rot away on pinterest. 

And, my friends, I recently found not one, but three, recipes that meet the qualifications to make the book. 

Curried Chicken: 
Thanks to South Africa and Nicole Chetty, I love Indian food. I am a wimp when it comes to spicy stuff, but I still love it. So much that I don't understand why no one else around me wants to eat Indian food every single day.  I found this recipe for a slow-cooker curried chicken recipe (on pinterest), and though it sounded easy enough to try. However, I have a problem with slow-cooker recipes. I know they are supposed to convenient, but I always seem to make them the opposite of that. Seriously, I never want to make the time to do the prep the night/morning before, I never seem to be gone the exact cooking hours, and I tend to reduce the amount of called for meat in all my recipes, (thus I was terrified that what meat I did use was going to be super dried out). So I took this recipe, made it a stove-top recipe and through in my own flavor (which, in this case, translates to adding "tomatoes").

Curried Chicken with Ginger and Yogurt (Anna's version)

Boneless, skinless chicken, cut into small pieces. (I only used enough chicken for the amount of people I was feeding: my sister and well as enough for our lunch the next day. So I used 3 pieces). 
In a little bit of oil, brown chicken pieces until no longer pink. Take chicken out of pan and set aside.

1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic gloves, minced
2 T curried powder
1 t ground cumin
 In same pan, saute in a little bit of olive oil. Add garlic and spices when onion is almost ready. 

1 T grated fresh ginger
1/3 c tomato paste
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes
dash of salt and pepper
Add to the pan with the cooked chicken.

1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
Stir in when almost ready to serve and heat through.

Serve over brown rice

Original recipe from Real Simple

I felt very ambitious the day I made the curried chicken for supper. (It must've been a Tuesday - a non Mojo's day - so I had extra kitchen energy), so I decided to try out this recipe for Naan in the cookbook, Simply in Season. After all, what is Indian food if you don't have awesome bread with which to scoop it up?  This bread is so good that when I took it to work the next day for lunch, I found myself thinking about it all morning long. Even leftover, it lived up to my expectations.

oh. my. goodness. 

This is maybe the most delicious thing I have made in a long while. It will change your life. 

1/4 c water
1 T active dry yeast
1 T sugar
mix in a bowl until dissolved 
1 c lukewarm water
1/4 c plain yogurt (I used Greek)
1 egg, beaten
2 T oil
1 t salt
Mix in a separate bowl. Stir in yeast mixture.  
5+c flour (up to half whole wheat, if desired) 
Stir in enough flour to make soft dough. Knead 5-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover with damp cloth and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Sparate dough into golf-ball sized balls. Roll each to a 1/16-inch thickness.  
Preheat frypan on stove to med-high heat. Add 1/2 t butter and allow to melt. Place 1 round of dough at a time in frypan. Cook on each side until lightly browned and puffy (approx 2-3 minutes per side). Wrap in a towel to keep warm while cooking the rest.

Next up, Chai spice mix. (Hmm, I didn't really until just now that all my recipes are "Indian inspired" cuisine. Awesome). 

Before Christmas, a group of friends and I went to a "Farmer's Market" in Mound Ridge. As it turned out, this "Farmer's Market" was a bake sale. (No root crops. bummer). They did, however, offer this homemade chai powder mix. I took it home and tried it in my coffee the next week to take to the office. I never look morning coffee the same way anymore. I made some coffee via the stove top espresso maker, heat up some milk (preferably Almond, if I have it on hand), and stir in 3 heaping spoonfuls. It is delicious and the best start to any chilly morning. After I ran out, I was pretty devastated. But I did remember seeing a Chai mix in the holiday edition of my Taste of Home magazine. This week, I finally tried it. It lives up to everything I ever hoped it to be. 

This is now how I start my week off right.

Chai Mix

2 c sugar
2 c unsweetened instant tea
1 1/2 c powdered French vanilla nondairy creamer
1 1/4 c powdered nondairy creamer
1 1/4 c packed brown sugar
3/4 c nonfat dry milk powder
2 1/2 t cinnamon
1 1/2 t nutmeg
1 1/4 t ground cardamom
1 1/4 t ground cloves
1 t ground allspice
 1/4 t white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. In a blender, cover and process tea mix in batches until powdery. Store in an airttight container in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

To prepare chai: Place 1/4 c mix in mug and add hot milk. Stir. Or to make a dirty chai, combine 3 T with 1/2 c strong coffee with 1/2 c hot milk.