Archive for April, 2011

April 29, 2011

Lamb Korma + Saag Paneer

A very thoughtful friend from school gave me some Pakistani spice mixes for my birthday last year. I’ve been saving them for over six months now, but today, being the last day of finals for the most academically challenging semester of my life, I decided to celebrate with:

You would think after 10+ finals I would take it easy and just follow the damn recipe on the box. But no. I not only did my usual extensive recipe research, I even made my own ghee.

Yea. You heard me. I bought a box of organic unsalted butter and boiled it down to homemade ghee. Friggin’ amazing stuff, this ghee. And what’s equally amazing as GHEE itself? This step by step illustrated how-to: Homemade Indian Ghee. I only used 3 sticks of butter to make mine and 5 minutes in, I started panicking ’cause my butter was already well into step 4.

Lamb Korma: 

  • ~2.5lb lamb stew meat (preferably shoulder cut)
  • 2.5 cups onions, diced
  • ~1 tsp ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 box Shan Korma Curry spice mix
  • 1 large russet potato, diced
  • 1.5 cups greek yogurt
  • ~0.5 cup chicken stock
  1. Ahead of time: marinate lamb stew chunks in some of the spices (the box lists papain as one of the ingredients, which is a protein tenderizer. so why not), and coat evenly with a few dollops of yogurt (yogurt apparently tenderizes meat as well). set aside.
  2. heat a spoonful of ghee in a 5qt dutch oven.
  3. saute onions until caramelized. You want them brown, wilted, and ugly. Not barely golden and pretty. remove from pot and set aside.
  4. add a bit more ghee and on high heat, brown meat evenly on all sides.
  5. add the rest of the spices, some chicken stock, and the onions. liquid should NOT fully cover the  meat. Bring to a low boil, reduce to a simmer, then cover and braise on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. add potatoes. continue simmering, 2 hours.
  7. add the rest of the yogurt (if consistency still too thin, incorporate in some corn starch.), mix until heated through, and put in fridge. reheat before serving the next day.
Saag Paneer
  • 1.5 lb frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 onion, minced and caramelized like above
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds (i didn’t have lemon. this gives a nice lemony kick)
  • 1/2 lb paneer, cubed.
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

*1/2lb ~ 280 g package. i’m buying my paneer at an indian supermarket in the future. $10 for a 1/2lb package at Whole Foods is ridiculous!

  1. In a 3.5qt dutch oven, heat a spoonful of ghee and fry paneer until slightly browned on all sides. remove and set aside.
  2. caramelize onions in ghee until brown and ugly like above.  add minced garlic. continue sauteing until fragrant.
  3. add thawed spinach and continue cooking until warmed through.
  4. add milk, tomato paste, and spices.
  5. In a large food processor/blender or with a handheld blender, process until almost creamy. reserve some spinach un-processed if you want a chunkier consistency.
  6. cover and simmer 1 hr.
  7. mix in greek yogurt and fried paneer. cover and simmer ~15 min or until heated through.
  8. tastes better reheated the next day.

Serve with Naan or basmati!

April 26, 2011

Egg Salad + How to Properly Hard Boil an Egg

This has nothing to do with Easter. I know there’s a plethora of egg recipes out there right now, but I really just happened to have half a dozen eggs sitting in my fridge for two weeks now, and what better use of old eggs than egg salad?

First, some hard boiling technique:

  1. In a large pot of cold water, fully submerge eggs. There should be at least 1 inch of water over them, and the eggs should NOT be crowded.
  2. On medium high heat, heat water until it just simmers. Small bubbles. You dont want a rolling boil.
  3. Cover the pot and leave it on the stove, heat OFF, for about 10-15 min.
  4. Remove eggs and submerge in ice water ~ 5 min.
  5. Tap and peel.

That’s it! Never ‘eff up another hard boil egg again. No more grey yolks, no more rubbery whites, no more uneven cooking or sulfur fumes in your kitchen. No more excuses.

Now on to my egg salad. Which, by the way, I have never made before. But I have eaten plenty! The use of olives in this recipe was inspired by Murphy’s Deli. That’s right. You heard me. I am not ashamed to draw inspiration from a sandwich chain. It’s the only source of palatable sustenance on campus.

  • 1 tsp dijon
  • 2 tsb mayo
  • 6 eggs
  • ~1/4 cup shallots, minced
  • ~1/4 cup olives, minced
  • paprika
  • dill

No salt needed. Olives take care of that. But if you’re in a hurry towards hypertension, bring it on.

Just a note: I like shallots because they’re less sharp than onions. And a tad sweet. “Cause remember, you’re adding them in raw. Feel free to substitute with red onions if you like.

Serve over greens or in a sandwich. With shredded lettuce and fresh sliced cucumbers. Mmm…cucumbers.

Yay for summer!

Now back to my studies.
April 24, 2011

Conchiglie w/ Mushrooms and Peas in a Parmesan Cream Sauce

It’s finals time. And what does that mean?

A) embarrassingly high levels of frozen goods consumption
B) similarly high levels of pb sandwich consumption
C) haphazard, recipe-less concoctions in my kitchen. aka procrastination.
D) all of the above.

come on. you saw that coming. (damn you for making me doubt LIFE, all of the above!)

anyway. i dont have a recipe. but this turned out pretty good. or as angeline said as she smacked her lips over my pot of sauce “mmmMM.. like RESTAURANT pasta!”

smart kid. this is why i continue to feed her.

Pasta+ Sauce: 

  • pasta, Conchiglie or the like
  • half and half
  • parmesan, grated
  • corn starch
  • shallots, minced
  • fresh mushrooms, diced
  • frozen peas
  • bacon, diced (freeze the rest. it’s ok.)
  • roasted garlic (optional. baked in toaster oven on 400F until soft and fragrant)
  1. Cook bacon. remove into small bowl and set aside.
  2. In remaining bacon fat, saute shallots until just soft. ~3 min.
  3. add mushrooms and cook until soft. ~5 min.
  4. add a dash of chicken stock if pan getting too dry. deglaze while you’re at it.
  5. add butter then flour to make a roux, or be lazy like me and in a separate small bowl, add corn starch into a bit of cold half&half, dissolve, then add to mushroom mixture. (steph “borrowed” my butter. had to work with what i had.)
  6. return bacon into mixture.  add peas and mashed up roasted garlic if you made some.
  7. continue adding half&half or corn starch until you reach a chunky stew-like consistency. (remember you’ll be adding pasta in later, so you want enough liquid to coat pasta, but you want it thick and not runny so it’ll stick.)
  8. simmer until thickens. (there is always a delay with corn starch..)
  9. mix in grated parmesan.
  10. serve over pasta.

Baked Salmon:
  • lemon juice
  • pepper
  • dill
  • dijon mustard
  • garlic salt
Squeeze fresh lemon juice over fish. Thinly coat in dijon.  Sprinkle a bit of garlic salt, pepper (or lemon pepper if you like the extra acidity), and lots of dill. Place in aluminum foil lined pan and pour a dash of chicken broth into the pan. Just enough to cover bottom of pan. Bake @ 375F ~ 10min.
April 11, 2011

Sautéed Apples and Pork Chops


  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 3 small apples, or one large
  • 1 large onion (uncooked volume will be >apples)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, whole
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • brown sugar
  • white wine vinegar
  • ~1/2 cup chicken stock


  • ~2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • few pinches of cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 cloves, whole
  • few pinches of fennel
  • salt


  1. combine dry ingredients of marinade and pulse in blender.
  2. pound chops to tenderize, coat in dry rub and marinate in vinegar ~ several hours
  3. preheat oven 420F
  4. in medium dutch oven, heat 1-2 tbs oil. pan sear chops ~ 2 min a side until golden brown. remove and set aside.
  5. in remaining oil, saute onions and apples  5 – 10 min until soft. adding mustard, rest of the whole fennel seeds, sugar, and salt to taste.
  6. replace chops on top of apple mixture.
  7. bake 420F 15 min, uncovered.
  8. remove chops and tent in aluminum foil. set aside.
  9. pour more chicken stock if apples are too dry. add a few dashes of white wine vinegar and reduce until sauce is thick.
  10. plate chops and spoon over apple mixture. serve w/ greens!

April 8, 2011

Warm Spinach and Lentil Salad

Inspired by a little French bistro I went to last March in Manhattan. Been craving Le Puys ever since! And since I’ve yet to find a (authentic) little French bistro in Houston that serves lentil salad, I’ll just have to make my own. Adjustments I would try in the future: add bacon. Mmm..bacon. Stopped at the bacon isle today but resisted. I’ve got a wedding to go to in a few weeks. Must fit into bridesmaid dress…Anyway, I think a nice smokey bacon flavor would compliment this well. Without it, it’s just kind of tangy. Which is fine. But you know, bacon makes everything better, no?
Lentils: (makes a big bowl. 4-5 cups)
  • 1.5 cups green lentils (le Puy)
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 0.5 – 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp parsley


  • < 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • << 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ~1/4-1/2 cup liquid from lentils


  1. rinse lentils.
  2. put lentils, bay leaf, and crushed garlic in a ~3 qt pot and cover with water (submerge by at least 1-2 inches).
  3. bring to a simmer and cover for 30 min or until lentils are just soft.
  4. remove bay leaf and drain lentils when done, reserving the water. set aside.
  5. in pot, melt a pat of butter, or a little bit of olive oil, and saute shallots until soft. (i added an extra minced garlic. just ’cause i like garlic.)
  6. add spinach and saute until just wilted. remove from heat and mix in lentils. toss and combine.
  7. mix ingredients for dressing until emulsified. pour over lentils.
  8. serve warm (i served it as a side to a pan seared steelhead trout.)

yea. see that hole in the center? i almost took a bite before i realized, again, that i’d forgotten to take a picture. man. i’ve gotta stop doing that. note to self: stop waiting until you’re hungry to start cooking.

April 4, 2011

Spinach and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

i dont really have a recipe for this..kinda made it up as i went. you can also use left overs from the spicy sweet potato hash as filling. also, i used Old El Paso brand enchilada sauce. being the indecisive person that i am, i had to try more than one flavor. got a small can of green chili flavor and a regular mild. the verdict? i prefer the mild. more kick! the green sauce didn’t really have any particular taste…


  • 4 sweet potatoes, diced finely
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, minced (i used roasted poblanos i keep in my freezer.)
  • mexene chili powder
  • spinach
  • ~1/2 cup milk
  • cumin
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • shredded mexican cheese blend
  • 2 stalks of green onion, minced
  • ~ 11 extra thin yellow corn tortillas


  1. heat oven to 375F
  2. shake and bake sweet potatoes: in a ziplock or a plastic container, add potatoes, drizzle of olive oil, chili powder and cumin, and a pinch of salt. shake. bake for 30-40 min or until soft.
  3. in a deep pan or pot, saute onions and bell pepper. salt to taste. add more chili powder/cumin/cayenne pepper/etc. remove from pot and set aside.
  4. heat pot to medium low heat. add potatoes and salsa to pot and mash, adding milk to smooth out the consistency.
  5. reintroduce onion/bell pepper mixture. stir and mix well.
  6. turn off heat and stir in baby spinach. (doesnt really need to cook.  just wilted enough to mix in)
  7. lightly grease bottom of a deep baking pan. in each tortilla, spoon in sweet potato mixture, roll, and place crease down in pan. repeat with remaining tortillas and mixture.
  8. top with enchilada sauce, then lots of cheese.
  9. bake 20 min or until cheese melts and bubbles.
  10. top with green onions and serve!

unfortunately, i dont have a picture post-baking. i, uh, ate it before i realized i had forgotten to snap a few photos. next time. the rest are sitting in my freezer now anyway. though i haven’t quite figured out how i’m going to reheat frozen enchiladas. cant be too hard, right?