Farm Fresh: Tomatillo Curry

Tomatillo Curry

What in the world is a tomatillo? That’s the question I found myself trying to answer this week. Although I’d seen them a few times in the grocery store, I was never interested enough to try one. Then, I found myself saddled with three pounds of them! Roommate has been out of town for nearly three weeks now, so I have double the produce to use up.

At the beginning of the summer, I spent a lot of time looking up canning recipes that I’d like to try this year. One of the recipes I came across was for Curried Green Tomato Sauce from Ann Gardon’s book “Preserving for All Seasons.” After a bit of research, I discovered that tomatillos have a flavor quite similar to that of unripe tomatoes with a decidedly citrus-y twist. It seemed like it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to substitute tomatillos for the green tomatoes. With a few minor tweaks, I was quite pleased with the outcome.

Ingredients
1/4 Cup butter (or olive oil for a dairy free/vegan option)
2 Onions, diced
3 lbs Tomatillos, washed and cubed (do not peel or remove seeds)
4 Tbsp Curry powder
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Brown sugar
1/2 Cup Golden raisins
3-4 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 tsp Salt (or to taste)

Melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onions until soft. Stir in the curry powder and cook 3 minutes more. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This recipe makes 4 pints (8 servings). It can be canned or frozen for later use.

To can this, ladle the sauce into pint canning jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes or in a pressure canner for 10 minutes.

Serve over rice as a vegetarian meal or as a side with grilled chicken or fish.

Farm Fresh: Curried Squash Griddle Cakes

Curried Squash Griddle Cakes

Apparently it’s a great year for squash in Maine. Every week we get more squash in the CSA bag. While I’m thrilled to find zucchini and summer squash in the bag, we’re all getting rather tired of parmesan roasted squash and sauteed squash. After a brief Google search for creative ways to use squash, I decided on griddle cakes. I’ve been cooking with chickpeas a lot lately, so curry’s been on my mind. Curried squash sounded like an excellent idea!

Ingredients
1/2 tsp Curry
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Ground coriander
1/4 tsp Ground ginger
1/8 tsp Ground cardamom
1/8 tsp Ground cinnamon
2 yellow squash, shredded
1 egg, lightly whisked
3 Tbsp oat flour
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp oil

Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Set spice mixture aside.

To prepare squash for fritter mixture you must squeeze all of the water out first. Place a handful of shredded squash in the center of a clean dish towel. Pull the sides of the towel up and twist to squeeze water out of the shredded squash. Repeat a couple of times per handful. Place squash into a large mixing bowl.

Add eggs, flour, salt, and spice mix to shredded squash. Using a fork, gently stir until the mixture is combined.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to the pan. Using a fork, place about a heaping tablespoon worth of squash mixture into the skillet. Carefully spread out the squash mixture to form a small thin pancake shape. Cook griddle cakes for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Recipe makes 6 to 8.

Curried Chicken with Apples and Raisins

Curried Chicken with Apples and Raisins

I absolutely love to eat curry. I don’t love the amount of time that it takes to make. Some recipes take up to 2 hours including the prep, marinade time, and cooking. I have to admit that it’s well worth the effort, but sometimes I don’t have a lot of time to cook and I want something delicious that comes together quickly.

I’ve been collecting curry recipes on Pinterest, and I look through them occasionally to see what I’d like to make. In a recent search for something I could cook with the limited ingredients I had hanging around the house, I found this one. I have never seen a curry recipe with apples before, so the idea intrigued me.

Although I finally got around to grocery shopping today, I decided to stick with my dinner plans and make this with some Jasmine rice. Boyfriend gave this recipe 3 forks because the chicken was a bit dry and not as flavorful as it could have been. Next time, I think I’ll just barely brown the chicken instead of trying to thoroughly brown it on all sides before simmering.

Sauteing onion, apple, raisins, garlic, and ginger

Sauteing onion, apple, raisins, garlic, and ginger

Curried chicken with  apples, raisins, onion, and spices simmering in coconut milk and chicken broth

Curried chicken with apples, raisins, onion, and spices simmering in coconut milk and chicken broth

Curried Chicken with Apples and Raisins

Curried Chicken with Apples and Raisins

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 apple, peeled and cored, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1/2 Cup chicken broth
1/4 Cup light coconut milk
1/2 Cup of frozen pea
plain yogurt
naan/rice (optional for serving)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, apple, raisins, and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in curry powder and cinnamon (optional). Push the apple mixture to one side of the pan, add more oil if needed, then brown the chicken on all sides (chicken will not be fully cooked).

Stir chicken and other ingredients together then add broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, add peas, then cover and cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Top with yogurt and serve with rice or naan.

Adapted from the Mommy games.

Butter Chicken

Tuesdays are quickly turning into ‘India Night’ at my house. Boyfriend and I both have ridiculously busy schedules and this is the one night each week that we actually get to spend together. I usually try to put together a meal that’s just a little bit nicer than usual, and Indian food usually fits the bill. Besides, we both absolutely love it.

Today, he got called into work so we would be starting our evening together a bit later than usual. I was looking for a recipe that would taste great, but wouldn’t take up too much time. A lot of Indian recipes have quite a few steps and can take a while to prepare the first time until you figure out the best sequence. However, this one looked relatively easy, didn’t have too many ingredients, and sounded wonderful.

Butter Chicken over Jasmine Rice

Butter Chicken is an entry point for many people into Indian cuisine, but after over a year of eating (and LOVING) Indian food, I had yet to try it. I don’t know how authentic this version is, but it tasted wonderful regardless. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Thanks to Mique at Thirty Handmade Days for the inspiration.

(Since I so often refer to Boyfriend’s opinion of my dishes in this blog, he requested his own rating system. From now on, you will see the boyfriend rating on most recipes. He scores from 1 to 5 forks, with one being the worst and 5 being the best.)

BOYFRIEND RATING: 4 forks

Ingredients:
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chili powder (optional)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 C chicken broth
1/2 C half and half
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 C butter
lime wedges
cilantro, chopped

In a large pan saute the onion, ginger and jalapeno pepper in oil. Stir until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, garam masala, and chili powder (if desired). Saute for 2-3 minutes more.

Flavorful Sautee

Put the mixture into a blender. Add in the tomato paste and chicken broth, and blend until smooth.

Blending the Sauce

Pour the mixture back into the pan and add the cream. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

In another pan heat 1 Tbsp butter over high heat and add in chicken that has been salted and peppered. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Add in the sauce and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes more. Add in 3 Tbsp butter and stir until melted.

Melting Butter

Serve over rice. Squeeze lime juice over the mixture and garnish with chopped cilantro.

NOTES: I hate cilantro, so I left it off.

Chicken Tikka Masala with Roasted Cauliflower

Growing up, I had a little bit of exposure to ethnic cuisine, but not much. We ate Chinese food pretty regularly, and I remember going to a Japanese restaurant once. Most of my exposure has come as an adult, and it usually takes me a while to get up the courage to try something new.

Last April, after I finished writing my college Honors’ thesis, my Advisor invited all of her students out to dinner at a local Indian restaurant. It was some of the best food I had ever eaten. Since then, Boyfriend has become the Indian cuisine specialist in our household. He doesn’t cook often, but when he does…WOW!

Out of an absurd need to prove myself, I knew I had to make this recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala as soon as I saw it on Pinterest. Boyfriend not only ate it, he asked for seconds and thirds, so I think I did pretty well.

CTM Ingredients

Ingredients:
Marinade and Chicken:
2 cups plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ginger juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 pounds chicken, breasts and thighs, diced small

In a bowl, blend the yogurt, lemon juice, cayenne, cumin, gingers, cinnamon, salt as needed and pepper. Once well mixed, add the chicken and allow the meat to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Do not over marinate.

CTM Marinade

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the cauliflower and sauce.

Ingredients:
Cauliflower
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp Garam Masala, or other Indian spice blend such as tandoori spice, or a curry spice blend
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
1 head cauliflower, rinsed, cored, cut into 2-inch pieces (or 1 bag frozen cauliflower, thawed)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the oil and spices, and whisk until blended. Toss in the cauliflower and use a spatula to coat completely with the butter/spice mixture. Distribute evenly on a lined baking sheet, and roast for 35-45 minutes, or until the stems are tender, and the edges are browned. If using frozen cauliflower, roast for 30-35 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Ingredients:
Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons jalapeno or Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups tomato puree
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
Chopped green onions and cilantro, for garnish
Special equipment: fourteen to sixteen 6-inch skewers

Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with cumin, salt and paprika. Stir in the tomato puree, heavy cream and sour cream. Simmer on low heat until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

CTM Sauce

While the sauce is simmering, prepare a grill to medium-high heat. If, like me, you decide to make a recipe that calls for a grill during a snow storm in Maine, heat a grill pan on the stove-top to medium-high instead.

Thread the chicken on the skewers. Grill the chicken on the first side for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and repeat cooking on the second side. Once cooked on the second side, brush both sides with the prepared sauce. Allow the sauce to warm and then serve, garnishing with greens of choice.

NOTES: I served mine over jasmine rice. I also left off the greens because I absolutely hate the taste of cilantro.

ChickenTikkaMasala

Recipes courtesy of Robert Irvine and John Mitzewich.