It has been awhile since my last post but I was inspired by another blog to put myself out there in the blog-o-sphere.  Homemade Cranberry sauce is so good conpared to a canned version.  I didn’t eat cranberry sauce till I found this recipie because I wasn’t a fan of the canned stuff.  Four years ago I had my first Thanksgiving  dinner at my place, so I felt obliged to make some.  I stumbled upon this cranberry sauce, since I  was searching cranberry sauce and pineapple.  Because Pineapple is AWEsome!   It turns out using homemade cranberry sauce with anything on Thanksgiving plate is really good.  I find it a healthiar alternative to gravy.

Sometimes it takes a little imagination to take something that isnt your favorite like cranberry sauce and put a twist with something you do love such as pineapple.  Combine them and Wah-Lah out comes something magical.  Dont let something like the taste of canned cranberries sauce taste define your oppinion of all cranberry sauce.  My mind was so closed off, I couldnt even look beyond what canned cranberry sauce taste like.  Explore your food options and find out what you love.  If its the cannned stuff great!  If you haven’t found yours yet, it is out there.

Getting into this easy to make recipie  Here is a pic of my prep with all of 3 ingredients: cranberries, sugar, pineapple.

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After making a pineapple syrup and adding diced craberries to a heated sauce pan and later adding pured pineapple.  Here is the finished product.

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This dish has a mild tartness to its taste.  Cranberries are really tart but is offset by the acid/sugary bite of the pineapple. This dish is good on all the tradional items at Thanksgiving from turkey, ham, rolls, stuffing, veggies, and many more.

Result was almost everybody turned a new leaf to cranberry sauce.

Here is the link to recipie I used.

Cranberry-Pineapple Sauce

Reminder: Im not a professional and you may want to try this at home 😎

Happy Thanksgiving.

Live Life
As I usually write about food adventures with recipies.  This post a little different as it follows up on my Cranberry sauce recipie post and an experience I had with it.

Tis the season with all the crazy family gatherings.  There I stood at a family inlaws Christmas/Thanksgiving holiday party filling my stirafoam plate with all the usual Thanksgiving dishes.  So far my plate was filled with mac n’ cheese, roll, ham.  I’m picky with my food (most call me a food snob) that isnt homemade.  Also, I try to avoid food that is canned, boxed, or I’m allergic to.   So I dont usually load much on my plate for those reasons.   As I was still going through the line with my plate 1/2 full, there sat a bowl of homemade cranberry sauce with an eye poping sliced cranberries in the dish.   I stood there perplexed with thought, “should I take cranberry sauce?”  It didn’t look appetizing but it did have the appeal of being made from scratch.   My hesitations came from that I’m not a fan of cranberry sauce.   But, I recently wrote a blog post turning a new leaf to making cranberry sauce.  My head starts churning, and I said to myself “I need to give this a try because I’m turning a new leaf to trying cranberry sauce.” So I threw a scoop on to my plate.  I moved to the next table of food and finished my plate with turkey.  Moments later sitting in a garage on a folding chair as I’m eating the cranberry sauce I thought it tasted good.  Seconds later I noticed there was something allergic to in the cranberry sauce.  And then came on the panic.  It felt like being trapped in a closet  full of spiders and they are crawling all over me with having a spider fear.  With these alergic episodes I dont know how serious the reaction would be but being in the booneys made it a little more frightening.

THEN it hit me
How could the next cranberry sauce I tried after recenly writing about trying new cranberry sauce recipies make me sick?  This was upsetting to me.   Being a math person, the chances seemed unlikely the very next time it would have something I’m allergic to and not realize and eat it.  Im really carefull trying to avoid stuff im allergic too.  If the cranberry sauce didnt have something I was alergic too it would have been a great day.
As I lived to tell the story, I realize that exploring life can be messy.  Sometimes trying something new can be awesome like finding the perfect cranberry sauce that taste amazing and realize life is full of new and exciting things.  Other times it may end up with bad results like eating something your alergic that can lead to panic and fear.   Living life starts when we start pushing past our comfort zone and stop living in fear.  Life is an open cavanas that is being painted daily.  Its just a matter if you paint with the same color every day or explore all the colors and painting options.
Reminder, i’m not a professional and you may want not to try this at home 😎

At end of the day, I have never tried Aloo and Palak before.  I still decided to try cooking this dish which sounds really good.  It’s usually easier to have a basis of what it supposed to taste, smell, and look like.  So be fearless in the kitchen and explore by trying dishes you have never had, selecting different cuisines, and use new spices.  This will enhance your cooking skills and expand your taste buds.  With this experience of cooking Aloo and Palak it reminds me to gather multiple recipes to make sure I understand the necessary steps to cook the dish and figure out the ingredients that can vary and which ones are main stays.

Aloo and Palak – Indian Cuisine adventure

Here are the results of the Aloo and Palak.  It tasted great but it looks completely different than the example picture from the link below.

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Recipe: http://www.supersana.com/2012/05/01/trader-joe-loves-and-aloo-palak-recipe/

Aloo and Palak translates to potatoes and spinach.  I have found most Indian dishes describe the main ingredients in the dish such as this one.  Overall the taste had a sweeter tomato flavor with its caramelized tomato paste and onions, tender crisp potatoes, and spinach which added an earthy flavor offsetting some of the sweet.   Since you’re already thinking this I’ll say it.. why is brown rice and green beans being served with an Indian dish?  Well, I know it’s not traditional but you work with what you got in the fridge to complete a meal.

So if you compare my pic to the pic from the link; mine is red and theirs is green with white potatoes.  Now that is a head scratch-er.  Too bad when I was cooking I forgot what it was supposed to look like.  Where did the follies start?  So, when I added tomato paste to the potatoes and sautéed onions for the step of cooking the potatoes; the tomato paste seemed like it was starting to burn.  Yikes, what to do next?  Dah da da Daah…I kept on adding water which diluted the tomato paste and made everything red and slightly saucy.   A friend who is an Indian cook said she traditionally pre-cooks the potatoes in a microwave to soften them up to reduce the cooking time.   Good to know for next time.  Once everything was cooked I wanted to add a little more taste by adding a little bit of garam masala which turned out tasting good.  Looking back know it’s traditional to add cumin and coriander which is why I probably wanted to add some seasoning.  Point for me for trusting my instincts.   I have recently noticed that other recipes do not add tomato paste at all to this dish.  But, I can see how adding the paste will substitute flavor if you don’t add as many seasonings such as cumin or coriander.  None the less, this dish transformed into something tasty.   Go ahead and try the way I cooked it or peruse all the different variations out there.  Remember don’t worry about making a dish look the same but roll with the punches and develop a new tasty dish!

Side adventure!

Ginger-Garlic paste is an easy condiment to make and stores well in the fridge.  Why buy it when you can make it yourself (adapted from Show me the curry)?

Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 C garlic
1 C ginger
1 t salt
1/3 C olive oil
Or Equal parts garlic and ginger, pinch a salt, and enough oil till it emulsifies (When oil and particles combine in a smooth uniform mixture such as a paste).

Instructions:

In food processor chop garlic, ginger, and salt.  Then slowly add olive oil by pouring it in slowly.   Once it emulsifies it is done.

Please note this paste adds some kick.  Good stuff!!  Trying it has the bite similar t0 horseradish sauce.   Since making this I have used it in place when recipes called for garlic such as Spinach artichoke dip.  So it’s very transitional item.  If you’re not a fan of ginger, remember ginger can be off-putting when there is too much of it because it will over power all of the other flavors.  So make sure to add it at the right amounts to ensure to have a great tasting dish.

Note: I’m not a professional, don’t take any of my advice,  and don’t try this at home.

I’m on a culinary journey of trying out different cuisines with the month of July exploring Indian recipes.  What is great about Indian recipes there are many websites that have tons of great recipes and have videos showing how to make them.  To get started, I recalled some dishes I have tried and wanted to try from all of the visits to the local Indian restaurants.  With a little research on the internet, I finally have list of recipes that I want to make and noticed most of the recipes have a long ingredient list.  This very fact was very intimidating but then again I have made other dishes like Chicken Tika Masla and they have all turned out well.   So, come along my culinary journey to learn more about different cuisines, cooking follies, and fun.

Great sites for recipes:

http://www.vahrehvah.com/

http://showmethecurry.com/

http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/

2nd dish – Indian Cusine: Chicken Biryani

I’ll start out by showing out the finished Chicken Biryani.

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Here the meal is served!  The dish tasted great!  It wasn’t perfect but for the first try it exceeded expectations.

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This dish tasted amazing.  I have never had it before but will definitely make this again.  The aroma for this dish was amazing too; although it did linger to the next day.  Good thing we had leftovers.

To recap how it’s cooked; throw chicken, marinade, spices and some (I accidentally put all of the fried onions…opps) of the fried onion into a large bowl and let sit covered a few hours in the fridge.   Get the basmati rice soaking and then get it partially cooked.  Then comes a mysterious step of “Dum” cooking everything.  Hugh, what did I say….  well, “Dum” cooking is using a heavy bottom pan to cook the chicken and let the aromatic flavor help cook the rice.  It’s key to keep the top of this pan covered to allow the great aromatics in the pan flavor the rice.  I used a kitchen towel but things like dough can be used as well.  I do hope the aromatics come out of the towel I used after laundry is done.

Overall, the dish was a little challenging not knowing about “Dum” cooking but it’s such a great tasting dish.  Dum cooking is a lot like baking where you throw everything together and hope for the best.  My chicken did turn out a little over cooked.  I dum cooked it 40 minutes and probably had the heat too high as well.  So, with all of the follies, I will know what to do next time 🙂  Also, I’ll use more whole spices since I used mainly powder spices.   I didn’t know the conversion so I gosh and by gollied the amounts.   Whole spices can be tempered which enhance the flavor too.   What is “Tempered”?  It is taking whole spices and heating them up in a frying pan.  So, if you don’t use whole spice, find a recipe that uses powder spices to get an accurate quantity.  At the Indian grocery you can buy a lot of spices for very little money comparatively to most groceries.  I omitted Saffron because it is so expensive and haven’t found a good alternative.  Most say there isn’t one.  It’s the most expensive spice by ounce in the world.  Well, now that you have vicariously experienced how to cook chicken biryani, try it out it’s an amazing dish.

 

Note: I’m not a professional, don’t take any of my advice,  and don’t try this at home.

Chicken Pot Pie Sandwich

Amazing chicken pot pie taste and yummy biscuit flavor!

This dish is an easy dish to make and taste incredibly good. I stumbled upon the recipe by watching the Sandwich King. I haven’t been a fan of many of their recipes but I was sold as soon as I saw the awesome sandwich being made.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/jeff-mauro/chicken-pot-pie-sandwich-recipe/index.html