Monthly Archives: September 2012

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Tofu and Chickpea Curry with Green Peas

Curries usually take a bit of time and effort to cook so I wanted to try one that didn’t take too long to make. This curry was easy to throw together and the cook time was pretty fast.  I used a basic blend of turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, fenugreek, cloves, bay leaves, and coriander for the curry seasoning.  The half teaspoon of turmeric was all it took to turn this dish into a bright yellow curry!  The flavors were as vibrant as the color and the tofu, chickpeas and green peas worked great together. The milk and cream gave it a richness that heightened the curry flavors.  The creaminess reminded me a lot of Thai coconut curries, just without the coconut flavor.  The recipe worked nicely with a side of rice which I spooned into the bowl generously!

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Turkey Burger with Caramelized Onions, Gruyere and Sage Mayo

Turkey burgers are the perfect alternative to beef burgers because they are versatile and have great flavor.  I had never tried turkey burgers before and I was surprised by how tasty they were! This recipe ended up being a celebration of the end of summer and a good way to tie two seasons together. The burgers were juicy and charred, and went perfectly with the caramelized onions and smoky gruyere. I chose sweet potato fries for a side and they were really good with the burger. The sage mayo was another great accompaniment with the turkey burger as well.  The recipe is similar to last Thanksgiving’s Roasted Butternut Squash recipe with caramelized onions and gruyere. The sandwich reminded me of a summer version of Thanksgiving dinner, and just as tasty too!

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Chipotle-Lime Roasted Chicken Tacos

Once I had my Corn Esquites Salad ready I decided to try it out in tacos. I settled on using a whole oven roasted chicken because the meat is tender and shreds easily so its perfect for tacos. I was thinking about which spices I wanted to use to season the chicken and I thought chipotle and lime would work well with the corn salad. I settled on a simple dry rub of chipotle pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, allspice and oregano. While the chicken was roasting the kitchen started to smell heavenly and I couldn’t wait to try them out! The tacos were really tasty and easy to put together. The smoky flavor of the chipotle and the tangy lime juice were a great combination.  The recipe makes 12 tacos, or enough for two people for two dinners (3 tacos each).

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Corn Esquites Salad with Avocado (Mexican Roasted Corn Salad)

When I came across the recipe for corn esquites salad I took one look at it and knew I had to give it a try. This salad is basically Mexican elote which is roasted corn on the cob seasoned with cayenne, butter, mayonnaise, and cotija cheese. The corn in this recipe is cut off the cob and pan roasted until the kernels char and caramelize. Then the corn is mixed with the elote ingredients, garlic, lime, jalapeno, and cilantro. I decided to kick it up a notch and add sliced tomatoes and avocado to the salad. It was so tasty! The combination of ingredients was sweet and spicy from the corn and jalapenos yet creamy and tangy from the lime juice and cotija cheese. It ended up being the perfect topping for tacos!

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Shish Taouk (Lebanese Chicken Skewers) with Hummus and Tabouleh

Who doesn’t love grilled chicken on a stick? A little while ago I tried the Greek version, Chicken Kalamaki, and I was sold on grilled chicken marinated with Mediterranean ingredients.  This time I wanted to explore Lebanese grilled chicken, or “Shish Taouk,” which is first marinated in a blend of yogurt, tomato paste, herbs and spices, garlic and lemon juice.  The combination sounded amazing and I figured it would go well with the Hummus and Tabouleh I had already prepared. The chicken smelled so good while it was grilling and the outside started to caramelize nicely from the tomato paste.  I used pita bread as the vehicle to serve all 3 foods (dab pita in the hummus + a scoop of tabouleh +  piece of chicken on top= heaven!)  Everything worked so well together and it was a great way to celebrate the end of summer.

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Tabouleh is a Mediterranean salad made with fresh herbs, tomatoes, lemon juice and Bulgur wheat.  It’s a traditional side dish in Lebanese cooking and it makes a perfect partner for hummus and pita.  Lebanese recipes don’t use a lot of the bulgur wheat, so I didn’t really make it in the most traditional way as I wanted a more hearty side dish.  If you want to make it more traditional, just use half of the bulgur wheat and think of it more as a garnish than as a main part of the salad.  I loved the flavor of the fresh herbs, tomatoes, garlic and lemon juice all mixed together.  It tasted great with the hummus, so I will definitely make these again sometime!

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Hummus is one of those foods that is easy to pick up at a grocery store and not really give it a second thought. That’s what I did for a long time until I decided to explore Lebanese food a little more.  Years ago, my family would get take-out from a local Lebanese deli and since then I have loved that food.  Since I had been craving Lebanese food I decided to make my own version of the deli’s menu.

Hummus is so simple; I couldn’t believe I had never made it before!  All you need is a blender or food processor, 2 cans of chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon juice.  Tahini is just a paste of ground sesame seeds and can be found at asian stores or whole foods.  Now that I have made hummus it would be tough to go back to store-bought!

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Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Curry Lemongrass Tofu

Ever since I made a version of a Vietnamese Noodle Salad I have been taken with this dish and all its variations. This time I decided to try it with sauteed tofu in a curry lemongrass sauce.  The sauce was sweet and spicy and tasted great mixed into the rice noodles.  My favorite part about Vietnamese food is all the tasty condiments that go along with the dishes.  I chose sliced carrots, persian cucumbers and bean sprouts for the veggie garnishes and mint leaves, basil, green onion, and cilantro for the herb garnishes.  All of these condiments came together really well.  The last garnishes included a tablespoon of spicy Sambal Oelek I made the night before and a few tablespoons of crushed and toasted peanuts–two delicious final touches!

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