Indian Butter Chicken

This might sound strange, but I’ve been craving butter chicken ever since my trip to Dublin, Ireland. My family and I went to an Indian restaurant there with probably the best Indian food I’ve ever tasted.

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Indian Butter Chicken
Adapted from Cooking and Me
Ingredients
1 chicken breast, cubed and cooked
1/2 onion, minced
1 tomato, pureed
1 tbsp of tomato paste or sauce
1 tbsp of butter
Splash of olive oil
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of chilli powder
1 tsp of garam masala (see recipe below)
1 large pinch of ground fenugreek
1 cup of milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
Red pepper flakes to taste

Directions
1. Heat the butter in a pan and add the minced onions. Fry until golden brown.
2. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander, chilli powder, turmeric, and salt. Fry for a minute until fragrant.
3. Add the pureed tomato and tomato paste and cook for 3-4 mins until the mixture bubbles uniformly.
4. Thrown in the fenugreek, milk, and the cubed chicken. Cook covered for 8-10 mins until the chicken is soft.
5. When the chicken is cooked soft, open the lid and cook for a further minute or two.
6. When done, add the garam masala. Give it a good stir, but don’t boil.
7. Adjust salt and remove from fire.
8. Serve hot with rice and plain Green yogurt.

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Garam Masala
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions
1. Mix all ingredients together

Note: This will make a little more garam masala than you need for the recipe. Save it for another time or add to your butter chicken to increase flavor. The red pepper flakes also help to bring out the flavor of the spices.

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Patates Böreği (Potato Pastry)

The Turkish börek is a simple, but delicious and versatile savory pastry. I have tried them with all different kinds of fillings: spinach, lentils, cheese, meat, and potatoes. It’s one of my must-haves when I travel to Turkey.

But I can’t even wait until I visit again to enjoy their flaky goodness…so I settled for my homemade version. Böreks are traditionally made with a dough similar to phyllo, called yufka.

I have yet to try ordering yufka from an online Turkish grocery store so phyllo dough would have to stand in.

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Patates Böreği

Ingredients
Thawed sheets of phyllo dough
6 to 8 baby gold potatoes
Goat cheese crumbles
Salt & pepper
Marjoram
Oregano
Garlic powder
Milk or half n half
Olive oil
egg yolk
Poppy seeds

Directions

1. Boil, drain, and mash the potatoes. Mix in a splash of milk or half n half, goat cheese, and seasonings.
2. In a small bowl, mix a little olive oil and milk. The ratio should be about 3:1.
3. Stack 3 square- shaped sheets in top of each, brushing each with the olive oil mixture before laying on top of the other. The phyllo sheets I buy are rectangles, so I had to cut them down into squares.
4. Spread some of the potato mixture onto the dough. Be gentle, as the dough can easily tear.
5. Fold the dough diagonally at the corners, making a large triangle. Then fold again to make a smaller triangle. Cut in half.
6. Repeat each step until you have as many börek as you desire.
7. Brush the tops with the egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
8. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until dough is golden brown.

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Creamy Mushroom Pasta Sauce

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve recently become obsessed with mushrooms. Which is pretty surprising since I would barely touch them a year ago. Once again, it was proven to me how much preparation and presentation matter.

I thought I didn’t like mushrooms. But what I actually didn’t like was the way other people cut and prepared them. What I’ve found is that mushrooms are best thinly sliced. They also need some sort of flavor infused into them. Those 2 things were the cure. Now I love mushrooms and I’m finding lots of ways to incorporate them into my cooking. Tonight, I incorporated mushrooms with my love of cream sauce and the results were quite successful.

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Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Ingredients

4 or 5 white mushrooms (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half n half
1 tbsp unsalted butter
A drizzle of olive oil
1 tsp flour
Basil
Salt & pepper

Directions

1. Cook your favorite pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta boils, prepare your sauce.
2. In a medium sized pan, melt the butter and mix in the flour.
3. Add the garlic, mushroom, and a drizzle of olive oil to the pan. Cook until soft, only stirring 2-3 times.
4. Add chicken broth and cook for another 2 minutes.

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5. Add half n half and seasonings, stirring until the sauce thickens.

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Bonus: I used to have trouble peeling garlic. But then my boyfriend taught me this technique. Chop off the top and bottom of the garlic clove.

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Then slice the garlic clove in half lengh-wise. The outer layer will come right off!

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As a final touch, I mixed a tbsp of butter in with my pasta and added a dollop of plain yogurt on top of my sauce.

Beef & Broccoli and Fried Rice

I’ve always been curious what makes the beef and broccoli sauce so good. The answer was pretty surprising: oyster sauce. Of course, there are other ingredients like soy sauce and sherry, but it’s the oyster sauce that’s important.

Well, I went to the store last night to buy the ingredients for my homemade Chinese dinner and I couldn’t bring myself to buy that oyster sauce. When would I use it again? Long story short, I ended up buying a premade pack of sauce (oyster sauce included).

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Beef & Broccoli

Ingredients
1 packet of beef and broccoli sauce
1 pound round cut steak
Chopped green onions
Broccoli
Salt & pepper

Directions

1. Put about half of the sauce and uncooked steak in a large bowl. Leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

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2. Meanwhile, prepare the onions and broccoli. Chop and saute in a little canola oil, then set aside.

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3. Cook your steak as desired. I like mine practically well done. Remove from heat, cut into thin strips. Return to pan with broccoli, green onions, and remaining sauce. Cook just long enough to mix and heat.

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Fried Rice

Ingredients

Cooked rice
2 eggs (cooked)
Grated carrots
Grated cabbage
Chopped green onions
Chopped white onion
Chopped white mushrooms
Soy sauce
Red pepper flakes
Garlic powder
Salt & pepper

Directions

1. Coat the bottom of a large pan with a thin layer of canola oil. Crack the eggs and mix in a small bowl, then pour into the pan. Be sure to spread the egg out across the entire pan so it cooks really thin. Set aside.

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2. Chop the veggies and saute with a little more canola oil in the same pan you used for the eggs.

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3. Add in rice, soy sauce, spices, and eggs. Cook on medium high heat until all ingredients are incorporated.

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Welcome to the weekend, everyone. 🙂

Past Cupcake Creations

I’m feeling a little under the weather (I think finally caught that bug going around the office), so I made myself some chicken soup. But since I already shared my recipe with you, I thought I’d share some of my past cupcake creations pre-blog days.

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Bright-colored cupcakes for a summer pool party. I wish I took more pictures of these.

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A close-up of the toppers on my summer cupcakes. I made these with sugar, color gels, water, and a cookie cutter!

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Just for fun.

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For a co-worker’s birthday.

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Valentine’s Day 2013.

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Halloween 2012

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Yellow fondant and mini donuts 🙂

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A cupcake golf course

In other cupcake related news, I finally tried a Sprinkles cupcake. It was good, but Crumbs is far superior. Sadly, the Crumbs nearby closed. 😦

I think the cupcake trend may be fading a little bit from the mainstream…but my love for them is just getting started.

Breakfast Pizza

I found this breakfast casserole recipe (looks more like an egg pizza to me) during the holiday season, but never got around to making it until tonight. You’ll notice that I altered this recipe quite a bit from the original.

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Breakfast Pizza
Ingredients
Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Crust
5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 shredded cheese (cheddar & pepper jack)
1/2 lb ground beef
3 sliced mushrooms
2 baby gold potatoes (peeled and grated)
1/4 chopped bell pepper
1/4 chopped onion
Cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, sage

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place a skillet over medium heat and add the ground beef. Break up the ground beef as it cooks, letting it brown completely. Season, drain fat and set aside.
3. Sautee onions, mushrooms, and peppers in olive oil until soft. Drain oil and set aside.
4. Unroll the pizza dough in the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish.
5. Spread the sausage over the dough, then spread on the veggies.
6. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, salt, and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the top of the casserole. Sprinkle with cheese.
7. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden and the eggs are set.

This was a lot of food for two people, but the leftovers will be good for the morning (real breakfast).

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Sebzeli Nohut (Chickpeas with Vegetables)

Whether you call them ceci, chickpeas, garbanzos, or nohut…we’re all talking about those yummy fiber and protein packed legumes.

I’ve been hoping to find a new recipe for them and today I managed to find one that is both meatless and Turkish inspired.

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Sebzeli Nohut
Original recipe from Almost Turkish

Ingredients
1 can organic chickpeas (drain)
1/2 big onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup fineley chopped cabbage
1 cup matchstick carrots
5 baby gold potatos, peeled and grated
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper

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Directions
1. Cook onions and peppers in olive oil in a large, deep pan until soft.

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2. Stir in cabbage, carrot, potato, and cumin. Cook for 4-5 minutes.

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3. Add tomato paste and stir for another minute.

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4. Add chickpeas, salt, blackpepper, pepper flakes, and stock. Add a 1/2 cup of water or less (just enough to cover the chickpeas). Cover and reduce heat to low.
5. Prepare Jasmine rice. Once done, the nohut will also be ready (about 15-20 minutes). Serve together with plain yogurt.

This recipe creates a really subtle but delicious flavor combination. 🙂