Monday, January 30, 2012

End of day love affair

Today is the start of a new week.  Over the course of this past weekend, I was on call with the hospital and ended up working approx 22 hours- PURE exhaustion.  So, today I carefully brought out Big Carl and told him we're going on a evening love affair.  He graciously agreed:

Albarino 2009
Bodegas: Montecillo

Grade: 7+/8-
I am pleasantly surprised by this wine.  I had an Albarino once in the past and have been searching locally for one.  Stopped at the local grocer and found this little treasure of gold!  With a beautiful golden rod color, it has a wonderful pear and floral bouquet with a touch of mineral.  It has a rather quick front with a beautiful and surprisingly long and clean finish.  The finish is where you can really notice the pear and the touch of mineral, of which was strangely enjoyable.  Even noticed a bit of citrus. In a way it reminds me of a cross between an pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc.  Has similar aspects, but truly is in it's own league.  It's crisp, refreshing, and overall delightful.  At only $13 a bottle, I will be going towards this again.  What can I say?  Spain has it going on :)...OE LAY...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cardamom, my NEW best friend

I've been wanting to cook Indian (dots) food for quite some time now.  I received an Indian cookbook for Christmas and FINALLY decided to cook from it.  All I can say is WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE????  Devan was having a long hard, cold day at work, so I thought a nice home made meal was in order, and what better than something Ive been longing to cook?  I drove all over town searching for my ingredients, using spices Ive never used before.  Also, can we say fresh ginger-root?  By the times the meal was complete, my eyes burned, my stress was through the roof, but the house was filled with the sweet and heavenly aroma of Indian cuisine :)  All served with a nice tall glass of lightly chilled Bordeaux Blanc.

Chicken Korma
1.5 lbs chicken- boneless/skinless breast
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch piece fresh ginger root, roughly chopped
1 tbl. oil olive oil
3 green cardamom pods
1 small/med onion, chopped fine
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 c. plain low fat yogurt
rice to serve

1. using a sharp knife, remove any visible fat from the chicken breast portions and cut the meat into 1 inch cubes.
2. put the garlic and ginger into a food processor or blender with 2 tbl. of water and process to a smooth, creamy paste.
3. heat the oil in a large heavy pan and cook the chicken cubes for 8-10 minutes, until browned on all sides.  Remove the chicken cubes with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. add the cardamom and onions to the pan and cook aprox. 5 min over med/med high heat till begin to get tender.
5. stir in the garlic and ginger paste, cumin, and salt and cook, stirring for another 5 minutes.
6. add half the yogurt, stirring in a tbl. at a time to prevent curdling.  Once all has been incorporated, cook over low heat until it has all been absorbed.
7. return the chicken to the pan.  cover and simmer over a low heat for 5-6 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.
8. add the remaining yogurt and simmer for another 5 minutes.
9. serve over your favorite rice

***NOTE*** I couldnt find cardamom pods, so I just used approx 1 tsp of ground.

Masala Beans with Fenugreek
1 small onion
1tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic, crushed
1/4 ground tumeric
1 tsp. salt
2 tbl. olive oil
1 tomato, quartered (roma works well)
1 1/2 c. green beans, blanched
1 bunch fresh fenugreek leaves, stems discarded
4 tbl. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbl. lemon juice

1. roughly chop the onion, Mix together the cumin and coriander, sesame seeds, chili powder, garlic, tumeric, and salt.
2. put the chopped onion and spice mixture into a food processor or blender, and process for 30-45 seconds until you have a rough paste.
3. in a karahi, wok, or large pan, heat the oil over medium heat and fry the spice paste for about 5 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally.
4. add the tomato quarters, beans, fresh fenugreek and chopped cilantro to the pan
5. stir fry the contents of the pan for about 5 min, then sprinkle in the lemon juice and serve.

***NOTE***: instead of fresh fenugreek, you can also use 1 tbl. dried.  Fenugreek is readily available from Indian stores and markets.  Also, the term "MASALA" refers to the blending of many spices to create a unique taste.  Households will traditionally make their own blends.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Potato soup...from scratch...from what I could find...

Devan was working hard yesterday in the snow and the cold!  So what am I to do?  Surprise him with some hot home made soup.  Didn't really have a lot in the fridge or cupboard to work with, but I saw a bag of potatos.  EUREKA!!!  POTATO SOUP!!!  Here is what I came up with.  I wrote everything down afterwards so I'm really hoping I didn't forget anything.

6 med potatos- cubed
2 stalks chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 chopped shallot
2 cloves minced garlic
16 oz. chicken stock (approx)
1 c. milk
1/2 container of herbal boursin cheese (I think most containers are about 5 or 6 oz)
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. ground sage
1 tsp. chopped rosemary
3 tbl. butter
1/4 c all purpose flour
1 tbl. olive oil

1. Heat the oil in a pan over med/high heat.  Add the celery and onion.  Cook 1-2 min so they begin to look translucent. Add the shallot and garlic and cook another 1-2 min.  Add in the potato and stir to coat- about another 1-2 min.  Pour in the chicken stock, just enough to cover the potatos, and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook till the potatos are tender.
2.  IN a second pan, once the potatos are almost done, make a rue with the butter and flour.  Melt the butter over medium heat, then add the flour stirring constantly.  Cook 1-2 min to remove the "flour" taste and to ensure it is mixed well.  Add the Boursin cheese and mix well with the rue stirring constantly.  Once the cheese begins to melt, add in the milk.  Continuing to stir, add in the tarragon, sage and rosemary.  Once the mixture has turned thick and smooth, add to the pot with the potatos (they should be tender by now),  Stir all together and let cook another couple of minutes.
3.  Laddle out approx. half the soup into a food processor and purree till smooth.  Add back to the pot and stir in.  Add salt and pepper to taste

***NOTE*** If the end result is too thick, add a little more milk until the desired thickness is obtained