Wednesday, May 19, 2010

LoLo Coconut Pumpkin Masala Chicken

IMG_6685 I’m not really sure what to call this. I don’t understand what the individual words mean, but as I understand it “tikka” means “pieces” and “masala” is…the gravy the Brittish added to Chicken Tikka because they like gravy! Heh. Either way, this is oh-so-tasty. To an American palate, this would be Chicken Coconut Pumpkin Tikka Masala…or something like that. Whatever. (Oh, and the pumpkin? It was a shot in the dark to get more veggies into my fruit n’ bread ONLY kid. It was a success!)


Aunt LoLo’s “Secret Ingredient” Chicken Coconut Tikka Masala


2 split chicken breasts (bone in, skin on) (You can substitute any chicken here. If your chicken is already cooked, add it at the end.)

1 tbsp. oil

1 medium onion

1 tbs. minced garlic

1 tsp. tikka masala paste

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

2 cups pureed pumpkin (yes, really – it takes on an awesome earthy quality and really rounds out the sauce! Besides- SNEAKY VEG. Yes, please.)

1/2 cup water

1 tsp. chicken base

1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk


In a dutch oven, heat up your oil and throw in your diced onion and minced garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, about five minutes. Add tikka masala paste, tomato paste, pumpkin, water, chicken base, and a few scoops of the thick stuff on the top of the can of coconut milk. (Don’t shake it before you open the can! Coconut milk naturally separates into the cream, and the water.) Stir to combine.

Add your chicken, splash the sauce over it to coat, cover the pan, and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

When the chicken is cooked, carefully remove it from the sauce, remove and discard the skin, and then use a fork to tear the rest of the chicken into pieces. Discard the bones, and return the cooked meat to the pot. Add the rest of the coconut milk, stir to combine, and allow to thicken over low heat. Season to taste with more tikka masala paste and chicken base or salt. A spoonful of sugar is nice as well. (I was making this for kids, so I went pretty light on the tikka masala paste!)

Serve with rice spiced with a pinch of cinnamon, a half pinch of cloves and a teaspoon of chicken base mixed in before cooking.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tofu Fruit Whip (Or Fruity Pudding)

Try this recipe if you don't like tofu.  Really.  The uproar, grimaces, groans that were heard when I announced the dessert were quickly replaced by..."Um.  I like it.  Can I have some more?"  I lost count, but I think most people had at least 3 servings.

A more common version of tofu "pudding" involves melting a measure of chocolate chips equal in weight to your tofu, mixing together in a blender, and letting set up in the fridge.  I've done that with extra-firm tofu, plus a little peanut butter, to great results.  (It was firm, like cheesecake, although a little grainy.)

This turned out more like a mild yogurt- not too sweet, but addicting and light.  Try it, you'll like it!  We used the last of a raspberry compote from the last of Mom's frozen raspberries, but thought that peach, banana, or strawberry would all be good ones to try next.  I'm not sure if it was the citric acid in the raspberries, or the extra liquids I added, but this never set up into pudding- it was definitely yogurt consistency.  (It was also pretty good with mint-chocolate sauce drizzled on top.  Yum.)

Tofu Fruit Whip
3 14-ounce boxes of silken tofu
3/4 cup mashed raspberries
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy milk (add if this won't blend)

Blend all together in a blender until smooth- decant into a bowl and refrigerate.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sweet Cherry Pie

cherry pie

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we grow sweet cherries.  Lots and lots and lots of sweet cherries.  I've never seen a sour cherry in the store, and wouldn't you know: most cherry pie recipes are for sour cherries!

Smitten Kitchen saved the day, again.  Summer 2009 was a bumper crop year for sweet cherries around here like I've never seen before- we picked up 13 pounds of gorgeous bings one day for a dollar a pound, and spent the evening washing, pitting, bagging, and freezing fruit.
Here is her recipe, excerpted from Smitten Kitchen.  I used my berries straight from the freezer- the pie took a little longer to bake.  There's enough corn starch here to thicken the juices admirably, but definitely let it cool and thicken, especially if you use frozen berries.  (The directions say to leave the juice behind...well, that wasn't possible.)  The tiny bit of almond extract adds an exceptional flavor- I definitely recommend it!  I left the butter out, and it was delicious still.  So delicious that I hid it after our family  meal, so no one would ask to take it home.  That was a bad thing...but this pie...well, it's just that good!

Sweet Cherry Pie
Dough for a double-crust pie
4 cups pitted fresh cherries (about 2 1/2 pounds unpitted)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar (adjust this according to the sweetness of your cherries)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
Coarse sugar, for decoration
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Stir together the cherries, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon and almond extract gently together in a large bowl.
Roll out half of chilled dough (use larger piece, if you’ve divided them unevenly) on a floured work surface to 13-inch round. Gently place it in 9-inch pie pan, either by rolling it around the rolling pin and unrolling it over the pan or by folding it into quarters and unfolding it in the pan. Trim edges to a half-inch overhang.
Spoon filling into pie crust, discarding the majority of the liquid that has pooled in the bowl. Dot the filling with the bits of cold butter.
Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface, drape it over the filling, and trim it, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively. Brush the egg wash over over pie crust, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Cut slits in the crust with a sharp knife, forming steam vents, and bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F. and bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. Let the pie cool on a rack.

cherry pie