Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tandoori Chicken & Naan (Indian Flat Bread)

A little taste of Indian - main dish adapted from Rachel Ray's "Almost Tandoori Chicken." 

1 cup Greek (plain) yogurt
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons garam masala (if you have it)
1 lime, zested
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 green apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced into matchsticks
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and very thinly sliced lengthwise
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
4 pieces naan bread, plain or flavored, store-bought, warmed

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine the yogurt with the spices and zest of lime in a large bowl.

Combine spices and yogurt

Cut the chicken into large chunks and season liberally with salt and pepper.
*Cook's Note:  I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, already cut into portion-sized pieces.
Salt & pepper the chicken thighs

Add chicken to the yogurt mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Cook's note:  I allowed my meat to marinate 6 hours.  Traditional tandoori recipes suggest marinating for 8 hours to overnight.

Put a small wire rack on a baking sheet or a slotted broiler pan. *Cook's Note:  I simply used a large sheet tray, lined with foiled & sprayed with oil. Arrange the chicken on the rack or slotted pan.

Roast until charred at the edges and juices run clear, about 15 minutes.

Combine the apple, tomatoes and scallions (or green onions) in a serving bowl. Add the lime juice, oil, and salt and pepper, to taste, and toss to combine.
Simple 3 ingredients for your topping 

Slice Apple

Cut into matchsticks

Final Topping

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve with apple-tomato topping and warm bread (naan recipe follows).


2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsps melted butter
2 tbsps plain yogurt
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp baking powder
Salt to taste
Water, as needed
Finely chopped coriander (optional) 

In a wide bowl, mixed dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder). Give it a quick mix to incorporate.  Add wet ingredients (butter, yogurt, garlic, coriander).  Mix.

Add water slowly, to make a soft dough that pulls away from the bowl. 

Dough will be sticky.

Sprinkle with a little flour, knead dough 1-2 minutes.

After 1st Kneading

Sprinkle with more flour and knead for another 1-2 minutes, until you get a nice, smooth dough. 
After 2nd kneading

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest 30 minutes in bowl. 

Heat a wide skillet to very hot (almost smoking).  Cover it to assist in keeping it hot. 

After 30 minutes, unwrap dough, sprinkle with flour and knead 1-2 minutes. 

I added some poppy seeds

Put dough on floured surface
Cut dough into 4 - 6 equal size pieces.  

Cut into 4-6 pieces

Take a small ball full of dough and roll it out, roughly into a circle.   Shape really doesn't matter, but remember, thinner naan will obviously cook quicker. 

Have a small bowl of water handy.  You will pat your naan dough with water before placing it in the hot skillet.  This will help it to brown. 
Sprinkle naan with water just before putting into hot skillet

1st placed in skillet

Cover skillet to assist in holding in the heat

When you see bubbles, flip naan over and cook on other side. 
Bubbles (1)

Bubbles (2) 
 Remove from skillet, and immediately butter it. 

Add some butter and serve while warm!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Toffee Nut Popcorn

Toffee Nut Popcorn

Anyone who likes Crunch ‘N Munch, Fiddle Faddle or Poppycock will enjoy this recipe.  Be sure to use a candy thermometer in order to ensure the toffee candy coating just right!   This is a great ‘anytime’ snack or pick up some little decorative tins and share with others for a special occasion!

10 cups popped popcorn
1 cups nuts of your choice (peanuts, cashews, pecans, almonds) 
1 & 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon rum extract


**Cook's Note** - I popped the corn fresh in a pot.  I would suggest if you're using microwave popcorn that you do NOT use the "theater butter" variety (it has an aftertaste) - opt for light to no butter.

In a large bowl, combine popcorn and nuts.


In a small heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and cream of tartar; stir until sugar is dissolved.

Cook, without stirring (very important), over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 300°-310° (hard-crack stage).

Remove from the heat; quickly stir in baking soda and extract until mixture is light and foamy.

Immediately pour over popcorn mixture; toss gently.

Spread into two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans.

Press gently to flatten. Cool completely.

Break into pieces and enjoy! 

Makes about 2 quarts.  Store in an air-tight container.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

"Express" Eggplant Parmesan

I've never eaten eggplant IN MY LIFE before this, and after reading some of the recipes on the 'Net, I came up with a slightly "express" version for Eggplant Parmesan.  I only had one eggplant, so this will make about 9 servings.   If you'd like,  you can make your pasta sauce from scratch. (I suggest making it the day before, if you do.)  For this first time, I used a prepared sauce - that's mainly why I'm calling it "express!"  :-)

(1) 23-25 ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 eggplant
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons whole milk
2.5 - 3 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
2 T. Italian seasoning (or 1 T. dried oregano / 1 T. thyme)
Vegetable oil, for frying, as needed (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
2 - 2 1/2  cups of shredded Italian Cheese Blend (mozzarella, provolone)
1/2 cup dried Parmesan


For the eggplant:  Cut into planks or rounds.

Arrange the eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, on both sides of each slice, and allow it to sit for about an hour. (Salting it draws out the liquid and bitter flavor.)

Sprinkle With Salt to Pull Out the Water and Bitterness

Water Being Drawn Out from Salting Of Eggplant

After an hour, rinse with cold water and dry them thoroughly with a kitchen towel.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate. In another, whisk together the eggs and milk. In a third bowl or pie plate, combine the breadcrumbs with the oregano and thyme (or Italian seasoning blend).

Dip each eggplant slice in the flour and shake off any excess.

 Then, dip in the egg mixture and finally in the breadcrumbs.

Make sure to coat both sides of each slice.  Arrange them in single layers back on the baking sheets.

In a large skillet, pour enough oil to accumulate about 1/2-inch in the bottom. Heat the oil until to about 350 - 375 degrees F (deep frying temp).

Use a pair of kitchen tongs to add a single layer of the eggplant to the oil. Cook them until they are golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side.

Remove from the oil and transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a kitchen towel so the eggplant can drain as the others cook. Season lightly with salt. Take care to reheat the oil back up to temperature before adding another batch of slices to the pan.

To assemble: In an 8" x 8" baking dish,  spoon about one-third of the tomato sauce on the bottom.

Top with a layer of the fried eggplant. The eggplant slices can overlap slightly.

Top with a layer of cheese. Sprinkle with about one-quarter of the Parmesan over the top.

Spoon more sauce and repeat the layering process. Top with the remaining mozzarella / cheese blend.

Place the dish in the top part of the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 30 to 45 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly (about 15 minutes) to make cutting it a bit easier.  (Don't you just love that baked cheese crust on the sides?  Yummmm!)

* Cook's Note:  You can easily double the recipe. If you do, use a 17- by 11-inch baking dish.