Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Simple Weeknight Curry

Years ago I worked for a family from India. One of the things I have always been grateful for about that experience was learning so much about Indian cuisine and cooking. Many people think that Indian food is complicated and time-consuming, and many Indian dishes are just that and quite worth it, but there are some very simple dishes to be cooked as well.

As with all food, the fresher the better, but you can easily mix up a curry (or masala) that can be added to a variety of meats, grains, and vegetables for a lovely Indianesque meal any night of the week.

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. ground turmeric
3 Tbsp. ground cumin
3 Tbsp. curry powder (don't skimp or buy cheap curry)
1 Tbsp. cayenne
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground ginger (again, don't buy cheap)
2 tsp. anise seeds, crushed
8-10 cardamom pods, crushed

Simply add all to a lidded container or jar and shake to combine.

On fish, tofu, or poultry:
Drizzle the meat in lemon juice, then rub in curry. Seal tightly and refrigerate several hours. Grill, pan-fry, or bake.

Stir curry into plain yogurt and coat your meat. Seal tightly and refrigerate several hours. Grill, pan-fry, or bake.

In rice/grains:
Rinse and soak 1 c. Basmati rice for 30 minutes. Drain.
Chop 1 medium onion and 3 cloves garlic. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter with 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a pan and saute onions and garlic. When softened, stir in rice and toast gently for 3-5 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbsp. curry and 1 tsp. dry cilantro. You can also add nuts, fruit, dry fruit, and vegetables. Add 1 c. water or chicken/veg stock. Bring to boil. Cover tightly and simmer 45+ minutes until water is soaked up and rice is soft.

Vegetable/rice dish:
Follow directions above for rice up to toasting. Add in cooked garbanzo beans, cauliflower, peas, diced potatoes, diced bell pepper, etc. Finish rice-cooking process. Stir in 2 c. sliced fresh spinach and serve. Stir in plain yogurt for a creamy richness if desired.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Baked Savory Turkey Meatballs

My son has some major food allergies. Turkey is one of his major sources of protein because of those allergies, and I came up with this recipe for him. The whole family loves these turkey meatballs. Ephrem adores them drizzled with a little strawberry vinaigrette, and EVERYBODY loves them with the tangy glaze.

1 pound ground turx
1 1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. any variety of milk (we use soy, flax, or hemp)
1/4 c. thick pureed carrots (to replace egg)
1 Tbsp. stoneground mustard
2-3 tsp. Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 small red bell pepper, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. organic poultry seasoning
3 tsp. fresh lemon thyme leaves
a good drizzle of olive oil

Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl and combine well with hands. If it seems too wet to hold together well, add more bread crumbs. If it seems a bit dry, add more milk. Form your meatballs to the size you prefer. (This is fun to do with littles too!) Place them closely, but not touching, on an oiled pizza pan or shallow baking pan. I often bake them in mini muffin tins. Bake about 45 minutes to an hour at 375 degrees.
You can enjoy these all kinds of ways. In spaghetti, on a sandwich, next to mashed potatoes, all by themselves...They are tasty!

Tangy Glaze:
1/4 c. ketchup
1 Tbsp. course ground mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. or more chipotle pepper sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 c. packed brown sugar

Combine first 5 ingredients well in a small mixing bowl. Add brown sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.  Spoon over meatballs before baking.

This is the same glaze I put over meatloaf. I promise you'll never want plain ketchup meatloaf again!