Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow and Sweet Corn Spoon Bread

It's snowing outside.

Well...'Northerners' would laugh at us down here in Atlanta. We got a couple of centimeters of snow and it seems like every business in town shut down for the weekend. I don't know what we would do if we ever actually got some real snow!

But it's beautiful to look at.

Unfortunately, it's disappearing just as soon as it arrives. So I decided to take pictures while I had the chance.

I had a peaceful weekend. I decided to try a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Sweet Corn Spoon Bread.

It was delicious. An instant hit with the family. I made some slight changes to the recipe because I didn't have certain ingredients. I used heavy cream, instead of milk, and I didn't completely blend the corn. Instead, I left chunks of corn for texture.

I loved it. Check out her website for the recipe.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Baked Fish with a Spicy Tomato Sauce

You know, I hated fish when I was a child. Yup, the only thing you could get me to eat were fish sticks, and that's only because those things aren't even made from real fish. Fish just always tasted too.....fishy for me. You know what I mean?

The funny thing is, when I got older and started to watch the Food Network, and eventually went to culinary school, I learned that fish shouldn't smell, or taste, fishy. Hmmm...who would've guessed?! I knew I was on to something all those years as a child.

Fresh fish should not have a strong smell at all, and if it does have a smell, it should smell like the ocean. I guess that's where we went wrong back then.

We used frozen fish.

And the REALLY bad thing is that we lived in Hawaii for 5 years. WTH?!? There really is no excuse to not have fresh fish when you live on an island completely surrounded guessed it.... Fresh Fish.

But, in my parents defense, they worked a lot, and both of them were in school, so they didn't have too much time to drive to the fish markets every week. I've made up for it since then because I go to the farmers market as much as possible now, and I try to never leave without getting some fresh fish to cook for dinner.

Here is a wonderful fish recipe.

Note ***Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with frozen fish, and it can be used in any of my recipes, but I just try to get fresh whenever I can***

Baked Fish in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

4-6 fish filets, any firm white fish
Olive Oil
4 garlic cloves
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 bunch cilantro
1 serrano pepper
1/2 tablespoon black mustard seeds
2 yellow onions, sliced thin
1 green pepper, sliced
4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons fenugreek
1 cup of chicken stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Season fish with 2 teaspoons of garam masala, a drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper, and set aside.

In a mortar & pestle, or food processor, mix garlic, ginger cilantro, serrano, and mustard seeds.

Heat a pan on medium heat and add the garlic-ginger-cilantro mixture. Cook for 5 minutes and add the onion, green pepper, tomatoes, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, pepper flakes, curry, fenugreek, and cook for 5-8 minutes, until onions and green pepper are soft and slightly browned. Add chicken stock and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

While sauce is simmering, place fish on a baking pan and bake in oven until fully cooked, about 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness.

Place fish on a plate and spoon sauce over. Top with a garnish of fresh cilantro and sliced ginger(optional). Also, you can blend the sauce for a smoother finish.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Along with many other accomplishments and awards, Noorish was featured in Angies List Magazine.

Check out the link. I'll be back with a new blog post!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk and Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Winter's here, winter's here.....and I'm not afraid anymore!

For those of you who know me, you know that I spent a great deal of my life living in Hawaii, and before that, it was Texas. In Hawaii, we would go crazy if the temperature got below 70 degrees. So imagine my sheer horror when I moved to Atlanta, Ga and experienced my first winter.

It sucked.

I can't think of a better way to put it....other than, it sucked. I absolutely despised cold weather, and developed a new hate for snow. Yes. I know this sounds a bit harsh, but is what it is!

It took me a while to get used to this new season. For a long time, I refused to buy winter clothes. I did not like the way sweaters looked, I hated closed-toe shoes, and big bulky jackets were just too uncomfortable. There would be snow on the ground and I would wear a tank-top with 2 thin jackets, some jeans, and flip flops.

No people....I am not exaggerating. I thought of myself as some kind of winter-rebel!

But after about 8 years of living here, I am finally warming up to cold weather. Especially the warm cozy food you get to eat during the winter season.

In my opinion, Butternut Squash Soup is officially THE soup of the winter season. I have a friend who works in a restaurant that sells this soup every day, starting from Thanksgiving until about a week after new years.

I've worked in many restaurants that would always make this soup the second there was a slight chill in the air. Ah yes....the first signs of winter. But I must confess, I have never made this soup at home, until a few days ago.

This recipe is wonderful. All of the flavors meld wonderfully well together, and the addition of the roasted brussels sprouts with the drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette puts it over the top.

STEP 1: Cut the top and bottom of the squash and cut in half
STEP 2: Scoop out the pulp
STEP 3: Roast in the oven with garlic and shallot

STEP 4: Remove squash from oven and peel off skin.
STEP 5: Add to pot with garlic, shallot, and other ingredients

STEP 6: Strain Soup (No need for a "fancy shmancy" strainer. I used a simple colander)!
STEP 7: Season to taste and serve with brussels sprouts and vinaigrette

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk and Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

3 large butternut squash

1 head of garlic, cut in half

1 shallot

Olive Oil
1-inch ginger, peeled and grated

1 stalk lemongrass, chopped very finely
2 tablespoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 quarts chicken stock
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
5 whole green cardamom pods
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon honey

Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Cut the top and bottom of the squash, and then cut them in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp and place them on a baking pan, along with the garlic and shallot. Drizzle the squash, garlic, and shallot with olive oil, and season the squash with salt and pepper. Place the baking pans in the oven and bake for 1 hour.

Remove the squash from the oven and peel the skin off.

Heat a large pot on medium heat and squeeze the roasted shallot and roasted garlic from their skins, into the pot. Add the ginger and lemon grass with a little olive oil and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the roasted butternut squash, curry powder, allspice, and ground ginger.

Add chicken stock. Mix and simmer for 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth (or use regular blender and blend in batches, then return to pot).

Wrap the coriander seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cardamom in cheese cloth, or a small spice bag. Place this in the soup, along with the coconut milk, cream, and honey. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Strain the soup (or don't strain for a more rustic soup), and adjust seasoning with salt to taste.
You might need to add a little more cream to adjust the consistency of the soup.

Brussels Sprouts:

10-12 brussels sprouts

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the bottoms off the brussels sprouts and quarter them.
(I shredded them in this picture, and this is not a good idea. They burn very quickly this way)

Mix the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, mustard, cayenne and salt & pepper. Reserve 1/4 of this vinaigrette and toss the rest of it with the brussels.

Season with salt and pepper.
Place on a baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. To serve, ladle the soup in a bowl and garnish with brussels sprouts, a drizzle of the reserved balsamic vinaigrette, and a drizzle of heavy cream.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Best Kind of Accident

Have you ever tried to do something (oh I don't know, knit a sweater, write a song, cook a meal), but accidentally mess it up, and the end result is even better than what you originally had planned for?!? Well this happened to me not too long ago.

I accidentally made a delicious recipe the other day. The deliciousness wasn't the accident....just the recipe.

I wanted to test a new dish. It was boneless chicken cut up into bite-size pieces, cooked with garlic and ginger (like I would cook something without those two ingredients!), soy sauce, scallions, and some other things. It sounded delicious and I was quite excited to cook it.

When I got ready to take out the boneless chicken, I realized we didn't have any. So I thawed out some chicken wings and legs instead. "Okay", I said to myself. "Not a big deal, I can still use the recipe". Since I couldn't chop the chicken and cook it in the sauce, I decided to cook them separately, and add the sauce to the chicken when plating the dish.

I smashed some garlic, ginger, serrano peppers, and cilantro in my brand-spanking-new Mortar & Pestle! You don't have to use a mortar & pestle for this step, you can chop it with a knife, or use a food processor. I just love using my new kitchen tool.

I marinated the chicken and got started on the sauce.

Next thing you know, I started adding allspice, curry powder, and even peanut butter to the sauce...deviating completely from the original recipe!

I added a little too much of my slurry (cornstarch + liquid) to the sauce, and it thickened much more than I originally wanted it to, but no worries. It looked a lot like an Asian-style barbecue I decided to glaze the chicken in the "barbecue sauce" and bake it in the oven.

Nice and Brown

I served it with my new favorite green vegetable.....KALE....asian-style (recipe coming soon).

So yea....the end result was kind of an accident.....nothing like the original recipe, but still, very delicious. It was the best kind of accident, you know?! Don't you just love when that happens?

Soy and Ginger Glazed Chicken Wings

1-2 pounds chicken wings & legs
1 serrano pepper
3-4 garlic cloves
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 handful of cilantro
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut oil, or canola
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Salt & Pepper to taste

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon peanut butter
8 oz + 2 tablespoons fresh pineapple juice (I have a juicer. If you can't make fresh pineapple juice, squeezing fresh orange juice is fine)
1 tablespoon of garlic/ginger mixture
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit (don't know how to make the fahrenheit symbol appear. Can anyone help me with that?!)

Place chicken in a bowl. In a food processor or using a mortar and pestle, blend serrano pepper, garlic, ginger, and cilantro. Reserve 1 tablespoon of this garlic/ginger mixture for the sauce. Add the remaining garlic/ginger mixture, along with the rest of the marinade ingredients to the chicken. Set aside.

For the sauce, place all of the ingredients, except for the 2 tablespoons of fresh pineapple juice and the cornstarch, in a small pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch and 2 tablespoons pineapple juice (this is called a "slurry").

When the sauce is simmering, add the slurry. Let the sauce simmer for approximately 2-3 minutes, until the slurry has thickened the sauce. Turn off the heat. Reserve about 1/4 of the sauce for later, leave the rest in the pot, and set aside.

Heat a skillet on medium heat, and brown chicken pieces on all sides, do not fully cook.

Place the browned chicken on a baking sheet with a rack, so the chicken doesn't sit in its juices.

Brush all of the chicken with sauce from the pot. Place in the oven and cook until fully done, basting with the sauce every 10-15 minutes.
**use a thermometer to check for a temperature of 165**

Just before plating the dish, glaze the chicken with the reserved (and non-salmonella contaminated) sauce.


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