Sunday, March 27, 2011

Arroz Con Pollo

I don't know why I wrote Chicken and Rice in spanish for the title of this blog post. It is definitely not the traditional Latino style chicken and rice recipe. I guess my thought process was that Arroz Con Pollo sounds more exciting than Chicken and Rice. does!

This Chicken and Rice recipe is one of my new favorites.

In the words of my mother, who gave me the Death Stare when she thought I ate the last of this dish......."After taking my first bite, I stared into the heavens and thanked God for this meal!"

Really.....that's what she told me.

It is packed with flavor. Fresh lime, ginger, mustard seeds, whole coriander. I could have eaten a whole pot of this flavorful rice, without the chicken. The chicken was the icing on the cake.

I wish I could drive a few miles down the road, to a farm and pick out a fresh chicken. The writers of my 3 favorite food blogs will sometimes write about going to a farm to get fresh vegetables, fruits, and sometimes even chicken! Tartelette , one of my favorites, just blogged about living near the water, checking on her crab traps, and going to the marina to pick up some freshly caught fish.

After reading their blogs, I day-dream about living on a farm.

Really, I do.

But then reality hits, and I know that I am not about to wake up at the crack of dawn to feed the chickens, and the cows, and the goats, and whatever other animals I may have....AND dig holes to plant seeds.

So then I begin to day dream about living next to a big farm, where I can walk down the road and buy my fresh food.

Yes...this sounds much more achievable.


That's the life.

Oh, and did you know that the skin on a fresh chicken is yellow, because the yellow feathers have just been plucked off? I didn't know this tidbit of information, until I watched Luke Nguyen's Vietnamese cooking show on the internet (BY THE WAY, I LOVE EVERY SINGLE MEAL HE MAKES ON HIS SHOW).

Now, every time I look at my white-skinned chicken, I get a little sad inside. Not really, but kind of!


Arroz Con Pollo, Chicken and Rice, or Whatever You Want to Call It!

2 pounds chicken, wings, legs, thighs, or breasts
2-4 tablespoons olive oil, or any oil
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons tandoori powder
2 tablespoons of tika masala powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
1 lime, zested and peeled.
1 small bunch of cilantro
1 shallot
1/2 of a jalapeno, seeded
1 teaspoon whole coriander (or powder if you can't find whole)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, soaked in water
4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Season the chicken with the garlic powder, tandoori, tika masala, and chili powder. Marinate over night, or at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a blender, food processor, or with a knife, blend (or chop) the garlic, ginger, lime zest, lime, cilantro, shallot, jalepeno, coriander, mustard seeds, and cardamom. If using a blender of food processor, add a little oil to loosen the mixture. Mix to a paste.

Heat a large skillet, add about 2 tablespoons of the oil, and brown the chicken. Brown the chicken in batches. Do not crowd the pan, or else the chicken will not brown, it will boil. Once the chicken is browned, set aside.

In the same skillet, add a little more oil, and add the cilantro/ginger paste that you made. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the rice (drained rice, not with the soaking water). Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick and the chicken stock. Add the browned chicken. Make sure the chicken is mixed in well with everything. You may need to transfer all of this to a bigger pot.

Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the skillet, or pot, with a lid, or aluminum foil if you can't find the lid! Place the in the oven and cook for approximately 3o minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. This will depend on which part of the chicken you used (for example, wings cook much faster than thighs because they are smaller).

I ate mine with a little naan and a salad. I topped my chicken and rice with chopped tomato and some chopped jalapeno (I love spicy food)!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lemongrass Chai Tea and Fried Rice Omelet

Fried rice omelet, you ask? Yes. Fried Rice Omelet. We all eat eggs in our fried rice, so why not put fried rice in our eggs.

This was my logic when coming up with this meal. I had some left-over fried rice from a meal I cooked for one of my clients. I wasn't really craving any, but I did not want to waste it either.

An omelet. That's what I want. Hmmm....(Brain wheels turning).

And in an instant, the Fried Rice Omelet was born! After making the first one, I ate one of these babies everyday for at least a week.

This morning I stared at my fridge for 5 minutes straight.

Have you ever been hungry, but didn't know what you wanted to eat. So you open the fridge...stare inside for a couple of minutes...go sit the fridge again and stare inside another few minutes, as if something new and delicious just magically appeared? Knowing darn well that the same boring food that was in your refrigerator 5 minutes ago, is the same boring food that is going to be in there the next 10 times you look!

I think I spent 30 minutes going back and forth to my fridge, trying to figure out what I wanted to eat. And then I decided to make my new favorite omelet.

And a cup of Chai Tea.

But not just any Chai Tea. Chai tea steeped with fresh ginger and lemongrass. Finished with a little sprinkle of cinnamon.

This omelet is more like a brunch, lunch, or breakfast-for-dinner type of omelet. I would not categorize a Fried Rice Omelet as a breakfast meal, because it may be a little hearty, but it was definitely what I needed to start my day today.

Fried Rice Omelet

1/2 cup left-over fried rice
2 whole eggs
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and chopped finely
1 tablespoon chili oil, or regular vegetable/canola oil
2 scallions, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cheddar cheese (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a bowl, crack eggs and whisk them together. Add ginger, season w/ salt and pepper to taste, t and stir once more.

Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add oil. When skillet is hot and the fried rice. Cook for about 1 minute. Spread rice in skillet so it is evenly layered.

Pour eggs over the fried rice. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Flip the omelete, and cook 1 more minute.

Add the scallions. At this point, you can add your cheese, if using, and either roll the egg like an omelet, or leave it flat, like a frittata. If leaving it flat, you may need to place the skillet under the broiler for a few seconds to melt the cheese (if you are using cheese).

Drizzle with a little more chili oil if you'd like and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Yesterday I felt like this

Today I feel like this

Look at that one little green plant. Still sprouting....through all of its adversities. Maybe that's hope.

Is anyone out there?

***Sigh*** Tis life...

Monday, March 14, 2011

March Daring Kitchen Challenge: Ceviche

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

I have been so busy and tired these past few weeks that I am sad to say I have not been fulfilling all of my obligations. I was supposed to go visit a friend the other day to finally meet here beautiful baby girl...but I was SO exhausted that I ended up sleeping all day, constantly hitting the snooze button on my alarm.

I wanted to hangout with my brother during the week and watch movies, since he was out of college for Spring Break, but any time that I didn't spend working, I spent it sleeping. And now he's gone back to school and I miss him :(

We were challenged to make Ceviche and Papa's Rellena's. this month for Daring Kitchen I couldn't even fulfill that entire obligation. I just did not have the time to make the delicious sounding recipe for the Papa's Rellena's, but I did not miss out on the chance to make the ceviche.

Ceviche was the perfect challenge for this month. It can be prepped and made in 10-15 minutes and can take as little as 10 minutes to "cook", depending on how "cooked" you like your seafood. I marinated mine for an hour. This easy recipe fit nicely with my busy work schedule.

I was so excited to use my new Canon camera today, and when I got ready to shoot pictures, I open the window to use my beautiful natural light, only to find a grey cloudy sky.

Of course.

No worries though. I still love the photos this camera takes.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Well, it's new for me. The camera is actually used. I have been wanting a professional Canon camera for ages, but I never thought I would be able to get one anytime soon because they cost around $1,000 dollars....and I am very broke!!

But two days ago, I was reading some other food blogs (my new favorite hobby, besides photography!) and this blogger, who has MAGNIFICENT photos on her blog, said that she uses a used camera that she found on Craigslist.


Why didn't I think of that?! All this time I could have gone on Craigslist to find the camera of my dreams.

I quickly rushed off of her website and went onto Craigslist....and there it was. At the top of the page. The camera of my dreams! And it cost significantly lower than a brand new camera would have cost me.


Like......less than half. Much less.

I couldn't believe my eyes. So I went back onto the blogger's website because she had a few questions that one should ask if they are planning to buy a used camera from a Craigslist ad.

I contacted the gentleman, who was very nice by the way, and botta bing botta boom. Next thing I know I have a practically brand new professional camera in my hands. This things looks like it has never been used.

And the photos. Oh the photos. Words can't describe how great the photos come out on this I had to show you.

I had a little bit of fruit in my fridge, so I took a million pictures of it. I won't bore you with a million pictures of the same bowl of fruit from different angles, so I'll just show you 4!

The pictures look so much cleaner and realistic (sometimes I had to edit my photos in Lightroom so much that the food looked fake). I love this camera!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My version of Chicken Tikka Masala and Video Tutorial

***ATTENTION: A few of you have asked when I'm going to finish my "Favorite Gadgets" page. Well I've finally posted my list of favorite kitchen gadgets and tools. Take a look at the list, buy some, and try them out!***

I am so happy that Spring is finally least I hope it is. For those of you who live in Atlanta, you know that in these parts, one week the weather will be bright, clear skies, warm with a slightly cool breeze, and the following week a snow storm arrives.

So who knows. I will enjoy it this week.

I finally made another video. I actually made this video over a week ago, but it was 14 minutes long, AND I forgot to add the sound. I was too irritated and tired to re-edit it at the time, so I am just now getting too it.

I absolutely love Chicken Tikka Masala. All of the lovely spices used in this dish are so delicious. The true origins of this dish are in question. Some say that Chicken Tikka Masala is not an authentic Indian dish, but instead it was created in Britain.

Either way, I love it!

Chicken Tikka Masala (Click for printable recipe)

2 lbs chicken thighs, or breasts, medium diced
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon, ground coriander
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon, ground ginger
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon, curry powder
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon, cumin powder
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon, smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
3-4 sprigs of mint, chopped finely
7-8 tomatoes
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 large onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano pepper (optional), minced, seeds removed
1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 quart chicken stock
1/4 cup greek yogurt, or heavy cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

Marinate the chicken overnight, or at least 30 minutes, in 1 teaspoon of the following: coriander, ginger, curry, cumin, and paprika, along with the chopped mint.

Remove the rough spot from the bottom of your tomatoes (as shown in the video).

Blend the tomatoes in a blender, using a little bit of the chicken stock to help them blend easier.

Heat your pot on medium heat. Make sure the pot is hot so the chicken will brown nicely. Add oil. Add marinated chicken. Do not overcrowd the pot, or the chicken will boil, not brown.

Brown the chicken, remove from pot and set aside. Add onions and garlic to the pot. Cook until the onions are lightly browned. Add the chopped serrano pepper. Cook 1 more minute.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add the fresh tomato sauce, along with the chicken stock. Stir. Add the remaining seasonings. Stir and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about half, approximately 30-40 minutes.

Add browned chicken to the sauce. Simmer about 20-30 more minutes, until chicken is fully cooked and very tender. Adjust the seasonings to your taste. Turn off the heat and add your greek yogurt, or heavy cream. Stir.

Add the cilantro. Serve with rice and/or naan!!


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