Monday, January 31, 2011

Dinner exchange: Recipe #3

This week I have another delicious dinner exchange...I am IN LOVE with this idea, life is much better with a little less rush and more time to spend with the kids! 
Happy mom+happy kids+well fed husband=happy family!

I adapted this recipe from a cookbook called, "Looney Spoons", and has been a family favourite ever since.   This recipe fed two families, and was perfect for sharing with a friend who got home from work late and needed a little helping hand!

Use about 10 Chicken thighs or about 3-4 breasts, cut into pieces, or a rotisserie chicken..
2 Tsps Butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 Tbsps minced garlic
3 Tbsps grated ginger root or 2 Tbsps ginger powder
2 tsps chili powder
1 1/2 tsp  turmeric 
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 Can diced tomatoes (I like to blend this so no chunks)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Big spoonfuls  mild curry paste (Pataks is the brand I use)

1/2 to 1  cup heavy cream, sour cream or thick plain yoghurt (to taste.)
   Coriander leaves

Cook your chicken so it is not pink anymore, remove from pan.
Cook onions until clear in butter, then add in your spices.
Blend Tomatoes with all the spices and the broth.
Add in chicken again and let cook at least 15 minutes to absorb all the spices.
Add cream at the very end, I find it separates if cooked too long.
Serve over Basmati rice, and naan bread for dipping in the sauce. (Available at Provigo and Costco)
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (aka cilantro)
Freezes well and also tastes best the next day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dinner with the gourmets.

I am excited about a fun night of dining in two weeks! It is absolutely frivolous, with no occassion, no guest of honour, other than to enjoy food itself with friends (who love to cook...perhaps more than me!)
Inspired by the dinner exchange, I have fallen in love with the idea of community dining.
The way I see it, a meal out at a gourmet restaurant is something to save up for, often costing a small fortune for tiny portions, but this way we can all enjoy a long wonderful meal with a MUCH smaller bill!
The idea is to each bring a homemade "gourmet" addition to the table, for a multi course meal of fine food. Maybe better defined as a gourmet potluck.

So far the menu is :
Appetizer is prosciutto wrapped asparagus.
My contribution is a pork tenderloin in a port, shallot and bacon reduction.
Dessert may be poached pears in a chocolate sauce.

Also, I was thinking of putting together a game to play up on our gourmet airs. maybe some trivia with the theme of "Stump the Gourmet". Questions like "What kind of bowl is recommended to whip up a soufflé?", "Where is the proper placement of a oyster fork?"

Can't wait!

Monday, January 10, 2011

learning how to freeze.

Throughout this process of thinking up ideas for great dishes for this Dinner swap, there have been many questions.

Thought I would record some of the answers:

What food items freeze well? Which do not?

What are some new ideas for the freezer?

Dinner Dilemma

I am excited to do another dinner exchange! Last time we got together it was all but crazy hectic!
We ended up having 4 dinners to exchange:
Mango Curried Chicken, Beef stew, a pasta bake, and Cranberry chicken. All delicious and much appreciated since the holidays have so many activities and by the end of the day I have no more inspiration to make dinner!
I felt like most of us were time crunched and had less people particpate. 3 drop-outs and many who said they would do it the next month.
Now this month has rolled around again and I feel like I was out of inspiration again!
All this week I have been cruising recipe sites, learning about freezer friendly foods, and all the while feeling anxious about what to make!
Some of my favourite recipes are not "freezer friendly" or has too many fresh ingredients

My options have come down to:
Chinese (potsticker) dumplings, Chicken a la King, baked Mexican casserole, butter chicken. uh...

I am not sure why my brain is freezing on this one. I want to make something good, not too "ordinary" but I don't want to use an experimental recipe. I will work it out, but until then I am going to have fun scouring the recipe world for ideas!!