Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Couscous

moroccancouscous1.jpg

After making my trip to the grocery store to get everything for this recipe, I had all the ingredients except one. Of course. It had to be the couscous that I just could not find. I made my way to an ethnic grocery store in hopes that they would carry the pearl couscous I was looking for. No luck. Third try was the charm. Without it, I don’t think this dish would have tasted quite the same. Persistence and motivation has never tasted so good!

This one pot Moroccan Spiced Chicken Couscous is a savory, flavor packed dish perfect for meal planning and it only takes 15 minutes to prep. The other hour is where you just wait for it to finish and can take care of other errands during that time!

Couscous Fun Fact:

-Couscous is a sugar free and fat free semolina wheat staple popular in North African cuisine. It is surprisingly not a whole grain like brown rice or bulgur. While similar to pasta, it is made from crushed semolina wheat while pasta is more refined and made from ground wheat.

Moroccan Spiced Chicken Couscous

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Moroccan spice blend (recipe below)
  • 1 ½ pounds of chicken breasts, skinless
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 ounces canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 14 ounces fire roasted tomatoes (1 can)
  • 1 cup pearl couscous, dry
  • 1 bunch of kale, roughly chopped

Moroccan Spice Blend

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Preheat: 375 F

  1. Mix together the spice ingredients. Season the chicken breasts with 2 tablespoons of the spice blend.
  2. In a dutch oven or oven safe pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and sear each side until golden, for about 2 minutes. Set the chicken aside on a plate.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the dutch oven and saute for about 3 minutes or until translucent. Add the rest of the spice blend and mix.
  4. Mix in the chickpeas, chicken broth, fire roasted tomatoes, couscous. Stir in the kale. Heat up to a boil and then add the chicken breasts on top.
  5. Cover the pot with a lid and place in the oven. Bake it for 30 minutes covered then uncover the pot. Bake for an additional 30 minutes uncovered.

Tips:

-If you don’t have pearl couscous, you can also try making this with quinoa

-You can add sautéed almonds after it is done cooking for some extra crunch

-Raisins, chopped apricots, or chopped prunes can be added in step 4 for some sweetness

-Chicken with skin can be used for extra flavor

Recipe adapted from JoCooks

 

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Naan (Flatbread)

 

 

Naan1

Everyone has at least one food obsession- something that you can’t say no to no matter how full you are. For me, it’s bread. Soft, fluffy, and fresh from the oven. While trying to think of words to describe the satisfaction that comes with making this bread, I suddenly had a craving for it. Considering all the ingredients are kitchen staples, making a decision has never been so easy. As I type away now, there is a bowl of dough rising  in the corner that will soon become steaming fresh naan.

This flatbread is versatile because you can eat it bare in its simplicity or pair it with some tikka masala or other saucy dish to scoop up the flavors as pictured above. You can also add a spread on it like za’atar (oregano thyme spice blend) with some olive oil and toast it for a few minutes for a fulfilling breakfast or midday snack as shown below.

Naan

Naan

  • Servings: 6
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Chicken Tikka

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm water (not hot)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  1. Combine the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl and leave undisturbed for 10 minutes. You will see a thin layer of foam develop.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar together and set aside.
  3. Add the yogurt and olive oil to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine. Pour this into the dry ingredients. Mix with a fork initially till most of the flour is incorporated into the dough.
  4. Knead the dough with your hands for a minute or two forming it into a ball. The dough will be slightly sticky and soft. If you feel that it is too sticky, add flour as needed (I added about an extra 1/4 cup of flour).
  5. Lightly oil a medium sized bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise in a warm area for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  6. Warm a large cast iron pan or a nonstick skillet over medium heat until very hot. Dust a clean surface with flour and separate the dough into 6 pieces. Roll out each piece into an oval shape, taking care to dust the dough with flour so that it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin.
  7. Put the dough into the dry heated skillet and cook until you see the top bubble up, which should take a few minutes. Flip the dough and cook the other side for another minute or two until you see the browned spots.
  8. Remove the naan from the pan and brush generously with the melted butter on both sides. Place the naan in a towel lined basket or dish to keep it warm.

Adapted from OnceUponAChef

 

Step By Step Photos

Naan

Yeast mixed in with the warm water and sugar, notice how it is starting to foam up

Naan

Dough ready to rise in an oiled bowl

Naan

After dough is done rising, cut it up into 6 pieces

Naan

Roll each piece out into an oval shape to your desired thickness

Naan

Place the rolled dough into a heated cast iron or nonstick skillet and you’ll see it bubble up

 

Naan

Flip it over to cook the other side

Naan

After a minute or two, flip it and you’ll see these beautiful brown spots

Naan

Be creative, eat your naan in its simplicity or spread some za’atar on it

 

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

I recently went to a local Indian restaurant that opened up in town where I ended up ordering Chicken Tikka Masala which came with some basmati rice and naan. It turned out to be a little on the sweet side and the naan was an embarrassment- a thin and small piece of pita bread that supposedly passed for naan. No pictures survived the incident haha. If I ever go back, I’ll have to order another dish to see if another menu item will be able to redeem themselves.

A few weeks later, I decided to recreate the meal and take a shot at making homemade naan too. The meal was a success. The Tikka Masala was rich and silky with an acceptable spice level. The creamy tomato sauce was perfect for scooping up with naan. Sooo the naan. The joy I felt was indescribable after seeing the naan rise on my cast iron pan and that first fluffy soft bite sealed the deal. The best part about it was that I was able to use it in other dishes even breakfast. The naan recipe will be coming soon so keep posted this weekend!

Chicken TikkaChicken Tikka Masala

Printable Recipe Here

Servings: 2

Ingredients

For the Marinade

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

For the Tikka Masala Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients: the yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and salt. Mix in the chicken with the marinade and refrigerate for an hour. If you are patient or have some extra time, you can refrigerate it for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Cook the chicken on a grill or in an oven or pan and set aside. I used an indoor grill and it took about 15-20 minutes to cook it because of the heavy marinade. Timing will vary based on the size of cuts and cooking method.
  3. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the onions and garlic until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Season with the  garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and paprika. Stir to combine and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the tomato sauce.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce and heavy cream. Simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce thickens over low heat. Add cooked chicken and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with rice and chopped cilantro.

Tips

-If you do not have garam masala I suggest checking the ethnic foods aisle at your grocery store or going to your local Indian grocery store. I ended up making my own garam masala and I found it to be a good substitute for me. Recipe can be found here. You can click on the serving size and change it to 5  otherwise you will have some extra garam masala.

-One of the key parts to making a sauce is taste, taste, taste! Always taste it after adding spices and adjust it to your own liking.

-Double the recipe for a larger serving size since this recipe is only for two. Be careful with spices though because the ratio does not apply to them. Best option would be to add spices slowly and taste as you go.

Chicken Tikka

Asian Shrimp Salad

Asian Shrimp SaladThe new dish of this week is: Asian Shrimp Salad with a Creamy Peanut Dressing! On the side is a Japanese Hokkaido Milk Roll (recipe coming soon for those). I decided to cook with seafood this week and got a bag of jumbo frozen shrimp and some ahi tuna steaks. I used the jumbo shrimp first and made a delicious salad with them. I was a little doubtful about how the peanut sauce would turn out because I’ve never made a dressing like that but I actually loved it and look forward to making it again in the future. The peanut taste is not too strong due to the variety of sauces and honey that you add to it. This dish would also look great in a mason jar- if you wanted a quick to-go lunch for work or school.

I first added the chopsticks as a prop just for the picture, but I ended up eating with them and it made for a complete experience. You’d think that lettuce leaves would be hard to pick up with chopsticks, but it was easy and worked out nicely. The cilantro-lime shrimp balances out the peanut dressing and the lime juice drizzled over the salad adds the perfect hint of acidity. Enjoy this dish and add your own special twist to it!

Asian Shrimp Salad w/ Creamy Peanut Dressing

Serves: 2

Printable Recipe Here

Ingredients

-For The Cilantro-Lime Shrimp

  • 1 lb tail-on jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

-For The Peanut Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

-For the Salad

  • 3 cups mixed leafy greens
  • 1 mango, sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Other optional additions: sesame seeds, cashews, bean sprouts, sliced onion

Directions

  1. If frozen, place the shrimp in a colander or sieve and thaw by running cold water over them for about 5 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt, black pepper, and chili powder and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet and add in the garlic. Sauté the garlic for a few minutes and then stir in the shrimp.
  3. After 2 minutes, add in the cilantro, butter, and lime juice. The shrimp will be done when they turn pink and opaque and you no longer see any grey. Keep in mind that if using smaller shrimp, they will cook faster.
  4. Remove the shrimp from heat and prepare the creamy peanut butter dressing.
  5. To make the dressing, mix together all the ingredients until smooth and incorporated.
  6. Add the leafy greens to a bowl and top with the shrimp and optional sliced mango and diced avocado. Drizzle the dressing and lime juice over the salad and serve.

Adapted from Rasamalaysia and FoodsofOurLives

Tips

-Jumbo shrimp means that a 1 pound bag will have 16-20 shrimp. Choose another size based on your preference but keep in mind that the cooking time will change. Be sure not to overcook the shrimp as they cook rather quickly, 4-5 minutes for the jumbo shrimp and less if they are smaller.

-If you don’t live near water, I would suggest not to buy “fresh” shrimp because it would have already been frozen and thawed at least once. In this case, it’s better to buy frozen shrimp and thaw it yourself.

-What type of shrimp to buy? Wild is better than farmed as majority (94%) of our farmed shrimp supply comes from India, Indonesia, and Thailand and these suppliers are not regulated in the antibiotics/harmful chemicals that they add (prohibited in the US). If buying farmed US shrimp, make sure it says no antibiotics on the package.

-Have fun with the salad. I made it with mango/avocado because that’s what I had on hand at the time. Other nice additions could be red bell peppers for that nice pop of color or even bean sprouts for that slight crunch.

-You can also blend the peanut dressing instead of mixing it with a fork. Mix it quickly and you will notice the texture of the dressing change as it all starts to combine and take on a smooth texture.

Nutritional Content of Shrimp

-low in fat and carbohydrates

-low in calories (7 calories per shrimp) and high in protein (3 grams per shrimp)

-contain selenium, B12, and phosphorus

-have antioxidants- selenium (fights damaging particles) and astaxanthin (color pigment in shrimp that reduces inflammation)

Asian Shrimp Salad

 

What twists on the everyday salad have you made?

Long Grain Rice with Chickpeas & Meat

Chickpeasandrice

I will be experimenting with a new style that I’ll be featuring on my blog more frequently in addition to all of the baking recipes that I have up, which will include meal planning along with portion sizing to vary recipes to your liking. You really appreciate something once it is gone from you and for me that has been: time. We always think about how wonderful our day would be if we only had that one extra hour, minute, etc. In reality, we can earn that time back with effective time management and that is where cooking comes in. Anything as simple as using one pot to create a dish translates to a few more minutes saved from scrubbing dishes.

Long Grain Rice with Chickpeas & Meat

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup of canned chickpeas
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1 & 1/4 cups of water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube

Directions

  1. Mince the garlic and add it to a medium saucepan along with the olive oil. Cook it over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Toss in the cumin, cinnamon, and coriander and stir for about a minute.
  3. Add the diced onion and sauté it for about 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
  4. Stir in the ground beef until it is evenly browned and no longer pink. Add in the chickpeas to the meat.
  5. Add the rice to the saucepan and stir for about a minute.
  6. Dissolve the bouillon cube in hot water and pour  the water into the saucepan
  7. Cover the saucepan with a lid and turn up the heat to medium-high until the water is boiling.
  8. Once it starts to boil, put the heat on low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Turn the heat off and let it rest for about 5 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing it with a fork.

Tips:

  • You can also use 1 pound of meat with the whole can of chickpeas and save half of that for another dish (possibly mixing it with pasta) or even freeze that half and use the remaining meat mixture for the rice
  • This recipe can be modified to your liking- if you do not like chickpeas then that can be taken out easily
  • Check out this link for some more ideas of what to do with leftover chickpeas

Chickpeasandrice

Any quick meal ideas that you recommend?

 

 

 

Comfort Classics: Bread Bowls

Bread Bowl

I’ve always been used to going to the grocery store to get a fresh, steaming loaf of bread. If I wanted to fancy it up, then a trip to Panera Bread would have to suffice for my bread bowl fix (with broccoli cheddar soup of course). A world where I made my own bread seemed unfathomable, yet I soon learned it was a reality after my success with french bread. Yeast works wonders. While my bread was rising, I would lift the corner of the damp towel to impatiently check on its progress. As the minutes passed, it rose, puffed, and swelled up as if it was a water balloon slowly filling with water. Not till it made its way out of the oven about an hour later was I finally at peace with myself and satisfied. Overall, this bread was relatively quick to make and did not consist of the 4+ hours of rising that other recipes use. The actual time spent making the recipe was far less compared to the waiting period, which is manageable. A few burnt fingers were irrelevant compared to the joy from sampling a tender, fluffy hunk of steaming bread right from the depths of the bottomless bread bowl. And that was only the start of it. Wait for the Broccoli Cheddar Soup that fills it, which will make its appearance on the blog during this week!

Bread Bowls (makes 6-7 large bowls or 12-13 small bowls)

Time Prep: 20 minutes, Rising: 70 minutes, Baking: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  •  4 ½ teaspoons instant yeast (2 packets)
  • 2 ½ cups of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar OR honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups (18 ounces or 510 grams) bread flour
  • 3 cups (13.5 ounces or 383 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg white

Directions

  1. Combine the instant yeast, warm water, and sugar and leave undisturbed for 10 minutes. You will notice it starting to bubble up slightly and foam.
  2. Add the yeast mixture to a large bowl and mix in the olive oil, bread flour, all-purpose flour, and salt using the dough hook on a mixer at a low-medium speed. Add in the flours gradually, about 2 cups at a time.
  3. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes until it is smooth. I prefer kneading it by hand for this part, because it is a large amount of dough and I don’t want the mixer to overheat.
  4. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl with a damp towel. Leave it undisturbed for about 40 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
  5. Divide the dough into 6-7 portions. Stretch each ball into a tight shape, pinch the end to seal it, and roll it around for a nice round shape.
  6. Put the dough balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Brush the balls with the egg white and use a knife to make an X on the top.
  7. Cover with a damp towel and let them rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Brush them again with the egg white before placing them in the oven.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 F°. Place the baking sheet into the center of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden. If baking one tray on the top and the second tray on the bottom shelf, switch them halfway through so that they are both evenly baked.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting the tops out and hollowing out the bowls. Using a knife, make a circular cut in the bread bowl and scoop out the bread. The outside should be crusty so do not worry about whether you are scooping out too much bread or not.
  10. Fill with a creamy soup of your choice and eat immediately.

Tips

-You can use a scale to make sure each bread bowl is similar in size.

-These are large-sized bowls so if you want more of a snack-sized one, you can make more bowls from the same recipe although they will be smaller. The bowls from this recipe will be very filling and if you plan on them being a side dish, then make 12-13 bowls from the same recipe (each bowl is about 140 grams if you are weighing them)

-The leftover bread scooped from inside the bowls can be dipped in your choice of soup. You can also make some bread pudding with it as well.

Adapted from HandletheHeat

Bread BowlBread Bowl Bread Bowl

Up next, Broccoli Cheddar Soup to pair up with these fluffy bread bowls!

 

What are some soups that you have tried with bread bowls?

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Only the world’s oldest prepared cuisine, curry, has created quite the title for itself. It’s not exactly a term you can grasp. With a flavor-packed punch of spices and aroma, it is generally a meat, seafood, or veggie dish that is served in a sauce.  It can even be made freshly using 5 to 30 whole spices that are ground and mixed together. Trust me, you will never run out of options. 660 Curries by Raghaven Iyer, only serves to prove a delicious complexity that this dish can offer.

Every country has put its own twist on curry making it all the more unique. The motherland that curry can call home is India of course. Each region in India from North to Southeast also has its own speciality curry so it will be difficult to run out of curry combinations to try while traveling. Even the UK adopted curry as a favorite through its colonial past in India and since then has celebrated its fame with National Curry Week. Japan later acquired the taste by imitating the British Navy and today serves kare raisu (curry with rice and pickled veggies). Other curries can be identified by their colors as seen with the Thai-based ones (green, red, yellow, gold) and other Thai curries are paired with coconut milk as seen in this recipe, leading to a less spicy version of what can be a fiery dish.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

The easiness yet complexity of flavors in this dish instantly attracted me. Why not learn a recipe that you can whip up quickly for last-minute prep? Just keep a few cans of coconut milk in the pantry and a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer for these interventions if needed. The other ingredients are usually pantry basics with the exceptions of the curry spices. It may seem like a lot to buy if this is your first time using turmeric or curry powder, but they will become spice essentials as you will be able to use them in a variety of other dishes in the future (only a wise investment!). I highly recommend doubling this recipe, because you will go for those seconds and then crave them the next day for lunch too. Read below for the recipe and detailed step by step prep!

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Serves:6

Printable Recipe Here

Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

Shrimp Marinade

  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp

Coconut Curry

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 small can (5.5 ounce) coconut milk
  • chopped cilantro/parsley for garnish
  • 1 cup of cooked rice for serving

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, toss the marinade ingredients along with the shrimp. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the fridge for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the coconut curry.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium sized dutch oven or saucepan. Add the chopped onion and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat, until it begins to soften.
  3. Stir in the garlic, ginger, coriander, salt, curry powder, black pepper, and turmeric and cook for another 2 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the tomatoes along with their juices and cook for about 2 minutes on medium-high heat.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk and wait for it to boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  6. Add the shrimp along with the marinade juices and cook for another 5 minutes, until the shrimp are pink. Be careful not to overcook it as the shrimp will turn rubbery.

Adapted from JoCooks

Tips

*Do not throw your unthawed shrimp straight into the saucepan as they will cook unevenly. Thaw them by running a gentle stream of cold water over them for a few minutes.

*When doubling this recipe, you can actually just buy a 13.5 ounce can of coconut milk if you do not find the smaller cans. Do not worry about making specific measurements such as 11 ounces and save yourself the trouble by just using the whole can. It will taste just as great and even better!

*Doubling this recipe is wonderful especially if you want an easy flavor-packed lunch for the next day.

Step By Step Pictures (I doubled this recipe in my pictures below)

Coconut Shrimp Curry

I doubled my recipe so I used 2 pounds of frozen shrimp. I left cold water running over them for about 5 minutes and that was sufficient to thaw them.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

After thawing the shrimp, I added the marinade ingredients (salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice) here. You could use bottled lemon juice for ease, but I squeezed one lemon for an additional freshness factor.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Next, I chopped up a medium sized onion. You can also put it in a mini food processor to chop it up quicker.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Sautee the chopped onions for 3 minutes until they are softened.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Add the crazy mix of spices and cook for another 2 minutes. The onions will start to look more translucent at this point.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Only the last line up of characters that will complete this satisfying dish!

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Mix in the whole can of diced tomatoes along with the coconut milk and stir.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Add in the marinated shrimp and cook for only 5 minutes, no more or they will turn rubbery! If you have raw fresh shrimp, then a general rule is that the shrimp will be done cooking when it turns pinkish. As well, you do not want straight shrimp, as that means that they are undercooked. When they curl up in a C shape as in the picture above, that is another good indicator that they are ready.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

All mixed up and ready to serve!

Coconut Shrimp Curry

But wait…

Coconut Shrimp Curry

A bit of parsley (or cilantro) will top it off with the perfect pop of green so chop up a small stalk for some garnish.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Fine dining simply at its best!

 

What are your favorite recipes with curry powder?

Fried Portabello Tacos w/ Cilantro Lime Ranch

Taco bout the perfect lunch! Recently, I’ve been trying to be healthier & I have found a solution to cook more instead of baking more. It really is discouraging seeing cup after cup of sugar being added to a baked good, so there are positives and negatives to seeing what goes into what you bake haha. Anyways, a recent visit at a local taco restaurant inspired me to make this scrumptious lunch. The taco was pretty simple consisting of either salmon or a fried portabello, along with a cilantro lime sauce, corn salsa, various greens, cheese, a slice of avocado, and a handful of pomegranate seeds for a ruby splash of color to top it off. I couldn’t resist but add an addicting side dish of seven layer dip on the side.

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Fried Portabello Tacos

Simple mix of the following in any order:

Fried Portabello (recipe below)

Corn Salsa (mix together and set aside)

  • 1 cup of corn
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro
  • 1/4 cup onions
  • a tablespoon of lime
  • salt and pepper for taste

-Cilantro Lime Ranch (blend the following and set aside)

  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp ranch
  • 1 tsp lime juice

-Various Greens

  • 1/2 Cabbage, shredded
  • 1-2 Green Bell Peppers, sliced
  • 2 Avocados, thinly sliced

-2 cups of your favorite shredded cheese

-1 Pomegranate, deseeded

Fried Portabello

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound portabello mushrooms, sliced (remove stems/gills)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 cup egg wash (2 eggs whisked)
  • oil as needed, for frying

Directions:

  1. Fill a pan with oil and heat as you get the rest of the set up ready
  2. Lay out three bowls and fill according with 2 cups flour, 2 eggs whisked, and the last bowl with the panko
  3. Coat each mushroom with flour, then dip it into the egg wash bowl, and lastly in the breadcrumbs to coat it evenly
  4. Fry in the oil until golden brown & place onto a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the oil

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Final Foodie Adventure of 2013 in ATL

Happy New Year’s all!! Before I share any new recipes, here are a few pictures from my last foodie adventure of 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia :)

The highlight of my winter break was definitely visiting Atlanta with my friends. The purpose of the trip was to attend a dear friend’s wedding there and we all decided to make a food adventure out of it in the meantime. I mean, might as well, right? Anyways, Atlanta is definitely known for having quite a number of local cafes that we wanted to visit. Unfortunately, not everything always goes as planned and you just find yourself waking up at noon sometimes. One of the more memorable breakfasts that we did have though was at Krispy Kreme donuts. Krispy Kreme locations are quite sparse around the United States, so there’s always that bit of excitement when you find a location. We got an assortment of creme filled, custard filled, apple fritters, and even a few red velvet donuts! The red velvet donut itself was more than filling, very sweet along with a cakey texture.

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme Overload

We attempted for more of a healthy lunch, well lunches over the next few days. Lunches ranged from panini sandwiches from Corner Bakery to authentic pizzas from Anticos and Korean tacos from Takorea. Corner Bakery is a chain eatery similar to Panera Bread. Although we were trying to avoid chains to be able to try more of the local foods, in dire situations sometimes you settle for anything. We had decided to take the train around the city that day, and so our freedom in choosing a place to eat was greatly reduced. Corner Bakery just happened to be very close to us and we decided to give it a go. I ordered a broccoli cheddar soup with a half sandwich that did not disappoint. Broccoli cheddar soup hasn’t failed me so far, and if you haven’t tried it I highly recommend you do so!

Corner Bakery

Cornery Bakery Sandwich and Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Sometimes it’s quite difficult to go through the day without a snack. That is, especially when you spot a large vintage sign from a distance with the letters “Funnel Cakes” on it, while walking through Olympic Centennial Park. Somehow we found ourselves waiting in line for one of these crunchy and satisfying creations. After getting a fresh funnel cake, it was difficult resisting one bite while waiting for everyone to take the obligatory food picture before digging in. As the multitude of forks dug in, it reduced and reduced until there was just powdered sugar left on the plate.

Chocolate Drizzled Funnel Cake

Chocolate Drizzled Funnel Cake

As the journey continued throughout the days, we came about Antico’s. Antico’s appealed to me due to the high volume of lengthy reviews that it received on Yelp, along with the mouth watering pictures. First off, when you visit a restaurant there are two main components that contribute to your experience: the atmosphere and of course the food itself. Unfortunately the atmosphere was very busy, definitely not one where you would sit down and peacefully savor your slice of pizza. It seemed like a place where you had to fight for a table to at least claim an area large enough for your group. The upside though was that it was a very interactive and lively atmosphere. The art of the pizza making was wide open to be viewed as you could sit and view the dough making and other intricacies of the pizza process. A few pictures later, we were ready to eat our pizza. I expected that they would have some sort of outdoor seating, but after asking the waiter, who replied telling me and a friend that it was not her problem where we ate our pizza and we can sit wherever. I was really surprised and shocked at her reply. We quickly left the unwelcoming waiter and told our group to look elsewhere outside for a spacious area. There was actually a gelato place next door and so we went inside to find large tables. Just what we were looking for! We bought a few drinks and sat down to finally eat.

Pizza Making

Behind the Scenes at Antico’s

Margharita Pizza

Antico’s Margharita & Four Cheese Pizzas

The final lunch was at Takorea, a hipster Korean Mexican fusion restaurant. The interior design of this place topped off all the previous restaurants that we had visited. It had a nice daylight feel to it that was fresh and crisp. The funky light fixtures along with the misplaced garage glass doors and iron wrought chairs put together a nice mood.

Takorea

Takorea’s Interior

Takorea

More of Takorea’s Interior

The food at Takorea was an interesting mix. Most of us though enjoyed the appetizer a lot more than our main dish. The appetizer that we got was the Gogi Nachos. I think it was the beef and the special sauce that they made along with it that made the nachos so irresistible. One bite from these nachos left me wanting more and more haha.

Takorea's Gogi Nachos

Takorea’s Gogi Nachos

Takorea's Chicken Burrito with Kimchi Fried Rice

Takorea’s Chicken Burrito with Kimchi Fried Rice

Our only dinner in ATL out, asides from the wedding and reception dinners, was at Mary Mac’s Tea Room. It sounded like the perfect soul food to have on any day and it sure beat that seafood eatery we were about to go to. This restaurant had a very homey feel to it and was structured similar to a colonial home from inside.

Mary Mac's Tea Room

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

The ordering process was quite unique at this place as we had to write down our orders on a slip of paper with various sections regarding what you would want. The portion size was quite large for the price, not to mention the bread appetizers that the placed out that were to die for! We felt like we were going to get full off of just the appetizers: flaky moist cinnamon bread rolls, yeast honey rolls, and corn bread. I kept hearing phrases like, “I’m only going to have another half” or “last one, I promise!” They were so good that we asked the waiter to give us another serving of the cinnamon bread to go. Why not have a delicious midnight snack for the night?

Mary Mac's Order Slips

Mary Mac’s Order Slips

After some amazing appetizers, we had quite high expectations for the food itself. A few of us were disappointed with the orders sadly. Taking into account how much I love Thanksgiving food, I couldn’t do anything but love the food that I ordered. The mac n cheese was a little watery, but everything else was on point, reliving that comfort food style present during Thanksgiving feasts.

Mary Mac's Turkey Plate

Mary Mac’s Turkey Plate with Cornbread Dressing and Sides of Mac n Cheese & Fried Okra

To end this long-winded post, I present the best cup of mocha that I have ever had. My image of Starbucks as top dog at coffee making was quickly put to rest after drinking this beautiful cup of caffeine! Well, hope you enjoyed my food endeavors and feel free to comment below to share any of yours :)

Octane's Mocha Coffee

Octane’s Mocha Coffee

It’s Only The Beginning…

Usually you hear of people doing a bucket list, which consists of a myriad of items ranging from places to visit or dare-devil adventures to take. Me and my friend are big foodies so we gave a twist to it. When she gave the idea to have the “Ultimate Food Bucket List”, we just loved it and couldn’t stop adding foods to it! Hahaha it was just perfect & we both couldn’t wait to get started. We started off with a Pina Colada smoothie & Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas, which turned out quite successful due to the teamwork from everyone that helped. We didn’t have time to make the Strawberry Mojitos, but we will get to those later!! Keep posted as we blend, bake, slice, sauté, and cook our way through the Ultimate Food Bucket List :)

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Pina Colada Smoothie

Printable Version

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chopped pineapple
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 banana
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 5 ice cubes

Directions

Blend together and enjoy your fruitful smoothie!

*If I could change anything about this, I would have added only 1/2 a banana, a couple more ice cubes, and more coconut milk! 

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Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Printable Version

Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients

  • 8 oz chicken broth
  • 16 oz can diced/fire roasted tomatoes (your choice)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium pot and heat over medium heat on the stove for about 30 minutes to an hour. (For a more flavorful sauce- can also be done in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours on low heat or 3-4 hours on high)

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 10 tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups Enchilada Sauce
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheese, and 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce in a medium bowl 
  2. In another bowl, mix the shredded chicken, cumin, and garlic powder
  3. Combine the enchilada sauce mixture with the chicken mixture
  4. Pour 1 cup of the enchilada sauce at the bottom of a glass baking dish
  5. Divide the enchilada/chicken mix among the 10 tortillas
  6. Roll them up and place them seam down in the dish to keep them from opening
  7. Pour the remaining 1 cup of enchilada sauce over the tortillas
  8. Finish it off with another cup of the shredded cheese
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 F

RA Sushiiii

Oh the wonders of sushi. I’ve never really gave thought to eating at a sushi restaurant, well because it doesn’t fit the image of a filling meal to me. After this restaurant, that conception was pretty much out the window. Anyways, one of my best friends has been wanting to go to RA Sushi foreverrr so we finally decided to go one day with people who like sushi. In the past, the plans had always been canceled because there’s always bound to be one person who doesn’t like seafood.

If you’ve ever been to a sushi restaurant then you probably already know how confusing the menus can be. I got three types of sushi and it was a raw deal because we went during happy hour as well! The appetizer was quite interesting. It was called edamame, basically steamed soybeans dusted with salt. Oh and you eat the pea only, not the pod. Can’t wait for my next trip to this restaurant! My first was absolutely memorable :)

Tootsy Maki: Kani kama crab mix, shrimp & cucumber rolled & topped with crunchy tempura bits; drizzled with a sweet eel sauce

Viva Las Vegas Roll: Kani kama crab & cream cheese rolled in rice & seaweed, lightly tempura battered & topped with spicy tuna, kani kama crab mix & sliced lotus root; finished with a sweet eel sauce & spinach tempura bits

 

California Rolls

Bundaberggg & Brunch

Try new things everyday. Whether it’s with restaurants, shopping, music, or even events, trust me you won’t be disappointed. It’s always a learning experience and you’ll always come out with a story to tell. You never know, that weird name on a restaurant menu may just become your all-time favorite dish to order. The best place I’ve found to try new things is World Market, my favorite food and home decor store. They have a crazy amount of atypical drink flavors that you probably have never heard of in the classic glass bottles. The strangest one I have tasted, Chocolate Fizz Soda, is exactly as named- a chocolate flavored sparkling drink. On our most recent trip to World Market we got four different flavors (all non-alcoholic by the way)- Ginger Beer, Peachee Sparkling Water, Mate Mojito Mint and Lime, and Ginger Brew. It was so hard to choose just because of all the overwhelming flavors. We originally went with the goal of buying Bundaberg Bitter Lemon, but they were out of stock of it so we just had to settle with the other flavors. Overall, the Ginger Brew was the most bitter out of all the drinks and you could taste the ginger in it. The Ginger Beer tasted almost exactly like Ginger Ale, the only difference was that the ginger flavor was a little more noticeable. My favorite out of them was the Peachee Sparkling Water, just the right amount of peach flavoring added to sparkling water. They’re all healthy too by the way, because the sugar used to sweeten them comes from pure cane sugar and there is no corn syrup or yucky preservatives.

A quick and easy dish to make- pasta with tomatoes, a variety of cheeses, onions, and black olives

A fresh salad with arugula and cucumbers from the farmer’s market, in addition to some sliced onions and tomatoes

Kale from the farmer’s market! (in the process of being boiled)

Added some onions and spices to the boiled kale mixture

Tada! The final and finished product, best eaten with bread by the way :)

Interesting snack we found at World Market too. The combo of cranberries, honey, and sea salt tastes wonderful with almonds!

What’s your favorite store to test your culinary taste?