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Mushroom and Ham Rissotto

Mushroom and Ham Rissotto

I made rissotto !!!

I am very excited about this - Rissotto is one of my favorite comfort foods and if not for all that carb business, I would gladly eat it all day, everyday, but then there is all that carb and so rissotto deliciousness is limited to once in a blue moon (and only to satisfy serious rissotto craving).

I got back from Sunday Service last weekend and had one of those - "crap I forgot to go to the store and i dont feel like getting dressed to go pick up lunch (and that Thai place I order from is not open for another hour and half, crap, crap, crap !! " While rummaging through my pantry - I found a bag of Arborio rice and so rissotto for lunch it was. 

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Ham , diced (you want about 1 cup)
  • 3 clove of garlic, finely diced
  • Cremini (button) mushroom, diced
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmeasean cheese + 2 tablespoon for garnish

How To:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes until onion is softened. Then add the garlic, mushroom and ham ; cook until mushrooms are soft (about 5 minutes)

Then add the rice and stir to combine rice, mushroom, and ham. Stir continously so that it does not stick. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes (or until rice starts to become translucent). Add the wine and let it cook till wine evaporate. Begin adding laddle of stock, and Make sure to stir continuosly until the liquid is absorbed, continue add laddle of stick till there is abut 3 cups left.  

Add the parmesan, and laddles of remaining stock until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente.

optional: To get a much richer risotto - add a tablespoon of butter and heavy cream , stir and place lid over skillet. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Garnish with olive oil and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately

Chicken Curry (with Chapati)

Chicken Curry (with Chapati)

I made curry. 

My friend made me some Chapati (unleavened flat bread) a few weeks ago. The perfect excuse to make curry. It is one of my favorite comfort food and when the temp drops, I find it to be a perfect alternative to soup. 

I am surprised it took me this long to share an Indian dish recipe with you. Indian cusine (and culture) is one of my favorites and it always takes me back childhood and some of my fondest memories. It reminds me of saturday morning indian movie marathon. The local TV station in the city I grew up in showed two Indian movies on saturday mornings and all week it's what we looked forward to. The kids on my half block gathered around the black and white TV in my neighbor's front room and watched the weekend's offering of Indian movie. Two of my favorites were Dostana and Mr. India and I went around quoting one of the most famous lines in Indian movie - Mugambo hush hua (mogambo is pleased) until I drove my mom crazy. When I was moving state side, a friend gave me a copy of Dostana on VHS (yes VHS) as a momento of childhood. Ah., the good ole days.

Now over two decades removed, my fascination with the culture and cuisine has not dimished and when I started learning to cook non-Nigerian cuisines - Curry was one of the first things I taught myself to cook. There are a few ways I like to make curry to suit my taste, but this recipe is the closest to traditional curry recipe I have ever made and it is seriously great stuff. Enjoy !!!

Cooking and Recipe Notes. I love to make my curries very spicy - if you are not a fan of spicy, then reduce the cayenne pepper or replace with black pepper. Also I am lucky to have friends who make me batches of Chapati - so I rarely have to make them. If you are inclined to try your hands at chipati - here is my favorite chapati recipe. You can also serve this with naan (or roti) or steamed rice.

Ingredients

The Chicken

  • 3 chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

The Paste

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 dried chili pepper
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 inch ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 bay leaves

The Curry

  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 16 oz can diced tomato
  • 1 teaspoon garam marsala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

How to

The Chicken

Preheat oven to 350 F

In a bowl, combine chicken, lemon juice, salt, black pepper and garlic. Stir together, cover, place in fridge to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes. Line a baking tray with foil paper, pour marinated chicken in baking tray and place in oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

The Paste

Combine all the ingredients of the paste into a blender. Puree until you have a paste. Set aside until it is ready to be used.

The Curry

In a medium pan (over medium heat),  heat oil and butter. Once oil and butter is heated, stir in the onion paste and cook for 5 minutes. Add in salt, cinnamon and tomato. Turn heat up to high and cook for 7 to 10 minutes (stiring constantly). 

Add chicken and garam marsal to the mixture, stir it to evenly distribute chicken in the sauce. Reduce to low heat, place lid over the pan and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes (stirring constantly) before serving.

Serve with chapati or roti.

Green Smoothie Bar - The Brunch Starter Course

Green Smoothie Bar - The Brunch Starter Course

This what happen when you forget you are hosting brunch until its 15 minutes before the first guest arrives....

Ah !!!!!!!

I know - that is exactly how I felt but then the idea for a smoothie bar came to me and let's just say that unless my friends read this post they will be clueless to the fact that I rolled out of bed 25 minutes before they arrived. Today's recipe is all about healthy delicious goodness in a glass topped with even more healthy, delicious things.  

This is one of my favorites and since my epiphany moment , this has become the perfect brunch starter course.  I will typically make a pitcher of the smoothie and then give 3 to 5 options for topping. I like to do it this way because there are folks who may like chai seed but no so much the dried fruit - so I set out the toppings and my guests can decide what they want. I have guest sip on this while the table is getting set or the last of the brunch buffet is getting cooked.

When I make this for myself, I tend to just chuck in the dried fruit, chai seed and the seed and blend it all up , but when I have guests - you want to make sure they have options/variety - hence the smoothie bar

This is also a healhy alternative to a cheese spread or a sweets table. If you have a larger party with a variety of taste - then I will usually do 2 to 3 three different smoothies and about 5 to 7 topping options.

However way you choose to go, this is a good one, especially if you are looking to get back to healthier eating habits.

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Ingredients

Smoothie

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt

Toppings

  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Chai Seeds
  • Dried fruit
  • Flax Seed

How To:

Scoop avocado into blender. Add in the other ingredients and blend until you have desired consistency. 

Serve. Sprinkle topping of choice and enjoy !

COOKIE BUTTER BROWNIES

COOKIE BUTTER BROWNIES

Let's journey back to last summer - every week a wedding or bridal or baby shower. Between my friends (and clients), there was barely a free weekend. My favorite of all the showers to plan was that of my friend  - Posh. She asked me to create a dessert table worthy of her "touch of mint" themed bridal shower. 

The menu was surprisingly hard to put together. There were so many recipe ideas and I had a difficult time narrowing it down.   Several weeks of planning and multiple idea boards scrapped , I ended up with a menu perfect for the occasion. This cookie butter recipe was at the top of the list.  

The idea for these brownies was inspired by this  almond butter brownie from the show Tia Mowry at Home. She made brownies with almond butter and prunes. There were a few other items in there, I did not quite care for, so I substituted for some of my favorite ingreidients. Here is my version of her recipe (but with cookie butter and a few other of my favorites).

Slightly adapted from this almond butter brownie recipe

WHAT YOU NEED.

  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup cookie butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of sour cream
  • 1/3 cup of condensed milk
  • 4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips - sweet or semi sweet

HOW TO.

  • Preheat the over to 325 degrees G
  • Grease a oven safe pan with butter (cut parchment paper to hang ove two sides of the pan)
  • In a mixing bowl, mix butter and cookie butter with a spatula. In a small bowl, beat the eggs into the butter mixture
  • Mix the sugar, vanilla, condensed milk and sour cream into the butter mixture. 
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and cocoa powder.
  • Then gently stir the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Mix until wet and dry ingredients are full combined (do not over mix)
  • Gently fold chocolate chips into the batter, pour batter into the prepared oven safe pan and set aside for three to five minutes. 
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (or until toothpick inserted comes out clean)
  • Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cook before serving.

CHICKEN IN MUSHROOM AND TARRAGON SAUCE

CHICKEN IN MUSHROOM AND TARRAGON SAUCE

Will the Chicken in mushroom and tarragon sauce stand for an ovation , please.

Since making this for friendgiving 2014 - it has become a favorite amongst friends and anytime I invite them for dinner - you can bet someone is requesting this on the menu. This recipe was a result of my laziness - I was hosting friendsgiving and I could not be bothered with picking up turkey or preparing it, so I settled on chicken. But, it was friendsgiving and I wanted it to be special.  I tried several sauce recipe and it was the combo of terragon in the cream that was a winner. On a whim, I chose to add mushrooms (sautéed) to the sauce plus goat cheese for major flavor (and to thicken the sauce). 

Like I said, this has become a favorite around these parts. It is a perfect dish for meal planning. During the weekend, I make the sauce, set some aside before cooking the chicken. Later in the week - I toss the sauce in with pasta for a quick fifteen minute meal or spoon some sauce over store bought rotiserre chicken to give it max flavor (so many possibilities).

Speaking of meal planning, I am thinking of doing a post on my meal planning process - Is that something you will be interested to read ?

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 cup of mushroom, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon terragon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoon goat cheese

HOW TO:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Season chicken with salt , pepper and garlic. Make sure to rub/press the garlic into the chicken breasts.
  • In a deep oven-safe skillet, heat olive oil. Add the chicken and cook each side for 3 minutes to brown.
  • Remove chicken to a platter and set aside (covered).  
  • Using the same pan (with the oil dripping),  add butter.
  • Once butter is melted and heated, add the mushroom and stir. Cook on low to medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes (or until mushroom is soften).
  • Add tarragon and cook for a minute.
  • With the heat on low, slowly stir in the half and half. Let it simmer three minutes. 
  • Stir in the goat cheese and leave to simmer for another two to three minutes or until it starts to slowly bubble up. (Spoon half the sauce into a bowl and set aside).  
  • Place the chicken back into the skillet, spoon the sauce set aside over the chicken and let it simmer for three minute.
  • Move the skillet in the oven, uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Take out of oven and let it rest for five minutes.
  • Serve with your favorite side.

GRITS WITH ROASTED VEGTABLES AND EGG

GRITS WITH ROASTED VEGTABLES AND EGG

I love Southern cooking and I loved shrimp and grits. It is probably my favorite southern dish. Last weekend, I had a huge craving for Shrimp and Grits, but I did not have the patience to make the cream just right and I did not have shrimps at home so the idea of Shrimps and grits was tossed out the window. BUT I really wanted grits - so a quick rummage through the contents of my fridge and pantry and this is where we ended up for dinner. This recipe checks all my favorite boxes when it come to a recipe -

  • Hearty Breakfast - Check
  • Perfect for Breakfast for Dinner - Check
  • Easy to Make - Check
  • Ah-mazingly Delicious - Check

My favorite part of this recipe is the roasted vegetable - which you can substitute for your favorite veg. I have used spinacj and tomatoes here, but you can add in mushrooms, kale, celery - whatever floats your boar. Serve the veggies on a serving of grits and place a fried (or poached) egg on top. Dinner  (or breakfast /lunch) is served. 

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grits
  • salt and pepper

HOW TO:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Toss tomato with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Set on an oven safe tray and roast in oven for 12 to 15 minutes. 
  • While tomato is roasting,  sautee spinach with olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium skillet over medium low heat until spinach is wilted. 
  • Cook grits according to package directions.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium low heat. Crack egg into a small bowl*.
  • When oil is hot, add to heated oil gently. 
  •  Season with salt and pepper. Cook till you have your preferred consistency.
  • Plate the grits, top with half the tomatoes, layer spinach over it and the remainder tomato. Drizzle with the dripping of the roasted tomato.
  • Plate egg over it. Serve. 

Recipe Tip. When frying or poaching an egg, I recommend breaking the egg into a bowl to make sure there are no egg shells in the egg before preparation. 

Spinach and Salami Quiche

Spinach and Salami Quiche

This is what happens when you skip a grocery run...

I have been playing the fridge edition of Russian Roulett lately. Not enough time to meal plan, several take out dinners (sadly) , not a lot of major grocery runs (you know the kind of grocey run that makes you feel like you are equipped to feed a small nation). 

I stare endless into the abyss that is currently my fridge and try to come up with something edible from the minimal content of the fridge. Last night - I was working with Salami, eggs, tomatoes and spinach. I debated an omelette or a egg sandwich, but I have been doing that a lot lately, then my eye caught the roll of pie dough on the bottom shelf and I knew it was gonna be quiche for dinner kind of night - if I could get past the salami.

SA-LA-MI. Not my first choice and I don't think I have ever actually tried it (maybe once, but clearly it was not that memorable). Why is salami in my fidge if I don't care for it ?

Last time I was in the store I was really craving a pepperoni pizza so I grabbed what I thought was pepperoni turns out it was salami. Needless to say I ordered in dinner that evening, I was so dissapointed.

I decided to give it a try and it turned out to be "don't judge a book by its cover" moments - because the combination of spinach and salami baked in with the eggs offers the perfect dish that has worked for all meals of the day (my kind of recipe).

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 20 to 25 slices of salami, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pie crust , for 9 inch pie pan
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 1 cup fontina cheese

HOW TO:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • In a medium pan, add onions, garlic, salami , season with half of the salt, black and cayenne pepper, sautee for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add in diced tomato and spinach, stir and cook till spinach is welted (about 3 minutes). Turn off heat and set aside to cool down.
  • Roll dough into the pie dish, layer the sauteed vegetable and salami on the bottom, sprinkle 3/4 of the fontina cheese over the vegetable.
  • Crack eggs into a large bowl , add milk, salt and pepper and whisk.  
  • Pour egg mixture over the vegetable and cheese. Use a fork to very lightly combine the mixture.
  • Sprinkle remainder cheese over the mixture and drizzle with remainder half and half.
  • Place in the oven to bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
  • Take out of oven and let it cool down before serving.


Spinach and Roasted Tomato Scrambled Egg on Bacon and Cream Cheese Bagel

Spinach and Roasted Tomato Scrambled Egg on Bacon and Cream Cheese Bagel

I am still on a high from my return to the Kitchen (and food blogging). It has been too long and I have missed sharing my recipes. I got a revised role at work at the start of the year and that has kept me very busy, but with very limited kitchen time. Dinners have been a combination frozen dinner, take out leftovers and three minute ramen (reminds me of my college days).

My favorite part of this recipe - I got all my favorite breakfast items , but at dinner time. Nothing beat breakfast for dinner and this recipe delivers. This is easy to prepare (under 30 minutes) and it has everything I love.  Roasted veggies, anyone ? 

This recipe calls for smearing cream cheese. Please smear away - DO NOT hold back. Stick with plain cream cheese because you already have a ton of flavor from the bacon and scrambled egg with veggies and flavored cream cheese may throw that off balance. If you must use flavored cream cheese, I recommend the jalapeño cream cheese. Now, talk about a burst of flavor.

WHAT YOU NEED.

  • 3 strips of bacon
  • handfull (1/2 cup) spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove shallot, chopped
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoon milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Bagel , toasted
  • cream cheese

HOW TO:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • In an oven safe pan, toss onions, shallot, tomato with a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper. Place in oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Line bacon on baking tray and place in oven to crisp. leave in for 5 to 8 minutes depending on how crispy you want it. .
  • Whisk egg, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl. Heat one tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium skillet.
  • When butter is melted, stir in spinach till it is welted (about 3 minutes), then add roasted vegetable and cook for 2 minute. Stir in the egg into the mixture and keep stirring until you have desired consistency.
  • Place toasted bagel on clean surface and smear both sides with cream cheese.
  • Cut bacon strips in half, layer half the strips on one side of the smeared bagel, pile on the scrambled spinach and roasted vegetable egg on the bacon.
  • Place the other side of the bagel over the bacon and enjoy.

Recipe Tip: Let me let you in on a secret. If you want to add big flavor with minimal effort - try roasting your vegetables with drizzle of olive oil and seasoning of choice. Toss it in with your pasta , sauce or scrambled egg like I have done here and major flavor to your meal.

BROCCOLI CRANBERRY WALNUT SALAD

BROCCOLI CRANBERRY WALNUT SALAD

I am glad to be back food blogging. It has been several months since a recipe (or anything graced thess pages). I took a hiatus because I needed a break personally (and I was launching a business) and something had to give. Sadly, it was this and a month hiatus turned into five months. I am glad to be back rejuvanated and inspired to be consistent with this space. I am starting off slow with one post per week (wednesdays) and hoping to increase that in future. I also do a lot of entertainment and event planning and I am hoping to bring you behind the scenes.

Now to the important things (and why you are here) - This Broccoli Cranberry Walnut Salad.

My goal this year is better health especially with my diet, so the year started off with a lot of Salads but after a week eating plain Salads, I was over it.  I decided to update my traditional broccoli salad with some of my favorite garnishes. I added bacon (because everything is infinitely better when bacon is added to the mix). Then I tossed in some cranberries and walnut - the result was this incredibly hearty and filling salad. This recipe is part salad and part awesome(ness) in a bowl.

WHAT YOU NEED.

  • 18 oz broccoli , roughly chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 8 to 10 strips of bacon
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 table spoon chai seed, for garnish
  • chopped walnut, for garnish

HOW TO.

  • Preheat over to 350 F
  • Crisp bacon in oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Take out of oven and let it cool down before roughly chopping the bacon,
  • In a salad bowl, add broccoli , dried cranberries, bacon, mayo, honey and chai seed. Stir together to combine all the ingreidients.
  • Serve and garnish with chopped walnut.

Recipe Tip. Absolutely important that you use fresh broccoli. You also want your broccoli to be crunchy, not soggy. I got very lucky and was able to grab two bags of fresh broccoli from Trader Joes as it was been set out so it was both fresh and crunchy. If you can't find that in your grocery store - go ahead and buy heads of broccoli. Bring lightly salted water to a boil, drop in the broccoli and let it cook on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Then immediately blanche it in ice cold water. Drain the water out and lay brocolli on clean paper towel to dry out. Lightly sautee it wil olive oil, let it cool and roughly chop for the salad.

Tropical Smoothie with Toasted Coconut Flakes

Tropical Smoothie with Toasted Coconut Flakes

Hello Monday.

Hope you had a great weekend. Mine was blah - most of it was spent in bed trying to get over a flu/sore throat/cold combo - not good. I have not bee sick in a long time. Plus, laying about not doing anything was surprising difficult for me - but I had to listen to my body and take some time to rest - not quite 100% but doing a whole lot better. As you ca guess, kitchen time was non existent except for recreating this smoothie which was the only thing I could keep down. 

Also with the temps in these parts clocking 100 degrees and above - it was helpful to have something cool and refreshing.  I  am obsessed with smoothies. I did a whole summer series of smoothie recipes over on the lifestyle blog last summer and I still refer to those recipes to get through hot summer days and/or get healthy eating habits back on track.  - This recipe is the perfect escape from the heat.

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What you need

  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup mango chunks
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 banana 
  • handful coconut flakes, toasted

How To

Combine all the ingredients except the coconut flakes in a blender and blend until you have a smooth consistency.

Toast the coconut flakes in oven at 325 F for 5 to 7 minutes or in a medium skillet over medium heat for the same amount of time.

Sprinkle toasted flakes on smoothie and serve.