Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chicken Saag (Indian Chicken with Spinach)

 Here's the other half our our little Indian feast.  I wanted one spicy dish (and definitely got that!) and one more sweet/ savory.  This has more ginger, more than a touch of cinnamon, and lacks anything which would cause one's tongue to burn.  As with most cooking, these measurements are estimates as I use recipes more as a guideline.

Chicken Saag (adapted from Food and Wine)
Serves 4 as main course

1 10 ounce bag spinach, rinsed
2 tablespoons oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced (about 1.5 inches)
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 can diced tomatoes with onion
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
4 chicken breasts

Wilt spinach over medium heat in skillet, set aside.
In large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat.
Add garlic and ginger then the spices through paprika.
Once fragrant, add salt through cinnamon.
Bring to nearly boiling and add chicken.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes until chicken is done.
Add spinach for last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Serve with rice or naan.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Spicy Indian Eggplant

I was introduced to Indian eggplant, a miniature version of what we're used to here.  A cute little girl gave me one from her family's garden as we were walking through her village.  Later in the trip at one of the orphanages, we ate these mini eggplants cooked with tomatoes and an array of spices.  When I saw Indian eggplant at the grocery store, I figured it was worth a little experimentation in attempt to recreate the dish I so fondly remember.  And... its quite possible that I had to stifle a little squeal of excitement as to not look like a total nutcase to the other shoppers in the produce department.

Unfortunately, my results were disappointing.  I loved the eggplant dish in India so much because it was one of the few meals which did not burn my tongue and lips!  The version Laurel and I created this week burnt our tongues and throats, but with the help of a healthy dollop of yogurt was edible.  I accidentally added a whole serrano chili when I meant to add less than half.  To reduce the heat of this dish, simply leave out the serrano seeds or omit the chili garlic paste.
Spicy Indian Eggplant (adapted from All Recipes)
serves 4-6 as a side dish

2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
1 serrano chili diced, with seeds
2 cups chopped eggplant, Indian or another variety
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can petite diced tomato with sweet onion
1/2 cup diced fresh tomato
plain yogurt for serving

Heat skillet over medium heat.
Pour oil into pan, allow to warm.
Add spices, ginger through chili garlic paste.
Once fragrant, add serrano, eggplant, and salt.
Let eggplant cook a bit then add fresh and canned tomatoes.
Simmer over medium heat until eggplant is soft.
Serve with yogurt (and chai of course).

Monday, January 9, 2012

French Chicken and Mushrooms

I've been working night shifts in the ER this week.  This means eating (and sleeping) at strange times.  Do I eat breakfast when I wake up at 6pm?  Or is that dinner time?  Amidst this confusion I managed to throw this together with some chicken from the freezer and a package of  mushrooms in the fridge.

It may be the lack of sleep getting to me, but the use of Dijon mustard and thyme is enough to label a dish French, right?
French Chicken and Mushrooms (adapted from
Feeds 3-4

1 package of mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 (or more) cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup chicken broth

In a frying pan, melt butter over medium heat.
Add mushrooms and cook until golden brown.
Whisk together remaining ingredients to make sauce.
While mushrooms are frying, heat a skillet to medium and add olive oil.
Sear chicken on both sides.
Pour liquid in to skillet and cook until chicken is no longer pink.
Remove chicken.
Crank up the heat and reduce the liquid to a sauce.
Add chicken and mushrooms.
Stir to coat with sauce and serve.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicken in a Dutch Oven

2 lbs chicken thighs, skin on (or whatever kind of chicken you like. mine was amish.)
1 small onion (somewhere between diced and roughly chopped)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
bacon fat/butter/some sort of fat
1 Tbs fresh tarragon (or some other herb of your choice)
a few squirts of lemon juice
1/4 c dry vermouth (or dry white wine, or hard cider, or chicken broth, or water)

Pat the chicken dry. Season with the salt and pepper (and any other dry spice you wish. I threw on a bit of fresh ground black mustard seeds). Get your dutch oven nice and hot with whatever fat you have on hand. Throw in the garlic for just a minute to bring out the flavor without burning. Then brown up that chicken.
Once the chicken has some nice color to it, turn the heat down, toss in the onion and herb(s), pour in the liquid and put the lid on. (If you had some real lemons, throw some slices in now)
Then, if you are trying to be healthy like me, go for a run. (But make sure you leave your roomie home with the chicken so you don't burn your house down). Return about 1/2 hour later to some deliciously succulent chicken that is tender and juicy.
You can also make up a quick "gravy" with the leftover liquid in the pan. I just added a bit of corn starch that I had mixed with a little water to thicken up the vermouth/chicken juices/ lemon juice/bits of onion to pour over the chicken before I froze the leftovers to make sure it was moist when I reheat it.
Serve with a nice veggie (I went with turnip greens, cooked in the same dutch oven in the leftover chicken bits stuck to the pan... yum. p.s. Go to Kroger and buy yourself some green leafy veggies. $0.69 per bundle. Thats about as cheap as you will find for something that is magnificently healthy for you)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats

You may either love me or hate me for this.  Meijer had serious Christmas clearance yesterday.  Gingerbread flavored marshmallows for $0.15!!!!  So rush to your nearest Meijer and hope you can find a bag of these little guys.

Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats
Makes one 9x13 pan, about 20 squares.

3 tablespoons butter
12 ounces of gingerbread marshmallows
dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
6 cups Rice Krispies

Coat bottom and sides of 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray.
Measure Rice Krispies into mixing bowl.
Melt butter in large stock pot over medium heat.
Add marshmallows and stir while they melt.
Sprinkle spices over marshmallows.
Once melted, add Rice Krispies.
Mix until cereal is well coated.
Quickly pour out into prepared 9x13 baking pan.
Place extra marshmallows on top, evenly spaced so there will be one per treat (every 2-3 inches).
Let cool for half hour and cut with a butter knife.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome, 2012!

Happy new year!!   We ended 2011 with a bang here at Simple {Baking} Machines thanks to a little behind the scenes work of our mom.  She notified Jane, the writer for the food section of our local paper, about our blog.  While we were home on break, we met with Jane and she wrote a very nice (two page!) article in the Herald Palladium about us and our culinary adventures.  It featured two of Kristi's cupcake recipes: Lavender Cupcakes with Wildberry Swiss Buttercream and Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Buttercream.  The chocolate cupcakes even had a half page photo!  Elizabeth's pumpkin roll (recipe to come) was also included.

We'd like to say a special hello to readers who discovered us through the HP article.  Take a look at our archives and keep checking back for new recipes.

Here's to lots of great eating in 2012!
If only we had been this creative.  But thanks to Google, we can share someone else' brilliance with you!