Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Minty Pasta Salad

Try this recipe with thinly sliced celery in place of the water chestnuts. If you like a kick, add thin slices of the hot pepper of your choice.

6 oz. (1/2 box) whole-wheat pasta spirals
1 15-oz can pineapple chunks
2 cans tuna in water
1 can sliced water chestnuts (optional)
4 or 5 very thin slices red onion, chopped
4 or 5 stalks of fresh mint
½ cup light mayo or Miracle Whip
dash lemon juice (optional)
additional mint

Boil water in a pot and cook the pasta for 12 minutes or until done. Meanwhile, open the pineapple and tuna, and drain in a strainer. In a large bowl combine the pineapple chunks, tuna, water chestnuts, and red onion. Rinse the mint, pat dry, and remove the healthy leaves. Chop them coarsely and add them to the bowl. Add the mayo, with a dash of lemon juice if desired, and mix.
When the pasta is done, drain it in the strainer, rinse in cold water and drain again. Add it to the bowl and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl and chill until serving time. Garnish with additional mint, if desired. Serves four.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Initial Pancakes

My dad used to make us pancakes shaped like our initials. Perhaps someone in your household does this as well. Of course, some kids' initials are easier to make a pancake out of than others. So, if you want it to be really easy, don't name your kid something that starts with M, E, or S.
My father-in-law usually does this just for the grandkids, but the other day he made one for me!
It's just one of those simple creative things you can do that brings joy to the members of your family all out of proportion to the effort it took.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bangladeshi Sweet Chicken Curry with Yoghurt

This is another recipe from Extending the Table, successor to the popular More with Less Cookbook. The original recipe calls for 3 onions and a whole 3-lb chicken. I have adjusted these amounts. For the spices, cardamom is expensive and I didn’t have coriander on hand, so I made it without these two spices and it was still good. I also served the ground red pepper on the side instead of adding it to the dish while cooking, to please the tender palates in my family.

½ to 1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

½ t ground ginger or 4 slices ginger root, grated
5 – 6 whole cloves or ½ t clove powder
5 -6 whole cardamom pods or ½ t ground cardamom (optional)
1 – 2 cinnamon sticks or 1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground coriander (optional)
1 t ground cumin
¼ to ½ t ground red pepper
1 t salt

1 to 1 ½ lb chicken, whatever cuts you like best (I use breasts or tenders), skinned and cut in pieces
1 cup yoghurt or buttermilk
2 T shredded coconut
2 T raisins (optional)
1 cup water (optional, for more sauce)
additional yoghurt, buttermilk or sour cream, if desired

Select a heavy pan with a lid that seals. Heat 2 T oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft and lightly brown. Add the spices, including salt, and fry about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the chicken, and brown on all sides. Mix and add yoghurt or buttermilk, coconut, raisins, and water. Cover and simmer 35 – 45 minutes for larger chicken pieces such as legs and thighs, 20 – 25 minutes if you have cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.
Despite the yoghurt or buttermilk, this recipe makes a watery, not a creamy, sauce. I suggest that instead of adding 1 cup of water before simmering, you wait until the end and then stir in about ¼ cup additional yoghurt, buttermilk, or sour cream just before serving. That will yield a creamier sauce.
Serve hot over rice. Serves two to four.