• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

    If you have anything you'd like me to consider (recipes to develop, shortcuts for recipes, great ingredients, or even blog formatting), shoot me an email and let me know!

    em570039@mycia.net

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Ragada (Potato Cakes with Spicy Chickpea Sauce)

I used to be a slave to my favorite restaurants. Sure, I love to try new things, but I am the queen of cravings. This meant that if I went to one of my favorite eateries, I would stumble to the counter or to the table and beg for that must-have dish. I couldn’t NOT order it. Since I’ve started cooking at home, I’ve attempted to create several of my favorites (which sometimes end up even better because I can cook them how I want them).

Ragada is a dish Matt and I disocvered by accident. I was doing a restaurant review for a local newspaper, and was sent to a nearby Indian restaurant. Matt and I are Indian food junkies, but I made him promise to order new things so that I could do an accurate review. We chose Ragada (a dish with a cryptic description as “A Calcutta Favorite”). The dish was simple: pan fried spiced potato cakes with a super spicy chickpea sauce. We went back again and again for the ragada – it was so delicious.

Finally, I decided to make it at home. I feared this one wouldn’t live up to the Ragada we’d become addicted to. But, I was able to tweak it so that I even fixed my one criticism of the dish (I think it suffers from a lack of texture without panfrying the cakes until they are quite crisp and using raw garnish). I could see it on Matt’s face: I’d hit the nail on the head. Now we can be Ragada addicts from the comfort of our own home.

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Corn Dosas with Curried Black Beans and Corn and Cilantro Sauce

Being a bit of a blogging rookie, I was bit nervous to join the Daring Cooks. But at the end of the day…I look forward to cooking dinner all day long and I’m always up for a challenge – just the stuff a Daring Cook is made of!

I love Indian food. So I was delighted when the September Daring Cook’s Challenge (my first challenge!) was announced as dosas, which I love. I also loved that Debyi, the host for this month’s challenge chose a recipe that’s vegan and gluten free! I have a friend who is a vegan and the key to making delicious treats she loves is making things that are naturally vegan – like these dosas!

However, since I make Indian food a lot…I thought maybe I could try something different. Using some of my favorite spices common to Indian food, I changed the remaining ingredients slightly to make a Central American – Indian fusion dosa. Sound ridiculous? I swear it’s so good. The corn flour made a deliciously tender and flavorful dosa. The filling has the same texture and some of the great, spicy flavors of the original chickpea filling. And the creamy and fresh cilantro sauce cools it all down.

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Coconut Red Curry Lentils n’ Rice

This blog is about food…but a few people have pointed out to me that the little snippets of text here and there really tie it together. Because it’s not always enough to grab a recipe and run – some of you like a little splash of real life in there too.

We had a fire at my house this week. Yes. It doesn’t get much more real than that. There is minimal damage and everyone and everything is safe (minus my bath mats, shower curtain, toilet seat and the tile in the bathroom). It happened in the middle of the night, which made it extra scary and I spent the next day recovering by ordering Chinese food. Yes…I don’t cook well (for myself) under pressure. But by the next day I had gathered my head and made something simple – a one pot meal that was fast and easy but quite comforting in it’s own right. Lentils and brown rice smothered in creamy coconut red curry. It was delicious and wonderfully spicy (great with a glass of something spritzy). You know what they say, after all, – fight fire with fire…

Curried Chicken Soup

I’ve been sick for a couple days. I wanted some chicken soup to warm me up, but I definitely didn’t want plain old chicken soup. I looked at what I had in my pantry (one of the beauties of making soup is using what’s on hand) and decided on a fresh and light chicken and vegetable soup with a touch of curry and coconut milk. It was the perfect pick me up that was tossed together in no time, allowing me plenty of time for a nap.

Panang Curry

I’m currently working on a vegetarian cookbook at work. I love eating vegetarian foods – I generally have vegetarian meals 3 or 4 times a week. It’s healthy and almost always faster, since I don’t have to wait for the protein to cook or rest. Don’t get me wrong – I am a total carnivore. But I eat meat so often that to break out of the mold occasionally just tastes good.

In another effort to shake things up, I made a new curry. If you’ve read my blog before, it may appear that I am a slave to red curry. What can I say? It’s delicious – my all time favorite. But this panang curry was silky, smooth, and delicious. I used peanut butter as the base, but grinding toasted cashews or almonds would make for an equally delicious curry. Also, you wouldn’t have to make this vegetarian – toss in some cubed pork or chicken if you like. Because I’m a spice fiend, I finished by curry with a little sriracha, but the chili paste makes it nice and warm without any additions.

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Lamb Kofta

I am always keeping my eye out for new and varied proteins. When I saw fresh, grass-fed ground lamb at my farmer’s market this weekend – I was sold. I don’t cook lamb often because what’s available in my regular grocery store leaves a lot to be desired. As I searched my recipe “to do” list for what to make, I found it: Kofta. Kofta is a delicious combination of meat, onions, and lots of spices. This Indian version on Kofta (variations of which can be found throughout the Middle East and South Asia) also has paneer mixed in, which makes it very tender. I love to make my own paneer – it’s quick and easy and when you make it at home, you can flavor or season it however you like. It makes a good weekend project – I made my paneer on Sunday night, and my kofta Monday night for dinner. I finished it with a tomato-curry sauce.

Soba Noodle Salad with Curried Chicken and Wontons

In the past I’ve talked about make-ahead meals. These can take many forms. This soba noodle salad has a long ingredient list, but is super simple to make. Plus it can be made in advance and chilled until ready to eat. It makes a great dish for summer picnics or potlucks and the flavors only intensify as it sits. Because I was eating with other people, I also made wontons. I like to make my own dough, but using store bought wrappers saves time. I love the texture of steamed wontons, but Matt likes crispy pan-fried ones, so we made both.


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