28 February 2011

Tikka Masala with Bajra Flatbread

This past Friday, my friend Natalie and I made some Indian food. And it was good. We spent a leisurely three hours in the kitchen, telling stories, chopping vegetables and snacking along the way, and then finally sat down at 10:30pm to eat our meal. (Hey, they totally eat dinner that late in other countries, ok?)

Our original plan was to make Chicken Tikka Masala (one of my favorites before going dairy-free), but we ended up doing a vegetarian version since I had veggies and beans, but not chicken, in my fridge. For the main dish, we combined and adapted four different Chicken Tikka Masala recipes that I found from googling "Chicken Tikka Masala". Sadly, I don't have a picture of the it, but we served the Tikka Masala over golden, buttery basmati rice.

Then, instead of the common Indian flatbread naan, which has gluten and yeast, we made bajra roti, a fried millet flour flatbread. I'd never had roti before, but it was so easy to make that it may become a staple for me.

You can add whatever spices or herbs that you want to the roti dough, Natalie added cilantro to ours. Then, after it was toasty, we drizzled ghee (clarified butter) and sprinkled sea salt on top. Seriously, what is better than fried bread with butter and salt?

It was one of those meals where you look at each other in gleeful awe after every bite and thank God for creating taste buds. Here's Natalie and her roommate, Syneva, cupping their bowls and staying true to their positions as the cutest people ever.

I completely intended to include the recipes for all this wonderfulness, but I feel like this post is getting kind of long. (Really, I'm just procrastinating because I still haven't written the recipes.) I will add them soon!

Bajra Roti (Millet Flatbread)
From Book of Yum
2 cups millet flour (I ground my own flour in a coffee grinder)
2 cups water
salt to taste
Optional: cilantro, diced (or whatever seasoning you prefer)

Bring water to boil in a saucepan and add flour, but don't mix it into the water. Lower heat to low and let simmer for two minutes. Then turn off heat and mix flour into hot water evenly. Remove dough to a heat resistant bowl and leave for ten minutes or until cool enough to handle. Add seasoning. Form into small balls and place in a bowl.
Take a ziploc bag or damp kitchen towel and roll out dough inside bag/cloth, with rolling pin on outside of bag/cloth. Peel the flattened dough from bag/cloth and place on a plate.
Heat cast iron skillet to medium and toast flatbread until it gets light brown spots. Turn it and toast the other side. Drizzle with melted ghee or coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Vegetable Tikka Masala
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
  1. Saute ¼ – ½ cup chopped onion in 1 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee
  2. Once the onions are translucent and starting to brown, add ¼ tsp diced fresh ginger and 2-3 cloves crushed garlic
  3. Stir it together on medium heat so the oil picks up all those flavors
  4. Add 2 Tbsp garam masala, 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp cumin and about 2 tsp sea salt (you may need more depending on your taste)
  5. Mix it up and let it thicken, then add 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can tomato paste.
  6. dd in your chopped veggies ((I used cauliflower and cabbage. Zucchini would be really good too.) and cook on medium heat until the veggies start to cook through.
  7. Finally, add 1/2 can full fat coconut milk (you want the full fat kind so you get some of that nice thick cream that rises to the top, as well as liquid.)
  8. Let all those flavors simmer together for a little bit. Add some chopped fresh cilantro (to mix in and for garnish). Now you're ready to serve.
Serve the Tikka Masala over basmati rice. I made my rice like The Pioneer Woman, but used ghee, not butter. The turmeric rice was awesome. Creamy and a beautiful yellow color...a perfect match for the Tikka Masala.

24 February 2011

Good Food Can Heal

This past fall, my life changed. For years, I had been struggling with a few uncomfortable, and often times painful, health problems. I talked to several doctors and tried many prescription drugs, but none of the conventional "Western" medical advice seemed to help. Finally, my mom, some friends, my chiropractor and a few websites I trusted, encouraged me to help my health issues by changing my diet.

So, the last weekend of September 2010, I stopped eating sugar, all dairy and gluten (as well as a few other things). After experiencing some success, I was motivated to cut out all forms of sugar (even fruit) and most grains. Drastic? Yes. Crazy? Maybe. Boring? Not at all.

I have never felt better in my life. After just two months of this diet, my body has healed in ways I didn't think it could and, without even trying, I've lost weight. I eat a lot, and I eat really well. Hopefully you'll see that from this blog.

Some of my favorites...

A close up of tiny little chia seeds, omega-3 powerhouses. (Yes, they're the same ones that grow green hair on your Chia Pet. Who knew?)

Beloved avocado. They have more potassium than bananas and tons of fiber compared to most fruits.

Mmm, chocolate. This is the pure stuff, completely unsweetened. Antioxidants galore.

I may share more details about my health issues later. For now, if you're curious, please feel free to email me your questions!

23 February 2011

(Defrosted) Spicy Turkey and Vegetable Soup

Tastes even better the next...year? Yep, that's right, I made a huge pot of this soup last January, ate it for days and then froze the rest of it. I've seen it in the freezer since, but it never sounded good to me again. A couple days ago, I took it out to make more room in my freezer. I was fully expecting it to taste freezer burnt, so I almost just threw it out without giving it a try. But somewhere in the recesses of my brain I heard my grandma's voice shouting out her Depression era mantra, "Waste not, want not!" I listened, and heated it on the stove for lunch today--adding some cayenne pepper and sea salt. It was amazing! Even better than I remember it being a year ago. Ha! I never would have thought it would last this long.

Freezers are incredible...or I guess it's the chemistry behind the freezing that's incredible. I've never been a science person, and definitely not a chemist, but cooking and baking has made me start considering the chemical reaction and makeup of foods to the point that I'm super intrigued by how it all works on a molecular level. Oh man, listen to me...please excuse me while I go tape up the bridge of my glasses...

Next up is dessert: defrosted carrot cake from 1992!

Just kidding.

20 February 2011

Coconut Quinoa Rolls with Avocado and Cilantro

This was one of the most satisfying meals I've ever had. Not only was the taste amazing, but just look at it. Isn't it pretty?

I posted this picture on Facebook a few weeks ago and got a lot more feedback than I expected. People even wanted the recipe! The only problem was...I hadn't used a recipe. I rarely do, but I managed to come up with a satisfactory explanation. Here's what to do, it's anything but precise. Have fun with it!

1. Make the quinoa in a rice cooker (or according to package directions)
2. Mix in coconut oil (about 1 Tbsp per 2 c quinoa--to make it like "sticky" rice).
3. After the quinoa cools a little, put some on a nori wrap, on the end closest to you.
4. Add sliced avocado, cilantro and sesame seeds (and whatever else you want in your roll...cucumber would be good--I tried baby carrots, but the texture was wrong, they were too crunchy).
5. Then, roll tightly (I don't have a bamboo mat, but if you do it might be easier) and "seal" the roll by putting a little water on the end of the wrap.
6. Slice with a serrated knife...it was a bit tricky to not smash them, so slice gently.

I forgot to put the sesame seeds inside the first time, so I put some water on the outside of the roll and sprinkled seeds on top. I dipped them in Bragg's liquid aminos, but you can use soy sauce or whatever you like with your sushi. Seriously, it was so easy and this is the first time I've ever made "sushi".

After this meal, I started thinking it might be fun and smart for me to keep track of the food I make, so I can remember to remake the good ones. And with that, plus encouragement from friends, family and other bloggers, this website was born. I anticipate that my posts will have plenty of pictures of my food and a few words (ingredients, stories and recipes when I can figure them out).

Thanks for stopping by, friends. Keep coming back if you like good food!