We spent Saturday at a fundraiser breakfast and then headed to San Francisco for the afternoon/evening.
Ah, the city. It’s quite possibly my favorite in the world. I love the energy, the people, the culture. We love walking around, exploring different neighborhoods while shopping and eating.
Before our jam-packed weekend, I made this on Friday night. Usually our unspoken dinner-out night, we decided it would be nicer to relax at home.
I have a pretty good size list of ‘Date-Night-In Meals’. Dinners that impress, don’t keep me in the kitchen the whole evening, and are fancy enough that we can justify not venturing out to eat. This one definitely tops the list.
I know what you might be thinking. Risotto has quite the little reputation of being complicated, laborious, and fussy.
I promise you, this recipe is worth it. 20 minutes. That’s it. 20 minutes is all it takes to stir the risotto, from start to finish. Quite the bargain for a luxurious meal like this.
You will need to use Arborio rice for this. It’s essential for making risotto, regular rice won’t behave the same way. If your local grocery store doesn’t carry it, you can find it online. DK readers can use code KCF880 for $10 off $40 purchases or $5 off purchases under $40.
Prepare a quick salad for a side; baby greens and a simple dressing. Whisk together extra-version olive oil, red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard, 1 small clove minced garlic, salt/pepper. Toss with greens.
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Toss squash cubes with 1 tsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place in roasting pan or baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes until fork tender.
In a saucepan, bring broth to a simmer. In a separate saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice, garlic, cumin, nutmeg and stir. Cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in 1/2 cup simmering broth and cook, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and allowing each 1/2 cup of broth be absorbed before adding the next. The risotto should be creamy but still al-dente. You might not use all the broth.
Add roasted squash, nutritional yeast, salt, and sage. Stir together and cook an additional 1 minute. Serve immediately.
You made dinner, right?
Make your sweetie do the dishes. It’s the least they could do for enjoying a meal like this. ; )
The Life of Pi movie was slightly better than the book.
This pot-pie is head and shoulders better than a traditional pot-pie.
This month’s Recipe Redux theme: A healthy recipe inspired by this year’s Oscar Picks.
With so many options to choose from, it was hard to pick just one. This Life of Pi imagined dish combines a literal pie with a hearty, Indian filling.
Or as I like to call is: Samosa Pot Pie.
Spicy, hearty filling of peas, potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots topped with a flaky whole-wheat crust.
And much healthier than traditional pie, to boot.
Anyone that knows me understands that Oscar night is a big deal in our house.
I can’t remember when we first started betting on picks, but it’s become quite the tradition, one we look forward to for weeks. The day of the Oscars BL and I bet on various categories, one picking a winner the other taking the field, to up the ante while watching the festivities.
We have some pretty fun prizes: car wash, cleaning the bathroom, dinner out, massage…
I guess this is what a competitive couple does for fun?
But what would a night of gambling be without a spread of delicious food?
We each usually bring 2-3 items that we can snack on: dips, desserts, my Oscar star cookies, and of course champagne!
Because that’s exactly what a competitive couple who also loves food does for fun.
This year, I am going to bring these. A fun twist on my favorite appetizer, the samosa, baked into a miniature pot pie.
We already established that mini versions of our favorite foods were better than the original, and this pie is no exception.
However you celebrate Oscar night, be sure to check out all of the Oscar-inspired recipes in the Redux Roundup below.
Cross your fingers that I win!
Whole Wheat Pie-Crust:
3-4 Tbsp Ice Water
1/3 cup Unsalted Earth Balance Shorting Sticks, chilled
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
Place flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Using a pastry beater, mix together the flour and salt. Drop small peices of butter into the bowl, one at a time and mix until small peas of dough form, Add water, one tablespoon at a time until dough forms. Form dough into a ball and press each into a disc shape. Wrap plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.
Pot Pie Filling:
2 tbsp. coconut oil (or other oil)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped cauliflower
2 yukon gold potatoes, chopped
1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
3 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. ground mustard
3/4 cup green peas
1 tbsp. agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
1 small lime, juiced
1 tbsp. Earth Balance butter, melted
1 tbsp. soymilk
salt, to taste
Heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and minced garlic. Cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cubed potatoes and 3/4 cup vegetable broth. Bring heat to medium-high and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes until they resemble chunky mashed potatoes.
Add the carrots, cauliflower and spices. Add the remaining vegetable broth and simmer for 15 minutes until thickened. Add agave nectar, lime juice, and frozen peas. Stir together. Season with salt, to taste.
Place filling into greased ramekins or pie plate.
Roll the dough out until ~1/2″ thick. If using a pie plate, place the dough on top and crimp the edges. If using individual ramekins, cut a circle slightly larger than the ramekin. Place on top and crimp the edges with a fork until sealed.
Make a small X on top to let steam escape. Combine the melted butter and soy milk. Lightly brush tops with the butter-milk mixture.
Well, let me clarify. I have not met a vegetarian ethnic dish that I do not like. I don’t do animal parts, insects, and the like. No Reservations and Bizarre Foods creep me out.
But. Spicy Indian curries, Thai noodles, Moroccan Stew… now we’re talking.
Not that I’m much of a world traveler. The furthest my passport has been is Denmark, and while I enjoyed amazing bread & cheese, I wouldn’t exactly call it must-travel ethnic food.
None the less, I do enjoy some sort of weekly ethnic take-out, perhaps making me a part-time world cuisine connoisseur.
Or just a little piggy who needs her fix of curry on the reg.
I’ve personally tried every Indian restaurant in Stockton and the downtown Sacramento area. (Some people have bigger goals, taste testing curry was mine at one point).
Sadly, I don’t branch out much. I almost always settle on one of three dishes and Vegetable Korma tops that list. I can scan a menu pretty fast, looking for the words Korma or Navratan. If I spot it, watch out. I’ll probably be enjoying one there and taking one home with me for lunch the next day.
It’s THAT good. Creamy, cashew rich sauce loaded with spices and vegetables? I could eat this for 6 weeks straight and not get tired of it.
I made this version a few nights ago to enjoy with girlfriends. Yes, it’s not traditional but it’s pretty darn good. And it taste close to what I order at Bombay, a winning argument for me to make it more and take-out less.
Did I mention that it’s simple enough to come together on a weeknight and 1/2 the price of takeout?
DK’s Vegetable Korma
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. curry powder
1/2 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium yukon gold potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, diced
2 cups diced cauliflower
1 cup diced broccoli
1 cup frozen green peas
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeño, diced
1/2 cup ground unsalted cashews
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 cup coconut milk (the canned kind, light is fine)
4 oz. tomato sauce
1 bunch cilantro, for garnish
Heat the coconut oil in a dutch oven or large skillet pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and stir in. Add fresh grated ginger, garlic, and cook an additional 2 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic.
Add the jalapeño, curry powder, paprika, chili powder, and turmeric. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes until spices are fragrant. By now, your whole house should be smelling like an indian restaurant…
Add the potatoes, carrots, cashews, and tomato sauce. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook another 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Continue to stir frequently, so not to burn the mixture.
Add the peas, garbanzo beans, cauliflower, and broccoli, and coconut milk. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Coconut milk will curdle, so make sure your heat is turned down to a low setting.
Serve over rice. Garnish with cilantro. Make sure to have plenty of Naan available for dipping.
You know the moment that you’ve made something amazing? The exact second when you taste something and you start dreaming of self-titled cookbooks, shows, and appearing on the Today Show?
This is that dish.
I’ll be honest. It’s really hard for me to tell what is ‘good’ from what is ‘eh’ sometimes when I craft recipes. I like most of the food I make, but I’m also the same person who thinks a big bowl of steamed kale and brown rice make a fine, fine dinner.
I get that not everyone has those same taste buds.
Sometimes I think the Universe played a cruel joke on me by making me fall head-over-heels for my sweetie.
BL, as I affectionately put it, has the taste buds of a 5 year old.
His favorite meals? Mac N Cheese, Pizza, Chix Nugget Salad, Stir-Fry, Lentil Tacos, Soups. Sure, fine, I love all those kind of foods too. But. When I start getting a little crazy in the kitchen, adding my own spin and spice to favorite recipes, I know he wishes I was making bean burritos instead. The other day he said, in the kindest voice mind you, ‘Can we stop putting Curry flavor in everything? I feel like that’s all we’ve been eating lately’
I could have gone on my Indian kick forever.
But, love is love, so you change it up a bit. You make hearty, not-so-scary, manly yet healthy meals and all is right in the world.
That’s exactly what we have here. I knew the second I tasted the sauce that BL was going to love this dish. I did a little jig in the kitchen knowing that I was going to make him oh-so-happy for dinner that night.
Because, if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I should be able to experience that once in a while, right?
What he lacks in flavor-adventure, he makes up for in everything else. Shoot this video for me so I can show people how to roll gnocchi like my grandmother taught me? No questions asked.
Try a zillion variations of chocolate chip cookies until I get the perfect one? Sigh. Yeah. He does it all.
Sometimes living with a food blogger isn’t always that fun. Sometimes the food is cold because I took too much time photographing. Sometimes we eat at 10PM because I started over 4 times. But when I get it right, I know. If BL loves it, I know everyone else will too.
So, in the spirit of upcoming Valentine’s Day, I hope you enjoy this easy, very impressive meal, worthy of anyone you make it for.
We made a video! And it was fun! The worst part is realizing all of the mistakes you made after you’ve finished filming. Oh well! YOLO.
I hope you enjoy. We have a few more coming in the next few weeks, think hummus, tofu, burgers, oh my!
Homemade Gnocchi with Mushroom Ragu
2 large baking potatoes
1 cup regular flour
1//2 tsp. garlic salt
2 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Clean potatoes and poke all over with a fork. Bake for 1 hour until really soft. Remove from oven, let cool and peel skins off.
Using a ricer, rice potatoes and place in a large bowl. If you don’t have a ricer, mash until there are as few lumps as possible.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, dried herbs, and salt. Slowly add the flour to the potatoes and stir into a dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic and place in fridge for 30 minutes.
Unwrap dough and place onto a lightly flour-dusted workspace. Divide the dough in 4 and roll each section into a 1/2 inch thick log. cut the rope into 1″ pieces. Using your pointed and middle finger, place fingers onto a piece of dough and pull towards you. Fold the other side over. You want to make a crevice where sauce can get in.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place gnocchi in water and cook until they rise to the surface, about 3 minutes. You will do this in batches, being sure not to overcrowd the gnocchi in the sauce pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a cookie sheet in a warm oven.
Only cook the amount of gnocchi you intend to use. Freeze any additional gnocchi before cooking.
4 cups mixed wild mushrooms, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/8 cup parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. butter
Heat the oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms, let cook for 10 minutes until reduced and caramelized, stirring only a few times. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, shallots, rosemary, oregano and cook for 5 more minutes. Add tomato sauce and red wine, stir and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in 1 tbsp. butter and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
BL approved. After he takes a bite, looks at me and says ‘A+’ I know we have found a winner.