Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cooking: Chicken Tikka Masala

Tonight I tried making a healthier version of chicken tikka masala which involves chicken breast, low fat plain yogurt & fat free evaporated milk. Yes, just using those ingrediants instead of full fat ones can make it better for you. Less indulgent for sure, but the flavors are all still there. I'll just skip to the recipe cuz I'm hungry and currently eating as I type this.

Healthier Chicken Tikka Masala

Warning: You'll need an hour to overnight to marinate the chicken. Lesson learned for me :)

1 pkg of boneless skinless chicken breast cut to bite sized pieces
1 onion sliced
5 garlic cloves minced
4 inch knob of ginger skinned and grated
1 jalapeno finely diced
2 limes juiced (need 1-2 tbsp juice)
handful cilantro rough chopped
2/3 cup low fat plain yogurt
1 cup fat free evaporated milk
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp cumin/coriander blend (found at the Indian market)
1 tbsp paprika

1) Combine paprika & cumin/coriander blend together.
2) Dump chicken in a freezer bag along with half of the garlic, ginger, cumin/coriander/paprika blend, all of the lime juice, yogurt, salt & pepper. Tightly seal the bag and mix everything together. Set aside to marinate.
3) After time is up, heat a heavy bottomed pan with some veg oil on medium heat.
4) Add sliced onion and saute until translucent and softened.
5) Add jalapeno and other half of ginger, garlic, cumin/coriander/paprika blend. Saute until fragrant.
6) Add marinated chicken and mix.
7) Let the chicken cook for about 5-7 minutes until you don't see any pink. Then add tomato paste and mix until well incorporated.
8) Deglaze with evaporated milk.
9) Simmer for 20 minutes or until it has become thickened to your liking. Reseason and serve.

I served mine with store bought palak paneer, garlic naan & rice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

NAC: Single Layer Card

We were challenged this week by Kristina Werner to create single layer cards. Man... this one was harder than I thought it'd be. Weird thing was, I already knew what I wanted to do. On Sunday night I closed my eyes, ready to drift off to sleep and images of cards were flashing through my mind. Interestingly enough, the next day I woke up and I was able to sketch out a few of the cards. One of the cards that I sketched out had lovely teal & pink color to it but when I actually tried it out on the card, it didn't work.

Last night, I watched a Threadbanger video where this chick made a lamp cover that had a beautiful city skyline outline (I can't link for some reason right now but I'll edit this post to include the video later). Anyway, I thought about how I could incorporate the technique without paper piercing. I didn't want to do paper piercing because I probably wouldn't be able to get the holes big enough to show a white background so I decided to use my white gel pen and dot the outline. I think it turned out pretty good although I had a hard time filling thinking about how to fill in the space between the tall building and the sentiment.

I think my other inspiration was the song I Left My Heart in San Francisco by Tony Bennett.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Cooking": Pulled Pork Tacos

You probably saw this coming. I had a bunch of leftover pulled pork from Saturday so tonight I decided to make tacos. They're no ordinary pork tacos though. I used some BBQ sauce to add flavor to the pork and topped the tacos with cole slaw for added texture and crunch. Mmm... it's so good. I'm salivating as I type this and the plate is sitting right next to the keyboard so I'll make this short and sweet.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cooking: Pulled Pork Pizza Rolls

This afternoon we're going to a party at our ex-neighbors place and I wanted to make something special despite the fact that I've learned my lesson on not making something new for people unless I've tried and perfected it. Recently, one of my friends linked me to a recipe for pizza rolls. What are they, you ask? Imagine Totino's pizza rolls but homemade and better. Yeah, that's what I thought too.

I also asked peeps what I should stuff the pizza rolls with since I wanted something unique. One of them mentioned pulled pork and cheese. Yum! How could I go wrong with that? I found a very easy pulled pork recipe on Chef John's website (http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2009/12/oven-smoked-pulled-pork-shoulder.html) Hey.. I know it's ghetto but I don't have a smoker either and IT WORKS.

I put the seasoned pork butt in the oven at 10:23pm last night and this morning, 12 hours later.. it was falling off the bone. I couldn't transfer the pork to a bowl in one piece, it collapsed in pieces. Oh and flavor wise.. amazing.

My friend said the cheese on top looks good. "Definitely good but bigger is not better." Size consistency was definitely a problem. So if you try this recipe I recommend using a cookie cutter or something so you can get the pizza dough the right size for each portion.

I rough chopped the pork and added some store bought (Sweet Baby Ray's) BBQ sauce and some salt to reseason it. Then I stuffed the pizza dough with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and the pulled pork. I brushed the tops of the rolls with olive oil, more cheese & a thin slice of jalapeno.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cards Blog Challenge - Candles

This week's challenge on Cards Blog was to create a card that has candles on it. I actually worked on this card for 3 days! The first day I had a complete different idea in mind that used felt but for some reason the felt was difficult to work with despite my success with the cloud card from last week. It kept tearing so I came up with the idea to stabilize it with some card stock. That still didn't work out the way I wanted and it ended up being way too much work for what I had in mind. So, what you see below is based on one of my other sketches. Lots of stitching involved which I love. I basically spent all of my free time yesterday stitching the candles. Today, I spent most of the time reworking the sentiment because the first time, it was FUGLY.

Anyway, enough rambling. I'm gonna enjoy the rest of my evening. Hope you guys like this one :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cooking: "Healthy Gumbo"

I put the title of this recipe in quotations because well.. I don't actually know how healthy it is, nor would I really call it gumbo. It has shrimp, okra and started with onions, bell pepper & celery but that's about as far as it goes. The roux wasn't nearly cooked long enough to make it dark brown. If you guys are looking for a short cut recipe on gumbo, this is it. In all fairness, it was a fast and easy weeknight recipe.

Justyn gave me the link to the recipe (http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1973609) however I tweaked it to make it easier. The recipe tells you to make the roux and then set it aside. Uhm... let's make it a one pot meal shall we? Here's my take on the recipe.

Shrimp & Okra Gumbo

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 box of chicken broth
1 cup chopped onion
4 ounces smoked ham, chopped
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 ribs of celery diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 bag of frozen sliced okra
1/2 tbsp red chili flake

salt & pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 lb. peeled and deveined large shrimp
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

1) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour; cook 1 minute or until lightly browned, stirring constantly with a whisk.

2) Add onion, ham, bell pepper and celery and cook until veggies are slightly tender. Then add garlic, red chili flake, thyme & all spice and cook until fragrant.

3) Deglaze pot with chicken broth. Stir until combined and then add the can of diced tomato.

4) Bring it up to a boil and then drop it down to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until veg is tender.

5) Add okra and cook for 5 minutes to heat through. Then add shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes or until cooked.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cooking: Moroccan Lamb Stew

It seems like every time I post a cooking post I always start out with "it's been a while...". It really had and maybe I should just cook more often.

I found this recipe on epicurous.com (Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Moroccan-Lamb-Stew-101388) and as I was about to leave work on Friday I decided to peruse the comments. Thankfully I did because they were helpful. I found out that this was more useful as a base recipe and that it was very tweakable. In fact, I tweaked this recipe so much that I could pretty much call it my own.

Unfortunately, I had not calculated my time well on Friday so we weren't able to eat it for dinner. Instead, we ate it today. Justyn really enjoyed it. I think he just finished his third helping! He even wants to try his hand at making it sometime. I told him he might be sick of this by the time we finish the leftovers. He said "nah".

Anyway, here's the recipe I used and pics :)

Moroccan Lamb Stew

3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 generous pinch of red chili flake
2 tbsp flour
2 pounds lamb stew meat
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
6 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 tablespoons peeled grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 can reduced sodium chicken broth
6-8 dried apricots halved
1/4 cup golden raisins
chopped parsley for garnish

1) In a bowl combine the room temp lamb meat with salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, red chili flake & flour.
2) In a dutch oven, heat olive oil on high heat.
3) Sear meat in batches until browned well.
4) Remove meat and set aside.
5) Add onions and saute for 3-4 minutes. Then add garlic & ginger and saute for another 2 mins.
6) Add lamb meat back into dutch oven and combine with onions.
7) Add 1/4 cup of tomato paste and mix well.
8) Add the entire can of chicken broth and scrape up the bottom to deglaze.
9) Let everything simmer for 1.5 hours stirring occasionally.
10) Add chick peas, apricots & raisins and let simmer for another 20 mins.
11) Garnish with chopped parsley & serve over couscous.

Friday, April 9, 2010

EBTKS Challenge - String

It's my first time participating in an Everything But The Kitchen Sink (EBTSK) challenge and I was super excited. If you know my style, you know that I love stitching on cards. I went all out with this one by only using stitching since I had a bunch of leftover embroidery string from other projects. However, this is the first time I've stamped letters in Versamark and used that as a guide to stitch. I think it turned out OK... though the letters are kinda wonky. Oh well :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cards Blog Challenge - Cloud & Rain

Quick drive-by post before I go to bed.

Edit: OK so I'm awake enough to elaborate on this card. I had some cream colored felt in my embroidery box so I broke it out and did some stitching to give it a more finished look. Before I attached it to the card with glue dots, I used some silver thread to mimic the raindrops falling. I used the same technique as the bird card I made a couple weeks ago by hand cutting into the card base and popping the patterned paper up with dimensionals from the back. The rest is pretty much self explanatory so I won't bore you with the details :)

Jason's Last Party :(

This past weekend we went to what was Jason's last party. Sadly, he's moving to China soon so we won't be able to see him anymore unless he comes back to visit.. or we go there. It was also his annual party for Aries. As usual we went to Golfland and then back to his house for delicious home cooking. He made chili, cactus salad & apple jalapeno cornbread which was divine. I had to go back for seconds!

NAC: Robot Birthday

I made this card for my friend's birthday recently and couldn't post it until now since I just got my camera back this afternoon :) Plus I didn't wanna ruin the suprise in case he was lurking on my blog. The patterned paper and chipboard piece are from My Mind's Eye Lil Robot collection. Cute right? I couldn't resist buying MORE stuff I probably don't need.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Embellish Magazine Challenge - Stitching

OK, so to be honest, I didn't really like the 2nd card I made for this challenge. The great thing is, I can always try again :) The challenge doesn't end until the 8th so I had plenty of time to redesign. I'm really happy with how this card turned out. Now I only have 7 days left to change my mind hah!

We've had some crappy weather the past two weeks so that's probably what made me decide on making a sad cloud as my focal point. It's been rainy and cold for a spring day in the bay area.

Anyway, hope you guys like this one!