Monday, June 22, 2015

Samosas + Mint Chutney

Some people come into your life and spark your sense of wanderlust. Enter Laurel - my world traveling friend. She is taking a gap year to take on the world and see what's next. After two years working as a manufacturing engineer in Arizona, Laurel has been wondering around South East Asia since December getting to know new people and volunteering in various cities. She's stayed in hostels, in homes with families, and along trails while trekking her heart out. 

She was in Nepal in May when the earthquake hit, and she then decided to make room for trained volunteers to help out and regroup. So for Mother's Day, she used her travel insurance, hopped a plane and surprised her mom by coming home for the summer. While she is home, she is catching up with her family and friends and making plans for the next part of her journey to South America.

She came over one night to visit with me and Ethan. After hearing about all the good food she experienced, we got motivated and decided to make Samosas! 

Samosas are a popular entree appetizer or snack in the local cuisines of Indian subcontinentSoutheast AsiaCentral Asia and Southwest Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa and North Africa. They are a fried or baked pastry that are usually filled spiced potatoes, lentils, onions, peas, and or minced meat. 

It's a labor intensive process to make these tasty bites, but grab a few of your closest friends and you'll feel like you're having a party! Pair it with this minty chutney, too and you'll find yourself transported to a different continent. 

Check out more of Laurel's adventures here. And read on for the recipe! 


For the beef filling:
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp + 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander (if you can find it!)
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 4 oz canned green chiles
  • Salt to taste 

For the wraps:
  • It's probably best to buy pre-made wraps, but you can make your own too
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Vegetable oil for frying
For the mint chutney: 
  • 1.5 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1.5 cups fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 green chile pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water

  • In a big bowl combine the ground beef, onion, chiles, ginger, garlic, the spices, half of the coriander and lemon juice. Make sure the ground beef is very lean. 
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the beef mixture until completely browned and dry. Stir it constantly so you don't make lumps. It should look something like this.
  • While making the beef, get a couple other people on wrap duty.
  • For the wraps: combine all the ingredients and knead until the ball is really firm. Cover and let it rise for about 15 minutes. Then divide it into 6ish equal balls. 
  • Roll out the balls into a thin dinner plate sized circle. 
  • Once the meat is ready, get the individual wraps and shape them into a cone. Fill the cones with the meat mixture. 
  • Get a dutch oven or deep soup pan and fill it with 1.5 cups vegetable oil over medium high heat. 
  • Then, with the filled wraps get them in the oil!
  • Fry them on each side for about 5 minutes. When cooked, place on paper towel to drain and cool.
  • For the mint chutney: combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree! 


And per usual, eat well! Be well! And subscribe below by email to never miss a beat. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Chicken + Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (plus bonus drink recipe!)

In college, I had terrible luck with my first and only roommate. She was super nice, don't get me wrong! And clean. And quiet. But she also went home every weekend, had one specific friend, and was never around. I had high hopes of gaining a new best friend when I moved in. Little did I know the real world had much more to offer me. Though my first roommate wasn't any trouble, she wasn't my best friend. And I needed some of those. 

Luckily I met Maia! She lived right next door and introduced me to more girls on our floor. Though we got really busy and did not spend as much time together as we hoped, our friendship has stayed strong. After graduating with her masters in nutrition, Maia and I have been dying to hang out more. It wasn't until last week that we ran into each other at a wedding for our mutual friends that we made firm plans. 

Stuffed Peppers. Next weekend. Bring the wine. 

Oh my, what luck! I had almost forgotten how much fun she is to hang out with. (NOT!) She lives on an old military base on an island with great light. And has a knack for going off recipe when she cooks. You heard me right (Curtiss!). While we cooked in her kitchen, I also made new friends: her master-bartender roommate, John and her well-storied boyfriend Curtiss. 

I had a blast cooking with Maia, and to bless our efforts John made us a unique cocktail. So from our kitchen to yours, with a bonus recipe at the end.......

Here's our Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
(with help from Food52 + Maia's twists...and one idea of my own).

  • 5 peppers, tops cut off and insides cleaned out
  • 1/2 tablespoon avocado oil (regular olive oil would work well too)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 pound chicken breast, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Dash of paprika 
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Rose wine.... that was my idea

  • Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F
  • Heat 1/2 TB Avocado Oil in a Sauté Pan on a medium. Wait a minute. Then, add the onion, the mushrooms, and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. And hey, if you don't like mushrooms, you can leave them out. But they are pretty darn good in it!
  • Next add in the chicken and put in all the seasonings (pepper, salt, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and anything else you think would be good.)
  • Stir every so often and cook until the chicken is done. No pink!! Just pale. Once the chicken looks almost cooked, add in a 1/2 cup of your wine (Rose or White will do). Let it cook a little more (1-2 minutes).
  • Then add in the shredded carrots (use a cheese grater) and tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes more.
  • Turn off the heat and add in the parmesan cheese and quinoa.
  • Make sure you have gutted your peppers and that they are ready to stuff. Are they stuffable? Okay, take your mixture and stuff them!
  • Get them into a baking pan that will keep these peppers standing upright. Maia and I used a couple of small loaf pans that worked well. Cover them with foil and bake for 20 minutes. 
  • After 20 minutes, take the foil off, turn the oven to broil, and cook for 5 minutes more. You want to crisp the top!
  • To eat, get a sharp knife and cut the pepper in half. Everything stays together pretty well after that... and enjoy!

With this lovely cocktail...

John Archibald's Mercer Island Sunset

note: yields two drinks
  • 2 shots whiskey
  • 1 shot sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 shot cointreau 
  • Dash Regan's Orange Bitters
  • Dash Arch's Orange Bitters**
  • Garnish with raspberries or cherries
**Arch's Orange Bitters were made in-house by John Archibald himself. We will have to contact him later to see if he will let us in on that recipe. Any orange bitters will do, maybe....

Per usual my friends, eat well! Be well! And subscribe in the "subscribe by email" box below to never miss a beat!

    Monday, June 1, 2015

    Chicken Cesar Pasta Salad

    Like I mentioned in my post, "Matt's Turkish Meatball Burgers", I have hit gold in a new pasta salad recipe. It's literally pasta thrown on top of romaine. And it is perfect. 

    I'm really not going to bore you with a lot of details today. Get some of those spiraly noodles and have at it! It's really a perfect pairing to any backyard BBQ this summer, and even better the next day at work for lunch. Trust me, I just had it at my desk. 

    But I will tell you one thing before I get to the recipe. The Parmesan is KEY. This pasta salad is all about the textures you combine. When I was making the salad again last night for Ethan and I, a wine glass of ours broke all over the freshly grated Parmesan I prepared for it. According to Dr. Ethan, DO NOT risk eating food that had glass shards in it. Like, even if you think you got it all. Even a minuscule piece could ruin your insides. I won't go into much more detail than that. But all I can say is that we had to eat without the cheese and it was definitely  not the same. You must drive yourself to the store if you break a glass in your cheese. It is an integral partner to this flavor pallet. 

    So here's what you need for a new family favorite, Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad


    • 1 package rotini pasta. Also known as spiral pasta. You can use fusilli too.
    • 1.5 cups Parmesan (from the package or freshly grated)  
    • 8 oz grape tomatoes 
    • 2 cups shredded chicken
    • 1 cup light Cesar dressing. I used Ken's Steakhouse dressing. You want it to be oil based. Not creamy
    • 1 head romaine lettuce 

    • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Once hot, put in 2-3 chicken breasts that have been salted and peppered. Cook according to the package. Generally, if it is frozen it'll take 40-45 minutes. If they are thawed, it'll take about 20-25 minutes.
    • Get 6 quarts of water boiling. As an old cooking teacher once said to me, "You want to salt the water for the pasta as if it were swimming in the sea"
    • While the water is boiling for the pasta, cut all your grape tomatoes in half. Also wash and thoroughly dry the lettuce. Then shred the lettuce. 
    • Cook your pasta according the package once the water is boiling. This will take 7-9 minutes. 
    • Grate your cheese, if needed.
    • Once you have all your ingredients prepared. Make sure the pasta has cooled and you have shredded your chicken. Here's a good way how to do that .... USE YOUR FINGERS!
    • Now it's just a matter of getting a big bowl, dumping in all the ingredients, and tossing them in your dressing. 
    • If you want to kick it up a notch, serve with lemon wedges. And don't just stare at the wedges use them when you sit down. 

    Last minute pro tips for left overs:
    • If you know you won't be able to eat all of this in one sitting, I suggest you keep the lettuce out of the bowl when you toss in the dressing. Keep it to the side and put the pasta on top when serving up individually.
    • When taking it to work, or storing for later, make sure you put in the pasta part first and the lettuce on top. It will keep from wilting that way.

    And there you have it! A quick and simple, filling side dish. Or really, a whole meal.
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    Eat well! Be well, my friends!