The Adventures of Lady Kitchenless

A Lady Kitchenless First: Navratan Korma!

I have loved Navratan Korma ever since I first had it at Lord Kitchenless’ family Boxing Day party, and I’ve been searching for a recipe that tastes as good as India Gate’s (in St. John’s, NL) to no avail. I decided I would just try to make my own after I got nearly every required veggie in this month’s Halton Fresh Food Box. It’s very easy to make!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup each, diced: carrots, peas, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, paneer
1 small can diced green chilies
1/4 cup golden raisins
10-15 large cashews
1 Tablespoon butter
1 small onion or 1/2 a medium-large onion
1 small-medium tomato
3 cardamom pods, ground (1/4 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 Tablespoon ginger paste
1 small container (175 ml) plain yogourt
3 garlic cloves
1/8 teaspoon Sriracha
1/2 cup milk or water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Blanch broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, and green beans in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside. Purée the tomato in a food processor and cook for 5-10 minutes until reduced by half. Purée onion, chilies, garlic, cardamom, cumin, coriander, and ginger in the food processor, then add to tomato purée along with the butter. Fry for 5-10 minutes, then add yogourt and stir. Add bell peppers and sauté for 3-5 minutes, then add the paneer, blanched veggies, raisins, and cashews, milk or water, sugar and salt. Simmer 30 minutes or until you can’t wait any longer to eat delicious curry.

I made chicken biryani (the rice dish) the previous night, but that sauce came from a jar so it doesn’t count as a recipe. ;)

Strawberries and shortcake

My friend came by today with some strawberries that needed to be eaten today, so I offered to make a shortcake to go with them. 

Cut up 10-15 medium-large strawberries, and then pour 1/3 cup white sugar over them. Stir until the strawberries release their juice and dissolve the sugar. Set aside while the shortcake is being prepared.

Shortcake:

2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup evaporated milk

Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9x9 silicone baking pan.

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until smooth. Add the baking powder and 1 cup of the flour, stirring until flour is incorporated. Add 1/2 cup of the evaporated milk, stirring to combine. Stir in the other cup of flour, followed by the final 1/2 cup of evaporated milk. Add the 1/8 teaspoon salt and stir until batter is smooth.

Pour into the greased cake pan and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve with the strawberries (and whipped cream if you have it)!

Strawberries and shortcake

My friend came by today with some strawberries that needed to be eaten today, so I offered to make a shortcake to go with them.

Cut up 10-15 medium-large strawberries, and then pour 1/3 cup white sugar over them. Stir until the strawberries release their juice and dissolve the sugar. Set aside while the shortcake is being prepared.

Shortcake:

2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup evaporated milk

Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9x9 silicone baking pan.

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until smooth. Add the baking powder and 1 cup of the flour, stirring until flour is incorporated. Add 1/2 cup of the evaporated milk, stirring to combine. Stir in the other cup of flour, followed by the final 1/2 cup of evaporated milk. Add the 1/8 teaspoon salt and stir until batter is smooth.

Pour into the greased cake pan and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve with the strawberries (and whipped cream if you have it)!

Balsamic chicken with pecans & blue cheese, salad with balsamic reduction dressing, and steamed broccoli with cheese sauce

I felt like making something kinda fancy so I invited a friend over to our place for supper!

Balsamic reduction

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 medium bay leaf
1 clove garlic, lightly crushed
A shake or two of basil, oregano, parsley, and summer savoury

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer 10-15 minutes until liquid has reduced by about half. Remove and discard the bay leaf and crushed garlic clove. Set reduction aside to cool.

Balsamic chicken with pecans & blue cheese

4-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons balsamic reduction
2-3 Tablespoons pecan pieces
1-2 teaspoons blue cheese crumbles

Marinate the chicken thighs in the balsamic vinegar, oil, salt and pepper for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours. When marinating is done, place the chicken thighs in a baking dish and spoon the balsamic reduction over the chicken, then sprinkle the pecans over everything. Bake at 375F for 30-35 minutes. Serve topped with blue cheese crumbles and a couple spoons of the juices from the baking dish.

Cheese sauce for veggies

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in saucepan (I used a mini crock pot!), then add flour and cook for a minute or two. Whisk milk into flour and butter mixture 1/4 cup at a time, then bring to a boil until liquid thickens, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add shredded cheese, stirring constantly until cheese is completely melted and sauce is smooth. Add dry mustard, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine. Serve over steamed broccoli or other vegetables.

Balsamic reduction salad dressing

2 Tablespoons balsamic reduction
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Put into a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid and shake until emulsified. Drizzle over salad.

Creamy pesto rotini with chicken and broccoli

This is a super-easy, quick, cheap, and delicious meal!

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 cups rotini pasta
1 cup broccoli florets
1/3 cup pesto
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 brick cream cheese (4 oz or 1/2 cup)

Flatten, season with salt and pepper, and bake the boneless skinless chicken thighs for 20 minutes at 375F.

While the chicken is baking, bring water to boil in the rice cooker and add the rotini.

When the pasta is tender, throw the broccoli in for about a minute or so until it turns bright green, then drain everything and set aside.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and cut it into strips, then add it to the rice cooker pot along with the chicken broth and pesto. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the cream cheese and stir constantly until it is fully blended into the pesto.

Add the pasta and broccoli, stir to coat, and enjoy!

Jamaican jerk chicken with rice and peas!

When Lord Kitchenless and I visited Ottawa last year for Canada Day, we ate lunch at this little Jamaican place and had the BEST jerk chicken with rice and peas. I’ve been meaning to try this forever and finally got around to it! Jerk seasoning is really easy to make and is composed of stuff you probably already have in your pantry! You can cut down the amount of cayenne or hot paprika and Sriracha if you don’t want it to be too spicy, but that piquancy really does make the jerk seasoning. Rice and peas is a bit of a misnomer; the peas in this dish are actually red kidney beans!

Jerk seasoning:
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1-2 teaspoons hot paprika or cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder or dried onion
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons sugar
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Jerk chicken:

Two boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons jerk seasoning
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
3 teaspoons minced ginger
Squirt or two of Sriracha sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth

Combine the jerk seasoning, soy sauce, ginger, barbecue sauce, and Sriracha in a small Pyrex baking dish until a thick paste is formed. Pat the chicken breasts dry and then roll them in the paste, using your fingers to spread it evenly over the chicken breasts. Be sure to wash your hands afterwards; you don’t want to get that jerk seasoning paste in your eyes! Add the chicken broth and cover the baking dish with foil, then bake in the oven at 375F for 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165F. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

Rice and peas:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups long grain rice
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 cups water or chicken stock
1 can coconut milk
1 can of red kidney beans, undrained
2 teaspoons dried thyme
Optional: 1 whole habanero or Scotch bonnet chili pepper
Optional: lime juice

Sauté onions and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes, then add rice, ginger, salt, water or stock, and coconut milk and stir everything. Add the kidney beans and thyme, as well as the whole chili pepper if you want. Bring everything to a boil and then simmer for about 15 or 20 minutes. Once done, remove from heat and cover for about 10 minutes, then remove and discard the chili pepper, fluff with a fork and serve sprinkled with lime juice and the sauce in the baking dish alongside the chicken!

A Lady Kitchenless First: Pigs in Blankets!

My mom used to make this for me when I was a kid, but I never tried making them till now! Pigs in Blankets is simply breakfast sausage links rolled up in pancakes and served with butter and maple syrup.

Bake 8-10 sausage links (I used maple flavour and they were terrific) in the oven at 450F for about 20 minutes, turning them halfway through baking. Let them cool while you make the pancakes.

Pancake batter ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbs vegetable or grapeseed oil
1 Tbs maple syrup

Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl, combine all wet ingredients in another bowl, then whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until there are no large lumps. If batter is too thick, add a little water. 

Heat a teaspoon of oil to med-high in a nonstick frying pan and then pour on 2-3 small ladles of batter (however many will fit without overlapping). When small bubbles start to form on the top of the pancakes, that means it’s time to turn them! They will cook really fast once you flip them so pay attention!

Once all the pancakes are cooked, roll a sausage up in each one, smear a little butter on them, and serve with maple syrup.

A Lady Kitchenless First: Pigs in Blankets!

My mom used to make this for me when I was a kid, but I never tried making them till now! Pigs in Blankets is simply breakfast sausage links rolled up in pancakes and served with butter and maple syrup.

Bake 8-10 sausage links (I used maple flavour and they were terrific) in the oven at 450F for about 20 minutes, turning them halfway through baking. Let them cool while you make the pancakes.

Pancake batter ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbs vegetable or grapeseed oil
1 Tbs maple syrup

Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl, combine all wet ingredients in another bowl, then whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until there are no large lumps. If batter is too thick, add a little water.

Heat a teaspoon of oil to med-high in a nonstick frying pan and then pour on 2-3 small ladles of batter (however many will fit without overlapping). When small bubbles start to form on the top of the pancakes, that means it’s time to turn them! They will cook really fast once you flip them so pay attention!

Once all the pancakes are cooked, roll a sausage up in each one, smear a little butter on them, and serve with maple syrup.

Wild & brown rice with veggies & goat cheese!

Once again, I was inspired by a Twitter conversation (thank you @SpokesGay, this made my evening!), so I fired up the rice cooker! This can be made vegetarian or even vegan by using vegetable broth and omitting the goat cheese.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 rice cooker measuring cups of wild/brown rice mix (I get this at Bulk Barn)
2 tablespoons chicken broth concentrate
1 tsp minced garlic
1 small to medium tomato, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 green onion, diced
1/2 cup frozen mixed veggies
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp each of summer savoury, parsley, and oregano
1 Tbs goat cheese

Put the rice into the rice cooker pot, then pour in 1 1/2 cups hot water and everything except the goat cheese. Stir to combine, then put the rice cooker kid on, set it to the “white rice” setting, and let it cook! Remember to remove the bay leaf before serving. Top with the crumbled goat cheese.

Wild & brown rice with veggies & goat cheese!

Once again, I was inspired by a Twitter conversation (thank you @SpokesGay, this made my evening!), so I fired up the rice cooker! This can be made vegetarian or even vegan by using vegetable broth and omitting the goat cheese.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 rice cooker measuring cups of wild/brown rice mix (I get this at Bulk Barn)
2 tablespoons chicken broth concentrate
1 tsp minced garlic
1 small to medium tomato, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 green onion, diced
1/2 cup frozen mixed veggies
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp each of summer savoury, parsley, and oregano
1 Tbs goat cheese

Put the rice into the rice cooker pot, then pour in 1 1/2 cups hot water and everything except the goat cheese. Stir to combine, then put the rice cooker kid on, set it to the “white rice” setting, and let it cook! Remember to remove the bay leaf before serving. Top with the crumbled goat cheese.

Tonight’s supper: balsamic chicken with bell pepper and onion, avocado, cucumber, and grape salad, and Swiss chard with pinto beans, tomato, bacon, and goat cheese.

I got a bunch of Swiss chard in this month’s Halton Fresh Food Box, and had no idea what to do with it as I’d never encountered it before. I found the Swiss chard with beans recipe and altered it a little bit based on what we had on hand, and HOLY COW IT IS GOOD.

The salad was another recipe I found and altered based on what I had received in the Fresh Food Box and picked up at the grocery store, and the chicken was just a recipe I threw together.

Swiss chard with pinto beans, tomato, bacon, and goat cheese

  • 1/2 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stalks removed and cut into strips
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 2-3 Tbsp goat cheese
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled bacon
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 squirt of Sriracha
  • Salt & pepper

Saute garlic in butter, then add Sriracha sauce. Stir to combine, then add the chopped Swiss chard and cover the pan and let cook for about 5 minutes until mostly wilted. Remove cover and stir, then add pinto beans, tomato, lemon juice, and bacon, and cover again until all chard is wilted. Crumble the goat cheese over everything, then stir gently so that the goat cheese does not break apart too much when it melts.

Avocado, cucumber, and grape salad

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 4-6 leaves Romaine lettuce, stalks and middle vein removed and cut into smallish pieces
  • 1 handful red grapes
  • 1/2 sweet onion, cut into strips
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped finely
  • The juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl except the lemon juice and olive oil. Combine the lemon juice and olive oil in a container with a tight-fitting lid, and shake vigorously. Pour over salad, and toss to coat evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Balsamic chicken with peppers and onions

  • 4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
  • 1/2 sweet onion, cut into strips
  • 1/2 medium bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp minced garlic, divided into four 1/2 tsp portions
  • Herbs (I used dried summer savoury, rosemary, and parsley)

Put the chicken thighs into a baking dish, then spread 1/2 tsp garlic over each chicken thigh. Pour balsamic vinegar evenly over each chicken thigh until coated, then add herbs, onion, and bell pepper. Cover dish with foil and bake at 425F for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (160F on a kitchen thermometer). You can remove the foil for the last 10 minutes to get the skin nice and crispy (which I forgot to do).

Fish and tomato curry with red lentil daal and basmati rice! Thanks to the lovely @MolliDesi on Twitter for the idea.

It’s no secret that I really enjoy Indian/South Asian food, as well as the challenge of adapting the recipes to fit our lack of kitchen. This one required some creative thinking; I had to cook the sauce for the fish in the rice cooker first, then set the sauce aside while the fish marinated in the fridge, and reused the rice cooker pot to cook the daal. The unsung hero in this recipe is my little rice steamer which I rarely use unless I’m cooking something which requires rice.

Fish and Tomato Curry ingredients:

—Marinade:

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 white fish filets (I used basa filets but I think I may try another type next time)

—Curry Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped and set aside 
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, Sriracha sauce, salt, and sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 cup water

Combine the Dijon mustard, sesame oil, salt, and pepper in a plastic zip-close bag with the fish filets. Squish everything around so that the fish is evenly coated with the marinade, then put in the fridge for an hour.

Using a food processor, whir one whole onion chopped into eighths with 2 Tablespoons ginger paste and 1 1/2 Tablespoons garlic paste until a thick paste is formed. You will use half of this onion/garlic/ginger paste for the fish curry and the other half for the red lentil daal.

Put half the onion/garlic/ginger paste into the rice cooker pot with 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil. Close the lid and saute for a few minutes, then add the spices, Sriracha sauce, salt, and sugar. Let that simmer a few minutes until the spices become fragrant, then add the chopped tomato and water. Simmer another 5 minutes, then using a spatula, pour the curry sauce into a baking dish and set aside.

When the fish is done marinating, remove it from the plastic bag and discard the excess marinade. Place the fish into the baking dish with the curry sauce, and cover the fish with the curry sauce. Place some aluminum foil over the baking dish and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Red Lentil Daal ingredients:

  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, curry powder, salt, and Sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and picked clean of hulls, stones, and other debris
  • 4 cups water or chicken/vegetable broth
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste

Add the other half of the onion/garlic/ginger paste from the food processor into the rice cooker pot with 1 Tablespoon sesame oil. Saute for 5 minutes with the rice cooker lid closed, then add the spices, water or broth, and lentils. Heat to a boil and then let simmer for about 30 minutes until the lentils are soft and beginning to fall apart. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 10-15 minutes, depending on how you like the texture of your daal. If it gets too thick, just add more water.

Baking powder biscuits with sausage gravy!

This is one of my favourite recipes. It was always a treat when my mom made it for breakfast!

Biscuit ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 cup butter
Salt & pepper (optional)
1/2 cup milk

Combine the flour and baking powder, then blend the butter in with a pastry blender or just use your hands, working until the mixture resembles coarse meal (see Photo 2). Add the milk and stir until dough forms and is no longer sticky to the touch.

Turn dough out onto the counter and knead until all the dough holds together, adding a tablespoon or so of milk if the dough still doesn’t hold together. Roll the dough into a tube shape and cut into 8 pieces, arranging them on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 375F.

Sausage gravy ingredients:

4 1/2 sausage links, casing removed
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon dried onion
1/2 teaspoon summer savoury
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk

Add the sausage, water, and garlic paste to the rice cooker pot, smashing the sausage against the side of the pot to break up the links into chunks. Turn the rice cooker on, close the lid, and cook until sausage is mostly no longer pink, then add the salt, pepper, dried onion, and summer savoury, cooking for a few minutes longer until the dried onions have absorbed the water.

Add the flour and stir until flour has coated everything, then close the rice cooker lid and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Add the milk a little at a time, until the flour dissolves. Cook until gravy thickens, then add another 1/2 cup of milk to thin it out and replace the rice cooker lid. Simmer for 5 minutes until gravy has thickened and no longer has a “flour-y” taste.

Cut a biscuit in half and ladle sausage gravy over it!