Saag Paneer

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 ounces paneer, (Indian cheese, either store-bought or made from my recipe, recipe follows), cut into 1-inch cubes, see Cook’s Note*
  • 1 lb blanched greens, minced in food processor
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (1-inch thumb) ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large green serrano chile, finely chopped, seeds removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon store-bought or homemade garam masala, recipe follows
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, stirred until smooth

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the turmeric, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons oil. Gently, drop in the cubes of paneer and gently toss, taking care not to break the cubes
  2. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the paneer as the pan warms. In a couple of minutes give the pan a toss; each piece of paneer should be browned on one side. Fry another minute or so, and then remove the paneer from the pan onto a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to the pan. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and chile. Now here’s the important part: saute the mixture until it’s evenly toffee-coloured, which should take about 15 minutes. If you feel like the mixture is drying out and burning, add a couple of tablespoons of water.
  4. Add the garam masala, coriander and cumin. If you haven’t already, sprinkle a little water to keep the spices from burning. Cook, stirring often, until the raw scent of the spices cook out, and it all smells a bit more melodious, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach and stir well, incorporating the spiced onion mixture into the spinach. Add a little salt and 1/2 cup of water, stir, and cook about 5 minutes with the lid off.
  6. Turn the heat off. Add the yogurt, a little at a time to keep it from curdling. Once the yogurt is well mixed into the spinach, add the paneer. Turn the heat back on, cover and cook until everything is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve.Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/saag-paneer-spinach-with-indian-cheese-recipe.print.html?oc=linkback
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Leek, Bacon, and Pea Risotto (Instant Pot)

Ingredients:

  • 2 leeks, white and light-green parts only
  • cups (40 fl ounces or 1200 grams) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into small strips
  • 2 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Instructions:

  1. Halve leeks lengthwise; rinse thoroughly. Pat dry; thinly slice. In microwave, heat broth for 2 minutes or until about 200 degrees. Meanwhile, in instant pot, saute bacon over medium, stirring, until lightly browned but not crisp, 5 minutes. Add leeks; cook, stirring, until softened, 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until translucent around edges, 1 minute.

  2. Add wine and stir until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add broth, scraping sides of pot to make sure all rice and vegetables are submerged. Close pressure cooker and cook at low pressure for 5 minutes, then depressurize cooker by using the steam-release valve.

  3. Open pressure cooker, add lemon juice, and stir to combine rice and cooking liquid; it should begin to form a creamy consistency. If risotto is too soupy, cook for a few minutes longer, stirring, until it begins to thicken more; it should look like a smooth, creamy sauce. Season to taste with salt (if necessary)
  4.  Stir in peas allowing them to heat through, then stir in Parmesan cheese, allow to sit 4-5 minutes, then serve.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Green Peppers

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 of a poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 – 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Pepper Jack cheese, divided
  • 4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

Directions:

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and poblano pepper and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated. Stir in quinoa, carrots, and 1 3/4 cups chicken stock. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Combine quinoa and carrots with black beans, and 1 cup of cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish. Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 40 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.

Cranberry Apple Crunch Pie or Cobbler

So, my intent was a virtuous apple sauce, or apple butter, or maybe even dried apple slices, and that will still happen (the apples just won’t go away, and sadly, this pie only needed 1, d’oh!) . But it has been an exceptionally dreary 3 days in New England, and healthy just wasn’t calling to me like pie was. When it’s crummy outside, wouldn’t you rather have dessert? I know I would…

This is my preferred antidote to the onset of dark and chilly days. With a crunchy, sweet topping that has just enough oats and pecans in it to feel hearty, and a bright, tart filling of apples and cranberries, this dish always leaves me wondering why I don’t own a rustic cabin with a fireplace to eat a piece in front of. Of course, sitting on the couch with a blanket and a movie works pretty well in a pinch too.

The dessert can be made in an unbaked 9″ pie crust, or just in a small baking dish if you would rather eat it cobbler style. It calls for fresh cranberries, a VERY seasonal ingredient, but I usually buy too many for Thanksgiving anyway, and they freeze beautifully. Don’t bother doing anything special to cranberries, just throw the remnants of your bag in the freezer, they are just fine weeks and months later.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into approx 1/4″ slices
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • pinch of salt

     For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 rolled oats (instant oatmeal will work too)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp cold butter, cubed (this isn’t health food, you know ;-))
  • 1/2 chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 C
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced apple, cranberries, maple syrup, and brown sugar, stirring with a spoon or your hand until the fruit is evenly coated in the syrup and sugar. Place mixture in either an unbaked 9″ pie shell or small baking dish.
  3. (The following steps through adding the pecans may be done in a food processor with the cutting blade if preferred) In a separate, smaller mixing bowl, combine first 5 topping ingredients, and stir well with a fork to evenly distribute the ingredients.
  4. Add cubed cold butter, and squeeze butter into flour mixture with fingertips, combining until your are left with pea-sized clumps of butter mixed with the flour, etc. There will be loose flour mixture remaining in the bottom of the bowl, do not worry about this, it will help thicken the filling.
  5. Add the chopped pecans to topping, toss with fingers to combine.
  6. Pour topping (including loose flour, etc at the bottom) onto fruit mixture patting down with fingers to ensure the fruit is evenly covered.
  7. Place into oven, cooking for 50-55 minutes, until the cranberries can be seen bubbling, and the topping has begun to brown.
  8. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving. I highly recommend this with some warm apple cider and a splash of spiced rum.

Default Weight/Volume Conversions

 

Since I bake in weight not volume, my standard conversions are found from the King Arthur Ingredient Weight Chart  but my most common conversions are below:

All Purpose Flour: 1 cup = 4 1/4 oz

Butter: 1 cup = 8 oz

White Sugar: 1 cup = 7 oz

Light Brown Sugar: 1 cup = 7 1/2 oz

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