Friday, February 18, 2011

Drumroll please...

And the lucky winner of a set of Indian spice mixtures is.... #9! Beautiful Sohailah! So excited for you. I'll get these ordered and put together some recipes to include with them! :)

(thankyou random.org for your random number generating software... :))

And the rest of you will have to just try some of these recipes on your own. Since I am currently on an Aarti kick, here are some of the recipes that I've either already tried or can't wait to try!

Aarti's baked samosas

Awesome looking Lamb Kabobs from the Food Network site
Shrimp/Prawn Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala ***FAVORITE

Red Lentils

Rice Pudding

And, finally, just to put my two cents in: How I spice up my normal life to taste a bit more like India
  1. Make chicken salad with chicken, celery, onion, etc... (whatever you usually put in) but then in addition to mayo (a little less than what you'd do normally), add this: 1 tbsp butter/olive oil in a small saute pan, add 1 tbsp garam masala or madras curry seasoning (both of which you should be able to find in your local grocery store spice jars). Let the spices bloom w/oil over medium heat for about a minute while stirring, then mix it in the chicken salad.
  2. Make any kind of stew, soup, or stir fry. When you're starting to cook it, and you are sauteeing/softening your veggies, add salt, pepper, 1 tbsp garam masala, a few cloves of crushed garlic, a spoon of crushed ginger if you have it, and a tsp of cumin. YUM. Let it cook through/bubble before you throw in other veggies/items.
  3. Serve your Indian food with basmati rice. :) I don't know if you have tasted the difference, but after living in India, every other rice (except maybe Jasmine) just isn't as tasty... :) It's got a slightly nutty, richer flavor than our american rice.
I do not consider myself an Indian chef AT ALL. I'm just a girl that likes food- and I want everyone to try Indian spices/dishes because I feel like overall, people here are a bit hesitant. Just remind yourself that there are as many kinds of curries out there as there are different kinds of chili in the U.S. (Chicken chili, red chili, spaghetti w/chili, tomatillo chili, Vegetarian chili, etc...). You can't just try one and say you don't like every other kind. Right? :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Getting All Curried Away **Giveaway!

I received a really thoughtful gift from my mother-in-law for Christmas that I've been using and I have really enjoyed- so I'm going to share the love with one of you! I should have called this 'Favorite Things' and gone all Oprah on you, but you'll have to do that part with your imagination...

I want to introduce one of my favorite things when wanting to quickly cook an Indian meal: (say it in your best Oprah loud announcement voice) "PENZEY'S SPICES!!!!" ;) They have stores in a lot of places around the country, but they also have a beautiful catalog with recipes that comes out several times a year.

You can open the pdf file of their catalog or you can go to their website and request a copy be mailed to you. There are a handful of Indian recipes in the Spring 2011 Catalog (Butter Chicken, Lemon Rice, and Tandoori Lamb). Page 20 is where the pre-mixed curries/seasonings start. Their website is not particularly easy to navigate/has no pictures, so the catalog is definitely an easier source to browse. They do have recipes on their website too though- and you can search through those fairly easily. FYI: Their Tandoori Chicken recipe is delish and tastes just like the real deal.
Some of Penzey's Indian Currys
So, to spice up your February, I'm giving away a small box of spices, similar to the one pictured here. I'm going to send a lucky winner a 1/4 cup jar of each of these .
  • Garam Masala- The formula for this blend was brought into the store by a Punjabi man who had recently moved to the U.S. It was his mother's recipe and in exchange for grinding and blending the whole spices for him, he gave it to us. His mother was proud to hear that her blend had become a hit in America.
  • Sweet Curry Powder- A good starter curry powder-great flavor with little heat. Travel to the port towns of Southwestern India today and you will be served a variety of fish seasoned with this same style of curry, though sometimes with a pinch more fenugreek and always with a healthy dose of fiery hot peppers.
  • Rogan Josh Seasoning- Just a little spicy. A very popular dish from Northern India and Pakistan. This version of the red lamb stew comes from the state of Rajasthan, known for its hilly deserts and fierce, yet chivalrous warriors.
  • Tandoori Seasoning- Clay ovens known as tandoors and the flavorful food they produce have entered the fast food market all over India and many major cities of the West as well. The most popular tandoori food is chicken. Skinless half chickens are marinated overnight, skewered and baked. Tandoors are extremely hot, which seals in the juices of the chicken. Like a microwave, tandoors cook so quickly that browning doesn't take place. The red color of Tandoori chicken in Indian restaurants comes from food coloring. It is possible to reproduce the rich flavor, if not the cooking technique, of this dish at home. Mix 1-2 TB. with 1 Cup plain yogurt and the juice of ½ lemon. Pour over a cut-up skinless chicken, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Remove from marinade, bake 45 minutes uncovered at 325°, turning and basting every 15 minutes.
**To enter, post a comment below before midnight on Thursday the 17th and tell me your favorite Indian dish/food to eat. :) If you've not had Indian food, tell me why. Preconceived ideas of flavors? Heat/Spice? Fear? :) Ha! I'll pick a winner on Friday. U.S. entries only.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gratitude and Purple Potatoes

I made one of Aarti's recipes tonight, and then read her most recent blog post. She was talking about gratitude, and mentioned a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp that I've been told more than once to read. So, as soon as I post this, I'm taking all the hints- and I'm going to buy it online with a gift card that I've been itching to spend. So, in reference to Aarti's post, I'm going to post what I'm grateful for:
I'm just full of links today... I guess I should add that I'm grateful for the internet, where I can have such amazing and instant access to some of the things for which I'm grateful! :)

Purple Mashed Potatoes! Woot, woot!
I thought I'd also post a picture from dinner last week. We found purple potatoes on sale at the grocery store and decided to make purple mashed potatoes! Awesome. So, included in this picture are several of my gratefuls (family, food, and funny things!).

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A Give Away Giveaway!

A Give Away Giveaway! ;)
Hi Bloggie friends,
A sweet friend of mine is doing a giveaway on her blog and I want you all to have the chance to enter... Check out her blog for fab ideas/inspiration, and to win some yummy handmade soap and handmade goodies!


She has a great post on Crafivism that you should read too.

I'm preparing for round 2 of Blizzard 2011. :) We got between 15-20 inches of snow total last week, and we're expecting another 5-10 tonight/tomorrow! The kids have already had 6 snow days in a row! Hopefully I can get a few more projects done, bake some goodies with the kids, and who knows... maybe do a giveaway myself! :)

Monday, February 07, 2011

A little Sew and Tell :)

With like 20 inches of snow on the ground last week, I broke out the sewing machine and tuned out my kids' cabin fever for a while and did some projects. The weather guy projects another 5-10 inches later this week too! Crazy. It just happened that I have a list of 9 friends who have either recently had babies or will in the next few months. AND it just happens that I've been ogling some beautiful fabrics online, looking for a good excuse to buy them... So I got to shopping for my preggo friends a few weeks back and voila! :) Looks like I might finish all my baby projects this week!

I'll call this sew and tell. :) I already showed them to my only Tulsa area 'sewing friend.' The fabrics are just so much fun though- that I wanted to show you too. Some of them caused me to call upon my faith (read: the fabric kept reacting differently than I expected and I kept messing up and having to re-do portions!), and those ended up having some 'character', shall we say... :) But if you're pregnant and you're my friend, just know it was a labor of love, even if it has a few extra 'interesting touches'. :) Maybe I could spiritualize it and say that the blankets are a lot like us; we have flaws but God still uses us, even in our imperfection. Ha!

One part I actually enjoyed about having so many pregnant friends (and therefore allowed myself to buy several of my current favorite fabrics!), was that I really thought long and hard about who should receive each blanket/pattern/color... So, if you're a recipient, know that I believe you're just crazy enough to like the color combinations I picked for you. :) And, if you're a reader of this blog, you'll have to act surprised when you open your package in the mail! ;)