To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala

I love Indian food and one of my favorite dishes is chicken tikka masala. There are so many delicious flavors and the texture of the curry is wonderful on the tongue. All that said, eating out is expensive and doesn't let you fill those early morning curry cravings, so I decided to figure out an easy way to get the tikka masala experience in my own kitchen. Here's what I came up with.

Chicken Tikka Masala 
(serves 4)

~1.5 lbs chicken tenders, diced into bite size pieces (~2 inches)
6oz can of organic tomato paste
16oz coconut milk
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp garlic, diced
1 white onion, diced
powdered ginger, to taste
turmeric, to taste
sea salt, to taste
handful sliced almonds

Heat coconut oil in a pot (one with a lid) on low heat. Add the diced onion to the pot and caramelize it until it's browned. Add garlic and stir to mix with the onions. Sprinkle turmeric and ginger over the contents of the pot to taste. I added enough to coat the onions and garlic with each (~1/2 tbsp). Add one turn of ground sea salt. Pour in the coconut milk and tomato paste and stir until the sauce is yummy orange color. Turn the heat up to high and add the chicken, making sure that all the meat is completely submerged in the sauce. Cover the pot and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
You can serve this over rice, but I used leftover spaghetti squash and it was delicious! For the spaghetti squash option, you'll want to halve the spaghetti squashes, put them face down on aluminum foil on a cookie sheet, and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes, pulling at the spaghetti squash with a fork.
Go on, have a peace! Enjoy!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gluten & Guilt Free Spaghetti

I love spaghetti. It's been one of my favorite comfort foods since I was a kid, as I'm sure it has been for many of you. It's just plain good. Nothing fancy. Just noodles and sauce and slurping delectability. But pasta - even when you get that nifty whole-wheat spaghetti you can find now - is still pasta. Maybe you have friends who are gluten free, or you are, or you're going off grains for a while - which is good to do every once in a while anyway. Whatever the reason you want to scoot out of the pasta aisle, you shouldn't have to give up the things that you love. So... here ya go. A little down home comfort for your soul and your belly; a healthy dose of culinary affection for those around you.

Gluten/Guilt Free Spaghetti 
(serves many - at least 4)

2 large spaghetti squash
12 oz baby carrots, chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 sticks celery, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
6 white mushrooms, chopped
2 cans whole tomatoes, meaty
2 tbsp tomato paste
6 cloves garlic (you can use less, I just like my sauce extra garlicky)
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
daiya shredded white cheese (vegan mozzarella substitute), optional for topping

First, you want to preset your oven to 350 F and get out a couple cookie sheets, covering those in aluminum foil.

On your stove, in a large pot, pour 2 tbsp olive oil and set the stove to medium heat.

Next, in your food processor, chop your carrots, onion, celery, and broccoli. They don't need to be super fine, but you'll want them to look like delicious vegetable mostly-mush. Add this mush to the pot and stir to keep from burning. About 8 minutes, give or take.

Back to your food processor, add the zucchini, mushrooms, oregano, and garlic. This is going to be the 'meaty' portion of your sauce; the zucchini and the mushrooms give it a really nice texture. Add this processed mixture to the pot along with the two cans of tomatoes and the tomato puree. Bring the contents to a boil, then pop a lid on the pot and set the stove to low to let the contents simmer for about 45 minutes.

Take your spaghetti squash and cut the ends off, then slice them in half. You have to remove the seeds, much like you would a pumpkin - so if you have one of those friends who loves getting their hands smeared in squash innards, now's the time to invite them over for dinner. When the seeds are removed, brush a light layer of olive oil over the exposed squash and set them face-down on the cookie sheets, putting them into the oven for 30-40 minutes.

When the squash is done, take it out and - being careful not to burn yourself on those piping hot spaghetti squashes - take a fork and drag it along the inside of the halves. The 'spaghetti' should peel up with barely any pressure. Make sure to flake the sides of the squash, to really separate the 'noodles', and keep scraping even after you think you've gotten it. Sometimes whole portions hide up against the skin.

Fill a few bowls with the warm 'spaghetti', pour a generous portion of your fresh sauce over top, and enjoy. Go on. Have a peace. :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Haiku for July

ashi moto e itsu kitarishi yo katatsuburi

at my feet
when did you get here?

- Kobayashi Issa (1762-1826)