Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fun Thanksgiving Treats

I have some time on my hands this Thanksgiving with it being just the two of us. So, I thought I'd make a few treats to share with coworkers, neighbors and such folks. I mean, why wait until Christmas, right? :) I saw a photo for these pretty edible acorns online a little while ago and thought they were too cute to pass up! And the pilgrim hats, well, what can I say. We just so happened to have the ingredients on hand.

Both of these ended up being so easy and fun to make. Perfect for sharing, and almost too cute to eat. I do hope you enjoy these quick treats:

Edible Acorns

You will need:

Donut holes
Toffee bits
Bits of Pretzels
Some kind of "edible glue" (peanut butter, nutella, or frosting :)

Spread some of the "edible glue" on the top one-third of each doughnut hole. (By the way, is it "doughnut" or "donut"? I can never tell.) Then dip the gluey top in toffee bits. Lastly add a bit of pretzel for the stem. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Pilgrim Hat Cookies

You will need:

Nilla wafers
Mini Reese's peanut butter cups
White decorator gel
Yellow decorator gel

Unwrap the mini peanut butter cups and place bottom up on each nilla wafer. (Use some of the decorator gel as glue.) Then, with white decorator gel, pipe a band around the base of each mini peanut butter cup and then make the hat buckles with yellow decorator gel. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coriander Chicken

I'm having one of those evenings. Stuck indoors, wistfully imagining being someplace else. Maybe someplace warmer. Someplace more exotic. Do you ever get that way? If you're a fellow foodie, you also understand when I say that the longing to be someplace warm and exotic is usually accompanied by a craving to eat something..."different". If you're having one of those days too, this dish may be something to try. (This is something so wonderful about Indian food...the incredible variety of dishes you can enjoy.)

It was really this longing, combined with my Kerala heritage that inspired me to put together this dish for dinner. It's a recipe that I have been making for years, one that quickly became a household favorite. This one is not quite a curry, and not quite a dry dish but, rather, something in between. The Malayalam word for this is called "piralen" and can be made with really any kind of meat, and uses an array of fragrant spices. As I mentioned, traditionally this dish has less gravy, but I have adapted it to my kitchen and the apparatuses available to me (no, I do not have a mud pot or open fire to cook these things in!) If you would prefer to try something a little bit closer to the original version, you might want to remove the chicken once cooked and continue cooking down the gravy until it is drier then put the chicken back.

Coriander Chicken

You will need:

1.5 lbs of chicken, thighs or breasts cut into manageable pieces
3 tbsp corriander powder
1 tbsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 cup finely chopped red or white onion
2 tbsp minced garlic + 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger (or 3 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste)
2 tbsp vinegar
1 teaspoon salt (or more or less to taste)
2" piece of cinnamon
8 cloves
2 whole green cardamoms
1 star anise
2 cups or more water for the gravy

Grind or pound together the cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, and star anise. Mix this and all other ingredients except chicken and water to form a marinade. Add the chicken, mix well to coat with the marinade mixture and let marinate for at least 1 hour covered in the refrigerator. Then, transfer to a heavy-bottomed skillet or saucepan, add enough water to cover the meat and bring up to a boil. Then, cook uncovered on low heat until done. This took about 40 minutes on my stove for chicken thighs (boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces will take much less time, probably around 20-25 minutes.) Serve as a curry with rice or flatbread. You can also remove the chicken once cooked and continue cooking down the gravy until it is drier, as the dish traditionally calls for. Enjoy!