Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Simple Chili con Carne

While I was visiting my sister this autumn, we made a giant batch of this chili. This is my sister's go-to recipe for chili and it was definitely a keeper. The ingredients are simple, the spicy factor can be turned way up or way down, and you really can't mess it up. Unfortunately my camera was on its last leg when I was making this chili, so half of the pictures are out of focus. Luckily my main chili picture is clear, otherwise this would be a pretty sad looking post.

I made a batch of cheese biscuits to serve along with this chili and they complemented each other perfectly. As with all Tex-Mex style food, you can top these with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, or anything you'd put on a plate of nachos (I am sure that comment has offended any true Tex-Mex cooks out there). I usually love adding a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of cheese to counteract the red pepper flakes in my chilis since I tend to use a generous amount.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cardamom and Cilantro Rice (Kotmir Illaichi-wale Chaaval)

This dish is one of my favorite recipes for making flavorsome, mouth-watering rice. I know, rice is a basic food that's not usually described as mouth-watering, but this one is amazing. I can eat it just as is and be perfectly content. I also love when I have leftovers of this rice since I will gladly eat it the following day. So yes, I am kind of obsessed with this rice, but you will be too once you try it. Serve it alongside Indian Cilantro Chicken for a delicious, homemade Indian meal.

This recipe comes from Ismail Merchant. His Indian food is fairly easy to make and so far has never let me down. I more or less stick with his original recipe, except that I use much more cilantro (or coriander leaves if you're not from the states) and I add 3 scallions. I come from a family obsessed with cilantro, so if I can bring that flavor out in a dish, I do. If you hate cilantro, you can replace it in this recipe with about 4 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Also, make sure you don't bite into the cardamom mods, it's a pretty terrible surprise when that happens. I try finding them before I serve the rice, but if I don't I just let people know to look out for them.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Swiss Carrot Cake (Rüeblicake)

This is another recipe from Betty Bossi, the brand put on some great Swiss cookbook. The Betty Bossi recipes I use are generally older than me, but they are great. I especially love the Betty Bossi baking books, where I have yet to make a cookie or cake that I dislike (of course I skip over some of the really outdated sounding recipes). This cake is great plain, or you could top it with a cream cheese topping. I sometimes make muffins out of this batter. That way, if it's just me at home, I can freeze most of them and just thaw them when my sweet tooth kicks in.

This is a really simple carrot cake, but it is a flavor I love every time I make it. Though I haven't tried it yet, I would guess you could sub half the butter for applesauce. Somehow I never remember to buy apple sauce before I make this recipe, but while I'm making it I remember that it would have been a good idea. For the almonds, you could use either almond meal (which is just finely ground almonds) or put slivered almonds in a food processor or blender. Either method works, but I usually grind the almonds myself.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Twice Baked Potatoes

Potatoes are my ultimate comfort food. When I am just cooking for myself, I find that I often just bake (or microwave when I am lazy) a potato and top with with some cheese, veggies, or whatever I have in the kitchen. Or I make myself a tortilla española (an omeletted made with potatoes onions) and convince myself I am having a balanced meal since the eggs contain protein. Twice baked potatoes are one of my favorite ways to eat a potato while keeping it simple. I love the combo of sour cream and potatoes, so pretty much any recipe that uses those 2 ingredient (potato skins or latkes anyone?) will be an instant hit with me.

Although this recipe is time consuming, it's really easy to make. Baking potatoes always makes me impatient since they seem to take forever, but the flavor and texture is not comprable to that of a microwaved potato. Scooping the flesh out of the potato requires a little bit of patience (which I sometimes lack when I'm hungry), but was actually easier to do than I expected. I also added extra sour cream to my completed twice baked potato because I love it that much. Luckily it was just my mom and I eating these, and she is well aware of my love for sour cream. If you can find Straus sour cream, it is my favorite sour cream out there and well worth the extra dollar.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Leek and Gruyere Quiche

Quiches are a great thing to make when you have extra cheese and veggies hanging around in your fridge. While I was visiting my parents I went grocery shopping and bought a few things that were already in the house. With a whole lot of gruyere and some extra leek from another recipe, my mom decided it was time for a quiche. Since she's a great cook, I love following her lead in the kitchen.

We started taking out what we were going to use when my mom taught me a little trick to keep the quiche somewhat healthier (though I doubt any quiche with a pie crust can ever be considered healthy). Instead of using half and half or some cream, she added a bit of flour to low-fat milk and added an extra egg to the recipe. This way you still have a great cheesy filling, but without as much added fat and fewer calories. The flavor is great and it reheats well if you have any leftovers.

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