Sunday, May 22, 2016

Butter Chicken

After last week's cooking, I had a lot of left over ingredients:  lemons, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, yogurt and cream.  I love when I find a recipe that uses ingredients that I already have and need to get rid of.  I prepared this cucumber tomato avocado salad and added some fresh corn.  This is a healthy side dish to the main course I prepared with the other left overs:  butter chicken.  I know. BUTTER chicken.  I am on a diet.  I used half the butter called for and figured between all the servings, it is not THAT BAD.  Plus, with a big bowl of the salad, I only need one thigh per serving.

I did not have the fancy spice called for in the chicken, so I improvised and used cumin and coriander, spices I had from the shawarma.  The dish results in tender chicken with a creamy, onion filled sauce.  Very good served over white rice with cilantro.

This Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad recipe is a keeper! Easy, Excellent Salad

Peanut Butter Cookie Gooey Bars

I was requested to make a peanut butter dessert and the first thing that came to mind are peanut butter cookies.  In my old age, I have decided that I do not have time for baking cookies.  The repetition of dough on a tray, in and out of the oven, waiting to cool, repeat... no.  I am a BAR cookie girl!   So this peanut butter cookie gooey bar was the perfect recipe for the request.  It is a peanut butter cookie with a chocolate and sweetened condescend milk layer and with more peanut butter cookie on top. When I was putting the dough on top I thought "this will never work.. there is not enough dough... there will be holes of melty, messy chocolate... I am a failure".  Well, a miracle happened in the oven and the top layer spread and there were NO HOLES!  After the bars cooled, I put them in the refrigerator to harden over night, resulting in easy cutting.  It also helps that I used a giant pizza cutter, making for clean cuts (see below - I love this gadget for cutting bars).  I served the bars at room temperature and they were indeed gooey but not in a messy way.  The condensed milk and the chocolate chips mix together, creating a peanut butter and chocolate sandwich.  Yum!!

May 15, 2016

We met at my house for a Middle Eastern meal.  We started off with a hummus trio, thanks to Tonya, and a Tennessee Breeze cocktail (NOT Middle Eastern).  

Tennessee Breeze: 2 parts Tennessee Honey Whiskey, 1 part cranberry juice, 1 part orange juice, spritz of tonic water. Combine whiskey and juices, with 2 parts ice, in a blender and blend.  Add more juices if it is too strong (I thought it was).  Pour into glasses and top with tonic water.  

For the humus, Tonya used this basic recipe as one version and then for the roasted red pepper version, she cooked halved red bell peppers at 400 for about 25 minutes, took off the skin, and pureed it in with the hummus. For the chipotle version, she used a few chipotle peppers and sauce from a can and some cilantro and pureed that into the basic hummus.  All three were delicious and different. Very creative, Tonya!

The side dish was prepared by Angelica and was a flavorful bulgur tabbouleh with feta cheese.  It was a perfect accompaniment to the main dish of Spicy Chicken Shawarma.  

The other day, my boss was talking about the best shawarma he has ever eaten and I had never heard of such a thing. As a kind-of-a foodie, I did some research and thought this would be a great meal to share with the cooking group. 

The chicken looked beautiful with the red pepper and green parsley flakes and the thin strips cooked quickly.  The pitas were spread with the garlic yogurt sauce, filled with chicken and topped with tomatoes, red onions and tomatoes.  Pita bread has 6 grams of protein, which was news to me.  Later in the week I spread a pita with homemade guacamole and added some of the chicken and it was delicious!  

We finished our meal with a Middle Eastern bread pudding made by the bread pudding queen, Mary! It was creamy and topped with crushed pistachios. The real name is aish el saraya and it has rose water in it that Mary found at World Market.

Below is a cooking group selfie with a chair leg that decided to chose the moment Tonya was sitting in it to declare it was rotted and needed to split in two.