Sunday, September 20, 2009

What my mom made for dinner

My mom is my inspiration for cooking and baking! Growing up, as busy as she was as a single mom raising two kids and often working multiple jobs, she still managed to make dinner almost every night. Not to mention her amazing baking around Christmas time! I should write up another post on that sometime. :) Even though my brother and I could be picky, she did her best to introduce us to whole grains (it took until recently to like them), vegetables, fruits (these I had no trouble liking, especially when it was something from the backyard!), and unsweetened cereal (well she tried, but I sneaked sugar onto it anyway). But I thank her for her hard work and giving a solid foundation!

So today I'd like to feature a dish that she just created. I'm not sure what to call it, "Mom's curried chickpea dish"? Or the not very descriptive but accurate "What I made for dinner" which is what she said upon first telling me about it. Well, whatever the title, this is a tasty, healthful dish that is sure to please everyone!

"What I made for dinner" in my mom's words:

Prepare white or brown Jasmine rice or couscous with chicken or vegetable broth (I used low sodium chicken broth and didn't add additional salt)

Saute lightly in olive oil
-1 yellow squash sliced
-1 red bell pepper cut into strips
-1 small red onion chopped
-1 carrot cut into somewhat thin 2-inch strips

Add to veggies and stir:

-chili pepper flakes (I used about 1/2 tsp)
-kosher salt (1 used about 1/4 tsp)
-black pepper (I used about 1/4 tsp)
-curry (I used a mixture of yellow and red curry, started with 1/4 tsp, but added mo9re to taste)
-cinnamon (3 quick dashes)
-lemon juice (I started with 2 tablespoons then added more to taste)

Mix in rice or couscous (I used 2 cups of white jasmine loosely measured-don't pack into cup).
Mix in 1/2 can rinsed garbanzo beans.

Serve with feta cheese sprinkled on top.

Note: I think that fresh chopped cilantro added at the end would be a nice addition (but I didn't have any).

Love, Mom


Notes from my mom:

I made this recipe again using brown jasmine rice and black beans instead of garbanzo. It came out good except for the fact that I accidentally cooked the veggies too long which wasn't that great. Make sure that you do a quick stir fry only so that the onions are a bit soft but everything else is still crisp. Also, 1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes puts in on the spicier side. You might want to try less to start.

My notes:

Use the vegetable broth and skip the cheese to make this vegan.
I think I used more garbanzo beans (I started with the dry, so I can't say for sure), which I recommend.
Also good with brown basmati rice.


Molten Chocolate Cookies

One of the first things I just had to do in New York was find good chocolate chips. And by good, I mean at minimum no artificial flavors. Having a really really stellar flavor is a plus, but I wasn't about to shell out the exorbitant price for the Ghiradelli bars and chips are at my local market (the only brand of chocolate chips, I'm afraid to say, that didn't have artificial flavor)! Remember that story about the butter? Yeah, well, I didn't want to repeat that mistake with the chocolate.

This is where Fresh Direct came to my rescue! They delivered right to my door chocolate chips that were delicious, all natural, and a good price! The brand is Guittard, and I must say they were tasty. But best of all, I discovered an amazing recipe on the back of the bag. If you like chocolate, cookies, and molten cakes, you will love these! They also make great cookies for ice cream sandwiches on the second day. :)

Molten Chocolate Cookies

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Melt the chips and butter in a double boiler or heat proof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water. You may also melt in microwave. Set aside.

Beat egg and sugar with an electric mixer. When light and fluffy, beat in a salt and vanilla. Gradually beat in the slightly cooled chocolate.

Stir the flour and baking powder together, then add to the egg mixture and stir until mixed. Batter won’t be stiff enough to use at this point.

Chill batter for about 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment.

Spoon batter by rounded tablespoonfuls (approx) and make mounds. Bake for 11-13 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for about 3 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool.

Best served warm. To reheat, microwave on high power 10 seconds per cookie.