Sunday, November 21, 2010

King Prawn Korma

Still cleaning out the freezers… :)

I am quite embarrassed to reveal that one recent dinner came as a result of my finding a bag of jumbo butterflied shrimp, in the bottom of the bottom-most basket in the biggest freezer, which had been there since July 2009. *blush* I’ve come across it on occasion, and was “saving” the shrimp for grilling, but I cleaned and covered our grill last week. I also thought that it probably should be cooked in a sauce since it may not have the best flavor or texture after being frozen for so long.

In one of my favorite cookbooks, Curry, Fire & Spice by Mridula Baljekar, I found a recipe for King Prawn Korma which fit the bill nicely. It was also a snap to make. The shrimp were surprisingly good, just a little tough, but the flavor of the sauce more than made up for it. I served the shrimp over rice with some vegetables also sautéed in Indian spices. I soooo adore Indian food! :)

* Exported from MasterCook *

King Prawn Korma

Recipe By: Mridula Baljekar

Servings: 4

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

1 pound jumbo shrimp -- (about 10-12) Peeled and deveined; well-drained if

previously frozen

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon chili powder

2/3 cup water

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon crushed garlic

1 teaspoon grated ginger root

1 piece cinnamon stick -- 1"; halved

2 whole green cardamom pods

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Mix yogurt through chili powder in a bowl. Slowly add water and whisk until combined. Season with salt, if desired. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok and add the garlic through cardamom and fry over low heat for 1-2 minutes (do not allow spices to burn). Pour in the yogurt mixture and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the prawns and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce starts to thicken and prawns are opaque.

Served over hot steamed rice, sprinkle with cilantro.


"Curry Fire & Spice: Over 150 Great Curries from India and Asia"

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Per serving: 197 Calories (kcal); 9g Total Fat (4g Saturated); (43% calories from fat); 24g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 173mg Cholesterol; 214mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

NOTES : I used lowfat yogurt and light coconut milk.

*I also stirred in 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract just before serving to "punch up" the coconut flavor.*

*Note to Vicci the Forgetful-- place the coconut extract bottle on one of the dinner plates so you don't forget this step. :)

Also added red pepper flakes at the table.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Indian Spiced Kale & Chickpeas

My garden is a barren patch of land… except for the kale which is still going strong. Jack is not wild about it, and I am able to circumvent that when I add it to a soup or stew. But he does not appreciate kale when it is the “star attraction” of a recipe; which I why I saved this Eating Well recipe to make just for myself.

I had the opportunity the other day and made the Indian Spiced Kale & Chickpeas for lunch while he was at a meeting. I have to admit, though, that the kale was a bit too much as a main dish. Or it could have been served over rice. But, in any case, it was very good.

I followed the recipe and changed it buy adding additional cumin and garam masala, and also some hot curry powder. I just love Indian spices, and I could have upped the quantities even a bit more. I also added sautéed onion and tomatoes for both extra color and flavor.

Served with (Trader Joe’s) naan, it made a nice, filling lunch. I will make it again, but perhaps as a side dish.

Indian Spiced Kale & Chickpeas

4 servings, about 3/4 cup each

Active Time:

Total Time:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1 1/2 pounds kale, ribs removed, coarsely chopped (see Tip)
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala, (see Ingredient note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale and cook, tossing with two large spoons, until bright green, about 1 minute. Add broth, coriander, cumin, garam masala and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in chickpeas; cover and cook until the chickpeas are heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: A 1- to 1 1/2-pound bunch of kale yields 16 to 24 cups of chopped leaves. When preparing kale for these recipes, remove the tough ribs, chop or tear the kale as directed, then wash it--allowing some water to cling to the leaves. The moisture helps steam the kale during the first stages of cooking.

  • Ingredient Note: Garam masala, a ground spice mixture traditionally including coriander, cumin, cinnamon, peppercorns, cardamom and cloves, is commonly used in Indian cooking. Find it in the specialty-spice section of large supermarkets.

Eating Well October/November 2005

My changes: I sauteed chopped onion in olive oil before adding the garlic; I added a chopped tomato about 2 minutes before adding the chickpeas; cumin and garam masala amounts were doubled and a little hot curry powder was added for heat.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Penne wiith Scallops and Shrimp

I am trying to clean out my freezers before the upcoming holiday season, and I'm amazed at what I am finding in there!

Last February we had a snowstorm and were without electricity for 10 days. We managed to save most of our refrigerated foods by transferring them to coolers, and the frozen foods by packing everything in snow in clean trash cans then burying the cans in snowdrifts. I would like to now pause in order to send Mother Nature heartfelt pleas not to put us through this torture during the coming (several) winter (s).

Anyway, when the power was finally restored and we were refilling the freezer I actually took notes as to everything that I put back in. Then I typed this list, and truly meant to keep it current. This lasted for about a month. Or two.

When I come home from shopping and am putting away groceries, it’s difficult to stop and catalog everything that goes into the freezer and refrigerator. And when I am cooking, I usually have to keep my mind on the recipe rather than updating the freezer list. That’s how it is. I make no excuses.

Anyway, back to trying to clear out the freezers.

We had spent several lovely autumn days last week working on outside projects. Although fall is an easier season than spring is around here, there still is painting to do, patio furniture and decorations to put away, the garden and flower beds to clear out and close up, etc. Dinner is rushed these days and since it gets dark earlier, I sometimes find myself putting away my tools by the light on the patio.

One evening, at 6pm no less, I dug through the freezer and found two small bags of shrimp, each a quarter full, and two bags of scallops (one bay, one sea), both less that a quarter filled. Hmmm. All I could think of was making it with pasta for a quick meal, and I put this recipe together. It was so good that Jack insisted I not only write down the ingredients in order to make it again, but that I not feel the need to make this when I only have bits of bagged seafood to use up.

I thawed the shrimp and scallops (there were more than there should have been for the two of us, and I didn’t even weigh them because we were starving) and once pasta is cooked, the tomatoes are chopped, the onion sliced and garlic minced, this meal goes together very quickly.

The whipping cream was added at the last-minute to give a little more “body” to the sauce and it worked great. I have discovered that I enjoy adding skim milk and just a teaspoon of heavy cream to my coffee in the morning rather than using sugary non-dairy creamers, so this normally lowfat kitchen has this particular ingredient (uncharacteristically) hanging about.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Penne with Scallops and Shrimp

Recipe By: Hunger & Desperation :)

Servings: 2

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

4 ounces whole wheat pasta -- penne or rotini

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup onion -- thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

6 ounces shrimp -- peeled and deveined

6 ounces scallops

1 cup diced fresh tomato

1 cup green peas, frozen -- thawed

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon whipping cream -- optional

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh parsley -- chopped

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, RESERVING 1/3 CUP COOKING WATER, and set aside.

Heat oil in a medium-sized nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, stirring constantly for 30 seconds, then add the shrimp. Stir for one minute; add the scallops and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the reserved pasta cooking water, and ingredients through hot pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. While the mixture is heating, mix the cornstarch and water. Once the mixture has come to a boil, turn the heat to medium-low and stir in the cornstarch liquid. Stirring constantly, add the whipping cream and stir until thickened a bit. Add the pasta and stir until heated through. Divide between plates and sprinkle with Parmesan and parsley.

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Per serving: 512 Calories (kcal); 14g Total Fat (4g Saturated); (24% calories from fat); 43g Protein; 55g Carbohydrate; 171mg Cholesterol; 375mg Sodium

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Green Tomato Curry with Potatoes and Garlic

Sometimes you come across a recipe that is an immediate favorite, so delicious that it takes your breath away (well, almost), and you can’t wait to make it again. I was fortunate to experience this the other day.

I had a large tub of green tomatoes that I picked from the garden in the days preceding our first frost on Monday morning. Never having actually eaten one I had no idea what to do with a green tomato, but there were so many in the garden that I just had to pick them. I had originally decided on making a green tomato relish. We don’t eat relishes, but I figured that I could give them away as gifts (the recipe was very well reviewed). Then, at the last minute, I did an internet search and found a curry recipe that really knocked our socks off.

Green Tomato Curry with Potatoes and Garlic, found on the Simple Bites site, is from the book 660 Curries by Raghaven Iyer . It is extraordinarily easy and very quick and, most importantly, incredibly delicious. I made the recipe as shown below, but instead of 2 servings I increased it by 50% to make 3 (because Jack has a problem with what is called a “serving size” in many recipes, so he usually gets 2 servings). I should have made a double recipe. Or more. We were both very disappointed when we finished our dinner! :)

If you enjoy Indian cuisine, give this a try. I only wish that I could have posted this a month ago when most of the people with veggie gardens had green tomatoes, and I promise to pull up this post next year in late September.

By the way, it looks as though we will be enjoying this for several more meals as today I cleaned, chopped, and froze 10 pounds of green tomatoes!

I served our curry with steamed basmati rice, and can only apologize for the photo by explaining that the meal was much, much better than it looks (can’t do a lot with brown food, you know!).

Green Tomato Curry with Potatoes and Garlic

This recipe for Green Tomato Curry with Potatoes and Garlic from Raghavan Iyer's 660 Curries is incredibly simple and perfect for any unwanted green tomatoes. The browning of the garlic at the beginning may sound a little extreme, but as long as it doesn't burn, you'll be left with this gorgeous aroma that will deepen the flavor of each bite. It's all balanced by the green tomatoes, which help lend the dish some much needed acidity.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a freelance writer in Chicago and the co-founder of The Paupered Chef.


serves 2

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 8 ounces russet potatoes, peeled, and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 8 ounces green tomatoes, cores removed, sliced into 1-inch segments
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped


  1. Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until it is reddish brown, about a minute or so. Stir often. Make sure it doesn't burn. If it does, then start over.
  2. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, garam masala, salt and turmeric. Turn heat down to medium. Stir occasionally, and cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Pour in a cup of water. Scrap the pan with a wooden spoon, dislodging any browned bits. When the mixture comes to a boil, cover the skillet, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes and tomatoes are tender. Stir every few minutes or so.
  4. You want the final sauce to be kind of thick, so mash up a few of the potatoes and tomatoes with the wooden spoon. Turn off the heat, stir in the cilantro, and serve.

*Vicci’s Notes: 2 servings? HA! I increased the recipe by 50% and should have doubled it. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers

I was scanning though some websites the other evening and came across a recipe on Eating Well which intrigued me. Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers. Imagine. I clicked off the site, but then a few minutes went back. I was planning to make pumpkin muffins the following morning and would have some canned pumpkin left over. I copied the recipe.

These were surprisingly good. Odd, yet good. In fact, Jack emphatically said that these were very good. Twice.

They were more on the line of falafel than a “burger”. Firm, crispy on the outside and soft inside, with a delicious flavor that was nicely accented with a large dollop of Trader Joe’s chipotle salsa. Eating Well, I apologize for snickering when I first saw the recipe…

The only change I would make would be to form the patties in an oval rather than a circle. Once it was placed in the flour tortilla there was a lot of tortilla left over on either side of the burger. Picky, picky, picky… ;) I served these with sweet potato fries and it was an excellent lunch.

Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers

From EatingWell: Summer 2002

Colorful, spicy and fragrant, these delicious burgers are right in style with the contemporary fondness for Southwestern foods, especially when served with Fresh Tomato Salsa.

6 servings | Active Time: 1 hour | Total Time: 1 hour


  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red or green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Tomato Salsa, optional
  • 1/2 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack, or Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 8-inch flour tortillas, (soft-taco size)
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in bell pepper, corn, garlic, chili powder and cumin; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare Tomato Salsa, if using.
  3. Add pumpkin, cheese, wheat germ, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper to the onion mixture; mix well. With dampened hands, form the vegetable mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties, using about 1/2 cup for each.
  4. Preheat oven to 325°F. Stack tortillas and wrap in aluminum foil. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes to heat through. (Alternatively, stack tortillas between two damp paper towels; microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds, or until heated through.)
  5. Using 2 teaspoons oil per batch, cook 2 to 4 patties at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned and heated through, about 4 minutes per side. Adjust heat as necessary for even browning. Wrap the patties in tortillas and serve immediately, garnished with lettuce and Fresh Tomato Salsa, if desired.


Per serving : 331 Calories; 13 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 7 g Mono; 8 mg Cholesterol; 45 g Carbohydrates; 12 g Protein; 6 g Fiber; 638 mg Sodium; 407 mg Potassium

3 Carbohydrate Serving

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3. Wrap patties individually and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Well, our area made it into the morning of November 1st before we experienced a “killing frost”, and I am quite certain that this is the first, and will be the last, time I can say that I was picking tomatoes and peppers from my garden through Halloween. :) It has been a nice, warm autumn and I am grateful.

Today the garden area is rather bleak—the withered, blackened plants tied to tall sticks look barely capable of holding up the remaining, sad-looking tomatoes. And the beautifully-colored leaves have all come down during storms over the past week. I guess that, like it or not (and I don’t), winter is on its way.

I made muffins for breakfast this morning, and in honor of November, they were pumpkin spice.

I’ve made several different pumpkin spice muffin recipes but always come back to this one that I adapted from Home for the Holidays, Festive Baking with Whole Grains by Ken Haedrich. The original recipe uses melted butter, but canola oil stands in nicely (and with less saturated fat). I baked a double batch today and froze the muffins. When I do this, instead of doubling the canola oil, I sub pureed canned pears for half of the oil (½ cup oil, ½ cup pureed pears). It’s surprising how well this works in keeping the muffins moist, yet reducing the fat content in them.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Recipe By: Ken Haedrich

Servings: 12

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

1 large egg

1/3 cup skim milk

1/3 cup orange juice

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon molasses

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 teaspoons lemon zest -- (finely grated)

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup white whole wheat flour -- or whole wheat pastry flour

1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice -- *see Note

1/2 cup walnuts -- toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg lightly, then add the milk through lemon zest and stir until combined. Add in the brown sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the flours through the spices. Make a "well" in the center of the flour mixture. Give a couple of stirs to the egg mixture, then pour the liquid ingredients in. Mix lightly until only a few streaks of the dry ingredients remain. Add the walnuts and mix just until combined.

Scoop into the muffin cups. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a center muffin comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or freeze for later use.


"Homemade for the Holidays"

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Per serving: 256 Calories (kcal); 8g Total Fat; (28% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 41g Carbohydrate; 16mg Cholesterol; 255mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates

NOTE : *- Instead of pumpkin pie spice, a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves may be substituted.

I (almost) always have toasted walnuts and almonds in the freezer. They will last for several months, and I don’t have to remember to toast the nuts before starting the recipe.