Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vegetable curry

Vegetable curry is one of my favorite vegetarian dishes and a great way to use broccoli and cauliflower. Carrots are another delicious addition, but I just used what I had on hand!

If you want to know more about the history of curry and spice blends, here is an excellent article from Slate magazine.

To make this dish you will need:

¼ cup pecans, toasted
½ cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons curry paste
16 ounce can low-fat coconut milk

One head of broccoli, rinsed and broken into flowerets

One head of cauliflower, rinsed and broken into flowerets

I hate to wash dishes, so I did all the steps for this dish in one pot. Use a large stockpot and heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pecans and cook until they are lightly toasted.
Remove the nuts and cool on a paper-lined plate.

To the pan add the onion and cook until it is translucent.

Add salt, pepper, red pepper and curry paste to the onions.

Stir all to combine.

Add coconut milk and blend completely.

Add broccoli and cauliflower, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Before serving, crumble the toasted pecans and sprinkle on top.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Braised cabbage to feed a crowd

My children and I were able to take several family trips this summer, including one to Sampson County, N.C., where my father was raised. He grew up on a large family farm outside Autryville, N.C. We gathered with kin from Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Kentucky. It was a wonderful experience for me to share with my children.

My Aunt Peggy (remember her awesome hot crab dip recipe?) kept a steady stream of food flowing out of the kitchen. She is a fantastic cook and she made countless batches of cornbread, green beans, pork roast, biscuits – you name it and we had it. I really loved her braised cabbage. Most days she was feeding a dozen or more people, so recipes like this really stretch a dollar and feed a crowd!

Here is my own take:

One head of cabbage, cored and shredded
3-4 slices of bacon
Medium onion, diced
Salt and pepper
½ cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube

Cut the cabbage in half, remove the core and shred the cabbage.


I used a soup pot to make this dish – to the pot add your bacon and cook until crispy. Add the onion to the bacon fat and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes).

Add the cabbage to the pan and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until wilted. I added about a half cup of water and a chicken bouillon cube for extra flavor.

Here’s the finished dish:

This makes about 8-10 servings, but my husband and my youngest won’t eat it. I gobbled it up over two days!


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chicken fettuccine with roasted pecans

My parents went on a Mississippi River cruise earlier this year and delighted in various meals along the route. They came home with several cookbooks from the trip, including Best of the Best from Mississippi. The “best of the best” series publishes favorite recipes from all 50 states. Check out the authors’ Facebook page here.

The Mississippi book is chock-full of terrific recipes that celebrate the state’s seafood, agriculture, and history. I made a list of more than 40 recipes I wanted to try from this book, so my parents let me borrow it for a while. (Thanks, guys!!)  The first thing I made was chicken fettuccine with roasted pecans. It was creamy and crunchy and downright delicious. It was so pretty I put it in an antique serving dish before we dug in!

Chicken fettuccine with roasted pecans

¾ cup margarine, divided

3 boneless chicken breasts, cubed

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1 ½ cups sliced green onions

¾ teaspoon salt, divided

½ teaspoon pepper, divided

½ teaspoon garlic powder, divided

10 ounces fettuccine or linguini

2/3 cup half and half

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup chopped pecans, roasted

Melt ¼ cup margarine in a large skillet. Add chicken and sauté until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, green onions, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. While pasta is cooking, melt remaining ½ cup margarine. Combine half and half, parsley, remaining salt, pepper and garlic powder in a small bowl. Mix well. Drain pasta and put in a 2-quart dish. Pour margarine mixture into chicken-vegetable mixture. Cook over medium heat until thickened slightly. Pour over pasta; top with cheese and roasted pecans. I added some extra parsley, sprinkled across the top. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Birthday wishes to my mom

I am sending happy birthday wishes to my mother, Faye Pahl. Yellow is her favorite color, so I always send her yellow flowers. Here is an electronic bunch of daffodils to go along with the ones she should have received at home by now! Happy birthday, Mom -- you are the greatest!

Pecan cheesecake pie

I love cheesecake and pecan pie, so I was thrilled to find this recipe online. It’s cheesecake on the bottom and pecan pie on top. And it is all delicious.

I whipped this up for dessert at Christmas, using a refrigerated pie crust and a spring form pan. This made the pie look more like a tart – yes, it was so fancy we had to eat the pie with our pinkie fingers sticking out.
Here is a link to the type of pan I used – it is called “leak proof,” but never believe that. I carefully assembled the pan and put the whole arrangement on a baking sheet for extra safety. No one wants to clean baked on pecan pie filling out of the oven, period.
Here is what you will need:
1 refrigerated pie crust (or a scratch-made one)

8 ounces cream cheese

4 eggs, divided

3/4 cup sugar, divided

2 teaspoons vanilla, divided

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup pecans

1 cup light corn syrup

Unroll the pie crust and place it in the spring form pan (or regular pie pan) that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Center it in the pan and press crust against the sides. Beat the cream cheese, one egg, ½ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and salt. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Pour into the crust and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until partially set. Remove the pan from the oven and arrange the pecans on top, like this:


Then, blend together the corn syrup, 3 eggs, remaining ¼ cup sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Pour over the pecans and bake for 30-35 minutes until set. Yield: 1 pie.

I served mine with Cool-Whip and coffee. And it was terrific!

You don’t have to arrange the whole nuts like I did; it makes the finished product pretty, but it is harder to cut. Feel free to use chopped pecans, which also are cheaper.