Aah for aaloo.. With a side of chicken

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So I thought I would make tandoori chicken with a side of Indian spiced potatoes.

Have you ever had a meal where the side overshadows the main dish?

Despite the fact that the tandoori chicken was as good as always, and MYT always loves my tandoori chicken, he couldn’t get enough of the potatoes.

And I have to agree, they were well cooked, well seasoned, and just so scrumptious.

With a good Indian puri or paratha, it would be a stellar main dish, easy simple and good to eat 🙂

“Honey, I’m home!”

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My grandmother only went to school through the third grade…then she learned how to manage a household. And, in that very traditional, Indian way, my grandparents made a life together. But their life saw many changes…drastic changes…both in the community and at home. Their eldest child, a daughter, went to medical school. She became a doctor. Then she became a wife and ultimately my mother. That’s a lot of growth in the span of a generation.

My mother was always a working mom. But, somehow she managed to keep many of her traditional roles. One of which was always making sure there was something to eat at home. My mom would call me from the hospital when I came home from school to tell me what snacks were prepared. I always had dinner and instructions on how to heat it. And, in a lot of ways, that’s how my mom showed she was still taking care of me the way her mother took care of her. (checking homework was strictly the jurisdiction of my dad. My mom did not get involved with it after she taught me 7×7=47)

With that background, I forged forward with my life. I always wanted to be a doctor and that’s what I became. But now I realize what my mother must have dealt with. I love my job. And I believe it’s way more than a job. But sometimes I have such a similar urge to my mom, to have snacks and meals ready at home, waiting, to show how much I care about life at home.

So, on the occasions when I’m home first, and I have time to keep things ready, I get so excited. I love having a meal ready and waiting for MTT. So, today while he was working and I was off, I asked him what he’d want for a late lunch. He wanted an easy to prepare salad…and it’s not the difficulty of what I’m making so much as the fact that I’m making it…so a simple southwest flavored chicken salad with avocados, cherry tomatoes, bacon bits and tortilla strips with a side of corn bread may not be a “I slaved all day in the kitchen” kind of meal…but that it’s here waiting for MTT gives me immense joy. Plus, he likes all things southwest. The shredded cheese in it can’t hurt either 😉

See one… Do one…

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There is a saying in the field of medicine… “See one, do one, teach one…”

Last week in clinic, one of my co-residents brought a chicken drumstick for lunch. The comedy was in the fact she left the bone in the Tupperware on our conference table all afternoon. And no one else moved it until someone came in to take photos for our hospital’s website… My friend promptly exclaimed “Move the chicken bone!”

Even with that, I sat by a fragrant chicken bone for the better part of the afternoon and since then I’d been craving chicken drumsticks …

I finally caved in and made them myself at home. “See one…do one” 🙂

With a side of onion rings for MTT as seen in the photograph 🙂

Who knows who will inspire the next meal…or who will be inspired by my chicken leg!

Are we ready for some football??

I actually hate football. I am easily bored by it. And confused by it. But for better or for worse, we watch at least 4-8 hours of football each week.

So, I might as well cook for it. I promised MTT that there would be guacamole for every Jets game.

MTT has been known to eat guac with a spoon. Like cereal.

But, when the Jets are a 1pm game..lithe best thing is to mix lunch with my promise of guacamole. I tried my hand at nachos. Sautéed ground lamb, topped with cheese, tomatoes, guacamole and sour cream, served with tortilla chips.

The result was very good. But we have to shop around for less salty tortilla chips!

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Flirting with Fresh Direct

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In a previous post, I blogged about how much I love the grocery store. However, the options around here aren’t always fresh or affordable. Also, in busy times I try to overshop on one occasion to try to spread out my trips to the store. So, at the recommendation of a colleague I tried Fresh Direct.

Convenient. Reliable. Quick. And a good selection of goods.

I decided to try the pre-seasoned chili marinated pork chops. They were good..a little generic in flavor…but on the whole good…I may not order this exact item again but I will order fresh direct again.

I loved the side of corn though!

MTT is at baseline not a fan of pork, and in general likes things made from scratch at home more…unclear if this is shameless flattery but I have to say it makes me more likely to cook from scratch at home!

My Try at American Classics

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I love going to the grocery store. Partly because it is the one store where I am fortunate enough to have the power to buy anything I want, no matter how frivolous or exotic. 7 dollar bottle of organic jam? Silly, sure, when I could probably get away with a 3 dollar bottle of Smucker’s. But, even if I wanted to be extravagant, I can buy that 7 dollar bottle of jam. This adds a certain enjoyment to strolling up and down the aisles of the store, looking at all the different products, knowing that if I really wanted to, I could buy any one of them.

The grocery store is probably the only store that I can pull this off in. I can’t walk into Macy’s and say, oh yeah I can buy any purse here.

So the other day, when I was in the grocery store, I saw a Leek Soup Mix. Now, I have never bought leek soup. I’m not even sure what a leek looks like. But I decided, for 2 dollars, that I would try it.

I came home and had the idea to make the soup and use it instead of cream of mushroom (which, actually, I really don’t like) for an attempt at green bean casserole. I use the term loosely because I don’t think the product was a casserole so much as green beans with a leek soup reduction for a sauce.

And I paired it with oven fried chicken drumsticks, which were so yummy. I don’t often cook drumsticks so every time I do I am always surprised by how good they taste.

My verdict: leek soup is actually quite good as a sauce. But Pyrex containers used in the oven for this little experiment are very hard to clean.

Italian Medley

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It has been a while….between the recent engagement and busy schedule things have been hectic….but today I got out of work on time and MTT was out at an interview until late so I knew I had some time to make up for lost cooking time…

I had no idea what to do….so I decided to make a little of everything. I love crab cakes…so why not try those? Some of the mix for crab cake can be used to stuff mushrooms…so why not one or two of those? And when the grocery store has opened clams…well why not use some of those breadcrumbs to make baked clams?

So clearly the side dishes were the star of this meal…and the baked garlic spiced chicken with tomato basil sauce on the side was really just…to fill the belly after a bunch of tasty appetizers made into side dishes…

It’s like when you go to a wedding and the best part is cocktail hour…why not do that at home once in a while?

I only meant to eat one…but…

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I recently acquired a mandolin slicer and am obsessed! And by obsessed, I mean I talked incessantly about it, and proudly showed it to MTT, who didn’t get it at all, of course, until I said “pakoda” (pronounced pakora). A tasty Indian fritter made of various vegetables fried in a graham flour batter, these treats remind me of parties my mom used to throw growing up because she would usually fry these fresh for her guests.

You can make pakodas out of potatoes, onions, chilis, eggplant, cauliflower…lots of options exist.

Today I tried slicing potatoes in my new mandolin slicer and I was very pleased with the results. So of course, I made pakodas. I was nervous because I didn’t have the traditional kadhai (wok) to fry in but the result was surprisingly…appropriate. Reminiscent of the fritters I used to eat when I was a kid, even. MTT and I took turns dunking the golden fried disks in cold ketchup while watching tv…and before we knew it, they were all gone. Oops! I had only meant to eat one…

Worth All the Dirty Dishes: A South Asian Adventure

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Two days ago, I decided it was time to go back to my Indian roots. So, I mixed up a malai marinade (yogurt and spices) in a bowl, added some chicken breast tenderloins, and put the covered bowl away in the fridge for two days.

Yesterday, I thought fondly of the chicken marinating in my fridge and started the next step of preparation: I soaked some rice in water.

Today, I was finally ready to make my meal.

Indian cooking is very simple, though it can require some preparation. Over the years, I’ve watched my mom make quite a few meals like this. Sure, you can marinate chicken right before you cook it and boil rice without the pre-soak. But when you plan ahead you can really elevate the meal.

The Indian tradition of yogurt marinades was referenced recently in Top Chef Masters when the acclaimed chefs were asked to contribute to an Indian Buffet…without the proper ingredients of course. Anyway, the eliminated contestant actually made an “Indian-Spiced Chicken” whose most salient critique was “it wasn’t marinated in yogurt….one of the strengths of Indian cooking is using a yogurt marinade always makes Indian chicken so tender and flavorful…” I felt a sense of pride at that critique; as the most frequently cooked meat in my kitchen, I relish the idea of making chicken soft and tasty.

The perfect accompaniments to this malai chicken is a nice spicy rice pilaf and MTT’s favorite: raita.

Raita is a yogurt side spiced with roasted cumin and other items per personal preference. Today’s went with dill and paprika. I also added tons of grated cucumber like my mom always did when I was little. MTT loves raita. So much so that the man can out away almost an entire container-full. In fact, we discovered his lactose intolerance through his love for raita, because he needs to down a lactaid before he can eat it to his heart’s content.

I served this meal with some lightly sautéed red onions and lemon…a very Indian thing to do indeed.

As we ate dinner, I looked over to MTT and said… “I’m sorry about all the dishes tonight…”. Like a good sport, MTT replied “This food is worth it!”

I asked if he wanted some Rooh Aftza for dessert (more on this later…but suffice it to say it’s a very Indian, summery drink). MTT replied “no, tonight is more of a frappucino kind of night…there are so many dishes, might as well use the blender too!”

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