Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani)

The Lowdown:

Like approximately 2,456,328.7 people, butter chicken (murg makhani) is one of my favourite dishes. I don't know exactly where it lands in my top 10, but it is nestled in there somewhere between goulash and leftover pizza. Despite your best efforts to deny it, you all know that day old pizza is one of your favourite dishes. One exception - taco pizza. 'Nuff said.

In reality, what isn't there to like about butter chicken? It's extremely flavourful, pleasantly colourful, aromatic, and mysterious. Well, I don't know about mysterious, but it made my point seem that much more credible. I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that even people who say, "blabbidy blah blah" about curries (seriously who listens when people complain about food) would enjoy butter chicken. If not, I'll force them. After all, it's the way I learned to enjoy food. Sort of like Clockwork Orange, but with food.

If you've read the "about us" section, you'll know that I've been planning on making this dish since the first time I ate it. A decade later, and I'm finally making it. I'm such a procrastinator (as opposed to an amateur-crastinator).Here it is after two days of marinading, four hours of simmering, and ten years of procrastinating.

This dish is amazing because not only does it taste amazing, but it can be frozen and reheated. If you have the room, doubling the recipe and then freezing the rest in single serving ziplock containers is a great idea. By great I mean grrrrreeeeaaat (just like Tony the Tiger).

The Playlist:

9 Chicken thighs, deboned and skinned
650ml Plain yogurt
1 tsp Cardamom, ground
2 tsp Garam masala
2 tbsp Lemon juice
2 tsp Paprika
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tbsp Ginger, minced

Butter Chicken Sauce
1 Red onion, chopped
3 tbsp Ginger, diced
5 cloves Garlic, diced
3 tbsp Oil
2 cups Methi leaves (fenugrek leaves), chopped
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Cloves, ground
1 tbsp Coriander, ground
1 tsp Cinnamom
1 tbsp Paprika
8 pods Cardamom, whole
1 tsp Pepper, ground
1 tbsp Honey
4 Tomatoes

3 tbsp Butter

The Skinny:

  1. Mix all the marinade items in a sealable container then add chicken and ensure that all the pieces of chicken are coated. Refrigerate for a day (or a few hours at minimum).
  2. In large saucepan: saute onions, ginger, garlic in oil. 
  3. In blender: add water, paprika, tomatoes, and honey and puree until smooth. 
  4. Add tomato mixture into saucepan once onions are transparent, stir then add remaining spices. Simmer until mixture reduces by about 1/4 volume, cool then puree. Refrigerate for a day (or a few hours at minimum).
  5. Remove chicken from the marinade and cook in butter until browned. Then add chicken to the tomato sauce. Simmer together for about 30 minutes, then slowly add the marinade into the tomato sauce until the desired texture and flavour is reached.
  6. Serve with rice or naan.

Featured on: Premeditated Leftovers, 33 Shades of Green, Food Renegade, Chef in Training

Stay Rad -h

Thursday, October 18, 2012

RPI: Chorizo Potato Boats (choo choo!)

Oh goodness!

I find it so amusing that Haydn and I both - inadvertently - chose childhood favorites for our chorizo RPI assignments. Great minds think alike!

Okay, maybe not so much childhood as teenage/young adult-ness. And while we're at it, maybe not so much great minds either. When I still lived in the the small-ass town where I grew up (think no-where Alberta), bumper-skiing and Budweiser were cool, gas was $5.00/litre and gettin' down on the farm (literally) was how we got down - bonfires, pickup trucks and all.

One night a week my friends and I would cruise - and by cruise, I mean see if we could break the sound barrier in my girl friend's volvo - into the city and hit up Boston Pizza for late night snacks and cokes. And if we felt really adventurous, some of us would even get long island iced-teas - the drink of all barely-legal kids everywhere. 

One of those snacks was potato skins. Oozy gooey semi-veggie friendly potato boats of unhealthy goodness. Well I'll tell ya what - I did them one better. I kept most of the potato, smashed it up with a little milk, butter and sour cream and then mixed in some seriously flavorful additions.

I give you, chorizo potato boats. All aboard!

Chorizo Potato Boats
serves 4 - (printable recipe)


2 Large Russet Potatoes, washed and well dried.
3 Links of Spanish Chorizo, casing removed.
1/2 Onion, peeled & finely diced.
1 Garlic Clove, peeled & chopped.
Handful of canned/jar Artichoke Hearts, roughly chopped.
2 - 4 Sundried Tomatoes (depending on size), roughly chopped.
1 Roasted Bell Pepper, thinly sliced.
1/4 C Black Olives, pits removed and roughly chopped.
1/2 C Aged White Cheddar Cheese (or other flavorful good melting cheese), grated.
Smoked Paprika for dusting.
Approx 1/2 C Milk.
2 Tbsp Sour Cream + Extra for serving.
2 Tbsp Butter + Extra for serving.
2 Tbsp Fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped.
Coarse Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

What to Do:

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F. 

As the oven heats, stab the potatoes with a fork all over to ensure they don't explode in the oven. Place on a baking sheet and and bake in the oven for 1 - 1 and 1/2 hours or until fork tender. Remove from heat and let cool enough so you can handle them.

While the potatoes are cooling heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the chorizo and break up well. Cook thoroughly, stirring often. 

Add the onion - allow to soften. Toss in the garlic, stirring for about a minute or until fragrant. Toss in the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, bell pepper and olives. Mix well and heat through. Set aside.

Once they have cooled somewhat, slice in half and spoon the inside of the potato out of the skin and dump in a bowl. Add 1/4 C of the milk, butter and sour cream along with a good helping of salt and pepper. Mash baby mash! If necessary, add more of any of the above to taste and find a good texture. Take care not to over mash because over mashing = starchy goopy mess.

Fold in the chorizo veg mixture as well as the cheese until well blended. 

Gently spoon the potato mixture back into the skins. Pile high. And set back onto baking sheet. Sprinkle with smokey paprika. Place back in oven for about 30 minutes.

Remove from heat. Top with the chopped parlsey. Serve.


What kind of "trouble" did you get into growing up? What were some of your favorite dishes?


 This post is linked up with the Hearth & Soul Blog Hop via the 21st Century Housewife; Tasty Tuesdays; Tuesday Talent Show; Cast Party Wednesday; Whole Foods Wednesday; Frugal days, Sustainable Ways; What's in the Box;

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

RPI: Zesty Chorizo Calzones

The Lowdown:

This recipe idea came to me when I merely demanded to have pizza pops at my hypothetical wedding. I don't want a formal sit down dinner, so naturally servers walking around with silver trays full of pep n' bacon pizza pops would be the next logical thought. Apparently not. The idea got shot down faster than the resurgence of belly shirts. Not that it matters, regardless of her permission they will be there. Oh yes, they will be there. It's easier to beg forgiveness.

Pizza pops were a huge part of my childhood. Being young and stupid, I would come home at unreasonable hours, despite my curfew, craving something extremely unhealthy and fast. Four minutes later I was in bliss. Today, I can't justify buying them. I can't even justify thinking about buying them. One glance at the nutritional value (nutritional suicide) is enough to make any health conscious person faint. To be honest, I think even pure mayonaise is healthier.

With the above reasons, it seemed perfect that I used our RPI ingredient to make a childhood favourite. Big boy pizza pops. How could this possibly go wrong with homemade tomato sauce, fresh ingredients, homemade pizza dough, homemade hot sauce, and ranch. Heck ya that sounds awesome. On that note, why am I letting my big boy pizza pop get cold. I'll entertain you again sometime soon. Over and out.

The Playlist:

Smokey Tomato Sauce
5 Tomatoes, chopped
1 Onion, finely diced
3 cloves Garlic, finely diced
1 cup Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Red wine
1 oz Vodka
1 tsp Liquid smoke
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

Pizza Dough
1.5 tbsp Yeast
2 cups Water, warm
1 tbsp Organic cane sugar
4 cups Flour
4 tbsp Olive oil
2 tsp Salt

5 Chorizo sausages, casing removed
1 Onion, chopped
1 Yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 Banana peppers, chopped
1 cup Shitake mushrooms, chopped

The Skinny:

  1. In measuring cup: add water, sugar, and yeast. Allow to prime for 10 minutes, then in a large mixing bowl, add yeast water and remaining dough ingredients. Mix dough until a solid ball is formed and there is no remaining loose flour. Cover with a warm moist towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.
  2. In saucepan: heat oil over med-high heat then add garlic and onions and cook until brown. Add remaining smokey tomato sauce ingredients, cover, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Once the tomatoes are fully cooked, use and immersion blender or food processor to puree the sauce. If desired, cook off any remaining liquid to get the desired consistency.
  3. Preheat oven to 350*.
  4. In frying pan: cook chorizo sausages on medium heat. Once nearly cooked, add the peppers and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. On well floured surface: separate the dough into desired size balls. Using a rolling pin, or a bottle of wine, roll out until the dough is 3 mm thick.
  6. Add the smokey tomato sauce and fillings onto the flattened, pizza-shaped, dough. Fold over the dough then using a fork or your fingers seal the edges.
  7. Brush with olive oil, then bake for 25-30 minutes.

Featured on:Premeditated Leftovers, 33 Shades of Green, Food Renegade, Chef in Training,

Stay Rad -h

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A Little More "About Us"

So this last month was dreadful... for you guys. For that, we are sorry. We will try to never take a month off again. So to get back into the swing of things Kristy and I thought that we would do another little Q & A. Think of it as a way for us to get our blogging caps back on again after a long - and I mean long - enjoyable break. I guess, it's also a chance for you, the readers, to get a tiny glimpse of who we really are. Luckily, it's only a tiny glimpse. Any more knowledge of us and it would be a complete and utter disaster (especially Kristy, she's crazy).

What do you miss most now that Kristy lives in Toronto?

I have nobody that equals or outmatches my ability to rant about nothing anymore. Also, nobody complains when I eat McDonalds now, so there is nobody to keep me in check.

What do you miss most since Haydn still lives in Victoria?

His laugh. And lazing on his couch with a glass of wine. (H: I would hardly say there was ever any "lazing," it was more of a break from bickering.)

What have you learned since starting this blog?

 H: I have learned that, unfortunately, this culinary realm seems to be a lot more superficial than I originally would have assumed. Food porn, it appears, is more important that substance or creativity (K: It IS porn, you know! Not that that's a bad thing...). With that in mind, I have also learned that it gets increasingly difficult to stay creative with your recipes as time goes on (sometimes you just crave the same thing over and over again). Finally, I have learned that shopping at 1am is a blessing that can't be described by mere mortal words.

K: It IS porn, after all, no? What I've learned - While I want to post more than I do on this blog, I just don't have the time. Gastronomical Sovereignty is still my primary blog and 3 posts per week there means only 1 here. I'm sad for that. Also, I don't like goat meat, I do enjoy teasing Haydn and while I'm all for a little roughness in the bedroom, Fifty Shades of Grey is a terrifying novel of abuse and torture - it's not romantic people!

What menu items are you always happiest to see when visiting a new restaurant?

H: Cheese plates, real mac n cheese, oceanwise mussels, blackened snapper (or similar fish), butter chicken, duck poutine, root chips... I just got lost thinking about food, but that is just a few of them.

K: Mac and cheese. Obviously. And any clever rendition of whatever is in season locally from happy food producers at that time.

Name one food item that you are planning to use, that you have never used before.

H: Bison heart. Luckily enough, I've befriended a few chefs and we've discussed the idea of a cured, smoked bison heart.

K. I'm going to ferment foods. And then eat them.

Other than cooking, what are you pastimes?

H: Skimboarding, poking around in specialty food stores, complaining (K: aye. yes.), being the #1 boyfriend candidate, playing hockey with the boys, beer, and plotting how to escape to a tropical island.

K: Food food food! Reading books, camping, wine, swooning over Joseph Gordon-Levitt and plotting how to keep Haydn on said tropical island.

Favourite ice cream?

H: Being lactose intolerant it's a trick question (K: Why did you always let me feed you so much cheese???). I would have to say a good quality strawberry or peanut butter (if I'm willing to deal with the stomach pains).

K: Neopolitan. Or mint chocolate chip. 

If you were to be any dog breed, what would it be?

H: Jack Russell. Too much energy and no purpose.

K. Chow Chow. I'm fuzzy (I don't shave as often as I should), I have a cute face and a tendency to bite. (H: She's not joking about the biting either)

What are your guilty pleasures when it comes to food?

H: Cheezies, KD, microwavable burritos, McDonalds, Doritos (only the spicy ones), Eagle Brand (only in my espresso), brownies & cookies.

K: Italian food. Frequently and without apology to my thighs. Also, KD when hung over.