Monday, June 22, 2009

Indian-spiced chicken pitas

My boyfriend and I made these delicious chicken pitas a while back... We found a recipe for Indian-spiced chicken burgers in Martha Stewart Living's Everyday Food - Great Food Fast cookbook, and made slider-sized patties. We topped the patties with a savory yogurt sauce and tossed in some cucumber slices. We served each pita with spicy potato wedges and an orzo salad with asparagus and feta cheese. We will definitely be repeating this!

You can find a similar recipe at Bakin' and Eggs, a fantastic food blog.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Housemade gifts :: #2 Grow your own African violets

Sometime last year (during the summer, maybe) my mom and I decided to grow our own African violets. We removed some of the leaves of my one African violet, dipped the bottom of each stem in water, then in rooting hormone, and stuck them each in a mug (since we always have too many mugs!). By last month, they each had about twenty leaves. For graduation gifts, I re-potted four of them in small colorful pots, and one in this teacup. It just happened to bloom on the day of my friend's graduation party... =)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

stale pita crisis averted!

A while back, I was in the mood for a pita sandwich (I absolutely love a good turkey pita with lettuce, tomato, cheddar, and a little ranch) and I picked up some pocketless pitas at the grocery store. I immediately made a sandwich when I got back home, and was disappointed to find that they were a little bit stale. But, don't worry, it wasn't a complete loss. With the remainder of the package, I made personal pizzas throughout the week for my lunches. It's a great base for a variety of toppings -- you could add roni, go veggie, use pesto instead of tomato sauce -- I even made one with vodka sauce! It's a quick option, and I didn't even miss regular pizza crust. Crisis averted. =)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

lightly-curried potatoes and spinach

When I want a quick go-to warm dish, I often turn to a plate of lightly-curried potatoes and spinach. It's not too spicy, but has a hint of Indian flair, and costs much less than heading to the nearest Indian restaurant for take-out.

I start by sauteing cubed potatoes in a little butter, a little oil, a liberal sprinkling of curry powder, and salt.

Once the potatoes are fork-tender and getting crispy, I add a few turns around the pan of cream, and toss a handful of fresh spinach on top.

The spinach wilts quite quickly, so be ready to eat!

Once the spinach is wilted, I check for seasonings and add salt (or pepper) if necessary.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bavarian-style Soft Pretzels

The other night, after watching Throwdown! with Bobby Flay (the episode where he challenges the Pretzel Boys of Philly), my friend and I were inspired to make our own soft pretzels. The next morning, we found a simple Bavarian-style soft pretzel recipe on the BeerSmith blog -- it's the type of pretzel that Bobby made during the Throwdown.

The pretzel dough-making was easy. Just follow the directions in the recipe to mix and knead the dough, let it rise until doubled, then shape. The pretzels take a quick bath (15-20 seconds) in boiling
baking soda-water solution and are ready to be sprinkled with delicious toppings -- we did some with salt only, some with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or Parmesan cheese, and one or two with a combo of everything.

Here's what they looked like after the water bath and the addition of the toppings.

They spent about 8 minutes in a 475 degree (F) oven and were ready to be ripped apart. We ate them plain, but you could dip them in mustard or a cheesy sauce. I would definitely repeat this recipe again. They were fantastic!

Friday, June 5, 2009

ajvar burgers

Yesterday, while exploring the aisles of Taste of Europe (European grocery that stocks Russian, Bosnian, Polish, Macedonian, and German foods -- next to the YMCA on 34D Mallets Bay Ave. in Winooski), my favorite Ukrainian found quite the selection of ajvar. Ajvar is a Balkan condiment that is made from red peppers, eggplant, garlic and chili peppers. It can be either mild or hot, and was the perfect addition (along with some Bulgarian sheep's milk cheese) to our burgers last night. You can order ajvar online from Taste of Europe at

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mo-chimi or churri-jo?

A friend was staying at our house last weekend, and I whipped up a dinner in celebration of her moving back to VT. It was the first grilling of the season for me (at least on our grill), and here's what I made: whey-fed pork (loin chops and country-style ribs) from Willow Hill Farm marinated, basted and served with a hybrid chimichurri-mojo sauce (super herby + citrus + garlic); grilled summer squash, zucchini, and scallions with a warm grilled tomato vinaigrette; savory tomato wedges and a guacamole salad (chunky tomatoes, cukes, and avocado, dressed in a zesty cilantro vinaigrette).
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