Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

Making a good Indian curry can be a tricky endeavor as there’s a lot of flavors at work, some of which may not be used too frequently in your kitchen. Today’s dish which you may have encountered in restaurants before: butter chicken, a delicious tomato-based curry with a subtle, creamy, buttery taste.

Butter chicken

Now I’ve cooked some curries before, but they were always lacking something or were just really unbalanced. I love Indian food, but to me, if there is any cuisine that is hard to dissect from the finished product alone, its a good curry, which is frustrating because I’d love to cook a lot more of it. Furthermore, its not hard to find recipes out there, its just really hard to find ones worth making. So imagine my delight when I just happened to stumble upon a recipe for butter chicken by Alfred Prasad, the head chef at Michelin-starred… click to read more…

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Devil’s Food Cake with Fudge Frosting

Dessert has been a little pie-centric lately, so it was time for something different: cake. Rather than hitting up the bakery, I wanted to make my wife’s birthday cake myself for a change, and I knew chocolate had to be the focus. That’s still pretty open-ended, but I thought a good compromise between birthday cake and a heavy, rich chocolate cake (like a torte) was a traditional Devil’s Food Cake with a rich, fudge frosting.

Slice a fresh piece of devil’s food cake

The cake is delicious, semi-airy chocolate with a dense, rich, decadent frosting and filling (and rich in adjectives!). The cake itself is stacked two layers high and combines ingredients for a traditional, light batter with some darker flavors, like cocoa powder and dark brown sugar. The frosting is a fudge-like mixture of cream and some high quality dark chocolate for some real richness with the curious tang of sour cream. The combination: a happy birthday girl (success! :-)click to read more…

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Indian rice three ways

Indian food commonly has rice as a side dish, among many other enticing things, and there’s a lot of different, delicious ways of pairing rice with your food. My favorite two: lime rice and yogurt rice.

Lime rice and yogurt rice

When I cook Indian food, I usually can’t decide on cooking any one particular kind of rice, so I instead make two different flavored rice dishes and have a little of each. As different as they both look and taste, there’s a lot in common between them, so making two at once is incredibly easy. After lime rice and yogurt rice, the third rice recipe included in this post is much simpler and is akin to something you might commonly encounter in Indian restaurants (which I’ll just call spice rice for lack of any decent name). I tend to not be a big fan (its too plain for me), but hey, maybe you will be. 😉 Another nice thing about… click to read more…

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Pizza

I love pizza. My wife and I don’t eat out much, but pizza is our one regular splurge. But as routine as pizza is, there’s always something special about home-made:

Pizza fresh out of the oven

Slice of pizza

I had a lot of fun making this one. Its amazing how much better something as simple as pizza is compared to ordering in. Usually, pizza is a gut-bomb…delicious, but way too filling (or when its not so delicious, its a good excuse to try out one of my new hot sauces, another regular splurge). This was pretty easy to prepare at a leisurely pace and tasted vibrant, fresh, and light, which is a nice change from greasy and heavy. Plus, it gave my pizza stone, an oft negelected tool in the kitchen, some much needed TLC. 😉 Also, a nice side benefit to making this dish: you’ll have extra dough leftover which you can store in the fridge/freezer so that… click to read more…

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Saffron Flan

Flan is an amazing dessert whose name has been sullied by countless abuses. You can buy premade powders, single-serve containers, or order it from many restaurants where the only thing that these tasteless, gelatinous mounds have in common with actual flan is the general shape and color. Flan should not be flavorless and it should not resemble jello. Flan is actually a sweet, rich, delicate custard with a dark caramel sauce. To stand up to those dark caramel flavors, you add some subtle savory spices to bite back, giving the dish a surprisingly dark and complex flavor.

Slice of saffron flan

I’m glad to say that this dish is actually authentic (you know, in that passed-down-from-a-friend-from-her-family sort of way)–not a common thing on this blog! Of course, authenticity would demand that this dessert be Spanish in origin, but the more I look into it, the more things point to French, so I’ll just take the easy road, call it “Mediterranean,” and claim authenticity.… click to read more…

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Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

With pumpkins, squash, and all other sorts of gourds in season now, ideally, you’ll be using them in your dishes. Where there’s pumpkins, there’s seeds, and you wouldn’t think of just throwing them out, right?

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

These are really easy to make and are a great seasonal snack to have–toasty, crunchy, and salty–definitely a good substitute for a bowl of peanuts. If you’re like me, you might also like to add “spicy,” to the mix, but I’ll leave that one up to you. I happened to have seeds from one pumpkin and from two acorn squash (I wonder if they have any relation to acorn squash stuffed with beef or pumpkin pie? Odd coincidence…).

Most recipes call for simply oiling and salting the seeds and then roasting them in the oven. I wouldn’t have thought to click to read more…

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