Monday, January 16, 2017

Tandoori chicken salad with mint garlic buttermilk dressing

Just sitting here wasting hours on end wondering what the 2017 pilot feature of my here space(which is 5 years old, btw!) should look like had me delay it by more than a week. As you can see, I did decide to jump on the overtold, overused healthy resolution theme, much  similar to what I did same time, last year.  And we saw that to be a success. Right?

Taking that very reason into consideration, a quintessential January post should never run into February, where the internet will soon be flooded with pink, chocolate and edible hearts that obliterate any decent recipe demanding attention. So, it is important I rush this out the door. Today. Because the pictures taken two weeks ago are getting old. Even still, these first paragraphs I can't seem to end anytime soon.  It might be a record break, but I'm going to attempt the next ten sentences in less than an hour...maybe two..or even three. Really, who's keeping count?

I do not like resolutioning. Why do you need to tidy up eating habits, when it took all your time on earth to create the food lifestyle everyone desires to have? As many of you know, I can sometimes be that health/fitness/nutritive heathen, especially when it comes to committing my life solely to moderate and slim eating which, by the way, is truly counter intuitive to my very being. I believe healthful consumption (don't quote me on this) can also and not only be limited to slathers of butter and dashes of cream, well endowed bread, ghee laden casseroles and gloriously decked cakes. Much more than I have time to pen.

Really, though the whole spectrum of what I eat can never ever be an ending tale. It goes on. Just as the pages of this online recipe portfolio expand. Food experiences and their preparation can always be made and kept interesting. For the tastebuds. The tummy. The mind. Your existence. Hence, my theorem and guide to wellness and sanity, which I really can write an entire book on, but, then, that's a track for later, because you so need to hear this recipe.

Here is that invitation... to a salad which intrigues far more than any other food group has ever attempted. Moreover, it carries a cool factor that makes it unbelievably healthy in such a way. And by such a way, I mean the number of fusion flavors that commingle and produce a mad stunning plate of green. It is the canvas of garden contrasted with lean protein flavored better than your skinny thinking mind could ever imagine.

Tandoori chicken will just about up any salad ante. And while I've recorded here in detailed elaborateness, I did tailor this ingredient list to aid in speedy assembly, yet, still maintain pieces that scream loud enough mise en scene. Crunchy bites of bright red mini tomatoes and mellow from the avocado add adequate lift into a brilliant, right flavor direction.

The yogurt dressing is not an afterthought. It adds sufficient drama to have you actually believe you are eating at a grand Indian table as opposed to, maybe, a blah package of mixed greens(which, for sure, you shouldn't be doing). Moreover, you could enhance the same dressing with a sprinkle of Madras curry powder, a pinch of cayenne, maybe bring in a naan or two, evening out the whole show to a well rounded dinner setting.

In all definiteness, this take on Magnificence will own your tastebuds. Not because it can go into a pure eating guru's recipe file. It is one of those things you should experience and will most surely benefit from. Further, you need to hear the tried testimony of a few good people, in particular, the teenager who shuns edible grass and slams any sort of vegetable that lands in her plate. It's with this almost-adult where I saw the impossible happen, all twenty times. With not a sigh of hesitation, not even an eye roll, and second servings taken , she was fascinated enough to lick the plate clean. But, we shall keep that between us. Since maintaining adolescent integrity is topmost on my list of priorities these days.

There you go. The meal that mimics a fine Indian dhaba. And a salad you'll want to spend the rest of your life with. Happy healthful 2017.
Halfway through this very first month of a New Twelve has me naturally think it could be rather unneedful to exchange pleasantries and greetings. Still, I sense a conscience driven pull to bide and wish. So, before you decide I'm an inconsiderate ape who wants you just read her random unscheduled, uncoordinated scripts which are usually put together in throes of madness....I do...wish you...
A joyous and abundant year. All hopes that it be filled in overflow with fun, family, friends and, no doubt, fabulous food.

For the salad~
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp ground garlic
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced finely
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper or Indian red chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 english cucumber sliced thin
  • 2-3 avocado diced
  • juice of half lemon
  • salt, as required 
For the dressing~
  • 2-3 sprigs mint 
  • ½ tsp ground garlic
  • juice of half lemon 
  • 1 cup fat free plain yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise(optional)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds(optional)
For the salad~
  • Combine yogurt ginger, garlic, serrano, cayanne, garam masala, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Add chicken and coat with the above ingredients. 
  • Cover and chill. Keep for 30 minutes upto one hour.
  • Make dressing(below)
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Take chicken out of refrigerator. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Turn chicken over and bake for another 20-25 minutes until juices run clear.
  • Keep chicken aside. 
  • In a large bowl, combine spinach, tomatoes, cucumber.
  • When chicken is cooled, slice and place over or toss with vegetables.
  • Stir together avocado and lemon juice. Sprinkle salt if required. Add to salad.
For the dressing~
  • Throw in the all ingredients from mint to pepper, leaving out sesame seeds, into a food processor or blender and blend till combined. Add upto 1/4 water to create the desired consistency for dressing.
  • Mix in sesame seeds.
  • Add to salad when serving.
Grind ginger and garlic in an electric mixer/ mini food processor or even with a mortar and pestle. You can also sub in powdered to timesave.
Adjust any or all spice to your liking for the chicken marinade. We inherently like to breathe heat, so have twice the amount of some of those beautifully colored powders:-)

This. Deemed to debut on Friday the 13th, though that's a thing that hardly fazes me. Instead, procrastination and a hyper busy weekend( it was take-down-Cmastree weekend:)) has the salad dialogue reach you the Monday after, which whether you believe, in luck, providence or not, should set off any qualms on the verity of my words and the magnificence of the late-out-the-door compilation. 
Yay!! BKMK is 5 years old. Thinking it through, I find no logical explanation for how a slacker, such as myself, could keep it going this long. Thank you for your page visits, your likings or just coming by to pay me a visit. Hopefully 2017 will show me greater ways to surprise you (why, just being here does that, right?:)) and bigger, badder, more epics recipes to lay at your doorsteps.

Where tandoori has also starred~
"God never wastes a hurt." Christine Caine
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Grinch Cake

Not having a single new recipe to extol about, yet expounding on past glory is like a movie you play on rewind. You know, those that kind of trap you in a loop. The DVR cant catch up, and you, like a fool, bingewatch Christmas romance on nefarious seasonal channels that appear just about this time of year, have you reeled in(yes, pun intended) for most of your two week break. I now work, so I realize the profundity of a "little free time".

I grew up reading "The Grinch Stole Christmas!". It was a sort of self imposed ritual for me, every year in school. Up through high school. I was wholesome. Like that. Even afterwards,  The Two I gave birth to, lived this in repeat; reading watching, reciting, often times with force and against free will. These days, 25 days of Christmas and Netflix combined ensures we embrace this miserly Dr. Suess antihero, one so endearing, that he has us believe, in second chances, restoration, hope, redemption. Cue the tissues, please.

Yes, people, this is my ode. To a gloriously green villain who makes an ultimate Hero's journey, and to me, is one of the best Christmas stories told.

"You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch." And I become Cindy Lou. 

Now before I lose all train of thought and existence of what the subject matter for this blog should be, I will introduce you to the day's theme. A loaf cake, pound-ish in nature, ridiculous fluffy like it could totally aspire to be any other tiered frosted pastry counterpart.

We've dealt with surprise embedded stories before. It's almost like a double feature. A piece within a piece. Here, themed green and red, plush with a teeny heart, revealed only upon slicing will have you facing a volley of questions...

How did you get that heart in there?
How does the heart stay in?
Can you make this without a heart?

I could answer these touching a hundred or so poignant thoughts, paralleling how any heart could impress/melt the socks off anyone, as I believe it should. But do we really have time to take on a vague-ish life lesson at this point or just get with our discussion? I knew you'd agree.

Moreover, I bet you've painted cake batters before. Also tried endless ways to make them differently decorative. Though, really when your citrus poundcake dreams come true in less than half the calories, don't you think the excitement exponentially rises and has you believe nothing in this world could ever trump it (no political ideology/insinuation intended ;-))?

So then how did I do it without the aid of magic or supernatural feat ( I'm good, but not that good. Yet).

Simple. I color, twice. The hearts are red cake, sliced and punched out with mini cutters, baked, prior to the green batter. Arranging these grinch hearts, and fully surrounding them with newly whipped green batter, ending with a final bake ensures what you see in the pictures flooding this page. 

It's actually a canvas on which you can paint or just about fulfill any flavored cake aspiration. And  set in motion several options on how to do the simple 9x5 loaf.

"Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day". Well mine just rose to the top.

I must also mention how cooking oil becomes your chief fat component, with not an ounce of The Superior Fat I so often wax glorious about. And you won't even miss the latter.

Herein, is where I may repudiate all my mandates of using that pound of butter. But maybe just leave it at this particular assignment,  for we have a reputation to keep.

The magnificently moist-tender crumb is an unbelievable result of the leavening, emulsion properties of many good ingredients being beaten, to an aerated form, almost, too unbelievable that it actually does give us an awesome mouthfeel. And mouthfeel matters. Because we should have more soft cakes. Because we haven't had many loaf cakes inexpressibly rank. Because green cakes just rule

When you have friends telling you to keep on doing what you're doing. Despite the fact that you have taken on a full part time job (word contradiction?), and come up with something where they may still be wowed, and  you possess a brighter, motivated culinary mojo. So be it when the acquaintance circles/hostesses /hard-to-please-dinner crowd and in most probability family suddenly realize, they also can very much achieve all that..and that..and that.

Further, I'd like to say I hate the overuse of phraseology such as"crowd pleaser". What does that mean even? You're in a way-eager crowd and too busy to notice what could be fantastically crummy food ? Or maybe  a bit too part of a drunk guestlist to decipher whether anything served is really good or bad? The label just isn't right. And much to my dismay, it's that season where it becomes common to dining vernacular.

This, however will not, should not, cannot be the pleaser of mere masses, my friends. It's the you-at-the-end-of-tiredday pleaser, the family -which -doubts your-skill pleaser. And most of all, the mouth-that-so-desperately-needsasmile pleaser.

Here goes, me to you. During the wee bit sanity that exists right before the busiest baking season alights... and by the time I hit publish, has commenced, in my earnestness, a hundred days ago.

This could be somewhat reminiscent of our cranberry orange bread which I see keeping up top views for the month, so that I don't sink Thank you.

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” ― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Inspiration from: Grinch cake for Christmas, The Bearfoot Baker
Cake recipe Adapted from Ina Garten's lemon yogurt cake, Barefoot Contessa
(Homophones in my inspirations. Cool, don't you think?:-)))

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup nonsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, coconut.
  • In another bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Evenly blend. Slowly whisk in vegetable oil, until batter is thoroughly mixed and no flour can be seen.
  • It is at this time you add in the food coloring. (For two cakes: red for first, green for second)
  • Pour the batter in prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Take out of oven. Leave in pan for ten minutes. Then flip loaf over, carefully onto wire rack to cook.
  • For red cake, slice into 1/2  inch pieces,  hearts should be intact. (sounds awry, but no broken hearts, please;)) Use small heart cookie cutter to cut out a hundred hearts (kidding, more like twenty). Stand them upright on bottom right of a clean, greased loaf pan stacked one beside another, leaving room on both ends for green batter to cover. 
  • For green cake, repeat with same ingredients and tint batter green. 
  • Pour over the hearts assembled in loaf pan. Red should not show through.
  • Bake this for 50-60 minutes until tester inserted comes out clean.
  • Once out of oven, leave in pan for ten minutes. Flip carefully onto wire rack.
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Decorate with fondant heart, buttercream.
  • Slice  and be surprised.

I use Wilton's No Taste Red to color the red loaf which is baked first. For the green I used leaf green.
You could try another cake recipe for either cake, or separate ones for each.  Though I can't vouch for the efficacy of how the whole thing plays out.
I placed the hearts side by side, lengthwise of pan, from end to end towards the bottom right.
Since my batter was light, the hearts floated to the top..which I think is a perfect accident. Don't you? :-)

Cakes with similar attributes or maybe just as good~
lemon coconut battenburg cake ( stats show this has been a hit with lots of you :-)

Christmas is coming and I am getting endowed with much more of me than I need to see( sizing up  on wardrobe  may be in my near future;-)
Want in on some of the love? To make it all merry and bright~
plum cake (the 1st prize winner )
Craving savory?

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be." James 3:9-10