Masaman Curry

Getting there…

Masaman curry

Ingredients:
2 lb beef (I use stew meat; it’s already cut) (lamb will work too)
3 medium potatoes, cubed
1 small can thai red curry paste (better with masaman paste, but the grocery stores here suck)
1 can (14oz) coconut milk
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1 cup peanuts, roasted
2 sticks cinnamon
4 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp cayenne
at least 2 tsp salt (to taste)
at least 1 tsp pepper (to taste)
1 tsp white pepper
1.5 tbsp sugar
.5 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp fish sauce
1.5 tsp la yu (chili oil)
some “Thai curry spice” I had in the pantry. No idea what’s in it.

Directions:
It’s been so long now, I can’t remember, precisely.

Brown beef. Drain and add to cooker.
Add everything else except bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.

Cook 4-5 hours on high. Add cinnamon sticks and bay leaves for 30 minutes on low at the end.

Serve over rice.

Cost: $15-ish
Serves: 4-6

Review: 3/5 – it wasn’t spicy enough and needed thicker paste and more peanuts. Will try again, with less sweet spices and more salty/spicy

Firehouse Chili “Mr. Deadly”

OK, got stalled on the catching up. Really have a recipe backlog. First up: my first take on a firehouse chili which I shall call Mr. Deadly

This is a warning of things to come:
Firehouse Chili Mr. Deadly

Ingredients:
2 lb beef stew meat
1 can green chilies
4 serrano chilies, chopped
4 jalapeno chilies, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1-2 tbsp cayenne
1 large onion, chopped
1 15 oz can pinto beans
1 14.5 oz can tomatoes
pepper
paprika
salt

Directions:
Brown the meat. Drain the fat.

Put the onions and beans in slow cooker. Meat on top. Everything else on top of that. You might want to put the spices somewhere in the middle, but you’re going to stir it anyway, so no biggee.

Cook!

Serve with sour cream, cheese, the jalapeno cheese bread, and lottttts of milk.

chili served
This may look innocent, but trust me… it’s a vicious little bastard.

I like hot stuff. I really do. This chili is beyond heat. We’re into serious gastro danger territory here. I like it better after it had marinated in the fridge for a week, actually. This chili is not for the faint of heart and/or weak of the anii.

Review: 3/5

Slow Cooked Steel Cut Oatmel

I had heard so much about this particular meal, I had to try it out.

Ingredients
2 cups steel cut oats
8 cups water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp butter
1-2 cups of dried fruit or fruits of choice (e.g. cranberries or raisins)

Directions:
1. Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. You will thank me later.
2. Put ingredients in slow cooker. Stir if you want.
2a. Depending on your fruit choices, like banana, you may not want to put them in until the morning.
3. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. (turn it on before you go to sleep, eat when you get up)

When I ate it, I added more brown sugar on top and some half and half (just a bit. Couldn’t taste it, really, but it is also discussed a lot in oatmeal recipes). I had planned on chopping up some almonds and throwing them in there, but in the harsh light o’ morning that just seemed like way too much work. Also, I had no dried fruit, so my meal was pretty institutional in its constituent parts. Which gave me a great basis for comparing it to undergrad oatmeal days.

Review: 4/5. It’s tasty. It’s good. It’s only a 4 because, hey, it’s oatmeal… can oatmeal ever be a 5? The steel cut, slow cooked oatmeal has a full, rich texture and taste you don’t get from instant. Or it could be all the butter. Hard to tell for sure. I’m sure it’s a combo of oats and cooker, but it is fuller, richer, and more flavorful than other oatmeals I’ve had. Good times.

No pictures. Hey, it’s oatmeal. You know what that looks like.

Brunny Stew (a Brunswick Stew variation)

For this adventure in slow cooking, I thought I’d try something I’d never even heard of before – Brunswick Stew. Looking over the ingredients, I was nodding and mmm-hmm ing… right up until that point where it mentioned okra. And lima beans. (the original Brunswick stew used squirrel meat as well)

I’m not ready to go there just yet.

So I improvised.

Instead of okra, I added a yellow caribe pepper and a cubanelle pepper.

Recipe:
2 lb chicken
8 oz precooked ham, diced
3 medium onions, cut into wedges
1 head of garlic, diced
1 yellow caribe pepper
1 cubanelle pepper (similar to an angelino)
14.5 oz diced tomatoes (1 can)
14 oz chicken broth (1 can)
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp thyme (I used crushed leaves)
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp hot sauce (I just squirted on the mix until it felt right)
1 cup butter beans
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn

My local grocer doesn’t carry cubed ham, so I got a 1 lb. section and diced it myself. You may have to do the same. For the hot sauce I decided to use some rooster sauce (AKA Huy Fong “Sriracha”). I don’t think it was quite the flavor I was craving, but I didn’t have any yu la jiao sitting around and I wasn’t going back to the store.

Brunny stew ingredients

Directions:

  1. Toss the onions, peppers, and garlic. Place in slow cooker.
  2. Put chicken and ham on top of the onion mixture.
  3. Sprinkle dried mustard, thyme, pepper over the mixture.
  4. Add chicken and ham.
  5. Add broth, tomatoes, Worchestershire sauce, and hot sauce.
  6. Cook on low 8-10 hours, high 5-6 hours.
  7. Add drained, washed butter beans, add corn. If you want, pull chicken out and cut into smaller bits.
  8. Cook on high for 45 minutes

The traditional recipe has you adding olives, raisins, or fresh thyme and stirring it in at serving time. While I think sliced green olives would probably work well, I’m opting out of those additions.

Food cost: $20-25, depending on your meat choices, not including spices. $24 for me.
Servings: 6
Cost/serving: $3.33-$4.17

Here’s what it looks like cooked:
Brunny stew cooked

Here’s a slow cooker, in case you don’t have one.

Review: 4/5. tasty! meaty and rich, flavorful, and a touch spicy. I like this a touch less than the Garlic Stew with Other Bits (probably my cow-eating nature at heart), but it’s close.

Two more prep photos after the jump Continue reading

Jambalaya Saturday (Chicken and Andouille version)

New week, new adventures in cooking. I still like the spicy, so it was cajun time.

Recipe:
~1 lb. chicken breast, cut into 3/4″ pieces
6 oz. Andouille sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper
1 cup celery, chopped
14.5 oz (1 can), low sodium tomatoes, diced
14 oz (1 can) reduced sodium chicken broth
3 oz (1/2 can) tomato paste
1 tbsp Worchester sauce
2 tsp Boondoggle Cajun Seasoning (see below)
1.5 cups instant rice

I know, I know, instant rice. How embarassing! However, the recipe is designed so that the liquids soak into the rice and I didn’t know how much broth to take out for steamed rice.

You can use whatever seasoning you want, but I wanted to make it homemade. Here’s Boondoggle Cajun Seasoning:

2.5 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp salt
1.5 – 2 tbsp garlic (I used 2, probably too much)
1 tbsp each of:
white pepper
cayenne pepper
onion powder
oregano leaves
thyme leaves

Ingredients:
Jambalaya ingredients
Not pictured: Worchester sauce, instant rice

In the slow cooker:
Jambalay in pot, uncooked

Directions:
1. Combine celery, onion, tomatoes, broth, paste, bell peppers, Worcestershire sauce and cajun seasoning. Stir in andouille and chicken
2. Cook on low 5-6 hours, high 2.5-3 hours
3. Stir in rice. Cover and let stand 10-15 minutes
4. Eat!

Total food cost: $18.00 (not including spices for homemade seasoning or Worchester sauce)
Servings: 6
Cost per serving: $3.00

Here’s a slow cooker, if you don’t have one.

Review: 3/5. I forgot, sorta, that I don’t like either the taste or texture of celery. Cajun… probably not the best choice for celery haters. I thought the slow cooker might help. It, uh, didn’t.

Update: the celery mellows in time and I like the jambalaya more after storing it for a few days. I still don’t like instant rice and overall the dish is still too… mushy for me. Also, after mellowing, it was no longer spicy. I had to add more Boondoggle seasoning and some tapatia. I’d eat it again, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.

Spicy Beef Stew (Salsa Verde and Potatoes Version)

It’s a new year, welcome to my latest obsession… cooking!

For the inaugural voyage of my slow cooker, I decided to make a beef stew dish. Something flavorful, a bit spicy, and altogether yummy. Given my current location and predisposition, I chose a recipe with a little Mexican twist, including salsa verde, jalapenos, and a green pepper. Here’s the recipe:

1.5lbs extra lean stew beef, in 1 inch pieces
4 medium unpeeled potatoes, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 large onion chopped
1 green pepper, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
3 jalapenos, chopped
2 heads cloves of garlic, minced
14.5 oz, stewed tomatoes
15-16 oz pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup salsa verde
1 tsp ground cumin

Pre-cooking, post-prep ingredients:
spicy beef stew ingredients

In the cooker:
Stew in cooker

Prep time is supposed to be 30 minutes. It took me a bit over an hour. I suppose if you are a garlic peeling maniac you could make it in 30, but I’m not at that level yet. (see also: update 1 below to explain my laggardly prep time)

Directions:
1. Brown the meat, on medium heat in hot oil. Drain the fat and remaining oil.
2. Dump the ingredients in the slow cooker.
3. Cook! (8-9 hours on slow, 5-6 on high)

This should produce six servings. I recommend warmed tortillas or bread to go along with the dish (I went with a sourdough bowl loaf).

Total food cost: $18.00 ($21.00 with bread/tortillas).
Cost per serving: $3.00 – $3.50

If you don’t have a slow cooker, here’s a great one: Rival 4-qt 3040TCC

Update: it turns out that a clove of garlic is not the same as a head of garlic. Who knew? I share this with you because I’m an idiot I want to increase the level of knowledge around the world and one of those bits of knowledge is that the clove is one of the pods of a whole garlic thingy, not the whole thingy.

If you re-examine the first picture above… those yellow-white things? That’s more than two cloves. Just so you know.

Update 2: (pre-tasting, given update 1, above) I’m renaming tonight’s concoction Garlic Stew … with some other bits!!!!!!! (alternate title “The Garlic Steamer”)

Update 3: (post-tasting) Not too garlicky actually (and surprisingly; the salsa verde and tomatoes color the flavor more). 2 heads o’ garlic may be the new norm (we may need to wait for the work/sweat test tomorrow to verify, though).

Taste Test: Woooo! Flavorful, spicy, yum-may (note: I like my dishes quite spicy. That I didn’t feel the need to add any form of hot sauce or pepper flakes probably means the garlic was too strong for mere mortals those who aren’t so into teh hawt). The salsa verde adds a great tang and makes the stew. It still needs some salt and touch of pepper, though, and I’ll probably add some wine next time, but overall… it’s a 3-star or 4-star dish (out of 5).

Update 4: peel the potatoes. I’ve also been upping it to 2 lbs of beef, 2 cans of beans, and a can of tomatoes and one can of tomato paste. Plus more seasoning