Friday, October 12, 2012

Paneer from cottage cheese first attempt...for saag paneer

I read on another blog you can use cottage cheese to make a faux paneer. Since I couldn't find paneer at the store and really wanted saag paneer I decided to try making some. Original post:

Butter melted

Cottage cheese added and heated.
Starts to appear to solidify...
 So pour into a pan to cool.
 Unfortunately, I think it didn't work
This time anyway...
Looks like cottage cheese again!
Perhaps my mistake was in the heating step.
Should I try again another time?
 Oh well, mix with the seasonings and spinach mixture anyway.

Yum! Looks odd, tastes great.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Making Spanish Paella

For European night last week I found an easy and delicious version of Paella on allrecipes. Researching it, I learned there are different versions of paella. Some are heavier on seafood than others. Just depends what part of Spain. The seasonings are pretty important though.
If you are a fan of Cajun or Creole Jambalaya, you might find the different flavors but somewhat similar construction of Paella an interesting change. It makes for an easy, family, one-pot meal.

You coat pieces of chicken with a mixture of spices such as olive oil, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper, the refrigerate.
Meanwhile, put some olive oil in a large skillet. Heat it up, adding garlic, red pepper flakes, and rice. Brown the rice and get a nice aromatic smell coming from your pan. Not done with spices yet though! Add in saffron threads. Or if you absolutely can't and want to make the recipe, use tumeric, but realize it won't be quite the same. At least though you'll have a yellow color! Other spices include bay leaf, parsley, grated lemon zest (it's going to taste a little lemony!), and some broth. Bring all this to a boil and cover.

Quickly brown your meat (chicken, chorizo) and saute some bell pepper then add it to the pot. Continue cooking, covered, until rice is cooked. Then add shrimp and cook until no longer pink.

Serve and enjoy!

Here is the recipe I used. I discovered reading other recipes that the meat is usually cooked with the rice. It's good, but a bit lemony, so perhaps next time I'll buy small lemons. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cuban: Ropa Vieja in the Crockpot

Yesterday was a busy day for us, and I had the perfect meal planned. In the morning I volunteered at the homeschool group, after lunch was a doctor appointment, and in the evening was swimming. The crock pot called.

So I made an easy family-friendly Cuban meal: Ropa Vieja. It's simple, and flavorful. I've made it for a while and can't remember where I found the recipe in the first place. The whole family tends to love it. Although last night my 3.5 year old decided there was something funny about the large slices of onion. Next time I'll slice them smaller.

Ropa Vieja

1-1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 pound beef flank steak
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp beef better than bouillon
1/2 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 small onion, sliced
Bell pepper, in strips (I like tri color)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the flank steak on each side, about 4 minutes per side.

Transfer beef to a slow cooker. Pour in the water, better than bouillon, and tomato sauce, then add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, cilantro, olive oil and vinegar. Stir until well blended. Cover, and cook on High for 4 hours, or on Low for up to 10 hours. When ready to serve, shred meat and serve with tortillas, rice, and black beans.