Garlic na’an

Adapted from My Food Story

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Garlic
  • Sesame Seeds, Onions Seeds (for sprinkling and melted butter for brushing)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, sugar and salt. Stir to combine well.
  2. Add yogurt and oil and knead into the flour. Start adding water little by little and knead as you go till you get a soft, supple dough. You may not need the entire quantity of water so add only as much as you require. If the dough feels too dry, add water by the teaspoon or some extra flour if the dough feels little wet. It should look like a smooth ball
  3. Cover with a damp towel and set aside in a warm place for 25-30 minutes. If you live in a cold place, rest the dough for 1.5-2 hours. But in warmer climate, 30 minutes is sufficient.
  4. Heat a flat non-stick pan or skillet or tawa. We used a cast iron pan I found in the cupboard.
  5. Divide the dough into lemon sized balls. Dust a ball of dough in flour. Lightly roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness without applying too much force. Use a little dry flour if the dough is sticky. Make sure it’s thin enough! (Our first tries were a little bit thick)
  6. Brush the top lightly with water, and sprinkle with sesame and onion seeds (kalonji) and chopped garlic. Lightly press so that they stick to the dough. Turn it over, and brush the other side well with water as well – this helps the naan stick to the tawa.
  7. Make sure your pan is really hot. Now place the bottom side down on the tawa (pan) so that the side with sesame seeds is facing up. Wait for 5 seconds and cover with a lid, which should be big enough to cover the naan. The naan starts forming air pockets. Wait for 45 seconds and then flip the naan to cook it on the other side. Cook for approx 30 seconds, pressing down lightly to help it cook evenly. The naan is ready. Brush it with butter immediately and serve!

This recipe popped up in my Google Feed, which prompted the idea of this recipe for weekend date night culinary exploits. We didn’t have the sesame and onion seeds, unfortunately. I was impressed enough that we had found paneer for the saag, from the Pakistani grocery 20 minutes away. I do not recommend the “direct flame” method because every time, the naan fell into the fire. Exciting!

~Jessica

Palak paneer (aka saag paneer)

Adapted from Spice Cravings and Kitchen of Debjani

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ghee (ghee / coconut oil blend)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 inch ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup onion (1 medium onion, chopped)
  • 1 green chili (optional: Habanero)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (thought I had it, but it was actually milder Madras curry powder)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder (I used paprika!)
  • 12 oz. baby spinach (2 boxes of organic)
  • 1 cup water
  • 100 ml. fresh cream
  • 10 oz. paneer, 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp. kasuri methi (I couldn’t find)

Directions:

  1. Heat a deep sauce pan on medium high heat.
  2. Add oil and cumin seeds (I used black mustard seeds instead). When the seeds begin to sizzle, add crushed ginger and garlic.  Add sliced onion and green chili, and sauté for a minute. Add the tomato.
  3. Add salt, spices and stir well. Then, add 3/4 cup water, stir, cover the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Open the lid and add 1/2 the baby spinach and stir to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining spinach and wilt for around 2 minutes. Sauté for another minute. Turn off the heat.
  5. Using a hand blender puree the spinach mix.  Add a little water if needed. Add 1/2 the cream.
  6. Turn the heat back on to medium, add paneer cubes and simmer for 1 min, till paneer cubes become soft. Turn off the heat. Stir in butter and the other 1/2 cream, this adds a silky smooth finish to the sauce, and gives it a gorgeous shine.
  7. Serve hot with cumin basmati rice or naan. Enjoy!

No Insta Pot here, I’m afraid. We made na’an to go with it! Baking adventures. It was an adventure finding a Pakistani store on the day before Puerto Rican Independence Day, to find frozen paneer. Also since we had less spinach, we added a couple of parboiled potatoes, so… palak aloo paneer! Coming up next: the na’an recipe.

~Jessica

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (130 g) flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp.
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3.5 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 1 bag Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt) together. Just the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt– you’ll add the oats later.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients (butter, sugars, eggs, molasses, vanilla) together.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  4. Add the oats and chocolate chips. The dough will be thick and sticky.
  5. Chill the cookie dough. We did way more than 45 minutes in the refrigerator, which helps prevent the cookies from overspreading.
  6. Scoop cookie dough balls. About 3 Tablespoons of dough per cookie– yes, these are LARGE!
  7. Bake at 350°F for 13-14 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are set and the centers still look soft.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Enjoy!

These were so good — just the right amount of chewy, and really awesome texture from the extra oats. I’ve long been an oatmeal raisin fan, but I was open to Jesse’s chocolate substitution, and they were quite the hit with his apartment. He skipped the molasses and used less sugar. Everyone was a fan of the bittersweet 60% cacao baking chips.

~Jessica

Fish tacos with salsa verde

Adapted from My Latina Table and also salsa

Authentic Mexican Salsa Verde Ingredients:

  • 5 Tomatillos
  • 1/4 – 1/2 bunch fresh Cilantro finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/4 Onion
  • Jalapenos, 1 (less spicy, could have handled more!)
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive Oil

Salsa Verde Directions:

  1. Slowly saute the tomatillos, the onion, and the jalapenos in a preheated frying pan with some olive oil for 5 minutes.
  2. After 5 minutes, add the garlic cloves and continue cooking until the tomatillos are slightly browned.
  3. Remove from the heat and blend the ingredients with the cilantro and salt in a blender.

Tacos Ingredients:

For the Fish Marinade:

  • 2 pounds of tilapia or other similar fish (we used 3/4 lbs. cod)
  • Juice from 1 lime (lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon of the following: garlic powder black pepper, salt, cumin, onion powder

For the purple cole slow:

  • 1/2 purple cabbage cut into thin slices (green)
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • 1/4 white onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Tacos Directions:

  1. Marinate the tilapia fish with all of the marinade ingredients for at least 25 minutes.
  2. Once fully marinated, place in the center of a large pan, and fry a few minutes on each side, until the meat separates into chunks.
  3. For the Purple Cole Slaw, Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
  4. For the guacamole, follow this recipe.
  5. To Form the Tacos, Cut the cooked fish into smaller pieces and add to the previously warmed tortillas, followed by the purple cole slaw, the guacamole, Goya black bean soup, sour cream, and the salsa verde.

Breakfast tacos were made for the morning after, but with scrambled eggs instead of fish! The green salsa verde was surprisingly easy and quick!

~Jessica

Murgh makhani (Indian butter chicken)

Adapted from Little Spice Jar and Urvashi Pitre

Chicken Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes (we used tomatoes on the vine)
  • 5 or 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
  • 4 ounces butter, cut into cubes, or ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup yogurt (original: full-fat coconut milk)
  • ¼ to ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the tandoori masala, ginger, garlic, and yogurt. Whisk until smooth, adjust seasonings to preference. Add the chicken and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes and ideally for 12-24 hours, covered in the refrigerator. We marinated overnight.
  2. Heat the ghee (we used butter) in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they turn translucent and start to sweat, about 5-7 minutes — don’t allow the onions to brown! Add ginger and garlic paste and let cook for 30 seconds, stirring so it doesn’t burn. Add the crushed tomatoes along with the chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder and continue to cook for 5 minutes, if the mixture starts bubbling rapidly, add about ¼ cup of water and continue to cook.
  3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the dutch oven over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken (discard any excess marinade) and cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring as required to brown all sides.
  4. Add the butter chicken sauce to the pot and heat everything through. Once it starts to bubble, add the cream (we used whole plain yogurt) and garam masala. When the sauce regains a simmer, add the crushed fenugreek leaves (we didn’t have! Darn COVID-19 pandemic). Serve over basmati rice or with naan.

(Hindi: मुर्ग़ मक्खनी) according to Wiki. “The subtle difference between Paneer Butter Masala and Shahi paneer is that more of whole spices are used in Paneer Butter Masala whereas Shahi paneer has a sweeter taste when compared to Paneer Butter Masala.” (Wiki) Pitre’s recipe was even featured in The New Yorker! Jesse cooked this really well, and even set timers and things. We did not have an Instant Pot.

~Jessica

British macaroni cheese

Adapted from Great British Chefs and British Food History

Ingredients:

  • 30 g plain flour 
  • 30 g butter 
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 400 ml hot full-fat milk 
  • 6g of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200-250 g macaroni 
  • 1 slice stale bread 
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or ¼ tsp fried rosemary (optional) 
  • 225 g Stilton cheese, grated 
  • 200 g Gruyere or Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 30g of Parmesan
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper or 20g of Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly-milled black pepper
  • 15 basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Start by cooking some pasta of your choice in a pan of boiling water. Once cooked, strain the pasta and set aside
  2. Place 50 mL milk into a pan over a low-medium heat and add the thyme and bay. Bring up to a warm heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place a separate pan over a low heat and add the 4 tbsp. butter and 4 cloves of garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the flour. Heat for for 2-3 minutes and stir constantly so the mixture comes together. –> Béchamel sauce
  4. Strain the milk, thyme and bay mixture so that you are just left with the infused milk. Gradually (over 5 minutes) add the infused milk to the other pan and stir with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer
  5. Take the pan off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the cheese, mustard, basil and pasta to the pan and then pour the contents of the pan into a casserole dish. Cover with some extra cheese and place in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes (I prefer stovetop because I haven’t a baking dish currently).
  6. Remove the dish from the oven, divide the macaroni cheese into 4 portions and serve immediately.

My grandmother gave me a box of instant mac and cheese from her senior citizen community center (before the pandemic lockdown). Of course I didn’t want to eat that stuff straight, so I thought I would try to dress it up with some caramelized onions, garlic, herbs, and whatever else I might find in the pantry.

~Jessica

Spaghetti ai funghi

Adapted from Memorie di Angelina

Ingredients:

  • 500g (1 lb) penne
  • 100g (3-1/2 oz) pancetta, cubed
  • 1 or 2 garlic clove, slightly crushed and peeled
  • 250g (8 oz) mushrooms, roughly chopped (see Notes)
  • A fresh sage leaf and a sprig of parsley, finely chopped
  • 250ml (1 cup) passata di pomodoro or crushed canned tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Start with a soffritto, this one consisting of some cubed pancetta and a crushed garlic clove sauteed in olive oil over moderate heat. (As always, make sure that the garlic hardly browns.)
  2. Once you scent the garlic’s aroma, add some roughly chopped mushrooms (125g or 4 oz. for 2 people), raise the heat to high, give the mushroom a good flip (or a stir if you’re feeling timid) to coat them with the soffritto-infused oil and continue sauteing. Very soon thereafter, add a pinch of salt to encourage the mushrooms to give off their liquid. Continue until the mushroom liquid as evaporated completely. You will begin to hear the mushrooms sizzle.
  3. add a few sage leaves and a sprig of parsley, both nicely chopped, a good grinding of black pepper, and mix well with the mushrooms.
  4. When the mushrooms are quite tender and just begin to brown around the edges, add a good dollop of passata di pomodoro or crushed canned tomatoes. Lower the heat and allow the sauce to simmer gently until the tomatoes have reduced and separately from the oil, having turned a nice darkish color, somewhere between red and mahogany.
  5. Meanwhile, you will have cooked your penne in well salted boiling water until very al dente. Add the penne to the pan, mix well and allow it to simmer gently for a few moments with the sauce.
  6. Serve immediately.

We cooked this last weekend, and it was fabulous. Great big saucepan courtesy of Jesse.

~Jessica

Falafel with tzatziki sauce

Adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook and The Mediterranean Dish

Ingredients (falafel):

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 12 cup onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons cumin (can use a bit more if you like)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 dashes cayenne pepper
  • 14 cup fresh parsley, chopped and packed
  • 14 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 13 cup flour
  • oil, for pan frying (we used canola oil)

Ingredients (tzatziki):

  • 3/4 English cucumber, partially peeled (striped) and sliced
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 4 – 5 garlic cloves, peeled, finely grated or minced (you can use less if you prefer)
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Arlotta garlic infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used organic fat free Greek yogurt, but you can use 2% or whole milk Greek yogurt, if you like)
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients except flour in a large mixing bowl. Hulk smash.
  2. Thoroughly mix flour into the falafel batter with a spoon.
  3. Warm pita bread for serving. Sliced vegetables for serving.

Jesse got the idea for this based on the Moosewood recipe — imagine my surprise when I discovered it’s the same Moosewood as the restaurant in Ithaca, NY!

-Jessica

10–Step Korean skincare routine

Adapted from Soko Glam, inspired by BuzzFeed

Steps:

  1. Oil cleanser
  2. Water-based cleanser
  3. Exfoliator
  4. Toner
  5. Essence
  6. Treatment (serum)
  7. Sheet mask (optional)
  8. Eye cream
  9. Moisturizer
  10. Sun protection

left to right: 4. Toner 5. Essence 9. Moisturizer
1. Oil (milk) cleanser 8. Eye cream 3. Exfoliator
6. Serum 2. Water-based cleanser (castile soap) 10. Sun protection

I made the sheet mask optional because I’m not a fan of one-time use products, which are invariably made of plastic, wrapped in plastic, not biodegradable, etc. And this whole ten steps of products makes me feel most un-environmental already. I also recommend this other German (Weleda) cleansing milk and this serum I liked even more from the same TruSkin brand. I also like the Eau Thermal Avene cleansing foam, which is probably more like what the water-based cleanser is supposed to be. My sister has been pushing me to self-care and have more of a skincare regimen than showers. Voila!

~Jessica

Kaeng phet (aka Thai red curry)

Adapted from Damn Delicious and Recipe Tin Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon canola/peanut oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 bunch broccolini, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions:

  1. In a large rice cooker, cook rice. Set aside.
  2. Heat canola oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken, onion to the stockpot and cook until golden, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in red curry paste and garlic, ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in coconut milk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Stir in broccolini until just tender, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat; stir in green onions, cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Serve immediately with rice.

Kaeng phet literally means spicy curry, but it is known as “red curry” in the West (Wiki). This is a class Thai dish: red curry. The paste I picked up at the local grocery packs a real punch! Apparently Panang curry differs in that it’s sweeter rather than spicier, creamier, and contains peanuts. I would like to try to make Phanaeng curry (possibly refers to the Malaysian island state of Penang) next time. I used green bell pepper instead of the broccolini, subbed mushrooms for the chicken, and added diced turnip because I had it. Unfortunately did not have cilantro or lime on hand, of course, but did have scallions! Somehow missed the garlic, but did add garlic powder (not remotely the same, I know). Spicy, but I can eat it with more rice to balance that out.

~Jessica