Saturday, April 30, 2011

Taste & Create: Homemade Paneer

Have you participated in Taste & Create yet?? You totally should. It's a food blog event created by my friend Nicole. People are randomly paired off, and you have to make something from your partner's blog. Easy and super fun! What are you waiting for?

Go here to find out how to sign up, by the 8th of each month.

This month, my partner was Padmajha, aka "PJ" of Seduce Your Tastebuds. We've been partners before, you may remember when I made her Vegetable Kurma and Meethi Paratha last year. I always get so excited when I'm partnered with someone whose recipes are so different, a world apart from my own!

I've never had or made paneer before, but given my recent success with Greek Yogurt, I thought I'd give it a whirl. I might be using some of our paneer to make these Vegetable Paneer Parathas, if we don't eat it all first!

This is very simple to make, and has sort of a cream cheese texture. Yum!

Here is what you'll need, aside from milk and lemons. A pan or pot (I used my Le Creuset pan), a small sieve, cheesecloth, a large bowl (to catch the whey), a large sieve. That's about it.

PJ has a nice set of step-by-step pictures on her post, follow the link below to her original recipe.

Homemade Paneer

1 liter milk (I used organic cow's milk)
juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon

1. Heat the milk in a pot. Bring it to boil and turn off the flame.

2. Squeeze out the juice of lemon into a small sieve over the milk. [I used a whole lemon]. Vinegar can also be used. If it does not curdle immediately or fully, add some more lemon juice/vinegar.

3. The milk will curdle immediately. Let it stand for around 10-15 minutes.

4. Strain the contents of the pan.

5. Remove the paneer into another pan and rinse with water a couple of times to remove sourness.

6. Drain and transfer the paneer onto a muslin cloth/cheese cloth.

7. Squeeze out the water and hang the cloth over a bowl until the whey completely drains out, about an hour. (I couldn't squeeze very hard without curds squishing out of the cheesecloth, so I let mine drain for about two hours)

Paneer is now ready to be used in a dish of your choice. You can save the whey water, which is very nutritious. Here are some of PJ's ideas for using it:

  • Store whey in the fridge and the next time you prepare chapathi/Roti use this water to make the dough.
  • It can also be used instead of lemon juice[as a starter] the next time you make paneer.
  • Use it as a soup base
  • Add a pinch of salt and drink it up
  • Use it while preparing baked goodies.
  • Use it in milkshakes instead/with milk.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Salt 'n' Vinegar Roasted Potatoes

Another recipe from Everyday Food magazine. If you haven't checked this magazine out yet, by all means do it soon! Every single month there are multiple recipes that I want to try, and the majority of them are great.

H-Bomb had a friend over after school yesterday, and he wanted hot dogs for dinner. I made these to go with them. None of the boys ate any (didn't even try them), but Number One and I like them a lot. Serve them with extra malt vinegar for sprinkling on top.

I also like that you can make these ahead of time. But you already knew that.

Salt 'n' Vinegar Roasted Potatoes
Serves 4 Active time: 10 minutes Total time: 1 hour You can make these potatoes ahead of time. Boil and smash them, cover and refrigerate overnight, then finish them in the oven the next day.

1 1/2 pounds small round or fingerling potatoes
coarse salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup malt vinegar*

In a medium pot, bring potatoes to a boil over high heat in salted water. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes; drain. Place a folded dish towel on a work surface and place a hot potato inside. Gently smash potato so that it is flattened but still in one piece (edges will split). Repeat with remaining potatoes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Place potatoes on sheet (I used a spatula to transfer each smashed potato to the pan) and brush tops with olive oil. Bake until crisp and golden, 35 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Remove from oven, toss with vinegar, and season with salt.

*You could also dress the potatoes with cider vinegar and flaky sea salt instead of malt vinegar.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Perfect Pulled Pork & Scalloped Potatoes

Hi, everybody! My name is Megan, and I'm owner/writer of Kitschy Suburbia, a blog about family, food and nail polish. Weird combo, I know, but it works! I found The Bad Girl's Kitchen while searching for a new recipe to try. Not only did I find some great recipes, I found a community of great cooks that I wanted to be a part of.

I "found" this recipe when a fellow blogger gave me the head's up. It's from Kevin & Amanda - they have a *bunch* of great recipes. This is the first I've tried and I promise I'll be trying more (and sharing them with you, of course). Don't be intimidated by the amount of ingredients or the number of steps - they are ALL worth it.

Perfect Pulled Pork

1 whole bone-in Boston butt

Dry Rub
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp ground pepper
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix well and store in an air-tight container.

Brine Solution
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 quarts cold water
2 bay leaves
3 Tbsp dry rub mix

Add salt to cold water and stir until all the salt is completely dissolved. Then add the brown sugar, dry rub and bay leaves. Stir well to combine.

Pork shoulder prep:
Rinse the pork shoulder and place in a large container. Pour in the brine solution until the shoulder is completely covered. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Remove pork shoulder from brine solution; pat dry with paper towels. Place pork shoulder in baking pan that is bigger than the shoulder by at least an inch in length and width and at least 3-inches deep. Sprinkle dry rub on to the surface of the shoulder and massage in so that it adheres to the surface. Coat all sides and be sure to get in to all the nooks and crannies. Make sure the fat layer on the hsoulder is facing up before cooking! Place baking pan, uncovered, in a 225* oven on the middle rack. Insert a probe thermometer into the center or the thickest part of the shoulder, but not touching the bone. Monitor the temperature throughout cooking (a digital thermometer with an alarm function is the easiest way to do this). Do not remove from the oven until the center of the shoulder reaches 200*; shut off the oven and let the roast cool for a couple of hours before removing from the oven. If the bottom of the pan is dry (or crusted with dried spices), cover the pan with foil to retain internal moisture of the meat during the cooling period. When the temperature drops to 170*, remove from the oven. Place on a large clean work surface, such as a cutting board, and remove the large sheet of crusted fat off the top. Pull apart with two forks; it will pull apart very easily.

NOTES: This is a VERY looooong process. I cheated and didn't let the pork get all the way up to 200 and then cool back down because we ended up being short on time. I put the pork in the oven at 11 and it wasn't finished even at 7. I had no idea it would take THAT long! It didn't shred quite as easily than if we had waited the entire time, but it was still delish!


I got this wonderful recipe from my bestie. She's my partner in crime - whether as a fellow mom, a kitchen goddess, or beauty queen, this lady is always there for me!

Scalloped Potatoes
6-8 large baking potatoes
shredded Cheddar cheese - 1 small bag
Heavy Cream- 1 1/2 to 2 cups
Seasoned salt - as desired
Salt- as desired
Dried thyme- as desired

Preheat oven to 400*
Use 9x10 baking dish - grease lightly

Slice all potatoes thinly, add a layer in baking pan
Add a layer of cheese and spices
2 layers of Potatoes
Layer of cheese and spiced
Do this until all the cheese and potatoes have been used. Make sure you have enough cheese for the top of the potatoes.
Once you have layers complete, pour heavy cream over entire thing and sprinkle left over cheese on the top.

Bake for 60 minutes.

NOTES: This is my bestie's recipe and it's from memory, so it's not the most precise, but you get the picture.

Be sure to have some disposable gloves for this one - it gets messy!

The hardest part of making this recipe was smelling the pork in the oven ALL day. It smelled soooo good - it was very hard to wait.

The end result. We served the pork with fresh deli rolls and a couple BBQ sauces. The pork was not dry by any means, we just had some really good sauces to share that we picked up from the Fiery Foods Show back in March. was nice to meet you! Here's to many new bloggy buddies and many great new recipes to be had.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taste & Create Partner List

Here is the April Taste & Create partner list! Sorry for the delay, but trust me, it's worth the wait. Welcome to all the participants, it's nice to see some new as well as familiar faces!

Please remember to submit your creations to Nicole's Taste & Create website by April 24th, 2011!

If you have any questions or problems, check out the How it Works page, or please feel free to email
Nicole (at
tasteandcreate [at] rezimo [dot] com) or me (at cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com).

Can't wait to see what you create!

The Life and Love of Grumpy's Honeybunch & Passion + Love + Patience = Good Food

Avocado Pesto & No Reason Needed

Seduce Your Tastebuds & The Bad Girl's Kitchen

Samayal Arai & For the Love of Food

Measured in Pinches & Searching for Spice

Monday, April 11, 2011

Creamy Coleslaw

Because sometimes companies change the recipe you expect to find on the back of the package...

This is for regular creamy coleslaw, the kind you love on top of BBQ sandwiches and to eat as a side dish. It USED to be on the back of the DOLE® Classic Cole Slaw package. Now I suppose you can always find it here.

Creamy Coleslaw
1/2 cup fat free or reduced fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 package (16 oz.) DOLE® Classic Cole Slaw

Combine mayonnaise, milk, vinegar and sugar in small bowl.
Add cole slaw blend to large bowl. Pour dressing over cole slaw blend. Toss to coat evenly. Cover.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Stir before serving.

Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower and Chickpeas

This recipe comes from the latest issue of Everyday Food magazine. It sounded great, and easy, so when I found out my father-in-law and his friend were coming to stay with us for the night, I decided to make this for dinner.

I doubled the recipe, using two whole chickens. I was able to fit it all on the sheet pans I have, except for one chicken wing I ended up throwing out. Transferring the chicken to another pan and tossing the vegetables on the first one may sound (and feel) awkward at first, but trust me, it is worth it and not much trouble! And actually it was quite a simple recipe.

I put part of the vegetables with the chicken for serving, and the rest on their own platter. Everyone loved the chicken, and the roasted vegetables were a savory, delicious touch. I had prepared a salad, but I didn't eat any because I was so wrapped up in the chicken and roasted vegetables. The cauliflower was tender-crisp and nutty, the onions were just sweetened and soft, the garbanzo beans were a nice contrast, and the tomatoes were colorful little bursts of flavor! The meal received many compliments, even into the next day!

We ate the leftovers last night. Although the cauliflower was amazing cold, I warmed it all up on a sheet pan for dinner. Delicious yet again, and the chicken was even crispier. I am definitely making this fabulous meal when my parents come to visit!

Incidentally, if you ever see a bottle of this wine, buy it. It is excellent, and we honestly have no idea how it ended up in our wine fridge. Now I'm on a quest to find more!

Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower and Chickpeas

Serves 4
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Roasting the chicken on a preheated pan saves time and helps the meat brown. You don't need to add oil to the vegetables; they cook in drippings from the chicken.

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), rinsed, patted dry and cut into 9 pieces (I bought a pre-cut chicken and rinsed and dried it)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 small head cauliflower, cored and cut into 2-inch florets
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven and preheat to 450 degrees F, with racks in upper and middle thirds. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Carefully remove sheet from oven and arrange chicken, skin side up, in a single layer. Roast on upper rack, 20 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven and, with tongs, transfer to another rimmed baking sheet along with tomatoes. Add cauliflower, onion and chickpeas to drippings on first sheet and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Roast chicken on upper rack and vegetables on middle rack until chicken is golden and cooked through and cauliflower is tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving dish and serve immediately.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pozole Verde

A couple weeks ago, a group of us from work went on a humanitarian trip to Cuanacaxtitlan (Cuana for short) and San Luis Acatlan in Guerrero, Mexico. We stayed in Cuana which is a tiny village about 4 hours east of Acapulco in the middle of the mountains. It was a great trip, I worked my butt off and the people there were amazing. We lived at the church in Cuana which probably had the best facilities in town but still no hot water. HOWEVER... the 2 ladies that came in to cook for us everyday more than made up for the lack of hot showers (sorta). The food they made was simple, filling, 10 times better than any Mexican restaurant I've been to and out of this world fantastic! One of the dishes they made was a traditional Pozole Verde. It was a special dish they made for the priest's birthday. They told me that Pozole is a traditional dish that dates back to Aztec times. There are different variations all over Mexico and the Pozole Verde they made is most common to the state of Guerrero where we were. They also said that it's the type of dish that everyone and their grandmother has their own variation too! The pozole they made was green (obviously) with chicken and pozole corn (hominy to you and me). I also saw pumpkin seeds and poblano peppers in the kitchen at some point during the day.

When I got home, I decided that I was going to try and make this ambitious dish. I knew it took a long time to make and was pretty labor intensive. Be ready... this takes about 4 hours. I found a couple recipes online... one that Mindy was kind enough to translate for me complete with "head of a hog". I opted for Emeril's recipe on for a couple reasons. 1) It was in English. 2) I didn't have to convert the metric system. 3) It had the pumpkin seeds, which none of the other recipes had, and similar garnishes to what we were served.

Here's what you'll need...

1-lb lean pork shoulder roast
1/2 chicken, cut in pieces
1 onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
5 stems cilantro
4 ounces hulled, untoasted, pumpkin seeds
1/2-lb fresh tomatillos
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 fresh hot chili (Serrano or jalapeno) stem removed and coarsely chopped.
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tbs lard or vegetable oil
2 (29-oz) cans of hominy, drained

For Garnish:

Sour cream
Diced red onion
Dried oregano or finely chopped cilantro leaves
Avocado, cubed
Fried pork rinds, crumbled
Fried tortilla strips
Lime wedges

*** Most people know that I can't leave a recipe alone and I almost always change it. Here's what I did to this one...

Pork loin roast instead of pork shoulder roast (more lean... I hate fat)
Fresh oregano instead of cilantro (I hate cilantro)
I used a jalapeno but I remember the cooks using poblanos... although they were making it for WAY more people than I was!
There's a "can vs dried hominy" debate online. I suppose the dried would probably taste better but I've never cooked with either and well... if canned is good enough for Emeril, then it's good enough for me.
Fried pork rinds are gross.

1) In a large soup pot put 3 quarts of water, the pork shoulder, chicken, quartered onion, smashed garlic and cilantro stems and bring to a boil. Skim any foam that rises to the surface, partially cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 1/2-3 hours, or until pork is very tender and the stock is flavorful.

2) While the meat is cooking, heat a small skillet over medium low heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until all of the seeds have popped and turned golden (3-4 min). Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

3) Place tomatillos in a small saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1-inch. Add 1 tsp of the salt and cook over medium heat until the tomatillos are tender, about 10-min. Strain tomatillos and discard the cooking liquid. Place the tomatillos in the jar of a blender or food processor along with the pumpkin seeds, green chili and chopped onion. Add 1/3 cup of the pork cooking liquid and blend until VERY smooth. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve and discard the solids.

4) In a skillet over medium high heat, add the oil or lard. When hot, add the puree and cook, stirring constantly for about 7 minutes or until the color has darkened and the mixture has thickened considerably. Remove from the heat.

5) When the pork is very tender, strain the stock. Set the meat and chicken aside. Discard other solids. Return the stock to the soup pot, add the tomatillo-pumpkin seed mixture and the hominy and return to a gentle simmer. cook for about 1 hour, stirring frequently until slightly thickened and flavorful. When the meat and chicken are cool enough to handle, discard any bones and shred into bite size pieces. Add meat to the soup pot and season with the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of salt. (I also added some black pepper and dried oregano.)

6) Serve the pozole in shallow bowls and allow guest to garnish their soup with condiments of their own choosing.

*** It's not exactly like what I had in Mexico but it comes real close! Enjoy!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Banana Split Pie

Louanne, from Louanne's Kitchen, recently posted this recipe for her Save Room for Dessert series at Our Krazy Kitchen. Still with me??

I believe I responded with something along the lines of "OMG, I need a piece of this." Well, as it turns out, a piece of this has Not Yet shown up at my house. I mean, it's been Three Whole Days. How long is a girl supposed to wait?? I was forced to take matters into my own hands.

The only thing I did differently was to leave out the powdered sugar from the whipped cream. Oh yeah, and I only used 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, it's all I had! I just didn't think it was necessary to add more sugar to a pie this sweet. Plus, we like our whipped cream plain, with a little vanilla (or sometimes a splash of rum). I sprinkled the pie with a good 1/2 ounce of grated semi-sweet chocolate too, right on top!

I don't even care that most likely I will end up eating the majority of this pie all by myself. Sometimes these things happen. And I have a feeling it will be fantastic with a cup of coffee. Yes, in the morning. Of course, for breakfast. Why all the questions? Sheesh.

Delicious. I just ate two pieces...I'm going to go do some yoga now.


Recipe adapted from Pecans from Soup to Nuts by Keith Courrege and Marcelle Bienvenu by Louanne

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
16 ounces sour cream
3 bananas, sliced
20 ounce can crushed pineapple
Maraschino cherries, with or without stems
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped, for garnish
Whipped cream or cool whip
Grated chocolate, optional

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a 13x9 baking dish, melt butter in microwave, then add graham cracker crumbs and mix well, pressing the mixture onto the bottom; set aside.

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in another mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until completely blended.
Spread this mixture evenly over the graham cracker crust and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven, spread the sour cream over the cream cheese mixture, and bake for 15 minutes longer. *(for me, there was no "spreading." The cream cheese was super soft, and spreading was out of the question. I dolloped sour cream over the hot cream cheese. I had no choice.)

Remove from the oven and cool completely.

While base is cooling, drain crushed pineapple and slice bananas into 1/4" slices; gently toss pineapple and bananas together.

When cool, layer the pineapple and banana mixture over the sour cream and then spread the whipped cream evenly over the top.

Dust with grated chocolate, if desired, then sprinkle with the chopped pecans and the cherries. (I put my grated chocolate on last)

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.


2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Beat whipping cream and vanilla until soft peaks form - texture should be billowy.
  • Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla.
  • Use immediately.


Did you know that Banana's have juice? Don't worry, most people don't.  But, they do and the juice is the best part of making a moist banana bread.  The key to banana juice is using a banana that is "JUST RIGHT", one that is heavily speckled, in my opinion, one that is just short of rotting.  I take it one step farther many times and when they are "JUST RIGHT"  remove them from their skins and freeze them in recipe ready proportions.  Freezing them yields the liquid readily without the steps I'm about to tell you about.  I didn't even know I'd been doing  "JUST RIGHT" for years with the freezing process and then I read an article about how to juice a banana.
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 large very ripe bananas
1 cup blackberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 medium not so ripe banana, thinly sliced
1/2 cup butter, melted & cooled
2 JUMBO eggs
3/4+ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons crsytalline sugar
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease your loaf pan with the butter wrapper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Dust with flour.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Place 5 bananas in a microwave safe bowl and cover with a food cover lid with the vents open.
  • Microwave on high for 5 minutes - until the bananas are soft and have released their juice.
  • Transfer bananas to a sieve and allow them to drain over a small saucepan for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Place bananas, raisins and blackberries in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Cook juice over a medium high heat for about 5 minutes until juice is reduced to 1/4 cup.
  • Stir reduced liquid into the banana/blackberry mixture and mash together until well blended.
  • Add butter, eggs, vanilla and brown sugar and mix to a smooth consistency.
  • Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and with a wooden spoon fold together until just combined.
  • Fold in walnuts gently.
  • Pour into prepared loaf pan.
  • Layer banana slices around the edges.
  • Sprinkle with crystalline sugar.
  • Bake 50-60 minutes based on loaf pan size.
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