*Kitty’s Purr-fect Products* – Maya Kaimal’s Indian Simmer Sauces

My husband doesn’t like Indian food.  C’mon…did you really think he would?  It’s a cuisine I enjoy on precious nights out with girlfriends or those occasional evenings when work keeps my husband out past dinner time and I think to myself “What can I order in that he would never ever want to eat?”

So the first time I made one of Maya Kaimal’s Indian Simmer Sauces, I didn’t tell him what it was.  I think I said something along the lines of “Oh, you know, its just chicken with a tomatoey spicy kinda sauce.  You’ll like it.” And you know what?  He did.

These Indian Simmer Sauces are chock full of nutritious vegetables and antioxidant-filled spices, and provide an AMAZING base for a full-blown Veggie Fake-Out.  Our favorites are the Vindaloo and Tikka Masala, and here’s what I do with them…

Small dice a pound of boneless chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cover with the sauce in a large bowl.  Store in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.  In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and soften some sliced onion, chopped garlic, and diced sweet bell pepper.  Add the chicken and sauce mixture, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked through.  Add a cup of frozen green peas in the last few minutes, and serve over steamed rice or couscous.  A little chopped cilantro and a dollop of plain yogurt wouldn’t hurt either.  Voila!  Veggie Nirvana!

*What are Kitty’s Purr-fect Products??*

Last Night, I Grilled Pizza…

…and it was so much easier than I had ever imagined.  Like, seriously, what was I waiting for?

Pizza is a near religious experience in our household.  Before we’d even cemented our then-future daughter’s name, or color of her nursery, it had already been decided that Friday night would be family pizza night.  Living in brownstone Brooklyn, the pick of pizza places can seem pretty luxurious.  Want it delivered?  There are no fewer than 25 places that are willing to deliver, half of which will serve you a pie worthy of a true pizza connossieur.  Willing to get in the car?  We’ve got the original Totonno’s in Coney Island, Jay Z-hangout Lucali, Man Vs. Food endorsed L & B Spumoni Gardens, NY Times 2 star rated Franny’s, and, of course, the pizza mecca itself, DiFara’s.

So why would I ever make one?

But then, this new pizza place opened in our ‘hood, Fornino, (which had garnered accolades for their original location in Williamsburg).  Fornino’s pizza is grilled to a cracker-crisp perfection, and the lower heat on the grill allows them to top the pies with cheeses and vegetables that normally wouldn’t survive the heat of, say, an 800 degree coal burning oven.  We’ve enjoyed their pizza on a few occasions, (and not just because of the offspring-friendly widely spaced tables or the fact that they are happy to store your folding stroller in a back room).  On our last visit, however, an idea sprang forth into my sippy cup-addled brain.

“Why, I could grill a pizza at home!”  So, I did.

Continue reading Last Night, I Grilled Pizza…

Reunited – Jamie Oliver’s Shell Pasta with Creamy Smoked Bacon and Pea Sauce

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Yeah yeah yeah…its been a while.  We cool?  Cool.

For the moment, I am going to spare you all the stories of what kept me from you for so long, and get right to a far more important matter – the slow rekindling of my relationship with Jamie Oliver.

I have always been a bit swoony for Jamie.  His recipes far outnumber any other celebri-chefs’ on this blog, and his philosophy on food jives right with my own.  Add to that the adorable accent and his being, in my opinion, somewhat easy on the eyes, and he had earned rightful inclusion on my Husband-Approved list of “five celebrities I would be permitted to make out with if the opportunity should arise”.  That was until, however, he stood me up for Thanksgiving dinner.

Long story somewhat shortened, through a series of phone calls with various producers and the approval of my painstakingly created Turkey Day menu, there was, in 2008, a very real I-could-almost-taste-it possibility that Jamie Oliver was going to join me and my family for Thanksgiving dinner in my Brooklyn home.  As you can imagine, this sent the staff at My Husband Hates Veggies Headquarters into something of a tizzy – a tizzy which I fully blame for the lack of cheese in that year’s Pumpkin Cheesecake and the obscene amount of money spent on a certain smart-looking tablecloth.  Husband was also in an entirely different kind of tizzy, with the impending arrival of the virile young celebrity chef that he had consented to allow his wife to snog.  Shakira, apparently, had not answered his invitation.

The heartbreak when Jamie never showed would have been manageable had I been in a sound state of mind.  I was, instead, seven months pregnant at the time, and felt quite sure that Jamie’s snub of my dinner party was directly related to the then gargantuan size of my butt.  The marked hormonal avalanche that followed resulted in an abrupt halt in the preparation of Jamie recipes, and his immediate exclusion from my Celebrity Snog List.

It is only now, nearly a year later, that I find myself letting a little bit of Jamie back into my heart.  There is a shiny new Jamie cookbook to devour, after all, as well as his continued devotion to improving the quality of school lunches and call for a rise in standards in the meat and poultry industries.  Why, I even cooked one of his new recipes today.  Yes, it would seem that Mr. Oliver has wormed his way back into my life, albeit in a now entirely platonic way.  What can I say?  My taste buds are the only body part aching for Jamie at the moment.  Could it be because he left me in my hormonally-heightened child-bearing state?

You can’t argue with pregnancy hormones, folks.  That shit’s primal.

Continue reading Reunited – Jamie Oliver’s Shell Pasta with Creamy Smoked Bacon and Pea Sauce

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