Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What I cooked this week, Episode 16

I was sick all week. Sick as a dog, you might say. Plus I was getting up at 6 most mornings for work. Consequently? Not much cooking. However, I did my best to make up for it on Sunday and prepare something that really counted.

Episode 16, September 27-October 3

Chicken Tikka Masala and cabbage stir-fried with cumin, fennel, and sesame seeds
Chicken tikka masala and green cabbage stir-fried with cumin, fennel, and sesame seeds

I have a couple voluminous Indian cookbooks in my collection, and up until last Sunday I had made just a single recipe from either of them (paneer, from 660 Curries). I had browsed through both it and Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking but allowed myself to be intimidated by the long lists of spices. For shame.

I've built up my spice collection since then, and when I was looking for something to accompany Jeters' recipe for Chicken Tikka Malasa (perhaps my husband's favorite dish ever), I decided up this recipe for stir-fried cabbage. It gets cooked up with onions that caramelize, some garam masala, cayenne, and lemon, and whole cumin, fennel, and sesame seeds. I really liked the texture the whole seeds added to the final dish, and the surprise bursts of fennel.

The tikka masala was quite nice. I used ground fenugreek seed instead of dried leaves, and I'd be interested in acquiring some to see what the difference is; I also added some salt and black pepper. We'll definitely make it again!

Puff pastry apple tart
Apple tart

Man, is store-bought puff pastry the cheater-iest thing in the world, or what? Even more so than last week's pot pie, this apple tart is a cinch to throw together. Following directions from the Pioneer Woman, I sliced up a teeny gala apple from the farmers' market, tossed the slices with brown sugar and lemon juice, and layered them on top of two squares of puff pastry. Into the oven for a bit and voila! I've made this with peaches before, too. I'm sure a homemade flaky pastry crust would be twice as delicious, but this is a nice, rather elegant-looking dessert that requires basically no effort at all.

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