eating in

Curry Crazy!!



I love curry! My son's father taught me how to make curry as well as other dishes from his home country of Nepal. Over the years, I've taken a few liberties with my curry dishes, adding whatever vegetables I have on hand to round out my meal. Today I got up early and decided to cook a curry for our dinner. I cooked it early so the flavors would have time to marry well. The secret to a great curry is to fry the spices well. I learned this from my mother-in-law. She was so right! Today's curry has eggplant, onion, potatoes, cayenne pepper, green and yellow pepper and chicken. Make sure you have a nice hearty gravy so it will go well with either naan or rice.  


Eggplant Chicken Curry


1 cayenne pepper, diced

1 small green pepper, diced

1 small yellow pepper, diced

2 small Ichiban eggplant, cubed

1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped

4 red potatoes, peeled and diced

4 boneless chicken thighs, cubed

1 tsp salt

1 Tbs curry powder

1 can tomato sauce ( you can substitute tomato soup if you don't have any)

1/2 cup water

1 Tbs canola oil


In a large skillet heat canola oil over medium heat, add peppers, eggplant, onion, potatoes and chicken. Fry with curry powder and salt until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Add tomato sauce and water to make your gravy and let simmer for about an hour. Serve over rice or with naan. Serves 4-6 people. 

Meals in minutes: meatballs or polpette

Meatballs with mushroom gravy

Everybody cheats on occasion.  It's easy to grab a bag of frozen meatballs, brown them, then sauce and serve. 

The question for me is why. Meatballs or polpette are the easiest quick meal - and if you plan ahead, you can make extra to freeze.


That way when you get home exhausted and wonder what's for dinner, you'll just have to reach in the freezer for a better meatball - homemade instead of store-bought.

For every meatball recipe you can imagine from Swedish to classic Italian, check out


Saturday night eat-in: Pernil asado or roast pork with spicy saffron rice

Comfort food for the homesick NYer

Since we've moved to North Carolina, I've been craving Latin food.

There's a large Hispanic community here, but (despite the welcome sight of a Taco Truck) I've yet to find cocina casero like you find on every street corner in NYC.

When you're handed a big bag of lemons, you start making lemonade. 

So, this week's recipe for Saturday night eat-in is a quick and dirty version of pernil asado. Click here to see video instructions for another version.

Pair this meal with a youthful and fresh Portuguese Vinho Verde.

Leftovers can be used to make super delicious Cubanos, meaty and magnificent heroes made with roast pork, ham, swiss cheese and dill pickles on Cuban rolls.

Mighty good eating, I say.




Yummy pork deliciousness

* 2 teaspoons ground cumin

 * 4 cloves garlic, chopped

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon dried oregano

* 1/2 cup orange juice

* 1/2 cup dry sherry

* whole fresh lime, juiced

* zest of  fresh lime

* 1 tbs cilantro, chopped

4 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and tied


Mix all marinade ingredients in a glass or non-reactive metal mixing  bowl. Place the pork in a large resealable plastic bag and then pour citrus marinade over meat, and seal.

Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning the bag over occasionally to thoroughly marinate the pork roast.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Transfer pork and marinade to a roasting pan, and place in the oven.  Roast uncovered for half an hour, then cover and continue to oast for about an hour and 45 minutes, basting with pan juices occasionally, or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).

Add small amounts of water to the pan if it dries out.

Roast uncovered to crisp the pork roast, then transfer the pork to a carving board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

For quick and easy sides, serve with Mahatma spicy saffron rice and seasoned pinto beans.

Serves 8-10.

Angel hair pasta with shrimp and capers


I adore quick and easy meals.

Pasta is my go-to ingredient when I want something tasty and fast for dinner. I love pasta so much I think I must be an honorary Italian!

Angel hair pasta with shrimp and capers is a favorite in our house. It's delicious, nutritious and made in minutes.

The following recipe is so simple and so good.


1/2 of a box uncooked angel hair pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons capers, drained

4 cloves garlic, chopped

d 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 can (28 ounces) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pan. 

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; cook 3 to 5 minutes, until cooked through - a translucent pink. Remove shrimp from skillet to avoid overcooking and set aside.

Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes; cook until garlic is tender, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. (Do not let garlic burn.)

Stir tomatoes, wine, capers and basil into skillet. Continue cooking until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add shrimp and sauce to pasta and toss to coat well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or Grana Padano and additional chopped basil, if desired.

Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Saturday night eat-in: Pasta con pollo e spinaci


This week's menu for the Saturday night eat-in is another great pasta dish.  

Even if I think every season is pasta season, this menu really sings Spring and cherry blossoms with its baby spinach and fresh strawberries and light, tart goat cheese.

On your next Saturday night eat-in, instead of ordering take-out or doing a heat-and-eat, why not pull together this quick pasta dish? 

You'll have more time to enjoy your family (boyfriend, girlfriend, guests) and you'll have a fantastic meal. I decided to do dessert and salad in one dish - Strawberries with Goat Cheese in a Dijon Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette.

Add a crusty, delicious country French baguette and a sbottle of subtle Sancerre or a semi-dry Reisling and you're set

Pasta con pollo e spinaci
serves 4


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tablespoons sherry or mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
1/2 red pepper, seeded & sliced thinly
2 cups baby spinach, washed & spun dry
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 oz slivered parmigiano reggiano

4 cups prepared pasta shells, al dente

In a deep sided sautee pan, heat olive oil to medium.  Add garlic and chicken, sauteeing until golden.  Add wine, red pepper and spinach, continuing to sautee until vegetables are just wilted but still brightly colored.  Add butter and cream, salt an pepper to taste.  Serve over pasta, garnishing with parmigiano reggianno curls.

Saturday Night Eat-in: Pasta con Mollica


Around our house the running joke for leftover or bare-pantry meals is that it's International Night because you never know what in the world you'll find on your plate.

This week's Saturday Night Eat-In honors the bare pantry with Pasta con Mollica or Pasta with Bread Crumbs. This is Tuscan peasant food which is so simply divine you don't realize you are eating frugally. Serve with spinach stuffed mushroom caps and baby carrots with peas.

Since I am typically a hoarder and keep staples on hand, I always have a box of pasta in the house.  I never knew a carbohydrate I didn't love either, so there is always bread.  Cheese is my best-est friend. 

Voila!  The centerpiece of my meal is all right here.

Next, I dig out the baby carrots my son refused to eat in his school lunch, plus the emergency frozen petits pois - love how elegant French makes garden variety peas.

Lastly, I grab some portobello mushrooms, originally destined for a homemade pizza, and a bag of spinach.  

It's International Night!

Spinach & Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 mushroom caps, cleaned & trimmed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 cups fresh spinach
1 & 1/2 oz goat cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmigiano reggiano
salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil to medium heat, then sautee the mushrooms caps until just tender. In the last five minutes, add the balsamic vinegar.  Remove the mushrooms from the pan and place on a baking sheet.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit (180 degrees Celsius).

Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to skillet and heat to medium before adding spinach.  Stir until wilted. Then add to food processor, along with goat cheese and pulse to just smooth.  Spoon spinach-cheese mixture into mushroom caps & top with grated parmigiano.

Place in the oven until grated cheese is melted.  Cut into quarters for serving.

Pasta con Mollica

1 lb mostaccicoli or other short pasta
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1/4 day-old baguette, cubed & toasted
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano

Bring water for pasta to a boil in a large pot, adding the pasta to cook for about 8-9 minutes or until just tender.  

In a small sauce pan,  heat olive oil and garlic, adding the Italian herbs (I bought mine in Rome's Campo dei Fiori, but they are readily available in grocers or substitute herbs of Provence).

Drain the pasta, then add the olive oil, garlic and herbs, and the toasted bread crumbs, mixing well.
Place a generous serving of pasta in the center of a plate, then place vegetables and mushroom quarters on either side.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with Bio-Weingut H.U.M. Hofer Grüner Veltliner Trocken 2008. $12.99 for 1L. 

"Bottled in a full one liter bottle with a beer bottle style crown cap, (this Gruner) is a refreshingly versatile, food friendly un-oaked white that packs a mouthful of flavor in every sip. The flavors are reminiscent of citrus, minerals, and the tell-tale white pepper that Grüner is known for. Bone dry with plenty of cleansing acidity on the finish, it's a worthy companion to Southeast Asian and Pacific Rim cuisine, as well as with vegetable dishes, fish and white meat." (67 Wine)

What's for dinner: roasted lamb breast & winter root vegetables


I was in the farmer's market early Saturday morning, buying parsnips and lusting over organic rabbit.

My son discovered that Mr. McGregor did not have Peter Rabbit's best interests at heart as we pondered a bag of freshly dressed bunny. 

While I envisioned braised rabbit with wild mushrooms and perhaps some couscous, my son was busy grilling the market woman on the farmer's means of skinning the rabbit. I grew up around outdoorsman, so I know the drill. It was fun seeing him bridge the gap between what we eat and where it comes from.

The rabbit in 2-3 lbs portions at at $6.99 per pound was out of this week's budget, but will definitely make the menu in coming weeks. If you want your rabbit fresh, buy soon because bunnies apparently get lazy in the summer months, so there are fewer to eat!  You can, however, freeze whole rabbit up to a year and pieces up to nine months.

Since I already had lamb breast, an economical and delightfully delicious cut if a bit fatty, my quest was to pair it with some root vegetables for a meal that all went into the oven while I relaxed on the couch and listened to music.  Along with a few stalks of celery, the parsnips, carrots, and baby potatoes (red, purple, and white) made the cut. 

Parsnips are a new addition to my repertoire and a happy one at that.  I love the flavor - a little sweet, a little nutty.  They played nicely with my other root vegetables and all made fast friends with the lamb. 

Roast Lamb Breast

3-4 pounds lamb breast

1 Tbs kosher salt

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves cleaned from the stem & finely minced

1/4 cup of white balsamic vinegar

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

At least 24 hours before roasting, clean the lamb breast with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.  Then rub the breast with kosher salt, front and back, following with the garlic and rosemary.

Roasted Parsnips, Carrots  & Potatoes

3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut in slices

4 medium carrots, peeled and cut in finger-sized chunks

3 baby purple potatoes, quartered

3 baby white potatoes, quartered

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon herbs of Provence

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup water

In a mixing bowl, coat vegetables with the olive oil, then add salt and herbs. Transfer to a glass, clay baking dish or a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. Add water. Roast uncovered, tuening gently once or twice during roasting, for 45 minutes to one hour in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Farenheit (200 degrees Celsius).  Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavors.