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. 

Chicken in Green Pipian Mole Sauce Recipe

Chicken in Green Mole  photo courtesy of CIA

Halloween is a tradition in the United States, but our neighbors south of the border, celebrate the Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos, to honor their dead. 

In Mexico the fiesta is celebrated on November 1 and 2, and families gather together to prepare elaborate altars called an ofrenda in their homes and cemeteries. Although decorations vary from region to region, most altars are adorned with flowers, candles, candy, foods, drinks, alcohol, and cigars—any of the favorite things that the dearly departed preferred to welcome home the return of their souls.

It is a holiday to celebrate an intimate connection between the living and the dead and the best example of the Mestise cultural evolution blending Catholic and pre-Spanish Mexican religious holidays.

Culinary Institute of America chef and native Mexican Sergio Remolina shares a simple and delicious recipe—Green Pipian Mole Sauce—that was a favorite of both his father and grandfather. "This dish is from Mexico City, my hometown," says Chef Remolina. "Whenever a mole sauce is thickened with pumpkin seeds, it is called Pipian or Pepian. The chicken, rice, and vegetables in this dish are the accompaniments; the Pipian is the star."


Chicken in Green Pipian Mole Sauce

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds, divided use
  • 1 pound (8) tomatillos, peeled, rinsed well, and cut into quarters
  • 2 epazote leaves
  • 1 hojasanta (root beer leaf) leaf
  • 2 leaves of romaine lettuce
  • 8 sprigs cilantro
  • 2 serrano chiles, chopped
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups chayote or zucchini, steamed
  • 2 cups green beans, steamed
  • 4 poached chicken breasts
  1. Toast the pumpkins seeds in a sauté pan. Put them into a small bowl and allow them to cool to room temperature.
  2. Place tomatillos, epazote, hojasanta, lettuce, cilantro, serrano chiles, white onion, garlic, and cumin in that order into a blender. Blend until you make a thick paste. If all of the contents are not reaching the blades, turn off the blender and use a spatula to push the contents down into the blender.
  3. Place 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a deep skillet and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the contents of the blender and fry it in the oil until approximately 15 minutes stirring consistently. If the mixture becomes too thick, add broth or water to get a sauce consistency. Remove from heat.
  4. Reserve 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds for garnish. Place the remaining seeds into the blender and add enough vegetable stock to cover one inch over the seeds. Blend until the seeds become a smooth purée.
  5. Making sure the saucepan is not on any heat, add the pumpkin seed sauce to the mixture in the saucepan and stir until mixture is completely combined, then season with salt to taste.
  6. Place two large spoonfuls of rice, three chayotes, some green beans, and one piece of poached chicken onto a plate. Completely cover the chicken with the Green Pipian Mole sauce. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and serve.

Chef's Note: The above recipe makes about 6 cups. Leftover Green Pipian Mole Sauce can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days in the refrigerator or, if frozen properly, up to 6 months. Enjoy it over enchiladas or fried eggs.

Nutrition analysis for Green Pipian Mole Sauce one-ounce serving: 35 calories, 1g protein, 3g carbohydrate, 2.5g fat, 190mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol, less than 1g fiber.

Meals in minutes: Spicy Thai Chicken with Peanut Sauce recipe

Spicy Thai Chicken with Peanut Sauce - meals in minutes

Thank you, Rachel Ray for saving the culinary day.

At a loss for a quick dinner this week, I was thinking about scrambling through the drawer full of takeout menus.  Then I remembered watching RR on TV  and watching her prepare a Make Your Own Take Out meal - Spicy Thai Chicken with Peanut Sauce.

Ah, shades of the Seventies!  There were very few Asian restaurants where we lived and I remember trying to find authentic ingredients - okay, water chestnuts and baby corn - to experiment with my new wok. 

Didn't everyone get a wok for Christmas in 1977?

So, I loved RR's MYTO for the day and I made it that very night.  I loved it; the boy scraped out the offending water chestnuts, pronounced it edible, but didn't beg for seconds.

Make Your Own Take Out: Spicy Peanut Chicken

Serves 4
  • 1 cup brown or white rice made to package directions
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or other high temperature cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, diced into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 inch ginger root, grated or minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter or reduced sugar peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup Tamari sauce or reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts (8 ounces), drained
  • 1 bunch scallions, whites and greens chopped on angle into 1-inch pieces
  • cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts

Start brown or white rice and 10 minutes before it is done begin your stir fry.

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, add bell peppers and stir fry 2 minutes more. Remove chicken and peppers to a plate and add 2 tablespoons more oil to the pan. Add ginger and garlic and stir fry 15 seconds then add in peanut butter, soy, stock, chili paste and sesame oil and stir to combine into sauce. Add chestnuts and scallions and toss 1 minute, add chicken and peppers back to pan with peanuts and turn to coat in sauce. Serve over rice.

Roast beef and turkey redux: what to do with the leftovers

Before: A lovely rib roast

It's the season of leftovers.  From Thanksgiving to New Year's, there are big dinners and that means lots of food to re-heat or re-invent.

Re-heating leftovers is easy, but not particularly interesting. In fact, after about one re-heat, the entire food situation begins to look desperately boring.

Whether you cooked a turkey or a rib roast like the one I served Christmas Day, there are lots of opportunities for delectable re-invented meals that go beyond the usual sandwiches.

Soups and stews are go-to recipes for leftover meats (and I always recommend cubing some of that turkey or beef and freezing it for soups or stews later). You can also use cubed or diced meats for a hearty Cobb-style salad as a quick meal.

A Mexican-style lasagna of layered flour tortillas, diced turkey, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and a roasted poblano chili sauce spices up an ordinary after the holidays meal.  This dish makes a fantastic one dish brunch or dinner meal served with a green salad garnished with avocado.After: Beef Pot Pie

With a homemade pie crust (or store bought, if you must) and some chopped root vegetables and mushrooms, leftover beef or turkey can be transformed into a savory and meaty pot pie just like Mom used to make - and infinitely better than a frozen version.



serves 6


1 cup diced beef or turkey

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 cup diced carrots

1  medium potato, diced

1 medium sweet potato, diced

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup diced onions

1 cup beef or chicken stock

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Prepared pie crust or puff pastry


In a large casserole, mix diced meat, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, peas and onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix stock with cornstarch and pour over the meat and vegetable casserole.  Cover with prepared pie crust and vent with three vertical slashes.

Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until crust is browned and sauce has thickened and bubbly.


serves six


6 flour tortillas

1 cup diced turkey

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup diced or canned tomatoes (drained)

1/2 cup diced green onions

1 cup roasted poblano sauce


for the poblano sauce

1 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 poblano pepper, roasted and seeded

salt and pepper to taste

In a small sauce pan, combine milk and butter. Stirring continuously, bring the milk and butter to almost boiling. Whisk in the cornstarch and continue stirring until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat and pour into a blender. Add roasted poblano, then pulse until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium-sized casserole, spread a thin layer of poblano sauce, then top with strips of tortilla (each tortilla can be cut lengthwise in quarters to make serving easier), followed by diced chicken, tomatoes, onions and grated cheese. Repeat the layering process, ending with grated cheese.

Bake in oven, preheated to 350 degrees, for 45 minutes or until bubble and cheese is melted. Allow to sit for five minutes before cutting and serving.

Chicken Marabella: a Silver Palate classic

Find Chicken Marbella and more recipes at Cookstr.com.   Recently we ate Chicken Marbella at a friend's party and were reminded how fabulous a classic dish can be.  Not only is this chicken classic beautiful to look at, it tastes simply wonderful with its blend of sweet and savory flavors.

One bite and it's easy to see why it's been popular with home cooks for over 25 years.

This was the first main-course dish to be offered at The Silver Palate shop.  The distinctive colors and flavors of the prunes, olives and capers have kept it a favorite for years.

It's good hot or at room temperature. When prepared with small drumsticks and wings, it makes a delicious hors d'oeuvre.

The overnight marinating is essential to the moistness of the finished product: the chicken keeps and even improves over several days of refrigeration; it travels well and makes excellent picnic fare.

The recipe may be doubled for entertaining.

Editor's Note: Sheila Lukin, 66, who co-authored The Silver Palate Cookbook with Julee Rosso, her business partner, died of brain cancer Sunday, August 30, 2009. Lukins and Rosso were pioneers in the  New American food movement of the 1980s.

Chicken Marbella

serves 6


2 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered
1/2 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
2 tablespoons dried oregano
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1/4 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/4cup capers with a bit of juice
3 bay leaves
1/2cup brown sugar
1/2cup white wine
2 tablespoons Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped


In a large bowl combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.

In an oven preheated to 350 degrees, bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice.

With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.

To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter. If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juices over chicken.

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.