Kerala-Style Chicken Curry

On May 29, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus

If you enjoy Indian food and like to cook at home, you should get to know Madhur Jaffrey if you haven’t already. She is basically the cookbook author who brought Indian cooking to the American home.  I have her first cookbook, but recently received her latest At Home with Madhur Jaffrey for my birthday last February.

Well I finally found some time to make something from it and all I can say is ‘why did it take me so long?’ This was simply the best Indian dish I’ve ever had.

The Kerala-Style Chicken Curry is a fairly simple dish that does not require 20 different spices like many homemade Indian dishes.  The curry leaves are the only hard to find ingredient that I bought at Namaste India Supermarket in Irving, Texas. The store also sells in-store made roti bread and chana masala we also bought. Our local Whole Foods now carries local pasture raised whole chickens.

This is a simple one-pot recipe. Saturday I bought some Fatality Red Peppers at the White Rock Farmer’s Market that I placed in the broth after the coconut milk was added and cooked the chicken for another 15 minutes at a medium-high heat boil then added 2 tablespoons of butter a minute before serving.

Serve this with rice and sautéed greens.

Full Recipe: Kerala-Style Chicken Curry.

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Chickpea and Chard Soup

On May 28, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus

Chard is in season right now. It is one of those vegetables that never really entered the home kitchen in a big, memorable way so I often buy it and then wonder what will I make.  Even though, it is now in the mid-90s here in Dallas, a soup sounded like a good use for the chard I bought at the Coppell Farmer’s Market last week.

This recipe is fairly simple. Make sure you add plenty of pepper and a bit more salt than normal to help bring out the flavors in the dish. I opted out of the optional ingredients used in the recipe from the New York Times. Next time I will add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to also give it some flavor as the chard and chickpeas, while good, didn’t really make the soup standout.

Still this is a respectable use for chard.

Full Recipe: Valencian Chickpea and Chard Soup.


Cilantro and Lime Chicken, a Family Favorite

On May 27, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus

My wife has a couple of favorites that she reminds me about on occasion. This recipe is one that comes up a lot. The best part is it is very simple; though, it does require a few ingredients I don’t usually have readily available (lime, fresh ginger and fresh cilantro.) You can also make it in a large batch and freeze a few servings, just double or triple everything in the recipe.

The flavors are rather complex in this dish and you definitely want to measure, especially the lime juice as you don’t want it to become too acidic. Also, make sure you use fresh ginger. Since there are so few flavors in the dish, every flavor needs to stand out, requiring everything to be fresh. You can’t shortcut with dried cilantro or jared ginger.

Cilantro and Lime Chicken

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

2/3 cup coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4 chicken breast fillets, boneless, skinless, cut into strips
Plain flour, for coating
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish

1. Whisk together the coconut milk, stock, lime juice, and ginger. Lightly coat the chicken with flour

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Add the coconut cream mixture to the pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes, or until reduced by half and thickened slightly. Tip: If not thick enough, mix a small amount of cornstarch and water together and add a couple tablespoons to the mixture to thicken.

3. Return the chicken to the pan, add the cilantro and simmer for 1 minute to heat the chicken through. Poor mixture over rice and sprinkle with a garnish of cilantro leaves.

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Hainanese Chicken Rice

On May 20, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus


Ever buy an ingredient at an ethnic market that you have no idea what to do with?  For me this would include Caribbean Banana Catchup from the Jamaican market and Yeo’s Hainanese Chili Sauce.

Hainanese Chicken is a Singaporean fragrant chicken and ginger and garlic rice dish that comes with a chili and ginger dipping sauce. I adapted this version from The Steamy Kitchen blog that uses a whole stuffed chicken and makes the sauce fresh.

Hainanese Chicken Rice
Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cucumber
1 bunch green onions
2 cups jasmin rice
2 cups broth, from poached chicken
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
4 teaspoons ginger, finely diced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 bottle of Hainanese Chili Sauce

Fill a 4 quarter pot halfway with water and add several pieces of green onion, about half of green onion bunch, sliced into 2 inch strips.  Add 2 teaspoons of diced ginger and the raw chicken breasts and let the pot come to a boil.  Boil the chicken for about 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile rinse the rice several times and then add it to a bowl and fill with water until barely covering the rice with water. Let that sit for 10 minutes.  Drain the rice. Now heat a pot on medium heat and add the olive oil, garlic, and remaining 2 teaspoons of ginger. Saute for a couple minutes, but do not burn.  Add the rinsed rice and cook with ginger and garlic for about a minute to mix the flavors.  Now add 2 cups of broth from the poached chicken.  Bring it to a boil and then simmer and cover for 15 minutes.

Slice the cucumber into thin moons and dice the cilantro.  Finely chop the rest of the green onion and pour some chili sauce into small bowls for dipping.

Once the rice is done, plate the dish by adding a generous scoop of rice to each plate.  Slice the chicken into large chunks.  Line cucumbers along rice and sprinkle the cilantro and green onion on top.  Serve with chili sauce for dipping.

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Moroccan Couscous with Saffron

On May 18, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus

I’m not much of a celebrity follower.  Though I have come to enjoy one celebrity’s blog covering some great vegetarian food choices and recipes. Actress Alicia Silverston is anything but Clueless when it comes to finding good things to eat.

This recipe is a simple roasted vegetable medley with butternut squash, zucchini, carrots and onions atop of some saffron and cumin flavored couscous is a great way to get your vegetables and protein.

It’s definitely worth trying out and be sure to checkout some other recipes from her website. I have my next selection already picked out – Mardi Gras Jambalaya.

Full Recipe: Kinds Classics Moroccan Couscous with Saffron.

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Mother’s Day: Guest Blog for Family Foodie

On May 14, 2012, in Food, by Chris Baccus

I participate in some fun on twitter every Sunday evening where @FamilyFoodie started a twitter chat called #SundaySupper. It simply is a way of sharing what everyone is eating or cooking Sunday night.  What a great simple thought that generates some inspiration for my own home cooking and also is an opportunity to share what I love with fellow home cooks.

This past week I wrote a guest blog post on the Family Foodie blog showcasing one of my wife’s favorite meals – Mediterranean Turkey Burgers.

Please checkout my guest post and do have a look at the other great Mother’s Day posts from other dad’s this past week featuring my friend Ted Rubin, @fsutoby, and Jim Joseph.


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Chicken Cordon Bleu

On May 14, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus

To the unfamiliar, Chicken Cordon Bleu sounds like an elaborate meal that takes a lot of time and expert cooking.  Fortunately, the reality is a rather simple dish that even a novice cook can accomplish with little effort while impressing his or her guests.

This version is adapted from the blog The Girl Who Ate Everything. I eliminated the Parmesan Dijon Cream Sauce and instead of laying the cheese and ham on top of the chicken breasts, I sliced the chicken in half and laid the ham and cheese inside the chicken breast.

For the chicken I use a local Chicken Ranch, Windy Meadow Farms, and for the ham we buy the Niman Ranch European Style ham found at our Whole Foods deli counter.

Chicken Cordon Bleu
Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 slices of ham
4 slices of baby swiss cheese
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter
ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly butter a baking dish.  Prepare the chicken by carefully slicing the breasts in half, keeping one end intact. With the chicken breast open, lay a slice of ham and cheese inside and then lay the half over the ham and cheese.  Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter and pour into a small bowl with the bread crumbs to combine.

In a baking dish sprinkle some of the bread crumbs on the bottom of the dish.  Lay your chicken breasts on top and rub the remaining bread crumbs on the the chicken. Sprinkle baking dish with ground pepper (you don’t need salt due to the ham.)

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until bread crumbs begin to turn medium brown.


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Mexican Sweet Potato Quinoa

On May 13, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus

Quinoa is a versatile “grain” many have come to love.  Oddly, quinoa is not technically a grain it is what’s known as a pseudocereal and is related to the family beets, spinach and tumbleweeds belong to.

This dish takes a rather unique take on the ingredient by combining a few vegetables with some Mexican spices. I coupled it with some homemade guacamole and tortilla chips.

It also makes for excellent leftovers.

For the Recipe: Mexican Sweet Potato Quinoa

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Pappardelle with Leeks, Sugar Snap Peas and Lemon

On May 8, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

Here is a simple, light spring pasta dish that is a departure from the typical heavy red or cream sauce.

The sauce here is pretty light that is if you consider a half a stick of butter light? It might be better to say it tastes light.  The lemon, sugar snap peas, and leeks do give it a great color everything adheres to the pappardelle noodles nicely. I’m sure you’ll find this a good option among your pasta recipes.

I know we’ll make a few more times throughout the coming summer.

Pappardelle with Leeks, Sugar Snap Peas and Lemon
Serves 4

Coarse salt and ground pepper
½ stick unsalted butter
2 medium leeks (white and light green parts only), cut into thin half-moons and rinsed well
2 lemons
½ pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
1 pound dried pappardelle noodles
½ cup fresh ricotta cheese
¾ cup Pecorino Romano, grated

Heat a large pot of lightly salted water for the pasta.  While that is getting to a boil, melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and a small amount of salt, cooking the leeks until they soften for about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and finely grate lemon zest into skillet and add ground pepper.

When water is boiling add the snap peas and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from water but do not dispose of water.  Now add your pasta to the boiling water and cook per package instructions. Usually about 5-7 minutes for Pappardelle noodles.  Transfer noodles to pan, reserving some pasta water for the sauce.  Add sugar snap peas, ricotta and Pecorino cheese.  Add a few splashes of the pasta water to give it more of a sauce and coat the pasta then serve adding some more Pecorino Romano to each dish.

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It’s been 90 plus degrees all weekend in Dallas meaning the time is now for some summer recipes.

A new one I found last week is a simple salad that brings together watermelon and feta. I added some chicken and a few drops of fig balsamic vinegar to the source recipe from the Savory Sweet Life blog.

I pan seared a couple boneless, skinless chicken beasts with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  A half a chicken breast per person should be enough so plan accordingly.

Full Recipe: Watermelon Feta Mixed Green Salad

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