Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Nuggets

I’m enjoying some in-flight wifi and thought this was the perfect time to type up this easy chicken nuggets recipe on my cellphone. Ha!

Preheat oven 375° F

  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs

When oven is heated, roast panko crumbs 3-5 minutes until delectable golden brown. Since these are baked, this will provide the color and crunch of the not-as-healthy fried nuggets.

Remove and cool.

In a blender/food processor add:

  • 2-3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken (I use 2 chicken breasts  and 3 thighs)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley  (or fresh)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp corriander powder

While blending to a smooth paste, prep three bowls or plates, containing:

Bowl 1: 1/4 cup all purpose flour

Bowl 2: 2 eggs, beaten (poor eggs)

Bowl 3: 2 cups of toasted panko

Form into desired nugget shape (sometimes I make heart shapes for the love all all things dip-able)

Place on a baking sheet and cook 10-12 minutes.

Eat!!! Well, remove from oven and let cool…. but then eat!

Preserving Banana Leaves

Preserving Banana Leaves

You can use every part of a banana, it is just the best. Living in N. California, ripping out my non-edible/useful plants, I knew I wanted bananas.

Bananas can not actually produce fruits this far north, but I was after their leaves. Banana leaves are used throughout Asia and in Central/South America in steam cooking. Here is a list of common uses (mine are for Peruvian tamales at Christmas time, and Thai steamed fish).

Despite my admiration, my banana never survives to Christmas. The first frost in N. California is in November and kills the plant down almost instantly, so it’s necessary for me to preserve them while the gettin’ is good. So if you have a ornamental or producing banana in your yard… you’re missing out if you’re not using them for some tasty food! Continue reading

DIY Cardboard Solar Oven

DIY Solar Stove (out of cardboard!)

Yesterday, I posted the upcoming weather forecast for Northern California on Facebook, showing we’d be 105°-108°F (40.5° – 42°C) degrees all week long.

One of my high school classmate made a joke that I should bake cookies in my car or on my forehead. I was inspired…but I may have let things get a little out of hand…

And, well …long story short… I baked a cake inside a cardboard box…

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Chicken Demi-Glace

DIY Chicken Demi-Glace

Fancy chicken jello, mmm. Chicken demi-glace is an amazing addition to your pantry. Adding its powerful, flavor punch to stir fry without adding a bunch of moisture, a delicious pan sauce to spoon over your roasted meats and veggies, enhancing the flavor of your chicken noodle soup during the winter:-) coq au vin, anyone? This is just the jiggly bit of chicken you didn’t know you were waiting for. Continue reading

Rose Syrup

DIY Rose Syrup

Yes, Rose Syrup…from roses! Not just any ol’ rose, you want a rose with a strong rose scent. Without the pronounced rose scent, you’ll just have rose-colored water which, while pretty, doesn’t have much else going for it! Rose syrup is used in middle eastern and northern Indian cuisines–but it really needs to break its way into American cuisine!

Rose milk is a popular drink of milk sweetened with rose syrup (think, strawberry milk or chocolate milk). It makes a delectable addition to your alcoholic beverage repertoire, and beverages in general. Continue reading

Ven Pongal

Ven Pongal


Also pictured: Lemon Pickle, Ridge Gourd Fry (Peerkangi Poriyal), Chow Chow Kootu, and Sambhar (oh and white rice and yogurt)

Pongal valthukkal! I was hoping our banana trees would survive long enough into the winter that I could use their leaves during pongal–but it wasn’t meant to be. Over the Thanksgiving holiday it went below freezing. Boo!

Pongal is both a dish, a word, and a holiday in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It’s multiple days long. The word means “to overflow” and it’s appropriate because this is also a harvest festival when all the rice is brought in. On the day of Pongal, you make the dish also called pongal, from fresh rice and ghee and it’s incredibly comforting. It’s more or less the definition of the word.

However, I have never had access to fresh rice (even though I suppose it’s possible, there are many rice paddies near our home in California, but not in January, ha!). Because of this, I lightly roast the rice and dal before cooking.

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Semi-Lazy Berbere Goat Stew

Bebere Goat CurryMore of my cooking stories begin with “Well, I had some goat just sitting around…” than I really give myself credit for. As a result, I’m often looking around for new ways to cook it aside from my old stand-by of five-onion goat curry.

I stumbled across Oya Come Chop! (food blog) by the term “Berbere” (and well, “Goat”) and I was in love. And that’s mostly because berbere = love.

If you’ve not tried my other ethiopian dishes key wat, doro wat, or ye’abesha gomen, or Ethiopian food in general go do it. Right now! Yes, it’s true, your life is not complete without it, now go! Okay fine…just know that berbere spice is a central spice mix to the cuisine of Ethiopia. And, as previously stated, I love it.

I didn’t actually follow Oya’s recipe in so far as the process…

  1. I didn’t have the same ingredients
  2. It didn’t specify quantities or an ingredient list (aside from images)

This was fine by me, I prefer flying by the seat of my culinary pants. Either way, I loved the cooking process, so check out Oya Come Chop!

Let’s get to it.

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Spiced Hot Chocolate

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My son celebrated his first birthday this weekend and the theme was “Lumberjack.” (Cake and cupcakes pictured at the bottom…so cute).

Because the theme was lumberjack our stomachs steered us to BBQ… Camping… and all that goodness. My son’s birthday is also in December and it was pouring out–but such a minor meteorological threat hardly needs to stop good food.

Our menu included smokey jalapeno poppers, pulled BBQ chicken and jackfruit sandwiches, potato salad, smokey pumpkin chili, corn on the cob, a baby buffet (consisting of tiny sandwiches and crackers mostly, ha!), and of course… spiced hot chocolate!

It was a lot of fun and he really enjoyed himself. Everyone stuffed themselves to the brim and then had cake with Tillamook Fireside Smores ice cream (Tillamook…NW pride!), and then some went for a third round. Good times were had by all.

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Savory Caramelized Pumpkin with Mint Cream Sauce

Savory Caramelized Pumpkin with Mint Cream Sauce

Also pictured: Savory Pumpkin Fries

For the run-up to Halloween, I have posted three savory pumpkin dishes. An appetizer (savory pumpkin fries), a side dish (smoked pumpkin chili), and finally we arrive at the entree.

This dish is an Afghani dish, and is called, “Kaddo Bourani.” The meat/tofu/paneer stuffing reminds me of an Indian curry, while the mint sauce has clear roots in the ever-delicious middle eastern cuisine. I’ve made this dish several times now (veg, vegan, and non-veg) and it has inspired me to explore more Afghani cuisine. Delish!

This recipe utilizes a real-deal pumpkin, and not the canned puree. A “real-deal” pumpkin is a Pie Pumpkin, also called Sugar Pumpkin. The carving pumpkins’ flesh releases a lot of water into a dish, and is not good for most cooking applications. I don’t recommend using them at all for cooking. Carve, and cook not.

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Smoked Pumpkin Chili

Smoked Pumpkin Chili

Also pictured: Kaddo Bourani

For the run-up to Halloween, I’ll be posting three savory pumpkin dishes. An appetizer (savory pumpkin fries), a side dish (this dish), and an entree (kaddo bourani). This smoked pumpkin chili is a vegetarian version of my family’s very non-vegetarian smoked BBQ beans recipe. It is a slow cooker dish and turned out amazing.

This recipe utilizes a real-deal pumpkin, and not the canned puree. A “real-deal” pumpkin is a Pie Pumpkin, also called Sugar Pumpkin. The carving pumpkins flesh releases a lot of water into a dish, and is not good for most cooking applications. I don’t recommend using them at all for cooking. Carve, and cook not.

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Savory Pumpkin Fries

Savory Pumpkin Fries

For the run-up to Halloween, I’ll be posting three savory pumpkin dishes. An appetizer (this dish), a side dish (smoked pumpkin chili), and an entree (kaddo bourani). Each year we typically host a pumpkin carving party and I make food that highlights the wonder that is pumpkin.

This recipe utilizes a real-deal pumpkin, and not the canned puree. A “real-deal” pumpkin is a Pie Pumpkin, also called Sugar Pumpkin. The carving pumpkins flesh releases a lot of water into a dish, and is not good for most cooking applications. I don’t recommend using them at all for cooking. Carve, and cook not.

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Dal Makhani (Buttery Lentil Chili)

Dal Makhani (Buttery Lentil Chili)

If you have some lentils and beans, but are unsure of how to cook them…look no further than the Punjab region of India. The plethora of savory vegetarian chili recipes is impressive, and dal makhani is hearty and flavorful, the perfect compliment to the fall season.

A friend recently was gushing over a dal makhani she enjoyed at her local Indian restaurant, and then this tasty lentil stew was served at another friend’s baby shower. Food Fate was clearly telling me it was time to post about dal makhani.

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Cooking Outside the Box: Nutella-Stuffed Pancakes

Nutella Stuffed PancakesIt’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything for my Cooking Outside the Box series. Cooking Outside the Box is a recipe series that takes boxed or ready-made meals and gives them a bit of a spin. I thought I’d hop back in with a few sweet dishes. First up, stuffed pancakes.

This seemingly chic dish is very just-add water with just a hint of pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain ease. You can stuff your pancakes with anything… caramels, snickers, carrot halwa, pie filling, whipped cream cheese with strawberries. It’s a choose your own culinary adventure dish.

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Baby Shepherd’s Pie

Baby Shepard's PieAfter a long day of counting sheep, a baby needs a meal. Shepherd’s Pie, and for that matter much of Northern European cuisine, is just the right thing for baby. Touted as bland, it’s baby-rific, with a few modifications.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m going full-bore into homemade baby food. And we (myself and my baby beau) love it. Today’s menu (and at least 7 more meals worth): Baby Shepherd’s Pie. Continue reading

Beet Chutney

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Like a restaurant where you only order “that one” dish from, ingredients can get stuck in a single preparation. Pumpkins become pumpkin pies, carrots are shamed into being the side-star of a pot roast, or kale. Oh, kale… what on Earth do we do with you?

What’s a vegetable you struggle to expand on?

Mine tends to be with beets. I am not a sweets fan, so candied beets are on par with the canned variety my mom would periodically heat up and plop on our plates. Side dish = complete. *nose wrinkle*

However, since I subscribe to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box, beets inevitably make an appearance. My beet battle sent me to South India, a true veggie paradise. This is an adaption of a good six or seven beetroot chutney recipes, and then I tweaked it even further… because I’m an edible rebel.

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