Entries from October 2007 ↓

Pumpkin Chicken Curry or Rainy Day Leftovers

Due to circumstances beyond my control we ended up with most of a large can of pumpkin and half of a rotisserie chicken in the fridge. I knew there must be some way of combining these items and using them both up before they were forcibly migrated to the back and forgotten until they evolved to something capable of self-directed movement. I started thinking about a local Thai restaurant’s awesome Asian pumpkin curry and an experiment was born.

pumkin curryAs I often do I started looking through recipes for somewhere to start. Hard rains were taking down the internet at the time so I was limited to what I have at hand and not much insight turned up as to what exactly might be added (note to self – need more cookbooks containing curries). So armed only with my general accumulated knowledge of what spices pumpkin usually has as friends and that its pretty hard to mess up chicken – this is what I came up with:

In a large soup pot heat up –
1 Tbsp of olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
about 1 Tbsp shredded fresh ginger (I keep it in the freezer)

Add the shredded meat of about one half of a cooked rotisserie chicken to brown while adding a quarter of red onion sliced fine and some cumin, coriander and about 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro (mine was frozen). Once the onions have done their thing (become translucent) I added in the pumpkin (about a cup and a half I think – big can minus a bit) and about 8 oz of chicken stock. The stock was actually made on the spot with a Tbsp of “better than bouillon” with 8 oz of boiling water added, so I think this made it extra salty.

Once that is well mixed and over medium heat or a bit lower I added more spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of chili powder. At this point I started to get a little nervous because it was getting thick and I was on the fence about adding canned tomatoes. I know they go in some curries but all I had were ones with Italian herbs so I opted to look for something else instead – in the end I think it was a good call.

Being somewhat quick on my feet, a bit fearless and generally not too bright I decided to stir in about a quarter cup of yogurt. This was a good call as it turned out because not only did nothing bad happen but the texture became something new and interesting – somewhat along the lines of a good sag paneer – creamy, light and fluffy. I added some more chopped cilantro and running out of that about a quarter cup of chopped parsley. Taste tests proved – there was still something missing so…

I turned to my usual all purpose back up ingredient – hot sauce. I was pretty careful and end up not using too much. On a whim I also through in a couple of tablespoons of Avjar (hungarian red pepper sauce/spread) which really perked things up and pretty much finished things off.

A quick simmer to meld things together yielded something pretty wonderful and we couldn’t stop eating it. I still think there might be one more ingredient missing but can’t put my finger on it – anyone have any ideas on what to add next time? Because I am pretty sure there will be a next time even if fate doesn’t arrange for me to have a can of pumpkin and a rotisserie chicken sitting next to each other in the refrigerator.

Great sounding recipe featuring TJ’s

You might have noticed by now that here at Made Up Food we are not afraid of pre-packaged items. But they have to be good – at least as good as the “real thing”.

Trader Joe’s Frozen RiceOne that I am a huge fan of is Trader Joe’s frozen rice – both the Jasmine and Brown varieties are (almost) better than I can make from scratch and zap in the nuke-o-matic in 3 easy minutes. Sounds too good to be true, but so far its been great every time.

Stock up when its in the store cuz its so popular they can’t seem to keep it in stock.

Here’s a recipe I want to try from over at Table for Two: Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole that also happens to use one of my favorite condiments, Sriracha.

* Careful you don’t burn your fingers opening that hot package the way some people have.

A Chocolate Burrito, you say? ¡Si!

Señors and señoritas, I give you the chocolate burrito!My wife, daughter of a hippie family that made their own tofu, has always turned up her nose at my suburban Wonder-Bread-eating culinary youth (well, we did eventually start eating Roman Meal, which I suppose is a little better), but despite my love for her, I have no shame about my eating education. We did, after all, eat a lot of healthy, diverse food–we just ate a lot of sloppy joes, tuna noodle casserole, and grilled cheese sandwiches, too.

With this exposition in mind, let me present a scenario: It’s 1984. Your mom or dad has just made a chocolate cake (Betty Crocker, out of the box) and finished frosting it using the frosting-in-a-can. But, of course, there’s frosting left over, and nothing goes to waste in this house. So it goes into the fridge, awaiting a later fate. A few days later, burritos are made–lovely, shreds of beef, jack cheese, refritos, and lots of green chiles, of course. There are flour tortillas left over. Into the fridge they go. Now, there they are on the same shelf…perhaps it was only a matter of time before the invention of…

The chocolate burrito.

“Eeewwwww!”, you say. But, as with so many amazing experiences in life, first impressions can be deceiving. So take a walk down the dark side of the dessert (or in my case, breakfast, or coffee-break, or lunch) street, and make a chocolate burrito.

The process couldn’t be simpler: Get your flour tortilla, left over from the other night’s south-of-the-border fest. Please don’t use a corn tortilla, ok? That’s just sick. Lay it on a clean, flat work surface (or in the palm of your hand if you’re in a hurry). Get out that half-empty can of chocolate frosting. Any brand will do, but I prefer Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker, something in the milk chocolate to chocolate fudge spectrum. It might help to thrown the can in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up–you don’t want to break the flaky four tortilla as you spread the frosting. Slide your knife around the inside surface of the frosting container, scooping up a tablespoon or two of dark, sweet goodness. Spread it onto the tortilla. Repeat. Ideally, you want a coating of frosting that is thin, but thick enough to cover the ridges and valleys of the tortilla itself. A coating about as thick as the tortilla itself usually works well, but it all depends on how sweet your tooth is.

Then,roll it up. If you are working with a smaller tortilla–say, soft-taco-sized, you end up with a roll about an inch in diameter, sort of like a taquito. If you are using a full-size burrito holder, you’ll end up with something approximating, well, a burrito. If you’ve used the perfect amount of frosting, you get a nice alternation of frosting/tortilla/frosting/tortilla, spiraling all the way out into your sweaty, anticipatory hand.

Serve with a glass of ice-cold whole milk. Because this isn’t health food you’re eating. You might want to make a second one in advance…you know, just in case. Despite my now much healthier eating habits, I have a soft spot in my heart for the chocolate burrito, and to my wife’s chagrin, I plan on imparting this affection on to my little girls as well. As for my wife: well, I have yet to catch her in the act of making one of these, but there are times when I swear there is less frosting in the can than there was earlier, and all of the tortillas seem to have mysteriously disappeared….

Another author jumps into the soup

Welcome Alan Bucknam as our newest author on the blog! He and his wife Robyn have been our go-to’s for fast easy and yummy things to cook for years so I know his posts will be things I want to try :) Plus with their having precocious twin girls, I am betting they are child friendly as well. Yay Alan!