Monday, March 16, 2009

The Mother of All Recipes Carnival

All right guys and dolls, for several weeks now I've been pondering hosting a cooking smackdown here in the blogosphere. My inspiration is this: there are a lot of domestic and laboratory gods and goddesses here on the internets. You aren't just bringing home the bacon, you're fryin' it up and serving it hot for your spouses and kids.

I personally cook 6-7 nights a week, and it's essentially all from scratch. I admit that I'm not making my own pasta or making my own butter (like some amazing mothers I know), but I'm not serving up hamburger helper either. I'm servin' up nutritious, homemade, well-balanced meals every night. But a girl needs more than just her standby recipes, and I need food that's hot and fast (like yours truly).

Your challenge, dear readers, is to decide on your favorite homemade, nutritious, and preferably toddler friendly weeknight meal. Leave a comment here on this post when your recipe is up, and I will post it as a carnival (along with my own submission) on Wednesday, April 1st.

Pictures highly encouraged. Especially pictures of your toddler slathered from head to toe in your submission.

All right, you have your marching orders. Now give me something hot and tasty. Werd.

ETA: Being a parent is not required for participation in this carnival, I simply encourage recipes for a busy weeknight. If you have your own blog, please post a link to your recipe in the comments. I'll compile the carnival for April 1st. If you don't have a blog, leave the recipe in the comments, and I will post it here on MOAS.

44 comments:

EthidiumBromide said...

Does one need be a mother to participate?

Just curious. Posting recipes is nothing new to me as I put up one a week, but obviously if motherhood is a requirement, I am out. (I also cannot bring to the table any pictures of toddlers slathered from head to toe in my submission as all my friends are in the 25-28 age bracket and also do not have children yet that I could borrow.)

Anonymous said...

Not a blogger, but an avid reader...

A favorite meal of mine is to cook chicken breasts in a crock pot smothered in salsa (usually I put 1 can of salsa and enough water to cover the chicken). I start it on low when I leave in the morning and come home to cooked chicken in the evening. Then whip up a veggie and dinner is served. My toddler loves spicy food so this works well.

n/a said...

Chicken and Rice Soup
5 chicken thighs, skin on, brown in large pot. Remove. 1 onion, chopped, with 2 gloves garlic, chopped. Saute in chicken fat. Add 4 cups chicken stock (preferably organic). Add 1 cup chopped carrot, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley. Add chicken thighs. Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup rice. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Debone chicken thighs, add meat back into soup. Serve with a little fresh chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Crackers make toddlers happy.

My toddler also loves Murgh Masala via Julie Sahni. It takes a while to make, but reheats well with a little fresh cumin & cilantro. I keep it frozen over rice for busy nights:

This is a classic dish from Punjab, a state in the North of India. Traditionally, the chicken is cut into small pieces and stewed in tomato-rich fried-onion gravy. Chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) is folded in immediately before serving to lend herbal fragrance and to provide a nice color contrast to the reddish brown gravy. The special flavor of the dish comes from the garlic; ginger root and turmeric enrich the color and aroma. The whole spices (cinnamon and cardamom) in this dish are not eaten, but no harm will come to you if you bite into them.

INGREDIENTS
2 three-lb chickens cut into 8-10 pieces each
10 tablespoon light vegetable oil
6 cups thinly sliced onions
2 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger root
2 cinnamon sticks, 3" long
4 black or 8 green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried red pepper
2 1/2 cups pureed or finely chopped fresh ripe tomatoes, or 2 cups drained canned tomatoes
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon ground roasted cumin seeds
3-4 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves (or 2 tablespoon dried coriander leaves)

DIRECTIONS
1. Cut off the wing tips, and pull the skin away from the chicken pieces, using a kitchen towel to get a better grip. (Reserve wing tips and skin for the stockpot).
2. Heat 2 tablespoon of the oil in a large (5 quart) heavy bottomed pan, preferably one with a non-stick surface, over high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the chicken pieces, a few at a time, and sear them until they lose their pink color and get nicely browned on all sides (about 3-4 minutes). Remove them with a slotted spoon, and reserve them in a bowl. Continue with the rest of the chicken pieces until all of them are seared.
3. Add the remaining 8 tablespoon of oil to the pan, along with the onions. Reduce heat to medium high, and fry the onions until they turn light brown (about 30 minutes), stirring constantly to prevent burning. This lies somewhere between sautéing and deep frying. For the first five minutes, the onions will steam vigorously, losing much of their excess moisture. As the steam be3gins to subside, the onions will wilt and begin to fry. In the next 5 minutes, they will lose the rest of their excess moisture, and turn limp and golden yellow. The aroma of frying onions will begin to fill the air. The oil will now start to separate from the onions, an indication that they are ready to brown. Keep stirring the onions constantly. They will begin clumping together, and in about 5 minutes, they will turn light brown. Continue frying until they turn caramel-brown and look shriveled up (about 5 minutes more).
4. Add chopped garlic and ginger midway during the last 5 minutes of frying, since they take a very short time to brown. Add cinnamon and cardamom, and continue frying until the spices are slightly puffed and begin to brown (about 2 minutes). Add turmeric and red pepper, and stir rapidly for 10-15 seconds. Add tomatoes, along with the chicken, slat, and two cups of boiling water. Stir to mix, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked and very tender and the gravy has thickened (about 45 minutes). If the gravy has not thickened adequately, increase heat and boil rapidly, uncovered, until it thickens to the consistency of beef stew. If, on the other hand, the evaporation is too fast, add a little water. Check frequently to ensure the sauce is not burning. The finished dish should have plenty of thick, pulpy, gravy. Turn off heat, and let the dish rest, covered for at least 1 hour, preferably 2, before serving. When ready to serve, heat thoroughly, fold in roasted cumin, and chopped coriander, check for salt, and serve.

Note: This is a typical example of stewing meat. Like all stews, it improves with keeping. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or frozen. Defrost thoroughly before reheating. To reheat, gently simmer over low heat until warmed through. Taste, and if necessary, add salt. To perk up the flavors, fold in a little ground roasted cumin, and chopped coriander leaves before serving.

Serve with Baked Whole Wheat Puffy Bread or Baked Whole Wheat Bread, but Whole Wheat Flaky Bread or Chick-Pea Flour Bread are attractive alternatives. You may also serve it with plain cooked rice for a simple meal; or with a pilaf such as Patiala Pilaf or Fragrant Pilaf Banaras Style for more substantial dining. For a vegetable, serve Turmeric Potatoes or Turmeric Potatoes with Green Peppers. A raita, such as Dumplings in Fragrant Yogurt may be included if you want another side dish. Serve an onion relish on the side, and if you like, Sweet Lemon Pickle with Cumin as well.

Fragrant Pilaf Banaras Style
The whole spices are left in the rice, though they are not eaten. But biting into one will do you no harm.

2 cups basmati rice
3 tablespoons Indian vegetable shortening, or light vegetable oil
4 black (or 8 green) cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 stick cinnamon, 3 inches long
24 black peppercorns (optional)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1. Wash basmati rice.
2. Place the rice in a bowl, add 4 cups cold water, and let soak exactly ½ hour (the rice grains will turn chalk-white in color). Drain the rice, reserving the water, and set aside.
3. Heat the shortening over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pan, and add all the spices except the ginger. Fry until the spices are slightly brown and puffed (about 2 minutes). Add rice, and continue frying, until the rice turns translucent and begins to brown (about 3 minutes) stirring constantly to prevent burning.
4. Add the reserved water, ginger, and slat, stir well to keep the rice from settling, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes or until the water is almost totally absorbed, and the surface of the rice is covered with several steamy holes. There is no need to stir the rice, but if you wish to do so, use a fork or knife, being very careful not to break the rice grains.
5. Cover the pan tightly, reduce heat to the lowest point, and if possible, raise the pan about an inch away from the source of heat. Le the rice steam for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice rest undisturbed, covered for 5 minutes. Do not stir the rice during the last 15 minutes of steaming and resting. The grains are very moist and fragile. The rice remains warm for 20 minutes, if left covered.

The bean-mom said...

Holy hell, Sciencemama, you make 6-7 from-scratch meals per week?! I feel proud of myself for making half that many. And no matter what I do, my eldest eats only mac 'n cheese.

Great carnival idea, though. I'll put up my recipe soon, and look forward to everyone else's...

ScienceMama said...

Children certainly NOT required. All comers are welcome!

But pictures of your friends ages 25-28 slathered in your food would also be appreciated.

mama of the valley said...

i sense some kind of implication that there's something wrong with hamburger helper....

i guess i'll skip that "recipe" then...crap now i'll have to think.

Patchi said...

I knew I should have gotten the camera out yesterday! I had a 10 month old & an almost 3 year old covered in homemade guacamole!

We also cook from scratch & most of the week, so I'll take pictures of the next successful meal...

Isis the Scientist said...

I am totally in, Mother of All Scientists!!! My entry is here!

EcoGeoFemme said...

Great idea! My entry is here.

EthidiumBromide said...

My entry is up.

Female Engineering Professor said...

Not a blogger,
but my secret weapon in the kitchen is the Cooks Illustrated The Best 30 Minute Recipe . Every working mom should get one. I highly recommend the skillet lasagna and the tamale pie. Oh, and the stir frys. It takes me about 40+ for most recipes, but I've got my favorites down to almost 30 minutes.

ScienceGirl said...

My entry :)

Scientia Matris said...

Very excellent idea. No pictures I'm afraid, but recipe and accompanying confessions are here!

Candid Engineer said...

Here you go!

ScientistMother said...

No pictures, I'm sorry but here is the link

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