Chicken and Rice

Don’t let the humble name fool you. This recipe makes one big ol’ plate of deliciousness.

For those of you familiar with New York this is a copycat of the chicken and rice that is found at the corner of 53rd and 6th. Friends of mine introduced me to it on one of my NYC trips and can I just say that it was love at first bite? The very reasonable price tag (6 bucks) and sizeable portion also went a long way to making this a must have for my college-student-poor self. You know that’s the kind of poor where you will eat at even the most mediocre cooks’ house for a free meal, where you will find yourself attending club meetings just for the free pizza. I digress. Point is that Chicken and Rice was a winner all around.

Here’s the thing though – I don’t remember how it tastes. It has been a very very long time, so I cannot say how authentic the recipe is, but it is easily one of the best things I have made. What makes this dish extraordinarily fun is that it has so many layers of flavour. There is the buttery yellow rice, the garlicky chicken with its hit of oregano, the cool garlic-dill sauce and the fiery harissa. I made mine from scratch, but that is because I could not find one in store. I think this would also work well with Sambal Oelek. Then again I think everything works well with Sambal Oelek.

IMG_1871

Before I go onto the recipe here’s a quick shout out to my friend Maryam who first brought this recipe to my attention and recommended this combination of recipes for the different components. I did have to take some short cuts, for the non shortcut version I am including the links to each recipe. Don’t let the components intimidate you – the actual cooking time is very little. The Harissa and White Sauce can also be made a day in advance.

Continue reading

Three Things Thursday – II

Welcome to this episode of Three Things Thursday, brought to you by our lovely blogger-hosts, Raj at Pink Chai Living, Salma at The Write Balance and Nisha at Love Laugh Mirch. For those of you who missed last weeks post Three Things Thursday is a way for us to share three things that have been on our mind, but don’t really need a post of their own.

Thing One: My Black Thumb

You know how you go to a greenhouse and they tell you that such and such plant can survive anything? Well, whatever it is it can’t survive me. That is for sure.

IMAG0866

 

My little girl (3rd from the left) and her friends planted some flowers and herbs today and here is to hoping that her efforts are more productive than mine. If so then who knows I may give plants another shot – I can already see my husband shaking his head in dismay.

Thing Two: Reading in Bed

I was/am a huge bookworm. When I went from good ol’ paper books to e-readers and apps I realized two things. One that I can no longer remember names of authors or titles of books and two that my daughter will never see me read. As far back as I can remember my parents read something almost every day – my dad his National Geographics and P.G. Wodehouses and my mom her Danielle Steeles and Mills&Boons. I want my daughter to grow up feeling that reading is something we do and ought to do on our own (vs just being read to) so to that end before I put her to bed in the evening I have started taking a book into bed with her and I read my book while she reads hers. Although I started this for a reason I find that I am really enjoying the quiet time we share together.

Thing Three: Baking up some Uglies

Folks I am so Disappointed in myself. Yes, capital D disappointed. I attempted these beautiful supposedly easy butterfly cupcakes and this is what I wound up with.

IMG_1906

 

Call it quits or redo? I also used an eggless cake recipe that I am not super happy with. Failure all around. Sigh.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to check out the cool posts put up by other Three Things Thursday bloggers!

Beignets

When my husband first had a beignet we were at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans and he said “It’s just fried dough with sugar”.

Just. Pffft.

I am no dum dum though, instead of launching into a discussion about whether this marriage was going to work or not I went ahead and finished them heh heh heh

Somehow the idea of making them seemed a little intimidating, but when my little girl watched the Princess and the Frog and asked me what a Beignet was then I knew I had to get cracking. The dough recipe is pretty straightforward. I just halved the usual amount and found it still made several dozen. The dough that I fried up on day one was airier than the more flavourful dough of day two. Either way it is a win. I rolled mine thinner than most recipes suggested because doughy is not a word I am keen on and I must say it worked very well. These petite beignets were slightly chewy on the outside and light on the inside. Yum.

IMG_1306

Confectioners’ sugar and I aren’t best buds so I decided to create a citrus sugar for my beignets and folks, there is no turning back. My taste testers tried them with regular powdered sugar as well as cinnamon sugar, but the citrus sugar was the clear winner.

Continue reading

My Mama’s Red Lentils

Mama Jafri the formidable lady who brought me and my four other siblings into this world is a helluva cook. I don’t know how she does it – really I don’t, but that’s largely because she somehow manages to give me only half the ingredients in a recipe. Apparently if I want the full list then I should say something like “Mama, what should I put in it if I want it to be delicious?” She seems to think the standard assumption is that I am aiming for mediocrity.

Anyway, I digress, back to Mama J and her amazing cooking. She is not one for rules, more of the creative sort and to this day I have no idea when or where she got this particular recipe for daal (lentils) from, but it has become a family favourite and it is what I make on the days when I am feeling homesick. On some of those days it tastes exactly like moms.

This daal is characterized by an over the top tanginess which is a result of the double whammy of tomato paste and lemon. The garlic in it also adds a wonderful rich note. The best part is that it actually keeps very well, if anything it gets tastier.

Continue reading

Three Things Thursday

Happy Almost Friday! It’s a thing you know… sort of.

The wonderful bloggers at Love Laugh Mirch, The Write Balance, and Pink Chai Living have come up with Three Things Thursday, an opportunity for bloggers to share things that are on their mind, but don’t merit entire blog posts. I am always happy to join a party so here I am :)

Thing One

SPRING!!! It is here! It really is! For those of you in warmer climes this probably is no big deal, but after the winter we have had in Toronto anything over 5 degrees Celsius feels positively balmy. Sure we have had a few wet days, but that is what these cheery rain boots are for!

IMAG0818

Thing Two

I have been trolling the web for outdoor play ideas for my 3 year old and found this I can see her and her friends having so much fun with some  of these. Can’t wait to try them out!

Thing Three

unnamed

In the past I have spent a fair bit of time in bookstores going through cookbooks. And being stared at by people who thought it was a bit weird that I read cookbooks. You guys get it though right? Anyway it has been ages since I added anything new to my shelves and I am  looking for recommendations. What are your favorite cookbooks? Do share!

Crunchy Crispy French Toast with Rice Krispies

Once upon a time my husband and I would go for brunch every weekend. When we were in Toronto this was easier to do because the options were seemingly endless. In fact I actually made little chits with names of places I wanted to try and threw them in a mug and we would pick one out every weekend and go. That obviously was before the move to the ‘burbs and the babes. Now a brunch out is an occasional treat so when I want something a little less ordinary I better make it myself. I have had a cornflake crusted French Toast at School Bakery & Cafe in Toronto and thought that perhaps I can put my otherwise abandoned box of rice krispies to use here. A little googling showed that this is indeed a thing. This small modification takes the same French Toast I have had a million times into the realm of fun, and who doesn’t want a little bit of fun? :) Because it is so basic I hardly have an exact recipe for it, but here are ‘guidelines’, modify as you please!

IMG_1408

Oh and not to sound corny, but I used a French Loaf for my French Toast and the combination of light-crispy-crunchy cereal and the airy loaf is a thing of beauty.

Continue reading

Coffee (Flavored) Cake with Coffee Buttercream

Coffee and I we go way back, the kind of way back that makes it clear that I was my parents’ third child and not their first ;) Baking and I also go way back. A successful combination of the two brings me infinite joy. And several extra pounds, but let’s focus on the positives here.

My sister in law recently made this cake and brought it over for me to try (so good) and insisted I make it as well and am I glad I did. She found the recipe here, but it was originally posted here. I tweaked it slightly to enhance the coffee flavor, but otherwise it is as posted. The result is a cake that is moist and full bodied and just perfect with the creamy sweetness of the buttercream.

Unlike most cake recipes this makes a smaller amount of cake and frosting which is nice because let’s face it: If it made the twice the amount I would still finish it equally fast.

Continue reading