Archive for the ‘My Kitchen My World’ Category

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My Kitchen, My World Goes to Morocco

September 24, 2010

Each month, the My Kitchen, My World group takes a virtual trip by cooking the dishes of another country. As much as I like to travel for real, virtual trips are fun too, plus no jet lag! This month, our destination is Morocco. I haven’t been to Morocco, and other than couscous, didn’t know much about the cuisine. I made three things, all from the book Flatbreads and Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Michele gave me this book a while ago, and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s divided into different areas of the world and has more than just bread recipes, as you will see…

First up is Moroccan Anise Bread. This is a yeast bread made with white and whole wheat flour, plus anise seed. It bakes up as a flat round loaf.

It’s the same color as my cutting board!

It doesn’t get very tall, but it has a nice texture.

I reduced the amount of anise seed a little, because neither my husband or I are big fans of anise. We were pleasantly surprised that we enjoyed the bread, so I’m glad I made it and didn’t omit the anise. It was particularly good dipped in the next dish: Berber Bean Puree. This dish can be made with kidney beans or small red beans; I picked small red beans, mostly because I thought it was funny that there were beans actually named “small red beans.” Obviously, I don’t spend much time in the dried bean section of the grocery store. It’s been many years since I cooked dried beans, and I was thrilled that they turned out! The beans are cooked with garlic and then mixed with water, salt, cumin, fresh flat-leaf parsley, lemon juice, and dried pepper flakes. I used an immersion blender to puree the mixture, avoiding the heartache of cleaning the food processor.

Even though this is called a “puree,” somehow I expected more of a bean spread. Had I thoroughly read the recipe, which says it is the texture of a thick soup, I would have known what to expect. This was really tasty. The parsley added a wonderful, fresh flavor. We ate it at room temperature the first time and warmed up another time. I even ate a little bit like a soup and it was good that way too.

Finally, I made Chicken Tagine with Olives and Onions. I’m not sure how appetizing this photo looks, but in real life, it was quite good.

Chicken is marinated in lemon juice and garlic and then browned before cooking in a broth of water and seasonings including thyme and parsley. While that was cooking, I cooked sliced onions in a water and tumeric mixture (I did not include the optional saffron). The onions and some olives are added to the chicken during the last 10 minutes of cooking. The recipe calls for chicken legs and breasts, but I used boneless chicken breasts instead. I served this over rice, which I don’t think is the Moroccan way to do it , but it was good. This was even more flavorful the next day.

I have not included the recipes here, but if these look interesting to you, take a look at Flatbreads and Flavors. To see what the other travelers made, check out the roundup at My Kitchen, My World; it will be posted at the end of the month.

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Nanaimo Bars

August 26, 2010

When the My Kitchen, My World group announced Canada as the August destination, the first thing I thought of was maple. But I don’t like maple all that much, so the next thing I thought of was Nanaimo Bars. You see, I’ve been to Nanaimo twice, but I’ve never had a Nanaimo Bar.

When I was making them, I thought they would be too sweet. They are really sweet, but also really, really good. My husband and I both enjoyed them. I think the large amount of butter helps deflect some of the sweetness. Yes, these are rich, but so tasty. The bottom layer is fantastic. Perhaps it’s especially fantastic because it contains crushed homemade graham crackers.

Recipe notes

  • I’m sure there are many variations of the recipe, but I decided to use this one, on the City of Nanaimo website.
  • I cut the recipe in half and made it in a 6″ round pan (that’s why my bar is a wedge).
  • For the vanilla custard powder, I used instant vanilla pudding mix.
  • I used chocolate chips for the top layer of chocolate had a heck of a lot of trouble getting them to melt nicely. I know that non-chocolate-chip-chocolate melts better, but I thought I could get away with it. Apparently not.
  • These need to come out of the refrigerator for a while before cutting. That, combined with my chocolate melting difficulty, made me think that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to sprinkle a layer of mini-chocolate chips on top rather than bothering with the melting and spreading. I may try that next time.

Nanaimo is a city on the eastern side of Vancouver Island. I have lots of photos of the beautiful scenery on Vancouver Island, but the only photo of Nanaimo that I could find was this one.

At least I’m 99% sure that photo is from Nanaimo. It’s definitely from Canada!

The roundup of everyone’s posts will be posted on My Kitchen My World soon.


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Peanut Butter M&M Cookies for My Kitchen, My World

July 28, 2010

Each month, the My Kitchen, My World group cooks dishes from a different country. For July, in honor of Independence Day, Andrea of Nummy Kitchen selected the USA. Melting pot that this country is, this was an interesting one to think about.

I settled on peanut butter cookies, and none other than the recipe that I grew up with. Somewhere along the line in my years of making these, I started adding one of America’s favorite candies: M&Ms. Chocolate chips are a good addition too, but there’s something about that crunchy, colorful candy coating along with this thin, crunchy, peanut buttery cookie.

But I have to say, every time I open a bag of M&Ms, I’m surprised and dismayed by the blue ones. Yes, I know they’ve been around for quite a while, and I’m sure some youngsters don’t know any different, but I haven’t bonded with them. I’m all about the different flavors of M&Ms though – have you tried the pretzel ones yet? If you like sweet and salty, give them a try!

Back to the cookies, when I was little, we mixed cookies by hand with a wooden spoon. I used my stand mixer to make these, but I did use my favorite measuring cup, which I’ve had forever. I always use Skippy peanut butter, sometimes creamy, sometimes super chunk. I added a little salt, which wasn’t part of the original recipe. I wonder if they don’t need it because of the salt in the peanut butter, but it didn’t seem to hurt.

I’m sure there will be quite a melting pot of recipes this month, so be sure to check out what the others have made. There will be a roundup post on My Kitchen, My World on the last day of the month.

Peanut Butter Cookies

source: My mom

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 cups (12 oz bag) plain M&Ms, divided

Sift together baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add brown and granulated sugar and mix until combined. Beat in eggs and then peanut butter. When thoroughly combined, add sifted dry ingredients and mix until combined. Gently stir in 1 cup of M&Ms.

Form into walnut-sized balls and flatten with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern. Leave at least 2 inches of space between the flattened cookies. Press a few M&Ms onto the top of each cookie (add as many as needed, depending on how many are already mixed into the cookie). If you do it right, you’ll have a handful left over for snacking!

Bake at 375º F approximately 10 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets halfway through baking. Cookies should be lightly browned. These are a crisp cookie, and the browner they get, the crisper they are.

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My Kitchen, My World: India

June 30, 2010

This month, the My Kitchen, My World group took a virtual trip to India, suggested by Margaret of Tea and Scones. It’s my first time cooking with this group, thanks to Kayte, who suggested that I cook along.  And what a great suggestion that was!

I wasn’t sure what to make, so I turned to Google Books for inspiration. Some of the recipes I found were more work and more ingredients than I wanted to deal with, but then I found several great-sounding recipes in New Indian Home Cooking by Madhu Gadia. They were easy to make and healthy, so I was sold. I tried Potato and Pea Curry (Alu Matar),which is at the top of the plate, and Spinach and Potatoes (Palak Alu), on the bottom of the plate. Although both dishes had potatoes, they were very different tasting, and both were excellent. I served the Potato and Pea Curry over rice, which wasn’t suggested in the recipe, but I’m glad I did because the sauce was very thin, so it was nice to have some rice to soak it up.

I found all of the spices I needed at my grocery store, most of them in small containers for not a lot of money. Instead of buying Garam Masala, I mixed my own. There are numerous recipes for Garam Masala; I used the one from the Chicken Tikka Masala recipe linked below.

I also made Naan, an Indian flatbread, which you see on the left side of the plate. I’ve made Naan several times before, using this recipe from Melissa, and it’s always turned out great. It’s cooked in a pan on the stove, and it’s really easy and quick to make.

This meal was vegetarian, but I’ve also made Chicken Tikka Masala, which is yogurt-coated, broiled chicken in a deliciously-seasoned sauce, served over rice. For an extra-special touch, use 1 cup of coconut milk in place of 1 cup of water when you cook the rice.

It was so fun to cook with the group this month and try some Indian recipes. Take a look at the My Kitchen, My World roundup to see what everyone else made!

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