Curried Cashew Chicken Dip 2

Curried Cashew Chicken Dip

Curried Cashew Chicken Dip 2

I was going to a party the other weekend (okay, okay, it was a World Cup watching party, maybe the fact that I made an Indian-inspired recipe for a gathering themed around Argentina & Germany can tell you how much attention I paid to the World Cup. Sorry world!) and like any good guest at any sort of sports-watching thing, I brought food. Chips & dip! Obviously!

Anyway… Stonefire, who I’ve written about in the past, sent me some samples of their newest products, naan crisps. I almost didn’t get a chance to test them out and make a recipe, because my friends jumped on these like Liz Lemon on some night cheese! (I’ve been binge-rewatching 30 Rock on Netflix this summer.) Rob declared these “the best food blog sample [I’ve] ever received” so that’s really saying something. These naan crisps are super good – light, crispy, airy, and savory.

I wanted to do something that tied in with these chips before they all got devoured, so I threw together a protein-packed dip with an Indian twist – that, despite being neither Argentine or German themed, was a hit at the watch party. Added bonus: this recipe gets its creaminess from yogurt instead of mayo or sour cream, so it’s actually pretty good for you!

Curried Cashew Chicken Dip

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Indian Curry Recipe

Spicing up 2014 with Chicken Curry

Indian Curry Recipe

Made a New Year’s resolution to diversify your culinary efforts? Try cooking a curry! I’m not gonna claim that my Indian cooking is the most authentic in the world—I’m not grinding my own whole spices here—but it’s tasty and pretty easy to make. If you don’t have the spices I listed, check out the bulk spice bins at your local Whole Foods or other healthy market. Buying just a few teaspoons in bulk is waaaay cheaper than spending like $12 on a whole container if you don’t think you’re going to be using it frequently.

I’ll also take a moment to give a shoutout to my peeps at Stonefire. In my opinion the Indian food experience isn’t complete without some delicious naan to sop up all the sauce, and the Stonefire brand makes some of the best store-bought versions I’ve tried. They reached out and asked me to whip up some recipes to pair with their products, so here’s a fairly simple curry to get you started. If you want to make this one vegetarian, never fear, just don’t include the chicken.

Spicy Indian Chicken Curry

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Indian Eggplant Parm

Editor’s Note: New contributor Prof. Fusion, an English professor, kitchen dabbler and Dora the Explorer antagonistjoins ES with pretty much our favorite thing…a new sandwich!

This is basically your classic Italian eggplant parm sub, gone Indian—although there’s no Parmesan inhabitant on this blissfully delicious breaded island, just Provolone. The inspiration behind the Indian eggplant sub spawned from  the Food in My Beard’s chicken crispy masala. When I first made this, I made a few adjustments to Dan’s amazing recipe (i.e. how I breaded and fried the chicken—dusted with salt and curry powder), and this salaciously cheesy dish quickly became my wife’s favorite dinner option. One night, I planned to do the same thing to eggplant, when my food muse spoke to me in a garlic-infused whisper, “Why not make this into a sub?!”  And there’s our causal chain, people.

Note: if you’re not a big fan of eggplant (my pal Russ hates its texture, whereas Caitlin finds it tolerable—she’s far too polite), then use chicken instead. I really dig the fusion of Indian/Italian flavors; these yield great pairings when using Indian spices instead of Italian ones.  And what can honestly go wrong when there’s tomato sauce and cheese involved?

Indian Eggplant Parm

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Friday Fuck Up: Savory Yogurt Dinner

I often make my fiance buy a large tub of Greek yogurt when he makes his weekly milk and cereal run to the grocery store. I know not what I will do with said yogurt, but I know I will put the thick substance to use, be it mixed with fruit for lunch or turned into a sauce over a grain and vegetable salad.

But I’ve never thought about substituting chunks of eggplant, cucumbers and oven-dried tomatoes instead of peaches, blackberries and blueberries. And I should have stuck with that.

Instead, I shredded cucumbers into the yogurt, tossed in diced eggplant and roughly chopped oven-dried tomatoes. I sprinkled in salt and pepper and lemon thyme. During this incorporating period, I thought I was genius.

Then I took a few bites. It wasn’t terrible to start, but it just didn’t work. Especially the tomatoes. The tang of tomatoes and the extra oil that still clung to them made for a uncomplimentary creamy versus acid nightmare.

Both the Indians (raita) and Greeks (tzatziki) somehow make yogurt work at dinner, but this part German girl just couldn’t swing it. Any ideas how to turn yogurt savory?


Getting the Most Out of Your Boyfriend, Roommate, Sister, Dad, etc

You know when you find something that your boyfriend, roommate, sister, dad, etc…can do really well—and it totally shocks you—and then you make that boyfriend, roommate, sister, dad, etc…keep doing it? Well, I discovered Bennett can poach the hell out of eggs.

The discovery occurred over Father’s Day. We finished our annual Gary Poppa 5K and the family looked to me to create a festive lunch. I dreamed up a take on eggs Benedict with a mini savory waffle standing in for an English muffin. It was then topped with caramelized onion, a poached egg and a creamy roasted red pepper and basil sauce all with a side of crispy potatoes. I delegated the tasks: my dad took on the waffles (I know, it’s Father’s Day but my dad adores cooking so it’d be unfair to make him just watch), my sister helped me with the sauce, my brother mixed up cocktails and I turned to Bennett for the poaching.

It was his first time poaching so he read a few articles, stressed out, and then poached 8 eggs. And only 2 (the first tw0) were overcooked. The eggs we used that day were a bit older and through his research we learned that poaching with fresh eggs makes the whites stay together more. We vowed to poach the next batch of eggs bought from the farmers market.

This brings me to my next spin on eggs Benny.


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Plate It or Hate It

Recent food world discoveries the ES crew is loving and hating…

Plate It: Saffron Chai

We’re already fans of chai lattes, but adding a hint of rich, flavorful saffron makes this taste like drinking a cup of gold. Available from Jaipur Avenue.

Hate It: Bacon Soda

We’re told you many times that bacon will never die, but it’s time for fake bacon flavor to take a hike. We loved this idea when we heard about it last year, but now that it has hit the market it turns out we actually like our soda to taste like corn syrup, not pork syrup.

Plate It: Whipped Cream Vodka


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Two Tricks for Cheating Your Way to Better Homemade Indian Food

I appreciate your patience as I try to figure out a truly reliable, awesome tasting lentil dish. To recap, I’ve been working with udad dal split matpe beans and throwing in an assortment of dried spices in varying proportions. I’ve learned I’m not a methi fan, that lentils can be whipped into a party-approved dip and that if the lentils still don’t make the cut – just add some toppings.

I recently caved, ignoring the pending bathing suit season, and purchased ghee, clarified butter. This immensely aids in creating that depth found in real Indian cooking, but also ensured a lingering just-cooked Indian food smell in my apart for days. But I was okay with that. Because ghee is delicious.

But back to the toppings. Here are two ways to disguise mediocre Indian food:

1. Coriander Chutney

With a vivid green color this topping automatically brightens any dish.

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