Guess who’s kitchen I was in recently?
I took home fresh ginger and cilantro from the market last week, which are the building blocks of this simple, Indian curry paste. It’s a staple in my kitchen, and the foundation for several of my favorite meals. I think it’s perfect for this time of year–during the holidays and just after–when you’re craving something a little different than the ultra-rich or nutrient-poor food that you may have been eating at holiday events and relatives’ homes, but you still want comfort food. Here’s the recipe and a few of my favorite ways to use it:
Tikka Masala Paste
adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe
Store in an airtight, glass container in the fridge.
Vegan or Chicken Tikka Masala
Add in the squash or chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Add the coconut milk and broth, and simmer with a lid on the pot for ten minutes for the chicken or twenty for the squash. Taste and add more curry paste if needed. Add in the cooked chickpeas and cover, simmering for another 5 minutes for the chicken, or until the butternut squash is tender and easy pierced with a fork.
Latkes are a great thing to have in your culinary repertoire, and while they are admittedly a little time consuming, they’re incredibly easy. I love these dolloped with hot red pepper jelly in place of apple sauce at the this time of year when there’s so much rich food and frantic busyness–the heat of the pepper jelly makes me feel lit up, and the pleasant simpleness of the potatoes is comforting. If you want to serve them with a fancier topping for a holiday brunch, or as a weekend treat, top them with caramelized onion sour cream.
Into the starch whisk in the eggs, flour and salt. Pour in the grated potatoes and onion and mix gently to combine.
Heat some oil in a pan over medium heat, and fry the potatoes in medium-sized cakes by forking dollops into the hot skillet and gently flattening the mounds into thin cakes with the tines of the fork.
Cook until golden and crispy, about 5-7 minutes on each side. You can keep the cooked latkes hot by placing them on a paper lined, heat safe plate in your oven at 175 degrees while you finish frying the rest of the cakes.
Makes 8 latkes
Caramelized Onion Sour Cream
Mix together the remaining ingredients and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for 2 hours (or overnight) and serve on hot latkes or as a topping for baked potatoes.
Makes approximately 2/3 c.
One of the great joys of cooking a big meal at Christmastime (or for any holiday feast) is having a fridge stocked with nice things afterward. My favorite dishes are the ones that can also be warmed up for a fast, relaxed breakfast the morning after a holiday, and this stuffing is top of the list for me.
I make a massive pan of this to serve with turkey at Thanksgiving and ham or roast at Christmas, and then toast the leftovers and topped with a poached egg for brunch the next morning. In addition to pulling double duty, this recipe is wonderfully flexible (change the herbs to suit your taste, omit the meat, whatever you like!). While I think it really is best with homemade bread, do not be apologetic about buying a good loaf of bread instead of adding another item to your to-do list. Just be sure to let it get nice and stale before using.
Holiday Stuffing for Dinner
Combine all the ingredients except for the stock in a large baking dish (I use the roasting tray I’ve cooked my turkey in, allowing the turkey to rest on the carving board while the stuffing is cooking). Drizzle the stock over the mixture stirring a bit as you go, until all the bread is slightly dampened; you may need slightly more or less than the 4 c. I’ve recommended here. It will depend on what kind of bread you use.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the stuffing is hot through and golden on the top.
Serves 10 as part of a holiday meal, with leftovers.
Holiday Stuffing for Breakfast
Meanwhile, heat water in a large saucepan (or deep sauté pan) to a gentle simmer. Poach the eggs to your desired firmness using your favorite method. I use this one, which is as close to fool proof as possible and allows me to cook up to six eggs at a time in a 3 qt. sauté pan.