Monday, November 10, 2008

adventures in cooking!

in honor of the premier of the 5th season of Top Chef (starts wednesday, on bravo), i have decided to get a little adventurous in the kitchen this week!

as someone who loves to cook but doesn't like, nor have time for, lots of prep work, i make most of my standards mixing fresh ingredients with high quality mixes and sauces - you can find many of these in your local grocery store (check out the asian/kosher and rice/pasta aisles) but for some of them, you have to make a special trip to Central Market or Whole Foods or whatever your local "crunchy-granoloa, hippy-dippy" grocery store may be.

last night i made split pea and lentil soup (starter mix by Cherchies, purchased at Central Market), and tonight - since Evs had to work late and isn't too adventurous...

chicken tikka masala + thai chili jasmine rice and broccolini!

i can only describe this as a forray into indian-thai fusion... and it was pretty darn good! i sauteed chicken breast chunks in patak's tikka masala sauce (not as great as homemade, but a decent substitute). meanwhile, i made half a box of thai kitchen thai chili jasmine rice and added raw broccolini about halfway through cook-time. {little tip: when i'm cooking for just myself, I make half the box of rice - its the perfect portion size.} i removed the chicken chunks from the sauce so that they maintained their flavor without all the extra calories and mixed them with the rice/broccolini mixture. {another tip for those counting their points: i hardly ever use butter or margarine or olive oil when mixes call for it - unless i'm baking - you can never tell the difference with something like rice or soup!}

a red pepper flake sprinkle to give it that extra kick (in taste and metabolism!) and viola! dinner for one is served!

i paired this little dish with Rayun Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile, 2006 - $8) - one of the CM sommolier's picks of the week - delish!

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