An Indian Adventure…

by agirlandhermutt on September 26, 2010

When I found out that Challenge #2 for Project Food Blog was to tackle a classic ethnic dish, I immediately had a horrific flashback to my attempt to make Weight Watcher friendly pad thai. Lets just say that 3 years later, The Scientist is still traumatized and I have a permanent scar on my right hand. True Story.

I raced through my mind of all the different cuisines I have been introduced to since moving to Boston…Thai, Ethiopian, Korean, and my absolute fave, Indian. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I love all things Indian. The clothing, the food, the spice, one of their men. 😉

I went to the Indian grocery store to get some much needed spices and some inspiration. So much to look at!

I decided that for Project Food Blog Challenge #2 my objective is to either Go Big or Go Home. Here is my BIG!

Hello Kadai Paneer!

Kadai=Indian Wok
Paneer=Indian cheese

The first step to making some stellar Kadai Paneer is to make the paneer. Yep, you read that right. I made cheese. Sure, you could buy this pre-made, but it is so simple to make at home. Easy peasy with only 2 ingredients.

In the mix:
-4 cups whole milk
-3 tbsp lemon juice

*Bring your milk to a low boil. Make sure to keep stirring the milk. It burns pretty easily and the last thing you want hanging out in your house is burnt milk. Take my word for it.

*Once the milk has started to boil, turn the heat off.

*Slowly add in the lemon juice.

*It will immediately start to curdle. This is one of the few times that we will yell “YAY for curdling!” in the kitchen. Enjoy it!

*Allow it to cool and separate for about 30 minutes.

*Enjoy a tasty adult beverage.

*Cooking and drinking! Caught in the act…oops!

*Once cooled, pour the mixture into a cheesecloth lined colander.

*Wrap the cheesecloth around the curd really tight in order to squeeze out all the moisture.

*I decided to make use of my super fun Tofu Xpress to get the rest of the moisture out. WOOT! I love when things serve multiple purposes. You can place a heavy plate or skillet on the top if you don’t have a handy dandy Tofu Xpress.

*Stick it in the fridge for about 2 hours. CHEESE!

Paneer doesn’t have a ton of flavor, so the rest of this recipe is the killer part.

In the mix (Serves 4):
-2 tsp oil
-1 red onion, finely diced
-1 green chili (2 if you are feeling adventurous!), finely diced
-1 tsp ginger garlic paste
-2 tomatoes, pureed
-3-4 cloves of garlic, diced
-1 tsp red chili powder
-1/8 tsp turmeric powder
-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
-1 tsp coriander powder
-Pinch of dried fenugreek leaves
-salt to taste

*Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add in onions and chili.

*Mix together all dried spices, except fenugreek leaves.

*Add the spices to the onion and chili mix, along with the pureed tomatoes and ginger garlic paste.

*Allow this to simmer for about 2 minutes. Add in fenugreek leaves and simmer for a few more minutes. Finally, add in the paneer.

*Slowly fold the paneer into the mixture. This paneer breaks apart easily and you want it to stay in cube form. Allow it to cook for about 2 more minutes and then pull off the heat.

*Serve over basmati rice.

*On a side note, the rice cooker is the one of the best inventions EVAH.

Tada! The classic Indian dish, Kadai Paneer!

By keeping the paneer in tact, you have some great textures and bites of cheese with spice!

I also paired my dish with a piece of pratha that was home-made from the Indian grocery store.

The final piece of my meal to pull it all together? A mango lassi! A lassi is a yogurt based drink. And it is delish!

Ready for one last recipe?!

In the mix:
-1 6 oz. yogurt
-1 cup mango puree
-1 cup ice
-Honey to taste
-Salt to taste

Phew! Every bit of the meal was so much fun to make! Stepping outside of my comfort zone not only brought me a variety of different foods to try, but also brought me to a new grocery store, introduced me to new spices, and got me to try new techniques. Exciting stuff kids!

I hope that you all had an exciting/relaxing/invigorating/ lovely weekend. You know, whatever your boat needs to float. 😉


Ready to vote?!

by agirlandhermutt on September 20, 2010

Hey hey hey! Remember that post about Project Food Blog? No? You can read it here!

Well the time has come for you to get those digits up and running to vote for me. You know…if you feel so inclined. I know there is a lot of competition out there!

If should feel compelled to vote, just click on my fun little Project Food Blog badge. I’m not 100% sure, but I believe that you will be asked to sign into FoodBuzz. I know this is a bit of a pain, but I would appreciate the effort!

This badge will be hanging out over there in the left hand sidebar for as long as I’m in the competition. Lets hope that it can make itself at home over there for at least one challenge!

Thanks for all your support through my comments, facebook, twitter and even email. It feels awesome to know I have so many supporters!



Project Food Blog!

by agirlandhermutt on September 16, 2010

*Tap, Tap…Is this on? Can you hear me ok?*

For the next 12 weeks and 10 foodie challenges, thousands of contestants will be participating in Project Food Blog in order to become the next big FoodBuzz Food Blogger. After each challenge contestants will be judged by the FoodBuzz judging panel and YOU! Your votes will help to decide who will take home the big prize.

Hi. My name is Erin and I’m throwing my hat into the big ol’ ring of food bloggers to become the FoodBuzz NEXT FOOD BLOG STAR! *cue Top Chef-like music*

Have you stopped laughing? Good. Now listen up. I have a story to tell!

I grew up in the South where grits and greens were as common as buttering your bread. I now live in the great white north where lobster is king and beer is a craft. You would think with all of these culinary specialties surrounding me that it would have rubbed off on me. Nope. Nada. Not one bit. By the time I hit my early 20s and living on my own I was officially a woman who would burn toast and didn’t own a single measuring cup. I distinctly remember calling my Dad at the age of 26 to ask how to boil an egg. He sighed and told me he would email me directions. I could sense a twinge of disappointment that despite years of higher education and the illusion that I had it together,he knew I was officially a hot mess. Well, heck! It surely wasn’t my fault I didn’t know how to cook. Was it?!

I got panicked that I would always be known as the woman with no domestic skills and had a Donna Reed moment. I needed to learn how to make some food and I needed to do it STAT. As the clock struck 12:01 on NYE of 2007 I decided that I want to clean my act up. From there, the 27 Things to Do While 27 list was born. On that list my very first thing to achieve was “Learn to cook 10 new meals”. In my head I figured that was almost a meal a month. I honestly thought that was really overextending myself. To myself I said, “Holy heck…who cooks that much?! I’m going to be the next Paula Dean!”  Over the course of the year I failed, I succeeded and the most important thing, I had a LOT of fun doing all of it in the kitchen!

As a long time foodie it felt so great to incorporate all the things I loved about eating at fantastic restaurants into my own home. I realized  it wasn’t about becoming domestic, but rather about becoming creative with the food I make with my own two hands!

I realized I could add all kinds of color to my simple dishes.

I could create dishes that were savory and satisfied every craving I ever had.

And I could use ingredients in a way that I never even imagined.

I’m not a girl of few words and started to feel the urge to share all my culinary adventures with my A Girl & Her Mutt friends. A food blogger was born.

Project Food Blog’s very first challenge was me to tell you what defines me as a food blogger and why I should be the next food blog star.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my full food philosophy, check it out here. If this is your first time hanging out with A Girl & Her Mutt you can see some of my fun culinary adventures in the kitchen here.

So the big million dollar question (or $10,000 in the case of this contest)…why should I be the next food blog star?

Heck…WHY NOT?!

I love food. I love blogging. I love sharing my experiments in the kitchen. I love sharing my culinary adventures. I love hearing about YOUR foodie experiences.

Hi. My name is Erin and I want to be the FOODBUZZ FOOD BLOG STAR!

Let the games begin kids!