How I Clean My Kitchen

I was planning to write an entire blog post on the way I spring clean in the kitchen but the fact of the problem is I ruin this kitchen almost each and every moment. So I wash. Constantly. It does not stop. What is unfortunate for me personally that I hate messes. HATE. I attribute this on developing a mum. Our home was always clean. And that I accepted after her (though I am not anywhere near as great at it). So for me be more creative and to believe, I must start with a clean slate each and every moment. This usually means down and up in the day’s conclusion to day. It gives reassurance to me! With Home Made Easy, that will be a field of cleaning solutions, I awakened With this article. These cleaning goods include gluten, parabens, zero phosphates and dyes, which means that these goods aren’t just powerful but secure such as Amelia, for each of us. I about what I am cleaning the floor in taking a rest, with because she lying. I also want cleaning […]

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Our exterior spring home tour!

Hey hey! I had to take a break from the little kitchen projects I’ve been working on due to a pinched nerve in my neck. I was getting in odd positions to complete a project a few days ago and it resulted in a couple nearly numb fingers. Fun times!! 😲
Thankfully I’m almost back to normal. It’s healing quicker than I thought, but it still feels like it takes forever! I don’t mess with nerve stuff after my back/leg issues a couple years ago. 
I got some spring planting and basic clean up done outside before this happened, so I figured I’d share our spring exterior with you today! I took these photos on a sunny day, in the evening and on a cloudy day, so you’ll get a variety. 😉 
I’ve been spring cleaning — putting away chair covers, hanging stuff back up, sweeping the porches and cleaning the exterior lights. I also added flowers to our window boxes and the front planters. Our weather has been glorious so it’s been so great to be outside!
The mulch was done this week and we’ve never had it freshened up this early — I’m loving that the exterior is looking so nice this early! I’ll start on the porch and move around a bit: 
DIY fluffy bunny Easter wreath
That fluffy bunny/Easter wreath is one of my favorites ever — so dang cute!! It’s held up well so far. 
I hung the welcome sign back up after taking it down for the fall and winter: 

Wood bench on porch
I found it on clearance at Hobby Lobby last year and it didn’t work anywhere inside — so I hung it out here instead. It works with our house colors perfectly! 
The landscaping is just now starting to bloom. I just love this time of year! I’m excited to see the plants grow every year — everything out here is still so new: 
Wood bench on porch with columns
I got the window boxes planted with yellow/orange, red and purple pansies: 
Board and batten and siding exterior
I love that combo with our dark siding color
I grabbed hanging containers with purple and yellow pansies and just plopped them into our planters on the porch: 
Craftsman style porch and doors with windows
The covers are off the chairs on the back porch and it’s been wiped down and swept up — we’re ready for warm evenings out here: 
Covered back porch big windows
We love our modern Craftsman exterior so much — it’s one of my very favorite things about this house! The only thing missing is our American flag. I need to get a new one and get that up on the porch: 
Knight's Armor dark gray paint exterior
The grass is greening up nicely! The lawn is my husband’s baby and he’s thrilled it’s a little more established. It took forever to green up last spring because it was put down pretty late in the fall the year before. 
I asked our builder to include as many boxwoods as possible (for green all year round) and tons of hydrangeas. They did a great job! The hydrangeas are just now starting to bloom: 
Modern Craftsman home exterior porch

I planted some knock out roses and a few peonies last year — the roses did GREAT. The peonies not so much. They can be finicky if not planted just right so I’m crossing my fingers for this year!

I installed half of the landscape lighting a year ago:

Dary gray siding white trim
And then finished it up with some path lighting and a few more spots lights in early summer. This is a project I encourage you to try yourself — it’s NOT a difficult DIY, I promise! It’s much easier than you’d think: 
Modern Craftsman front porch columns
Landscape lighting is one of those things that really elevates a home — I think it’s one of the easiest and biggest changes you can make to your exterior!
Obviously things aren’t fully blooming just yet, but I’m so happy with the new mulch and flowers, I had to share a look at the house so far this year! You can see our home in full bloom in this exterior home tour from last year. 
Have you started planting yet? Any outdoor projects planned this year? I’m really hoping to get a garden started — I’m SO excited to start growing food and herbs again! We’d also really like to get a patio started in the back yard, but we’re not sure about pricing. If you know of any good concrete companies in Indy, please let me know! 
If you’re interested in any of our outdoor items you can find them here! (Affiliate links included.)
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Seitan & Waffles With Pomegranate Syrup

Makes 6 servings
Time (not including making homemade seitan): 1 hour

Seitan And Waffles

Up until yesterday, I didn’t really get chicken waffles. But for Valentine’s Day, I decided to cave to societal pressure, and enjoy a juicy, savory, fried hunk of something over a carby, crispy something, covered in sticky sweetness. Even if it makes no sense! I mean, where is the kale? Where are the lentils? Sigh. OK.

Those thoughts plagued me as I stirred the batter and simmered the seitan, although each component was nice on its own. The waffles were perfectly crisp, and I knew they’d be able to handle the syrup without sogging up. The chicken-style seitan came out really flavorful, with a firm but tender texture. The breading on the seitan was totally delish and I couldn’t help but eat a piece straight out of the cast iron skillet. OK, maybe two pieces.

For the syrup, I wanted a bit of V-tine love, and so pomegranate saves the day! Pomegranate molasses is an easy way to infuse flavor into the maple syrup. Plus, the seeds from whole pomegranates are just as romantic as you can get and they look like they’re from another planet (a very romantic planet, to be sure.) So yeah, everything looked great, but all together? I don’t know. My inner chicken and waffle skeptic still had her arms folded.

I took a triangle of waffle (surely, that’s all I would need to know for sure), tucked a little slice of breaded seitan in there, and dredged it in some of the syrup. Well, needless to say, the angels sang. A marching band appeared out of nowhere. Glitter confetti flew from the ceiling. I think I caught a glimpse of Ryan Seacrest. OMG this was good.

So now I totally get it. A sweet and savory combo that maybe isn’t for everyday, but for a special brunch or a Valentine’s dinner, this is where it’s at.


Recipe Notes
~If you don’t feel like dealing with all the pomegranate stuff, just use straight-up maple syrup. Maybe add a few raspberries for garnishing prettiness.

~To make the recipe less cumbersome, simmer the seitan a day ahead, and remember you have loads of downtime as it simmers.

~You can also totally make the waffles up to a week ahead. Freeze them in a plastic storage bag and simply toast when ready to eat.

~If you’re especially lazy, you can use storebought seitan. But I really really love this seitan recipe so I hope you’ll try it. Especially because then you really have control of the shape of the seitan, plus, it will just taste better!

~The homemade seitan makes double what you’ll need for this recipe, but I figure if you’re making it, why not make some extra for the week? It’s really great grilled for salads or sandwiches.


Ingredients
For the pomegranate syrup:
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

For garnish:
Fresh pomegranate seeds

For the waffles:
2 cups almond milk (vanilla or plain), or your fave non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon organic cornstarch
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the chicken:
1/2 batch (1 pound) Chicken Stylee Seitan, or equivalent storebought

Batter:
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup water

Breading:
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Several dashes fresh black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying


Make the syrup:
Just mix the syrup and pomegranate molasses together in a measuring cup, yay!

Make the waffles:
In a 2 cup measuring cup, use a fork to vigorously mix about half the milk with the cornstarch, until fully dissolved. Add the remaining milk and the vinegar and set aside.

In the meantime, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.

Add the milk mixture to the flour along with water, oil, and vanilla. Mix until the batter is relatively smooth. A few lumps are a-OK.

Preheat waffle iron and let the batter rest. Cook according to waffle iron directions, spraying the waffle iron liberally with oil or cooking spray between each waffle is made.

Make the chicken:
Have ready a few layers of paper towels (or brown paper shopping bags) for absorbing the oil after frying.

We will bread the seitan before starting the oil. This way you don’t have to worry about overheating the oil while you bread. You’ll need to fry in two batches.

Slice each piece of seitan into 4 slices, on a bias, so that you have long wing looking pieces.

You’ll need a big plate for breading and a wide bowl for batter. In the bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch and water. Mix vigorously until thick and smooth. Set aside.

On the plate, mix together the bread crumbs, thyme, salt and pepper.

Now let’s assemble!
Dip each seitan slice into the the wet batter, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the breadcrumbs bowl and use the other hand to sprinkle a handful of breadcrumbs over the seitan, to coat completely. Make sure you use one hand for the wet batter and the other for the dry batter, or you’ll end up with club hand. Set each piece aside on a big plate, then start your frying oil.

Now let’s fry!
Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, pour in about 1/2 an inch of oil. Wait about a minute. Now test the oil by throwing in a pinch of breadcrumbs. It should sizzle and bubble without smoking, then you know it’s ready. If it burns or smokes quickly, lower the heat. If it just sits there doing not much of anything, raise the heat.

Without overcrowding the pan, fry each piece of seitan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain the oil, and then do the next batch.

To serve:
Place a few pieces of seitan over the waffle. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve with plenty of syrup. ::SWOON::

Seitan & Waffles With Pomegranate Syrup

Makes 6 servings
Time (not including making homemade seitan): 1 hour

Seitan And Waffles

Up until yesterday, I didn’t really get chicken waffles. But for Valentine’s Day, I decided to cave to societal pressure, and enjoy a juicy, savory, fried hunk of something over a carby, crispy something, covered in sticky sweetness. Even if it makes no sense! I mean, where is the kale? Where are the lentils? Sigh. OK.

Those thoughts plagued me as I stirred the batter and simmered the seitan, although each component was nice on its own. The waffles were perfectly crisp, and I knew they’d be able to handle the syrup without sogging up. The chicken-style seitan came out really flavorful, with a firm but tender texture. The breading on the seitan was totally delish and I couldn’t help but eat a piece straight out of the cast iron skillet. OK, maybe two pieces.

For the syrup, I wanted a bit of V-tine love, and so pomegranate saves the day! Pomegranate molasses is an easy way to infuse flavor into the maple syrup. Plus, the seeds from whole pomegranates are just as romantic as you can get and they look like they’re from another planet (a very romantic planet, to be sure.) So yeah, everything looked great, but all together? I don’t know. My inner chicken and waffle skeptic still had her arms folded.

I took a triangle of waffle (surely, that’s all I would need to know for sure), tucked a little slice of breaded seitan in there, and dredged it in some of the syrup. Well, needless to say, the angels sang. A marching band appeared out of nowhere. Glitter confetti flew from the ceiling. I think I caught a glimpse of Ryan Seacrest. OMG this was good.

So now I totally get it. A sweet and savory combo that maybe isn’t for everyday, but for a special brunch or a Valentine’s dinner, this is where it’s at.


Recipe Notes
~If you don’t feel like dealing with all the pomegranate stuff, just use straight-up maple syrup. Maybe add a few raspberries for garnishing prettiness.

~To make the recipe less cumbersome, simmer the seitan a day ahead, and remember you have loads of downtime as it simmers.

~You can also totally make the waffles up to a week ahead. Freeze them in a plastic storage bag and simply toast when ready to eat.

~If you’re especially lazy, you can use storebought seitan. But I really really love this seitan recipe so I hope you’ll try it. Especially because then you really have control of the shape of the seitan, plus, it will just taste better!

~The homemade seitan makes double what you’ll need for this recipe, but I figure if you’re making it, why not make some extra for the week? It’s really great grilled for salads or sandwiches.


Ingredients
For the pomegranate syrup:
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

For garnish:
Fresh pomegranate seeds

For the waffles:
2 cups almond milk (vanilla or plain), or your fave non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon organic cornstarch
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the chicken:
1/2 batch (1 pound) Chicken Stylee Seitan, or equivalent storebought

Batter:
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup water

Breading:
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Several dashes fresh black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying


Make the syrup:
Just mix the syrup and pomegranate molasses together in a measuring cup, yay!

Make the waffles:
In a 2 cup measuring cup, use a fork to vigorously mix about half the milk with the cornstarch, until fully dissolved. Add the remaining milk and the vinegar and set aside.

In the meantime, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.

Add the milk mixture to the flour along with water, oil, and vanilla. Mix until the batter is relatively smooth. A few lumps are a-OK.

Preheat waffle iron and let the batter rest. Cook according to waffle iron directions, spraying the waffle iron liberally with oil or cooking spray between each waffle is made.

Make the chicken:
Have ready a few layers of paper towels (or brown paper shopping bags) for absorbing the oil after frying.

We will bread the seitan before starting the oil. This way you don’t have to worry about overheating the oil while you bread. You’ll need to fry in two batches.

Slice each piece of seitan into 4 slices, on a bias, so that you have long wing looking pieces.

You’ll need a big plate for breading and a wide bowl for batter. In the bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch and water. Mix vigorously until thick and smooth. Set aside.

On the plate, mix together the bread crumbs, thyme, salt and pepper.

Now let’s assemble!
Dip each seitan slice into the the wet batter, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the breadcrumbs bowl and use the other hand to sprinkle a handful of breadcrumbs over the seitan, to coat completely. Make sure you use one hand for the wet batter and the other for the dry batter, or you’ll end up with club hand. Set each piece aside on a big plate, then start your frying oil.

Now let’s fry!
Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, pour in about 1/2 an inch of oil. Wait about a minute. Now test the oil by throwing in a pinch of breadcrumbs. It should sizzle and bubble without smoking, then you know it’s ready. If it burns or smokes quickly, lower the heat. If it just sits there doing not much of anything, raise the heat.

Without overcrowding the pan, fry each piece of seitan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain the oil, and then do the next batch.

To serve:
Place a few pieces of seitan over the waffle. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve with plenty of syrup. ::SWOON::

Butterscotch PB Monster Cookie Bars {Easily Gluten Free}

These butterscotch PB monster cookie bars (easily gluten free) are crazy easy (one bowl!), super delicious, and the perfect way to change up your cookie bar game!

Slab of monster cookie bars cut into squares on wood board.

Wednesday needs a fantastic, easy cookie bar recipe like I need a nap. And since the likelihood of said nap coming to pass is basically nil, do me a favor. Make my nap sacrifice worth it and JUST MAKE THESE BARS. 

They can be yours, warm out of the oven (yum!), in less than an hour. And for that reason alone, I have a feeling you’re going to either really love me or really hate me. 

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The post Butterscotch PB Monster Cookie Bars Easily Gluten Free appeared first on Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Seitan & Waffles With Pomegranate Syrup

Makes 6 servings
Time (not including making homemade seitan): 1 hour

Seitan And Waffles

Up until yesterday, I didn’t really get chicken waffles. But for Valentine’s Day, I decided to cave to societal pressure, and enjoy a juicy, savory, fried hunk of something over a carby, crispy something, covered in sticky sweetness. Even if it makes no sense! I mean, where is the kale? Where are the lentils? Sigh. OK.

Those thoughts plagued me as I stirred the batter and simmered the seitan, although each component was nice on its own. The waffles were perfectly crisp, and I knew they’d be able to handle the syrup without sogging up. The chicken-style seitan came out really flavorful, with a firm but tender texture. The breading on the seitan was totally delish and I couldn’t help but eat a piece straight out of the cast iron skillet. OK, maybe two pieces.

For the syrup, I wanted a bit of V-tine love, and so pomegranate saves the day! Pomegranate molasses is an easy way to infuse flavor into the maple syrup. Plus, the seeds from whole pomegranates are just as romantic as you can get and they look like they’re from another planet (a very romantic planet, to be sure.) So yeah, everything looked great, but all together? I don’t know. My inner chicken and waffle skeptic still had her arms folded.

I took a triangle of waffle (surely, that’s all I would need to know for sure), tucked a little slice of breaded seitan in there, and dredged it in some of the syrup. Well, needless to say, the angels sang. A marching band appeared out of nowhere. Glitter confetti flew from the ceiling. I think I caught a glimpse of Ryan Seacrest. OMG this was good.

So now I totally get it. A sweet and savory combo that maybe isn’t for everyday, but for a special brunch or a Valentine’s dinner, this is where it’s at.


Recipe Notes
~If you don’t feel like dealing with all the pomegranate stuff, just use straight-up maple syrup. Maybe add a few raspberries for garnishing prettiness.

~To make the recipe less cumbersome, simmer the seitan a day ahead, and remember you have loads of downtime as it simmers.

~You can also totally make the waffles up to a week ahead. Freeze them in a plastic storage bag and simply toast when ready to eat.

~If you’re especially lazy, you can use storebought seitan. But I really really love this seitan recipe so I hope you’ll try it. Especially because then you really have control of the shape of the seitan, plus, it will just taste better!

~The homemade seitan makes double what you’ll need for this recipe, but I figure if you’re making it, why not make some extra for the week? It’s really great grilled for salads or sandwiches.


Ingredients
For the pomegranate syrup:
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

For garnish:
Fresh pomegranate seeds

For the waffles:
2 cups almond milk (vanilla or plain), or your fave non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon organic cornstarch
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the chicken:
1/2 batch (1 pound) Chicken Stylee Seitan, or equivalent storebought

Batter:
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup water

Breading:
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Several dashes fresh black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying


Make the syrup:
Just mix the syrup and pomegranate molasses together in a measuring cup, yay!

Make the waffles:
In a 2 cup measuring cup, use a fork to vigorously mix about half the milk with the cornstarch, until fully dissolved. Add the remaining milk and the vinegar and set aside.

In the meantime, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.

Add the milk mixture to the flour along with water, oil, and vanilla. Mix until the batter is relatively smooth. A few lumps are a-OK.

Preheat waffle iron and let the batter rest. Cook according to waffle iron directions, spraying the waffle iron liberally with oil or cooking spray between each waffle is made.

Make the chicken:
Have ready a few layers of paper towels (or brown paper shopping bags) for absorbing the oil after frying.

We will bread the seitan before starting the oil. This way you don’t have to worry about overheating the oil while you bread. You’ll need to fry in two batches.

Slice each piece of seitan into 4 slices, on a bias, so that you have long wing looking pieces.

You’ll need a big plate for breading and a wide bowl for batter. In the bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch and water. Mix vigorously until thick and smooth. Set aside.

On the plate, mix together the bread crumbs, thyme, salt and pepper.

Now let’s assemble!
Dip each seitan slice into the the wet batter, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the breadcrumbs bowl and use the other hand to sprinkle a handful of breadcrumbs over the seitan, to coat completely. Make sure you use one hand for the wet batter and the other for the dry batter, or you’ll end up with club hand. Set each piece aside on a big plate, then start your frying oil.

Now let’s fry!
Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, pour in about 1/2 an inch of oil. Wait about a minute. Now test the oil by throwing in a pinch of breadcrumbs. It should sizzle and bubble without smoking, then you know it’s ready. If it burns or smokes quickly, lower the heat. If it just sits there doing not much of anything, raise the heat.

Without overcrowding the pan, fry each piece of seitan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain the oil, and then do the next batch.

To serve:
Place a few pieces of seitan over the waffle. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve with plenty of syrup. ::SWOON::

Indian-ish Fried Rice with Peanuts, Chilies, & Cilantro

A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Why I have never thought to dress leftover rice with something other than soy sauce, sesame oil, and a showering of scallions escapes me.

Indian. Fried. Rice. Where have you been my whole life?

To be clear: this isn’t exactly fried rice — there’s no frying of the leftover rice. And how nice, too? There’s nothing to stress over: Is the rice old/dry enough? Will it fry well enough? Will I have the patience to let it brown before I push it around?

Here, leftover rice is simply dressed with spices, herbs, acid, and fat. (Also: peanuts, caramelized onions and chilies). The balance of flavors, the textures, and, of course, the use of day-old rice evokes fried rice, but the process is different; easier, too.

Four Steps to Make Indian-Fried Rice

  1. Dress leftover rice with fresh lime juice and salt.
  2. Heat ghee (or olive oil) with mustard seed, curry leaf, and peanuts.
  3. Heat more ghee (or olive oil), with onions and chilies, till the onions begin to caramelize.
  4. Toss everything together with fresh cilantro.

The whole combination is completely irresistible. I find adjusting the flavor at the end with more lime and salt to taste to be essential — I like lots of each.

This dish is strikingly pretty and makes me want to invite people over for an Indian-ish meal, maybe starring these curried chickpeas with cauliflower and coconut milk or this cumin- and coriander-spiced sheet pan chicken.

Indian-ish:

This recipe comes from Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish, a book that has already taught me more about Indian cooking than any other. To be fair to other Indian cookbooks I own, I haven’t given them a great go; but to Indian-ish’s credit, no other has been as welcoming.

Indian-ish, which is part tribute to Priya’s mother, a software programmer and excellent home cook, and part primer in Indian (or Indian-ish) cooking, is cheerful and light. As you read it, you smile. As you cook from it, you feel OK leaving out a spice or substituting something else. It will be, “fiiiiine,” as Priya says in the FAQs on this matter.

Throughout the book there are helpful guides that demystify the many and often-used spices and lentils as well as charts simplifying cooking techniques like dal and chhonk — also known as tadka or tempering or, in Priya’s words, “the greatest Indian cooking technique ever.” (Chhonk is ghee or oil infused with spices, then poured over a finished dish. This fried rice recipe gets double chhonked: first with curry leaves and mustard seed; then with onions and chilies.)

I have only cooked a few dishes from Indian-ish, but I feel I already have a better grasp on how to cook a cuisine I have always loved and always found a little too daunting to tackle at home. I will be sure to keep you posted on all of my Indian-ish experiments, those chhonk-ified and otherwise.

Here’s the play-by-play: Gather your ingredients.
The ingredients for Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Dress day-old basmati rice with fresh lime juice and salt.
A bowl of day-old basmati rice with lime and salt.

Heat ghee (or olive oil) with mustard seeds.
A braiser pan with ghee and mustard seed.

Add curry leaves.
A braiser pan with ghee, mustard seed and curry leaves.

Add peanuts.
A braiser pan with ghee, mustard seed, curry leaves, and peanuts.

Pour this mixture over the rice.
A bowl of rice, lime, peanuts and curry leaves.

Return the pan to the stovetop and sauté a sliced onion with a few halved hot chilies.
A braiser pan with ghee, onions, and chilies.

A braiser pan with sautéed onions and chilies.

Add the onions and chilies to the bowl of rice along with some chopped cilantro.
A bowl of Indian Fried rice, ready to be tossed.

Toss. Taste. Add more lime and salt to taste.
A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Serve.
A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Such a fun book: Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish
A cookbook: Indian-ish by Priya Krishna

A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

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A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Indian Fried Rice with Peanuts, Chilies, & Cilantro



  • Author:
    alexandra

  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes

  • Cook Time:
    15 minutes

  • Total Time:
    30 minutes

  • Yield:
    serves 4

Description

From Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish

Notes:

  • The original recipe calls for 8 tablespoons of ghee total, but I think it’s equally delicious with 4 tablespoons. If you’re not afraid, use 8!
  • Ghee: Inspired by the book, I made a batch of ghee. Unsalted butter or olive oil are fine substitutes.
  • Curry leaves may require some hunting to track down. I bought mine at the Karam Asian Grocery & Halal Meat in Schenectady. If you don’t feel like searching for them, simply omit.
  • Peanuts: I’ve been using Planters roasted and salted … it hasn’t been making the dish too salty.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked basmati rice or 1 cup dried basmati rice, rinsed
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus more to taste
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons ghee or olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 small hot chilies, halved lengthwise
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or more to taste

Instructions

  1. If you need to cook the rice, here how: Instant Pot Method: Place the rice, 1 cup water, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt into the Instant Pot. Set the IP to: manual, high heat, 6 minutes, natural release 10 minutes (or more). Fluff with fork. Stovetop Method: Place the rice, 1.5 cups water, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt into a medium pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Let stand 10 minutes (or longer) before fluffing with a fork.
  2. If you have leftover basmati rice on hand, bravo—start here: In a large bowl combine the cooked rice, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and lime juice. Set aside.
  3. In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm 2 to 4 tablespoons of ghee or oil (depending on your preferences, see notes above). Once the ghee or oil begins to shimmer, add the mustard seed. As soon as they begin to pop and dance around in the oil, which will happen very quickly, remove the pan from the heat. Add the curry leaves, making sure they get fully coated in the oil. The leaves will immediately begin to crisp up.
  4. Return the pan to medium-low heat and add the peanuts. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peanuts turn a medium shade of brown and become fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the peanut-spice-oil mixture over the rice and toss gently to incorporate.
  5. In the same pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 to 4 tablespoons ghee or oil. Once it begins to shimmer, add the chilies and onions. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir this mixture into the rice. Add the cilantro and toss to combine. Taste. Add more salt and lime to taste — go big with both; you won’t be disappointed.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: Indian, fried rice, curry, mustard seed, cilantro, peanuts, chili

The post Indian-ish Fried Rice with Peanuts, Chilies, & Cilantro appeared first on Alexandra's Kitchen.

Indian-ish Fried Rice with Peanuts, Chilies, & Cilantro

A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Why I have never thought to dress leftover rice with something other than soy sauce, sesame oil, and a showering of scallions escapes me.

Indian. Fried. Rice. Where have you been my whole life?

To be clear: this isn’t exactly fried rice — there’s no frying of the leftover rice. And how nice, too? There’s nothing to stress over: Is the rice old/dry enough? Will it fry well enough? Will I have the patience to let it brown before I push it around?

Here, leftover rice is simply dressed with spices, herbs, acid, and fat. (Also: peanuts, caramelized onions and chilies). The balance of flavors, the textures, and, of course, the use of day-old rice evokes fried rice, but the process is different; easier, too.

Four Steps to Make Indian-Fried Rice

  1. Dress leftover rice with fresh lime juice and salt.
  2. Heat ghee (or olive oil) with mustard seed, curry leaf, and peanuts.
  3. Heat more ghee (or olive oil), with onions and chilies, till the onions begin to caramelize.
  4. Toss everything together with fresh cilantro.

The whole combination is completely irresistible. I find adjusting the flavor at the end with more lime and salt to taste to be essential — I like lots of each.

This dish is strikingly pretty and makes me want to invite people over for an Indian-ish meal, maybe starring these curried chickpeas with cauliflower and coconut milk or this cumin- and coriander-spiced sheet pan chicken.

Indian-ish:

This recipe comes from Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish, a book that has already taught me more about Indian cooking than any other. To be fair to other Indian cookbooks I own, I haven’t given them a great go; but to Indian-ish’s credit, no other has been as welcoming.

Indian-ish, which is part tribute to Priya’s mother, a software programmer and excellent home cook, and part primer in Indian (or Indian-ish) cooking, is cheerful and light. As you read it, you smile. As you cook from it, you feel OK leaving out a spice or substituting something else. It will be, “fiiiiine,” as Priya says in the FAQs on this matter.

Throughout the book there are helpful guides that demystify the many and often-used spices and lentils as well as charts simplifying cooking techniques like dal and chhonk — also known as tadka or tempering or, in Priya’s words, “the greatest Indian cooking technique ever.” (Chhonk is ghee or oil infused with spices, then poured over a finished dish. This fried rice recipe gets double chhonked: first with curry leaves and mustard seed; then with onions and chilies.)

I have only cooked a few dishes from Indian-ish, but I feel I already have a better grasp on how to cook a cuisine I have always loved and always found a little too daunting to tackle at home. I will be sure to keep you posted on all of my Indian-ish experiments, those chhonk-ified and otherwise.

Here’s the play-by-play: Gather your ingredients.
The ingredients for Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Dress day-old basmati rice with fresh lime juice and salt.
A bowl of day-old basmati rice with lime and salt.

Heat ghee (or olive oil) with mustard seeds.
A braiser pan with ghee and mustard seed.

Add curry leaves.
A braiser pan with ghee, mustard seed and curry leaves.

Add peanuts.
A braiser pan with ghee, mustard seed, curry leaves, and peanuts.

Pour this mixture over the rice.
A bowl of rice, lime, peanuts and curry leaves.

Return the pan to the stovetop and sauté a sliced onion with a few halved hot chilies.
A braiser pan with ghee, onions, and chilies.

A braiser pan with sautéed onions and chilies.

Add the onions and chilies to the bowl of rice along with some chopped cilantro.
A bowl of Indian Fried rice, ready to be tossed.

Toss. Taste. Add more lime and salt to taste.
A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Serve.
A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Such a fun book: Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish
A cookbook: Indian-ish by Priya Krishna

A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

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A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Indian Fried Rice with Peanuts, Chilies, & Cilantro



  • Author:
    alexandra

  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes

  • Cook Time:
    15 minutes

  • Total Time:
    30 minutes

  • Yield:
    serves 4

Description

From Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish

Notes:

  • The original recipe calls for 8 tablespoons of ghee total, but I think it’s equally delicious with 4 tablespoons. If you’re not afraid, use 8!
  • Ghee: Inspired by the book, I made a batch of ghee. Unsalted butter or olive oil are fine substitutes.
  • Curry leaves may require some hunting to track down. I bought mine at the Karam Asian Grocery & Halal Meat in Schenectady. If you don’t feel like searching for them, simply omit.
  • Peanuts: I’ve been using Planters roasted and salted … it hasn’t been making the dish too salty.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked basmati rice or 1 cup dried basmati rice, rinsed
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus more to taste
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons ghee or olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 small hot chilies, halved lengthwise
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or more to taste

Instructions

  1. If you need to cook the rice, here how: Instant Pot Method: Place the rice, 1 cup water, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt into the Instant Pot. Set the IP to: manual, high heat, 6 minutes, natural release 10 minutes (or more). Fluff with fork. Stovetop Method: Place the rice, 1.5 cups water, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt into a medium pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Let stand 10 minutes (or longer) before fluffing with a fork.
  2. If you have leftover basmati rice on hand, bravo—start here: In a large bowl combine the cooked rice, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and lime juice. Set aside.
  3. In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm 2 to 4 tablespoons of ghee or oil (depending on your preferences, see notes above). Once the ghee or oil begins to shimmer, add the mustard seed. As soon as they begin to pop and dance around in the oil, which will happen very quickly, remove the pan from the heat. Add the curry leaves, making sure they get fully coated in the oil. The leaves will immediately begin to crisp up.
  4. Return the pan to medium-low heat and add the peanuts. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peanuts turn a medium shade of brown and become fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the peanut-spice-oil mixture over the rice and toss gently to incorporate.
  5. In the same pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 to 4 tablespoons ghee or oil. Once it begins to shimmer, add the chilies and onions. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir this mixture into the rice. Add the cilantro and toss to combine. Taste. Add more salt and lime to taste — go big with both; you won’t be disappointed.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: Indian, fried rice, curry, mustard seed, cilantro, peanuts, chili

The post Indian-ish Fried Rice with Peanuts, Chilies, & Cilantro appeared first on Alexandra's Kitchen.

Margaret Roach’s Magical Garden + A Giveaway: A Way To Garden

Margaret Roach's House

Today, Margaret Roach’s all-new 21st anniversary edition of her first award-winning book, A Way to Garden, makes its way into the world.

It’s 300+ pages, nearly twice as thick as the original, packed with color photos, and totally revamped to reflect forty years of wisdom and insight, most importantly the changes in how Margaret gardens today. For gardeners of all kinds and at all skill levels, it’s a dream, a treasure trove of knowledge. Some highlights for me include:

  • 18 Seed-Starting Tips
  • 13 Things About Growing Tomatoes
  • Organic Lawn Care
  • A Must-Have Rose
  • Not Your Average Morning Glories
  • Growing Potatoes
  • Making Compost

I could list so much more, not to mention the touching stories (like one about sisterhood, which made me cry).

Though my garden is wee, Margaret and her website are a constant source of inspiration and a resource I turn to again and again. She taught me how to freeze parsley (and other herbs) and the trick to growing cilantro — hint, as Margaret says: “sow, sow, sow again.” She also introduced me to Craig LeHoullier, his book, and Dester tomatoes, which my husband started from seed a few weeks ago in our basement.  I cannot wait for summer.

I recently visited Margaret and her garden, and I’ve included a few snaps below. But before you get lost in the wonderland that is Margaret’s backyard…

A Few Things:

Some snaps from Margaret’s garden: A sea of hellebores.
A sea of helabores.

Backyard pond, where Margaret’s friends are known to take baths, and …
Margaret Roach's pond

… where Margaret finds salamander egg beds while skimming leaves.
Margaret Roach holds salamander eggs.

Margaret Roach's garden

Margaret’s 125-year old apple tree.
An apple tree in Margaret Roach's garden.

A blooming tree in Margaret Roach's garden.

Voodoo lilie bulbs.
Margaret Roach holds bulbs.

Frog figurine.

Margaret and her book! Get yours: A Way to Garden
Margaret Roach holds her book, A Way to Garden

The post Margaret Roach’s Magical Garden + A Giveaway: A Way To Garden appeared first on Alexandra's Kitchen.