Thursday, March 5, 2015

Inspired by India

There just isn't enough hours in the day it seems to complete the things I want to get done.  I love cooking.  LOVE IT!  However, I have neglected this blog to pursue a full time job outside of the home and I just don't have the "time" to snap the pictures I normally post with my recipes.  In the past couple of years, I have also found a new love...Pinterest.  Meal planning has become so much easier with the convenience of pinning recipes.  I have since retired many of my cookbooks.  I believe I may try a new way of doing things around here.  Since most of the recipes I cook are found on Pinterest (and tweeked to my liking, if necessary), I will post those links here since I am sure most of you recipe junkies out there are hooked on that site as much as I am.

Picture found here
Tonight's dinner was inspired by the spices of India.  We dined on Samosas with Peanut Sauce, Crunchy Baked Okra, Strawberry and Spinach Saladwith Balsamic Dressing, and Garlic Curry Naan.

The Samosas were the most time consuming.  They definitely were not a meal I could come home from work and cook.  For the most part I followed the recipe in full, however, I substituted the phyllo dough with eggroll wrappers.  I cut the square wrappers in half to make rectangle shapes.  The recipe for the Samosas can be found here.  I would also check out this How To Video on YouTube.  The recipe itself doesn't give instructions on how to fold them.  Also, I had quite a bit of the filling left over.  I froze it.  Hopefully, it will hold up.

The Crunchy Baked Okra was something I just threw together.  Lately, I've been making Parmesan crusted green beans and asparagus a lot lately.  With that in mind as well as the Indian influence, I thoughtfully came up with a plan.

I chopped the tops off of the okra and sliced them in half.  I rinsed and drained them.  While they were drying, I took a mallet to what was left of bag of walnut pieces (about 1/4 cup).  I placed the walnuts crumbs into a bowl and added 1 cup of Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds.  I then added 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamon, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, mixed it together with the breadcrumb mixture and set aside.  In another bowl, I beat three eggs and set aside.  I placed some flour into a Ziploc bag and toss the okra into it.  I shook the okra in the bag until they were coated in flour.

After prepping my station, I preheated the oven to 400ºF and sprayed a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.  In batches, I placed some of the flour covered okra into the bowl of eggs.  When they were coated, I tossed them into the bowl with the breadcrumb mixture until completely covered.  Next, I placed them on the cookie sheet in a flat layer and continued this process with the rest of the okra.

Once all of the okra is laid out on the cookie sheet, place it into the preheated over for 15 minutes.  After which turn them over and cook an additional 15 minutes.  They will be very crunchy,..and super yummy.

Picture found here

I would like to take a moment to say OH MY GAWD cardamom is crazy expensive!!!  Be prepared for a mild heart attack when you buy it.

The recipe for the Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing can be found here.

The recipe for the Peanut Sauce can be found here.  I tweeked the recipe slightly by adding a tablespoon of sweet chili sauce to it.  I used this to dip both my Samosas and Okra into.

Lastly, I had some garlic naan on hand.  I melted 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and added 1/8 teaspoon of cardamom, 1/8 teaspoon of curry powder, and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and mixed it up together.  I brushed them lightly with the mixture and placed them in the oven at 400ºF for 6-8 minutes.

My family (especially my husband and my son) enjoyed tonight's dinner.  I had fun making it but as I mentioned before it was time consuming.


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