I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Indian Food

My favorite cuisine, hands down, is Indian food. I like to go out to a restaurant for it, but some times I just like to stay home.

I started liking Indian food in medical school. I'm a white boy who grew up in the middle of Iowa. I never had any exposure to it until I moved to Chicago. Ever since then I have been hooked. Last Friday my wife and I were both hungry for Indian food, so we made a big spread and pigged out. This was food that was so tasty it could not be reasoned with. It could not be stopped, only contained.

Spicy Cucumber Wedges

1 cucumber, peeled and cut into wedges
1/3 t salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper
fresh ground black pepper
1/3 t cumin seeds
juice of 1 lemon

Combine everything and serve.

Spicy onion relish

1 onion, diced
3/4 t salt
juice 1/2 lemon
1 t paprika
1/2 t cayenne

Combine everything and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Tandoori Chicken

2 1/2 lb chicken breast, skinned and cut into strips to put on skewers
1 t salt
1 lemon, juiced
15 oz yogurt
1/2 onion, peeled and quartered
1 clove garlic
1 inch fresh ginger
1/2 of a green chili like a serano
2 t garam masala
red food coloring

Combine all of the ingredients except the chicken in a food processor and Blend until smooth. Brush the chicken on both sides with red food coloring. Marinate the chicken in the blended ingredients for a few hours to overnight. Put chicken on skewers and grill.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Heat 1 stick butter in a saucepan. Add 1 inch of fresh ginger, chopped and saute a little, then add the rest of the ingredients:

15 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 t garam masala
1 t cumin
1 t mace
1 t salt
1 serano chili, finely chopped
1 T fresh chopped cilantro
4 t lemon juice

Boil mixture, covered, for one hour. Then add some pieces of tandoori chicken, cut up. Stir in about 1/4 cup cream and serve.

Mutter Paneer

1 T butter
1 t cumin seed
1 cup diced red onion
1 T ginger root, finely chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1 T cilantro
1 t salt
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t garam masaala
1 16 oz bag frozen peas
2 cups of 1/2 inch cubes of fried homemade cheese (buy in Indian grocery store or make)
1 1/2 cups water
8 oz tomato sauce

Homemade Cheese (Paneer)

1/2 gallon whole milk
1/8 cup white vinegar

Boil milk, stir in vinegar and remove from heat. Line a colander with cheesecloth. Pour the mixture into the colander. The curds will separate from the whey. Wrap curd up in cheese cloth and leave in the colander. Place a weight like a Dutch oven on top of the bundle and let it sit for 5 to 6 hours to drain fully. Cut cheese into 1/2 inch cubes and fry in oil to use for mutter paneer.

Saffron Rice

It is easy to make saffron rice for Indian food. I have a rice steamer so I use it. I typically for 2 people make 1 cup of basmati rice according to the directions on the package. Before I make it I add a few threads of saffron to the liquid that I am using for the rice and let it sit a couple hours. Then I make the rice in the rice steamer.

If you are going to make Indian food at home, you simply must make naan. Naan is the flat bread that is served with pretty much every Indian meal. It is used almost as a utensil to scoop up the delicious food and shovel it into your mouth.

The problem that most people run into when they try to make naan is that they don't have a tandoor oven. Neither do I. I use my grill.

To make naan on the grill I usually start with 1 cup of warm water and a package of yeast. I add enough flour (usually 2 1/2 cups or so) to make a wet dough. Let it rise in the oven for an hour or so until doubled in size and you're ready. Roll the dough out like you would if you were making a pizza. Toss it on the grill and cook on one side for 30 seconds or so, until it firms up and starts to get a few grill marks. Then flip it over and grill it on the other side. Be careful not to burn it. Then bring it inside, cut it into slices and butter both sides. Cover it until you are ready to serve it.

Memorial Day Food

In keeping with my philosophy of serving traditional food on holidays, we ate brats on Memorial Day. When I make brats I like to boil them in a little beer before throwing them on the grill.

I also like mine with mustard sauce. I got the recipe from the Ernest Hemingway cookbook. As a side we had what I call German Potato Salad.

German Potato Salad

1 pound potatoes
6 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 T dry white wine
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T beef broth

wash and peel potatoes
Place in saucepan with enough cold salted water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and cut into slices as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Put slices in a bowl and toss with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. In a small saucepan heat the wine, vinegar and broth until hot. Pour over the potatoes and toss gently. Be sure to include bread for mopping up the sauce.

Mustard Sauce

2 T butter
½ onion, finely chopped
½ c dry white wine
1 Dijonon mustard
1 t vinegar
juice of ½ lemon

Melt butter and cook onion until translucent. Add wine and reduce by half. Stir in mustard and vinegar. Add the lemon juice and the last tablespoon butter. When butter is melted pour over brats and serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ioweegan Greek Food

Last night we had one of my favorite meals. My mother in law makes these great steaks and pasta. She got the recipes from this restaurant in Mason City called the Northwest Cafe. We also had Greek Salad and rum cake. I got the recipe from rum cake from "Fit for a King" the Elvis Presley Cookbook. It is the best tasting rum cake I have ever eaten.

Xoriatiki (Greek "Village" Salad)

4 Ripe tomatoes
1 Cucumber
1 Onion
1 Green pepper
1/3 lb Feta cheese
1/2 cup Olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

Cut the vegetables in slices and mix in a salad bowl. Top with the olives, capers and oregano and cover with "crumbled" feta cheese. Pour the olive oil evenly. Mix the stuff with lettuce and serve.

Northwest Café Steak or Chicken Recipe

Turn on broiler and preheat.

Melt 1 to 2 sticks butter in a pot
Add 1 cube or 1 t chicken bouillon
Add 1 t Greek seasoning and ½ t garlic salt or powder
Add ½ t Lawrys seasoned salt

Pour mixture over steak in a glass cooking dish and place in oven. Broil steak on each side depending on how well done you like it. Use drippings to make the sauce for Greek spaghetti.

Greek Spaghetti for NW café steaks

Boil salted water. Add spaghetti, enough to feed your guests. Cook spaghetti to al dante or enough so that it is cooked but not soggy. Drain spaghetti and add:

Juices from NW café steaks
1 small can chicken broth
1 t greek seasoning
½ t garlic salt or more if you like it
¼ cup parmesan, add and add more if you like more
1 t fresh ground pepper
a good amount of chopped fresh parsley or ½ tablespoon dried parsley

Rum Cake ala Elvis

1 18-ounce box yellow cake mix
1 t nutmeg
1 3 ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
¾ cup rum
¾ cup oil

Beat everything in an electric mixture for 5 minutes. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. This recipe is from "Fit for a King" The Elvis Presley Cookbook. It is delicious with cream cheese frosting.

Changed the Look a bit

My site went down for a while today. I got it back up and decided to do a little house cleaning. Some people have had a hard time reading the light print on the dark background. Hopefully this new format will be a little easier to read.

Tonight I made us up some burritos. You can find the recipe here:
My recipe for simple burritos

The only thing I did different was instead of putting cheddar cheese over the top (I didn't have any) I made a cheese sauce. To do that I took about 6 oz of velveeta and about 1/2 can Ro-Tel tomatoes. I melted it in the mircowave and poured it over the burritos when I would normally put the cheddar on. It was super tasty.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Kebab House

Saturday night we went to a great Persian restaurant called Kebab house. They serve - you guessed it - kebabs. I got shawarma kebabs complete with Jerusalem salad. One of these times I will have to post a recipe for Jerusalem Salad. It has cucumbers and tomatoes in it. MMMM....

Friday, May 20, 2005

A Great Day

I matched into a plastic surgery fellowship at Louisville. We went out to dinner at a Mexican place called Abuelos. It was pretty tasty. I guess it is a huge deal in Texas. Tomorrow a friend from Iowa is coming for a visit. More to follow ...

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Last Saturday the lawnmower started to act funny. If you drove over a bump it would kind of stall. The funny thing is that this just started happening after we got it serviced. So I looked around and found a fuel line that was cracked. When the guy changed the fuel filter he wrenched the line around a little bit and it cracked. So I cut the old one out and put a new one in.

I also made some enchiladas. Sometimes I make them with Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce but this time I decided to make home made enchilada sauce. I also made Mexican red rice like you get in the restaurant.

Mexican Enchilada Sauce

1/3 cup finely ground New Mexico or California Chili Pepper (about 5 or 6)
(if you can't find those you can use just regular chili powder)
½ t cayenne pepper (optional)
2 t garlic salt
½ t pepper
3 t cumin (that’s what makes this sauce so proud)

¼ cup flour

New Mexico chilis are dried and you can find them in the grocery store. They are red in color. I think they are the same thing as the red dried California chilis, so you can use either one interchangeably. Grind up 5 or 6 in a coffee grinder until you have enough to make 1/3 cup. Mix in the rest of the ingredients except for the flour and water.

Put 1 T olive oil in the bottom of a saucepan. Heat it up over medium heat until its hot. Add the flour and stir it until the oil is soaked up and the flour is in little pebbles. Then add the pepper/spices mix and stir a little more, until it is mixed up and in little pebbles. Now you add the water, a little at a time. Stir constantly so that there are no lumps. The final consistency of the sauce is going to be about as thick as gravy. You will need to add a little more water than that consistency because it is going to cook for a minute or two and thicken to the right consistency.

Making enchiladas is easy. You just choose whatever fillings you want. I made ground beef enchiladas and also onion and cheese enchiladas. I pour a little enchilada sauce on a plate and drop a tortilla on the plate. I roll up the ingredients in the sauce to coat it well. I pour a little enchilada sauce in the bottom of a baking pan to coat the bottom and put the enchiladas in the pan as I make them. When you are done, pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas. I like to cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 350 for 1/2 hour.

Real Mexican Red Rice

1 cup short grain or medium grain rice
2 cups water
1 1/2 t onion powder
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1/8 to 1/4 cup tomato sauce, just enough to turn the water pinkish red

Dump everything together into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes or until rice is soft. Remove from heat and let sit 5 to 10 minutes.

Actually I forgot 1 detail about the rice that I remembered when I was making it:
Put a couple tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of the pan and heat it up. Add the rice and cook it for a little while to 'parboil' it. Some of the kernels will puff up like popcorn. I don't know if it makes a huge difference but I do it that way and it tastes EXACTLY like the rice at Mexican restaurants.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Meat loaf

Last weekend I did the front brakes on my wife's car. It was hunger generating work. I decided that nothing would go better with greasy work than meatloaf. I have a bunch of recipes for meatloaf, but my favorite is my mother's, and I am pretty sure she got it from the back of a lipton onion soup mix box. The one modification I make is the cooking technique. I make mine in a foil loaf pan. In the bottom of the pan I cut some holes so that grease will drain. To cook it I put it on a rack and put it over tinfoil on a cookie sheet.

Mom’s Meat Loaf

1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
2 pounds ground beef
1 ½ cups soft bread crumbs
2 eggs
¾ cup water
1/3 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix everything up and shape into a loaf. I put some ketchup over the top as well. Bake 1 hour until done.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

American Chop Suey

Last weekend I got hungry for a tasty dish that my Grandmother makes from time to time. It is a simple casserole dish with easy to find ingredients. I highly recommend it if you are feeling lazy and want a hearty casserole to warm your bones. You can make this up the night before and put it in the fridge. When you get home the next day you can just throw it in the oven.

American Chop Suey from Vedie's Kitchen

Brown 1 diced onions
Green pepper, diced
1 can mushroom soup
¾ c uncooked rice
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 c chopped celery
1 lb hamburger, browned
1 1/2 cans water
2 T soy sauce
1 can water chestnuts
salt and pepper to taste.

I saute the green pepper, onions and celery a little before adding. Bake in oven at 350 for 1 hour. Recipe by Gladys P.

That is a dangerously tasty casserole.