Work Vs. Play- Buffalo Chicken Samosas

I’ve been on a blog-acation recently- With a new job, or role as we call jobs at WDW, I had to set some of my hobbies on the back burner until I came a little more comfortable at work. Not to say I haven’t been cooking and definitely not to say I haven’t missed working on blog stuff, I just could not juggle it all.  Being a chef at an African/Indian restaurant has certainly influenced the ingredients that are stocked in our refrigerator at home, I mean, now I make my own bread with a bread machine from www.Village-Bakery.com and much more. Sir Wes seems to be just fine with that, especially when I made my first samosa dough filled with buffalo chicken.

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I am clearly not the best at forming samosas, but I started to get the hang of it towards the end. And then I saw how they all looked like cattle heads, I had to laugh at myself. Good part is they ate just as well as a perfectly formed samosa!

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They are actually pretty simple to make, and I think the kids would love to get their hands dirty with these.   I’ll even go as far as saying they are well balanced to on the diet spectrum!

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Pastry

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup water, at room temperature

1 pound chicken thigh/breast meat, cooked and cooled

Favorite buffalo sauce

To make the pastry:

Combine the flour, salt, cumin, and oil, in a medium bowl. Mix until the oil is evenly distributed. Mix in the water, and knead for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it is smooth and has the consistency of bread dough. Set aside while you prepare the filling.

Season the cooked chicken with the buffalo sauce to taste preference. Make sure it is enough to wet and coat the chicken as some of it will bake away.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Divide the dough into 4 sections and form each into a smooth ball. Using your hands, press each ball into a flat disk. Dust a clean working surface with flour so the dough doesn’t stick, and using a lightly-floured rolling pin, roll a disk into a thin circle, thick as a tortilla and cut the circle in half. Take one of the half circles and make a cone shape starting at the center of the cut side to make the point of the cone and then wet the edges with a little water to bond the overlapping the edges together. Put 1-2 oz of filling into the cone, moisten the top of the inside edges and close the cone, pressing the edges to seal it. Brush with olive oil on each side of the samosa and then place it on a baking sheet. Repeat the process to make about 12 samosas. Sprinkle with sea salt and place the samosas in the oven, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the samosas are nicely browned. Serve with the blue cheese dressing.

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I am happy to get back to the blog finally, while work was and always will be my priority, I think I am settling in to the new routine! Will see how the new cuisine I am working with comes into play at home!

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Ginger and Fruit Muesli

Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner introduced Muesli around 1900 for patients in his hospital, which required a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables.  He had been served a similar dish when taking a long hike thru the Swiss Alps.   A healthy breakfast that sticks with you- yes please!

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I added ginger to get an extra layer of flavor, not to mention add nutritional values that ginger offers- digestive, sinus and more.  I am especially fond of a little kick start in my breakfast, like it gets the blood flowing and energy zipping!

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Ginger and Fruit Muesli

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 tablespoon ginger
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 cups raw oats- not instant
  • 1 apple, diced into ¼ inch cubes
  • 1 red pear, diced into ¼ inch cubes
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons sliced cranberries

Directions

In a small mixing bowl, mix together brown sugar, honey, orange juice, ginger and salt together.  Add in the milk and yogurt and mix well.  In a separate large mixing bowl combine the remaining 6 ingredients, and stir in the yogurt mixture.  Cover and allow to sit 4 hours or overnight.  Stir well before serving.  Garnish with fresh mint or berries.

Serves 6 guests.

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This is a healthy, make ahead, easy dish to throw together for quick, on the go morning meals that are so easy to skip.   I made a batch and we had a few breakfasts with it while the rest went into Tupperware.  Slowly the Tupperware got emptied by me sneaking a spoonful here and there when those hunger pains struck.  Both filling and satisfying!

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Make your own Muesli by changing the fruit, or even adding different juices, it is hard to mess up Muesli as longs as you keep the oats to “liquid” in proportion.   Play with flavors and create your own!

Here We Go! Here We Go! Steeler’s Peach Salsa

Sir Wes is lighting up the grill this weekend to get his wings on.  As you must know it is the long awaited NFL Kick-Off Weekend.  With coals already burning, I thought I would cut line and grill some peaches before the wings hit the grill for a quick salsa.

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I do enjoy watching football, but tend to get distracted easily.  I sometimes find that  can watch all four quarters and not be able to tell you what happened.  Not all games, but some…

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Steeler’s Grilled Peach Salsa

  • 1 1/4 pounds ripe peaches, (3-4 medium), pitted and sliced in wedges
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons red bell pepper
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Prepare grill, charcoal or gas, to medium heat. Brush the peaches sections lightly with oil.  Place the peaches directly on the grill and cook until charred and softened, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and cool in refrigerator.  Meanwhile mix the onions, peppers, lime juice, cilantro and a touch of salt.  When cooled, chop the peaches into 1/4-inch pieces and add to the mixture, tossing delicately.

This salsa works will with chips as well as grilled fish, chicken, pork and anything else that might be on your game day table!

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About half way thru the football season I will start to focus more about what is on the table then what is on the TV.   By 3/4 thru the season the only thing that keeps me tuning in is the Steelers and my fantasy teams.  I am a tough competitor (I like to think anyway) in 2 Pigskinner Pick ‘Em Leagues, the owner of one fantasy football team, and assistant coach to another.  By this late into the season I have started planning the Superbowl Menu and tuning into Real Housewives in lieu of the 8:00 game.

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That’s pretty much my football season, but for this weekend I am all in!

By the way- did you notice how shiny and pretty the Notre Dame Gold helmets are?  Here we go! Here we go!!

Late Summer Peach and Mint Bulgur Salad

We still have peaches filling the produce section of our grocery store with juicy, sweet smelling nectar.  I found this summer that I am definitely a peach person.  They just translate so well with other foods.  I love them with desserts and savory dishes, herbs, wines, fish, pork, chicken, vegetables, grilled, poached, raw, sautéed, flambéed.   It’s hard for a peach not to make anything better.

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Quick and easy, fresh and tasty.  All words that matter when we think about school kicking back in.   With peaches still hanging on to the season, I saw this salad and knew it would make a perfect cookout side, a last day of summer picnic lunch, or even an on the go salad.

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Thanks to Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced fresh peaches
  • ½ cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup small fresh mint leaves

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Preparation

In a small sauce pot bring 2 cups water and bulgur to a boil. Place cover on the pot, reduce heat to medium, and cook about 10-12 minutes until tender.

While bulgur is cooking combine vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Drain the bulgur from the sauce pot and give a quick rinse of cold water.  Add warm bulgur to the vinegar and oil mix and toss.  Allow to cool to room temperature and add the peaches and mint to the salad.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 4-6

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Hold on tight to these last moments of summer; enjoy the longer days, the warm evening sunsets, and the family time.  Also- hold on to the peaches, as the perfect fruit will be gone soon.

Green Tomato and Fig Cakes- Taking Chances In The Kitchen

I saw these a few weeks ago and they have not left my head, my curiosity was peaked, I had to know.  The flavor combination in a dessert  was too strange to let go, but after thinking about it I realized green tomatoes don’t have a ton of flavor and would likely pick up the flavor you pair with it.  I was right.

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Not a lot of tomato flavor, but still super tasty, they had a comparable flavor to carrot cake, but less sweet, without as much sugar.  The petite cakes are moist even a few days later.  Overall I give them an A (skipping the plus as I really wanted to taste the tomato more) but certainly good enough to eat for breakfast, which is of course the international sign of good desserts.

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Modified from Cooking Light 2013

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces green tomato, cored and quartered 
  • 7.6 ounces cake flour, sifted (2 cups) 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 cup canola oil 
  • 2  large eggs
  • 4 ounces dried figs
  • 6 ounces orange juice 
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts 
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  •  Dash of salt 
  •  Sliced figs garnishes

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Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Place tomato in a blender; blend until smooth.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Place sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until blended. Stir in tomato puree and orange rind. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.

In a small sauce pan add the orange juice and dried figs.  Bring to a simmer and cover for 5 minutes.  Remove from the stove and take out the figs of the juice.  Allow to cool to room temperature before chopping into small ¼ inch pieces.  Stir in chopped figs and walnuts into the batter.

Place 18 muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Spoon the batter into cups. Bake at 350° for 17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Place cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt; beat until smooth. Spread frosting over the top of each cake. Garnish with sliced figs, if desired.

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I cut the cream cheese icing in half, as I wanted to lighten them up more.  Feel free to double the icing ingredients if your looking for a heavy iced cupcake.

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When you see something that you can’t let go, you just have to go for it!  It might not be exactly as you hoped, but we all know not everything turns out the way you hope.

Green Tomato with dessert? I am a fan!