Friday, November 18, 2016

Around The World In 52 Eats: India



Welcome to Week One of Around the World in 52 Eats! We're so excited about this journey and we can't wait to share our experiences with all of you. 

Our inaugural meal took place right after Caitlin returned from visiting the UK at the end of August. There's a lot of Indian influence in the food there and she was riding that Indian street food high, which is how we came up with this whole idea in the first place. I chose Butter Chicken as my dish and she chose Matar Paneer as hers. We brewed some Chai tea to drink with it and I recommend putting this on in the background as you cook and eat to get the full cultural experience!



The first week we were still figuring out how we wanted to approach the meals, and I chose not to make the sauce from scratch. I wasn't as confident in my skills at that point.

10 weeks in and I don't typically follow a recipe anymore. I like to put my own spin on things and experiment. It's my favourite part about cooking; never the same meal twice! It took a couple of weeks for me to really find that sense of confidence in my abilities and I'm getting better and better with every meal. I love learning which spices compliment each other best, substitutes for certain ingredients. and developing the ability to eyeball it instead of measuring everything out. It makes it interesting for me and I never dreamed I'd love cooking as much as I do. 

Caitlin found her Matar Paneer recipe here and it was absolutely mouthwatering.  You can find the recipe for the butter chicken below. 






Indian Butter Chicken

Recipe by Melissa Suggitt

This recipe doesn't follow the one on the jar completely. I added my own twist on it.

Prep time: 5
Cook time: 15-20
Total time: 20-25
Yield: 4-6 Servings

Ingredients
  • 1 jar Pataks Butter Chicken Sauce
  • 2 medium size, cubed Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1 medium, chopped Onion (yellow)
  • 1 clove, finely chopped Garlic
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • To taste Salt
  • 1 cup Rice
  • 2 pieces Naan Bread

Instructions

1. Pour the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and brown the chicken for approx. 3 minutes. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. 

2. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sautée for 2-3 minutes. You can use 1 tbs of minced garlic if you'd prefer.

3. Pour the jar of butter chicken sauce into the pan and let simmer on low heat for 10 - 15 minutes.

4. While the chicken is cooking, place the naan bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven for about 2-3 minutes.

5. Add salt to taste. We personally leave it out.

6. Serve over rice. (We have a small 4-cup rice cooker and it is magic.)



I didn't follow the instructions on the jar of sauce completely. I looked up other butter chicken recipes and pulled from those to get the final product. The addition of the garlic and onions added some extra layers that brought the dish to a whole new level.

Also, if you are like me and don't own a garlic press, chopping the garlic by hand is a pain in the ass. There's just something extra about using fresh garlic as opposed to minced garlic in a jar. It took me weeks to realize we owned a mini food processor and I'd been wasting so much time... live and learn!

Let me know in the comments if you decide to give either of these a try. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Hello?

Are you there blog? It's me, Melissa.

I haven't forgotten about you, I just had nothing to say. Or rather, I didn't have the motivation or desire to say anything...

This year was a challenge, obviously, and I was struggling for a very long time. I lost the will to do a lot of things, writing being at the top of that list.

I couldn't have imagined something so simple, so small, could help me find a purpose. Who knew all it would take would be cooking?  It ignited a passion in me that I didn't even know existed, probably because I've avoided doing it for the majority of my adult life.

It's not that I couldn't cook, it's that I chose not to. Every once in awhile I would hit the kitchen in a flurry and whip up something amazing. However, more often than not, I would eat cereal for dinner or make a grilled cheese and call it a night. My roommate, Caitlin and I, have lived together for over a year and a half. Never eating the same meals, never eating our meals together, and never really sharing groceries.

One night a few months ago, we made plans to have dinner together to change that. The deal was we would each make a dish to share; it was really just an excuse to hang out. The idea snowballed when we began to discuss a theme for the evening (we love a good theme), and we decided on "World Cuisine Night". Caitlin had just returned from the UK where a lot of the menus had Indian influences so we decided we would make Indian cuisine. Cooking the meal turned into a complete cultural experience when we decided to listen to classic Indian music as we cooked and ate. We had so much fun with it, that we started talking about making it a weekly ritual.



And so Around The World in 52 Eats was born. 52 weeks where we would venture outside of our comfort zone. Each week we would swap who made the entree, we would challenge ourselves to make dishes we'd never tried before, and we would try to be as authentic as possible.

We spent that first evening on the couch writing out 51 countries as they popped into our heads on small pieces of paper, or in some cases splitting countries into regions. We put them in an empty box, and now, at the end of every 52 Eats meal, we pick out the next country.

Our family and friends eagerly await our posts and we've had more than one request to document our culinary escapades (looking at you Christopher). So here we are. I can't wait to share this experience with all of you! The first post will be out later this week.

Also, we started a Pinterest board where we save the recipes that inspired us (I don't typically follow recipes), or in Caitlin's case, the ones that she followed closely. Follow along!




In the end, it's more than just cooking for me now. It goes beyond hanging out with my roommate. It's teaching me to try new things, to be brave, and to have confidence in myself. It's the one thing that makes sense to me right now, and I've been holding onto it as tightly as I can. Baby steps, I guess.

So embark on this journey with us and know that our door is always open if you want to join us for dinner.