Saturday, December 29, 2018

New Year's Curried Hoppin' John - Vegan Black Eyed Pea Curry


They saying eating black eyed peas on New Year's Day will ensure your year is a prosperous one.  So try eating this very flavorful and spicy Curried Hoppin' John that is full of black eyed peas to make your year extra lucky.

So what good luck foods do I always have on my New Year's table?  I have black eyed peas for prosperity, lentils for gold, collards greens for money.. hmmmm... do you see a theme here?  I also make sure we eat pork and fish since both represent abundance and moving forward.

My kids wait every year to see how I will incorporate our favorite "good luck" foods for the New Year.  I must admit that I try to come up with a new way of serving it every year and now it's starting to get a little hard to come up with a new recipe because I have tried so many different variations.  I decided to really bump up the veggies in this curried hoppin' john by adding celery and bell pepper to the dish and make it vegan.  It came out so well that the kids ate the dish twice on New Year's day and again the next day.  We all enjoyed it that much!

My silly superstitions may make you laugh, but this curried hoppin' john is seriously delicious.  So, even if you don't believe in "lucky foods"... make this curry and rub your belly with happiness. 

Curried Hoppin' John - Vegan Black Eyed Pea Curry
Recipe by Ramona from Kitchen Simmer

2 cans of black-eyed peas (rinsed well)
1 medium onion chopped
2 stalks celery sliced
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 Tbs garlic grated
1 heaping Tbs grated fresh ginger
2 serrano/jalapeno chilies sliced
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp mustard seed
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 piece of cinnamon stick 
1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp of red chili flakes (or to taste) 1/2 tsp of turmeric 10-15 curry leave Salt (to taste) 1 can (15oz) coconut milk 1/2 cup of water
Heat pan with 2 Tbs canola oil on medium heat.  Add onions, celery, curry leaves, cinnamon stick, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds with a little salt and cook for 5 minutes.  Then add the ginger and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Next add the chopped green peppers, jalapeno peppers (seeded if you desire for less spice),  tomatoes, red chili flakes, turmeric, dried thyme and saute for 3-5 minutes.  Season with some salt for flavor.

Then add the rinsed and drained black eyed peas and saute for a minute.  Finally a can of coconut milk and 1/2 cup of water (I used the water to rinse out the can of coconut milk). Stir well and taste for salt and seasoning.  Adjust salt and spice as desired.  Cook for 12-15 minutes.   Serve hot with rice or Indian flat breads.  Enjoy.

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Christmas Recipes 2018


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!!
May your day be full of Feasting, Fun and loads of Fa la la la la, la la la!

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Sausage and Bread Stuffing


 I am a total stuffing fanatic.  Almost half my plate is reserved for stuffing if it's present at the Thanksgiving or Christmas table.  My favorite stuffing in this world is mother's version!  She came up with this recipe over 25 years ago and my family loves it.  It's a pretty easy stuffing to make and it's even tasty cold. Yes... I do it... I can eat a forkful as I walk by the fridge the next day.  Now this is for a very large casserole size stuffing... so you can make it as for a large crowd or save it for lots of tasty leftovers.   I use this stuffing up in Meatloaf in my Thanksgiving Burgers .

2 pounds dried bread cubes (follow instructions below)
1lb hot Italian sausage
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced onion
2-3 Tbs of fresh parsley minced
2-3 Tbs of fresh rosemary
2-3 Tbs of fresh thyme
2-3 Tbs of fresh sage
1-2 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
1 Tbs poultry seasoning
black pepper to taste
1-2 tsp granulated garlic
1 can condensed mushroom soup
2-4 cups chicken stock or as needed
6-7 boiled eggs chopped

How to dry bread cubes at home: 
Cut bread into small cubes. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in a 200 degree oven for 15 minutes. Check and add 10 more minutes if needed (do additional 5-10 minutes as needed).  Note:  All bread moisture is different. Day old bread works best.  You will have to keep an eye on bread to make sure it only lightly browns and does not burn. Once all bread is dried, turn oven off and leave bread in oven overnight to cool and dry further.  Always have your bread dried and prepared 1-2 days prior to making stuffing.  You can always substitute store bought dried bread made for stuffing if desired.

Brown sausage well.  note: I used good quality sausage that only produced 2 tablespoons of oil.  Drain excess oil if needed before proceeding. Then add onion and celery and saute with sausage.

Next add granulated garlic, black pepper, red chili flakes and poultry seasoning.  Finally add minced fresh herbs.

Next add can of condensed mushroom soup and 1 cup of chicken both. Add the dried bread and toss.  Moisten stuffing with additional stock a ladle at at time as needed for desired texture.  Finally add the chopped boiled egg and toss.

 Place in a greased casserole dish and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serve hot.  Enjoy.

Note:  I crushed some butter crackers on top for a crispy crust. This is optional.

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Chicken and Broccoli Cheese Soup


It's Christmas time here and "Baby, It's Cold Outside".  So if you have no place to go, make some soup and "Let it Snow".   Yes, I have been listening to too many Christmas songs while I cook in the kitchen. 

Soup is one of my favorite parts of winter.  Well to tell you the truth, I can eat a big bowl of soup even in the middle of a scorching hot summer.  But when it's cold and miserable outside... Soup Rules!

I like to buy a big bag of broccoli florets from Costco almost every week.  Broccoli doesn't last too long in the fridge so I'm always finding ways to use it up.  This soup was a winning idea because I used one pound of broccoli and the kids couldn't tell and asked for second helpings. 

I also decided to poach some chicken breast to start the process.  Poaching the chicken breast first really gives a nice texture to the chicken.  It also gave me some great stock to combine with box stock.  I love being able to stretch a buck. 

The final touches are sliced American cheese and some milk to make this soup nice and creamy.  Yes, I said sliced American cheese.  Hey, there are places for fancy cheese, but if you want a easy and quick melting cheese... it's the best. 

So, if you are experiencing some chill in the air... grab a bowl and ladle up some soup today.  You will be warm from the inside out in no time.


2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breast poached (see instructions below how to poach)
1 lb broccoli florets (divided)
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 red and yellow sweet peppers (can substitute 1 small red bell pepper chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
salt and black pepper to taste
red chili powder or red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
4 cups strained poaching liquid (substitute chicken stock if you don't have 4 cups remaining)
4 cups chicken stock
7-8 slices American cheese
11/2 cups milk or half and half

Directions with Step by Step Photos: 

Step 1: Poach chicken breast.  To poach place chicken breast with water (1 inch above chicken),  some sliced onion, salt and black pepper.  Bring water to a boil then lower to medium heat and simmer until chicken is fully cooked through and tender.  Remove chicken and cut into large chunks/cubes when cool enough to handle.  Strain poaching liquid for soup. 

Step 2:  Chop onion, peppers and 1 cup of the broccoli and set aside.  

Step 3:  In a large soup pot place the remaining broccoli with the strained poaching liquid and chicken stock.  Season with thyme, poultry seasoning, red chili powder, black pepper and garlic powder.   

Step 4: When broccoli is tender puree until creamy.

Step 5: Then add the chopped broccoli, onion and peppers into the creamed broccoli soup.  

Step 6:Simmer Until broccoli, onion and peppers become tender.   Then add the cubed chicken, sliced American cheese. 

 Step 7: Finally add 11/2 cup milk and simmer on low for 2-3 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.  Serve hot.  Enjoy.

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Green Bean Casserole with Fried Onions

There are a few dishes that are almost always on the Thanksgiving table.  My favorite is STUFFING!  Then there are dishes that I can totally do without like the dreaded green bean casserole.   I love green beans, but I do not like the mushy green bean casserole made with canned mushroom soup.  There is really no flavor and I find it boring and bland.
Boring and bland are two words that should not be apart of the Thanksgiving menu.  So I set out to make my own version of a green bean casserole from scratch.  I even attempted the fried onions- the only part of the dish that anyone ever likes from the traditional recipe.    My fried onion version only cost pennies to make compared to the expensive prepared fried onions that most people use. 

I also spiced my casserole up with flavors I love like cumin seeds and chilies.  This green bean casserole is definitely not boring or bland.  I really knew I had a hit on my hands when my son who claims to "hate" green beans ask for a portion of it and raved on how good it tasted.  So now that I know it's good,  it needs to be on the table a lot more often than just Thanksgiving.

Green Bean Casserole with Fried Onions

by Curry and Comfort
Green Bean Casserole
  • 1lb fresh green beans
  • 1lb sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1-2 chilies (jalapenos, serrano or fresno) sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4-5 Tbs canola oil as needed
  • 2 Tbs flour (see tip in instructions)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • red chili flakes to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp granulated garlic (divided)
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 up to 2 cups milk or half and half (as needed)
  • 1/2 cup Monterrey jack or mozzarella cheese
Fried Onions:
  • 1 large onion sliced very thin (mandolin slicer recommended)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • salt to season flour
  • paprika to season flour
  • Oil to deep fry onions
For Casserole
1. Clean beans then blanch in hot water until tender crisp, drain and set aside.
2. Heat 2 Tbs canola oil in large saute pan and add chopped onions and chilies. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
3. Next add cumin seeds, a little salt to season and turmeric powder. Saute for another minute.
4. Add blanched beans to pan and saute with 1/4 tsp garlic powder and red chili flakes for 2 minutes .
5. Place cooked beans into casserole dish. Set aside until later.
6. In same pan, add 2-3 Tbs more canola oil. Add clean and dry sliced mushrooms. Saute for several minutes until mushroom get deep brown.
7. Then add salt, black pepper, red chili flakes, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and thyme. Saute for 2 more minutes.
8. Add flour to pan and cook with beans. Once flour has cooked for a minute, add soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well.
9. Then add milk and allow sauce to thicken. If sauce is too thick, add more milk as needed. Taste for seasoning.
10. Top green beans in casserole dish with mushroom and sauce. Then top with shredded cheese and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or cheese is bubbly.
For Fried Onions:
1. Slice onions and place on a paper towel in a single layer to dry our for 30 minutes.
2. Prepare seasoned flour and dredge onions in flour. Shake off excess flour and fry in hot oil (360 degrees) until golden brown. Drain on paper towel or newspaper. Season with a little more salt once onions are fried.
TIP: Use the leftover seasoned flour in your green bean casserole.
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Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.