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Venison Ravioli, Venison Biryani, Venison Pizza, Venison Burgers: We’re out of chicken, and yes my husband likes to go hunting.

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It is a gorgeous temperate summer day in Chicago. There no need for A.C., which is only fair since we have to endure such a long miserable winter.  After doing my less favorite housework (sweep the floors, make the bed, start the laundry), I looked at the weeks menu I had jotted on the fridge whiteboard I moved to my favorite housework (preparing dinner). I went to get chicken out of the fridge to defrost for the chicken curry and Trader Joe’s biryani and discovered—we were out of chicken.  The American house without chicken! But, we had a deep freezer full of two deers worth of venison.  So, I had an idea: what if I made venison biryani like mutton biryani but way better?

Below is the recipe I followed, with a few short cuts: I used Trader Joe’s Biryani for the rice & garam masala from the spice house rather than homemade.  I used my favorite appliance, the  Cuisinart mini-prep plus, to finely chop all of fresh herbs, garlic, and ginger and it worked wonders. I used the pressure cooker. In India a pressure cooker was a necessity. Don’t be afraid of the whistles!

Total Time: 1 hours
Preparation Time: 30 minutes (excludes marination time)
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:
  • Marinade
    • 2 lbs Goat meat cut into pieces
    • ¾ – 1 cup yogurt
    • 2 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
    • 2 tsp Chili Powder
    • 14 small Chilies split into two (adjust to your taste)
    • 1 cup chopped Mint Leaves
    • 1 cup chopped Cilantro
    • Salt to Taste (sufficient for the meat)
    • Garam Masala Powder
  • 1 Large Onion sliced
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 cup Oil (can use half oil and half ghee)
  • ½ tsp of saffron strands (I used tummeric because I didn’t have saffron on hand)
  • ½ cup milk
  • Trader Joe’s vegetable biryani

Method:

  • Clean and cut the goat meat.
  • Mix all the ingredients of the marinade and marinate for at least 2 hour , preferably overnight in the fridge.
  • Cook the meat with ½ the oil in a pressure cooker. Don’t add any water when cooking. In my cooker it takes 6-7 whistles and 5 minutes on low flame to cook. Let it cool.  Once the pressure in the cooker goes away, open it and cook it until all the water evaporates. OR
  • Can cook the meat on the stove top until tender. This will take about an hour. I prefer the pressure cooker to avoid the cooking odor by cooking on stove top.
  • Squeeze the lime juice on the meat and mix well.
  • In a pan, heat oil and fry the onions until light golden brown.
  • Soak saffron in hot milk.
  • In a big pot bring water to a boil, add all the spices required for boiling rice and mix well.
  • Add rice and continue to cook until the rice is almost done. It takes about 7-8 minutes on my stove. Drain the rice and keep aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Now its time to arrange rice and meat in layers. Grease large baking tray with oil, layer half the rice at the bottom. Sprinkle some oil, fried onions and ½ the saffron milk. Layer the rice with meat followed by a layer of remaining rice. We should have 2 layers of rice and one layer of meat. Top it off the remaining oil, fried onions and saffron milk. Cover the tray with aluminum foil.
  • Bake the biryani for 10 minutes on 400 degrees F and  then for 20 minutes on 350 degrees F.  The total bake time is 30 minutes, 10 minutes on 400F and 20 minutes on 350 F.
  • Mix the rice and serve it hot with riata

 

 

This rescipe was adapted from: http://www.myspicykitchen.net/2008/08/07/hyderabadi-mutton-biryani/

I had to take a few shortcuts because yesterday I made ravioli and tortellini completely from scratch. It took me about four hours, and I wasn’t about to repeat that today (although it did turn out fabulous). I used my mom’s pasta maker to roll out the dough even and thin. I filled the tortellini with Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, and shredded spinach, and covered it in a red venison sausage sauce. I filled the ravioli with Ricotta, Parmesan, and sausage, and tossed in a brown butter garlic and herb sauce. F.Y.I., the main difference between ravioli and tortellini is the way the pasta is folded over the stuffing. See below links to rescipes that I referenced.

For the tortellini, the brown butter herb sauce, and the fresh egg pasta dough.

http://thebarefootkitchenwitch.typepad.com/the_barefoot_kitchen_witc/2008/01/homemade-tortel.html

http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/sweet-potato-ravioli-with-pecans-and-herb-brown-butter-sauce/

http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/recipes/pasta-recipes/a-basic-recipe-for-fresh-egg-pasta-dough

So, how does Venison taste multiple days in a row? Actually, not that bad with a little love and creativity. I am glad that one of my husband’s “sports” produces organic meat!

 

How I became a Puppy-Momma: Adventures in housewifery.

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Just as I was finishing getting dinner ready, which by the way was fabulous gourmet grilled venison burgers topped with melted brie, caramelized onions, avocado, and sweet barbeque sauce, with sweet potato fries and asparagus as sides.  D.M.K. Burger eat your heart out. They tasted as good as they sound. I was getting out the plates, napkins, and burger toppings to bring to the roof when I noticed Chaco was prancing around the living room making wet footprints of the hardwoods. “Why are your feet wet?” I asked. I turned the corner, and there it was the thousandth pee puddle I have witnessed in the last two weeks, but this mess could not be cleaned with a simple wipe of a paper towel followed up by “Natures Miracle” cleaning agent to get ride of the smell of urine. No, this meant that I was not doing much tonight accept mopping our entire living room with “Natures Miracle.”

How did I get myself in this situation less than a month into marriage? Well, Joe loves dogs. Last  year he wanted to get one as soon as he moved into the condo, but I convinced him he was too busy and it was not a good time. This was very true, plus I still needed to work Joe up to big dog. See Joe grew up with a little Havanese dog named Snuggles–a four pound white fluffy bundle of love. I grew up with a Rhodesian Ridge-back mix named Rusty–a hundred pound regal testament of devotion.  I used to joke that one day Joe and I would be walking down the street and I would be walking a dog bigger than me and he would have a little toy dog.

Then a week before we were married I was talking to my brother’s wife about her dog and I turned to Joe and said, “how long do you think it will be until we get a dog?” “Two months,” he said. I was fine with that.  But it turns out that I only lasted one week of being a housewife without a constant companion. I was looking to adopt the perfect dog: 1-2 years old, house-trained, non-shedding, cute boy under 50lb. I could have been looking for a long time. But, Joe came to me on his own and said, “I’m okay with a bigger dog, then I could take him on a run with me.” Another time he said, ” We have to get a puppy so we can train him exactly the way we want.”  I also had my qualifications, and top of the list was adopting a dog from a shelter. I’m not in to puppy-mills or overpaying breeders. So we were set up for compromise. We would get a bigger breed puppy from a shelter…The first time we went to PAWS which is the most posh shelter you can imagine, we just didn’t see the dog for us. I was looking on pet-finder and other places. Then two days later, I checked the PAWS website because I heard that they add new dogs on their site everyday, and on that day there were too black lab puppies. They were so cute. I told Joe we just had to go see them. “Labs are huge,” Joe said. We’re not getting a lab. “I know,” I said, “just for fun let’s go see them.” “But, as I have been researching labs are some of the best with people of all ages.” When we saw the two puppies they were so cute. At first Joe wanted the smaller one because we were trying to not end up with a 100lb dog, but the more we played with them the more clear it became that the little one was the hyper one and the bigger one was the chill one. I wasn’t quite ready to make this decision so fast. I said, “I think a calm personality is more important than size.” We started focusing on the bigger one, then Joe said, “So, do you want him? Should we get him?” “Let’s go to lunch and come back,” I said. “The puppy will be gone by then,” Joe urged me to decide. “Ok, let’s do it, let’s get him,” I agreed.

And just like that we went from being a newly-weds to being a small family with our .5 child. Poddy-training a puppy is not easy and waking up early to take him out is not always my favorite, but having little creature to love, and project to share (training him), and most of all seeing him nap on Joe’s chest is worth it.

My Life as a Lincoln Park Housewife: Yeastless Pizza Crust

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I am hoping that I will not be a housewife for long…I know I know I am lucky to be here in this beautiful condo and for my biggest daily responsibilities to be talking the dog out, water the flowers, cooking dinner and cleaning the house. But, I just was not made for this life. I like challenges and, I like to really be active in the community. As I write, the dog snores and I think I better get the house to cleaner state before Joe gets home. The husband regularly has early morning cases out at a hospital and then works from home in the afternoon. I am not bothered by a little mess…it stresses him out. So for both of our happiness sakes it is better for me to at least do the minimal cleaning before he gets home. Having the kitchen counter clean makes all the difference. Shoot, I also need to unload the dishwasher and switch the laundry. I know, I know I am spoiled. I have a washer and drying in our unit, a dishwasher, and central air. It occurred to me the other day that in my adult life I have never had half of these luxuries. I told Joe that I currently have the largest, nicest bathroom with the most space for my things than I have ever had in my life.  Joe responded, “You’re Welcome.”

So, my favorite part about being a housewife is cooking so much. Tonight I am making a sausage margarita pizza on yeast-less thin crust. My friend Abby and I discovered this recipe because we didn’t have much money to go grocery shopping or out to dinner and we really wanted pizza. It turns out yeast isn’t good for you anyway…and this is a nice thin crust and you probably have the ingredients already. Unfortunately my tomato plants died while I was on my honeymoon, but the basil survived. Thankfully I got some beautiful tomatoes from the farmers market.

Yeast-less Thin Crust Pizza

2 1/2 c. flour
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder (if using baking soda use half and omit salt)
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. oil
3/4 to 1 c. water

Mix dry ingredients. add 3/4 cup water and oil. Stir until it forms a ball. If dough is stiff, add more water.

The dough will be soft. Knead on a floured surface for 3-4 minutes and then roll out to fit the size of your pizza pan.

Bake at 400°F for 5-10 minutes

Add toppings. For Margarita Pizza brush with an olive oil & minced garlic mixture and top with fresh mozerrella, fresh basil leaves, slices of  tomato and  a few slices of chicken sausage.

Bake at 400F for 15 more minutes.

Joe liked this so much that he ate the first half before class on Tuesday and the second half after class on Tuesday. I had one piece. He is afraid I am trying to make him fat.