Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winner winner (crockpot) chicken dinner

Slow cooker chicken curry
Good golly, The Ninj won a Bloggie!

I still can't believe it. It really was enough of an honor to be nominated and then to be named one of the five finalists -- but to win?

So. Freakin'. Cool. 

Thanks to everyone who nominated me or took part in the voting process. I'm happy to hear that y'all agree that this blog is the best-kept secret -- now maybe some others will discover it, too.

And you had better believe that I partied just like the Oscar winners -- that is, if the Oscar winners played with their dogs and went to bed at 11pm. (Oh yeah, it's a wicked glamorous life, being The Ninj.)

But enough about my major award ... what's for dinner?

This dish is officially called a curried chicken stew but I don't like the word stew. Sounds too gloppy and boring -- not to mention that it sounds like you're holding your nose when you say it. Steeeeeeeeeeeeew. See? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ginger fruit compote: a recipe

Ginger fruit compote
Breakfast is my biggest challenge.

Well, not eating it, of course, but making it, and keeping it interesting and not repetitive.

(When I worked full-time, I ate oatmeal every single morning for nearly a year because I was always running late and could throw a packet in my briefcase to make at work. I really don't recommend this unless your goal is specifically to hate oatmeal for years afterward.)

My criteria for good breakfast recipes are quick, portable and non-frying-pan-dirtying. Apparently this is a pretty tall order.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited about this dried fruit compote when I realized how versatile it could be.

First, it's easy to prepare: just stew up any combination of your favorite dried fruits with some ginger beer (yes, ginger beer -- fun!) and -- voila -- you're done.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: The Ninjino

It has nothing to do with food, cooking, gardening or reading, but this week The Ninjette got a cute little brother ... which I guess makes him The Ninjino. Look for his mug in many future posts!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Onion bisque: a recipe

Onion bisque
Despite the lack of snow here in Vermont, it's cold enough to still qualify as soup season

And we have a real winner here.

Onion bisque: I think the best way to describe it would be that it's like fancy-shmancy pureed french onion soup.

Clearly "onion bisque" was a classier name choice.

This recipe comes from Bon Appetit. The magazine runs a column in each issue in which readers write in, seeking their favorite restaurant recipes, in order to try to re-create them at home. I love this feature because I get not only some great recipes but also some excellent ideas for where to eat when I travel.

The onion bisque recipe is one that Chef Justin Devillier makes at La Petite Grocery in New Orleans. (Pfft, like there is any bad place to eat in NOLA, really).

Friday, February 10, 2012

Vietnamese slow cooker chicken with bok choy

Vietnamese slow cooker chicken with bok choy: this easy weeknight dinner is prepped in 5 minutes and has a sweet, ginger-soy flavor.

Gingery Vietnamese slow cooker chicken with bok choy

Even though I can see acres of grass and almost no snow, it's still winter here in Vermont. Which also means that it's still slow cooker season.

I won't wax poetic about the advantages of a slow cooker meal, as you've heard them all before. (Although I do pat myself on the back for making a convert out of reader Cristina who finally got her very own slow cooker for xmas this year based on my nagging and is now hooked!)

So what could possibly make this slow cooker recipe that much more wicked than all others I have tried? Three things:
  1. It has essentially three ingredients: chicken, bok choy and sauce.
  2. Because it has so few ingredients, it is moronically easy and fast.
  3. The flavor is HEAVENLY! (Not to mention the aroma that will fill the house -- ay yi yi!)
I also love how I found this recipe -- yep, Pinterest. It's been catching on like a house-a-fire within the past month or two, and so many more participants means so many more great recipes to check out (among other things, like decorating tips, new light fixtures, cool DIY projects ... it's endless).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2012 Bloggies: The Ninj is a Finalist! Go Vote!

I can't believe it but I've been selected as one of the five finalists for a 2012 Weblog Award (a Bloggie!) in the "Best-Kept Secret" category! I am so excited and so honored. 

I hope you'll consider voting for me -- and suggesting that all your friends do the same. Go ahead, share it on Facebook and Twitter. I'll wait.

Follow this link or click on the the Bloggies badge in the right column of the page.

Have you been reading this blog, making the recipes, sharing in the Detox January love or just enjoying the witticisms? If so, please show The Ninj some love!



Guinness ginger cake: a recipe

Guinness ginger cake
Beer in cake -- how can you go wrong?

I have to admit that I do not like Guinness (now I will wait for the wailing and gnashing of teeth to stop) ... as a standalone drink, that is.

I appreciate a good beer but not ones that are dark and heavy, like a stout. Or yeasty and wheaty like a Hefeweizen. (Clearly I'm choosy about my beer.)

While not my favorite drinking beer, Guinness is lovely for cooking -- rich and dark, very flavorful. I mean, just take a look at that cake! (Or bread, if you plan to eat it for breakfast as we did.)

Cakes/breads like this one, though, are the reason why I end up with a couple of random cans of Guinness in my refrigerator at various times throughout the year. You'd think that would mean that I would always have one on hand for cooking, but mysteriously someone winds up drinking them every time, leaving me to go buy yet another 4-pack when I only need one cup of the stuff.

Although, if you are a Guinness fan, that leaves you with about half a can to enjoy while you bake!

But back to the cake.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Baked sausage and grits casserole: a recipe

Baked sausage and grits casserole
Now that Detox January is over for another year, it's clearly time to re-embrace some old favorites.

Welcome back, sausage. Oh, how we have missed you.

Regular readers will know that I extra-love any recipe that is yummy but also quick and easy to prepare -- and that has sausage or bacon in it, but that's just me.

Behold, the baked sausage and grits casserole.

I got this recipe from my friend Kristen, who got it from her friend Eric. And it appears that each of us makes it slightly differently.

Kristen uses andouille turkey sausage and Eric uses half sausage and half shrimp, which I bet makes a killer faux shrimp-and-grits. I chose to go with hot Italian sausage because it was local, fresh and plentiful this week at the butcher. Also, if you cook the casserole for the full time, it turns out like the consistency of a quiche or breakfast casserole (see photo above); if you want more of that traditional loose grits texture, just cook it a little less.

Now isn't that the hallmark of a good recipe? Modify the beejesus out of it and it still holds together as someone's favorite.