Category Archives: Year of the Kitchen

Food and Your Time - A Survey

I have mentioned briefly a few times that 2012 is The Year of the Kitchen here in First Comes Health world.  To me it is positively ESSENTIAL to have a good relationship with food if you are in pursuit of good health and wellness.  I assert that it is extremely difficult if not impossible to be healthy without being connected with how you eat, what you eat, how your food is prepared, and what it does for you.  Can’t be done.  Your connection with good food determines your relative health.
Since the beginning of the year I have shared some recipes with you and that’s a good start, but it occurred to me that if I want to help you forge a better relationship with food and your kitchen, I have to know where you stand, dear readers!  It would mean little to you if I posted all year about things that don’t matter one lick to you and are too elementary or too advanced for where you are with your relationship with food.
In light of this I invite you to take THIS SURVEY.  It is nine questions long and will take you a grand total of under 60 seconds to complete.  Actually I lied, there are 10 questions, but the final one is optional.  If you are interested in a free First Comes Health t-shirt, you’ll answer it.
The survey will ask questions about your current relationship with food and the amount of time you spend thinking about it, planning for it, shopping for it, and cooking it.  To better serve you and to provide the kind of blog content that you’ll find helpful, I need to know what you think.
So, here are the steps to take:
1. CLICK HERE to take the brief 9 question survey.
2. That’s it.
If you fill out the optional 10th question with your email address you’ll have a chance to win a free First Comes Health t-shirt of your choosing from my store.
And don’t worry.  I’m going to come up with a better Year of the Kitchen logo than that.  Give me some time.
In the meantime, TAKE THE SURVEY!

Recipe: Raw Sauerkraut

We all have our vices and predilections.  For some it’s coffee and for many it’s sweet things.  For me, it’s tangy, salty, spicy, savory.  Salt and vinegar chips win every single time over anything sweet.  Sadly, they don’t have a place in my way of eating, but if I could munch on anything with impunity, I’d always choose salt and vinegar chips.  Or barbecue chips.  They’re in a solid second place.
Anyway, imagine my utter delight when my friend, Diane of Balanced Bites posted her recipe for homemade raw sauerkraut.  It’s tangy, spicy, salty, and savory.  Plus it’s just doggone good for you and isn’t anywhere near the junk food nightmare that potato chips are.  It’s healthy AND entertains all of my taste preferences! What does the sports world call a hole in one slam dunk touchdown grand slam?  They ought to call it spicy raw sauerkraut because for me, it’s that kind of food victory.  I have been interested in trying this since I went to the kraut school last fall!
First of all, I recognize that making one’s own sauerkraut might be jumping into the deep end of food geekdom.  Many of you might be struggling with just figuring out what to pack for lunch every day or how to fit a healthy breakfast into your life, so doing something like this seems frivolous and weird.
I will accept that perhaps it is weird, but frivolous? No.  Allow me to explain…..
You see, we all have bacteria living inside of our digestive systems that are good and wonderful and help us to break down the food we eat into useable fuel for our cells.  They keep us regular, they keep us healthy, and they protect us from harmful bacteria, and form the foundation of our immune system.  You may have heard of the generic term “probiotics” in reference to these good bacteria that live inside us.  A probiotic is a bacteria that produces beneficial results for its host.  Yes, you are host to trillions of bacteria (Sometimes referred to as “gut flora”. Pretty, no?).  They live inside you and do a lot of your body’s dirty work.  This is good!  They’re in constant battle with harmful bacteria for control of your guts and your health.  Think of them as little soldiers who need the right conditions and constant reinforcement in order to win their battle.
Sadly, the Standard American Diet, which is rife with processed foods, toxins, and preservatives, do not create an environment inside of us that keeps these wonderful little bacteria alive.  Most people eat little to no fermented foods (some yogurts, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, kraut, etc.) and so the little soldiers who live in our guts who are trying their darndest to protect us are having to fight in conditions that are hazardous to their health.  Many die and are not replaced leaving the host (you!) vulnerable to diarrhea, sickness, and a compromised immune system.  This is bad.
This is why I am presenting you with this recipe for raw fermented sauerkraut.  It is an extremely easy recipe that yields something delicious and more importantly, it’s a food that will keep the fighting conditions just right for your beautiful gut flora to thrive.  Plus eating this kraut regularly (just a little bit a day!) will ply your insides with the bacterial reinforcements they regularly need.  And, it bears repeating that it is scrumptious.
Balanced Bites Raw Fermented Spicy Sauerkraut
1 large cabbage
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers (I used two, but I like things spicy spicy!  Use with caution)
2 medium sized carrots
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tablespoon of unrefined sea salt (I used a little more than 1 T in this batch)

Cut the cabbage into thin shreds.  You can do this by hand, with a food processor, or with a mandoline like I did.  PLEASE NOTE: I am wearing a protective metal glove in this photo.  It is because I learned the hard way that a mandoline is an EXTREMELY SHARP device that can cut you very very very very badly.  I received this mandoline as a gift two years ago and injured myself very very badly the very first time I used it.  I let it sit in my cupboard unused for two years because it terrified me.  USE HAND PROTECTION!  Use the guard that comes with the mandoline or use a clam shucking metal glove like I do.  They’re available any any kitchen supply store.   You are going to see TV chefs using mandolines without hand protection.  DO NOT FOLLOW THEIR EXAMPLE!!!!!!!  Protect yourself.
Anyway, after shredding the cabbage, put it in a large glass or ceramic (not metal) bowl and sprinkle it with the salt.  This is where you’re going to get your (clean!) hands into things.  Mash, massage, pound, rub, macerate, squish, etc. the cabbage and the salt.  Try not to break up the pieces (you don’t want pulp), but also do not be too delicate.  You will notice that the cabbage will go from stiff and crispy to watery, crispy, but softened.  This is what you want. Keep doing this until all of your cabbage is the crispy/soft/watery consistency and you have a significant amount of water that has come out of the cabbage.  Enough to cover it.

While you’re doing that, put the jalapeno(s) directly on your gas stove burner and char the heck out of it.  If you don’t have a gas stove (I don’t), use your electric oven’s broiler.  With either method, turn the pepper frequently so it will get charred and blackened evenly on all sides.  When it is blistery and done, rinse under cold water and peel off the skin.  Chop finely.  If you want your kraut to be extra spicy, use the seeds.  If you want your kraut to have only a hint of spice, discard the seeds.  Truth be told, the pepper is completely optional if you don’t want any spice at all.  If that’s your style, skip this step completely.

In a food processor or on a box grater, shred up the carrots and garlic.  I used my food processor’s shred blade and just whizzed the carrots and garlic up together.  Add them to your watery cabbage and give them the mash and pound treatment.  They will yield more water too.
If you’re using the jalapeno, add it to the cabbage, carrot, garlic mix and toss thoroughly.

At this point you are going to need some large glass jars or ceramic crocks. One gallon glass jars are ideal, although I used a one quart for this demonstration because I just made a small batch.  Did I mention clean?  Make sure the jars very very clean.
Pack the cabbage into the jars, being careful to include the water that has run off.  And when I say pack it in there, I mean pack it down.  You want the jar to be filled with cabbage and the water run off to be above the cabbage level.  Put a large uncut cabbage leaf on top of the shredded cabbage, let the water rise above that, and weigh the cabbage down with a shot glass, small bowl, or ceramic pie weights.

Put the jars in a cool, dark place.  The darkness is key!  They cannot be sitting out in the open and in the light.  I keep mine in a kitchen cupboard that I rarely open.  Check on the kraut every day or so to make certain that the water level remains above the cabbage.  This is imperative.  The fermentation of your vegetables happens below the surface of the water.  Should anything poke out above the water level, remove it.
Taste test your kraut after two weeks.  It should be tangy and yummy, but probably could use more time.  Three weeks seems to be an optimal ferment time, but taste your kraut after two in order to determine what suits your taste.

You’ll notice that my jar isn’t your normal glass jar. This is a quart jar from Pickl-It and is designed just for fermenting foods.  Let me stress this: Having specialty equipment like this is completely unnecessary for making quality sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables.  I read about these jars and decided to give a small one a shot.  You do NOT have to buy anything more complicated than a few glass jars.  I also am not at all affiliated with Pickl-It.  Their jars were recommended to me and I decided to give one a try at my own expense.
Now, according to my kraut guru, Diane, you can switch this recipe up in many different ways and experiment with many different flavors.  The procedure is going to be the same but try her variations:

  • Plain raw sauerkraut: use just cabbage and salt.
  • Traditional raw sauerkraut: use cabbage, salt and caraway seeds (about 1Tbsp for this recipe).
  • Sweet and tangy sauerkraut: use red cabbage, salt, raisins or currants, cinnamon and fennel seeds.
  • Seasonal fall sauerkraut: use cabbage, salt, green apples, sliced fennel and leeks.

Who is up for this challenge?  It’s not really as challenge as it is an exercise in patience.  Sure, the preparation of the cabbage takes about an hour but the three weeks of waiting to indulge in your delicious, probiotic-laden, gut flora lovin’ kraut is the hard part.
Who are my readers who are sauerkraut making veterans?  Have variations and tips to share?  Add them to the comments or over on Facebook!

Recipes: A Valentine's Day Love Feast

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!  I am a firm believer that this day does not have to be exclusively about romantic love, but love of all varieties – of family, friends, pets, and of course one of my fondest loves, FOOD.

You, dear reader, are in for a treat today.  Diane at LadyFingers Private Chef and Catering has designed a very special menu for you lovers out there.  Three FAB courses of food that will soften the grumpiest heart.  Southwestern Shrimp and Snapper Stew, followed by Baby Greens wrapped in Prosciutto with Blood Orange Vinaigrette, and Osso Buco alla Milanese.   Didn’t I tell you?  This menu is no joke!  Let’s get started!
I’ll give you each recipe in the order in which it ought to be served, but I recommend doing things in this order:  Start the osso buco and get it to the point where it is braising, then make the stew.  After you and your guest(s) finish eating the stew, prepare and serve the greens and dressing.  By the time all of that happens, the osso buco will be ready to eat.
Southwestern Shrimp and Snapper Stew – serves 6
8 ounces of snapper filets
8 ounces of uncooked shrimp
1 29-ounce can of petite diced tomatoes
14 ounces of chicken broth (homemade rules, but prepared is fine too)
12 ounces of beer or non-alcoholic beer
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup green pepper, chopped
Cut fish and shrimp into 1-inch pieces.
In a four-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan combine undrained tomatoes, chicken broth, and non-alcoholic beer.  Bring to a boil.  Add carrots, onion, chili powder, cumin, oregano and garlic.  Return to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer on low about 15 minutes or until carrots are nearly tender.

Add red snapper, shrimp, and green pepper and return to boiling.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer gently for 3 to 5 minutes or until red snapper flakes with a fork and shrimp turn pink.  Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired.
This is a light stew that has a LOT of incredible flavor and goodness.  It’s not a thick, heavy dish that you might think of when you hear the word “stew”.  It makes an excellent first course, but it also makes a great light lunch to go with a green salad.  The snapper and shrimp are hearty enough fishes to maintain their shape after cooking and will not break up.
Baby Greens Wrapped in Prosciutto with Blood Orange Vinaigrette — serves 6
1 package of baby greens
6 slices of prosciutto – If you are having someone slice the prosciutto fresh for you, ask that it be slightly thicker than normal.  You don’t want thick hearty slices, but you also don’t want paper thin ones either.
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed blood orange juice
6 tablespoons of blood orange infused olive oil – This is worth looking for and buying in a specialty market.
6 blood orange sections
Salt to taste
Cut each slice of prosciutto in half lengthwise or diagonally, depending on the fat marbling.  You want to ensure that each slice is a good mixture of meat and fat.
Place a handful of baby greens on one end of each prosciutto piece and roll up, making 12 bundles.

Whisk together blood orange juice and white balsamic vinegar until well-combined.  Add olive oil and whisk until emulsified.
Place two bundles on each of six serving plates and drizzle with vinaigrette.  Add a blood orange section to each plate and serve.

I had never had a salad like this until Diane treated us to this ingenious way of serving.  It’s brilliant!  A great way to add a little flair to your dish without being complicated at all.  Impress your Valentine with your culinary prowess without getting complicated or intricate.
Osso Buco alla Milanese – serves 6
3 1/2 pounds of veal shanks cut into 1 inch sections – Do what Diane does and have your butcher take care of this for you.  If you don’t have a relationship with your butcher yet, make friends with him or her.  They’ll look after you and give you the best cuts of meat that come into the market.
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour for dredging – If you’re gluten free, use gluten free Bisquik.  If you’re grain free, use coconut flour.  If you’re opposed to that, skip this step but know that the dredging will thicken the braising liquid into a lovely sauce later on.  If you skip it, your sauce may be a bit thin.
1/4 cup of olive oil
3/4 cup of chopped onion
1/4 cup of chopped carrots
1/4 cup of chopped celery
1 cup of white wine
1 cup of chopped tomato (fresh!)
3 cups of brown stock or beef broth (homemade is best!)
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme
2 cloves of garlic

Generously season the veal shanks on all sides with salt and pepper.  Dredge lightly in flour, shake off the excess.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a heavy Dutch oven (preferably cast iron).  Brown the shanks on both sides until golden (you may to do this in batches).  When you do this step, make sure the Dutch oven is on HIGH heat.  This isn’t the time to get shy about a hot pan.  Having it on high heat will ensure proper browning and give you a nice crust on the outside of the shanks.  This is what you want.

Remove the shanks from the Dutch oven, reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, carrots and celery and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the wine, tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, thyme and garlic.  Stir to combine.

Place the seared shanks back into the Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Adjust seasonings and serve.  Our osso buco was served with some roasted asparagus too!

As you can tell the shanks Diane got were positively huge so she used one shank for two people.  Depending on the size of your shanks and the size of your appetite, you might use one shank per person. Also, an optional step that Diane took was to tie each shank around with kitchen string.  This helped to keep the shape.  Just remove the string before serving.
You might have noticed that all of the recipes above serve six people.  This is because when Diane prepared this meal she did so not only for herself and her husband, Jim, but also for me, Dude, and our dear friends Lynsey and Patrick.  It was not only a celebration of Valentine’s Day with some great couples, but also a celebration of Lynsey’s birthday (which is today!) Happy birthday, my friend!
I am wishing all of you a very happy day filled with love.  Everyday is a day to love one another, but take some time to let someone know just how special they are to you.  If you cook this meal, they’ll definitely know that you care!  Enjoy!!
Printable versions of LadyFingers’ recipes:
Southwestern Shrimp and Snapper Stew
Baby Greens Wrapped in Prosciutto with Blood Orange Vinagrette
Osso Buco alla Milanese

Recipe: Tapenade Crusted Salmon with Roasted Red Onions

Well, she’s done it.  Diane of LadyFingers Private Chef and Catering has truly blown me away with one of the most delicious meals I’ve had.  Call me dramatic, call me hyperbolic, call me whatever, but I challenge you to make this recipe and NOT be impressed and oozing with over-the-top words of praise.  Do not wait until a special occasion to make this dish, please.  Make it because it’s Thursday, or because the mail came early, or because you just want a scrumptious, easy, healthy dinner.  Just make this and I am positive you won’t be disappointed.
Here’s the sad part, though.  While you will definitely enjoy this dish, and you’ll find it about as easy as anything to make, you sadly won’t get to enjoy it the way Dude and I did — with Diane and her husband Jim, at their beautiful home, with tons of laughs, and great conversation.  That’s right.  Be jealous.
One more thing before I get to the recipe – Diane and I had a great time on Tuesday night live Tweeting our dinner preparation!  If you missed the hoopla, you can certainly catch us doing the same thing with next month’s LadyFingers creation.  We’ll let you know through our respective Facebook pages (Diane’s and mine) what day we’ll be cooking and then you’ll just have to follow us on Twitter (Diane and me) to be with us live as we make the next best dish.  You’ll get a free preview of the yummy goodness!
Now, onto the food!!!
Tapenade Crusted Salmon with Roasted Red Onions — makes 4 portions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees

(A few of our yummy and fresh ingredients)

Roasted Onions:

  • 2 branches of fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves of coarsely chopped garlic
  • 2 large red onions cut into a big dice (If they’re in small pieces, they’ll melt away as they roast. You want a 3/4 inch dice, approximately)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and place in a shallow baking dish.  Leave the herbs intact as you only want the essence of their flavor in the onions.  Cover very tightly with foil and roast for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue roasting, stirring occasionally for 25-35 minutes or until roasty and tender.

(You can see here in this before and after shot that the onion went from crispy fresh to caramely golden roasted)


  • 1.5 cups of kalamata (or other Mediterranean olives) pitted – and make sure they’re all pitted! No surprises. 🙂
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons of nuts – Diane used a combo of walnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts. A modest sprinkling of each. Other nuts than can be used are pignoli nuts and cashews.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pepper to taste – Hold back on the salt here until after you taste test it.  The olives are plenty salty.
  • Coarsely chopped parsley

Place all ingredients except pepper and parsley into a food processor and whiz until smooth.  Add pepper (and salt if needed) to taste and chopped parsley.  (Diane’s note: Adding the parsley to the food processor and then chopping everything up mashes the parsley too finely into a pulp which is not only undesirable, but you’ll lose the flavor and beautiful color.)
Season the salmon with salt and pepper and spread 2 tablespoons of the tapenade over each piece (you might need to use your clean hands for this).  Place salmon in a lightly greased baking dish and roast until it’s done to your liking.  Note that the time it takes to cook fish to your preference may be longer than normal because of the tapenade topping.

(My mouth is watering)

Vegetable side:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus cleaned, woody stems trimmed off, and cut on the bias (at an angle) into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 plum tomatoes coarsely cut up
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Heat oil in a skillet.  Add asparagus and saute until tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Add tomatoes and toss to heat through.


Place salmon on plates.  Divide vegetables among plates and spoon roasted onions over vegetables. Impress your friends and get ready to have a fantastic meal.

Ok, so I don’t know about you but even though we ate this on Tuesday for dinner, I’m making it again tonight.  I repeat dinners when I love them so.  The whole process took about 45 minutes from start to finish which makes it a perfect meal to make in a flash. Also, feel free to make the tapenade ahead of time and have it ready to go to when you come home from work or the gym for an even quicker meal.  A meal that’s rich in omega-3, vitamins A and K, iron, and lycopene in under an hour?  I told you this was a gem.

Here is where you can find a downloadable and printable version of this recipe.  Please make it sooner rather than later.  Post a picture of your creation on my Facebook page or leave me a comment and tell me how much you love it, and if you decided to give this recipe a little twist, by all means, fill me in on what you’ve done!

Recipe: Coconut milk curry

As I mention in the 2012 Goals Project post, I am going to be taking more photographs for the ole blog here.  This has been a hard thing for me to get going, mainly because I just don’t have a knack for it.  But, practice makes perfect, or at least better, right?  When I decided to do a recipe post for today I was so excited to get my camera out and start taking some snaps to make good on one of my goals!  YAY!
First of all, I wasn’t even sure where my camera was.  How sad is that?  Then, when I did find it, I discovered the battery is dead.  Strike two.  It’s one of those rechargeable things so all I had to do was charge it – if only I could find the charger apparatus.  Strike three – almost!  My Dude found it and the battery charged away.
Sadly it didn’t juice up in time so I just used my cell phone.  I have to apologize in advance for these photos.  I’m experimenting with all kinds of different apps and settings and this whole photo taking endeavor is a work in progress, m’kay?  Some might be blurry or crooked, not to mention the fact that apparently in spite of thinking I took a ton of photos, I apparently only captured half the recipe.  Oh well.  The important thing is that I’m going to go forward better prepared to take MORE and BETTER photos!
On to the recipe!
I made this recipe up a few months ago and it was inspired by about a dozen different other recipes. I just took what I liked from other recipes and tweaked and changed until it became my own.  I am also the kind of cook who uses recipes as inspiration and I play fast and loose with ingredients, amounts, etc.  If you are comfortable in the kitchen and feel like you can successfully do some cooking free-wheeling, be my guest.  If not, I tried to measure things out and be as precise as I could.
Coconut Milk Curry – makes approximately 6 large servings or 8 smaller ones.

  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces (I prefer juicy, meaty, succulent thighs to the dry, pathetic breasts.  Just my opinion though.  Use what you want.)
  • 1 clove of garlic – smashed/grated/finely minced
  • 1 knob of ginger, about 2 inches – smashed/grated/finely minced
  • 3/4 of a head of cauliflower cut into little florets – this should equal approximately 2 or 3 cups
  • 1 large or 2 medium heads of broccoli cut into little florets – this should equal approximately 2 or three cups. I like the stalks as well as the flowery tops, so I always include some of the stalks too.  If your broccoli stalks are thick and woody, trim them and peel with a vegetable peeler.
  • 2 large carrots cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds – this should equal approximately 1 or 1.5 cups
  • 1 zucchini quartered and sliced – this should equal approximately 3/4 cup.
  • 2 bell peppers cut into 3/4 inch pieces – this should equal approximately 1 cup
  • 1 large bunch of kale – washed, spun dry, and cut into small pieces.
  • 2 cans of FULL FAT coconut milk – don’t get that weirdo “lite” junk.  Get the real deal Holyfield.  And don’t get it because of flavor (which will be 100% better with the full fat cans of milk), get it because the fat in coconut milk is a good fat that we all need.
  • 2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil
  • Curry powder
  • Garam masala (Here is a great definition of what this is.  It’s available at any spice store, and it is NOT spicy)
  • Smoked paprika
  • Sriracha (If the name isn’t familiar, you’ve probably seen the bottle)
  • Cumin
  • Salt

What to do

  • In the largest frying pan you have, add the coconut OIL (not the milk!) and let it melt over medium high heat.
  • Add the ginger, garlic, and chicken.  Cook until chicken is just done all the way through, be careful not to over cook or brown it.
  • Remove chicken from the pan to a bowl (a bowl is important because there will be some juice that you want to save and use later).
  • While chicken is cooking, steam broccoli and cauliflower just a little bit.  If you like your veggies soft, steam for longer.  If you like them crunchy, steam for less time.  The important thing to note about this step is to NOT steam them to the point of YOUR desired doneness.  Steam them just short of that because they’ll cook more in the frying pan later.

(Here’s my meat cooking in the foreground, and my broccoli and cauliflower steaming in the background, and yes I know that’s a fish spatula, but I love using it for everything.  Plus it matches my kitchen. )

  • After you remove the chicken from the pan, add the carrots, peppers, and zucchini.  Cook for a few minutes until the veggies start to get slightly soft.
  • Add the kale.  This will positively over whelm your cooking vessel.  You’ll think you made a huge mistake and can’t fit it all in there.  You didn’t.  It will cook down.  Keep stirring/turning so it can get to the heat.  If necessary, add a few tablespoons of water at this point if you think the pan is too dry.  This will help the kale cook down nicely.
  • Once the kale cooks down, add the semi-steamed broccoli and cauliflower and meat (with all juices in the bowl) back into the pan.  Stir it all up thoroughly.

(Heaping pan of kale with veggies underneath.  The kale will cook down to a small fraction of its former size.  I wish I had an after photo – I swear I took one! – but I don’t.  Check out the end photo for a good idea of how much it cooks down.)

  • Shake up both cans of coconut milk, open it and add one to the pan.  Stir thoroughly.  Add part of the second can to your liking.  I prefer my version of this to have a lot of sauce so I use about half of the second can.
  • At this point it will be a mostly bland mixture of vegetables and chicken in a milky white sauce.  It’s time to season!
  • Add curry powder.  I used about 3 tablespoons, but you can add more or less depending on your taste.  I love curry so I used a lot!  As with all the powdered spices used in this recipe, sprinkle them over the veggies evenly and then stir it in.  Try to avoid dumping a clump of a spice in one area of the pan because it will be difficult to distribute it evenly throughout.
  • Add garam masala (approximately a teaspoon), cumin (just a sprinkling), and paprika (a half teaspoon).  Stir.
  • Add Sriracha to taste.  Now, this stuff is powerful and HOT HOT HOT.  Do not mess around if you are sensitive to spicy heat!  Around my house we like it spicy so I added a good amount (4 or 5 tablespoons). I recommend adding a little, stirring it around and tasting it.  If you want more, add it.  If it’s too spicy, add a little water.
  • Salt to taste.

(The end product.  I’m sooo happy that I have some left over because just typing this all up has made me hungry for it all over again!)

As with a lot of what I cook, this is a add-what-you-like kind of recipe.  The technique is the same no matter what vegetables you use, but it’s up to you what you put in it.  I really recommend the broccoli and cauliflower because they seem to really soak up the sauce and then when you bite into a piece it’s like a little yummy sauce explosion in your mouth!  Try any kind of vegetable or meat that you like.  I haven’t tried it with shrimp, but I bet that would be great!  Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.
It’s YOUR dinner and your imagination!
So, who is making this and when?  I want to hear what spin you put on it!  Share your ideas!  Let me know what you think!