Welcome to my site!

Welcome to my site!
I'm Cindy, and I love to cook! And, I love to eat... hence the size of my rear end! I come from a long line of cooks. My great great Grandmother was a cook in the original Harvey Houses. My grandmother Julia was an awesome cook, and my mom was incredible. I owe my skills to these great women. Especially my Mom who said this to me about making gravy... "Cindy Lynn, wallpaper paste is wallpaper paste & gravy is gravy. Never the two shall meet!" Shall we say my first experience at making gravy left a little bit to be desired! Thank the high heavens my cooking skills have improved since then! Enjoy!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Indian Spinach with Cheese (Saag Paneer)

This dish is from North India, and it can also be made with cooked diced potatoes instead of the homemade cheese.


1 recipe homemade cheese (recipe to follow)
Vegetable oil for frying the cheese
2 medium onions
½ piece of fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
4 Tbls vegetable oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1” stick cinnamon
2 whole cloves
4 Tbls sour cream
20 oz frozen chopped spinach, cooked & drained
½ cup water
Salt to taste
¼ tsp cayenne pepper, or more if desired
½ cup whipping cream


Dice the cheese into ¾” cubes. Warm the oil for frying over medium heat. Gently fry the cheese cubes until lightly browned on all sides. (Can be deep fried if you prefer. But I like using less oil). Drain the cheese on paper towels and set aside

In a food processor mince the onions, ginger and garlic together.

In a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, warm the 4 Tbls oil. Add the cumin, bay leaf, cinnamon and cloves. When the spices darken, about 1 to 2 seconds, add the minced onion mixture. Reduce the heat to low and sauté until the onions are golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the sour cream and mix well.

Place the spinach and water into the container of a blender and blend to a smooth puree. Add to the onion mixture.

Add the salt, cayenne and cheese cubes and toss gently with the spinach. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the whipping cream and mix lightly. Heat through and serve.

Recipe for Cheese –

2 quarts milk
2 to 3 Tbls lemon juice

Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy pan. Add the lemon juice and stir until the curds rise to the top and clear liquid remains. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Line a sieve with 3 layers of cheesecloth and pour the curdled milk through it. Save the clear liquid (whey) for use in soups, sauces or for making rice.

Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth to form a pouch and tie it to the faucet over the kitchen sink. Twist the cloth lightly and squeeze out the excess liquid. Let the pouch hang for about 30 minutes.

Transfer cheese to a cutting board and shape into a patty approximately 4” wide by ½” thick. Fill a large pot with water and place it over the pouch to compress it. Leave it for about 2 hours.
The cheese is now ready to use. Remove the cheesecloth and cover with plastic wrap.

Note: In order to cut down on prep time, I generally make the cheese a day or two before I make the Saag Paneer.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Garbanzo Beans in Spicy Sauce (Chana Masala)

I absolutely LOVE Indian food. I was raised on it, as we were very good friends with a Punjabi family. They were Sikh’s, and we participated in many Sikh festivals and weddings. When I eat Indian food, I relive many of the memories of my childhood. Unfortunately, my city does not have a good Indian restaurant – at least in my opinion. So, I make my own. I’ve been cooking Indian food for about 25 years. I have recipes that I’ve created, recipes that I learned from our friends, and quite a few good Indian cookbooks. This recipe is from the “Indian Recipes for a Healthy Heart”, from the kitchen of Mrs. Lakhani. I was told by a friend that the garbanzo bean is considered the perfect food. So, here’s a wonderful way to enjoy them, perfectly!

Ingredients (serves 4 as a side dish)

15 ½ oz can of garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1 Tbls canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup onions, finely diced
2 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala *
½ tsp salt
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
1 cup water
3 Tbls tomato paste
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional – can use more or less depending upon your taste)

For Garnish (I don’t usually add the garnish, but it is very good with it)
1 green chili, seeded and chopped
½ cup onions, sliced
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup cilantro, chopped


1. Rinse garbanzo beans in cold water and drain.
2. In a saucepan, heat oil and fry cumin seeds for a few seconds. Add onions and fry until they brown.
3. Lower heat. Add coriander, turmeric, garam masala, salt, garlic and ginger. Mix and cook for 30 seconds, stirring all the time.
4. Add 1 cup water and tomato paste. Mix and bring to boil.
5. Add garbanzo beans, lemon juice and cayenne. Mix well, cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, or until the garbanzo beans are soft. Stir occasionally. If the mixture gets too dry, add a little water.
6. Serve and use garnish if desired.

*Garam masala can be made fresh, or can be purchased from an Indian grocer. It contains many spices and is usually added about 15 – 20 minutes before cooking is finished. Click here to view one recipe that I found on the internet. However, for convenience sake, I have always purchased the ready-made garam masala.

Monday, September 15, 2008

White Chocolate Martini

I found this recipe for a decadent White Chocolate Martini on the Revver website. Click here to watch a short video on how it is made. All I can say is WOW! This is delicious... They go down very easy and are a wonderful sweet ending to any meal. Desert anyone??


1 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz white chocolate liqueur
1/2 oz white creme de cocoa
1 oz half & half
chocolate syrup


1. Freeze a martini glass; drizzle chocolate syrup around sides to form a pretty pattern; return to freezer.

2. Add crushed ice to a cocktail shaker

3. Add vodka, white choclate liqueur and creme de coca; shake well.

4. Add half and half, and swirl in shaker. Do not shake - as it will cause the half and half to foam

5. Pour into prepared martini glass; lightly drizzle chocolate syrup on top to form a pattern; garnish with cherries if desired; ENJOY!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Albondigas Soup

My new friend Patricia gave me some guidance on how to make Albondigas soup. This is what I came up with… probably not truly authentic – but I think it turned out really good. Enjoy!

Soup Ingredients

2 Tbls olive oil
2 medium white onions, chopped
2 cans ready cut tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 can tomato sauce (15oz)
3 jalapenos seeded and finely chopped (if you prefer a spicier soup – keep some of the seeds. If you prefer a less spicy soup, use less jalapeno)
5 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 Tbls cumin powder
1 tsp salt
2 quarts chicken broth (I like organic free range chicken broth)
1 lb bag of baby carrots cut crosswise in half for bite size pieces
1 head of celery hearts, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 bunch of cilantro

Meatball Ingredients

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 cup cooked white rice
Handful of fresh spearmint leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin powder
3/4 tsp salt


Thoroughly mix all of the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl.

Heat olive oil in large soup pot; add onions and cook for approximately 5 minutes.

Add the jalapenos, garlic, salt and cumin powder to onions. Continue cooking for several more minutes.

Add the cans of tomatoes and tomato sauce to pan. Cook until bubbling. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat on soup. Form meat mixture into meatballs and drop into hot soup. Add carrots and celery. Continue cooking for approximately 1 hour until meatballs are cooked through and vegetables are tender.

Add chopped cilantro and cook for 5 minutes more.

Serve and enjoy. I think this would go well with warmed tortillas or nice chunk of bread.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Chapchae is the most popular noodle dish in Korea. I adapted this recipe from my favorite source, Cooking Light 2004 cookbook. It’s a little more labor intensive than most of the recipes I’ve posted – but it’s so tasty and well worth the extra work.

1 Tbls cornstarch
8 oz eye of round steak, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 Tbls soy sauce, I like low-sodium
2 tsp Thai curry paste
2 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 tsp dark sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced

Place beef in a bowl and sprinkle cornstarch over it; toss to combine. Add remaining ingredients; toss well to coat. Cover and set aside while preparing other ingredients. Can marinate anywhere from 15 – 60 minutes.

3.75 oz package uncooked bean threads (cellophane noodles)

Pour boiling water over noodles; let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Drain. Snip noodles several times with kitchen shears in order to shorten the length making it easier to too add to beef/vegetable mixture and for serving.

Sauce Ingredients:
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbls brown sugar
1 Tbls rice vinegar
1 Tbls dark sesame oil
Optional: 1 Tbls sesame seeds, toasted to be sprinkled over finished dish

Mix the liquid ingredients and set aside.

1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp vegetable oil
½ tsp red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh minced ginger
3 cups of shitake mushrooms, sliced. (I use the dried variety and reconstitute in boiling water. But, if you can get or prefer fresh – that would be fantastic too!)
1 bunch of green onions, diagonally sliced into 2” pieces
1 cup julienned carrots, 2” pieces


Heat large nonstick skillet or wok coated with cooking spray over medium high heat. Add beef mixture; stir fry for 5 minutes – or until almost done. You don’t want to overcook as the beef will become tough. Remove mixture from pan. Cover and keep warm.

Add 1 tsp sesame oil & 1 tsp vegetable oil to pan. Add red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger; stir fry for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, green onions and carrots; stir fry for 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium low; add beef mixture and noodles to pan, stirring well to combine.

Whisk the sauce mix to assure it is well combined; add to pan. Stir well to combine; cook for approximately 3 more minutes to warm through. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pasta with Chicken

This is one of those creations that came about when I wasn't sure WHAT I was going to make for dinner. A little of this - a little of that - and viola! Dinner! Enjoy!


2 Tbls olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” pieces
½ c Italian Seasoning Bread Crumbs
1 tsp seasoning salt
3 Tbls grated Parmesan Cheese
1 white onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes, or Italian Stewed tomatoes (which is what I used this time)
Handful of chopped fresh basil
1 pkg cooked pasta – I used Penne Rigati, but you could use spaghetti, angel hair, linguine, farfalle, or rotini

Chopped basil for garnish
Shredded Parmesan for garnish
Salt & Pepper


1. Heat oil in large skillet or pan.

2. Combine bread crumbs, salt and parmesan in plastic bag. Add chicken and shake to coat.

3. Place chicken in heated oil, cook until browned on all sides. Remove from pan.

4. Add onion and garlic to pan. Cook until translucent. Add basil and tomatoes. Cook until well combined and most of liquid has evaporated.

5. Add cooked pasta to pan – along with ¼ to ½ cup of pasta water. Cook stirring until water evaporates and a thin sauce coats the pasta.

6. Salt and Pepper to taste.

7. Serve in individual bowls, garnish with basil and parmesan.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

ABC Wednesday - G is for...

... GRAPES ! Although these are not "real" grapes, I like the still-life I created and I had some fun adding some photo effects with spot light and frame.

Happy ABC Wednesday. If you would like to participate - or see other ABC Wednesday posts, click here.

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