Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hunker Down and Make Me Supper

Toronto is in the middle of a deep freeze. At -10°C, my brief 20 minute walk to work is physically painful. It takes a while before I can talk to my colleagues, my face tight and immobile. Like visiting the dentist, the whole thing is numb. I'm not complaining, necessarily, I mean, after nearly 30 years in this climate, I'm fairly accustomed to the whole winter thing.

After a busy holiday of visiting and eating and traveling about the province, Jeff and I have been enjoying our quiet nights-in. Movies, TiVo'd episodes of The People's Court (for reals) and lots of home cooking.

I'm on a kick. Get it while it's hot.

The cold and snowy weather today got me craving something warm and spicy. A coworker was eating the fragrantly-amazing chana masala she made last night. That fit the bill, and I had her transcribing the recipe immediately.

It looks like a lot of ingredients and steps, but it's really easy. And talk about leftovers!

Delish. Spicy. Warms you to the bones.  Next up: Homemade cheese crackers!

Honey and Jam's Hannah posted a great and simple recipe for Spicy Cheese Crackers today. I've been noticing homemade cracker recipes lately and decided today was the day! They are fantastic - Couldn't be easier or more tasty. How great to make them into sticks or straws for a cocktail party! I'm excited to buy cookie cutters in adorable shapes. After making them just this once, I feel obsessed! Try it for yourself one of these cold winter nights.

Chana Masala

1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 medium onions, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of coriander (omitted due to Jeff's disdain towards)
2 teaspoons of cumin
Half teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of turmeric
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 cup water
2 large cans of chick peas
1 tablespoon amchoor powder (couldn't find, omitted)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala (couldn't find, omitted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 hot green chili pepper, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4 potatoes, chopped and steamed
4 carrots, cut into rounds
1 cup of frozen peas
Half cup of cream

1) Heat oil in a large pot, sauté onions and garlic for a bit.
2) Turn down a little and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne and turmeric.
3) Stir, add tomatoes. Add chick peas and a cup of water.
4) Add the amchoor powder and garam masala, paprika, salt and lemon juice.
5) Cover and let it simmer away for 10 minutes or so.
6) Add the steamed potatoes and carrots, frozen peas, whatever vegetables you might like.
7) Add a half cup of cream.
8) Add the minced green chili pepper and the ginger.
9) Cook until the chickpeas are perfect. Serve over rice with some naan.

Hannah's Spicy Cheese Crackers

1 1/2 cups of extra sharp cheddar
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup of flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon of half-and-half

1) Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
2) In a food processor combine cheese, butter, flour, salt, red pepper and paprika and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs.
3) Add the cream and pulse until it forms a ball. About 10 seconds.
4) Roll out your dough on a floured surface and cut into any shape.
5) On a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake for 10 - 14 minutes (mine took 11), let rest on the pan for a couple of minutes and transfer to a rack to cool.

(You can also roll the dough into a log, refrigerate for an hour or two, then slice into rustic, misshapen slivers like Hannah did. Lovely!)


  1. Yummy! I want to eat both recipes right now, and it's only 10a! I have a pseudo kitchen (no actual oven), and struggle with cooking in my little place. But, I always feel inspired to try after reading your posts about food.

  2. I saw that cheese cracker recipe on honey & jam the other day and I'm so excited to try it! Yummmm..

  3. I'm so glad you liked them! I'm making them again tomorrow - they are way too delicious!

  4. Hannah!
    I made more tonight. I made mini ones. So snackable and delicious. I also added fresh rosemary.

    SO GOOD.

  5. We made cheese crackers/bites for NYE and I the idea of cutting them into strips. It TOTALLY worked and looked like mini biscottis. Great snack.

  6. Nice, Sunny!
    I had the brilliant idea last night, while daydreaming in bed, to put the dough in a pastry bag and squeeze out little bits onto parchment, bake 'em, and make little cheese bullets. Eat-by-the-fistful snacking.

  7. White Cheddar Parmesan Garlic Dill crackers sound AMAZING. let me know how it goes!

  8. For the Garam Masala and Amchoor powder, there is a FAB little market that I found quite by accident off of O'Connor, east of the Leaside Bridge, at the end of the side street where the Tim Hortons/Wendy's is. Sorry, not the clearest directions...
    It's an Indian/Pakistani Market and they have a dizzying array of unusual spice mixes, treats, and curiosities. Worth visitng for sure!

  9. What is half-and-half? I have not seen that in Australia before.

  10. Called half-cream in the UK, if that helps.
    It's quite light cream.