locavore

Butter Chicken

by Anne Maxfield on August 5, 2019

Accidental Locavore Butter Chicken PlatedSince I posted this Butter Chicken, it’s become a favorite.

We love Chicken Tikka Masala and lately I’ve come across a couple of recipes for Butter Chicken, a close relative (or the same dish depending on who to believe).

I think the big difference is that Tikka Massala is marinated in yogurt, while Butter Chicken can be made on the fly.

The two recipes I was looking at were from both ends of the time spectrum—one was ready in about 30 minutes, the other was in a slow cooker and took 5-6 hours. I opted for speed.

Butter Chicken

  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts cut into 1” chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 14 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lime and cilantro for garnish

Accidental Locavore Butter Chicken CookingIn a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons of butter. Working in batches, add the chicken and brown on all sides. It doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through. Set the browned chicken aside as it’s done.

Reduce the heat to medium and add another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften—about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, garam masala, ginger, chili powder, cumin and cayenne. Stir to combine and cook for about 45 seconds.

Add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes and add the cream.

Bring back to a simmer and add the chicken. Cook for 10-15 minutes on a low simmer.

Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Garnish with lime and cilantro, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Easy and delicious! Frank liked this so much, he requested that I make it again the other night.

Both times I’ve used boneless skinless chicken thighs since I’m not a white meat fan and served it over basmati rice. If you soak the rice before you start prepping everything, and start cooking it after the chicken has browned, your timing should be perfect.

We’ll have to start stocking cans of tomato sauce and pints of cream and soon I’ll have to figure out what a good veg would be to serve with it. Any ideas?

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Chocolate Toffee Crack Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on December 31, 2018

Accidental Locavore Toffee Crack If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to cut back on sweets, you’d better get busy or…

You may want to stop reading here.

This toffee really is like crack.

Easy and addictive.

And you probably have all four ingredients in your kitchen.

Don’t blame the Accidental Locavore for this.

Makes one large sheet pan.

Toffee Crack:

  • 40 saltine crackers (or more to fill the pan)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Accidental Locavore Toffee Crack CrackersPre-heat oven to 350°.

Spray a sheet pan with vegetable spray.  Line with crackers.

Put the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Spread sugar and butter mixture evenly over the crackers.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Let cool slightly (mostly so you don’t burn yourself), then top with chocolate chips.

As chips melt, spread them out until the crackers are covered.

Let cool completely, break into pieces. Serve and enjoy! 

Accidental Locavore Butter for Toffee CrackMy verdict:

Blame my cousin Ellen (and her friend Mollie). She gave me a bag for Christmas.

I should never have gotten the recipe. It’s amazingly good and stupidly easy.

Mine wasn’t as good as Ellen’s but we talked it out and I think it was the sugar.

Light or dark brown sugar or a mix will work, but don’t make my mistake and use a granular (organic) brown sugar. It doesn’t melt thoroughly and my batch came out a little grainy.

For a large sheet pan, it’s a little more than a sleeve of saltines. I put them all salty side up. Ellen has done it like that and mixed it up. She says it doesn’t matter and I believe her.

This is Ellen’s advice: “You can also sprinkle toasted sliced almonds on top of the chocolate, but Mollie does not use nuts and her toffee crack is perfect.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Tips For Finding the Right CSA

by Anne Maxfield on April 16, 2018

Accidental Locavore CSA LettuceThis is the time of year when we all start yearning for anything fresh.

A CSA or Community Sponsored Agriculture share is a great way to support local farmers and put plenty of great produce on your table.

While a few years ago, this was a pretty new concept, now there are CSAs for almost everything from fruits and vegetables to coffees and breads.

How do you pick the best CSA for you?

Accidental Locavore CSAThese were my criteria for picking one and while yours will probably be different, here are 7 tips:

  1. A convenient pick-up place, day and time. You need to think about where and when you want to have an abundance of produce. Do you cook and entertain during the weekends? Or will you use it mostly during the week? When will you have time to wash/prep stuff? Do you have fridge space?
  2. A reasonable share for the number of people in your household. If you hate wasting food and sometimes feel like the kitchen version of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice–cooking as fast as you can, only to have a whole new box show up, you might want to split a share with a neighbor or friend. Some CSAs offer half shares or will match you up with other members who are looking to share the bounty.
  3. For some, organic is important; I’m more into sustainable practices, but if organic matters, only look for those farmers.
  4. A farmer/farm referral. Like most business relationships, it’s all about doing business with people you know and like. We originally joined Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s CSA because a woman farmer I knew was working there and I liked her and her agricultural point of view.
  5. Choice. One of the things I love most about PFP is the ability to choose from about a dozen or more weekly offerings. I can get carrots when I want them and skip the beets. They also have pick-your-own options which add herbs, berries and flowers to your share if you’re willing to go out in the fields. Over the years they’ve added the options to add a fruit share, coffee, meat and even a winter share to get you through the dark months.
  6. What foodstuffs you’re looking for (and can use up). When we joined, we were looking mostly for produce. However, there are many CSAs that offer meat, poultry, bread, eggs and other foods. A few minutes on the Internet should find you just what you need.
  7. Giving back to the community. This is more of an extra credit thing, but Poughkeepsie Farm Project is in the middle of an urban area and gives back through education and by providing produce to local families.

Accidental Locavore CSA shareWhatever you decide, a CSA is a great way of exploring new foods, while supporting farmers.

But act soon, many of the most popular may be sold out for the season!

 

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MeOhMy Cookies: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie?

by Anne Maxfield on March 5, 2018

For a while, I’d given up my quest for the best chocolate chip cookie. All the ones I’d made were acceptable, and we ate them, but nothing had come up to the gold standard set a few years ago at a lunch for Blue Star Ranges.

However, that was about to change and right in my backyard, so to speak.

In the back of Jeanie Beans, our favorite lunch spot, there’s a whole cookie making operation going on.

Little did I know that Deb, the founder and creator of MeOhMy cookies, was turning out her delicious treats 10’ away from Jeanie’s delicious fish and chips.

I’d seen the bags of cookies there and almost grabbed one the other day in my search for chocolate chip nirvana (because, trust me, it’s not coming from my kitchen).

Hers are thin and crispy which, after much consideration, is how I like them. If you’re the thick and chunky tifosi, you can probably skip the rest of this piece (or just comment about how wrong I am).

She makes them in small batches, with local ingredients whenever possible. Besides the chocolate chip, there’s an oatmeal raisin crunch, a lemon sugar snap and a toffee almond with coconut.

Accidental Locavore MeOhMy Cookie The chocolate chip are my favorite and a Hudson Valley Best of winner. They’re thin with crunchy buttery edges, a perfect ratio of (good—Callibut) chocolate chips and a buttery goodness.

Supposedly, there is a hack on the Internet for warming up chocolate chip cookies in the microwave. Deb tried it at Jeanie Beans in her old and weak microwave for a minute and it was great (hey, what’s better than a warm chocolate chip cookie?). I tried it at home and in 33 seconds had a roaring fire burning in my microwave (and one less cookie). When Deb said she had tried it at home with the same results, I decided that they were fine just out of the bag!

Oatmeal raisin cookies are one of those cookies that have to prove themselves to me. Normally, I don’t like raisins sneaking around in things, but they’re called oatmeal raisin for a reason, so they get a pass. These might also vault up to the top of my list for oatmeal raisin. There’s something in them that does give you nice crunchy bits, along with the softer centers, a crispy edge and just enough raisins. That is of the two I managed to sneak away from my husband who after the first cookie, commandeered the rest of the bag.

The last of the ones I’ve tried are the lemon sugar snap. It’s the thickest of the three, with a nice buttery shortbread quality and a hint of lemon that enhances but doesn’t overwhelm the cookie. Deb says on her website that they’re “a perfect treat at the end of the day with a cup of tea” but why wait for the end of the day?

While the toffee almond with coconut sounds like it would be a true contender with the chocolate chip, sadly I’ve not tasted them because of an old nut allergy. Better safe than sorry, but they do look delicious!

You can order MeOhMy cookies on her website. If you go for the 4-bag assortment, you can mix and match to your heart’s content. There are also a number of stores in and around the Hudson Valley that carry them. Click here for a list of retailers.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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