A couple of nights ago I went into a cooking frenzy.  I had been on the road for a few weeks, teaching and introducing the new book (Magnificent Spiral Mandala Quilts) at Quilt Market and Quilt Festival in Houston, and I guess I just needed to nest.  For me, that means stocking up the freezer with some of my favorite dishes. 

Below are recipes for the four dishes I cooked that night: Pasta Napolitana, Goan (as in, from Goa, India) Curried Shrimp, Moroccan Vegetable Stew and Chicken-Walnut Raisin Enchiladas in Chipotle Sauce.

It wasn’t until the next day that I realized that all four recipes had tomato sauces, but the spices in each sauce made them completely different.  The pasta sauce is flavored with pine nuts, garlic, dried black olives and raisins; the curry sauce has onions, ginger, turmeric, coriander and coconut milk; the Moroccan stew is flavored with cumin and raisins; and the enchilada sauce has green peppers and chipotle chilis. 

Italy, India, Morocco, Mexico — an amazingly broad itinerary for a vegetable that was once thought to be poisonous and inedible!

(Interestingly, three of the four dishes also contain raisins….)

Pasta Napolitana
(From a 1982 calendar someone gave me — in 1982)

1 bunch broccoli, cut into flowerets (I like to pre-cook it in the microwave for 2 minutes)
12 dried black olives, pits removed & chopped
2 Tablespoons pine nuts, chopped coarsely
1/4 cup raisins, chopped
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
1/2 pound cut pasta (I prefer shells)

Put on a pot of water to boil and begin cooking pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute garlic and olives in olive oil for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, raisins and broccoli and cook until pasta is ready.

Toss sauce and pasta together and serve.

Note:  The original recipe called for a pound of pasta with this amount of sauce, but I like much more vegetables and sauce with my pasta.  Also, this is much better the second day, after the flavors in the sauce have had a chance to blend.

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Goan-Style Shrimp Curry

This recipe came from the New York Times, March 5, 2008. 

1-1/3 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
4 dried red chilies (I use 2 — 4 is really spicy!)
1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 cups canned chopped tomatoes, with juice (a 28-ounce can)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1-1/2 cups coconut milk (1 12-ounce can)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2-3 cups cooked rice (I prefer Basmati rice for this)

1. Place shrimp in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag, and add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and cayenne. Mix well and refrigerate.

2. In a deep skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat, combine oil and chilies and stir 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and cook for 1 minute longer. Add ginger, onion, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt and sauté until onion is soft and translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, ground coriander and turmeric and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomatoes. Stir, scraping sides and bottom of pot, for 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often.

4. Stir in curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add coconut milk, bring to a boil, and add shrimp. Bring to a simmer and cook until shrimp are opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Serve with rice.

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

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Moroccan Vegetable Stew

I got recipe came from eDiets several years ago.  It’s low in fat, high in flavor, and I love the couscous surprise in the bottom of the dish (actually, that was my own idea).

1 cup broth
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4″ slices
1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 tsp. cumin
1 can chickpeas, with liquid
1 – 2 large fresh zucchini, halved & sliced into 1/2″ slices
1 large bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup dry couscous

Place the tomatoes, carrots and onion in a large saucepan with the broth.  Bring to a boil and cook until carrots halfway tender (5-7 minutes).  Add chickpeas, zucchini, bell pepper, raisins and spices.  Simmer for 5 minutes longer.

To serve, place 1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) dry couscous in the bottom of the bowl.  Add soup and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving, to allow couscous to absorb liquid. 

Makes 4 hearty servings.

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Chicken-Walnut-Raisin Enchiladas in Chipotle Sauce

A friend recited this recipe to me way back in college and it has stuck in my head for all this time.  Yes, it’s that good.  🙂

2 large chicken breasts
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (more if you like) chopped raisins
1 20-ounce can chopped tomatoes (see note below)
1 green pepper, chopped in 1/4″ pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 7-ounce can chipotle chilis
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
Corn tortillas ( a dozen or so)
Cheddar cheese or Queso de Papa cheese

In a large skillet, saute garlic and green pepper in olive oil until pepper begins to soften.  Add tomatoes.  Chop and stir in the chipotle chilis one at a time; taste the sauce after each to see if it has the right amount of spiciness for you.  (When I make this with one can of tomatoes, I use about 2/3 of the can of chilis.)

While the sauce is cooking, cook the chicken breasts (boil or broil, as you wish) and shred the meat into a bowl.  Mix in the chopped walnuts and raisins.  Add a few spoonfuls of sauce to moisten the mix.

Roll meat mixture into corn tortillas and place them in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.  (If the tortillas break when you try to roll them, you can layer tortillas and meat mixture instead.  If you do this, pour some sauce between the layers too so the whole dish turns out moist and flavorful.)

Pour sauce over the enchiladas.  Top with grated cheese.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. 

Note: This amount of tomatoes makes a dish that does not have a lot of sauce.  If you like “saucy” enchiladas, double the tomatoes, garlic and green pepper to make twice as much sauce.  One can of chipotle chilis is enough for the extra sauce, unless you like the sauce really spicy.

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