Mulligatawny Soup Recipe

We tend to think of “fusion” foods as a new idea: Asian/Cuban, Mexican/Jewish and so on and so on.  The truth is people have been mixing and matching cuisines ever since we started exploring (or on a less positive note, colonizing).  The bright side is that exposure to new spices, flavorings, and cooking techniques can be a springboard for creative new dishes.  Mulligatawny soup (which means pepper-water) is one such “fusion” food.  It’s a mixture of Indian Tamil and British cooking. The Tamil cuisine brings the spiciness and the British added the meat.

This particular version of the recipe is adapted from Foodaholic.  Her recipe uses red lentils (which I didn’t have). However I asked her and she said lots of recipes use rice instead. I had that, so rice it is!

I don’t have garlic paste, so I took a garlic clove and smashed it to smithereens. Just chop it up finely and then swipe the flat of a wide knife over it.  Or, if you don’t mind a bit of extra cleanup, put it in a mini-chopper or a garlic press.

Finally, I used a chicken thigh, rather than chicken breast (which she uses because of picky kids). I think the chicken thigh has a better, richer flavor and I don’t have to worry about pleasing fussy eaters.

I did follow her lead in only using one pot. I can’t stand extra cleanup!

If you want the soup creamier and more elegant, remove part of it from the pan and puree the rest with a stick blender. If not, just cook it another 10 minutes for a more rustic texture.

This will make about three servings of soup. Eat one right away and save the rest in separate containers for another day.




Mulligatawny Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • If you like spicier food, add some chopped fresh green chilis
  • Top the soup with yogurt or try some coconut milk to counter the heat
  • Add some curry powder
  • Put in some chopped apple for sweetness

More Indian Chicken Recipes

royal chicken in yogurtIndian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

A name fit for royalty, but anyone can eat (and prepare this dish easily). Nothing to chop, just mix up some spices, add yogurt, and simmer.

 

Jewish chicken curry chitarneeJewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

I bet you weren’t expecting the words “Jewish” and “Curry” to go together. But they do. Not spicy, but rather warm, comforting, and aromatic.

 

curried chicken soupCurried Chicken Soup

Delicious soup with very little effort. It only takes an hour to make and uses frozen or long-lasting veggies.  No chopping either (other than a carrot). I did say low-effort. 🙂

 

one person chicken curryEasy Chicken Curry Recipe

A few basic ingredients get together and bring you dinner in minutes.  Only one pot too!

 

 




Rustic Pear Tart

Let’s face it, most pear tart recipes are complicated.  You have to make the dough, then let it rest.  Next you have to pre-bake the crust, or maybe go out and get some frozen puff pastry. I’ve even seen recipes calling for making the puff pastry at home (not happening).   Or, there are recipes requiring a traditional full-blown pie crust.  I have a lovely apple pie recipe I hardly ever make because it’s just too much fussing.  This rustic pear tart, on the other hand, is fairly easy and straightforward.

You don’t have to crimp the edges, or pre-bake the crust. You don’t even have to cook the pears in advance. I saw one recipe that had 22 steps! Nope. Nope. Nope. This recipe is much easier than that! There are only six steps.  Much better! The active time is about 15 minutes of work, and the whole thing is done in about an hour and a half (including resting in the fridge and baking).

First you make the dough. That’s only six basic ingredients you likely already have at home.  Then, you let it cool in the refrigerator for an hour, and press out the dough into a roughly circular shape. Next, add the fruit, sprinkle the spices on top, and bake.

I’ve made this tart with pears, because I had some extremely ripe pears I wanted to use up. If you don’t have pears, or would rather use something else, apples will work beautifully too. And, both are in season now.  Once summer comes back around, you might try it with peaches or maybe plums too.

The original recipe (which I cut in half) required a food processor. If you don’t have one, you can use a pastry cutter or two sharp knives instead. I have included instructions for both.




Rustic Pear Tart Substitutions and Variations

  • Don’t have pears? Make this with apples instead (or try peaches in the summer)
  • Add some green cardamom to the tart (along with the other spices)
  • Replace some of the flour with ground almond meal
  • Add a little Reisling or other dessert wine to the filling
  • Top with slivered almonds




More Pear Dessert Recipes

ginger pear breadSmall Batch Ginger Pear Bread

Sweet, juicy pears balanced with the bite of some cinnamon and a bit of ground ginger, topped with chopped almonds.

 

poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice cream

Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

Indulgent? Maybe. So what. It’s rich, creamy, and delicious. Looks hard, but it’s really quite simple to make. Fancy enough for company, but worth it for yourself.

 

pear dessert crepeEasy Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe for One Person

Real crepes are hard. This is easy. I cheated. Dessert in a few minutes, no bother. Still delectable.  Serve plain or top with whipped cream or ice cream.

Small Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

It’s apple season! It’s also the time of year when it’s traditional to eat apples and honey (for a sweet Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year).  I brought a full batch of this cinnamon sugar apple bread to my brother’s house for the holiday. They gobbled it up! Pretty good, considering it was competing with mom’s New York cheesecake.

I originally planned to post the entire recipe, which I adapted from Cookies and Cups.  Then I remembered (duh), that this is the “single serving chef” blog, and the portions should be smaller!

I have reduced the sugar and the vanilla, because the original recipe was far too sweet for me. The result is a delicious, and easy to make, quick bread (think banana bread, but with apples rather than bananas), that’s full of apple flavor and topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

If you can get them, use a Canville Blanc D’Hiver apple (which is a French tart apple). If not, Granny Smith, Mutsu, or GingerGold will work well. You want an apple that’s firm, crisp, and not too sweet.

I once accidentally made this with cayenne (!) instead of cinnamon. I mention it because it was much better than I would have expected.  I’m not sure I’d do it again deliberately, but it did give me an idea (see the substitutions section).




Substitutions and Variations for Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

  • Add 1/2 tsp ground ginger and the seeds from two cardamom pods for some extra warm spiciness (skip the extra topping)
  • Give it a bit of a kick with some brandy or Calvados
  • If you’re brave, or like spicy sweets, go for the cayenne
  • Top the bread with bourbon sauce (2 T bourbon, 1/4 C sugar, 2 T butter, heated in a small pan) instead of the cinnamon/sugar.

Tools for Small Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

Wilton Mini Loaf Pan

I’m having a grand time with these mini loaf pans. They allow me to make “half-size recipes” without a lot of leftovers. And I don’t have to worry about having bread or cake going stale before I can finish it.  Just take a recipe for a single loaf of bread, divide the dough in half, and you have two mini-breads.  Perfect!

More Quick Bread and Fruit Dessert Recipes

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

A five-minute dessert that’s a real treat. Think streamlined Bananas Foster.  Great alone, or topped with ice cream.

 

easy one serving apple crisp recipeEasy One Serving Apple Crisp Recipe

You only need a single bowl to make this simple apple crisp.  It’s warm, spicy, sweet, and made with oatmeal. That makes it healthy. Right?

 

chocolate banana breadMini Chocolate Banana Bread

Plain banana bread is good. This is even better. It’s packed with rich, chocolatey goodness that takes ordinary banana bread to the next level.  Or, go all out and add chips too.

 

caramelized pineapple chunksCaramelized Pineapple Chunks for One Person

Cooking pineapple deepens the flavor and brings out the sweetness. Add chopped nuts for crunch. Dessert in minutes.

 




Roasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

Fall has finally arrived, and the temperature is dropping. It’s time to start thinking about butternut squash, apple crisp, and soups.  I found this recipe for roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squash tucked into a cookbook. I’ve no idea where I got it from, but the combination of cinnamon, apple cider, nutmeg, butter, and squash is classic.

Cinnamon and nutmeg add both a bit of spice and sweetness, and the apple cider is both tart and sweet. It’s also apple cider season, so all the ingredients are at their peak now.

Butternut squash are notoriously hard to peel, unless you have an Oxo peeler, which makes this chore much easier.  Or, you can buy the pre-peeled squash.

The rest is just cutting up the squash (use a big, sharp knife), adding the spices, butter, and cider, and baking it in the toaster oven.




Substitutions and Variations for Roasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

  • Add some chopped pecans or walnuts after 15 minutes of baking
  • Make it savory: replace the butter with chicken stock, skip the cinnamon and nutmeg, and use curry instead.
  • Bump up the sweetness with honey or maple syrup

Tools and Ingredients for Roasted Butternut Squash

Oxo Swivel Peeler

This peeler cuts through butternut squash skin with virtually no effort. It’s no harder than peeling a cucumber. I’ve had mine for years and it still works flawlessly. There’s even a little scoop at the end for de-eyeing potatoes or removing bruised spots. The handle is comfy and easy to hold. It works on apples, squash, cucumber, carrots, and hasn’t needed any extra care or sharpening. I did add a dab of red nail polish at the end to make it easier to find in my utensil holder.

HIC Small Porcelain Baking Dish

Most baking dishes are far too large for one person or small batch cooking. This is perfect. I use it for the squash, to bake brownies or coffee cake, and reheat leftovers. It”s safe in the oven or microwave, looks great as a serving dish, and can go in the dishwasher if you have one.

More Butternut Squash Recipes

butternut squash brown sugar vanillaRoasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

It’s a veggie dessert! If you didn’t know it was a nice, healthy vegetable (packed with Vitamin A and C), you’d think you were having a dessert. Because that’s what it tastes like. But, it really is a vegetable!

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One Person

Roasted garlic, some cream, and parmesan balance against the sweet squash for a rich, creamy sauce. Punch it up with crumbled bacon or pancetta.

 

curried butternut squash soup with applesCurried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Mild sweet curry is a perfect foil for apples and squash. Filling, comforting, and perfect for a cool fall or winter day.