Homemade chili powder

July 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Let me begin by saying that this has been one of the MOST challenging weeks of motherhood for me.  I would say it has been a nightmare, but that would insinuate that I have been getting sleep–which I haven’t.  Sophia is growing up so fast and all the spoils of the first three months are coming to an end:  sleeping through the night, napping three hours in the day, watching reverently in her swing as mommy does some Tracy Anderson workouts.  What happened?!  I thought my baby was the most chilled out baby the world had ever seen.  So accommodating, so peaceful.  Now its like wrestling a bag of snakes to get her to lie down for bed time.  And keeping her asleep for more than three hours is nearly impossible.  Hopefully my restful and relaxing evenings will return to me soon.  In the meantime, there is homemade chili powder.

As I said last week, I’ve been searching high and low throughout Dubai for chili powder, of the tex-mex variety.  I normally get the cheap Walmart brand in the gallon size everytime we go to the US, but some new recipe favorites had me going through it at light speed.  My mom suggested that I try making my own and I actually, surprisingly had everything I needed to make it.  It is mostly dried chilis after all, and I was fortunate enough to have bought an insane amount out of the blue last March while in Florida.

I did a little research and discovered that chili powder recipes are very personal, addition of ingredients based on each individual’s tastes.  I have to admit, after tasting my first batch, I went back and added some more spices to get it just right.

Nihalani Chili Powder

3 Ancho Chilis

3 Pasilla Chilis

3 Guajillo Chilis

1 Tbs cumin seeds

1 Tbs coriander seeds

1 Tbs garlic powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp dried oregano

Take out the stem and seeds of the chilis.  Split them down the middle and lay them flat on a baking sheet.  Add the cumin and coriander, then toast in a 300 degree oven for 5-8 minutes.  Remove the pan and allow to cool.  Crush the chilis by hand into a spice grinder.  Add the cumin, coriander, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano, then pulse to a fine powder.  Makes about 1/2 cup.

I used mine to make these fantastic chicken enchiladas!

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Chocolate cinnamon bagels

July 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

Sophia and I have spent the whole week at home recuperating from our vacation.  Actually, we are both getting over a cold which I’m pretty sure we got on the airplane ride home.  She got it first though…honestly.  While most of our time has been spent migrating from bed to couch to play mat to bed, I did get a chance to make some bagels (insert squeal of delight here).

You see, in Dubai, we don’t have bagels necessarily. We have Lender’s and we have bagel-shaped bread.  Rakesh loves bagels, though, and he settles on Lender’s for his fried egg breakfast sandwiches because, before our last trip to New York, he forgot what a good bagel tasted like.  Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, laced with your favorite flavors and a thick smear of cream cheese.

I remember going to Murray’s in Chelsea last March having just arrived in New York a couple hours prior.  It was to be our first meal.  I ordered an everything bagel with vegetable cream cheese and Rakesh ordered the same but with plain cream cheese and tomato.  We asked for them to be toasted and the guy behind the counter looked at us with disdain.  “No toaster here,” he said.  We both thought that was really weird, but once we bit in, we realized it didn’t need the toasting at all!

Which brings me to this bagel.  I’ve had a craving for cinnamon anything this week (I already made almond granola and cinnamon bread), and when I saw cinnamon raisin bagels on Annie’s Eats, I got super excited.  I started immediately, making the sponge, letting it rest, gathering ingredients.  Then I realized, I didn’t have any raisins.  I had dried cranberries, dried figs, dried cherries, dried tropical fruit trail mix, but no raisins.  I was about to add the cranberries, sure that I would regret their tartness, when I saw my big jar of semi sweet chocolate chips.  A perfect substitute!

The recipe called for quite a few steps, but it was so easy.  I was afraid of losing the chocolate chips in the boiling process (the water looked like hot cocoa after the first batch), but everything came out wonderfully.  With a smear of cream cheese, it was the perfect decadent morning start I wanted.

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For the recipe go to Annie’s Eats

Another year, another Ramadan

July 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

This is my fourth Ramadan in Dubai and I’m still not used to not being able to eat outside. Last year, I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy so I pretty much slept through the entire holy month. Apart from the heat, it was pretty easy to ignore while passed out in bed. My husband used to come home from work and take pictures of me sleeping on the couch, mouth gaped wide, pillow between my knees. But this year, my little girl and I will get through it together. It’s way too hot to go outside, but we are both sick anyway after our holiday in Austria. It was Sophia’s first trip, and at only four months old she held up quite welI.

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I always seem to pick up the blog during Ramadan…I guess there’s not much else to do.

I ran out of chili powder before we left too. It’s funny because in Dubai the “chili powder” they sell is actually cayenne pepper. I read somewhere that its called tex-mex powder here so I will have to check it out. Rakesh and I had our hearts set in chicken enchiladas on Thursday. Fingers crossed…

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