Alli Cooks: The Saag Saga

Eggs Benedict Arnold

Her: Why isn’t there a blog program that lets you just copy a word doc into an entry and keep the format?
Me: (turning chair around) Well, actually, the issue’s that …
Her: NO! Nooooooo…!
Me: (turns chair back around)

Onto the wife’s entry:


I came across a recipe for saag paneer on one of my favorite food blogs so I thought I would try my hand at an Indian dinner this weekend including:

  • Saag Paneer
  • Tandoori Chicken
  • Cucumber Raita

Saag Paneer – Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

How I Simplified:

  1. To exemplify what little interest I have in making my own paneer as 101 Cookbooks suggests, when I read the recipe online, I literally laughed out loud like it was the craziest idea I’ve ever heard. Make my own cheese? That’s like asking me to milk the cow. So, I used queso fresco instead without knowing that, unlike paneer, it melts at high heat. I’m sure this was the universe’s way of telling me to never scoff at Heidi Swanson. I happened to save some of the un-fried queso so I just cut it up into cubes and mixed it into the saag just before serving.
  2. I thought I’d tempt fate and use frozen spinach especially since I planned to cook the saag down more than the recipe called for. To take this approach, follow the recipe but rather than serve immediately, lower the heat, cover, and let simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. I used pre-ground spices rather than fresh grinding them.
Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken Recipe from David Lebovitz

How I Simplified:

  1. Didn’t use saffron. I’ve made this dish previously with the spice, but I’m not sure it added much. Since it’s expensive, I’d rather save my few precious remaining threads.
  2. Last time I cooked this dish, I grilled the chicken thighs as the recipe calls for, which resulted in me hovered over my sink for days trying to scrub the pan clean. Great for my biceps, bad for my will to ever cook again. This time around, I used chicken breasts, and Logan had the great idea of oven baking rather than pan-frying. So, we cut the breasts into 2-inch pieces and placed them on metal skewers on top of a lined cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. I only recommend this approach if you like your tandoori chicken on the drier side like me.
Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raita Recipe from the New York Times
No simplification needed as this is super easy. I modified by stirring in one half of a grated cucumber and topping with a bit of diced cucumber and paprika before serving.

location: walking out the door to work
mood: hungry
music: I saw them stars go off at night


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