Today, I have something great for you. It’s just one of those recipes, I’m just psyched out of my mind about…ya’ know? It’s just one of those recipes where you’re like, YES! This Saag Paneer is it. It’s possibly one of the best, most gratifying things I’ve ever made. Honestly.
Often times, I don’t have all the ingredients for a recipe. Guilty. I also always make adjustments and dash things in to my own taste. But with this Saag Paneer, I followed the recipe and decided to go all out on the ingredients.
A good spice rack takes a while to build up. I know this is something that my non-cook friends would roll their eyes at, but it’s important to me for occasions like this (and occasions like Pumpkin Shrimp Curry!). And spices can be expensive – especially the fancy ones that you use in tiny amounts once in a blue moon. PRO TIP: you can buy spice by weight at Whole Foods! Hallelujah! So Elizabeth and bought all the spices for this wonderful Indian dish – we wavered on the coriander but ultimately decided: go BIG or go home.
This recipe is ingredient-heavy, but I promise, it’s simple and a lot of fun to make. We decided to try our hand at homemade paneer. Paneer is a soft, fresh cheese typically used in South Asian cuisine, and when it’s marinated in turmeric, cayenne, and oil and pan-fried, it’s just called “delicious.”
Elizabeth straining paneer
All you need is a gallon of whole milk, lemon, and cheesecloth. You just bring the milk to a gentle boil, add the lemon juice, and the curds and whey separate – like magic. Strain all of that through cheesecloth set in a colander and just let it set up in the fridge. And twenty minutes later, bam! CHEESE! When you make cheese at home, you realize just how magical it really is. Really, give it a try.
The Saag portion of this dish is also magic. Find out why…
Remember how I said I was super excited for squash season? That’s not a joke. In the past two weeks I have made/consumed:
-Acorn squash and leek soup
–Pumpkin kale risotto
-Spaghetti squash with feta, white beans, and spinach
-Butternut squash chili
-Spaghetti squash and spinach fritters with Sriracha mayonnaise
That’s some serious squashing. I love it all. And I’m still looking forward to more butternut and spaghetti squash in my future, but this has been a quality start. Let’s pave the way to winter – not with broken promises but with squash.
Now, I know y’all were worried about a possible Sriracha shortage, but don’t worry, they’re gonna keep at the good work. This Sriracha mayonnaise sauce surprised me – the vinegar gives it a serious tang. I obviously couldn’t follow the recipe straight, so I also added some garlic and ketchup to round out the flavors.
You know what did not surprise me though?… Don’t stop! Keep reading…
Earlier this year, I told you about some things I was doing to be more adult. Well I left out one VERY important one that I’m here to tell you about…hosting dinner parties! SO adult.
Starting when I was little, I began helping my mom with her dinner parties. They are always so elegant – whether it’s a Christmas party for 20 or a special dinner for eight, she always makes it magical. A few days ahead of time, we collaborate on the menu – carefully crafted around the theme of the evening – and then we write out our grocery list and check things off as we drop them in our cart at the store. On the day of the party, we put together a loose game plan, and just go! Regardless of any hiccups along the way, they always come together beautifully and everyone has a smashing good time!
So that’s a little taste of my continuing education chez Le Petit Artichaut. But there’s something so uniquely adult about hosting a real dinner party on my own, in my twenties…with the help of another twenty-something expert cook, Elizabeth. Y’all remember my first attempt at a dinner party? It was delicious and everyone had fun, but I can’t say I nailed the timing – that’s where my co-host balances me out :) While I’m too relaxed, she’s too worried, so we end up like Goldie Locks.
Don’t stop now! Keep reading…