Where has the time gone?

The month of May has been completely filled with fun and travel. Do not fret over the infrequent posts. The Bubbly Kitchen has not been resting on its laurels. In fact we have been quite productive this month. But I have also spent a lot of much needed time laying on the beautiful beaches of North Carolina. In fact, this month we have basked in the sun on 4 new beaches, explored numerous coastal towns, and visited three lighthouses. If you are planning to visit coastal North Carolina, which you obviously should, look forward to a new series on bubblykitchen.com: Where to go, what to do, and of course dining in coastal NC.

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Our patio container garden is absolutely thriving! I attribute it’s success to the fabulous growing conditions of eastern NC. Although the patio only gets partial sun, things are looking great. We are growing tomatoes, green, yellow, and red bell peppers, jalapenos, cherry tomatoes, basil, and green beans. I think we are going to have a pretty fruitful crop, especially with the peppers. My plan is to try my hand at canning this summer and hot pepper jelly is at the top of my to-do list.

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Bubbly Kitchen’s first wedding is coming up this weekend and I am so excited! I am starting preparations today and have a number of recipes to share with you. I cannot wait to share the pictures of the 125 cupcakes and giant cupcake topper!

Cucumber, Chickpea, and Avocado Quinoa

The Bubbly Kitchen has no excuse for infrequent posting right now. I actually have a number of days off and it is just beautiful outside. But the month has filled up quickly with weekend getaways and day trips. I don’t know where we might be headed this time next year so we are trying to make the most of North Carolina while we are here. I have learned that you could spend years visiting all the towns of coastal NC and you still would not have seen everything. Its summer here apparently and we are having 90 degree days almost every day. I have been experimenting with simple and refreshing recipes for the hot summer days. The fresh local produce is already pretty awesome and I even have some baby peppers growing on my plants! Below has to be one of the easiest recipes on the blog, you cannot go wrong. This is a versatile quinoa dish that I encourage you to make your own. You can use any number of fresh vegetables in this dish. You can add grilled chicken and sliced cheese (mozzarella) as I did or you can keep it vegan. Serve this with a crisp white wine, a dry sauvignon blanc perhaps.

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1 cup quinoa
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 english cucumber, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
Juice of 1 lime
Cooked chicken breast, chopped

Cook quinoa as directed on the package. Chop up all your vegetables except the avocado. In a large bowl mix together the chickpeas, cucumbers, tomato, corn, chicken, and lime juice. Slice the avocado and add to the mix.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Before I made my way to college, Indian was a forbidden spicy food that I was unfamiliar with. My lovely parents certainly appreciate fine foods, but they cannot stand even the tiniest number of Scoville units. They seem to associate Indian food, and many other cuisines, with spice. Indian cuisine is full of the most wonderful spices but it does not have to burn your mouth. I never really ate anything spicy growing up and now I cannot get enough of foreign spicy food! This Chicken Tikka Masala has a creamy and rich sauce that is packed with bright flavors. Indian food can seem intimidating but the hardest part is assembling the ingredients. I have simplified this by using all ground spices. Everything in this recipe is easily found in a regular grocery store. I buy all of my spices from World Market; the quality is great and the price is unbeatable.

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The flavor you get from cooking the chicken this way is awesome and so authentic. This recipe is not difficult but it does create a big mess. There are a lot of steps and it may be more of a weekend adventure. Chicken Tikka Masala freezes beautifully, thaw and add freshly steamed rice for a super quick freezer meal. This is a more indulgent meal at 600 calories per serving, but it is worth every last calorie. Impress friends at your next dinner party, they will think you are trying to trick them with takeout from an Indian restaurant. You will want to drink a sweeter wine to complement the spices here. I would serve Hidden Crush Chardonnay, Central Coast, 2012. This is an oaky, sweeter Chardonnay. It is comparable in complexity to wines with much higher price tags.

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Chicken Tikka Masala
Serves 6

6 garlic cloves, grated
2 tsp ground ginger ginger
4 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cups whole-milk yogurt
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 Lb chicken breasts, sliced thin
3 tbsp butter (ghee if you have it)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups heavy cream
Steamed basmati rice

In a small bowl combine the garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin. Divide this spice mixture in half. Mix together half the spice mixture with the yogurt and salt in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken. Add the chicken and mix with a spoon until it is all coated. Chill for 6 hours. Cover and chill second half of spice mixture.

In a large pot, heat butter over medium heat. Stir in the onions, tomato paste, cardamom, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until the onion is soft and tomato paste is fragrant. Add the spice mixture, cook for 5 minutes.

Add in the can of tomatoes, including the juice. Smash the tomatoes with a spoon or with your hands as you add them. Bring this to a boil and decrease the heat. Simmer, while storing frequently, for 10 minutes. Mix in the cream and simmer for 30-40 min.

Preheat broiler to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack over this. Arrange the mark aged chicken on this in one layer. Broil for 10 minutes until the edges are browned. The chicken will not be cooked through. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Add the chicken to the sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is 165 degrees, 10 minutes. Serve over basmati rice.

Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine.