31 July 2009

Quick and easy green beans

Place green string beans in a baking dish. Drizzle olive oil and season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Bake in a 425 deg oven until beans are a little crispy - about 15 to 20 mins. In a bowl big enough to hold the beans whisk 2-3 tbsps of balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp of honey and 1 tsp of dijon mustard together. Toss the beans in the mixture and serve as a side or a snack.
Source: Blue Kitchen

Kardhai Gurda (Lamb kidney with green pepper)

Makes 4 servings

2 pairs of lamb kidneys
1 medium onion chopped
3 tbsps of tomato paste - I use the one from whole foods, half the can is more than enough. You could also try using a small fresh tomato.
4 cloves of garlic minced - about 2 tbsp
1 inch piece of ginger minced
3 green chillies chopped
1 green pepper cubed
3 tbsps chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsps garam masala
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Soak kidneys in 2 cups of water with 3 tbsp of salt for 20 mins to clean out residual blood. If kidneys are not halal or kosher, leave it in the water for atleast 30 mins. Rinse the kidneys until they are deep maroon in color and not red. Cut the kidneys in half and remove the core of white connective tissue. Chop the kidneys in 1/4 - 1/2 inch pieces.

Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a kardhai. Add onions and green pepper. Season with salt and let cook until it begins to brown. Now add ginger, garlic, green chillis, all the spices, 2 tbsps of chopped coriander and tomato paste with a little water so the spices don't burn. Cook until the spices are blended well with the tomato paste and there is maybe a tbsp of liquid left. Now add the kidneys, salt and about 3 tbsps of water. Cover and cook until kidneys are done, approx 15 mins. To check doneness - split a piece of kidney to check if its the uniform greyish-brown through without any purple. Garnish with the rest of coriander leaves.

We had a side of veggies sauteed in toasted sesame seed oil seasoned with salt and pepper.

28 July 2009

Kale with potatoes, anchovies and hot pepper

V and I have been quite apprehensive using Kale in our cooking just because its a tough veggie to cook and it can taste flabby and bitter quite easily. So we learnt that even though its a tough veggies, Kale should be used within 1-2 days of purchase. So we had Kale last night paired with the shrimp tomato sauce. I think we have found our sweet spot with Kale!

Makes 4 servings

2 bunches of Kale, ~1.5 lbs
2 medium potatoes cut into 1/4" cubes
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
6-7 anchovy fillets, cut into 1/2" pieces
lemon juice
black pepper
olive oil

Strip Kale leaves from its stalk or stem and wash thorougly. Slice the leaves into 1/2" strips.

Heat oil, add garlic and cook over low heat until lightly fried. Toss in potatoes and crushed red pepper. Stir quickly. Add Kale, a bit of salt to help wilt the leaves and chicken stock. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are just barely tender. You might have to stir now and then to avoid potatoes from sticking at the bottom of the dish. Once the potatoes are done and the Kale has wilted, toss in anchovies and lemon juice. turn off the heat and drizzle olive oil to taste. Serve with sprinkled black pepper.

Shrimp in tomato sauce

Makes 4 servings

1 lb frozen, raw, deveined, shelled shrimp
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 small tomatoes chopped (1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes, no salt)
1 inch piece of ginger minced
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup of chicken stock
pinch of turmeric
salt to taste

Defrost the shrimp in warm water and marinate in lemon juice, ajwain seeds, salt for a hour. Heat 2 tbsps of oil, add garlic and cook until you can smell it - about 1 min. Add tomatoes, ginger, salt (remember there is salt in the marinade so don't salt too much at this point), red pepper, turmeric and chicken stock. Simmer for 5 - 6 minutes. Add shrimp and marinade and cook for another 6-8 minutes until just cooked through.

The picture shows the sauce served over quinoa. Recipe has been adpated from Ismail Merchant's Passionate meals.

27 July 2009

No Knead Bread

* 3 cups (15 oz) All-purpose Flour (modification, to make the bread heartier I have added reduced the flour to 11/2 cup of flour and instead added 1/2 cup of Flax seed powder or you could go all wheat flour only it will be a little dense)
* 1/4 tsp of Rapid Rise Yeast (I use Fleischman RapidRise Highly Active Yeast)
* 11/2 tsp Kosher Salt
* 7 oz Water
* 3 oz beer (yep helps with the fermenting and give the bread some rise, I used Budweiser)
* 1 tbsp vinegar (gives the bread that sourness)
* Fillings (olives w/o pits, rosemary, nuts etc whatever you like in a bread. I have done rosemary, olives, rosemary & olives, the current loaf at home is a plain wheat bread)

1. First mix all of the dry ingredients
2. Add all of the wet ingredients
3. Mix lightly with spatula until it forms a dough
4. Cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture sit for 8-18 hours
5. After 18 hours, hand knead the loaf (2-3 times) on a lightly flour dusted work area
6. Shape dough into loaf, and place on lightly oiled parchment paper. Spray or lightly coat oil on the dough
7. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for couple of hours
8. With 30 mins remaining in the 2 hours, start preheating the oven to 500F with a dutch oven placed in the lowest shelf setting in your oven
9. After 2 hours, place the loaf into the dutch oven reduce the oven temperature to 425F
10. Bake the loaf in a covered dutch oven for 30 mins
11. After 30 mins, bake uncovered for an additional 20 mins
12. After 20 mins, remove the loaf and let it cool for a hour or so on a cooling rack

Leek soup

Makes 4 servings

2 stalks leek or 3 if using smaller stalks, sliced - use as much of the green as possible
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled, cubed and steamed
1/2 red bell pepper for garnish
3 cups of chicken stock
3 tbsps olive oil
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Heat oil in a pot big enough to hold 5 cups of liquid. Lightly brown garlic and add leeks. Let cook until leek is translucent. Add a bit of salt to help in wilting. Add the leek mix along with the potatoes and salt to the food processor. Puree until it is well blended. You might have to add a 1/2 cup of chicken stock to help blend. Add the mix back into the pot used earlier, add the rest of the chicken stalk and salt to taste. Simmer for 2 minutes. Garnish with chopped red pepper.

Variations - Add pancetta to hot oil before adding garlic to give it a nice smokey flavor. Or, fry chopped bacon in olive oil, remove and save fried bacon bits to garnish and use drippings to cook garlic and leeks in. I have successfully used anchovies to salt the soup - Add 5-6 fillets of chopped anchovies in the hot oil and let completely dissipate before adding garlic in the beginning. Remember NOT to add salt if using anchovies.