10 December 2010

Kale and andouille soup

V made this tasty, wholesome, winter soup with help from James Peterson and his own sense of what might work, using leftover kale and andouille sausage. Made me proud :)


Serves 4

1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed but left more or less whole
4 andouille sausages, defrosted if frozen and cut into 1/2 inch thick discs
1 medium sized bunch of curly kale leaves torn into bite sized bits
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried thyme or 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup of partially cooked rice
4 cups of chicken stock
Juice of half a lime
  1. Heat about a 2-3 tbsps of olive oil in a soup pot. Cook andouille sausages until they are lightly browned but not necessarily fully cooked. Remove and reserve.
  2. Now, add onions and lightly brown them. Add garlic and cook until you can smell the garlic.
  3. Add the partially cooked rice and stir it around to mix well. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.
  4. Pour in stock along with Kale and sausages. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, cover and let cook for another 10 mins until the rice and kale is completely cooked through.
  5. Combine flour with a couple of tbsps of hot soup in a cup to make a paste. Add this paste back into the soup. Let simmer for a minute.
  6. Turn off the heat and stir in the lime juice. Adjust for salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Serve with warm french bread.

24 November 2010

Baked whole red snapper with potatoes




Source: James Peterson's Fish and Shellfish

Serves 2

1 2lb whole yellow eyed red snapper (sea trout or bass can be used as well)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch slices
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
Salt and pepper
3 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp of capers or 15 brined black olives, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. Coat the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold the fish with olive oil. Arrange an overlapping layer of potatoes. Sprinkle with half of the garlic and thyme, salt, pepper and some more olive oil. Spread on another layer of potatoes and sprinkle the rest of the garlic and thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil. make another layer if you have more sliced potatoes left.
  3. Bake potatoes for 20 mins.
  4. In the meantime, wash the fish in cold water. Dry and rub it with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Place the fish on top of the potatoes and arrange tomatoes and capers around it. Bake for 30 mins or until the fish is done.

31 October 2010

French toast


Source: America's Test Kitchen Family cookbook

Serves 4
8 slices white bread - I used sourdough bread
4 tbsps of butter
1 cup milk
1 large egg
2 tbsps sugar
2 tsps vanilla essence
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Maple syrup - I used grade B syrup for a more mapley flavor

  1. Toast bread on a medium setting 3-4 to get the bread slightly browned, crunchy and dry.
  2. Whisk 2 tbsps of melted butter, milk, egg, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
  3. Slowly whisk in the flour until smooth.
  4. Pour the batter in a larger shallow dish.
  5. Soak both sides of the toasted bread in this mixture for 30sec each side.
  6. Heat a 12 inch non-stick pan on medium high heat with a tbsp of butter. Remember you never want a non-stick pan to start smoking.
  7. Place the soaked slice of bread in the pan and cook until its golden brown on both side. About 2 1/2 minutes per side.
  8. While doing the rest of the slices, store the cooked slices in the oven at 200 deg to keep warm.
  9. Generously pour maple syrup on slices before serving. Garnish with chopped, toasted nuts.

Swordfish in yogurt-cilantro sauce


Source: James Peterson's Fish and Shellfish

Makes 2 generous servings

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 packed cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 packed cup of fresh mint leaves
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 serrano pepper or thai chilli, coarsely chopped
Salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 steaks of swordfish or any firm fleshed fish like sea bass

  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. In a food processor - mix yogurt, turmeric, cumin, cilantro, mint, garlic, serrano pepper or thai chilli and salt together.
  3. Dip fish steaks in the yogurt-cilantro mixture and place in a baking dish coated in olve oil. Pour the rest of the yogurt mixture over the fish.
  4. Bake for about 15 mins until fish is cooked through.
  5. Serve immediately.

Cheddar biscotti

I like Bittman - I enjoy his cookbooks because the recipes are paragraphs of easy to follow conversational instructions that primarily focus on putting together delectable flavors without getting bogged down in technique. My kinda guy!


Source: Mark Bittman (http://markbittman.com/this-weeks-minimalist-cheddar-biscotti)

Makes about 10-12 biscottis

2 eggs
1 1/2 grated cheddar cheese - I used 8 year cheddar from the Madison farmers market
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 deg.

  1. In a food processor, beat 2 eggs with cheese using the dough blade.
  2. Add flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper and salt if you think the cheese wasn't salty enough.
  3. Process the mixture pulsing it a few time until the flour is just about incorporated and still crumbly. DO NOT over-process!
  4. Shake it out of the processor onto a floured surface and bring it together in a rectangular shape about an inch thick.
  5. place on a oiled or buttered baking sheet and bake for 35 mins.
  6. Slice the 'loaf'diagonally about 3/4 inch thick. Place it face up on the baking sheet and rebake it for another 30 mins.
  7. Let cool and snack away! Works really well with Jalapeno jelly...so good.

26 October 2010

Panzanella - isn't she a beaut!

In thinking of ways to make the 1000 gourds of butternut squash I recieved in my CSA share today, Deb from Smitten Kitchen came to the rescue! This salad disappeared in a matter of minutes. Highly recommend it - please try and you can thank me *cough*, I meant Deb, later.


Serves 2 very hungry individuals

For the croutons:
2 tbsp salted butter
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons dried thyme - original recipe calls for fresh thyme
4 slices of toasted bread and chopped into 1inch cubes
1/4 cup grated gruyere cheese - recipe calls for parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
1 small red onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
2 tbsps red wine vinegar - recipe calls for sherry vinegar
Kosher sea salt
4 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups of quartered Brussels sprouts
3 tbsps of chopped coriander

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. For Croutons - Melt the butter in a large skillet over moderate and add the garlic and thyme, and immediately add the bread cubes. Toss to coat well. Add most of the grated cheese and stir. Transfer bread to a baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and salt and pepper and gently toss again while still warm to melt the cheese. Bake stirring once or twice, until the croutons are crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  3. Soak the sliced onion in vinegar and a pinch of salt for about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Toss the squash with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sage, salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until the squash is tender and lightly caramelized, about 15 to minutes. Let cool.
  5. Add the quartered Brussels sprouts to a pot of boiling water and cook until tender, about 1 1/2 minutes, and drain. Be careful to leave it a bit crispy.
  6. Into the reserved red onions and vinegar, whisk in remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Season with pepper.
  7. In a large bowl combine the roasted squash, croutons, and Brussels sprouts. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Garnish with cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately.

25 October 2010

Tomato-lime rasam

For evenings when you don't feel like really eating but just sipping mug full of hot soup while reading tucked in a blanket...

Makes 4 servings

4 tbsps of toor dal
4 cups of water
2-3 green chillies, chopped fine
1 1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes (I used 2 tomatoes + 1 12oz. canned tomatoes)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
Juice of 1 lemon
Cilantro for garnish
For tempering
2 tsps ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
a few curry leaves
  1. Pressure cook dal with water and salt for about 10-15 mins until the dal is completely cooked.
  2. Add tomatoes, turmeric, green chillies and ginger. Let simmer until the tomatoes are completely cooked.
  3. Using a coffee grinder, grind together peppercorns and cumin seeds.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat some ghee. When hot, add mustard seeds, asafoetida powder, curry leaves and the cumin-peppercorns mix. Once the mustard seeds being to splutter, mix in the contents of the saucepan into the tomato-lime soup. Stir, serve and sip..

28 September 2010

Acorn squash and chickpea salad

Nights are getting cooler and the pumpkins are rolling in. So last night, I whipped up a 3 step dish with help from Smitten Kitchen and 101 Cookbooks. It consists of the salad, dressing and the garnish that taste best when assembled right before serving.



Makes 4 sides
For the salad:~
1 small acorn squash, seeded, peeled and cubed into 1inch pieces (save the seeds)
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 medium clove of garlic, minced
a little more than a 1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup of chopped coriander and mint leaves
2 tbsp of olive oil
Salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. Toss cubed squash with 1 tbsp of olive oil, jalapeno peppers, garlic, salt and 1 tbsp of chopped red onions.
  3. Roast in the oven for about 20-25 mins until the squash is soft but not squishy like mine turned out because I let it overcook.
  4. Once done, transfer to a salad bowl and let cool. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Gently toss to mix.
For the dressing:~
1 medium clove of garlic, minced
Juice of 1 large lime
3 tbsp of tahini, well mixed
2-3 tbsp of water
2 tbsp olive oil, I used oil infused with red pepper
  1. Beat all the ingredients together until its smooth. You might want to add a bit more water to adjust consistency.
For the garnish:~
Saved seeds from squash, de-stringed (is this a word?) and rinsed
1 egg white
2 tsp of salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika
  1. In a small bowl, beat the egg white with salt, pepper and paprika.
  2. Bath the seeds in the egg mixture to coat evenly. I used my sieve to rescue the seeds.
  3. Spread them on a oiled baking sheet and roast in the oven at 375 deg for 30 mins or until the seeds are golden-reddish-brown.
Before serving, Add a couple of tbsps of the dressing to a bowl of salad and garnish with crispysquash seeds. Enjoy!

30 August 2010

Settling-in Egg Curry

We just got back from vacation in England, and after numerous pub meals, we were craving some spicy Indian food. Egg curry to the rescue! Apologies for lack of a picture...we devoured it before I could reach for the camera!

Source: Raschandrika Konkani cooking

4 cloves
1" cinnamon
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp turmeric
2 red chillies
1 tbsp fresh/ frozen coconut
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
3-4 eggs, boiled, peeled and halved


Heat oil, and when hot add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, poppy seeds, cinnamon stick, and cloves. When they start to splutter, add the chopped onions, reserving 1/4 cup for later. Add the ginger-garlic paste, coconut, turmeric and red chillies. Cook for a few minutes, and then add the tomatoes. When they turn soft, turn the flame off. Grind this mixture to a paste in a blender.
In the same cooking pot, add a little more oil and fry the remainder of the onions till they turn golden. Now add the mixture from the blender and add 2 cups water (or more if needed). Add salt to taste, and a little lemon juice (optional). After simmering for 2-3 mins, add the halved eggs. Serve hot with roti or rice.







16 August 2010

Spicy Oven Fried Chicken

oven fried chicken legs


oven fried chicken legs

I got this recipe and images from http://everybodylikessandwiches.com, and thought I should give it a try this weekend. So here it is my First post! ha!

oven fried chicken legs

spicy oven-fried chicken
(from epicurious )
1 c yogurt
1/4 c skim milk (I used whole milk)
juice & zest of 1/2 lemon
4 T Sairacha Hot Sauce
2 T Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 t salt
1 t ground black pepper
1/2 onion, sliced
5 chicken legs with skin and bones (organic & free range)

1 c dry breadcrumbs or crushed crackers
1/4 c flour
2 t dried thyme
2 t cayenne pepper

1 T Butter

In a large bowl, whisk together everything from the yogurt to the onions. Submerge the chicken legs and let marinate for 3 hours or overnight, turning chicken occasionally.

Preheat oven to 425F. In another large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs to the cayenne pepper. Pull out a large baking dish so that it’s handy. Using one hand (for less mess), pull out a chicken leg from the yogurt bowl and give it a little shake to get rid of excess drips. Dredge the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture and place it in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining legs. Dot each piece of chicken with some butter and bake until the chicken browns and gets crispy, about 50 minutes.

I apologize for the quality of the picture but I didn't have a camera on me so I ended up using my ever handy blackberry. Enjoy!



11 August 2010

Gazpacho

This summer cucumbers have been coming in aplenty. Gazpacho is a cooling summer soup to make if you have fresh tomatoes on hand.
Serves 2

2 largish tomatoes, cubed
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 small cloves of garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of good olive oil
Splash of white wine vinegar - you can use sherry vinehar as well if you that on hand instead
1/4 cup of water
Slice of white bread slightly toasted and torn into pieces
Few basil leaves to garnish

For tempering:

1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 curry leaves
1 tbsp of olive oil
  1. Puree tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, bread, vinegar, salt, pepper in a food processor. Stream in olive oil while processing.
  2. Add a bit of water if the soup is too thick.
  3. In a smaller pan, heat some olive oil and add mustard and cumin seeds. Once the mustard seeds start sputtering, add curry leaves. Drain the mix into soup. Stir to mix.
  4. Garnish with basil leaves and serve at room temperature.

22 July 2010

Lemony beans salad


All ingredients can be eye balled and everything can be adjusted according to taste.

1/2 lb of green string beans
2 tsp of lemon zest
1 tbsp olive oil
Rock salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  1. Steam beans until done. Don't oversteam them, they need to be a bit crunchy.
  2. In a serving bowl, add olive oil, salt and pepper to the beans and stir well to mix.
  3. Finish with lemon zest and pine nuts. Serve.

21 July 2010

Sesame sugar snap peas

Sweet, succulent and crispy!
Serves 2

A big bowl of sugar snap peas - Sorry I didn't weigh them
1 1/2 tbsp of toasted sesame seed oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp of white sesame seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 375 deg. Rinse the sugar snap peas, trim the ends and remove the strings on the side.
  2. In a baking dish that holds the peas pods in a single layer. Massage in the sesame seed oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 15-20 until sugar snap peas are tender and slightly browned.
  4. In a serving dish, mix roasted sugar snap peas with lemon juice and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

11 July 2010

Beets, fennel and orange salad

I have a love-hate relationship with beets. I loved beets in this salad - it screams SUMMER!

Source: The kitchn
Serves 3

2 valencia oranges, peeled and de-pith
1 bulb fennels, fronds removed
1 tbsp fennel fronds, chopped
2 small beets, peeled and grated, I used my food processor
1 tsp orange zest
3 tsps extra virgin olive oil
Kosher sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp orange juice
  1. Thinly slice the fennel bulb. Toss slices with fennel fronds, salt, pepper, 2 tbsps of orange juice, 2 tsps of olive oil and set aside.
  2. Combine grated beets with 1 tbsp orange juice and 1 tsp olive oil. Set aside.
  3. Slice oranges into 1/4" thick slices.
  4. On a serving plate, arrange a layer of oranges, topped seasoned fennel followed by beets. Serve at room temperature.

10 July 2010

Shrimp in mustard gravy

Source: 50 great curries of India

Serves 4

1 pack of frozen shrimp, I leave the shell on while cooking because I feel like it might keep it from overcooking BUT it does get a bit cumbersome to eat.
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsps mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
50gm of dessicated coconut, add 1/4 cup of water and set aside
1.5 inch piece of ginger
5-6 small cloves of garlic
2-3 green chillies
1 onion, cubed
2 tsps coriander powder
2 tsps cumin powder
1-1.5 tsps crushed red chillies
1 15oz can of crushed tomatoes
juice of 1/2 lime
coriander leaves to garnish
salt to taste
oil
  1. Toast poppy seeds for a couple of mins. Grind poppy seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric, coconut, ginger, garlic, green chillies, onion, coriander, cumin, crushed red chillies, and 1.5 tsp of salt with 1/2 cup of water.
  2. In a skillet, heat some oil and fry the spice paste for 6-7 mins. Stir continuously and add a little water to avoid sticking at the bottom.
  3. Add tomatoes and saute for another 5 mins.
  4. Add a couple of cups of water and lime juice. Simmer for 5 mins on low heat. Add salt to taste.
  5. Add shrimp and keep a close eye. Cook until done - shouldn't take more than 5 mins to cook through. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

28 June 2010

Roasted asparagus and potatoes with thyme

Asparagus is the hot veggie of the season - we are getting bundles of it in our produce box. The first week I made asparagus pesto and last week I roasted the bunch. It was a light and tasty summer lunch.
Serves 4 as a side dish

1 bunch of asparagus with stem ends snapped off
2 yukon potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tsps of fresh thyme
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. Cut asparagus into inch long pieces.
  3. In a baking dish large enough to hold potatoes and asparagus in a single layer, add all ingredients and roast in the oven for 25 mins.
  4. After 25 mins stir the mix and check potatoes for doneness. If still very firm, then leave it in the oven for another 10 mins.

20 June 2010

Kokum Sherbat


Lately, I've been trying to experiment with Amchi (Konkani) cooking to try some of my favorite recipes growing up. Its amazing to see how many amchi food bloggers there are out there, and the traditional recipes are there for the picking!

In the summer months, kokum sherbat is supposed to be excellent for cooling the internal system. Considering we have a no-AC unit, I'm just about ready to try anything!

1/2 cup kokum (available in South Indian stores...similar to tamarind, it is used as a souring agent)
1/2 cup sugar (more per taste)
4 cups hot water
salt to taste
jeera pwdr to taste

in a large glass bowl, add the kokum and sugar, and pour the hot water over it. Leave overnight for the juices of the kokum to be released completely. A pinkish-red liquid will be released. Now, use this concentrate to dilute with water. Add water, sugar and salt as per taste (how sour or sweet you like it). Also add a pinch of jeera pwdr before drinking up! The drink is meant to be salty-sweet.

Bengali Shrimp


Tried a variation of the Bengali aloo dum but with shrimp. Delicious!

20 shrimp, cleaned and deviened
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tbsp dhania powder
1/2 tbsp jeera pwrd
2 cloves
piece of cinnamom
1 heaped teaspoon chilli pwrd
1/2 tsp haldi pwrd
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tejpatta
1 large tomatoes, cut
1/4 tsp sugar for caramelization


In a mixer, grind the onion, dhania pwdr, jeera pwdr, cinnamon, cloves, chilli, haldi,and ginger-garlic paste with a little water. In a cooking pot, heat oil and add this masala. Add sugar to aid with caramelization of the onions. Fry well for almost 15-20 minutes until the onions lose their raw smell. Add the tomatoes and cook till the oil separates (took about 5-7 minutes). At this time, add 1-2 cups water depending on the desired consistency of the gravy. When the gravy is boiling, drop the shrimp in gently and cook about 5-7 minutes. Careful not to overcook since the shrimp can become chewy! Finally, when done turn the heat off and garnish with dhania leaves. As with most seafood curries, the longer you wait before eating, the more intense the flavor of the dish!


05 May 2010

Spring onion or scallion scones


Makes 8 large scones

2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 tbsp + 2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 ounces grated cheese - I used purrano
4 ounces cream cheese - I used one with garlic, microwave if necessary it should be soft
4 scallions, sliced both green and white parts
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a big bowl.
  3. Add cheeses and use a fork to fold the flour over the cheeses. Don't overwork the mixture.
  4. Add scallions and use the fork to lightly combine.
  5. Beat the egg with milk and whipping cream in another bowl. Fold this into the flour and cheese mixture. Comine until its roughly mixed.
  6. Flour the working surface and your hands. Get the flour mixture out and form a pie about an inch thick. Use a floured knife to cut the pie into 8 wedges.
  7. Brush the scones with a mixture of 1 egg and 2 tbsp of flour. Bake scones on a buttered baking dish for 20mins. Let cool before serving with some jalapeno jelly :)

Roasted fennel salad

So simply easy and very tasty. Give it a go!

Serves 2

1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
a healthy sprinkle of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
  1. Coat the fennel slices well with olive oil, vinegar and salt.
  2. Roast it in a 375 deg oven for 20 - 30 mins until some of the slices are slightly browned.
  3. Sprinkle ground pepper and serve.

03 May 2010

Shakshuka


I had never heard of shakshuka, but was dying to try the recipe out ever since Deb from Smitten Kitchen posted it. How can you go wrong with poached egg and a tomato gravy? I added a few variations. Perfect for a day when you want to whip up something quick for dinner/ brunch.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients
4 eggs
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped fine
1 jalapeƱo pepper, chopped
1.5 large tomato, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped into medium pieces
1 tsp cumin pwdr
1/4 tsp paprika pwdr
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
cilantro leaves for garnish (the original used parsley)

In a shallow pan, heat oil and add the onion and pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes until the onions turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Next, add the cumin and paprika pwdrs, and saute for 2 minutes. Now add the tomato pieces along with 1/2 cup water. Using the back of the spoon, crush the tomato pieces as they cook. Cook the tomato gravy for about 15 minutes. I added a little more water as needed. When the liquid is bubbling, crack eggs over the sauce and allow it to spread over the tomato gravy surface. Cover with a lid, and allow the eggs to poach for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid, and baste the eggs with some of the tomato gravy. Garnish with feta and cilantro/ parsley and eat immediately with pita or naan.

29 April 2010

Veal rump pot roast

Pot roasts are meant to be one-pot dishes where a bunch of veggies and meat are cooked over several hours in broth. This creates a very flavorful dish without the need for spices other than salt and pepper.
Serves 4

2-3 lb veal rump, it was held together in a net made out of butcher's twine
20-25 cremini mushrooms, most of them were small and medium sized, seperate stalks and heads and dust off dirt if any.
1 1/2 cups diced red onions
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and roughly diced
4 dried bay leaves
2 bunches wild leeks, sliced on a bias. Wild leeks are also called ramps and grow wild in the midwest and the east coast. They taste like spring onions and garlic and look like large spring onins as you can see in the image below. Give it try - they are in season!
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
generous bunch of bouquet garni - rosemary and thyme, tied with a twine
5-6 whole peppercorns
3 cups of beef broth
1 1/2 cups red wine
Salt to taste
  • Preheat oven to 325 deg.
  • Use a thick bottomed, oven proof pot - I used my cast iron Le Creuset pot. Heat a tbsp of peanut oil on medium high heat. Brown the veal rump on both sides. There will be smoke if ventilation isn't good, but don't worry about that. Crack open your windows. Make sure the veal is nicely browned on both sides. Remove and set aside.
  • Discard the oil and put in another tbsp of fresh oil. Again over medium high heat, put in onions, garlic, carrots, peppercorns and mushroom stalks. Sprinkle some salt and stir. Saute until onions are brown.
  • Add wine to gently scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Let simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the veal rump. Add enough broth to submerge the bottom half of the rump. Add a couple more tsps of salt, bouquet garni and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and cover the pot with aluminum foil, depressed in the center so that the condensation rolls off the middle onto the meat instead around the sides of the pot. Aluminum foil also helps seal the pot well.

  • Cover and move the pot to the oven. Check in 10 mins, if the broth is furiously bubbling lower temperature to 300 deg. On the other hand if broth is not bubbling enough, increase heat to 350 deg. The idea is to have the broth bubbling gently.
  • Bake for 3 hours.
  • Insert a fork into the meat. If the meat is done, you should be able to do this easily. Gently remove the meat and set aside.
  • Strain and discard all the solids. At this point the veggies and herbs have already imparted all their flavor into the broth.
  • Bring the strained broth back to a slow simmer. Add potatoes, sliced wild leeks (I used half the green leaves as well) and mushroom heads. Place the meat back into pot. Cover pot with aluminum foil and the lid. Move it back into the oven.
  • Bake for another 30 mins.
  • Uncover the pot, leave it in the oven for another 30 mins and baste the meat every 10 mins. The meat forms a shiny coat and the sauce reduces considerably and becomes syrupy. Keeping the meat in the sauce while reducing it intensifies the flavor of the sauce.
  • When done. Remove the meat and set it on a cutting board to rest for atleast 5 mins before you cut into it. This allows its juices to get reabsorbed back into the meat instead of spilling out when you cut into it.
  • Ladle out sauce and veggies over the meat. Enjoy with caution - you might just end up stuffing yourself!

28 April 2010

Pinto bean chilli

Serves 4

1 cup pinto beans, soaked overnight
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
4-5 whole peppercorns
1 can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1 1/2 cup of diced red onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 sliced thai chillies or green finger peppers
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
Salt to taste
  1. Pressure cook pinto beans, 1 tsp of salt and peppercorns in 4 cups of water for 20 mins. Cook until beans are easily mashable with a wooden spoon.
  2. While the beans are cooking, heat a tbsp of olive oil in another pot. Add onion, garlic and cumin seeds. Cook over medium heat until onions are evenly browned.
  3. Add tomatoes, salt and chillies. Cook until half of the tomato juice has been cooked off. While cooking, keep crushing tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add cooked the contents of the pressure cooker into this onion-tomato mix. Simmer for 5 mins.
  5. In a small cup, combine flour with 4 tbsps of the liquid from the pot. Make sure there are no lumps.
  6. Add the flour paste and lime juice to the soup. Simmer for another 15 mins until the soup has thickened into a more sauce like consistency and the flour is completely cooked.
  7. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. As you can see I didn't bother to garnish or take a better picture before I dove right in :)

24 April 2010

Kale chips

Friday was a good day! Kale chips turned out so good that I managed to polish off a whole bunch.
Serves 2 or 1?

1 large bunch of Kale
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
Sea salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg.
  2. Trim the stems off. I kept the leaves more or less whole. Wash and dry. You can use a salad spinner. I resorted to paper napkins and kitchen towel. The idea is to dry them well.
  3. In a large bowl add olive oil to the leaves. Massage it in thorougly. Then add vinegar and do the same.
  4. Line baking trays with aluminum foil and spread the leaves on it in a single layer. I used 2 trays for 1 bunch.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove, add salt and let cool for a minute. Snack away!

Note: Once you put the Kale in the oven, check in about 5-6 mins to see if the leaves are searing. If they are, then they need to be in the oven only for another 30 seconds or so otherwise they will get burnt.

22 April 2010

Smoked salmon pasta


Serves 2

3 cups pasta, I mixed two kinds
4 oz. smoked salmon, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 - 1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
Fresh ground black pepper
  1. Throw the pasta into a pot of salted, boiling water until cooked al dente. Reserve a cup of the pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, dry roast pine nuts in a skillet until light brown. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in the skillet (large enough to hold the pasta later). Add onions and garlic with salt and cook until onions are soft and translucent.
  4. Add wine and lemon juice and let cook until sauce boils down by half. Add cream and boil for an additional minute.
  5. Toss in the cooked pasta, smoked pasta and pine nuts. Add a couple of tbsps of the pasta water if the sauce is too dry.
  6. Garnish with capers or parsley.

21 April 2010

Black chick-pea soup


Adpated from: Ismail Merchant's Passionate meals

Serves 4

1 cup black chick-peas, soaked over night
1 dried red chilli
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch ginger, grated
2 tomatoes, diced
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp chick-pea flour or besan
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  1. Pressure cook chick-peas with 1 tsp of salt and 4 cups of water until tender. About 20 mins.
  2. In a saucepan, heat oil and fry the dried chilli for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add cumin. mustard seeds, garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
  4. Add ginger, tomatoes, 1 tsp salt and turmeric. Cook until tomatoes are well blended with the spices. I used a wooden spatula to gently press down on the tomatoes while cooking.
  5. Add chick-pea flour and stir to mix well. Cook for another 5-6 mins.
  6. Add this mixture to the chick-peas and the water it was cooked in. Stir well, add lime juice and cook for another 10 - 15 minutes on a slow simmer.
  7. The sauce will be thick. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Cauliflower, potatoes, carrots and peas

... these are some of my favorite things..la la la...I was singing this for no apparent reason while cooking last night. Perhaps, happy to be back in the kitchen after a long hiatus.
Serves 4
1 head cauliflower, cut in florets
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
2 smallish carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 onion, diced
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
3-4 cloves
1 cup of chopped cilantro
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
  1. Heat a tbsp of oil in a skillet. Add garlic, mustard and cumin seeds. Cook until garlic is lightly browned.
  2. Add onions with salt. Cook until golden, about 5-6 mins.
  3. Add tomatoes, ginger, red pepper, turmeric and salt. Cook until tomatoes are cooked through and most of the water is cooked off, about 10 mins.
  4. Add potatoes and carrots with a tbsp of water. Lower heat to medium, cover and let cook until potatoes are closer to done but not completely done.
  5. Add cauliflower with 1/4 cup of water. Stir to combine, lower heat to a slow simmer, cover and cook until cauliflower is cooked through. About 20 mins.
  6. Add peas and cilantro. Cook for another 5 mins.
  7. Enjoy!

12 April 2010

Dal Makhni - the Easy version

This hearty dal is easily my favorite lentil! Enjoy it with jeera rice.

Serves 4-6

1 cup split urad dal, soaked for 1 hour
1/4 cup rajma (red kidney) beans (I used a can)
1 tomato, pureed
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 green chilli, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp red chilli pwdr
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 cup milk (i used skim, but the heavier the better)
1 tsp butter
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp oil for tempering

In a pressure cooker, add the soaked urad dal, rajma, pureed tomato, ginger-garlic paste and the green chillies. Add the red chilli pwdr and cumin pwdrs to the dal, along with 2 cups water. Pressure cook everything for 15 minutes. When the steam has released, you can open the cooker and mash the dal to a smooth consistency. At this time, add the milk and butter, and bring to a low boil. Temper with a tadka of oil and cumin seeds. Serve hot.

29 March 2010

Tina's smoked salmon chowder

Tina made a delicious pot of smoked salmon chowder for dinner one blustery night. I haven't made it yet but I intend to very soon - it was perfect! Tina grayed out items she omitted in her recipe but can be used otherwise.

Serves 6

6 slices bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
5 green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1/2 cup water
6 cups fish stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp dried dill weed
8 red potatoes, cubed
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 lb flaked or chopped smoked salmon
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  1. Place the bacon into a large pot set over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes to release some of the drippings, about 10 mins. Then add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook and stir until veggies are tender, about 15 mins.
  2. Stir in green onions, then pour in the water and fish stock. Season the soup with salt, pepper and dill. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and simmer for another 20 mins or until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in the flour until smooth. Cotinue to cook and stir until the mixture is light brown, about 3 minutes. Pour in a little bit of the milk to thin the roux. Stir the roux into the pot with the veggies. Pour the rest of the milk into the pot and heat through, stirring constantly.
  4. When the soup had thickened slightly, stir in the white wine. Mix in the lemon juice, smoked salmon and corn. Cook over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Ladle into soup bowls to serve. Sprinkle chopped parsley or cilantro on top.

24 March 2010

Sambare




A unique feature of Konkani cuisine is the use of ground fresh coconut in dal. Here is one example, which is one of my favorites. It is best enjoyed with white rice and a simple vegetable.


1 cup toor dal, soaked for 1/2 hour
1/2 tsp turmeric pwdr
4 tbsp blanched spinach, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped

COCONUT MIX:
3 tsbp fresh/ frozen coconut
1 tsp coriander seeds, roasted in oil
3 red chillies, roasted in oil
2 tbsp tamarind paste

Grind the coconut mix to a fine paste in a blender using a little warm water. In a pressure cooker or over low heat, cook the dal along with turmeric. When cooked, mash the dal well an add the cooked spinach to it. Boil the dal well, and add the coconut paste mix to it. Add salt per taste, and check for sourness. The dal should have a mild sour taste; if more is desired add more tamarind. Cook for about 5-8 mins more.

To temper the dal, heat 2 tbsp oil in a separate vessel and saute the garlic for 3-4 mins. Add this to the dal at the end.

Remember not to cook the dal for too long after the coconut mix has been added as this can cause the coconut to spoil.

15 March 2010

Braised collards with ginger and chili-pepper


Serves 3

1 bunch collards, stemmed and cut into thin strips
1 cup chicken broth or water
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, minced
Ground black pepper
  1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil, stir in onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add ginger and jalapeno. Stir for a few minutes
  2. Add collards, salt to taste and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and let cook for 20 mins. When done collards will be chewy soft with a little bite.
  3. Uncover, stir in butter and let the water cook off.

Roasted winter veggies and Kale soup

Back in January when I had enough of the ample winter squash supply in my CSA share - I chopped half of them up into cubes and roasted the rest with soy sauce. Then froze them in ziploc bags and pyrex containers. I used roasted squash for this soup. Serves 4

1/2 squash, halved, drizzled with soy sauce, wrapped in aluminum foil anf roasted at 425 deg until you can easily pierce it with a blunt knife
2 carrots, roughly cubed
1 potato, cubed
1 large red onion, cubed
1 turnip, cubed
1 bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped in strips
3 springs of fresh thyme leaves
2 crushed red pepper
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oevn to 375 deg. In a baking, add potato, carrots, onion, turnip, crushed red pepper, garlic, salt, pepper and a healthy glug of olive oil to coat.
  2. Roast uncovered until potatoes are cooked through and onions have caramelized at the edges.
  3. Process roasted veggies along with the squash pulp until a few chunks remain.
  4. In a soup pot combine processed veggies, kale and thyme. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat, cover and cook until Kale is done, about 20 mins.
  6. Taste and adjust for salt.

14 March 2010

Boozy French Toast

Smitten Kitchen's recipe was so tantalizing, it HAD to be made this weekend!

Serves 2-3

6-8 slices bread (you can use any bread)
1.5 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp of your fav liqueur *
1/4 tsp salt
nuts, orange zest optional (I used walnut pieces)


Grease a baking dish well and arrange bread slices in two layers. Sprinkle nuts over the bread slices, making sure to lift the top layer and sprinkle in-between.

In a bowl, whisk together all the other ingredients. Pour the mix over the bread pieces. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and leave overnight in the fridge for the bread to soak up the liquid.

Next morning, pop it into the oven at 425F for 35-40 mins until the egg mix is cooked. We enjoyed it on its own, but you can also have it with maple syrup or fruit.

03 March 2010

Mushroom Dumpling Soup


This light soup was perfect for a chilly morning lunch!


Ingredients:

3-4 cups stock (I used chicken)
1 cup mushrooms, chopped into quarters
1/2 cup carrots, cut into pieces
1/4 cup shelled corn
1/2 cup broccoli
frozen dumplings/potstickers, 6-8
1 tsp chilli paste (I used sriracha)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
cilantro

Heat stock and when boiling, add vegetables. Cook till veges are tender (took about 10 minutes). At this time, add the cilantro, chilli paste, soy, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar. Check for salt and allow soup to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Next, add in the frozen potstickets and cook per instructions. Garnish with some more cilantro, if needed. Enjoy right away.



Mooli Dal


My grad school years started my first experimentations with cooking. One of my roommates, J, used to make this mooli dal which I absolutely love. The cooking somehow reduces the pungency of the mooli and complements the dal well.

Ingredients:

1 cup toor dal, washed and soaked for 1/2 hour
1 large mooli, cut into rounds
sambhar powder, 1 tsp
turmeric, 1/2 tsp

For tadka (tempering):

1 green chilli, cut small
2-3 red chillies, broken into small pieces
cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp
mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp

In a pressure cooker, put the soaked dal, mooli, sambhar powder, and turmeric and cook for 2 whistles. This may take upto 45 mins if cooking on an open fire. When done, add some water if the dal is too thick, and return to a boil on the stove. In a separate pan, heat 1 tsp oil. When hot, add the tadka ingredients and allow seeds to brown slightly. Pour this tadka over the dal and mix well to incorporate.

28 February 2010

Leeks and Mushroom egg noodles

I received of homemade dried egg noodles in my box of produce last week and this was quick entree I made out of it after a long day at work and a 3 mi run :)
Serves 3
2 cups dried egg noodles, cooked in salted water, drain and keep warm. Save 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
2 1/2 cups of mushrooms - I used a blend of porcini and cremini
1 whole leek, sliced and washed
1-2 small cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1/4 cup mirin
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
Spring onions to garnish
Salt to taste
  1. Heat a couple tbsps of olive oil in a large pan and saute garlic and leek. Cook until the leek wilts and is completely cooked. About 8-10 mins.
  2. Add mushrooms and saute until they are a deeper brown.
  3. Now add mirin and soy sauce and stir. Cook for about a minute before tossing in the cooked noodles and sesame seeds. Stir to combine the sauce and the noodles. At this point, I added a 1/4 cup of the reserved noodle water to add to the sauce.
  4. Adjust seasoning and garnish with chopped spring onions. Serve hot.

24 February 2010

Paneer Makhani


One of my favorite Indian food blogs is finally posting again! To celebrate, I tried the paneer recipe featured on it. YUMMY!

The paneer makhani was a little heavy, so pairing it with a simple vegetable dish would balance out the richness.



225g paneer, cut into cubes
1/4 tomato
5 tbsp yogurt
chilli powder, 1/2 tsp
cayenne pwdr, 1/2 tsp
almond powder, 1 tbsp (or grind 5 almonds with skin removed)
1 black cardamom
1 bay leaf
1"ginger, chopped fine

In a blender or food processor, add the tomato, almond powder, 2 tbsp yogurt, chilli and cayenne powder and blend to a smooth paste.

In a shallow pan, heat olive oil and drop in the cardamom and bay leaf. Let it sizzle for a bit, and then add the minced ginger. Lower heat and saute the ginger for 2-3 minutes till golden. At this time, add the tomato and yogurt paste to the oil. Add an additional 3 tbsp of yogurt and mix well. Turn the flame to low (to avoid burning the yogurt) and cook for 15-20minutes. The water will evaporate and the gravy will become thick and reddish-brown. At this time, add in the paneer pieces and cover with the gravy. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add salt and taste.

I found the gravy to be a little too tangy for my liking, so I added a dash of milk to the dish. When incorporated, I found it reduced the sourness and added a creamy taste to the dish.

Enjoy with naan/ roti.

18 February 2010

Fennel pasta



Serves 4

1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced - I used a mandoline
Linguine pasta
2 small cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of cubed pancetta, optional
2 tsp crushed red chillies
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan reggiano
3/4 cup broth - I used homemade chicken broth
1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and add pancetta over medium heat. Once the fat renders, remove pancetta, add crushed red chillies and garlic. Cook until garlic begins to turns deep yellow.
  2. Add sliced fennel and stir for a minute or two. Now add lemon juice, broth, salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt - parmesan will add some saltiness as well. Bring to a simmer, cover, lower heat and let cook until fennel is done. This should take about 15-20 mins.
  3. During this time, cook the pasta. Keep it a little more than al dente, so that it can finish cooking in the fennel sauce. Save 1/2 a cup of pasta water.
  4. Now uncover the fennel sauce and let it cook on medium heat to cook off most of the liquid. Until you have 2 tbsps of the liquid left.
  5. Add the partially cooked pasta to the pan, stir to combine and add a 1/4 cup of the pasta water. If it's too dry, add another 1/4 cup. The idea is to keep it moist. Cook for a minute until pasta is cooked through.
  6. Mix in parmesan reggiano and garnish with cilantro. Serve hot.

17 February 2010

Couscous and Sausage Stuffed Peppers


Tried my own variation of Smitten Kitchen's recipe and H and I thought the flavours of the ingredients really went well together.

Makes 2 bell peppers

Ingredients:
2 large green bell peppers
1/3 cup couscous
2 chicken sausages (I used Trader Joes' jalapeno chicken sausage), cut into bite-size pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped fine
1/4 can garbanzo beans
2 tbsp tomato paste
6 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, cut into small cubes
1/2 tsp coriander powder
salt/ pepper to taste

First, prep the green bell peppers by slicing the tops off and cleaning the insides of seeds and membrane. In a lightly greased pan, place the bell peppers top up, and bake at 350F for 15 minutes.

Prepare couscous as per instructions on the packet. I used water, but Deb suggests chicken stock which will probably add additional flavour.

In a shallow pan, heat oil and fry onions till lightly golden. Add the garlic and green chilli, and saute for 2 mins. At this time, throw in the beans, zucchini, cut sausage, cherry tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir, and allow zucchini to cook for 7-8 minutes. When cooked, add salt and pepper. Take off fire and stir in prepared couscous. Set aside.

Remove the bell peppers from the oven. Fill the prepared couscous mixture into the peppers and bake for 20 mins. I turned the oven to broil for the last 5 mins, to allow the peppers to brown a little.

15 February 2010

White urad dal

Serves 2
1/2 cup urad dal, rinsed
3 1/2 cups of water
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tbsp ginger, chopped fine
2-3 whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt

For tempering
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 dried red chillies crushed
1 pinch asafoetida
1/2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  1. Combine dal, water, ginger, salt, peppercorns and turmeric in a rice cook. Let it cook until dal is soft and soupy, about 40 mins.
  2. Heat butter in a small pan. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds and crushed chilles. As soon as you can smell the cumin, take off the flame and tip it into the cooked dal.
  3. Add lime juice and garnish with cilantro. Serve hot.

14 February 2010

Potatoes and peanuts

Lots of potatoes this winter!
Serves 4 as a side

2 red potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4" cubes
4 tbsp raw peanuts
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
crushed red pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup of chopped fresh coriander + 1 tbsp for garnish
  1. Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. Once it begins to sputter, add onions and peanuts. Cook until onions are slightly browned.
  2. Add turmeric, salt and crushed red pepper. Stir in for a minute. Add diced potatoes and a couple tbsp of water with lemon juice Stir, cover and cook until potatoes are done, about 10 mins.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of fresh coriander and cook for another minute.
  4. Garnish if necessary and serve hot.

04 February 2010

Penne Pasta with Eggplant Puree


Tried Smitten Kitchen's rigatoni version with a few minor changes. It was hearty and unusual!

1 small eggplant, chopped into pieces
15 cherry tomatoes
5 pods garlic, whole
5-6 mint leaves
olive oil, 3 tbsp
crushed red pepper flakes, 1 tsp
ground black pepper, 1 tsp
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 lb penne pasta

Mix the chopped eggplant, cherry tomatoes, whole garlic cloves, pepper, red pepper flakes and salt with 1tbsp olive oil. Arrange on a tray and bake in oven for 35 mins at 350F. Let cool once done. When cooled, add this mix to a food processor along with the mint and 2tbsp olive oil. I added 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup milk (the cherry tomatoes were too sour for my liking) to make the paste smoother.

In a baking dish, roast the pine nuts at 350F for 5-6 mins.

Cook the penne pasta as per instructions on packet, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. When cooked, remove pasta from water and add the eggplant puree. Add the pine nuts and mix well. Taste for additional salt/ pepper. If you like it more saucy, add the 1/2 cup of pasta water. Serve immediately.

The eggplant and mint combination was unusual and went surprisingly well with the penne.

03 February 2010

Sweet potato falafels




Makes about 12 falafels

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 dried red chillies
2 cloves of garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
3/4 cup of gram flour
a cup of roughly chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp of white sesame seeds
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

  1. Grind the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and dried red chillies in a coffee grinder.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 deg. Cube sweet potatoes, sprinkle the ground spices, salt, pepper and a couple of tsps of olive oil. Make sure the cubes are well coated. Bake for 30 mins or until done.
  3. Set aside to cool. When it is cool to touch, toss it into a bowl, add lemon juice and flour. Mash it all up until its doughy. If its too dry, add a little lemon juice or olive oil. Taste to adjust seasonings.
  4. Make little table spoon sized balls, place on a lightly oiled baking dish and sprinkle with seasame seeds.
  5. Bake for 20 mins until it has browned a bit and serve hot.

31 January 2010

Lamb leg steak in red wine sauce

V whipped this up one weeknight - it was a much deserved treat in the middle of the week :)

Served 2 very hungry adults

1.5 lb lamb leg steak, 1-inch thick
salt and pepper to season
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ancho chilli, crushed
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 cup of red wine, we used a Syrah
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1tbsp of heavy whipping cream
1 small onion, sliced thin
  1. Rub lamb steak with garlic, salt, pepper and crushed ancho chilli on both side. Marinate it, covered for a couple of hours in the refridgerator.
  2. Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan and brown the meat for 5 mins on both sides on medium heat. Set aside in a plate and cover it completely with aluminum foil so the meat continues to cook.
  3. Remove charred bits, if any, from the pan and add an additional tbsp of olive oil. Cook sliced onion with rosemary until it turns translucent to light brown.
  4. Add stock and wine and simmer for 5 mins. Season with salt if necessary. Add cream and stir. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Uncover the meat, cut into 2 servings and ladle sauce over it. Serve garnished with fresh rosemary.