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

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.