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..