Saturday, September 30, 2006

Month of Indian Cooking

indian dinner for my dad
recipes # 53-63

It has been way way too long in between logs.

First, I broke my camera. I went to a wedding at Gustavinos and dropped my camera onto the marble floor.

Second, I've been a bit busy. I'm not sure with what. . but just busy.

I think I must have tried at least 30 new recipes. Most of them Indian. I'm just going to make a list, post recipes from those that aren't from the Julie Sahni book and then just try to start blogging more regularly.

The picture above is a dinner I made for my Dad. It is Rogani Gosht, peach pilaf, indian fried rice, herb stuffed oakra, beet relish, mint relish, and hydrabad hot chutney. That is recipes #53-60

I made crab malabar (which wasn't so great, but made a fantastic crab cake the next day) and stuffed tomatoes (bhare tamatar) as starters. Recipes 61 and 62.

crab malabar

For dessert I made what Sahni calls a coconut fudge. Fudge it was not. I messed it up and it never solidified, so I just served it over ice cream. Recipe # 63

chutneys and relishes

indian fried rice with purple cauliflower

all photos from this post taken by Bill Eastman

Thursday, September 21, 2006

just to add to the list

recipes # 82 and 83

Red snapper and celeriac remoulade. Both from the Les Halles cookbook. Didn't love either.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dave and Tiffani's "Moroccan Cubano Pork Sandwich"

recipe # 81

No photo, and it took me 4 days to make. . . well, I made it over 4 days.
It wasn't amazing. It was alright. The stone fruit chutney would be good with many other things. I am going to put it on a grilled cheese sandwich when I think of it. I was also happy to learn how to make quick pickled vegis.

Moroccan Cubano Pork Sandwich
Pork portion of sandwich
Olive oil
3 lbs of pork butt, cleaned and de-fatted
1 cup of Sheeba's special curry blend
1/2 gallon beef stock
1 cup date syrup
2 Maui onions, medium dice
2 carrots, medium dice
4 stalks celery, medium dice
Kosher salt
black pepper

Clean all pork and cut into cubes. Thoroughly season all sides of each piece with kosher salt and black pepper, then roll in curry powder. Heat aluminum or cast iron sauté pan with olive oil covering the bottom surface for searing. Place seasoned pork onto hot pan and sear all sides of meat and then set aside. Continue adding oil with each batch of pork until finished. Do not rinse pan. You will deglaze this pan and use to build the chutney in later. In separate stock pot or deep sauce pan, add some olive oil and then sweat the mirepoix and then add seared pork and enough beef stock to cover the pieces of pork. Also, add additional salt and pepper and curry powder and cover and cook on medium heat to tenderize/stove-top braise the pork for about 30-45 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest covered for 10 minutes, then remove pieces of pork. Place these pieces of pork in large sauté pan with some olive oil and add additional curry and date syrup and check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. After cooked and seasoned, remove from heat and chop up into small pieces to be used for sandwich.

Stone Fruit Chutney
1 tbsp. walnut oil
2 cups golden raisins
1 cup sliced dried apricots
1 cup finely chopped and toasted almonds
1 Tbsp. Sheeba's curry blend
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. honey
1 cup date syrup
1.5 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. kosher salt

Place all ingredients into sauce or sauté pan and let all ingredients blend together and reduce until liquid has been absorbed by the dried fruits. Then let rest and season if needed. Spread the chutney on one side of the gordita

Pickled Carrots and Red Onion
4 carrots, peeled and sliced this on the bias
1/2 red onion chopped, sliced into thin strips
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
kosher salt

Blanch carrots in salted water. Remove and let rest in ice bath. Heat cider vinegar with sugar on the stove top to boil. Then add carrots and onions to the reduced vinegar and sugar mixture and cover and lest rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until cooled then strain the majority of the liquid and set aside

Other ingredients and assembly:
6 0z mild white Moroccan cheese, finely crumbled or other mild white cheese like queso fresco
1 dozen gorditas
olive oil for gorditas

Heat gordita brushed with olive oil on the grill or in a pan on the stove top and then spread with chutney, lay in pieces of pork and top with cheese and pickled carrots and onions for garnish. Think taco here.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Brioche Brunch Sandwich from Top Chef

DISH #52
New Thing: Brioche and manchego

I'm such a dork making the top chef sandwiches, but they are so good so I'm not too ashamed to post them. I already made the Grape Ape. .. it is about 10 posts back.

Here is the recipe:

Brunch Brioche Sandwich
2 Slices of Brioche, toasted
1 Sunnyside up Egg
1 oz. Shaved Fennel
1/2 oz. Diced Plantains, caramelized
1/2 oz. Diced Mango, caramelized
1 Slice of Manchego Cheese
1 Slice of Proscuitto, crisped

1. On brioche, place egg and cheese.
2. Mix fennel, plantain, mango and place on top.
3. Top with proscuitto and other slice of brioche.

I made a couple of changes. I made the sandwhich much bigger, used bacon instead of proscuitto (which I think is an improvement) and SALT!!! There is no salt mantioned at all. Salt the mango and plantians while they caramelize and salt the egg/eggs.

It is a great sandwhich. I often can't decide between sweet and savory for brunch and this solves the problem. It is a great mix of both. Love it.

Orson likes to cook too

keeping me company

50% of the time I spend cooking I have my son on my back. He seems pretty interested in what I'm doing and when he sees something he thinks he would like to eat he growls at it. He's cool.

Cardamom Banana Ice Cream with Pistachios

tastes a little like banana bread

DISH #51

I read about someone thinking about making this on chowhound. I found a few different recipes and combined them to make this one for dessert after an Indian meal.

It needs refining. I roasted the bananas which was a huge mistake as it changed the texture in a very bad way.

Here is the recipe as I adjusted it:
cardamom banana ice cream with pistachios
2 cups (scant) milk or light cream
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup whipping cream
3 v. ripe bananas
1 c. pistachios

6 servings
Put the milk, or light cream, and cardamom into a heavy pan and bring slowly to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let infuse for 20 minutes. Then mix in mushed up bananas

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Gently reheat the milk or cream and beat a little of it into the egg yolks. Pour the egg mixture into the cream and return the pan to a low heat. Stir until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon; it will take several minutes. Do not let it boil, or you'll get pieces of scrambled egg.

Remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir until it has almost cooled. Whip the whipping cream lightly and fold it into the custard. Just before pouring into ice cream maker, add pistachios. Freeze in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer's instructions.

Badaami Murgh

DISH #50

This dish is traditionally served to guests or on holidays. Also, many times it is made a day in advance becasue it is better the next day.

Chicken Smothered in Almonds and Spices
Serves 6-8

3 lb. roasting chicken
5 medium onions
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons ghee
3 teaspoons finely chopped garlic _
3 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
I tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon chili powder, optional
3 teaspoons salt
3 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander or mint leaves
100 blanched almonds
oil for frying
1 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon garam masala

1-Cut chicken into curry pieces. Peel onions, chop 3 onions finely and slice the remaining 2 very fine.
2-Heat ghee and oil in a large heavy saucepan and fry the 2 sliced onions, stirring, until golden brown.
3-Remove from pan and set aside.
4-Add the chopped onion, garlic and ginger to the oil left in pan and fry on low heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft and turning golden.
5-Long, slow cooking at this stage is essential if the curry is to have good flavor.
6-Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, fennel and chili powder and fry, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Add salt, tomatoes and half the fresh herbs, stir well and cook until tomatoes are pulpy.
7-Cover pan to hasten this process, but uncover and stir now and then to ensure mixture does not stick to base of pan.
8-Put in the chicken pieces and stir well so that each piece is coated with the mixture.
9-Cover pan and cook on very low heat for 40 minutes or until chicken is tender.
10-Meanwhile heat oil and fry half the almonds until golden. Grind remaining almonds.
11-Beat the yogurt with a fork until it is quite smooth and stir into the curry together with the fried almonds. Simmer 5 minutes, uncovered. Stir in the garam masala, reserved fried onions, ground almonds and remaining chopped herbs.
Heat through and serve.

Kheere ka Raita

Cucumber yogurt salad


Simple, easy, better if made 24 hrs in advance and with greek or homemade yogurt.

Jheenga Pakode with Tamatar Cutney

indian shrimp cocktail, basically

shrimp maranading overnigh

DISH 47 and 48
INDIAN DISH #3 and 4

Recipes from Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni

The thing about Indian food is that most of it takes a very long time to make. Most of the recipes I've come across call for long periods of marinading, letting thing rest for 20 minutes to a few hours, a few different methods of cooking. . . .

I was planning on making this for friends who were coming over on Thursday, but it wasn't done until Friday.

Indian Cooking is just like that.

Phulka aka puffy wheat bread

indian wheat puffed bread

New thing: cooking bread over an open flame

FROM: Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni

This was one of the most interesting to make so far. You only need flour and water, then knead it into dough. Then form small (6 in) flat patties which are cooked for about 30 seconds on a v. hot griddle. Immediately after the bread is finished cooking on the griddle you throw it on a flame and if done properly it puffs up. It is pretty cool.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Green Peas Palav

New Thing: garam masala


Green Peas Palav
* 1 cup basmati rice
* 1/2 cup fresh green peas
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 2 tblsp vegetable oil
* 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
* 2 small green chillies - deseeded and minced
* small piece of ginger - minced
* 1/4 tsp turmeric
* 1/4 tsp garam masala
* 1-1/2 cup water
* cilantro leaves - washed and cut into tiny pieces

Wash the rice under flowing water to remove any dust.

Keep a large non-stick skillet on heat , add 2 tblsp vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and fry for 1 minute.
Then add chillies, ginger and turmeric.
Now add rice, salt, green peas, garam masala and water and bring to a full boil.
Then reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and slowly cook for 20 - 25 minutes, until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender and fluffy.

Turn off the heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes.
Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

Pear Berry and Almond Gratin

insanly simple to make

New Thing: I had to get ramakins to make these.

I'm trying to use are much locally produced foods as possible and this recipe is a great one for this time of year as far as local produce. Next time I'm going to almost double the custard.

Pear Berry and Almond Gratin
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 firm-ripe Bartlett pears
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup raspberries
1/2 cup seedless grapes
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 stick unsalted butter

Special equipment: 4 (5 1/2- by 1-inch) shallow flameproof gratin dishes or a 12 1/2- by 7 1/2- by 1 1/2-inch shallow flameproof gratin dish

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter gratin dishes.

Whisk together eggs, cream, confectioners sugar, almond flour, vanilla, and salt in a bowl until combined well. Quarter pears lengthwise, then peel, core, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges. Toss pears with lemon juice in a bowl, then divide among gratin dishes. Divide raspberries and grapes among gratin dishes, then pour custard mixture over fruit. Sprinkle with almonds and dot with butter. Transfer gratin dishes to a shallow baking pan.

Bake until pears are tender, about 30 minutes. Preheat broiler and broil gratins 4 to 5 inches from heat until almonds are golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Cool on a rack to warm or room temperature before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Salad Nicoise

New thing: tuna packed in olive oil

I used the recipe from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook. I didn't love the dressing.

weird lunch

mango chutney and extra sharp cheddar

Followed by:

playa inspired tortilla with hot dog, mango chutney and pickled jalapeno. I eventually added catsup.

with what the man at the Bengal grocery store called Summer Indian Drink:

nasrus syrup: tastes like flowers and perfume

Monday, September 11, 2006

Camp Food: 12 Hour Vegi Hash

camp breakfast


We went camping this weekend. Remy did most of the cooking. Midway thru grilling I had a drunk insparation to chop open a huge late season zucchini, gut it and stuff it with tomatoes, sausage, a small amount of sharp cheddar, salt, pepper and olive oil. I put it back together, wrapped it in foil and threw it on the fire for an hour or so.

We also had corn, potatoes, country ribs, baked beans, hot dogs, brats, a huge amount of beer.

In the morning Remy took all the left over vegis and made an amazing hash we ate with eggs, sour cream, left over pork and beans, tortillas, and grilled peaches.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Creole Brown Rice Calas

The best thing to do with leftover rice
Creole dish #4

It seems like everything creole is severed with rice and here is a great thing to do with the leftover. I used brown rice instead of white and it worked will. The only detail you have to remember is you have to prepare the rice with yeast overnight.

The word Calas was first printed in 1880, and comes from one or more African languages, such as the Nupe word kárá, or "fried cake."

Here is how to make them:
Creole Calas
* 1 pkg. active dry yeast
* 1/2 cup warm water
* 1 1/2 cups cooked short grain rice
* 3 eggs, beaten
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
* vegetable oil
* 1/2 cups powdered sugar
* 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

Dissolve yeast in water. Mash hot cooked rice with the back of a spoon; cool to lukewarm. Combine yeast and rice, mixing well; cover and let rise in a warm place overnight. In the morning add eggs, sugar, flour, salt, and nutmeg to rice mixture, beating until thoroughly mixed.

Heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a skillet to 375°. Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls into hot oil; cook in batches until golden brown, turning once. Drain well on paper towels. Combine powdered sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over hot calas; serve immediately.
Makes about 2 dozen.

My kids loved them, ofcourse. They are basically dougnuts.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Tamarind Shrimp with Avocado

photo from epicurious

New Thing: tamarind

Tamarind Shrimp with Avocados
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/4 cup tamarind pulp (from a pliable block)
1/2 cup boiling-hot water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 firm-ripe California avocados
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (1 1/2- to 2-inch-long) fresh Thai chiles or 1 serrano, stemmed and minced (including seeds)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb), peeled, leaving tail and first segment of shell intact, and deveined
1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped

Fry shallot and make tamarind sauce:
Heat oil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then fry shallot, stirring, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain (shallots will crisp as they cool). Reserve oil.

Soak tamarind pulp in boiling-hot water in a small bowl until softened, about 5 minutes. Force pulp through a sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. Add sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Cut avocados and cook shrimp:
Halve, pit, and peel avocados. Cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks and toss with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice in a bowl.

Transfer reserved oil to a 12-inch heavy skillet and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté ginger, garlic, chiles, and salt, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and sauté, turning over once, 2 minutes total. Stir in tamarind mixture and simmer until shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes more.

Spoon shrimp and avocado over rice, then sprinkle with peanuts and fried shallot.

Makes 4 servings.

I forgot to take a picture of this one so I'm lifting the photo of it from epicurious where I got the recipe. We ate it all in 10 minutes. It was great.

Bacon Mayonnaise a.k.a my new favorite thing ever

see, I have the teeshirt to prove it

DISH 39:
New Things: I've never made my own mayonnaise before

I just put on m I heart bacon shirt I'm so excited about this.

Bacon Mayonnaise. It is like the of Tommy Burger Mayonnaise. Possibly the unimog of mayonnaise. Big, serious, perfect.

I first read about it on Skillet Doux. He has a recipe there and that is the one that I worked from. He's funny too. He mentions the original idea isLouisa Chu's. She has quite a nice blog here.

So here is Skillet Doux's version of the bacon mayo.

I made mine slightly differently. And, I think the adjustment is fucking genius.

Instead of lemon, I added tomato pulp. The slimy stuff that the tomato seeds hang out it. I hate it on my sandwiches, but I thought it would have just the right amount of sour. Plus, I was out of lemon.

Not only did it make my mayo pretty, it made the mayo sort of taste like a BLT. Perfect for breakfast sandwiches, in tuna for tuna salad. It is pretty amazing.

I had a hard time getting the emulsion right. It tends to separate. In its current incarnation it is more of a sauce, or dressing. But as I am planning on making this often, I'm sure I'll get it right soon, and then. . . I can start taking over the world.

cue evil laughter.

I made a BLT out of it. I haven't eaten it yet. I am waiting for my husband to get home so he and I can bask in it's glory together.


wild mushroom lasagna with rapini and tomato olive salad

New Things: rapini, trying to reheat a cream sauce bases pasta

I made this lasagna last month and it has been sitting in my freezer waiting for guests to come over and eat it. I was worried, reheating such a cream sauce based dish. I let it defrost to room temp, then cooked it for as little time I I thouht I could get away with.

It turned out well.

Here are the recipes for the menu:

Wild Mushroom Lasagna
Serves 10 to 12
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms , rinsed well
1 cup water
1 pound oyster mushrooms , cleaned, stems trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
12 ounces chanterelle mushrooms , cleaned, stems trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
10 ounces shiitake mushrooms , cleaned, stems removed, and sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 4 cups)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter , plus additional for greasing pan
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large red onions , chopped medium (about 4 cups)
8 ounces cremini mushrooms , cleaned, stems trimmed, and broken into rough pieces
4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup dry vermouth
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves plus an additional 2 tablespoons
8 ounces Italian fontina cheese , rind removed and shredded (about 2 1/4 cups)
1 1/2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup)
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest from 1 lemon

1. Cover porcinis with water in small microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap, cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife, and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Let stand until mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Lift mushrooms from liquid with fork and roughly chop (you should have about 3 tablespoons). Strain liquid through fine-mesh strainer lined with paper towel into medium bowl. Set mushrooms and liquid aside.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss oyster, chanterelle, and shitake mushrooms together in large bowl. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; when foaming subsides, add half of mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and most of liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to rimmed baking sheet and set aside to cool. Repeat with another 2 tablespoons butter and remaining mushrooms.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering Add onions, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned around edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer onions to large bowl and set aside.

4. Meanwhile, process cremini mushrooms in food processor until uniformly coarsely chopped, about six 1-second pulses, stopping to scrape down bowl as needed. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chopped cremini mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and all moisture has evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes.

5. Reduce heat to medium and stir in porcini mushrooms, 1 tablespoon garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in vermouth and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter and cook until melted. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Slowly add reserved porcini soaking liquid, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Add milk and nutmeg. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce has thickened and reached consistency of heavy cream, 10 to 15 minutes (you should have about 4 cups). Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons parsley and 1/4 cup basil.

7. Combine fontina and Parmesan in medium bowl. Toss cooled wild mushrooms with onions in large bowl. Place noodles in 13 by 9-inch ovensafe baking dish and cover with hot tap water; let soak 5 minutes, agitating noodles occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on kitchen towel. Wipe baking dish dry and coat with butter.

8. Using rubber spatula, evenly distribute 1 cup mushroom sauce in bottom of baking dish; position 3 noodles on top of sauce. Spread 3/4 cup sauce evenly over noodles followed by 2 cups mushroom-onion mixture and 3/4 cup cheese. Repeat layering of noodles, sauce, mushroom-onion mixture, and cheese two more times. Place 3 remaining noodles on top of last layer of cheese. Spread remaining sauce over noodles and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Lightly spray large sheet foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna. Bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes.

9. While lasagna is baking, combine remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, 2 tablespoons basil, 1 teaspoon garlic, and lemon zest in small bowl. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees, remove foil from lasagna, and continue to bake until cheese on top becomes spotty brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove lasagna from oven and sprinkle evenly with herb mixture. Cool 15 minutes, then cut into pieces and serve.

Tomato and Olive Salad
4 tomatoes, cored, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/3 cup brine-cured black olives (such as Kalamata), pitted, halved
1/3 cup very thinly sliced red onion or shallot
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Combine tomatoes, black olives and onion in medium bowl. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar; toss to blend well. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in arugula and serve.

Makes 2 Servings.

boil for 2 minutes, remove and shock with ice water. Heat pan with garlic and olive oil. Sautee for 4 minutes.

Pesto and Red Pepper Crostini

New thing: I never made crostini before

We had friends over for dinner last night so I took the oppertunity to maybe get a few dishes ahead. The next couple of posts are the menu.

1 (18- to 22-inch-long) baguette, cut into 60 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For peppers and onions
6 assorted red, yellow, and orange bell peppers (3 lb), cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
2 large onions (1 1/2 lb), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

For pesto
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan (1 oz)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic

2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Make toasts:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Put baguette slices on 2 large baking sheets, then brush tops with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in batches in middle of oven until pale golden, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Cook peppers and onions:
Cook bell peppers, onions, and garlic with salt in oil in a wide 4- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until softened, 20 to 25 minutes. Cover pot and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender and just starting to brown, 20 to 25 minutes more. Stir in vinegar and remove from heat.

Make pesto while peppers cook:
Pulse all pesto ingredients except oil in a food processor until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil in a slow stream and blend until combined well.

Assemble crostini:
Put about 1 tablespoon pepper mixture on each toast and top with about 1/4 teaspoon pesto.

Makes 60 crostini.

Do not make the same mistake that I did and get bad bread. I was feeling too lazy to walk up the the good bakery and instead settled on some terrible hero rolls from the Eastern European grocery store near my apartment. Mistake. This recipe really counts on a decent, hearty compact bread.

Other than that it was delicious and very easy to make. My daughter helped me put them together, but ofcourse refused to eat any of them.

I made about 30 of them and between 4 people there were none left over.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hedgehogs with Grape Jam and Ketsup

kid food

If it isn't mac and cheese, just cheese or pb&j, my daughter won't touch it. She's 3. My son will eat anything that isn't nailed down, and if it is nailed down, he'll hunker down and suck on it. He's almost 11 mo.

I've decided that I should cook kid centric some of the time. I've always wanted to make chicken nuggets, so from my ancient Better Homes cookbook I found on the street a couple of weeks ago. Easy chicken nuggets. I called them hedgehogs because I thought it might trick my 3 yo. into trying them. I say chicken and forget it.

Here is the slightly modified recipe:
preheat oven to 450
1 lb. chicken breast chopped into bit sized pieces
15 whole wheat crackers mashed up
panko (only because I'm trying to use it all up)
2 tbs. melted butter
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
3 tbs. fresh grated romano or asiago cheese

dredge chicken in the butter worcestershire sauce mixture.

Put crushed crackers, panko and cheese into a zip lock bag. Put chicken pieces in the bag a few at a time to coat. Repeat. Set of baking sheet and cook for 9 minutes.

Serve with whatever dipping sauce your child likes. I found a combo or grape jam and catsup was a good one for the kids. I ate a few with BBQ sauce from Curtis's BBQ (Georgian style) mixed with some store bought sugary BBQ sauce.

10% done. . . 330 more to go

The next 10%: Tons of Indian food (I live in a largely Indian neighborhood), coca leaf sorbet, all sorts of sandwiches, camping food (we are driving xcountry soon), absinth--if I can get a distiller, a few more creole things.

my tiny kitchen after my son pulled everything he could reach out of the pantry

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Grape Ape

The Grape Ape

Never used before: cremini mushrooms, pecorino toscano

Today I made a sandwich that I have been thinking about for months. The Grape Ape. Partially it is because I love the name, partially it is because it sounded so damn good.

I'm so not ashamed about how much I loved Top Chef. And early on Dave 'I'm-not-your-bitch, bitch' Martin became one of my favorites. He knew his junk food (like me), he had platinum blonde hair (like me most of the time) he would cry a lot (like me). He also invented what I thought would be one of my favorite dishes for the sandwich challenge in an episode of Top Chef. There are only 2 recipes from that challenge online. One from lame-ass Stephen (what was up with the tie, BTW?) and the other is the Grape Ape. I made it for a picnic we had this afternoon.

from tech to food is cool
The recipe is here

Really, really, I should have used sourdough. Dave knows what he is doing and by not using sourdough I didn't do the sandwich justice. Instead I used this huge and wonderful ciabatta bread I get at fairway. I love it, but it wasn't right. Other than that I followed the recipe to the letter. It was great. A little salty. It didn't mention adding any greens, but I might just do that next time. . . . and there will be a next time.

Indian Sweet Potato Latkes with Curry Yogurt

this photo doesn't do these justice. They are a bright beautiful orange with spots of green

new things: tumeric

The idea of making this recipe actually prompted me to haul myself out of bed before my kids woke me. This is a even more amazing as I am still catching up on sleep lost at Burning Man and I had an ambien for dessert last night.

I was considering serving this with eggs, but thought I would jst start simple.

Here is how it goes:
Indian Sweet Potato Pancakes with Curry Yogurt
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 medium onion, peeled
6 large sweet potatoes peeled
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons butter

1 cups plain yogurt (I used fat free and it was good)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh lime juice, plus more to taste

Preheat oven to 200°F. Place 2 nonstick baking sheets in oven.

cook peas, drain and set aside

Coarsely grate potatoes and onion, add to colander, and set aside to drain.

In large mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk in flour, coriander, turmeric, and cumin. Mix in ginger, cilantro, and peas.

Press potatoes and onion to extract as much liquid as possible, then add to bowl. Season mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In heavy-bottomed, large skillet over moderately high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter until hot but not smoking. Drop 4 scant 1/4-cup portions of potato mixture into pan and flatten with spatula to form four 3-inch pancakes.

Fry until bottoms are golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes, then turn over and fry until golden-brown and crisp, an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Keep warm on baking sheets in oven.

Wipe out pan. And 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter and fry 4 more pancakes. Repeat with remaining batter, wiping out pan and adding 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter before each batch.

mix together yogurt, lime juice and curry and serve with the pancakes.

Soooooo sooooo good. Next time I think that I will make them with eggs and maybe either a curry gravy or a peanut (thai-ish) sauce. I'll let you know how that works out.

So far, this is one of the most delicious things that I have made.

It's a 9.5 out of 10.

Crawfish Étouffée

creole food just ain't pretty

new things: crawfish

I'm getting to the end of my Creole kick--at least for the time being. I had both shelled and in the shell crawfish/crayfish. I wanted to use the in the shell ones, but couldn't find a recipe for etouffee that called for the ones in the shell for anything other than garnish. I think I'll do a crawfish boil with the shell ones. I was to lazy to do a recipe that called for a dark roux, so I chose one that called for a white roux. Basically, just throwing in some flour and not darkening it at all.

It was pretty simple and straight forward. Here is how it went:
Crawfish Étouffée
serves 6
2 pounds cleaned crawfish tails
1/4 pound butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
½ cup green bell pepper, chopped
½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp garlic, diced
2 bay leaves
1 cup flour
2 quarts fish stock
1 ounce sherry
1 cup green onions, chopped
salt and cayenne pepper to taste
hot sauce
2 cups white or brown rice
In a stock pot or dutch oven melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic and bay leaves. Sauté until vegetables are wilted, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add crawfish tails and tomato and blend well into mixture. Blend flour into the vegetable mixture to form a white roux. Slowly add fish stock or water, a little at a time, until sauce consistency is achieved. Continue adding more stock as necessary to retain consistency. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sherry, green onions and parsley and cook an additional 5 minutes. Season to taste using salt and cayenne pepper. Serve over rice and add hot sauce for desired heat.

It was fine. I'm over the creole flavor for now. I think I'll like it better in a few weeks when I defrost it and try it again.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Burning Man -Food of the Playa

My stash of food that I hardly ate

the amazing meat cookie invented by a space cowboy

avocado, tomato, crustini salad made by Lacey @ Disor6nt

Chair Taco. Panda said if I just set it outside for long enough it would cook itself. hmmm. . . .

Slash and Burn Huevos Rancheros


After we decided that we really couldn't hack it in the tent we moved into an RV. I got to cook a bit and I made a quick huevos with what was around. Panda bought mini tacos from Costco, we had eggs, spicy cheese, salsa and lettuce. I made an scramble with the eggs, salsa and cheese which I served over the pan fried (not chair made) tacos. It was tasty served wapped in lettuce.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Pineapple Sage Sorbet

pineapple sage sorbet. looks alot like basil citrus sorbet

Yet another sorbet. I am running out of steam with them. No one is really eating them, they just languish in my freezer until I need another freezer dish or some space and then I take a last few obligitory bits and trash the rest. Same might happen with this one, but I at least have to try.

Pineapple Sage Sorbet
2 pounds pineapple, pureed
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup pulverized sage
Pinch salt

Chop up and then puree a pineapple that has been in the fridge or freezer.

Put 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Whisk sugar into the water to avoid clumps. Add vanilla, sage and salt. Bring ingredients to a boil; pour into chilled pineapple puree.

Blend pineapple and sugar mixture in a blender. Let cool. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions.

I also hear that this is good with watermelon instead of sage.

Tasty. My son loves it.