Posts tagged ‘Cooking’

August 23, 2011

Video: Thai Crispy Duck Salad

This recipe is so popular that it deserves a video.

August 10, 2011

Baigan Bharta: A Warm Eggplant Surprise

I, like many people, have a slightly standoffish relationship with the eggplant. They are as beautiful in color as their French name, aubergine, implies and they are sensual in shape as well as potentially a satisfying dinner companion, but, like so many other things in this life, they are often soggy, limp, bitter, let downs. And yet, though I know the eggplants failings I cannot but help being seduced by its many wiles.

This dish is reminiscent in both texture and flavor of a warm, quite spicy, chunky baba ganoush. That sentence maybe cringe inducing for some, but what I have always liked about baba ganoush is the clean fresh taste that the eggplant brings especially when brightened by lemon and heightened by olive oil. Given that eggplants are beginning to appear in so many varied purple mounds in the farmers market, this recipe has given me a reason to grab those lovely purple gourds and take them home.

Baigan Bharta

1 eggplant whole

1 red onion, chopped finely

2 green chilies, minced (3 if you want it super hot)

2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger (or paste)

1 large tomato, chopped

1/2 tablespoon asafoetida

1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 tablespoon turmeric

 1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)

Cilantro, one handful chopped with stems to stir in at end.

Rub the aubergine down with oil so that it is evenly and lightly coated. Roast under broiler for 7-10 minutes, depending somewhat on the size of the gourd. You could also do this on the grill.

While the eggplant is cooking, chop the onions, chilies and tomatoes. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a pan and once the oil is hot, add the asafoetida and cumin seeds, roasting the seeds until they pop. Add the onion and cook until sweating, but not brown about 3 minutes and add the chilies and chopped tomato.

Add the turmeric and coriander and stir. When the eggplant has cooled, peel off the skin.

Then chop the eggplant finely, this should be very, very easy, but you want to leave some texture.

Add this to the onions, tomatoes and spices.

Add salt, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. When done, stir through the cilantro.

We served this with rotis and mutter paneer.

July 18, 2011

Video: Mongolian Beef!

This recipe is already on the site in written form, but because it’s so popular I thought I would share with you all the video I made for where I’m actually making it!

June 23, 2011

Beef Stuffed Naan

We’ve been working on Naan dough which is deceptively simple. The ingredients in Naan dough are; all-purpose flour, yeast, yogurt, a little milk and a little water. The first time we made it we started the yeast foaming by adding 1 teaspoon sugar to a yeast packet and 1/2 cup warm water. We then let it sit to foam until it looked like this (about 10 minutes):

While the yeast was getting active, we took 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and put it into a bowl. Then added 3/4 cup yogurt and stirred gently and added 1 teaspoon salt and the yeast and water. The dough should hold together but be quite liquidy. You might need to add a little milk, you might not. Set aside and let rise until double in size, about 45 minutes. The first time we did this the dough it was very difficult to handle, very sticky and once formed into balls required a lot of rolling in flour for the Naan to get the right consistency.

But the results at this dinner were amazing. It was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. It was light and airy and I didn’t want to share. At. All.

Armed with our success,  Shiva and I both, separately, made Naan again, and though the results were good, honestly, neither of our results were quite as good as they were that night. Which meant it was time to experiment.

Taking the same principles and ingredients Shiva changed two things. He didn’t activate the yeast in water, so that took out 1/2 cup water, and once the yogurt and milk were added he kneaded the dough for 8-10 minutes and then let it rise.

This dough was MUCH easier to handle.

Shiva broke of palm sized balls and made round flat disks out of them just with his fingers, no rolling-pin necessary.

The Naan was then filled with the beef.

And sealed up.

The Naan dough remained, elastic, and a ‘joy to work with,’ as Shiva put it. We popped them into the oven at 400F, cooked for 10 minutes ending up with savory, bundles of goodness.

Shiva made some nice cooling Raita to dip the packets into or just to eat with a spoon. Admittedly, this wasn’t the healthiest meal I had eaten all week, but it was delicious.

Savory Beef Filling

for 8 large stuffed Naan

1 lb lean organic ground beef

1 tomato, chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon ginger, minced or paste

1 teaspoon garlic, minced or paste

2 bay leaves

1 green cardamon pods cracked

1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garam marsala

1 teaspoon cumin

4 cloves

1 decent sized piece of cinnamon from a stick, but not the whole stick, Shiva broke his apart with a hammer

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 bunch cilantro roughly chopped.

Cook the beef over a medium high heat in a separate pan until the pink is gone. Drain off as much of the fat as possible. In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons neutral nut oil add the turmeric, chili, cumin and garam marsala and cook until fragrant then add onions and cook for 30 seconds, add the tomato and cook for 1 minute. Now, add all remaining spices including the ginger and garlic. When the onions and tomatoes are very soft, about 7 minutes, add the beef and cilantro and stir for 2 minutes, until well blended. Pull out the whole spices at this point. The filling can be made ahead of time.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour

3/4 cup good quality yogurt

1 packet dry active yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk (about)

Put flour, salt and yeast in a bowl and mix well. Add yogurt and stir, add milk as necessary until dough holds together, but keep it a little on the sticky side. Turn onto floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough gets that lovely elastic but not yet plastic consistency. Put back in bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

June 1, 2011

Wild Yam Soba Noodles with Asparagus and Edamame

Wild Yam Soba Noodles with Asparagus and Edamame

When I started food blogging part of my excitement came from making my fellow bloggers recipes. Usually, these recipes came from the folks I was networking with on Foodbuzz, and though there were some great successes, most dishes fell in the middle, usually good, but rarely palate revolutionary, supporting the notion that the further away you get from the source, the more diluted the information becomes.  I found myself gravitating back towards sources I knew to be reliable, such as Mark Bittman’s old column. So when I came across this recipe on his site, from his book Food Matters, I did a little jig and ran off to buy edamame beans. Asparagus are starting to show up here in the Northeast fresh, dark green, crispy and grown in New Jersey.  I will eat them non-stop until the season ends, and what I can’t shove in my mouth right at the second, I will pickle ad nauseum.

This dish is vegan, delicious, simple, travels well, tastes wonderful hot, cold or at room temperature and was a huge hit at the Memorial Day barbecue. You can use any soba noodle you find, which are buckwheat by definition, if you can’t find them, you can substitute any whole grain noodle. I highly recommend staying with whole grain because that makes this dish even better for you.  I was lucky enough to chance across wild yam soba noodles and can’t sing their praises loudly enough. I doubled the recipe below and found that was enough as a side salad for 20. and would have served 10 as a main.

Steamy Soba

Wild Yam Soba Noodles with Asparagus and Edamame

1 1⁄2 pounds asparagus, peeled if thick, cut into 2-inch lengths


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1⁄2 cup chopped scallions

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

8 ounces soba noodles

2 cups shelled edamame, fresh or frozen (I threw them into the wok frozen and they heated through just fine)

1⁄4 cup soy sauce

1⁄4 cup mirin, or 2 tablespoons honey mixed with 2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or chili of choice, if you crave a little heat)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put a wok, (or large skillet) over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the oil, wait a few seconds, and add the asparagus and scallions, you will get a nice sizzle. Cook, stirring, for a minute, then stir in the ginger and garlic. Cook until the asparagus is dry, hot, and beginning to brown and get tender, 5 to 10 minutes; remove the pan from the heat. (I cooked mine for a little less time because I like my asparagus crispy, about 4 minutes)

Cook the noodles in the boiling water until tender but not mushy. Check them frequently, soba noodles very quickly go from done to mush and will cook in around 3-4 minutes. Drain the noodles, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Turn the heat back on under the asparagus to medium. Add the noodles, edamame, soy sauce, mirin, and about 1⁄2 cup of the reserved water to the skillet; continue to cook, stirring, until the asparagus and edamame are heated through, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You can serve immediately by dividing the noodles among bowls, as I mentioned I served this at a barbecue and it help up all afternoon, there was not one noodle left.


March 18, 2011

Teaching Andrew; Cheddar and Stewed Pinto Bean Whole Wheat Quesadillas with a Heart Salad

Ultimately the point of these lessons is to get Andrew out of fast/semi fast food places and into his kitchen. Imagine how my heart warmed (and that’s saying a lot) when we were in the grocery store buying this weeks sundries and the response to my query of,  “So, how are you Andrew?” was, “I’m excited!” With that my foul mood that had been following behind me like a dirty redheaded stalker evaporated.

This was my ideal goal, to help him reconnect with food and be excited about what he’s about to eat. Our plan is to arm Andrew with a weeks worth of relatively simple dinners that he feels confident about making before we start to branch out into the more complicated and exciting dishes. When at the meat counter he spied a boneless lamb shoulder roast trussed up and his eyes lit up, “What’s that?” “That’s a lesson for about three weeks from now.” Ultimately it is economical both in the wallet and on the clock to roast a large piece of meat and freeze individually wrapped portions for quick meals.

Instead of roasting a several pound chunk of animal flesh we went vegetarian. We took a can of organic pinto beans pinto beans that Andrew thought he liked more than black beans cooked them with onion, pepper and a couple of spices.

Quick Spiced Pinto Beans

1 12 oz can organic pinto beans

1 anaheim pepper, minced  (which we chose because it is very mild and Andrew isn’t a huge fan of hot pepper flavor)

1/2 large Spanish onion, diced

1/2 tablespoon of ancho chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the diced onion and minced pepper until the vegetables are soft. Add pinto beans with most of the water from the can and add the spices. Stir until spices are blended and let simmer for 7 minutes. Remove from heat.

While the beans were developing their flavor we made a fantastic salad with some fun microgreens. The ingredients in this salad are both briny and fresh, a winter salad with some spring tossed in. The chickpeas give protein and the avocados much needed fat because I’m eating vegan at the moment.

Heart of my Heart Salad

1/2 head Boston Green Leaf lettuce shredded

1 12 ounce can of artichoke hearts in water

1/2 12 ounce can of hearts of palm

1/2 avocado diced

1/2 cup radish microgreens

1/2 cup wasabi microgreens (of which Andrew said, “Interesting”)

1/2 12 ounce can of organic chickpeas

Balsamic vinaigrette (NOT Andrew’s favorite)

Once that was on the table we sliced 2 ounces of Dubliner cheddar very thin (Andrew doesn’t have a grater yet and so the cheese melts but the outside of the tortillas don’t burn) and heated 1 1/2 tablespoons of safflower oil in a large pan. We put one whole wheat tortilla in the hot oil, quickly sprinkled it with 1/2 of the cheese, then a 1 bean thick layer of the quick spicy beans then half of the cheddar topped it with the second tortilla and cooked until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. We then made a dipping sauce of equal parts sour cream and salsa. And voilà yet another meal in less than 30 minutes.

The lovely thing about knowing how to make a quesadilla, which may seem like a simple thing to many, is that you can put anything want in those babies.  One of my favorite combos is cheddar, mushrooms and kale, or jack, chorizo and red peppers, or queso blanco, black beans and avocado and the ever popular classic, pepper jack with just salsa and guacamole.

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