Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Fresh Asparagus Soup
1 pound fresh asparagus
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
crushed red pepper to taste
Saute onion and shallot in olive oil until onion is translucent. While the onion is cooking, snap the woody end off the asparagus and discard. Then chop the asparagus into 2 inch pieces. When onion is translucent, add the asparagus and stir it around for a few minutes. Then add 1/2 cup broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until the asparagus is tender.
Reserve a few asparagus tips for garnish. Place remaining vegetable mixture in food processor and puree until smooth.
Melt butter in the pan that was used for simmering the asparagus and onions. Stir while sprinkling flour, salt, and pepper into the butter. Do not let the flour brown. Allow the mixture to cook only 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth and increase the heat. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.
Stir the vegetable puree and milk into the saucepan. Whisk yogurt into the mixture, followed by lemon juice. Stir until heated through, then ladle into bowls. Garnish with reserved asparagus tips. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired and crushed red pepper for a little added heat.
The original recipe is great, I'm sure. I added a shallot because I found one in the back of my veg drawer and wanted to use it up. I sauteed the onion and shallot instead of just boiling them in the broth because I don't like a strong raw onion flavor, and I was afraid that would overpower the soup. I didn't have soy milk, so I just used the skim milk I had. I'm sure any milk would taste great. And, of course, I added crushed red pepper because I like a little spice! It was quite tasty, and it really hit the spot tonight. Yum!
And look at how pretty it was:
BTW - This recipe gave me one more reason to covet an immersion blender. I'll just add it to the list of things to buy when we sell the house in TX!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans/chick peas (drained and rinsed, with 2 oz reserved liquid)
2 tbsp tahini
2 cloves garlic
1 tbls lemon juice
1 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 tbsp lime juice
salt to taste
I basically put all the ingredients in my food processor and puree it all. If it is too thick, then add some more reserved liquid from the beans. I don't usually add olive oil, but you want to, you'll just need to drizzle a little over the top to serve.
I eat mine with veggie chips and fresh veggies, like carrots, cucumber, and snap peas.
For basic hummus, use all the ingredients above the jalapeno, and maybe add a few extra tbsp of lemon juice, and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper to add a little heat.
It is tasty -and beautiful!
Saturday, February 16, 2008
The carrot cake is a recipe from my good friend Andrea, who made it for her new hubby's birthday when I was visiting her last month. So it's called Pete's Carrot Cake in his honor.
The paneer recipe is from The Curry Book.
Pete's Carrot Cake
For the Cake
5 cups coarsely grated carrots
1 cup granulated sugar
2 2/3 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tsp salt
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups packed dark brown sugar
5 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained well
¾ cup toasted, chopped pecans
2/3 cup unsweetened, dried, flaked coconut
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons sour cream
For the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees and adjust rack to center position. Grease two 9 x9 inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper (this cake has a tendency to stick).
Place grated carrots in a large bowl and toss with granulated sugar. Transfer carrots to a colander and place over the bowl to drain.
Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Cook until butter turns golden brown (about ten minutes). Pour melted butter into a large bowl and let cool 2 minutes. Whisk in the brown sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and whisk for 10 seconds. Add the flour mixture and whisk until it is three-quarters incorporated. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the carrots, drained pineapple, toasted pecans, and optional coconut until batter is well mixed.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth top surfaces with rubber spatula. Bake until cake feels firm in the center when pressed lightly, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and run a knife around the perimeter of each pan. Invert cakes onto a large plate and then back onto racks. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting: Beat softened cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on low. Add confectioners’ sugar and sour cream and beat until well blended.
I grated the carrots by hand, which seemed to take forever. After I was done I remembered that I could've used my food processor - it has a grating blade! I left out the coconut, because I couldn't find unsweetened flakes, but I think it tasted fine without them. I didn't put the cakes together, because I took one to a friend's house for dinner. That way I didn't have to be tempted by an entire cake in my house!
Makes about 8 oz, or about 2 cups of loosely packed 1/2 inch cubes
6 cups whole milk
1 1/2 plain whole-milk yogurt
Prepare a place for the paneer to drain, placing a colander in the sink and lining it with 4 thicknesses of cheesecloth or a clean linen kitchen towel.
In a large (at least 3-quart) saucepan, bring the milk to a boil over hight heat, stirring almost constantly to prevent it from burning or boiling over. As soon as the milk comes to the boil, add the yogurt and stir gently. The milk will soon foam up into soft clouds and then break into thick curds or cheese floating in a thin, faintly greenish liquid called whey.
Remove from heat and pour the contents of the saucepan into the cheesecloth-lined colander placed in the sink, to drain away the whey. When the cloth is cool enought to handle, bring its corners together and squeeze the cheese into a ball, twisting the top portion of the cloth to force out more liquid and then securing it with a rubber band. Suspend the cheese from the faucet and let it hang over the sink for 30 minutes, to drain off any remaining whey.
Now press the cheese to make it firm enough to cut. Place the wrapped lump of cheese on its side in a pie pan or frying pan, and place another pie pan or frying pan of equal or smaller size on top of it. Place a weighty object, such as a teakettle filled with water, on the pan to compress the cheese. Press for 30 minutes more.
Carefully unwrap the cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, transfer it to a container and seal airtight. Refrigerate until needed. The paneer will keep 3 to 4 days in the fridge, and several months in the freezer.
Pics: The curds separating from the whey; draining the whey in the colander; 1/2 inch cubes of paneerMaking the paneer was easier than I thought it would be. It was just time consuming. Next time I will make it a day or 2 ahead of time, so it will be ready for whatever recipe I need it for!
Serves 4 to 6
Vegetable oil for frying
2 cups paneer cheese cubes
3 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, including juice
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Pour the oil into a medium frying pan to a depth of about 2 inches. Place a slotted metal spoon and a plate lined with paper towels next to the stove. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot, about 360 degrees F. When a bit of paneer cheese sizzles as soon as you drip it into the pan, the oil is ready. Carefully add about 1/3 of the chunks of paneer, and gently stir to turn and separate them as they cook. As soon as the cheese is evenly browned, 30 sec to 1 minute, remove with the slotted spoon, hold over the pan to drain, and place on the papertowels. Continue cooking the remaining cheese and set aside to drain and cool.
In a large frying pan over med-high heat, heat the 3 tbsp of oil or ghee until a bit of garlic sizzles when dropped in the pan. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onion in shiny, fragrant and beginning to soften, 3 to 5 mins.
Add the corriander, cumin, turmeric, salt, and cayenne and cook 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally to combine the spices with the onion. Add the tomatoes and cook 2 more minutes, stiring occasionally.
Add the fried cheese, water, and peas and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Serve hot or warm.
Pics: frying the paneer; Oops - a little overdone!; Mattar Paneer - delicious!
I overcooked the paneer a little - as you can see in the picture. But it was still good in the dish. The rest of the recipe was really easy. I added a finely chopped jalepeno pepper to the recipe, which I added when I put in the spices. Normally I would use a serrano pepper, but I couldn't find any at the grocery store. Overall, it was delicious! I thought it was much tastier homemade than from a restaurant, because the peas get overcooked when at a restaurant!
I served the dinner with some naan bread that I bought from the commissary. I still want a recipe to make naans at home - I'll have to harrass my friend Lili to send me her recipe soon!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Cupcakes Three Ways
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted better, room temp, plus more for pan
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
vanilla, rasperry or chocolate buttercream (recipe will follow)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan, or use paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla, and mix until combined. On low speed, beat half the flour mixture, followed by milk; end with remaning flour mixture. Mix until incorporated (do not overmix)
3. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with your choice of buttercream.
Reduce flour to 1 1/4 cups, and add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Makes 12.
Black and White Cupcakes:
Prepare both vanilla and chocolate batters; fill muffin cups with 3 tbsp of each, side by side. Makes 24.
(Makes 1 cup)
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
In a small bowl, beat together butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy. Use immediately, or cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate up to 3 days. Before using, bring to room temp.
I used some heart shaped foil baking cups that I found at the grocery store - very cute for V-day! I made 9 vanilla, 9 chocolate, and 6 black and white cupcakes. And I added some pink food coloring to the icing to make them even more V-day appropriate!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes
4 garlic cloves, diced and chopped
1 tsp ground cummin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dry oregano
red pepper flakes to your taste
salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tbs EVOO
Oven @ 425F. Peel and quarter onion, peel and cube sweet potatoes (I kept them a little over 1")Toss and coat onions and potatoes with dry ingredients. Place in baking dish and toss with EVOO. Roast for 12 minutes, stir and toss, roast another 10 or until sweet potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with fresh parsley flakes.
He sent the recipe with a note that he made it when he returned home, and he and my mom scarfed it up! I have to say that we scarfed up ours too! In fact, we ate it too fast to take any pictures!
Here is the recipe I think he got it from :
He kindly edited out the bacon for me!
Delicious - and really easy to do. I'll make this again.
Thanks for the recipe Dad!
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Singapore Curry Noodles with Green Peppers and Shrimp
1 package (6 oz) very thin dried rice noodles
1 green bell pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup finely chopped onion
About 3/4 cup chicken broth
1-2 tbsp curry powder, storebought or homemade
1 tsp salt
Place the noodles in a large bowl and add warm water to cover by at least 1 inch. Leave then to soften for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the green peppper in half lengthwise, pull out and discard the stem and seeds, and cut the pepper into slender strips about 2 inches long. Cut the rounded end sections into thin pieces as well. You will have about 1 1/2 cups. Prepare and measure out all the remaining ingredients and place them by the stove, along with a large serving platter to hold the finished dish.
When the noodles have softenend, drain them well and place them on a cutting board. You will have about 4 cups noodles, now weighing about 16 oz. Mound the noodles into a big log and cut through crosswise in 5 places to shorten the noodles, so they will be easier to stir-fry and coat with the ingredients. Using your fingers, gather the noodles into a pile and toss to separate into strands. Set aside near the stove.
Place a wok over high heat for about 15 seconds, then add 2 tbsp of the oil. Heat for about 30 seconds, until a big of garlic sizzles wildly as soon as it is dropped into the wok. Add the shrimp and cook, tossing often, until they firm up and turn pink, 1-2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to the serving platter, draining them over the wok to leave behind as much oil as possible.
Add the garlic and toss for about 30 seconds, until fragrant but not browned. Add the green pepper and onion and cook, tossing often, until the vegetables are shiny, softtened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the serving platter, along with the shrimp.
Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the wok, swirl to coat the wok evenly and add the rice noodles. Toss well and add the broth, puring it in a circle around the sides of the wok. Cook about 2 minutes more, tossing the noodles often to expose them to the hot broth and heat them through.
Reduce the heat to medium and return the shrimp and onion mixture to the wok, including any juices. Add the curry powder and salt and toss well. Cook the noodles about 2 minutes more, tossing occasionally to combine the ingredients.
When the noddles are tender and evenly coated with the curry powder and have absorbed the broth, transfer them to the platter, pull a few shrimp and green peppers to the top, and serve hot or warm.
I made a veggie version with sliced mushrooms, and one with chicken. I have never prepared shrimp since I don't eat it, and my husband hasn't requested it yet. Also I've recently discovered that some shrimp nets are bad for the oceans and often kill dolphins and other marine animals, so I probably won't buy it anytime soon. (*see note at bottom for more info )
I also bought the wrong kind of rice noodles - mine were thick, not thin. But they turned out just fine anyway. I think the thin noodles will taste better though, so I'll try them next time.
I followed the recipe almost exactly - except for the shrimp section. In my version, I cut 3 chicken breasts into small pieces (next time I'll go smaller - per my husbands request), then sauteed them in olive oil and garlic. In a different pot I sauteed the mushrooms in olive oil and garlic too. Then I followed the recipe again - only divided in 2 pots. It was pretty easy - apart from cooking 2 different dishes at the sam time. And super tasty! I will definitely make this again!
Pics: the wrong rice noodles (but still tasty!); the sauteed chicken
Pics: the veggie version; the chicken version
*Note on shrimp:
I was reading my husband's latest issue of Outside magazine (the "Green" issue), and it had an article about environmental heroes, etc. One of the people featured, a marine biologist, mentioned his website ShrimpSuck.org. I went to it, but didn't find too much info, other than "don't eat shrimp - it's bad". But from that website, I found another one called Seafood Watch, which has a lot more info on what seafood is a poor choice for preserving our oceans, and what seafood is okay to eat and still care about the environment! It was very informative, AND has a handy pocket guide you can download and print. I'll be checking out the guide before my next trip to the grocery store for seafood!
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
In this country we celebrate Mardi Gras with copious amounts of alcohol, spicy food, and delicious King Cake. While I love a good King Cake, I didn't want a whole cake in my house, tempting me every hour to take a bite. So I decided to celebrate today in a more dignified, British fashion - with pancakes! Pancakes are one of my favorite foods, so it's still a treat for me. Because I'm not much of a morning person, the thought of waking up extra early today to make pancakes for my family wasn't appealing to me. So today will be a "Breakfast for Dinner" day!
I'll be making my usual pancake recipe - which is a Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe. (I always have to add extra flour - at least 1/4 to 1/2 cup more - to get it to a consistency I like.)
AND I'll also try a new recipe I saw in Runner's World this summer. It's a recipe by Cat Cora - who is an Iron Chef on Food Network's Iron Chef America (which I love to watch - so exciting!), and a runner. My husband likes healthy food, and he is trying to avoid too much refined flour and sugar, so I'm making these especially for him!
Walnut and Blueberry Bran Pancakes
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup instant oats
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour (or a blend of white and whole-wheat flours)
3/4 cup blueberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup oat flour or oat bran
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
Pour milk over oats and sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Lightly stir eggs into oats mixture. Add dry ingredients and honey, stirring until combined. When the batter is thoroughly mixed, stir in the blueberries and walnuts. Ladle batches of the batter onto a preheated greased or nonstick griddle or frying pan and cook until tops are bubbly and edges look cooked. Turn over and finish cooking the other side. Makes about 10 pancakes. Serves 4.
I'll update later tonight, or tomorrow morning with pictures!
Pics: All 4 burners ready for cooking; Walnut blueberry batter; classic batter
Pics: Blueberry walnut pancakes cooking; regular pancakes - too thin!; heart shaped cookie cutter to make heart pancakes
Sunday, February 3, 2008
I found this recipe after searching around online - and I assume it is from England. I'll need to figure out the volume measurements of the sugar and flour, because they are listed by weight. (I guess I'll need a kitchen scale soon!). Here is the recipe as I found it - (I'll update with the adjustments I'll make later):
Jaffa Cake Recipe
50 g (2 oz) sugar (or 1/4 cup)
65 g (2 1/2 oz) self raising flour, seived (or 1/2 cup PLUS 1/8 cup)
approx. 60 ml (4 tbsp) marmalade, seived
100g (4 oz) plain chocolate
rind of 1/4 orange, finely grated
10 ml (2 tsp) corn oil
15 ml (1 tbsp) water
1. Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy; when the whisk is lifted the mixture leaves a trail.
2. If using a hand whisk put the bowl over a pan of hot water, then fold in flour.
3. Spoon the mixture into 18 will-greased, round bottomed patty tins.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes at 200 deg. C (400 deg. F) Gas 6 until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
5. Spread a little marmalade over each cake.
6. Put the chocolate, orange rind, oil, and water into a bowl over a pan of hot water.
7. Stir well until melted. Cool until the chocolate starts to thicken and then spoon over the marmalade. Leave to set.
Serving amount - makes 18
I found a website that had some conversions for flour
and added the conversions in blue
Saturday, February 2, 2008
It's sometimes a challenge to come up with new and exciting recipes for my family. I'm a vegetarian, my husband is NOT, and my two young daughters fall somewhere in between us (sometimes they like meat, sometimes they don't). So my challenge will be to find and make a new recipe each week, and to take pics to show the world (or just my friends) my successes and failures.
My first official recipe will be tomorrow!