Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘cumin’

I have three Indian cookbooks from which I can usually find something I want to make, perhaps with some additional guidance from a cooking site or blog. The one cookbook I bought because every single recipe had a lovely photograph! It’s relatively small 12 cm x 15 cm (5″ x 6″) which makes it even more adorable! It came with a ribbon book mark attached to the spine so you can mark the recipe you are making or the next one since it has lay-flat binding. With all these things going for it, you would think I would love this cookbook, but sadly I don’t. In fact, I have not enjoyed one of the recipes I’ve made from this book without significant changes! I should just chuck the thing but I can’t because I really like the way it looks. I know it’s silly but it is what it is.

This is a recipe I altered after having acquired a Meyer Lemon from a shoot in November and I wanted to make something with it. I puréed the soup to a smooth velvety consistency and I dressed it with a cumin yogurt drizzle with green onion slices, you could also drizzle with a flavour olive oil. The Papadams are from our trip to Chicago when Chgo John took us to his favourite ethnic stores.

Lemon Lentil Soup_1334

The earthy lentils burst with fresh, lively flavour with the lemon

Lemon Lentil Soup

Serves 2 generously (1 cup portions or 250 mL each)

Ingredients:

  • 100 g dahl or yellow lentils
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peel and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-4 cups water (depending on how thick you prefer your soup)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • grated rind of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Shopped green onions as garnish
  • papadums

Directions:

  1. Rinse the lentils and cook with the ginger, garlic, chill and turmeric and 2 cups water until soft.
  2. Add the salt, lemon juice and rind and blend with an immersion blender until smooth, adding water to achieve the consistency you prefer.
  3. Press through a fine sieve and set aside.
  4. In a small frying pan add the cumin and toast until fragrant. Cool. Once cool add to the yogurt and mix well. Salt to taste. Transfer to a small plastic squeeze bottle.
  5. Reheat soup and pour into rimmed soup bowls. Begin piping the yogurt from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock, then 2 to 7 and finally from 9 to 3. Then using a sharp knife beginning in the centre of the bowl, draw a spiral circle culminating at the outer ring (this will make the pattern). Garnish with the chopped green onions and papadums.

Print

Lemon Lentil Soup_1337

It’s super creamy and super filling

Read Full Post »

Recently we entertained our lovely neighbours across the street; it was a thank you dinner of sorts because they happened to rescue us on my benchmark birthday party this past summer when we ran out of beer! We asked them what kinds of food they enjoy and Indian was one of the selections. I love cooking Indian food but because there are just the two of us I usually don’t bother but doubling the audience makes it all the more worth-while. It was an extravagant meal so I started cooking a couple of days in advance and it really didn’t seem to be that much trouble; the saucy, stewy dishes of India lend themselves to being made ahead and allowing the flavours to combine over time making them taste so much better than the day they were made. I was very pleased with the results and will definitely make these dishes again in the future.

I also would like to thank Helene DeSouza (Masala Herb) for posting her favourite Palek Paneer recipe this month, if it wasn’t for her I likely would never have made this dish having tasted a restaurant version that was unremarkable. Helene’s recipe has the complex depth of flavours that one expects from Indian food. I urge you to try it.

The menu:

  • Onion Bhajis  (I made this one again and it was extremely tasty) with Tamarind Chutney (recipe to come)
  • Aloo Papri Chat (please click here for the recipe)
  • Carrot Pickle (please click here for the recipe)
  • Beef Bhuna (please click here for the recipe)
  • Butter Chicken (please click here for the recipe) NOTE: I used 1 lb fresh roma tomatoes and 2 cups of home made tomato sauce made from raw tomatoes cooked down and blended until smooth WITH oven roasted tomatoes blended and the whole thing run through a very fine sieve to get rid of the skin and seeds).
  • Palek Paneer (The Palek (spinach) gravy is new from Helene DeSouza who runs Masala Herb in Goya, India; recipe below)
  • Naan (please click here for the recipe) and Papadums (I bought some very special Papadums in Chicago when we visited with Chgo John of From the Bartolini Kitchens)
  • Chai Crême Brûlée (please click here for the recipe)

Paneer

The texture turned out perfectly this time.

The texture turned out perfectly this time.

This firm, unripened Indian cheese makes a rectangle 23 cm x 13 cm x 2 cm (9″ x 5″ x 3/4″).

This is the original recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 liter Fresh whole milk
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Heat the milk in a deep and heavy bottom pan at medium heat (this is really important, so the milk doesn’t burn). Allow it come to a gentle boil (around 200 F) and stay there for a minute. Make sure the milk is not vigorously boiling, if it does, immediately reduce the heat and bring the milk back to gentle boil.
  2. Begin by adding the lemon juice a table spoon at a time, stirring gently to incorporate. With each addition you will notice that the milk separating. The final addition of lemon juice will separate the curds from the whey very obviously. Switch off the gas immediately or if you are cooking on electric, remove pan from the element to stop the heat.
  3. Line a sieve with double layered cheesecloth, making sure the cheesecloth is long enough to be bundled up and tied later. Pour the curd and whey through the cheese cloth. Set the whey aside or discard (I tried making ricotta from this whey but there was no more curd to be had. I understand that Whey is healthy so you can search the net to find uses, I did not and trashed it).
  4. Wash the curd in the cheese cloth, by running it through cold water to remove the lemon taste.
  5. Tie up the cheesecloth in a tight bundle and hang it over something to allow it to drain for about 30 minutes.
  6. Line a nice rectangular pan with a double folded cheese cloth making sure you have enough length and width to fold over the top. Add the curd to the pan, pressing it firmly into the pan. I didn’t press my corners and edges well enough and they were a bit crumbly. I used a small glass to help push the curd down and compress it. Place the  wrapped cheese between two cutting boards over a sink or a large pan and put a heavy pot on top for 1-2 hours.You don’t want to add too much weight for too long as it can drain out way too much moisture from the cheese making it hard and crumbly. Your cheese should have a slightly elastic texture so when you lightly press your finger into it, it will bounce back.
  7. Wrap it and store it in the fridge for up to a week or cover well with plastic wrap and freeze. Defrost entirely before use. If you find your cheese still is a bit too wet, you can store it LIGHTLY wrapped in the fridge and the chill will dehydrate it further (I did not have to).
  8. Cut the block into small one bite chunks and add to the Palek sauce to warm up. Be very gentle when stirring as to not crumble the cheese too much.
Paneer_1480

Cubes of firm unripened cheese remind me of firm tofu.

Palek Paneer (Spinach Gravy with Unripened Cheese Cubes)

Saag Paneer_1474

The lemon juice also helps to preserve the lovely green colour of the spinach.

Please click here to see Helene’s lovely recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 250 g baby spinach (or a standard large size bag)
  • 1 green Chili
  • 100 mL water
  • 1 small Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • pinch Cinnamon powder
  • ½ tbsp Garam Masala
  • ½ tbsp red Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 200 grams fresh Paneer bite size cubes (Indian Cottage Cheese)
  • cilantro and green onions to garnish.

Directions:

  1. Wash spinach well and if you’re not using baby spinach, remove all the hard stems.
  2. Blanch the spinach in 100 mL water, set aside.
  3. In 2 tbsp oil, fry the onions until caramelized. Add the garlic paste and stir for a moment. Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, Garam Masala and chili powder and allow to develop their aroma. As soon as you smell the herbs, remove from heat. Add the tomato past and combine with the blanched spinach.
  4. Purée with an emersion blender until very smooth, add a splash of lemon juice to brighten the flavours. Press through a fine seive.
  5. At this point you may put the finely puréed spinach mixture into a container and store in the fridge for a day or two.
  6. When you are ready to serve, reheat slowly in a pot, and add the two tablespoons of cream, salt and pepper. Add the Paneer and stir very gently so that the paneer does not break apart. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro and green onions.
Saag Paneer_1475

The gravy was rather thick, you can loosen it with water, vegetable stock or more cream.

Read Full Post »

I totally agree.

I totally agree. And by ‘right’ I’m sure Ms. Midler is referring to pointy stiletto’s wouldn’t you say? (Charlie, Kristy, Liz and Lorraine?)

Speaking of shoes, my dear friend Monica was recently at Fallsview Casino and spotted this store that specializes in life-sized chocolate shoes. It’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven!

Chocolate Shoes...could life get any better?

Chocolate Shoes…could life get any better?

And coincidentally, we had Rae and Monica over for dinner and I always like to make something special when we have company so when I saw the recipe on Bam’s kitchen, I knew I HAD to try it. Bam made the entire recipe gluten free, sugar free, dairy free and egg free, but I didn’t have those restrictions so I improvised.

The flavours are subtle cajun and although you can add as much heat as you wish, I used fresh jalopeño chilies with the veins and seeds cut out to reduce the heat. The grilled pineapple adds a wonderful sweetness and the grilled jalopeño cornbread is a lovely base for the dish adding subtle smokiness from the grilling. I used an old favourite recipe for the cornbread, Fred’s Not Here Jalopeño Cornbread it packs a lot of flavour and the recipe can be halved easily — I didn’t do that because I wanted the extra. Also, for the night of the dinner party, I served 10cm (4 in) round cakes, but the muffin size is a much better proportion (hence my presentation in this post). Thank you Bam for the inspiration.

Cajun Grilled Shrimp with Grilled Pineapple and Mango Salsa on Grilled Jalopeño Cornbread

Serves 4

The flavours were complex but also worked very well together.

The fresh flavours worked very well together.

Fred’s Not Here Jalopeño Cornbread

Makes 12 regular muffin-sized cornbreads or four 10cm cakes plus 6 regular muffin-sized cornbreads

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 medium ground corn meal
  • 1 1/4 all purpose flour (I’m going to try using quinoa flour next time)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 red and 1/2 green finely diced jalopeños (if you like things spicy, add cayenne to your taste).
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Spray non-stick cooking spray generously into each muffin cavity.
  2. Sift cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  3. Blend eggs, milk and oil in another bowl.
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
  5. Fold in the shredded cheese, jalopeño and onion.
  6. Spoon to fill muffin cavity and bake for 25 minutes or until firm and golden.

Grilled Pineapple and Mango Salsa

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of salsa

Ingredients:

  • 3 thick slices of pineapple
  • 1 good size Mango
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red and 1/2 green finely diced jalopeños
  • zest of one lime
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Dry off the pineapple and grill the pineapple until you get some good grill marks (takes about 10-15 minutes per side). Set aside to cool
  2. Dice the mango into 1 cm or 1/4 inch dice. Add the finely chopped red and green jalopeños, scallion, lime zest and lime juice. When the pineapple has cooled, dice it in a similar size to the pineapple, mix into the mango.
  3. Add the chopped cilantro just prior to serving. Serve cold.

Cajun Grilled Shrimp

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of cumin
  • dash of corriandre
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 16 large shrimps

Directions:

  1. Clean shrimp and remove the shell, leaving the tail intact.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the shrimp, marinate for about 1-4 hours (marinating too long will cause the acid of the lime juice to ‘cook’ the shrimp).
  3. Heat the grill to smoking hot! Grill the shrimp until no longer opaque. Keep warm.

Assembly:

  1. Cut the crown off the cornbread muffins so that both top and bottom are flat. Brush both sides lightly with softened butter.
  2. Grill corn bread muffins on both sides so good grill marks are achieved and it heats the cornbread through. Place one cornbread round on the centre of each plate. Add the chopped cilantro to the salsa and pile it on top of the cornbread, don’t worry if some fall to the side, it actually looks better that way.
  3. Mound the shrimp on top of the salsa and garnish with a little coriander leaf.

Notes:

  • Cornbread may be made in advance and stored in an airtight container.
  • Freeze left over cornbread for another occasion.
  • The salsa is fantastic on burgers, so save some for another time.
  • The cornbread tops can be saved in the freezer for another recipe, like stuffing!
This one had too much coriander garnish

This one had too much coriander garnish and not enough salsa on the plate

Actual Photo from the dinner party; bad lightling and perhaps a glass or two of wine made it blurry. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Actual Photo from the dinner party; bad lighting and perhaps a glass or two of wine made it blurry. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Read Full Post »

I know I’ve posted a chick pea and cauliflower curry recipe before, but this one has a bit of a twist, it’s Thai and I just couldn’t resist! The fresh flavours that Thai spice combinations brings to this dish is simply mouth watering, and it’s even better the next day (fortunately, I made enough for my lunch at work). You can blanket this beautiful curry over Jasmine rice, perhaps with a little coconut in it, but we just put it over a combo of Arugula and Spinach to manage the waist-line! I found the original recipe here but I made my own changes just because I felt it needed it when I tasted it mid-way.

Thai Chick Pea Cauliflower Curry_BLOG

I don’t know about you, but I am really getting tired of these night-time photos!

Chick Pea and Cauliflower Thai Curry

Serves 4,

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion (I used Vidalia)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2+1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3-4 tbsp coconut milk powder in about 1/4 cup boiling water, dissolved
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 4 kafir lime leaves
  • 12-14 oz can chickpeas
  • 1 generous head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup lime cordial
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, lightly chopped for garnish
  • 1 finely sliced scallion for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat up a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp. oil plus the onion and garlic. Stir-fry 1 minute.
  2. Add all of the dry spices, plus fish sauce fry together briefly.
  3. Add the cauliflower, stock and dissolved coconut milk powder. Add the kafir lime leaves and cook the cauliflower until it is fork tender but not too soft. Add the chick peas and heat through.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in the lime cordial and give it a good stir.
  5. Do a taste-test. Adjust the salt level by adding a little more soy or fish sauce if not salty enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of lime juice.
  6. Garnish with chopped coriander and finely sliced scallion and serve hot with either rice or greens.
  7. ENJOY!

Read Full Post »

With the winter chills and winds and snow brings a craving for soup. Thick. Rib sticking. Soup. I wanted to try a lentil soup so I searched for a good hearty recipe and this is what I came up with. To make it vegetarian, omit the pancetta and sausage, it’s still a thick, hearty soup. You can put a dollop of non-fat Greek Yogurt on top in stead of the sausages.

French Lentil Soup with Sausage

Modified from Epicurious French Lentil Soup

Serves 6 (or 2 and put the rest in your freezer)

A filling soup without being too rich. A dollop of sour cream would have been lovely on this.

A filling soup without being too rich.
A dollop of fat-free Greek yogurt would have been lovely on this.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped pancetta
  • 2 cups chopped vidalia or sweet onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced finely
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 cups lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 1 14 1/2–ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 fully cooked chicken and turkey sausages, cubed

Directions:

  1. Pan-fry the pancetta until crispy in the olive oil, remove but save the flavoured oil.
  2. Add the onions to the hot oil and sauté until translucent.
  3. Add celery and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to slightly brown, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add 4 cups broth, lentils, and tomatoes with juice and bring to a slow boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium–low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.
  6. Return the pancetta to the soup and purée with an immersion blender until smooth.
  7. Return to heat and add the cooked sausages and heat until thoroughly warm.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Garnish with a dollop of fat free Greek yogurt.

 

Read Full Post »

We adore Mexican food, not the fast food kind, but a genuine ma and pa Mexican restaurant. Sadly we have few and far between in Toronto but there are a couple of good ones. The one I love for lunch is Cucina Lucerno down by Maple Leaf Gardens and why I love it for lunch is that they make a TO DIE FOR Sopa Azteca. Full bodied, flavourful and filling, the three F’s! When I saw the link to slow cooker chicken tortilla soup on Barb’s blog (Profiteroles and Ponytails) in her weeknight survival techniques post, I was immediately drawn to it. The sound of the ingredient combo, just made me think of Sopa Azteca (cue mouth watering), which according to Rick Bayless is one and the same! Go figure!

As Yorkesgirl recommends, I BBQ’d a couple of chicken breasts with a flavourful dry rub*, and then I shredded them and ‘finished’ them off in the slow cooker for about 20 minutes. The soup is divine and is so darn easy. You can even drop the chicken breasts directly into the slow cooker and just let it cook for hours and hours, the chicken is best shredded so over cooking is not a problem!

A very tasty soup, if I do say so myself

Sopa de Tortilla

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 2 small chicken breast, BBQ’d* with dry rub (see notes below)
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed, low sodium
  • 300g enchilada sauce (I wouldn’t bother putting this in next time).
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 1 fresh green jalopeño, minced finely
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tsp lime juice

Directions:

  1. Place everything but the chicken into the slow cooker on high, stir. Cook for 2-3 hours and then add the frozen corn and cook five minutes and then add the shredded BBQ’d chicken* and cook for 20 minutes until thoroughly heated through.
    Or, sauté onions and garlic in a soup pot, add the jalopeño, spices, cocoa and cilantro and stir until you smell the spices. Add the canned tomatoes, enchilada, water and simmer for 20-40 minutes (longer you simmer the better the flavours).
  2. Serve with a dollop of low fat Greek yogurt, a sprinkling of cheese of your choice (I had cheddar), some green onions and of course some oven dried tortilla strips. Enjoy.

*BBQ Chicken Rub

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic (not garlic salt)
  • 1 tsp ground dehydrated onion flakes

Directions:

  1. Mix the spices together in a small bowl.
  2. Remove skin from the chicken breasts and cover with the dry rub. Grill or pan fry finishing in the oven on medium heat until chicken juices run clear (around 165° F).
  3. Tent and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Using a couple of forks, shred the chicken into bite-sized bits.

I’ve had this soup a couple of times now and still have a serving in the freezer which I’m saving for a particularly ugly day when I need some soup to cheer me up.

Read Full Post »

Hi everyone, a quick update. Our hydro was restored sometime in the middle of the second night but we had already booked into a hotel not far from home. There is something so depressing about darkness, pitch darkness — not being able to find things and tripping over things, plus we wanted a warm bed and a hot shower! (Even though the house is gas heated and we have an on demand hot water domestic and heating system, the pumps are electrically operated, so there was no heat nor hot water!) I guess we could have put the fireplace on and bundled up, but not being able to shower or even eat (didn’t want to open the fridge). My biggest fear was the chest freezer in the basement but fortunately we are in great shape, there were no signs of defrosting at all. The refrigerator freezer didn’t fare so well, nor did the fridge. I suspect that when the power went off, the compressor had a lot of residual heat in it that just dissipated up (as heat rises) into the freezer and the fridge. So we had to toss a lot of stuff. But I remind myself that we were lucky, much luckier than our poor brothers and sisters to the south and east. They’ve lost more than a few shrimp and scallops! Thanks for your kind word of encouragement, we’re all good now. Now back to regular programming.

Today was a rainy, windy and chilly day. In fact, it rained all day. So uninspiring but we needed dinner tonight and lunches for the next day, so back into the kitchen I went and prepared what turned out to be a real winner: Fall Split Pea Soup with Ham.

A hearty and flavourful soup for a chilly, rainy day

Fall Split Pea Soup with Ham

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 175 g finely chopped onion
  • 175 g cubed cooked ham
  • 50 g pancetta, cut into small slices
  • 20 g garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 cups green and yellow split peas
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 5-8 cm (2-3″) cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock

Directions:

  1. In a pressure cooker cook the pancetta until crispy then add the onions and until translucent.
  2. Add the split peas and sautée for a minute.
  3. Add the garlic and cumin and sautée for about 30 more seconds (or until you can smell the aroma), add the ham, water and stock. Now add the paprika and cinnamon stick.
  4. Seal the cover and cook under pressure for 45 minutes or until the split peas have softened (I use a fairly low setting). You should check the water level twice during the process to make sure it hasn’t boiled down to nothing, stir. If the liquid is too reduced, add more.
  5. Serve with a dollop of low fat Greek yogurt and home made bread.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: