Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Banana muffins (GF)

This morning when I walked into the kitchen, I shivered. “brrh, it’s cold!” On the deck I saw hoarfrost covering the planks and the first patio furniture items placed outside. I thought about my baby kale plants, prematurely planted, but then assessed that kale is tough and even survives winter. While the coffee was brewing, I lit a fire in the oven.

The semester and school year comes to an end. Students cram for finals, defend their research work back to back before the ‘final date to defend’, and make plans for the first hikes “once it is all over”. I still try to keep my cool in the midst of too much going on at the same time.

Last weekend, I decided there needs to be time for some baking. I had collected a recipe by Tartine Gourmand, gluten-free banana muffins. This recipe had been brewing in my imagination for a while, and I even had hunted down the beautiful daisy shaped baking pan on the internet.

GF_banana_muffins-1-7

I halved the recipe from the original one, and I still ended up with about 10 muffins. Time to share!

This is a quick and easy recipe, quite healthy, with olive oil instead of butter, ground flax, and maple syrup instead of sugar.  I used the Trader Joe’s gluten-free flour mix. I don’t bake often, and the many individual flours of GF baking always seem to go bad on me, and so I keep my stash small.

GF_banana_muffins-1

Yumm.

Banana muffins (GF)

  • 1/6 (40ml) cup olive oil
  • 1/6 (40ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 TB vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (30ml) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ripe banana, smashed
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup GF all-purpose flour
  • 1 TB golden flax meal (I only had brown flax)
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare a baking sheet with silicon molds (they are typically too floppy if not placed on a baking sheet).
  2. Mix the wet ingredients with a hand mixer in a bowl: olive oil, maple syrup, egg, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and banana.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl: flours, flax seed, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Mix both wet and dry ingredients until smooth.
  5. Pour about 2 TB of dough into a small mold. The muffins will rise, and if you want ‘flat’ daisies, don’t overfill the pan.
  6. Bake for 20-25 min, depending on the size of the molds (longer if you use a single pan). Cool and unmold.
  7. Optional: dust with confectioner’s sugar.
  8. Eat fresh, they taste best in the first 1-2 days.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lemon Fennel Celery Salad a la Jamie Oliver

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to get through this thing called life.” – Prince

It was the first time I that I heard this quote after Prince’s untimely this week, but I have been thinking about it more than once since. What a weird thing life can be. We think we are in a ‘safe zone’, and then, a curveball out of nowhere come flying, and it rocks us out of our orbit. Or, we watch it happen to others. Then, we are shaken for a while, start to forget and go back to business as usual. 

These days are very busy at work, but instead of going nuts, I ask myself daily“so, what do I have to do today to stay on track, and what else do I do for fun?”, and each day is a mixed bundle of work (not too much) but also creative, ‘useless’ things, and I just live in the day, and don’t worry about the next. One of my latest creative adventures is linoleum stamping. Inspired by a hand-made tea towel by Tracy, I googled around on the internet, and realized it is not that complicated, and started stamping my own tea towels with store-bought stamps. So much fun! But since I could not find a stamp similar to hers, I ordered a block of linoleum and started carving the stamp I want myself. (I still yet have to stamp towels.)

linoleum_stamp

I remember linoleum stamping in high school, it was fun back then, too.

My creative juice also got flowing on another level: cooking. After I ditched my cable TY subscription last summer and now live on Hulu and Netflix, I found out that Jamie Oliver has a cooking show on Hulu, 15min meals. Jamie, with his usual enthusiastic, youthful style, inspired me to finally try out something new in the kitchen again.  I even bought a wide-mouthed food processor because he uses it for many of his recipes to finely slice veggies. In this particular recipe, he sliced a whole lemon. I had to try this one out!

The food processor arrived this week, the fennel and celery and mint were waiting in the fridge, and I had a few meyer lemons left over from the winter’s harvest.

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Meyer Lemon, Fennel, Celery and Mint salad

  • 1-2 fennel bulbs (greens cut off)
  • 1 celery heart
  • 1 Meyer lemon (organic)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 bunch of mint
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB red wine or white wine vinegar (optional)

Necessary: mandoline or wide-mouthed food processor with a slicing inset.

  1. Finely slice the fennel, celery, and Meyer lemon into a bowl.
  2. Chop the mint leaves (or add to the food processor)
  3. Remove the vegetables, and gently mix by hand. Add a pinch of salt, and the olive oil.
  4. Garnish with some mind and fennel prongs. Serve.

 

The salad has a great texture, the light scrunch of the fennel and celeries. The lemon is not bitter at all, and adds this fresh, summery note. The mint rounds it out. Nevertheless, the salad is missing something. Maybe, feta? Or parmesan? Or roasted garlic bread? Or an apple and toasted walnuts? Ideas?

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Run eat repeat

Finally, spring is here. The sky is blue, the lawns are more green than yellow and the temperatures are climbing. The trees are still barren, but some flowers like the crocuses my  mom planted around a shrub in my yard are blooming, reminding me of her as every year.  Over the last few weeks, work and life took over my schedule, and time for some of the good stuff like running and writing fell to the wayside.

With both, there is a phase of ‘get into it’ again, a phase and procrastination I can only overcome if  I take it easy and have low, really low expectations.  The longer the break, the easier I have to make it on myself.

I can’t say that I am a runner. For most of my life I hated it, until I found the Couch-2-5K program that eases me into slowly and painlessly building up stamina to really run 5k, and more I don’t really need as regular exercise. I have no ambitions for any races, and I am quite glad if I run 5k in the first place.

lululemon

The first time I did the program it took me a lot longer than a few months to build up stamina, it took me almost a year. It also meant I hike up hills like a gazelle as a by-product. Now if I take a break for more than 2-3 weeks from running, I need to start back at week 2. But at least, I maneuver myself on the treadmill again.

It is so easy to make excuses every day and say, “I start tomorrow.” If I tell myself, “just walk for 30min”, it feels easy, easily doable. And then,  two days later I might walk again. And four days later I might start running. And then I just hope that life does not get in the way again.

Sometimes, I also seduce myself with new running shorts.

lululemon_shorts

whatever it takes.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Long days, and long noodles.

This winter seems to never end. I woke up this morning and the sky looked gray but a gray that is foreboding. The tall trees are in constant movement, wiggling silently all their branches all at once. The neighborhood has a thin coat of snow, only on the lawns, the streets are clear. I see the tiny foot prints of my neighbors’ cat coming and going to my garage to check for his second breakfast that I leave out for him.

Yesterday was a bright and sunny day, and, with a warm coat, it felt warm. There was not a single cloud from one end of the horizon to the other. When I grabbed my mail from the mailbox, I heard birds chirping. It was probably the birds chirping that made me think “it is really here, finally, spring!”

My days are so full these days that they seem an exercise in survival rather than in living. Like Michael Phelps I seem to crawl through each day with mega strokes, getting things done, one after the other, only to feel bamboozled in the evening and wanting to tune out with some show on netflix or hulu. The next day I only remember glimpses of the last, and I am immersed again in the needs of the new day.

At the beginning of the year, when life was less hectic, I made different forms, shapes and sizes with the Phillips pasta maker. They came in handy over the last months when I just needed a quick meal, often some pasta and tomato sauce or a ramen vegetable soup with home-made ramen. Two weeks ago, the pasta was finally all consumed, and I resorted to regular Barilla pasta again. But, it is just not the same. I put ‘making pasta’ on the schedule-fun list. Yes, I learnt to put myself on the schedule, and fun, too.

Yesterday, after work with some hours of day light left I carried up the pasta machine from the basement. This time my plan was to make whole wheat pasta for the first time. Heaven knows I can use all the extra healthy food I can get these days, so instead of the typically “OO” white flour I mixed it with Wholefoods wholeweat pastry flour, which is also very finely ground. Half and half. I made a double batch, because who knows when I would have time again to make it.

I put the flour in the pasta machine, poured in 2 eggs mixed with water, and then the machine kept mixing and grinding, and grunting, ready to push out the noodles. Then, it beeped and stopped. That had never happened before. I opened up the machine to check that all the parts were aligned correctly. A whole mess of egg-flour crumbles fell out. But things seemed to be alright. So, I started again.  2 inches of noodles emerged, but the machine looked like it was pushing so hard it would burst apart at any moment. So, note to self (and everyone who is still reading): no wholewheat pastry flour. It must have a different texture, absorb the liquid differently and get too dense to be pushed out.

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So, I threw it all out, cleaned up the machine, and started again, with regular flour. This time it worked, and I grabbed the noodles, handful by handful, cut them with the pastry cutter, and slid them right into the freezer container.  The last bundle went into a pot of boiling, salted water, and I whipped up a quick tomato sauce with an onion, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes from Wholefoods, a can of tomato paste, a can of Hunts tomato sauce, a dash of anchovy paste, a bay leaf, a swirl of agave nectar, and some crushed hot peppers.

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Quick dinner, again. Netflix was waiting.

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sauteed radicchio salad

The sky is french gray, a cold, stark gray, the wind howls around the house, and the temperatures dipped into the 20s again. There is no sign of spring. Despite it being a relatively mild winter with only one month of snow, the pre-spring is over 2 months old now. The landscape is still barren and the trees bare. We are in a waiting pattern, cruising over the airport, waiting to land, in spring.

Winter is a tough time for me to eat salads. During one winter, the best option of lunch salads seems to be buying whole romaine salad heads and chop them up when I need them. Sometimes, I buy prepackaged spring mix salad in plastic containers. This winter with my lack of interest of making my own salad in the first place and detouring to the cafeteria, I bought radicchio salad. It not only has a great, slightly bitter taste and hearty texture, but it also last rather long in the fridge, 2-3 weeks. Just in case.

raddicchio_salad

My favorite way to prepare it is with balsamic vinaigrette, blue cheese, toasted walnuts and apples or pears. It is a typical restaurant combination. But what’s also great with radicchio is that it can be grilled and slightly wilted. This time I cut a Belgian endive in half, and sauted it with some olive oil in a ceramic pan.  This was  a convincing lunch for the wary, waiting for spring.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easter calling

It’s Easter this weekend. Easter in March feels really early, especially since we got another 12 inches of snow on Monday. It thaws rapidly but the Easter egg hunt  might still be in the snow this year. Bummer.

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For me,  Easter feels like spring, first flowers, green lawn, spending times outdoors again, pumping air in the bike and getting sore thighs from peddling.  But this year even the Easter bunny is a stunned by Santa Claus conditions.

bunny

I have to reign in my impatience with wanting warmer weather to come. The days are longer, it is sunnier but I am still kept inside because it is chilly.  Yesterday, I went running outdoors and it was glorious, much better than those sweaty hot summer runs where I have to outrun the mosquitos.

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I try to put the summer colors in my salad, with radicchio, first (non-local) strawberries, smoked swiss cheese from an Amish butcher, and pine nuts.  Spring in a bowl.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Triple Chocolate Cookies

It’s finally spring break, but the weather thinks it is winter again, sending thick snow flakes dancing in front of my window.  At least, we seem a month ahead, April weather in March.  What better to relax with a nice cup of coffee, a good book and a fresh giant home-based, crumbly chocolate cookie?

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Triple Chocolate Cookies

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) salted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark or light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an stand electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the room temperature soft butter and the 2 types of sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and mix together.
  4. Add the flour mixture and continue mixing until just combined.
  5. Now, add the chocolate chips, and mix until combined.
  6. Using a small ice cream scoop, drop the dough two inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment (makes about 6 cookies per regular sized cookie sheet, and 3 cookie sheets overall plus 3 small cookies).
  7. Bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Cool the cookies on the cookie sheets (! don’t move them, they will fall apart!). The cookies should be very soft when they are removed from the oven. They will firm up as they cool (10 min).

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Monday, February 29, 2016

Overnight tomato sauce

It is February 29.  I wonder what I did 4 years ago on this day, but I cannot remember. Our snow is long gone here in Maine, and this week will be warm. I am willing to take this demonstration of spring for the real thing.  Spring break is around the corner, and I feel I am going just to collapse and veg out for 2 weeks straight.

Yesterday were the Oscars, and I must admit I have not seen any of the nominated films nor the Oscars this year, thanks to being a Netflix & Hulu aficionado and satellite cutter. At least they streamed the SuperBowl, but not so much luck with the Oscars. I did buy a digital antenna, so maybe, next year I am back on track. I miss all those gut wrenching acceptance speeches and tears! And, I guess I have to see Spotlight, Mad Max and Leonardo. Or at least Spotlight.

A few days ago I made my own props.

props

On Sunday,  I had enough time to both make pasta and a tomato sauce from scratch. The tomato sauce cooked for a few hours, not overnight, but it could probably be made in the slow cooker overnight. I just like the name ‘overnight tomato sauce’.

I find it difficult to get a tomato sauce just right, sometimes it does not come out well at all. No flavor, or not really good, or too acidic. This one worked really well, and I think it was mostly due to the types of tomatoes I used and heavy helping of Trader Joe’s red pepper eggplant dip.

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For the pasta, I tried out the fettucini attachment. It came out really well, similar to all the other times I made pasta in the Philips pasta maker. Thick, fat, wide noodles.

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with some Mache salad and the home-made pasta sauce it was a perfect Sunday dinner.

Overnight tomato sauce

  1. In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat the olive oil and fry the onions first. Once translucent, add the carrots and garlic and fry for just a minute.
  2. Blend the 3 cans of tomatoes in a food processor and add to the pot.
  3. Stir, and add the red pepper spread, and rosemary.
  4. Bring to a bubble, and then reduce the heat and cook for 2h on low heat. A third of the liquid should evaporate for a thick sauce.
  5. Add the dark agave nectar at the end. Stir and serve.

Slow cooker version:

  1. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and fry the onions first. Once translucent, add the carrots and garlic and fry for just a minute. Turn off the heat.
  2. Blend the 3 cans of tomatoes in a food processor and add to the slow cooker.
  3. Add in the red pepper spread, rosemary, and fried onions.
  4. Cook on low overnight.
  5. Add the dark agave nectar at the end. Stir and serve.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Angel hair and X Files

The cold and snow came on the weekend, and then the wind and rain came. Today I woke up and saw that most of the 15 inches of snow are now gone, and that the house is still standing. I was not quite sure about that last night when I went to bed, because the winds were howling around the house that even the cats looked up, their ears in alarm radar position.

Today, it looks like spring again, well, maybe spring in the northeastern corner of the Northeast, with temperatures around 40F. This is still better than a –30F windchill.

angel-hair-pasta-philips

I’ve been busy with a project at work and the days pass my by without much notice. I am in the zone. Hope, I don’t jinx myself. It took a while to get in the zone. There has been no time for recipes and I’ve been living off the large stash of home-made noodles in the freezer.  Thick spaghetti, penne, angelhair  pasta, thrown in a pot of salted boiling water, some tomato sauce and back to work.

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I also started to watch The X Files. I was not into it the first time around, but I’ve been a huge fan of Gillian Anderson since the UK series “The Fall”, with her as a non-nonsense, intelligent Superintendent Stella Gibson, the only one in the whole investigation who never looses her cool, similar to the killer.  It’s interesting to see that she played the same type, back in the days, much younger, in the X Files. Now, she’s just a lot hotter. Well, maybe it’s the clothes. Or is it age?  

My cats talk to me a lot. Mostly, it seems they complain and call me to order. “It’s dinner time, hurry up!” or “I am bored, you have not played with me today, how can you forget this. Now now now!” I started to respond with   “Alright, agent Scully…”

Just checking in. Be back.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

In the land of kimchi

I am a huge fan of kimchi. Back in the days, I bought it in large quantities, inexpensively in Koreatown in LA. These days it is vastly overpriced up here in Maine, where there are only a few Koreans who know how to make it and napa cabbage seems also to quite pricy in the winter. Nevertheless, home-made kimchi to the rescue.

A few years ago, I made a first batch based on a video vom Maangchi. She’s my kimchi queen, she is just super cute.  She has another video on youtube, ‘easy kimchi’.  So, it was a kimchi making Saturday afternoon, and a basmati rice and fresh kimchi kind of dinner. Yum!

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It’s best to watch the video for more instructions. I am just writing up the ingredients.

Easy Kimchi (according to Maangchi):

Cabbage:

  • 10 pounds of napa cabbage (adjust the recipe if you use less. I used 7 pounds).
  • 1 cup of kosher salt

Cut napa cabbage into bite-size pieces. Wash and soak the cabbage for a few minutes. Then salt the cabbage in a large bowl and let sit for 1.5 hours. Every 30 min gently mix and turn over the cabbage. After 1.5h, rinse the cabbage and drain.

kimchi-1

Meanwhile make…

Porridge:

  • 3 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of white sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 cup of white or coconut sugar

In a pot, hit the water with the rice flour and constantly stir. With in 3-5 min, the porridge will thicken up. Add the sugar, and stir some more for 1min. Take off heat. Let cool to room temperature.

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Ginger-garlic paste:

  • 1 cup of peeled garlic cloves
  • 2 TB of fresh ginger
  • 1 cup of fish sauce
  • 1 medium sized white onion, peeled

Place in food processor and process for 1 min.

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Porrigde-Chili paste:

  • Mix the cooled porridge with the ginger-garlic paste.
  • add 1-2 cups of chili flakes (just 1/2-1 cup if you don’t like it too hot)
  • mix it all up.
  • Add
    • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup of daikon, thinly sliced
    • 1 bunch of scallions, sliced on an angle
  • Mix the vegetables in the paste.

 

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Make kimchi:

  • Prepare a large storage container with a tight fitting lid. You will store the kimchi in the fridge to ferment for a few weeks.
  • Put on some rubber gloves.
  • In a bowl, mix a portion of salted, drained cabbage with a laddle full of chili paste. Mix up, and place in storage container.
  • Mix until all is mixed up and placed in storage container.
  • Place in fridge and wait for fermentation. It will start after 2 days, and smell slightly sour.

I made a separate smaller portion in a glass jar, which will ferment in room temperature so it ferments faster.

Serve with rice, sesame seeds and beef, or just as a side.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Coconut waffles (vegan)

It is Friday. A lot went through my mind this week. Is the zika virus really such an explosively spreading threat as it is made out to be? Is it really responsible for the birth defects reported in Brazil? The whole hysteria eerily reminds me of Dan Brown novel “Inferno”.  I read somewhere that scientists try to bio-engineer a male mosquito that, if pairing with a female of the zika carrying mosquito species, the female would lay eggs that don’t develop into mosquitos. Inferno 2, revenge of the humans.

It would be funny if it would not be concerning.

Yesteryday, I read a blog post on the Bloggess, about Dave.  It made me think that I watch too much hulu and surf the internet to keep up with people I often don’t even know.

It is mild outside. Much of our snow has melted. It feels more like March than end of January, and mentally I am steering towards spring and summer, making mental notes about spring fashion and running outdoors again.

This week I experimented with a new recipe, coconut waffles. This is an easy recipe and gives waffles a bit of an exotic edge. Have  a good weekend!

waffles_2

Coconut waffles (vegan)

Makes 4 smaller waffles (1 breakfast for 2 not so hungry people)

  • 1/2 cup of allpurpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 TB of coconut flour
  • 1 TB of raw coconut sugar
  • small dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk (used the drinkable kind, not the canned)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon for raw grated ginger (optional, but cuts through the sweetness)

waffle_doughLR

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, and then add the wet ingredients. Combine and mix until the waffle dough is smooth.
  2. Preheat waffle iron (depending on the model, a green light goes on). Spray with nonstick canola oil spray (or wipe with some oil).
  3. Bake waffles according to the waffle maker's instructions, which usually means putting about 1/4 cup batter on the iron, closing, and waiting for a light to go out. I baked mine longer than the light signal (about 4 min altogether so that they are on the crispy side).
  4. Serve to your liking.  I just had them with butter and jam.

waffles_1LR

Friday, January 22, 2016

Arctic Winter Comforts

It is arctic around here. I wake up every morning to a glissening white-golden sun and a bright blue sky, the light reflected by the bright icy snow that covers the landscape pervasively. With January, the tempertures dip to the low 20sF, and it does not matter if it is 22F or -1F, it is simply too cold for comfort. Add some wind that icely blusters up the loose snow, and makes the tiny silvery snowflakes dance in house high walls, like ghosts, in the sun. I pull my fur-rimmed hood tighter around my head and try to get to the next building as fast as possible.

Winter.

January is closing out, but February will not be much milder. This is the time of the year when you do not see your neighbors. They disappear in the fall in their houses and sometimes, in the spring they emerge with newborns. In the spring and summer, the kids play in the yard, the dogs are walked twice daily and the cats meander the fence-less properties. But winter? Only cars and snowblowers humming in the night.

mung_bean_sprout_salad

This weekend all the winter action is happening a 1000 Miles south from here, and D.C. will see 2 feet of snow. It is actually nice to sit back and for once see someone else get walloped. It will be fun so see the White House rimmed in winterwonderland and snowmen on the mall. Picturesque as it always is when the storm is gone and a beautiful landscape left. I hope everyone has stocked up on fresh ingredients for chicken noodle soup and the wine cellar is restocked, ready to shamelessly hunkering down.

sunny_maine_coon

This part of winter can be cozy. The house is warm, and me being wrapped in a down blanket and the cats snuggled. Reading, writing, endless netflix, a calm is in the air because there is nothing much to miss out on beside some skiing.

It reminds me of Switzerland, high up in the Alps, with no cars, warm ski huts and a beautiful view.

pasta_paneer

Good food, of course. Like a lazy version of Trader Joe’s Palak Paneer mixed more fresh spinach and home-made fresh linguine. Unusual, but really good.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Spicy Mung Bean Curry with Potatoes

The recipe called for mung beans. Hmmmm. I had to google them. “Aren’t they just lentils?”  “But they are yellow. Yellow lentils?! Orange ones, yes, but yellow….?” Mung beans are indeed lentils, and specific to the Indian subcontinent where they are quite popular. They are also grown in other regions. Unshelled they are tiny green perls, and bright yellow mini lentils when shelled. The good thing is that they cook very fast, no soaking necessary. Basically, the fast food version among legumes. Just 20-30 min and they puff up, absorb the liquid and are tender, mushy, just as a dal should be.

My first version of this recipe I made with yellow split peas. They look and taste quite similar, but they definitely take longer to cook and they are not as mushy in the end. But, alas, a hearty texture can be good, too. Then, I went on a quest for moong dal, and made the dish a second time. I also reduced the number of chilies I used this time around, because after the first round, I felt like a dragoon.

Authentically, the dish is cooked differently: the potatoes are cooked with the lentils, and there are black lentils and very few of them. So, this is defnitely an Americanized version, but still, extraordinarily tasty. The usual Indian cooking suspects: fresh curry leaves, mustard seeds, some fresh grated ginger, dried hot peppers, a pinch of the mysterious asafoetida, tomato paste, lentil, water and then it cooks for 30 min. It is served over some soft cooked, small, crushed potatoes (it would be great to additionally fry them before serving them with the lentil curry).

So good!

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This is the version with yellow split peas.

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Frozen ginger, ready to grate.

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This pot is waiting for the tomato paste and water.

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Ah, bappy.

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Crushed small potatoes.

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Spicy Moong Dal with Potatoes (Bangaladumpa Upma Koora)

Makes 2-3 servings

  • 1-2 TB of grapeseed oil (or high heat, neutral tasting oil)
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 2-3 small dried hot peppers, crushed (Pequin Red Chilis)
  • 1/2 cup of moong dal (shelled split mung beans)
  • 1 pinch of  asafoetida
  • 1 TB of grated fresh  ginger  (I keep my ginger frozen, it last longer)
  • 1 larger white onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 spring of fresh curry leaves
  • 1/2 ts of ground tumeric
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup of tomato paste
  • 12 small waxy yellow baby potatoes
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 lime
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet. Fry the mustard seed, dried red chile peppers in the oil until the seeds begin to splutter.
  2. Sprinkle the asafoetida powder over the mixture. Add in the chopped onion and the curry leaves to the mixture and cook until the onion is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the turmeric, ginger and salt, and stir.
  4. Add the mung beans/moong dal, 3 cups of water and  the tomato paste. Stir well, until the tomato paste is well distributed. Bring to boil, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 30min, until the lentils are tender.
  5. While the curry is cooking, heat a pot with salted water, add the potatoes, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-18min.
  6. Drain the potatoes, distributed in bowl, and smash with a fork.
  7. Add some of the lentil mixture over the potatoes.
  8. Squish some fresh lime juice over the lentils, and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Starting the year with a day of vacation

The year is still young, but it is never to early to have a day of vacation. I had worked hard this week and so, a day off it was, Friday, my early weekend. It was unusually mild for January in Maine, the side effects of an el nino year. The sun was out, and a thin layer of snow adds to the winter look and feel.  As usual, Belfast was my destination: a good meal at Chases, and vacation begins.

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I wonder when someone in our neighborhood adds Fluffy to this list.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas came early

When I walked in to Bed Bad and Beyond last weekend, and they said I could use the 20% off coupon for the Philips Pasta Maker, my consideration that I don’t really need a pasta maker went out the door. Instead, I walked out the door, with this wonderful device.

I bought “OO” flour, and fresh eggs.  Since I am not one for reading manuals, I watched a video on youtube. Measure the flour in the provided measurement cup (250g flour), mix the 1 egg with a bit of water (and in my case, saffron dissolve in the water) in the second measurement cut, and wait for pasta to be pressed out of the maker 3 minutes later.

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After cooking the pasta in hot, heavily salted water for 6 minutes, it was al dente  and perfect. I made a pasta sauce, with a bit of goat cheese, herbs, and it was ready for the taste test.

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Yum!