April 28, 2010

Peruvian Papas a la Huancaína

Potatoes in a cheesy sauce, garnished with hard-boiled eggs! An awesome appetizer to the start of a wonderful meal. It disappeared so fast from the table, making me wish I had made a lot more of it. Generally served as a main dish in parts of Peru, it is better served a little cold, giving time for the flavors in the cheesy sauce to seep into the potatoes. 

I used red potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size chunks. The potatoes were boiled with a little salt and spread on a platter. In a blender, I mixed together a chunk of feta cheese, two tbsp of my green Skhug, a little salt and pepper, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tsp of stone-ground mustard, milk as needed and a few kracker-jacks (saltines). The skhug made the cheesy sauce spicy along with the 'heat' of the mustard. Pour this Huancaina\auce over the potatoes, and top with sliced hard-boiled eggs. I sprinkled some parsley on top and let the dish sit for about 30 minutes. Yummy :)

April 27, 2010

Egg Bhurji ~ Indian style scrambled eggs

This is a recipe I am getting around to post from my archives. Egg Bhurji, or scrambled eggs is a version with more spices than the standard fare. And instead of eating it for breakfast, I usually make it as a side dish for lunch or dinner. Its easy to make and loaded with flavors. Finely chop an onion and a couple of tomatoes. heat oil in a pan, add the onions and cook till they are soft. Add the tomatoes, cook for a few more minutes. Season with salt, a dash of pepper, turmeric, chili powder and either garam masala or cumin / coriander powder. Incorporate the spices, add about 2-3 eggs and stir well. The egg has to kind of curdle in the heat. Cook to desired consistency. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and enjoy!

April 26, 2010

Venezuelan Coconut Rice Pudding

A dessert from the coastal regions of Venezuela with an abundance of fresh coconut ~ this rice pudding was another recipe from Global Vegetarian Cooking by Troth Wells. I made this pudding last night, when I had my lab mates over for dinner. I veered away from the original version a little bit. The pudding turned out to be awesome: not too sweet, smooth and with a little bite from grated lemon rinds. Everyone had seconds and made me happy :)

I used one cup of parboiled rice, and cooked it with one cup of water till the water is almost used up. Add about 1/2 cup of fresh grated coconut. Then I added 1/2 a can of sweetened condensed milk (instead of regular milk & sugar) and a 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. I let the mixture boil and let it cool. I pureed it coarsely in a blender and poured the mixture back into the pan, mixed with about 1/2 cup of milk and the rest of the sweetened condensed milk, cook for a few minutes. Mix in a 1/4 tsp of grated lemon rind, saving a little for garnish. Chill & serve!

April 21, 2010

Tavče Gravče from Macedonia

Considered the national dish of Macedonia, Tavče Gravče is a simple, basic recipe that has been customized in many of the Balkan countries. I followed the recipe from Macedonian Food, Cuisine and Recipes

Though the dish is traditionally made in a terracotta pot, I only served it on one, with a couple of slices of toasted bread for dinner. I used canned cannelloni beans and it made for fast cooking. Sauté one small chopped onion and a clove of minced garlic in a tsp of olive oil,  add a small chopped tomato and let it cook for a few minutes. Add the beans with some water, season with salt, pepper and some paprika. I also added some chopped mint. Cook for a few minutes. Transfer into a baking dish (I used a pan that can go from the stove to the oven :) ) Bake for about 10-15 minutes, till the liquid is used up and a thin crust is formed. The dish reminded me of the Tunisian Lablabi, with a garlicky flavor. A perfect week night dinner!

I am sending this to My Legume Love Affair 22 hosted by Ruchikacooks. The event was started by Susan of the The Well-Seasoned Cook.

April 20, 2010

Mango & Banana Bake from Guyana

Here is yet another simple and hearty dessert recipe inspired from Global Vegetarian Cooking by Troth Wells. Looks like before I finish this Cooking the World Challenge, I would end up trying all the recipes from this book! I had one mango left from last week and 3 bananas that were begging to be used soon and hence this wonderful dessert from Guyana. I feel guilty in indulging when Shankar is away during the week, but who can resist the temptations of a banana+mango combo?

Heat the oven to 400F. In a small buttered baking dish, add some sliced bananas, followed by a layer of sliced mangoes. A mandolin slicer was very handy with the mangoes. Add another layer of sliced bananas. Sprinkle the juice of a small lime or lemon. I also added abut two tbsp of Ginger Cognac (The original called for a little rum). Sprinkle generously with sugar (Demerara if you have some ~ thats from Guyana) and a pinch of cinnamon and cardamom. A  few nuts (toasted almonds) on top made it even better. Bake for about 20 minutes. And I served it with yummy banana mango yogurt. The dessert was heavenly :)

I am sending this dish to Anupama's Mango Moods!

April 16, 2010

Yogurt Curry from Bangladesh

A curry that is simple, can be eaten with rice and is similar to Indian curries, this yogurt curry is also from Global Vegetarian Cooking by Troth Wells. Boiled and cubed 2-3 potatoes are cooked with sautéed chopped onion (one), 2 chopped tomatoes, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp grated ginger, 1/2 green chili, few black peppers and a pinch of sugar. Add a cup of water to all these, season with salt and cook for about 5 minutes or so. Whisk yogurt in a cup with a pinch of salt and a little oil and serve with the cooked potatoes! Pretty simple, right?

April 15, 2010

Skhug from Yemen

Skhug, a Yemeni hot sauce can be made with either red or green chilies. Here, I have obviously gone for the green one (skhug yarok). I actually followed the recipe posted on wikipedia this time. I used some of my stock of fire roasted New Mexican green chilies ~ these are the Sandia variety. I get them when I visit my PhD advisor in Kansas, and they are kind enough to send me home with some of their stock from NM :) And these are some of the most flavorful chilies I have had and simply love them!

Anyways, back to Skhug, I simply thawed some of the chilies, and minced them with a handful of cilantro, a little bit of salt and pepper, a couple of tsp of olive oil, a clove of garlic, a tsp of cumin and a pinch of cardamom. And of course I already tasted it and it is so good. Can't wait to use them in soups and stews and anything else I can think of in the next couple of weeks! Yum, yum, yum :)

April 14, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge (March 2010): Orange Tian

For the first time, I participated in the Daring Bakers challenge in March. And that was from St. Louis! It was a big deal since Shankar's kitchen is the most basic, with only the stuff that comes with a corporate rental. Hence, I had to buy even the cookie cutters and a blender for this challenge. Anyways, coming to the challenge, I really didn't have the patience to work on this recipe over a few days, and did everything on the same day. I have to say the Orange Tian turned out great!

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris. As the recipe is posted in detail on the Daring Bakers website, I am not repeating it here. Please click here for the recipe: Orange Tian

As I was making it only for the two of us, I reduced the quantity, mostly by ball-parking it. I started with the orange marmalade. It turned out really good and the Pate Sablee was so rich, we had to try hard to not just eat them together. 

And as a vegetarian, I couldn't use gelatin for the whipped cream and hence substituted with agar. I also added quite a bit of Cointreau (orange liqueur) when whipping the cream and also soaked the orange slices in a mixture of orange juice + cointreau.  

After freezing the assembled Tian for about 20 minutes, we were gonna share just one, but couldn't hold off of pulling out another too! Though the dessert seemed really hard from all the detailed instructions and the idea of doing it over multiple days seemed tedious, but I am actually glad I did it and the end product was awesome!

April 13, 2010

Sweetcorn Soup from Antigua

This is the second recipe I am trying from Global Vegetarian Cooking by Troth Wells. I am liking this book so much and the simplicity of the recipes! Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation in the Caribbean / Atlantic Ocean with a predominantly British culture.  

This sweetcorn soup took about 5 minutes to make and very flavorful. Sauté a chopped onion in olive oil, add a spoon of flour and season with salt and pepper. Add a cup of frozen sweetcorn and along with a pinch of nutmeg. Pour about a cup of milk, let it thicken and simmer for a few minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree adding more milk for consistency. Heat again and serve! Yummy :)

April 12, 2010

Avocado salad with Ginger

Here is one of the simplest salads from Côte d'Ivoire. I looked it up from Global Vegetarian Cooking by Troth Wells. The salad is basically grating some fresh ginger, adding some lemon juice to it, a pinch of salt and toss with diced avocado! It was more delicious than I expected, with a burst of flavor from the ginger and the richness of ripe avocado. One of those recipes that make you wonder why you just didn't think of it before.

Kalki keeping busy...

Yesterday was a wonderful spring day with the temperature in high sixties in Madison. As Shankar and I sat outside on the deck, sipping our coffees, this is what Kalki kept himself busy with - a long stick he found in the backyard! By the time we were done with the coffee, the stick was nothing more than shreds of wood. 

April 11, 2010

Mango & Cardamom Dutch Baby Pancake

For today's brunch, I made a Dutch Baby Pancake in the cast-iron pan I bought yesterday. And I am sending this to Nupur's Blog Bites #2 - The Copycat Edition. I had this version of a pancake for the first time at Victorian Swan Bed & Breakfast at Stevens Point, when I went there to visit with a candidate who was interviewing for a position at UWSP. It was wonderful, a single portion, and was filled with softened apple slices. Though I have been meaning to make it, I didn't have a cast-iron pan small enough to make it for just the two of us. And the pan I bought yesterday was perfect for this. The recipe for the pancake was from Orangette and I really liked that her recipe was simple and easy to reduce by half. I did modify the recipe a little bit and cut down on the amount of butter. 

I whisked together two eggs, 1/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of milk and a few tablespoons of mango juice. I also added a pinch of cardamom to the batter. On the heated cast-iron pan, I melted a teaspoon of butter, added the batter and let it cook in a pre-heated 425F oven for 20 minutes. The baby pancake was lovely with the wonderful aroma of cardamom when it came out of the oven. For the topping I sautéed one small diced mango with a pinch of cardamom, a spoon of ginger honey, a handful of toasted slivered almonds and a couple of tablespoons of mango juice. Sprinkled some powdered sugar for the finish and it was yummy!

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