March 25, 2013

Mtedza - Peanut puffs from Malawi

Tonight was African Night at home. I made a peanut - calabaza squash stew and mbatata (Sweet potato cookies) and mtedza - these delicious & nutritious cookies made with peanuts. I adapted the recipe from here and used almond meal in addition to the peanuts and also some candied ginger! I used very less butter and added a little milk to bring the dough together. Checking Malawi off my list and Snacks for the rest of the week :)

Ingredients (For 16 cookies):  Whole Wheat Flour - 1/2 cups; Peanuts - roasted, 1 cup; Almond Meal - 1/4 cup; Sugar - 1/4 cup; Butter - 2 tbsp; Vanilla - 1/4 tsp; Salt - dash; Candied ginger - chopped, 1/4 cup; Milk - 1 tbsp. 
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F
  • In a pan, I roasted the peanuts, as I had raw ones at home.
  • In the food processor add the roasted peanuts with the sugar and pulse till peanuts are chopped. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients except milk and pulse.
  • Add the milk and mix a little till the dough comes together.
  • Shape into small ball, flatten a little, and put them evenly spaced on a cookie sheet
  • Bake till golden (15 - 20 minutes)! 
  • These can be dusted with icing sugar if needed. 

March 24, 2013

Sautéed Eggplants

I never liked eggplants, or as the smaller Indian varieties are called - Brinjals, as a kid. These days I can't seem to get enough of them, especially as the smaller varieties are hard to find. My ultimate comfort food, cooking with them, is the Ennai Kozhambu, and the next best thing is to saute them with coconut or peanuts. I am not a fan of mushed eggplants and try to cook them in the microwave first and not turn them much when sautéing.

Ingredients: 6 small eggplants - quartered; Coconut - frozen is better than dessicated - 2 tbsp; salt to taste; Red Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp; Turmeric - a dash; 1/2 tsp cumin; 1/2 tsp coriander powder; 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds; 1/2 tsp Urad dal + yellow split peas; 1 tbsp oil
  • Slice the eggplants, put them in a bowl with enough water and microwave, covered, for about 7 - 8 minutes.
  • In the saute pan, add the oil, wait till it is hot, add the tempering - mustard seeds, cumin, urad dal and yellow split peas. 
  • Wait for the mustard to pop and the lentils to turn red. Add the almost cooked and drained eggplants. 
  • Season with coriander powder, salt, chilli pepper, turmeric. Mix well, taking care not to mush the eggplants.
  • Let cook for about 5 minutes or so. Add the coconut powder, and cook for a couple more minutes.

March 7, 2013

Jalapeño Cheddar Quiche

Quiche has become a standard breakfast fare over the weekends here, especially since I love to bake in the winter. I either make them crustless or use a store-bought pie shell for the crust (we like the one from Trader Joe's after a friend's recommendation). Most of the time, it doesn't take a lot of planning, as long as I have eggs, some cheese and veggies at home. When we had friends over for a break last year, I made this Jalapeño & Cheddar Quiche. 


Ingredients: Pie Crust -1; Cheddar cheese - 8oz, grated; Eggs - 3; Parmesan Cheese - 4 tbsp; Mushrooms - 1/2 cup chopped; Jalapeños - 5 count minced; Red / Green Bell peppers - 1/2 cup chopped.
  • Set oven to bake at 400F.
  • Follow the instructions for the pie crust and pre-bake it for 15 minutes.
  • In a mixing bowl add the eggs, cheddar cheese (hold back 2 tbsps), season with salt, pepper  and  mix well with an electric mixer.
  • On a saute pan, cook the peppers and mushrooms till a little tender and season with salt, pepper. I also use a dried herb mix from my garden for seasoning. 
  • Add the veggies to the egg mixture.
  • Pull the pre-baked crust from the oven, mix the parmesan and cheddar cheese, add 2 tbsp on the bottom.
  • Add the egg/ veggie mixture and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Pull out from the oven, add the rest of the cheese on top, garnish with jalapeños and bake for another 10 minutes. 
  • Let cool slightly, slice and enjoy!

March 3, 2013

the girl and the fig

Last month we were in CA - a business trip for S and a fun time for me - we made a day trip to the Sonoma Valley and hit my favorite wine celler - The Cline. After a wonderful tour of the winery, we went to the town and had lunch at 'the girl and the fig'. It was a early Valentine's day celebration for us and we had fun.

Started the lunch with their cheese board of Goat cheeses, fig and apricot compote with pears, candied nuts and fig cake.

Entree was a Butternut Squash Arancini with peppercress, oyster mushrooms and mixed chicories.  The portion size was really small and a little disappointing for an entree, but it was delicious.
And we finished off with Walnut Clafouti and ice-cream :) Next time I am making Claufouti, it's going to be in single servings in a muffin tin!
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