October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Also, I forsee a post about caramel apples when I'm feeling healthier.

Until then, enjoy the day and your candy.

October 27, 2006

Middle Eastern Deliciousness

I all ready mentioned how I came into possession of this book and how a more than handful of recipes from this book are utterly fantastic. I neglected to say that the only other positive thing to come from that class was meeting my good friend GG. The past few recipes she hasn't been able to make because some of the ingredients aren't available in Montevideo. I hope that you can make this though. It's perfect for a cold night. I love the combination of heartiness from the rice and lentils, sweetness from the onions and tanginess from the yogurt. It's one of those dishes that is perfectly balanced. We upped the amount of onions in ours because they're our favorite part. There is such a thing as too much though, I think 1 lb or even a little more is good, but not too much more than that. This is really meant to be a side dish but we have it dinner. A green salad would be nice to get in some veggies.

Megaderra, adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

3 TB olive oil
1 lb onions, sliced
2 pinches ground coriander
2 pinches ground cumin
1 1/4 cups whole brown lentils
1 1/4 cups long-grain rice
Plain yogurt
Good quality olive oil

Heat 3 TB olive oil in a large skillet with a lid. When hot, add onions. Stir to coat onions in oil then turn heat down low. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes; stir occasionally.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a pot. Add coriander, cumin and lentils. Return to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes, or until lentils are about halfway done.

Add rice to lentils. Salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cover. Cook for about another twenty minutes or until both lentils and rice are tender.

Remove lid from onions and and turn heat to medium. Cook off all water and turn heat up to medium-high. Stir often until onions are a deep brown. This will probably take about twenty minutes.

Once everything is done, you can serve this two ways. Combine all components together or leave them separate, which is more attractive. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and a drizzle of the good oil on top. Mmmm.

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October 22, 2006

The Unveiling

Can you handle the excitement?

And because, in my humble opinion, this was too pretty not to post.

I bet you know what it is now.

October 19, 2006

Tofu-y Goodness

Believe it or not, this dinner has a miniscle amount of fat! It's also high in protein, includes a serving of veggies, and once you get the hang of it can be made in half an hour. One of the more important things I've learned in school so far is how much quicker things can be expedited if you have everything ready before you start cooking. I sort of knew this before but never really did it. Honestly, mise en place (fancy French term for having your crap together in advance) makes cooking so much easier. I highly reccommend doing it, even if you're just making dinner at home. It's very good practice for cooking in more stressful situations.

Thai Tofu over Green Rice, adapted from Bon Appetit

2 cups chopped cilantro, packed
1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 chili of your choice, chopped
2 limes
2 tsp soy or tamari sauce
3/4 cup light coconut milk
1 cup basmati rice
1lb firm tofu, cubed (the firmer the tofu, the less oil you need)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 tsp fish sauce, optional
1/4 cup peanuts or cashews, chopped

In a food processer or blender, combine cilantro, ginger, garlic, chili, 2 TB coconut milk, juice of 1/2 lime and soy/tamari sauce to taste. Blend well. Taste for salt.

Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add salt to taste and rice. Return to a boil and then lower to a bare simmer. Cook about 14 minutes, or until rice is done.

Heat oil in large saute pan. When hot but not smoking, add tofu. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring every so often until tofu is lightly browned on all sides. Combine 1/4 cup coconut milk, curry paste, soy/tamari and fish sauce. Add to the tofu. Cook until simmering. Add the tomatoes and cook until just beginning to soften. Remove from heat.

Combine cooked rice with cilantro sauce. Mix well. Plate rice and spoon tofu and tomatoes over. Garnish with chopped nuts, lime wedges and cilantro sprigs. Serve.

P.S. No one's made a guess yet about the mystery produce. Don't you want to win an as of yet unannounced prize?

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October 18, 2006

Mystery Produce Game

Game time folks. Whomever can guess what these are will win a prize of indeterminate value.

Hint #1 These are pretty common, just not in this form.

Hint #2 They are only available like this for one week out of the year.

Hint #3 They are from the local farmers' market; probably the only place you would ever find these.

You have until 11:59 pm Friday, October 20 to place your guesses. Good luck.

October 11, 2006

How to Not Make Apple Pie

Part Two in an unfortunately occasional series. Part One is here.

1. Don't weigh the apples, guesstimate!
2. Don't peel the apples.
3. The dough isn't coming together as it ought. Solution: overwork it!
4. Continue to work with the pie dough that doesn't look quite right
5. Forget that your oven is small and make the pie too tall with the too many apples so that the half hour that you spent piling apples artfully (which is probably why the crust was soggy) is wasted when the top of pie scrapes along the top of the oven creating a serious architectural disaster.
6. Also forget that your oven runs hot.
7. Take the pie out of the oven when the timer dings even though it looks like it could use a bit more time because the excess apples take longer to cook.
8. End up with something that doesn't look so good (obviously) tastes all right (but you know that it could have been awesome) but sort of has a weird texture from the uncooked apples and serve it to your ravenous partner and friend who biked 32 miles that day and don't care about any of the above.
9. Eat leftovers for breakfast.

If you do not follow the above instructions (except maybe #9) you will be rewarded with a damn good pie. It will seem incredibly huge when it is filled with apples but the fruit will cook down and everything will turn out all right.

Cinnamon Crumble Apple Pie, adapted from Bon Appetit

Your favorite pie dough (I don't trust this one)
3 1/4 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4"inch thick
1/2 cup sugar
2 TB flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder, if you have any
2 TB butter, melted

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup ground toasted walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 TB butter, cut into 1/2"inch cubes

Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out pie dough on a lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch diameter pie plate. Trim excess dough to 1/2 inch overhang and crimp. Return to fridge.

Combine apples and next 5 ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss to combine.

In a food processor, combine flour and the next 5 ingredients. Add butter and process until mixture resembles wet sand. Alternatively, if you do not have a processor, combine dry ingredients well and pour out onto a large sheet pan. Melt the butter and pour it over the dry ingredients. Working quickly, mix until combined.

Toss filling. Fill pie shell, mounding in the center. It seems like it is a monster pie now but the fruit will cook down. Pack topping over and and around apples. Be careful or your apple tower might collapse. Bake pie on a baking sheet until topping is golden, about 40 minutes. Then, reduce oven temperature to 350F. Bake pie until apples in center are tender when pierced and filling bubbles thickly at edges, about 45 minutes more. Cool until warm and eat with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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October 09, 2006

New Look Part II

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Is it too difficult to read? Too, too blue green? Let me know. Pie post coming tomorrow.

October 08, 2006

Long Time No Post

I haven't been blogging much lately because I've been out and about enjoying the season and my friends. I was also briefly employed but that didn't last long at all. Here are some photos to keep you occupied until tomorrow (I hope).

Beach Walk
Apple Picking- We picked 18 lbs so expect a few apple-related recipes soon.

October 01, 2006

My Grandma's Pugaches

My grandma was a terrible cook and she was the first to admit it. She was continuously surprised that my mom and I are so handy in the kitchen. The only things that she could make I can count on all my fingers, minus a few. I've been thinking about her a lot recently and I had a craving for her pugaches, a Hungarian biscuit-scone hybrid. This was my favorite thing that she made and she would come over for a visit to especially make them for me. She would always intentionally burn a batch for my grandpa who inexplicably preferred all of his baked goods that way. They are especially delicious for breakfast with jam.


4 cups flour
1 cup sugar (this is a bone of contention between my mother and I. She likes the full amount of sugar and I like 3/4 to 1/2 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 lb butter, 2 sticks
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients and knead until dough comes together (this was my favorite part when I was a kid). Turn out onto a well floured surface and roll to 3/4" thick. Using a floured biscuit cutter (or do it Grandma-style and use a drinking glass), cut out pugaches from dough and place about an inch apart on a baking sheet. Re-roll the scraps and repeat until all of the pugaches are shaped. Bake until slightly golden, about 30 minutes. Eat warm, preferably with home-made jam.

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