Sunday, August 9, 2009
1½ cups cashews, soaked in water for at least a few hours to aid processing
3 cups water or vegetable broth, to increase the vitamin quotient
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes or stewed tomatoes
1 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. coriander seed
1 serrano chile next time I'll try a couple of chipotles in adobo for variation - I usually have those around, though the serrano was very good, too.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
~ Juice of ½ lime or lemon I used 1 whole lime plus its zest
¼ tsp. salt
Optional seasonings and garnishes
~ Pinch or two of cayenne pepper
~ Curry powder
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dill I added a healthy Tb of this AND a pinch of curry powder - but I did so earlier
~ Chopped cilantro or Italian parsley leaves, for serving I skipped this
1. In a large bowl using an immersion blender, blend the cashews with the water. Blend or chop the whole tomatoes with their juices.
2. Grind the cumin, fennel, and coriander in a mortar and pestle or clean propeller grinder.
3. Mince the chile, being careful not to touch your eyes, mouth, or skin while doing so. (Use plastic or rubber gloves if you have them.) Discard the seeds inside the chile if you want less heat. Wash hands thoroughly when done. actually I put this in my food processor, then after it got pretty well pulverized, added onion. I realized too late that the pepper gets added to the soup later, but it worked really well anyway. I wanted to be sure the serrano got really well chopped up, because last time I used it, Mike and I both got little flame-bites un-uniformly through whatever dish I'd made. for some reason the serrano is harder to tolerate for me than other pepppers (like ghost chilies - we both love the heat!
4. In a stockpot, heat the oil and sauté the onion for a few minutes, then add the celery and continue cooking. When the celery has softened, add the garlic, chile, and spices. Cook another minute or two before adding the tomatoes and cashews. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, being careful not to burn the cashews on the bottom of the pot.
5. Add the lime or lemon juice along with the salt. Adjust the flavor, if desired, using some of the optional seasonings and garnishes. Serve with cilantro or parsley, if you wish.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
That's Maggie on the bottom shelf - and all the shelves are now completely filled up! In fact, I have 2 smaller spice racks over on the counter (and a shelf-full of all those duplicate spices, because believe it or not, for once I have that rare thing - enough kitchen cupboards!) We ordered a bunch of canning jars and sealer lids, then filled'em up. Flours and rices are kept in a cupboard (it would be hard to put a 20lb bag of basmati on those shelves even if they are large!) Maggie's food was up there for a while because we are still trying different foods out with Daphne, our other cat, and while Mags hated Daph's food, Daph would make a beeline (kittyline?) straight for Mag's food, which has allergens we thought might be bothering her (corn products or chicken). The great news is that she's been so much better since we moved here. We still do not know what made her so ill that we nearly lost her, but it's great to see her on the mend.
Anyway -- to the food! I've only been cooking once a week, with Mike doing all the rest, so that I can focus on my literature review. When I do cook, then, I really like to have fun with it. I consider it lots of fun to find good looking recipes, chop, slice, prep, measure - that part is as good as the eating part to me, though I certainly wouldn't turn that down, either. Tonight, it was koftas -an Indian-spiced meatball in a tomato-yogurt sauce, accompanied by a turmeric tinted brown basmati with spinach and peas. I won't lie - it was a lot of work. But as I said - I consider it a blast!
The original recipe came from here, but in fact turns out to have been an adaptation of another recipe! I'll copy it here because I want to make some adjustments.
12 oz tempeh
1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1 cup vital wheat gluten
1 onion, shredded
1 tbs vegan worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp browning sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs ginger, minced
2 serrano peppers, seeded & minced
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tbs cumin seed
2 tbs coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbs plain soy yogurt
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, grated
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soy yogurt
1 cinnamon stick
9 whole cloves
9 cardamom pods
Boil the tempeh for about 10 minutes and allow to cool. Grate tempeh and onion and combine with all remaining meatball ingredients. Note: I just ran both through the food processer. Knead until all ingredients are combined and the dough becomes sticky. Set the refrigerate the dough for at least an hour or up to overnight. Note: one hour worked just fine. I think at this point you could form the meatballs and freeze them, as I plan to do.
Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil onto a cookie sheet and put the cookie sheet into the oven. Note: or spray with oil, then spray the meatballs as well. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Form into 1 tablespoon sized balls, making about 35-40 balls. Small sized meatballs hold together better and have a much better texture. Don't make them too big.
Pull out the preheated cookie sheet and swirl the oil around, just to coat. Place the meatballs on the sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, turning the meatballs every 5 minutes or so, until the meatballs are evenly browned and slightly crispy. Note: I turned the oven up to 375F, didn't turn as frequently, and cooked about 10 minutes longer than called for. I like my meatballs firm!
Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they begin to pop. Add the onion. Saute, stirring often until the onions carmelize and turn brown. Add the tomatoes and ground spices. Tie the cinnamon stick, cardamon and cloves into a piece of cheesecloth and add to the pan. Saute for a couple of minutes. Stir in the yogurt and combine thoroughly. Note: at this point you could add about a cup of veg broth or tomato sauce and stir, if you like more sauce. Pour the sauce into a 9x13 casserole along with the meatballs. Stir to coat, cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
This recipe came from here, and we both thought the lemon could be doubled. We added salt at the table (I tend to use no salt or very little in cooking, and serve food with a lemon wedge).
2 c brown basmati rice
2 c frozen chopped spinach
1/2 c cilantro leaves, chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1/2 c frozen green peas
1 tsp whole cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 TB lemon Juice
2 TB oil (I used olive)
2 green chilies (serrano)
4 garlic cloves
1/2" ginger (I used 2 TBs)
1/4 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
Wash and soak the basmati rice overnight in 4 c. water (or at least 2 hours).
Chop the garlic, ginger, onions and green chillies finely.
Mince the ginger, garlic and chillies (seed the chillies for less heat).
Measure frozen spinach and peas into a bowl, add in the chopped cilantro, and set aside.
In a pressure cooker (or large heavy saucepan with a tight lid), add the oil and cumin seeds. Once they start spluttering, add the onions and saute till they turn translucent.
Add the ginger, garlic, green chillies and saute for a minute.
Add the chopped spinach, cilantro, green peas along with salt, garam masala and turmeric.
Stir, then add in the soaked rice and all the water and stir all the ingredients together.
Bring to a boil, cover, and cook til done (it's ok to check it!)
Add lemon juice after taking it off the heat - and as I said, serve it with lemon wedges.