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Sunday, April 12, 2015

South Indian Sauteed Swiss Chard (Palakoora Vepadu)


Sauteed greens is such a bland phrase in comparison to reality of the dish pictured above. It's like calling  caviar fish eggs or truffles fungus. It almost insults it with such a minimalist term. This is food for the gods!

I happened to be browsing Saveur's website looking for a good naan recipe and happened upon the motherlode of authentic Indian cooking. The magazine had devoted an entire issue to exploring the country top to bottom and this greens dish is from Andhra, a state on the south east coast of the Indian Ocean. I will definitely be on the lookout for more dishes from that state to be sure!

Prior to finding this recipe my meal plan included a urad dal makhani dish (look for that next) from the Punjab, and unknown to me both dishes used similar spices so they made the perfect compliment.

While the list of ingredients is comparatively long it is sooooo worth it!! This will be going into our regular rotation, and what a great way to get some good greens in your meal!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Cilantro Grilled Shrimp with Polenta

Shrimp or prawns as the large shrimpies are called, are a favorite on our table. I'm always searching for new ways to prepare them. This version is similar to something we ate last Christmas Eve at a seven fishes Sicilian dinner and I've been wanting to duplicate it ever since.

If you don't have preserved lemons, make some soon! If that fails, just use the juice of half a lemon and the zest of 1 and 1/2 lemons. it's the zest that is important.

All my life I have referred to large shrimp as prawns, but for some reason here on the North Coast they are really particular about calling them prawns (the correct term for sure). So let's acquiesce and be agreeable!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Quick Ricotta Dumplings with Garlic Tomato Sauce

Ever since I spied Mark Bittman's "easy recipe" for ricotta dumplings I knew I had to try it out with my family. We are cheese lovers to the hilt and anything with tomato sauce is a sure fire winner with the youngest of the family. Sure enough, these were simple, quick and delicious!

It's one of those dishes that you do not want to embellish in any way and using a very simple tomato sauce is the way to go. I used Marcella Hazan's famous butter, onion, tomatoes (throw it all in a pan, simmer for an hour and presto, gorgeous sauce!) And don't even think about adding extra grated cheese, that's gilding the lily in a most undelightful way!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Curried Latkes with Sour Cream and Pear Chutney

Potatoes are probably one of my most favorite ingredients in the world. Humble, versatile, comforting yet capable of transporting one to exotic lands since they are such great vehicles of flavor. The latke is the perfect example. Shred potatoes, squeeze out excess moisture and add eggs and flour and you have the age old peasant food that has sustained families for generations. Add some curry and chutney and you leave the Russian steppes and float away to a Bengali street vendor. All in the time it takes to make weekend brunch!

I will admit that not all of my latke experiments turn out as well as this one. Maybe it's the preponderance of Indian food that has been my favorite cuisine to explore but I seemed to have gotten this one right on the head.

Of course it would have been so much more exciting (and apropos to this blog) if the pear chutney was homemade, but alas it was a gift. But such a wonderful one that homemade pear chutney is high on my list of DIY items when pears are again in season!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Vegetable Stuffed Egg Crepes with Asian BBQ Sauce

Food blog surfing can be such fun - tripping lightly through the blogsphere and ohhing and ahhing at pretty pictures and interesting new recipes. But at the end of this sensory binge when you can't remember where you saw something or forgot to bookmark it, you have the dreary job of trying to get your human computer to pull up the correct site so you can make that dish that was so inspiring.

Don't worry, this has a happy ending. Exhibit A above is the happy mish-mash of two posts that got conflated in my memory and produced a wonderful brunch (or quick week night meal!). Lots of flavor, healthy veggies and fairly inexpensive if you've got a few key pantry items.

With an over abundance of eggs in the refrigerator to the tune of 5 dozen (we get them for free...) and a desire to make a more vegetable heavy brunch meal, I found Worthy Pause's post on Korean egg crepes. Recalling how I swooned over Smitten Kitchen's Japanese vegetable pancakes and the yummy sounding sauce, I cobbled together this meal and it was a real winner!

Looking back at both posts, my sauce is nothing like Smitten Kitchen's, but it was fun and appreciated. Those vegetable pancakes are still calling my name. Don't be surprised if they make an appearance soon!

Don't be daunted by the apparently long recipe, the sauce is the key and once you make it once, it's easy to toss all of this together as your morning coffee is making it's way to your brain!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chermoula Roasted Eggplant with Coconut Cilantro Cream

Eggplant is one of those vegetables that can get a bad rap. Too many people have had it in mediocre dishes or think that the only way to eat it is parmesaned (delicious!) or in baba ghoush (scrumptious!)

But my friends, eggplant is so much more than those two standards. Inspired by Jotam Ottolenghi, my roasted eggplant included the chermoula plus some smoked paprika and an original creation of coconut cilantro cream sauce which is divine!

If you don't have preserved lemons you can substitute the zest of 2 lemons and 1 teaspoon of juice. But it's winter and citrus time, so make yourself some preserved lemons! They keep in the frig for a very long time!