Posts Tagged ‘gourmet’

If you’ve got potatoes, green beans, and eggplant…

Apologies once again for the ridiculous lapse in posting.  It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, I’ve just been busy putting together term paper research, outlines, etc.  I have, however, totally remembered to take pictures of this food I haven’t blogged about all this time. So get ready for this:

These two dishes were actually made on two consecutive nights, but since I cook for an army and always have leftovers, the second night meant MORE variety on my dinner plate. Hooray!

Dish #1: A rather simple dish of spiced up, roasted potatoes and green beans

  • 1-2 tbsp (or as much as you’d like) Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Chili powder – My mom blends her own, but you can also buy it in the spice section of any major grocery store.
  • Turmeric
  • Mustard seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Urad Dahl
  • 1 large potato, chopped in cubes
  • Equivalent volume of green beans. I used the frozen cut green beans in this one, because I always have a variety of frozen vegetables on hand. If the supermarket allows, you can use fresh green beans and  cut them into thirds or quarters.
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  1. Heat olive oil on a pan and add the mustard seeds, urad dahl and cumin. When the mustard seeds start popping add the potatoes and make sure to coat them evenly in the oil.
  2. When the potatoes are 1/3 of the way cooked (you can tell by the color of the potatoes),  add the green beans.
  3. potatoes

  4. Add turmeric and salt (approx. 1/4 tsp of each)
  5. Cook on medium heat until the potatoes are fully cooked. By this time, the green beans will be cooked too.
  6. Add chili powder, salt to taste and mix thoroughly.

cooked

Dish #2: Eggplant Curry, more commonly known in India as Baingan Bharta, altered from this recipe.

  • 1 large eggplant, chopped in cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced in semicircles
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (Or 1.5 tsp of ginger paste and 1.5 tsp of garlic paste)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Mix in cumin seeds and onion. Cook and stir until onion is tender.
  3. Mix ginger garlic paste, curry powder, and tomato into the saucepan, and cook about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in yogurt. Mix in eggplant and jalapeno pepper, and season with salt.
  5. Cover, and cook 10 minutes over high heat.
  6. Remove cover, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking about 5 minutes, or until eggplant is fully cooked.
  7. Garnish with cilantro to serve

dinnnerhs

As always, dinner was served with two chapathis, instead of rice for two reasons. First, my mom made me a bunch of delicious chapathis and I’ll take every opportunity to eat them, and second, I like chapathis better than rice. Of course, these two dishes can be eaten with rice. I recommend Basmati rice or a long-grain rice.

Enjoy!

Channa Masala (Chole) Variation

My mom is the greatest chef in the world. It is official. Because she is the greatest chef in the world, she has these magical amazing recipes. So I took her recipe for channa masala and made it for dinner tonight. It involves a blender. Need I say more?

I forgot to take a picture – but the masala, when you’re done blending it, should be an orangey-reddish color. Less red, more orange, slightly pink. Coral?

Channa Masala

In blender, grind together:

  • 1/2 cup channa (a.k.a. chickpeas, garbanzo beans)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • Fresh & dried chili
  • Some jeera (cumin seeds)
  • Some somp (looks like cumin seeds, but they’re green)
  • Piece of coconut
  • Poppy seeds
  • 1/2 small Onion
  • Brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1-2 cups water

Other ingredients:

  • 1 large potato, diced to size of chickpease
  • 1-2 cans garbanzo beans
  • Onion, diced
  • Several cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 inch ginger root, sliced
  • Tomato, diced
  • Salt
  • Garam masala
  • Coriander (cilantro)
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon stick
  1. In a large saucepan, fry minced garlic, sliced ginger, onion, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. As onions are finished cooking, add the potato & turmeric.
  3. Add the tomato when potatoes are halfway cooked.
  4. When the potatoes are fully cooked, add channa, salt, and garam masala.
  5. Add masala from blender into saucepan, a little at a time. Don’t add too much.
  6. Freeze extra masala.
  7. Serve with chapathis, naan, or rice.

ENJOY!

I know this is the second channa masala recipe I’ve posted (here’s the first), but that just shows that there are many variations to the same dish. Have you ever made chole/channa masala? How do you make it?

Baking a Pizza from Scratch!

It’s dinnertime in the Viesh Household and homemade pizza’s on the menu.  Originally, when I came up with this idea, I decided to get pre-made crusts, and Jack & Karen agreed:

premade

but then, Alex jumped up and down about making the crust from scratch, so we used this recipe:

Pizza Crust

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour (about 2-2 1/2 cups of flour per pizza)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (add one tbsp. at a time. You don’t want the dough to be sticky or too dry)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat/kneed well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F (175°C).
  3. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Drizzle olive oil on the dough and bake for 5-8 minutes until the dough is slightly golden brown.
  4. Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

alexdough

Pizza Toppings

  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Pizza Blend: Mozzarella & cheddar blend
  • Spinach leaves
  • Minced Garlic/Garlic Salt
  • Green peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Oregano
  • Basil leaves
  • Crushed Red Pepper

toppings

I topped the pizza half & half, because Jack couldn’t eat the real garlic and he didn’t want spinach or too many peppers, and I left out peppers on part of the pizza because Jason can’t stomach them.

topped

We baked the pizza for somewhere between 10-15 minutes with the oven preheated (for 12 minutes at least) to 425°F, until we got… DELICIOUS:

BAKED

It looked so good and smelled so delicious it got sliced before I could take a picture. Here’s Jason & Jack with their slices:

jason

jack

And I have leftovers for tomorrow! YAY!

  • Have you ever made pizza from scratch?
  • How did you make it?
  • What kinds of toppings did you put on it? What blend of cheese did you use?
  • Most importantly, have any of you made pizza sauce from scratch?

Brown Sugar Cafe & “Paradise Garden”

Yesterday night, I went out to dinner, and I chose Brown Sugar Cafe mostly because I had a hunkering for Thai food and I hadn’t gone out for something other than the occasional sandwich from Subway in quite a while.  If you haven’t been to Brown Sugar Cafe yet, you really need to make it out there. They’ve got plenty of meat-filled options, so take anyone there. Because, they’ve also got plenty of vegetarian options.

What I love about asian restaurants is that anything can be made vegetarian (i.e. the meat can be left out).

Looking through their extensive menu, I spent way too much time trying to make a choice. I chose Vegetarian Thai Spring Rolls for our appetizer; it came in 6 pieces with the house turnip sauce.  For my entree, I ended up narrowing my choices down to Red Curry, Pad Thai, Vegetable Fried Rice, Vegetarian Curry (extra vegetables and red curry with coconut milk), and this intriguing dish from the “Vegetarian Corner” section of the menu called Paradise Garden.

Paradise Garden won.

So what is Paradise Garden?  It is sauteed zucchini, bamboo strips, summer squash, Thai eggplant, cauliflower, snow peas, broccoli, carrots, celery, green beans, baby corn, green & red peppers and sweet basil leaves in mild red curry sauce. I had them make it spicy, because I love my red curry spicy, and I substituted brown rice for the white rice (because I love brown rice with Southeast Asian cuisine.

I’m pretty sure this dish won because it guaranteed a high and varied vegetable content,  and I love vegetables. Especially in curry. Also, this dish did not have tofu or eggs.  I have never been able to find a tofu dish I like (and I will try everyone’s dish at least once).  Now that I’ve tried tofu a solid dozen times, I do not ever want to eat more tofu.  Eggs, I love, hard-boiled, scrambled, as omelettes, but never in my rice or noodles.

This is Paradise Garden. It was Paradise. It was a Garden of Delicious.

paradise garden

Classic Stir-Fry & Green Tea Brown Rice

Summer before last, while I was interning in Boston, and my friend Karen was living in Boston (because that’s where she’s from), we fell into a routine, which somewhere along the way got named Kitchen Cooking Chem Lab. Said name came about due to our tendency to run around Shaws, buy an assortment of things, bring them back to either of our kitchens and proceed to make magic food out of it.

And sometimes there were explosions.

Last night we made dinner, and we did something magical yet again, but so simple that anyone (like you!) can take these same ingredients and turn them into delicious, healthy, nutrient-rich vegetarian food.

Classic Stir-Fry

  • Yellow Squash

squashhhh

  • Red & Orange Peppers
  • Sugar Snap Peas

peppers and snap peas

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Long Grain Brown Rice
  • 2 Green Tea Tea-Bags (not pictured)
  • Almond Slivers
  • Chili Powder (not pictured)

riceoilalmonds

  1. Heat 2 cups water in medium-sized saucepan & put tea bags in the water. After 5 minutes, remove tea bags from water and add rice. Stir frequently to keep rice from sticking. Allow rice to cook normally. Once cooked, add almond slivers (1/2 cup, or however much you like).
  2. rice

  3. While rice is cooking, heat olive oil on a pan on medium heat.
  4. When oil is hot, add the yellow squash.
  5. When squash starts to brown slightly, add the peppers and snap peas, stirring to keep squash slices on top of the peppers.
  6. Be liberal with the oil, make sure there is oil on the pan as well as on the vegetables, but don’t drown them.
  7. veggiesonpan

  8. When the peppers are cooked (they’ve started to go limp), add chili powder.  I just shook chili powder lightly over the veggies, mixed them and covered them lightly again. The point of the chili powder isn’t to make the dish spicy, but to bring out the flavors of the vegetables.
  9. Serve veggies either over or on the side of the rice.

foodddd
Enjoy with your drinks of choice! Ours just happened to be Harpoon Celtic. 🙂

Green Plantain Curry

I’ve made dinner several times and forgotten to take pictures… again. However, I made lunch yesterday AND remembered to take pictures!

plantains

Now, this plate looks nice, with 2 vegetable dishes and chapathis (an Indian bread). The chapathi recipe is my mother’s secret, and thus I cannot divulge it, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find many good recipes online if you Google it. No, I’m serious. To eat with the chapathi, I made Green Pepper curry, the recipe for which will come another day, and Green Plantain Curry.

Star Market is full of green plantains, which means, everyone upon reading this recipe, should go buy some plantains and make this dish.

Green Plantain Curry (Approx. 5 servings)

  • 2 large Green Plantains, diced into cubes
  • Dry Coconut
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 inch Ginger root
  • 1 tsp. Chilli powder
  • Salt, lemon/lime
  • Brown Sugar
  • Curry leaves & coriander

Frying Ingredients*

  • Olive Oil (Coconut Oil if you want to be more authentic)
  • 1 tsp. Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. Urad Daal (available at Shaws sometimes, definitely available at Allston Market or Shalimar in Central Sq.)
  • Pinch of Asafoetida Powder
  1. Make masala (powder) from dry coconut, brown sugar, garlic, ginger & chilli powder in a blender.
  2. Cut plantains into cubes after pressure cooking with skin on in, cut in halves, in a bowl of water.
  3. Put a generous amount of oil in a pan on low flame, and wait for the oil to heat up.
  4. Add frying ingredients and curry leaves, and wait for the mustard seeds to start sputtering/popping.
  5. Then, add plantains, coating all of it with oil
  6. Once the plantains have been cooked, turn off the stove if it is electric. (If it is gas, leave it on).
  7. Add the masala and mix thoroughly so all the plantains are coated.
  8. Remove from flame, add salt, lemon, & coriander.

Serve with chapathis or jasmine rice. Enjoy!

*I specified frying ingredients so in the future, when I reference it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Bake that Mac n’ Cheese!

I know I’ve been MIA for a little, but I’m back, and here’s what I’ve been up to:

There’s a hundred different ways to make macaroni and cheese, with every chef (self-proclaimed or otherwise) putting his or her own spin on the traditional dish. I’ve made mac n’ cheese in a saucepan melting cheddar into milk when I’m pressed for time, but for special occasions, I enjoy baking the dish, sometimes topping it with breadcrumbs.

This time, I made Mac n’ Cheese Smith Style, so named as it’s a family recipe from my friend Charles Smith. Here’s a before (as I was layering the large Pyrex with the ingredients) and an after (as my friends and I were working on seconds) picture.

beforemac
aftermac

Mac N’ Cheese Smith Style

  • 1 Lb. Elbow Macaroni Noodles (Sometimes I use Large Shells instead for variety)
  • 1 Lb. Sharp Chedder Cheese, shredded
  • 4 cups Tomato Juice
  1. Cook macaroni according to package (slightly less than done is good)
  2. Layer in casserole dish: First, tomato juice (just enough to cover dish bottom), second pasta, third cheese.
  3. Repeat until macaroni is gone (usually 3 thin layers).
  4. Only add 1.5 to 2 cups of tomato juice per layer and only 3.5 to 4 cups total.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour.

Of course, mac n’ cheese alone would get boring without appetizers (I made a vegetable platter with carrot sticks, celery, zucchini, and squash and balsamic vinaigrette dip), or at least side dishes so here are a couple of side options.

platter

Side Dishes

  • Tater Tots! I bought the frozen Ore Ida package at Star Market, and fried them straight out of the freezer in a saucepan of heated oil (about 375 degrees F) for about 4 minutes. You can bake them, but that’s wholly foreign to me. Welcome to the South.
  • Sautéed Zucchini & Summer Squash – Now I’m not sure what summer squash is still doing in stores as it’s way, way out of season, but I cut both veggies in thin, 2 – 3 inch-long strips and sautéed them until the center was just tender.  I seasoned the veggies liberally with basil and topped it off with a little stone-ground pepper and salt.

Happy Eating!

Tis the Season for Some Curry: Channa Masala (or Chole)

Indian food.  If you haven’t had it yet and you live in Boston, for shame. (unless you’re allergic to spice, then you’re excused.  And no, “I don’t like anything except plain pasta or potatoes” is not an allergy. Just saying.) You have two options:

  1. India Quality – Kenmore Square – Delicious, affordable, variety of North Indian cuisine in generous portions so you can just eat your college-student heart out. (Or Bhindi Bazaar, right around the corner on Mass Ave, if the line at India Quality is just too long and it’s cold outside.)
  2. Learn to make Indian food! Don’t worry – everything is available at Shaws in the ethnic food aisle (Indian)! (Star Market)

On the menu for tonight, then, is:

channa masala

Channa Masala (as we call this dish in south India. It is more commonly known as Chole in north India.) and Naan

~30 minutes prep & cooking, serves approx. 5

  • Naan – sold in packages of 2 at Shaws. I generally eat 1/2 or 1 naan, but if you’re using the naan to combat the spice, you’ll probably consumer 1 to 1.5 naan. They’re very filling, though, so be careful. Also, garlic naan is my favorite, but it will increase the spice level overall.)
  • 1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans) – This can be found in the Spanish food aisle
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large potato, chopped to approximate size of chick peas
  • 3 spoonfuls of tomato paste
  • 1 Green chilli (serrano pepper)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Inch of ginger root, chopped
  • 2-3 Bay leaves
  • 1 spoonful of red chilli powder (found in regular spice aisle)
  • Channa Masala Spice mix (sold in small boxes)
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
  • Vegetable oil 3 tbsp.
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh, chopped coriander for garnishing
  • Fresh lime for final flavoring
  1. Chop the onion, garlic and ginger.
  2. Grind the ginger and garlic in blender. If you don’t have a blender, you can saute the garlic and ginger with the onion, but make sure to mince well.
  3. In a saucepan, heat a bit of oil (2-3 T). Add the onion and saute till the onion turns clear. Add about 2-3 spoonfuls of channa masala seasoning and saute til fragrant.
  4. Add the ground ginger/garlic mix and green chilli. Saute for a few minutes til most of the liquid has evaporated. If you like it a bit on the spicy side, add a couple more green chillies.
  5. Add the chopped tomato, potato and bay leaves and salt to taste.
  6. Cook until potato starts becoming tender. Add canned chick peas.
  7. Allow everything to stew at low-med heat for at least 10 minutes, or until liquid reduces (smashing some of the chick peas can help to thicken the sauce, if necessary).
  8. Slice the lime in quarters and squeeze on a quarter per serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro!
  9. While channa masala is simmer and reducing, butter both sides of the naan(s) and toast on a flat pan. If you’re tired or pressed for time, you can also make the naan in a toaster oven, but only butter the side facing up.

Enjoy your international dinner!

Oatmeal Craisin White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the National Eating Holiday, er, I mean, Day of Thanks (for tasty, tasty desserts, right?), here is a recipe for the delicious, delicious cookies that my friend Tim baked last night.  The inspiration came from a picture we saw ages ago on a website that is both a blessing and a curse to foodies like myself. FoodPornDaily. Have you heard of it? If not, go look now. Today’s picture is Chocolate Cake layered with Caramel, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Mousse.

Christina and I supplied the oats, macadamia nuts, and wonderful company. (Right, Tim?) Disclaimer: The recipe below isn’t Tim’s.  If I can wrest that recipe from here, I’ll post it.

This recipe was taken off of  allrecipes.com  (Ocean Spray Oatmeal Craisin White Chocolate Chunk Cookies) and modified slightly.

cooookies

Oatmeal Craisin White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Yields 2 1/2 dozen

  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (6 ounce) package Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips
  • 2/3 cup chopped Macadamia nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.
  3. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

And now, I am off to finish up my last class, do some housework and pack my things for my adventure to Tampa, Florida tomorrow! There will be sun and there will be happiness!  There will also be a post or several coming up while I’m at home, never fear!

Happy Thanksgiving Break!

  • What about you? Have you ever had these or similar cookies?
  • What’s your favorite type of cookies?
  • What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert (aside from pumpkin or apple pies)?

My Mom’s Homemade Vegetarian Chili

I’ve been blathering on about the delicious vegetarian chili at The OTHERSIDE Cafe on Newbury St., Sunset Grill & Tap in Allston, and randomly, if you’re in the area, or in the mood for a 3-4 hour drive from Boston – Crow’s Corner (Cafe/Bakery near Cavendish, VT).

Now I’ve finally gotten around to it: the source of my love for chili.  When I was little, we’d go to Sweet Tomatoes, which is an all-you-can-eat restaurant in Tampa, Florida.  I’m not sure if they have any locations outside of Florida, but if you’re ever in Tampa – go there! In the soup section of Sweet Tomatoes’ giant buffet, was a vegetarian chili dish.  It easily became my favorite in that section, but one day, they stopped making it vegetarian with, go figure, the addition of …you guessed it – chicken broth.

One day, my mom surprised me by making that dish I could no longer find while dining out – vegetarian chili.  Her recipe, which deviated from the Sweet Tomatoes recipe quite deliberately, was phenomenal.  I loved it even more than the chili I’d eat at Sweet Tomatoes, and since then it remains my favorite recipe and has quickly risen to the top of my list of comfort foods.

Here’s the secret:

Uma’s Vegetarian Chili

  • 1 large Potato
  • 1-2 Carrots
  • 1 can Black Beans
  • 1 can Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 large can whole tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • French cut green beans
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 1 inch Ginger Root, finely chopped
  • Serrano Peppers, finely chopped (if you can handle the spice)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Tomato paste
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Cumin powder
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Red chili powder
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Corn chips – Fritos scoops are my favorite.
  • Sour Cream (If you like it – I’ve met many people in New England who don’t… boggles my mind.)
  1. Make paste with garlic, 1/4 of the onions, tomato paste, 1/2 cup water in a blender.
  2. Put the paste along with the rest of the onions in a large sauce pan and cook for 1-2 minutes
  3. Add all but the canned vegetables and 1 cup water/enough water to cover all of the vegetables and cook until all vegetables (especially carrots/potatoes – those are tough veggies) are al dente.
  4. Add canned vegetables and let simmer for 10-15 minutes
  5. Add 1 tbsp (or more, depends on taste) of each cumin and chili powders.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  The chili should be spicy/tangy, but make sure the spice doesn’t overpower the flavor of the vegetables.
  6. Garnish with chopped, fresh cilantro.
  7. Serve in large bowls with corn chips and sour cream.
  8. Enjoy!
  • Do you have your own chili recipe? How is it different?
  • My sister adds corn to her chili. What other vegetables do you think make a good chili?
  • Any questions about the flavor or consistency?
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