another 2 veggie dinner

Farmer’s market season leads to a fridge full of veggies. As I have mentioned before I love the two veggie meal. I love the two veggie meal.

Turnips and pork chops were good. Brining is a wonderful thing for pork chops but the sauces were a little sweet for my taste. Turnips are another vegetable that I feel is rather under appreciated, especially these little white ones.

The Asparagus – My first recipe from Thomas Keller. First I had to make the “parsley water” to cook the asparagus coins in….mine weren’t really coins. I just cut them up because I couldn’t do the “coins” with the mandolin they way he suggests. Parsley water sounds easy until you find yourself straining boiled parsley puree through a fine mesh strainer. Straining, one of of the few cooking activities that I dislike. And the asparagus was tasty… just not tasty enough for me to be making more parsley water.  I didn’t have any chives that day so I didn’t make the chive oil. I think I added a few dried chives to the pan.


easter bread 2013


This was not my favorite Easter bread to date. Of course it wasn’t only bread but also candied oranges….and then Rob accidentally stuck his finger in the risen loaf before I baked it.

To be fair the kitchen was a disaster because of course I was also trying to simultaneously compile a southern feast, complete with, from scratch, sweet potato pie.   Yes, marathon cooking on Easter Sunday. Rob did make some excellent pie dough and it was his first attempt ever: gold star.

…and we ate well, we ate very well.


Classic Indian cooking weekend


Okay, the Lamb Rogan Josh recipe was from 499 Simply Delicious Recipes not from Julie Sahni.

And I don’t really understand “lentil broth” but the Mysore Rasam (Mysore Spicy Lentil Broth) was reasonably tasty. I do have the actual lentil puree in my freezer to be used later so at least nothing was wasted.

I made cheese, Paneer, for first time. I don’t think I did a good job of pressing it because it was an odd shape and crumbled a bit when I cut it, but it wasn’t a disaster and it was relatively easy.

Which then went into the Shahi Sabz Korma (Royal Braised Vegetables in Cardamom Nut Sauce) with some carrots, turnips, potatoes and ground almonds. And yes that then went into Shahi Sabz Biriyani (Royal Vegetable and Rice Casserole).

That cured the cooking bug. The next few days were leftovers, fine dining, and takeout!

A Jar of Tamarind Concentrate

tamarindchickenThere is a Thai restaurant in Tyson’s Corner Virginia and they have a spicy tamarind sauce. I now live in Chicago and I miss it. I have found Thai restaurants that I really like but none of them seem to have that tamarind sauce, the one that satisfies that craving. So I have purchased a jar of tamarind concentrate. I’m starting slow, a very simple chicken marinade and a simple Indian spiced chutney…it is a good sized jar so I can dawdle…but soon, soon I will have the confidence to start experimenting. Perhaps I can find just the right combination of lime juice and fish sauce and red pepper flakes.

As for the chicken pictured above, well, I should have fired up the grill….but it was cold outside and I was feeling wimpy. So I used my crappy apartment stove broiler again, it skyrocketed into nuclear, and before I noticed the skin was pretty much charcoal. (sigh)

John Ash’s Marinade
2/3 cup brown sugar (he calls for light but I only have dark)
2/3 cup of red wine vinegar
1 cup of chicken stock
1 cup chopped tomatoes (about 1 can drained)
1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds (mine were black)
1/2 tsp seeded and minced Serrano chile (about 1/2 a chile)
3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate (or pulp)
Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened, cool, and puree. I put mine in a ziplock with my chicken halves and put it in the refrigerator on one evening and cooked it the next.

Are you sure cauliflower didn’t come from India?

I can’t quite pin it down via my internet search but it seems that cauliflower (and broccoli) probably originate from the Italy-Greece-Turkey region of the world. Okay, alright, maybe it did, but when I find a head of cauliflower in my shopping basket it is headed for some Indian inspired spice concoction.  I may even have other plans when I first pick it up, but by the time I get home I’m pulling the turmeric out of the cupboard again.

This time I used Deseree Anne Kazda’s concoction: salt, pepper, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, chili powder. It has just a little nip. Good stuff.

The “biryani” recipe is from food52. It is good but a little heavy on the cinnamon-cloves-cardamom for my taste.


Moroccan Carrots

This meal was weeks ago, when I was obsessing about carrots, but I just found the picture and I love meals with two vegetables!

And… I am reading the Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence And… then on public radio they are interviewing Omar Sharif about the movie version “Lawrence of Arabia”! …Of course Morocco and the Arabian peninsula are quite far away from each other and have quite different culinary traditions but…Mr. Sharif is originally from Egypt which is geographically between the two.. Regardless it all felt serendipitous to me this morning. And even if, obviously, this “train of thought” paragraph is total crap, I remember that the food was delicious.

Notes on the recipe: I have to say that the carrots have a little too much garlic and I suggest cooking them less than the suggested 10 minutes as mine got a little too mushy.  I had homemade harrisa but I didn’t have any preserved lemons so I had to buy them this time.

last chance to eat al fresco

cauliflower soup with arm and truffle oil

In an attempt to grasp the final slanting rays of evening sunlight, I imagined rushing home, warming up a bowl of this soup, and curling up on the porch under a cozy afghan to eat it quickly before it got too dark. Of course by the time I got home from work it was always dark already.

Cauliflower soup with pecorino romano and truffle oil…and bacon, yes, it has bacon so not vegetarian cauliflower soup but delicious cauliflower soup! I did not have a cube of pecorino romano but I did have a frozen Parmigiano rind so I used that. And of course homemade stock, really if you are going to make soup it is worth it to simmer some chicken parts every few months and have a supply of stock in your freezer. Salty bacon, the earthy Parm and truffle oil… perfect autumn soup.