Thursday, August 30, 2007

Indian Basmati Rice

I have tried many rice recipes and this is what I have created by blending many recipes together. It’s full of flavor and goes well with any Indian curry. I often make this recipe for dinner on its own when I’m craving Indian food but don’t have the time to create an entire meal. The chicken stock adds a ton of flavor, but you can easily submit water if you want more of a pure neutral rice flavor.

Indian Basmati Rice

2 Cups Basmati Rice
4 Cups Chicken Broth
6 Tablespoons Ghee (or butter)
1 Teaspoon Saffron Threads
2 Tablespoons Hot Water
1 Cup Diced Onions
1 Cinnamon Stick, broken
4 Bay Leaves
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cardamom Powder
1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds
4 Cloves, whole
2 Teaspoons Salt

Soak saffron threads in hot water. Heat ghee and fry onions and then remove and set aside. Add cinnamon, cumin seeds, cardamom powder, cloves and salt, sauté 1 minute. Add bay leaves and onions, and rice, cook while stirring for 4-5 minutes or until all the ghee is absorbed and the rice is coated with oil. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add saffron and its water, cook covered, over low heat until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork, remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick and serve.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Indian Spice Stuffed Vegetables

This was the first Indian dish I ever tried. I was in New York and my friend Nick and I went to his friend Rena’s house and she cooked this meal. She served it with flat bread and rice. I was amazed at the punch of flavor and the mesmerizing delicious aroma. Of course my version isn’t half as good, but I still think it’s a great recipe with a lot of flavor.
I am not a huge potato fan, so often times I will make this with just eggplant. Also, if you can’t find the cute little baby eggplant, just cut thick slices of a regular eggplant, cut a pocket in the middle and stuff the slices with the spices.

Indian Spice Stuffed Vegetables

12 Small Potatoes (I like to use red)
12 Baby Eggplant (You can find these at the Asian grocery store, they are about the size of a plum)

1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
2 Tablespoons Ground Coriander
2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin
½ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
½ Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
2 Tablespoons Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Garam Masala
1 Tablespoon Peanuts, roughly crushed
2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
½ Teaspoons Mustard Seeds
14 Ounce Can Chopped Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
2/3 Cups Water

Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees. Make slits in the potatoes and eggplant.

Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing together in a plate. Carefully stuff the potatoes and eggplants with the spice mixture. Place the stuffed potatoes and eggplants in a greased ovenproof dish.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the mustard seeds for 2 minutes until they begin to sputter, then add the tomatoes, coriander and any leftover stuffing, together with the water. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Pour the sauce over the potatoes and Eggplant. Cover and bake for 30-45 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Lamb Kofta Curry

I immediately fell in love with this dish and crave it daily. It takes a little time to make, but well worth it! I would not recommend substituting beef for this recipe.
Lamb Kofta Curry

2 Pounds Ground Lamb
1 Jalapeno Pepper, Finely Minced
1 Garlic Clove, Finely Minced
1 Inch Piece Ginger, Finely Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
½ Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 Onion, chopped
1 Garlic Clove, chopped
1 Inch Piece Ginger, Finely Minced
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
12 Ounce Can Chopped Tomatoes

To make meatballs, mix all meatball ingredients in large bowl until well combined. Form meat into 2 inch balls. In large oiled frying pan over medium-hi heat cook meatballs until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove from pan to a towel-lined plate and drain fat from pan.

To make the sauce, heat the oil and fry the cumin seeds until they sputter. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the meatballs back to the pan, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro and serve with rice.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tandoori Naan

Tandoori Naan*

½ Cups Warm Water
½ Teaspoon Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Yeast
2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Egg
¼ Cup Skim Milk
1 Teaspoon Melted Butter
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (Optional)

Put the water in a small bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and yeast. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside for a few minutes until the yeast begins to foam.
In a mixing bowl, sieve the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Gradually kneed the liquid into the four. Begin adding the yeast mixture while kneading. Knead until the dough is smooth and does not stick to the bowl (about 5 minutes). Brush the dough with the melted butter. Cover with a moist cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled (about 2-3 hours).
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, and place large cookie sheet in oven to heat up. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Flatten dough by hand on lightly floured board until ¼ inch thick. Quickly grease pre-heated cooking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and add dough to sheet. Bake for 3-4 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Brush with additional butter and sprinkle with cumin seeds, if desired.
Traditional tandoori naan is formed into the shape of a tear. This naturally happens as the bread is cooked in an open clay oven called a tandoor, and the dough droops during cooking to form the tear shape.
*Recipe from “The Spice is Right” by Monica Bhide

Friday, August 17, 2007

Chicken Saag

This is one of my favorite indian dishes. It's full of flavor and has a beautiful green color. I like to kick up the spice a bit and add an extra chili pepper with the seeds. I would serve this with basmati rice and naan bread. This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Best-Ever Curry," by Mridula Baljekar. I have made a few minor changes.
Chicken Saag

10 Ounces Spinach Leaves, washed
1 Inch piece Fresh Ginger Root, grated
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Jalapeno, top removed, do not remove seeds
1 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 Bay Leaves
¼ Teaspoon Black Peppercorns
1 Onion, finely chopped
1-14 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
2 Teaspoons Curry Powder (I like to use yellow curry powder)
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
3 Tablespoons Plain Yogurt, plus extra to serve
6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 2 inch cubes

Cook the spinach, without water in a tightly covered pan for 5 minutes. Put the spinach, ginger, garlic and chili with ¼ cup of the water into food processor and process to a puree.

Heat the oil, add the bay leaves and peppercorns and fry for 2 minutes. Add the onion and fry for 6-8 minutes more.

Add the canned tomatoes to the pan and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, salt and chili powder and stir well to mix. Allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the spinach puree and the remaining water to the pan, and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in the yogurt 1 Tablespoon at a time and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken. Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Serve with warm naan bread. Serve with plain yogurt.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thai Noodles with Shrimp

I love how easy this dish is to make. You can really add any vegetables you like to make it your own recipe. I must say that the first time I heard of oyster sauce it freaked me out a little bit, what the heck is in oyster sauce, and what does it taste like? Then I got over my apprehension and was pleasantly surprised by a rich, non-fishy, almost teriyaki type of flavor. It’s now a staple ingredient in all my stir fry recipes.
Thai Noodles with Shrimp

8 Ounces Rice Noodles
1 Pound Shrimp, cleaned, shelled, and deveined
1 Carrot, julienned
1 Small Green Zucchini, julienned
6 Scallions, chopped (divided)
Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/2 -3/4 Cups Oyster Sauce

Bring 6-8 cups water to boil in large pot, remove from heat add rice noodles and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat, add one teaspoon sesame oil and sauté shrimp until cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add another teaspoon sesame oil to pan along with carrot, zucchini and 4 of the scallions, sauté for about 2-3 minutes until slightly softened.
Add sugar, soy sauce, ½ cup oyster sauce, rice noodles, and shrimp. Sauté for 2 minutes stirring to coat the noodles completely with sauce. Add more oyster sauce if necessary. Sprinkle with remaining scallions and serve.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

German Pancakes

I am not a big breakfast fan, but this is one of the things I do love to eat in the morning. It’s quick, easy to make, and always turns out perfectly. This recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9x13 inch pan as well if you are serving a few people.
German Pancakes

2 Eggs
¼ Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar
½ Cup Flour
1 Cup Milk

Mix all ingredients using only half the milk with whisk until well combined. Whisk in remaining milk.
Pour into well greased glass pie plate, or 9x9 in baking pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until bottom and edges are golden brown.
Serve with butter and powdered sugar. Also, this is good served with lime juice and powdered sugar if you want to cut out the butter.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Zucchini Lasagna

Yet another zucchini recipe! It has been unusually cold this summer so I keep making heavy savory dishes, and this hit the spot. I took the left-overs to work and everyone loved it. I got the recipe from Williams Sonoma, but changed a few things.

Zucchini Lasagna

Olive oil for cooking
4 lb. zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1-15 ounce container ricotta cheese
3 eggs
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups milk, warmed
1 lb. lasagna noodles, cooked until just tender
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (italian style or with basil is great too!)
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat an oven to 375ºF.
Butter a lasagna pan.In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Working in batches, add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining zucchini; set aside.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, salt and pepper and stir to combine; set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, then cook until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper; set aside.
Cover the bottom of the prepared lasagna pan with a layer of lasagna noodles. Spread one-third of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Spread one-third of the tomatoes over the ricotta mixture, then top with one-third of the zucchini. Pour one-third of the sauce over the zucchini. Repeat the layering twice. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Bake until the lasagna is golden and bubbling, about 50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 10 to 12.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Balthazar French Martini

I discovered this recipe on the Williams Sonoma website and had to immediately run to the liquor store and buy the ingredients. I just may become an alcoholic with this drink, it’s so fabulous! I will be in New York in October and can’t wait to go Balthazar’s for dinner and see if their version of this tasty drink is the same.
Balthazar French Martini

1 Ounce Chilled Vodka
1 Ounce Pineapple Juice
1/3 Chambord
Ice Cubes

In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka, pineapple juice, Chambord and ice cubes. Shake vigorously to produce a frothy head and strain into a chilled martini glass. Serve straight up. Makes 1 martini.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

1 ½ Pounds Tilapia, or other white fish
1 White Onion, skin removed and quartered
3 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Bunch Cilantro, cleaned and stems removed
4 Limes, juiced
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
Olive Oil
12 Corn Tortillas
8 Ounces Cheese (I like to use Cojita, or a shredded Mexican Blend)
Sour Cream
Lime Wedges
Mango Salsa*

Clean fish and remove all bones, place in large bowl.
In bowl of food processor, add onion, peppers, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, sugar, and salt. Process until thick puree forms. Pour over fish and let marinate at room temperature 2 hours.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large sauté pan, add half the tilapia and cook until browned 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown, move to platter. Repeat with remaining fish, adding more olive oil as necessary. Lightly separate fish into small pieces.
Heat tortillas in oven, or fry in oil, until warm and flexible.
Spread teaspoon sour cream on tortilla, add fish, cheese, mango salsa, and squeeze juice of lime wedge over the top.

*Mango Salsa recipe is on its own blog page.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Mango Salsa

This dish was inspired by my friend Francisca. She made a mango salsa to go with her husband's pork carnita’s and I loved it so much I had to make my own version. Thanks Francisca for the inspiration!
Mango Salsa

2 Mangos, finely diced
½ Red Onion, finely diced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 Handful Cilantro, chopped
1 Lime, juiced
½ Teaspoon Salt

Mix all ingredients in small bowl, let sit for an hour or so for flavors to mingle.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Carrot Cake

This is one of my all time favorite desserts and I hardly ever eat it. I think anything with a cream cheese frosting is wonderful. If you really want to indulge your guests, may I suggest cutting your cakes in half so you have a four layer cake and even more delicious frosting!I made this for my friend Taven's birthday, it was gone within minutes. We had an amazing time sitting out in the garden by candlelight with a bunch of friends eating really good food.

Carrot Cake

1 ½ Cups Carrots, Peeled and Diced (about 3)
2 ½ Cups Flour
2 ½ Cups Sugar
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
4 Eggs
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts, or Pecans
¾ Cup Drained Canned Crushed Unsweetened Pineapple
1 Cup Desiccated Coconut (can be found at Asian grocery stores)
Steam carrots until quite tender, then puree in food processor. Should have 1 cup puree. Set aside.Sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, soda, and salt in large bowl.In separate bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, and vanilla. Gently stir into dry ingredients, just before fully mixed add nuts, coconut, pineapple and carrot puree. Mix until just combined.Pour batter into two greased and floured 8 or 9" round baking pans.Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.Let cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 Ounces Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 Stick Butter, room temperature
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
4 Cups Powdered Sugar

Cream together cream cheese, butter and vanilla over medium speed with an electric mixer. Continue beating on low, while adding powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, and mixing until completely incorporated. Add up to 1/2 cup additional powdered sugar if necessary to bring to spreading consistency.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Salmon With Dill Sauce

Salmon With Dill Sauce

Salmon Fillet, bones removed
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
½ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Egg
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 ¾ Cups Vegetable Oil
8 Ounces Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Dried Dill, or 4 Tablespoons Fresh Dill, minced

Dill Sauce:
In food processor with blade attachment combine mustard, salt, pepper, egg, and lemon juice, process until combined. With processor running slowly add oil in a steady stream, process until combined. Now you have homemade mayo. In medium sized mixing bowl, mix together mayo, sour cream and dill, until combined and keep refrigerated up to 5 days.

Wrap salmon tightly in aluminum foil and seal the edges by rolling them together. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until cooked through. Place salmon on serving tray (the skin will stick to the foil, but the meat is really easy to move to the serving tray) and spread generously with dill sauce. Serve with lemon wedges.

Zucchini With Parmesan

Zucchini With Parmesan
This is a favorite of mine and super easy to make. All you have to do is slice zucchini, sauté it with butter, salt, and pepper to taste; place into serving bowl and toss with parmesan cheese.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

House Green Salad

This salad is a staple at my dinner parties and everyone loves it! If you’re not up to making the dressing, a raspberry vinaigrette works really well with this too. I have also added pine nuts or candied pecans to this salad, to give it a bit of extra flavor.
House Green Salad

1 Bag Mixed Greens/Spinach (8-10 ounce size)
6 Ounces Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese
Large Handful Dried Cranberries
House Dressing


1/3 Cup Rice Vinegar
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper

Wisk together all dressing ingredients until well combined. Toss greens with dressing and place on platter or in bowl; crumble gorgonzola and Dried Cranberries over the top.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Orzo Salad

This is one of my favorite salads and has so much flavor. This recipe makes a huge bowl full, so it's a great side dish if you are having a lot of people over. I just had 10 people over for dinner the other night and still had plenty left over. It's also great as a meal on it's own.
Orzo Salad

1 Pound Orzo Pasta
3 Bell Peppers, sliced into thin strips (I like to use red, yellow, and orange for color)
1 Small Red Onion, sliced into thin strips
1 Cucumber, sliced into ¼ inch pieces
4 Plum Tomatoes, cut into ½ inch pieces
Handful Baby Spinach Leaves
8 Ounces Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 Bottle Greek Feta Salad Dressing (I like to use Girard’s)

Cook pasta according to manufactures directions, then drain in colander and run cold water over pasta until completely cooled. In large bowl mix all ingredients and until well blended. This recipe works best if the dressing is mixed in just before serving, as it will soak up all the dressing as it sits.