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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Makhani Paneer with Homemade Paneer

Indian food is one of those cuisines that I adore but was convinced I would never be able to create at home. It intimidated me, left me flummoxed and confused in terms of conceiving of the finished product.

Happily, this is no longer the case. No, a fairy-Indian godmother did not come along and waved her magic wand and poof! make me an expert. But as with all the cuisines that I didn't grow up with, studying the cookbooks and now blogs of people who did has led me to some masterly over a few dishes. My beau is a huge fan of anything Indian and proclaims my dishes equal (or better!) to what we can get at our local Indian restaurant. Maybe it's love talking, maybe it's really that good...

What I do know is it's not as complicated as it looks once you start to understand the process. Pureeing the curry base - tomatoes or steamed greens - with your aromatics like ginger, garlic, chiles, and then cooking them in deeply spiced oil or ghee leads to delicious meals.

One of the non-Indian things I'd highly recommend is substituting mashed potatoes for your rice. I know, total heresy but outrageously good!  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Homemade Paneer - DIY Pantry

Homemade paneer - sounds hard, complicated, right? Wrong! So simple it's crazy and mind-blowing that it's taken me so long to make it at home! Thank god my beau loves Indian food and our local stores don't carry paneer. So I simply had to make it. Dead simple, really. And impressive and delicious... So go buy some whole milk and make it!

Pictured above is some paneer that was marinated in spiced yogurt and then broiled to golden perfection. It was then tossed in some Makhani sauce and gobbled up in ecstatic delight!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lemon Tofu Squares

As longtime readers of this blog will remember, desserts are not something that tempt me. I just prefer vinegar to sweet. Yes, it's weird, but I know I'm not alone in this taste preference!

However this is a tart sweet, but not too tart, and it's got a magic ingredient. Yup, tofu is how this curd is made, no eggs here. I made it for a class I was teaching on how to cook with tofu and during a test run on the teenage daughters I naughtily forgot to mention the tofu until after they'd devoured a few squares. Total satisfaction on everyone's part!

In this version I did not let the saffron threads soak in the lemon juice prior to adding it to the tofu curd, which resulted in such a pale yellow color. If you like your lemon squares to look more lemonly, do allow the saffron to sit in the lemon juice at least 5 minutes before adding to the filling mixture.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ricotta White Pizza with Artichokes, Olives and Basil

Pizza is still my favorite comfort food, although a close second to chips and salsa. Since I could eat it every day and not tire of it, I limit myself to my homemade dough so that my addiction stays in check. Here I did a simple white pizza with lots of Mediterranean flair.

White pizzas are fun and can be made with just mozzarella and toppings or you can branch out and make it with a combination of other white cheeses like ricotta or cottage cheese or a mix of the two as I did here since it's what was in the refrigerator that needed to be used up.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Classic Nicoise Salad

Nicoise salad is one of those classic dishes that I usually trust from any decent restaurant. And most of the time I don't think to make it at home since it requires quite a bit of preparation - all of those different ingredients that make it such a fun dish to have someone else prepare! But a few brunches ago the beau and I were wanting a more green meal rather than potatoes and eggs, and since I had potatoes and green beans on hand, Nicoise it was!

This prep is made quicker if you boil the potatoes first and then in the last few minutes of cooking them add the beans and voila, both are done! Be sure to drop the green beans in cold water to stop the cooking process so that they don't go limp on you.

If you can, buy the highest quality canned tuna you can afford, it makes such a difference. I happened to have some leftover aioli in the fridge and we used that to dress the lettuce. This didn't seem too far fetched since a quick internet search of Nicoise dressing turned up three different ones, all of which claiming to be authentic. So use what you like! 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Squash Fritters with Tomato Jam

It happens to the best of us, and the longer you cook, the more often it pops up...you start to feel guilty about dreading summer's bounty.

There, I said it, out loud.

We all have these moment when we can't look at another tomato or cucumber or heaven forbid, the dreaded summer squash. It's like they're haunting us, screaming at us,

        "But I'm so fresh! and ripe! and Local! Why don't you want me anymore??"

So we begrudgingly buy them and allow them to rot in our crisper and turn a blind eye when we have to toss them in the compost bin, making some lame excuse that we just didn't get to them in time. Well, here's the cure, really. This recipe will eat up all of those squash because not only are they delicious, but they cook down 3-4 of those buggers!

These are pretty basic in the flavors, but feel free to add spices - paprika, cumin, coriander would all be good. Or just keep them simple and add fun condiments like the Tomato Jam pictured above. Go wild! Summer's almost over!