Friday, May 29, 2009

Fiddlehead Pasta!

I'm not much of a pasta-eater for someone of Italian descent, but I couldn't think of a more delicious way to try my first fiddleheads than with butterfly pasta. My friend K.K suggested that I cook them with lemon butter, and the notion of eating these in a light, clear sauce stuck with me. I adapted this recipe from one I found online, adding a couple of things I enjoy.

The first step was to blanch the rinsed fiddleheads in boiling salted water for 2 or 3 minutes. Then I
rinsed them in cold water and added my butterfly pasta to the already boiling pot.
When the pasta is 2 or 3 minutes away from being al dente, saute 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, sliced, in 3 tbsp butter or margerine, until just brown.
At this point, I added some dry chilis because I love a little kick to my pasta, especially if it's a light dish.
Drain the pasta and rinse in cold water. Then add the juice of 1/2 a juicy lemon to the margerine and garlic and allow to thicken (it will likely take only a few seconds)
Add the fiddlehead
s and toss, then add the pasta and toss. Keep on the heat, tossing, until the pasta is coated and most of the liquid is absorbed.
At this point you can season with salt, pepper, or cheese if you like.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Beer and a Light Snack - Papadums and Chutney

I know you want to nosh on something summery and light. I think this is the answer. A perfect, crunchy, complement for a summer evening on the porch with a beer: papadum served with a mint chutney and a mango chutney. All made in under 40 minutes.
The papadum(s?) were cheap in Kensington market. Instead of deep frying them I microwaved them individually, 30 seconds on each side, and they turned out beautifully without all the oil required for frying them.
The chutneys were simple and fresh.

For the mango chutney: cube 1 ripe mango, combine with half a diced onion, a handful of raisins, a tsp grated ginger, a tsp of cumin, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 2-3 tsp brown sugar (or skip it, maybe use juice, or a reallly ripe mango) 3 tbsp vinegar. Simmer until the liquid evaporates and the onion is tender. Then add a handful of julienned mint leaves, salt and pepper to taste.
For the Mint Chutney: combine in a blender 1/2 cup mint and 1/2 cup cilantro with the juice of half a lime, 1/2 to one whole fresh hot chili (I used green hot sauce 'cause I was out of chilis) and 5 tsp of water. Blend the sh*t out of it for 2-3 min, adding water if it's too dry. Now get outside, drink some beer, and eavesdrop on your neighbours. Ah, summer!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mutter Paneer

This dish feels like it takes forever to make. It's somewhat complicated, but if you have some free time, or are super organized in the kitchen, you might enjoy spending an afternoon with Mutter Paneer.
First, I would recommend doing a kitchen inventory, as this requires quite a few spices and ingredients.

You'll need 1/2-1 tsp each of garam masala, black pepper, cumin, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, ground fresh ginger and garlic. Also, two bay leaves, a pinch of cardamom, 3 or 4 cloves and an inch or so of cinnamon st
You'll also need 1C cubed paneer, 1 minced onion, and 3-4 tom
atoes, pureed.
First, you fry the cubed paneer until it's golden on all sides, then set it aside to drain on paper towel.
Meanwhile, saute the dry spices in the remaining oil for about 30 s. Then add the mixture of ground ginger, garlic, and minced onion and saute until golden and combined.
Add the tomatoes and about
a cup of water, and prepare to simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes ( you might need to keep adding water-you want the sauce to come together and change to a darker red/brown colour, and the oil to float to the top).
After it's reached a good gravylike consistency, add the peas. 2-3 minutes later add the cheese.
Simmer another 2-3 minutes, then serve over rice (or rice and quin
oa mixed)


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Buddha's Duck - Fake Duck

cFake Duck. I love it, and after some hesitation, I've tried to make it a couple of times. Although I still prefer eating this in the restaurant, the fake fake duck that I make isn't half bad.

First, soak several beancurd sheets in warm water for 5-10 minutes

Next: pat dry and lay out the beancurd one at a time on a piece of cheesecloth.

Heat a mixture of rice wine or sherry, soy sauce, sugar, stock and vegetable oil. Brush this on each piece of beancurd before adding another on top. Repeat until all of your beancurd is used

Fold the beancurd sheets inward until you have a fairly dense packet about the size of a paperback. Wrap with the cheesecloth, then steam for 10 minutes.

After steaming, saute in oil for 2-3 min, or until lightly brown and puffy on both sides. Serve with hot sauce and wine vinegar :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cauliflower, Kale and Potato Gratin

Okay, it's not the nicest food porn pic I've ever taken. I was experimenting with a Canon 5D this weekend, and haven't quite mastered the settings. I was driven to make a gratin (my first) after reading chocolate and zucchini last week. I used her bechamel sauce (a flour/oil roux simmered with soy milk and seasoning) and tossed it with Kale, Potato and Cauliflower that I had steam-sauteed for about10-15 minutes (sauteed in order of hardness, with the Kale only going in for 2-3 minutes)
I topped it with nutritional yeast and panko, and baked it at 400 for 10 minutes, then broiled for another five. What a treat!
Next: Vegan Baked Eggplant. Dang, yo.