These very simple and quick little eggs are elegant on the plate and taste just as wonderful. They would make a marvelous light lunch with a small green salad, but I must admit that I had them for breakfast the other day with toast and an orange.
This recipe is taken almost straight from my dependable copy of Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian but with the substitution of a little toasted sesame oil for added flavour (if you don't have toasted sesame oil, please do get some and give it a try). I can't ordinarily be bothered with poached eggs as it seems such a trial to make perfect ones, but this recipe pleasantly included an easy fail-safe method for poaching eggs that, even if they look rather a bit more like fried eggs than picture-perfect poached ones, hold together and are just as good in every way.
Korean-style poached eggs
1 green onion, thinly sliced, both white and green parts
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons tamari sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Place the sliced green onions in a bowl of ice water and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before making the poached eggs. Drain and place on a clean dish towel. Bring the ends of the cloth together and twist to wring out the extra moisture. This method gives the green onions a nice crunch.
Add 3/4-inch of water to a low simmer over medium heat in a 9- or 10-inch no-stick frying pan. Crack the eggs into small glasses or bowls. Slide the eggs into the pan when the water is at a simmer so that the eggs sit side by side. Simmer gently until the whites are just set. Turn off the heat and cover loosely with a lid. Allow the eggs to continue cooking until the yolks are set to your liking. Separate the eggs and remove from the pan onto a plate with a slotted spatula.
Meanwhile, whisk together the tamari sauce, sesame oil, toasted sesame oil and sugar. Remember to mix well again just before serving.
Arrange the poached eggs on plates and sprinkle with some of the sauce. Scatter green onions over top and serve.
One of these is this exquisite pine nut and wild rice pilaf tinged with just the right amount of orange for a light, refreshing and flavourful summer side dish. Serve on a patio, at a picnic, or just at home — everyone will love it. I reproduce the recipe almost exactly as found in the book, partly because it's too good to change in any way except possibly to add a few more pine nuts or jalapeños as your taste goes, but also because the book appears unfortunately to be out of print. But there are usually a few used copies lying around for the lucky ones.
Yamuna Devi's pine nut and orange wild rice
1/2 cup wild rice
1 cup basmati rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup dried currants
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespooon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and slivered
Rinse the wild rice and basmati rice separately under cold running water and let the basmati rice air dry in a strainer for half an hour or longer. Bring 1 1/3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the wild rice, reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the grains are just tender but not falling apart. Remove from heat and drain off any excess liquid. Set aside.
Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat in a small frying pan until golden brown. Set aside.
When the basmati rice is dry, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over just less than medium heat. Toss in the basmati rice, pine nuts, currants, parsley, and orange zest. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat the rice grains with oil. Add 1 2/3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Add the wild rice, orange juice, salt, pepper, and jalapeños and gently mix. Serve hot, warm or cold. Serves 6 to 8.
Tonight's solution to solo dining was a simple chickpea curry served along with some plain basmati rice sprinkled with some tamari sauce. This is a dry curry and served with some cold yogurt, could almost pass as a salad. It proved to be a very refreshing summertime menu choice, with the added bonus of not yielding a ridiculous amount of leftovers.
Spicy Chickpea and Potato Curry
1 1/4 cups of dried chickpeas, soaked overnight with enough water to cover
a few tablespoons of oil, or a mixture of butter and oil
1 large onion, cut into thin strips
3 - 4 chilies, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2/3 teaspoon of garam masala
2/3 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of cumin
dash of turmeric
2 medium potatoes, cut into cubes and boiled until just tender
juice from one lime
sea salt to taste
1/4 - 1/2 cup of reserved cooking liquid from chickpeas
1 small tomato, finely chopped
plain yogurt (I used goat milk yogurt)
1 small tomato, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
Drain the chickpeas, transfer to a large pot with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the chickpeas are buttery soft - about 1 - 2 hours, depending on how old the beans are. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions just begin to brown. Now add the chopped chilies and ground spices and stir and fry for a minute. Add the chickpeas to the pot, along with the potatoes, lime juice, reserved cooking liquid, salt and chopped tomato. Cook for another 5 - 10 minutes, stirring often.
To serve, ladle some of the chickpeas into a bowl, top with a tablespoon or two of yogurt, a slice of tomato and some parsley or cilantro.
The beautifully haunting solo cello suites of Bach simultaneously soothe and disturb. The perfection of the compositions is utterly satisfying and yet a yearning is nonetheless experienced. True, I am playing the role of hermit more intensely these past few days since my husband left for a two week work-related trip, but for brooding types such as I, Bach is often an occasion for reflection.
Consider the act of nourishment that paradoxically can become more complicated when you suddenly find yourself alone. As much as I like to cook, there is less incentive involved when the diner is just me, the cook. Not that I don't enjoy the fruits of my labors, but I don't relish the idea of eating the same dish for more than 3 days, yet cutting corners with bread and cheese and simple egg dishes quickly loses its appeal. Still, there is a certain satisfaction in indulging in whatever you wish, without witnesses, no matter the time of day or method of execution.
Craving a more nourishing meal, and determined to cook something other than eggs, I was reminded of these gluten free and dairy-free chickpea flour pancakes (pudla) that Lucy made after consulting her copy of Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. I've owned a copy of this cookbook for years, and although I vaguely recalled seeing the recipe, somehow I hastily scanned over it. My loss, until now.
Usually, a kadai is used to cook this dish, but I used a wok, which is similarly shaped. I didn't manage to produce the thick brown crust I was hoping for, but the result was a fragrant treat that I enjoyed for dinner with a bowl of Yellow-Split Pea Soup.
This is my contribution to Eat Healthy, a monthly event hosted by Sangeeth. The challenge this month is to come up with a dish that is protein rich.
2 cups of rice flour
2 cups of yogurt or buttermilk (I used a combination of goat yogurt and buttermilk)
roughly 1 cup of water
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon of kalonji seeds
1 tablespoon of urad dal, rinsed
a generous pinch of asafoetida
2 - 3 finely chopped green chilies
a small handful of curry leaves
3 - 4 dried red chilies
a few teaspoons of oil for frying
Mix the rice flour, buttermilk and/or yogurt together. Pour in enough water to make a batter that is a bit thinner than a pancake batter. In a large wok, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, stir and fry the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, kalonji seeds and urad dal for a few minutes. Now add the asafoetia, green chilies and curry leaves and cook for another minute or so. Add the dried red chilies to the pan, stir and fry for another few minutes and then pour in the batter. Stir the mixture continuously until it thickens. Cover and cook for another few minutes, until a golden crust forms on the bottom. Serve warm.
I will be the host for August. Check back at the beginning of August for the theme and the winner for July.
…which seems to be the very idea that Zlamushka had in mind when she started hosting "Tried and Tasted," a monthly event for people to share their recreations of recipes found at some of the best food blogs around — a celebration of what she calls the divine feeling of "having your recipes lead somebody else’s kitchen."
So I'm not alone in thinking that. Nor, would it seem, am I alone in thinking that What's For Lunch, Honey is one of the finest food blogs going, now that Zlamushka has asked her readers to submit a recreation of one of Meeta's recipes for July's Tried and Tasted. Meeta's fabulous recipes and gorgeous photographs — and plenty of desserts! — always make her blog a visual feast by itself, but the wonderful stories she so beautifully tells in each of her entries set her apart from the crowd almost as much as the food. She is a lovely lady who is also an amazing cook.
As it happened, I had already been planning to make Meeta's ricotta pesto and mushroom lasagne when Zlamushka's invitation came out. In fact, I had even emailed Meeta to make sure that she really had meant "100 grams of dried porcini mushrooms" in the recipe instead of 10, to which she replied in polite and friendly fashion that, yes, that would in fact be 100 grams of dried mushrooms in addition to 950 grams of fresh mushrooms … !! Well, can kinder words ever be spoken to a mushroom lover?
I ended up calling this the sixty-dollar lasagne, since dried mushrooms are apparently far more dear here than they must be in Germany, where Meeta lives. Still, it was a lot of food that went a long way, and I instantly forgot all my regrets about spending so much money as the aroma of cooked mushrooms drifted out of the oven. Somehow, the lasagne was more perfectly mushroom-y than mushrooms themselves, if that makes any sense. (To be truthful, I had probably added even more fresh mushrooms than Meeta called for in my general confusion between ounces and grams.) At the same time, the creamy tang of a heavenly ricotta basil pesto perfectly accented the rich earthy tones of the mushrooms.
This was truly an astonishing lasagne that will live in mushroom lore for years, at least in my household. As an indication of the quality that Meeta brings to each and every one of her recipes, I can imagine no better tribute than the satisfied smiles and mmmm's it brought to the lips of my guests. Meeta has their appreciation and mine, as well as a promise to come back for more ideas … like maybe one of her gorgeous desserts … um … chocolate caramel tart anyone?
Find the recipe for Meeta's ricotta pesto and mushroom lasagne here.
A long-standing comrade of mine is soon to embark on a journey a great geographic distance away from me. Always an enthusiastic and appreciative dinner guest, most importantly a highly creative and rational influence and loyal friend, I selfishly regret that Mike will be escaping the city walls surrounding foggy London, Ontario.
Virtually we will remain connected, and I'll mail him non-perishables.
Lest it sound like I am writing a eulogy, I am reminded of valuable friendships I have forged that would not have occurred without the internet. I immediately think of my Scottish friend Holler, who kindly surprised me with a cookbook that this recipe was inspired by.
|Mixed Greens with Warm Goat Cheese and Pesto on Toast|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from Mediterranean Harvest: Vegetarian Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine
Published on July 18, 2008
Toasted crusty bread topped with pesto and baked goat cheese and served on mixed salad greens — simple, elegant and delicious
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The instruction for a 1-inch piece of tamarind is based on the cake form of the dried pulp sold in every Indian and Asian grocery here in North America. Likewise the brown mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida called for in this recipe are always easily found at Indian stores.
Mung tamarind dalI'm sending this along to Mansi for her Healthy Cooking event because legumes are not only good for you, they are also a wise choice if you are looking to shed a few pounds.
1 cup dried whole mung beans
1-inch piece of tamarind pulp
1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
2 dried hot red chillies
6 curry leaves, fresh or dried
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
4 red cayenne peppers
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
small bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
Rinse the mung beans and soak overnight covered with 3 1/2 cups cold water in a medium saucepan with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft and broken up. Set aside.
Meanwhile soak the tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bowl, squeezing as much liquid as possible out of the tamarind pulp. Discard the pulp and set aside the liquid.
Heat the oil of ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the mustard seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to splutter, usually a few seconds, quickly add the tamarind liquid and stir in the red cayenne peppers and turmeric. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the raw smell of the tamarind fades, about 15 minutes.
Pour in the undrained mung beans and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes while the flavours mingle. Stir in the salt and taste for seasoning.
Serve hot garnished with the finely chopped coriander in warm bowls alongside plates of hot rice. Serves 4.
It might seem strange that I would choose a recipe from Delia Smith's Winter Collection when it's close to 30 degrees during the day here, but once you try these savory scones you will understand why I just couldn't resist. Containing as they do some of my very favorite ingredients, these cheesy little treats are a comfort food anytime of year as far as I am concerned. Besides, the air conditioning has finally been turned on, which is a reason to celebrate as a heat wave is in the forecast, they don't take too long to prepare, and they are in the oven for a short time. Serve with a soup and salad for lunch or light dinner, or simply enjoy as a satisfying snack.
Just at those moments when cooking begins to feel like a recycling scheme for old ideas, new ideas crop up in the least likely of grounds. Looking for a dinner idea through my bulging folder of recipes printed off from other food blogs I was struck for no apparent reason by the copy I had made of Gattina's sweet risotto with azuki inspired by her mother's Asian red bean dessert. Despite telling myself that the last thing I needed was another dessert idea when I was really just looking for something to make for dinner, I found I couldn't keep it out of my head…
…which is when it came to me to substitute the sweetness for the savory. I adore risottos, but until seeing a sweet risotto it had never occurred to me — me, who loves fiery flavors! — to make a spicy risotto. What I've been missing! Keeping with the oriental theme of Gattina's recipe it was a matter of just a little thought to scribble in my favorite Asian flavors — tamari, sesame, scallions and peppers — for an untraditional but warm, zesty and filling fusion of cuisines that didn't last long on anyone's plate. Gattina's lovely-looking dessert risotto is still on the radar for another day, but in the meantime I'm delighted with the off-the-wall inspiration the recipe provided.
We are in the grips of a heat wave here in Ontario, and as my appetite decreases, so too does my desire to cook. Besides, it was only just today that our landlords downstairs decided to turn on the air conditioning, and though I reside in an airy apartment, the humidity still results in an uncomfortably hot environment.
Eating well is important to me though, especially considering my propensity to smoke, not to mention my red wine habit. Even when I don't feel like cooking, I do it anyway, as I don't eat prepackaged food and I don't like to eat out very often. Tonight I made a simple Chinese dish from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian that I have been meaning to try for a good long while. I was inspired to finally give it a try as it sounded easy and I also didn't want to miss the deadline for *A.W.E.D*, a monthly food event celebrating ethnic culinary traditions from around the world. This month, Chinese cuisine is the focus.
The beans are cooked and flavored separately, providing a slight but enjoyable contrast. Ms. Jaffrey suggests serving this dish with rice, with vegetables, or with some bread. She also recommends scooping the beans into a pita pocket, along with some tomatoes, and lettuce for a satisfying lunch or light dinner. I was pleased with the end result, as the earthy flavour of the beans was nicely enhanced by the modest seasonings.
Sauteed Azuki and Mung Beans, Chinese Style
1 cup of azuki beans, rinsed
1 cup of whole mung beans, rinsed
For the Azuki Beans:
dash of cayenne pepper
3 - 4 green or red chillies, finely minced
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 scallions, sliced into thin rounds
2/3 teaspoon of sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1 - 2 teaspoons of sesame oil (I used 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil)
For the Mung Beans:
2 tablespoons of oil
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
3/4 teaspoon of sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1 - 2 teaspoons of sesame oil (I used 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil)
1 tablespoon of sesame oil for garnishing
2 - 3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro or fresh parsley, finely chopped, for garnishing
Soak the azuki beans and mung beans in two separate pots with enough water to cover overnight. Drain the beans, return to the pots and add three cups of water to the azuki beans and the mung beans respectively. Bring both the azuki beans and the mung beans to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer until the beans are tender - roughly one hour. Drain, and set aside.
For the azuki beans, make a paste of the chopped chillies and 1 clove of garlic in a mortar and pestle. Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan over high heat. When hot, add the garlic and scallions, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Add the azuki beans to the pan, crushing some of them against the side of the pan for another 30 seconds or so. Reduce the heat to low, add the chili / garlic paste, salt and black pepper, and cook for another minute or so. Pour in the sesame oil, stir, remove from heat and cover.
For the mung beans, in another large frying pan or wok, heat the oil over high heat. When hot, add the garlic, stirring constantly until the garlic begins to brown. Now add the mung beans, stir for 30 seconds, reduce the heat to low and add the sea salt and black pepper. Stir, add the sesame oil, stir again and remove from the heat.
To serve, ladle the beans side by side onto a plate, drizzle with a bit of sesame oil and garnish with cilantro or parsley.
If I ever appear to be making fun of vegans, let me reassure my vegan friends and readers that it is only in the same gentle and slightly perplexed spirit with which my carnivore friends tease me. I'm not all about the eggs and cheese, you see, and I'm never one to complain about a good vegan meal, as much as my meat-eating friends enjoy my own vegetarian cooking.
But I must say that after picking up a copy of Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero for its wide assortment of unique and appealing vegan recipes, the first recipe I tried out turned to be so full of glaring errors and omissions that my first thought was that the authors weren't getting enough nutrients to the brain. Ah well, there's no missing or duplicated steps or ingredients that a little imagination and innovation can't take care of, and this simple and satisfying lentil and rice dish with sweet roasted onions turned out to be a real delight for lunch, even if it required a substantial re-write.
The added bonus for me was the suggestion of serving it with spiced pita crisps, which I did not discover until after having already decided to make it. What a glorious coincidence that I still happened to have plenty of my spicy baked tortilla chips left over from the day before, turning an already tasty rice-and-lentil lunch into an incredible combination of flavours and textures. Do try making both.
|Brown Lentils and Rice with Roasted Onions and Spicy Baked Tortilla Chips|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook
Published on July 10, 2008
A simple and earthy seasoned rice and lentil dish with roasted onions — a great side dish or light lunch
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I have been craving a substantial dinner lately despite the hot and humid weather we are currently experiencing in Ontario. Having a taste for something spicy and Indian, I could resist the block of paneer cheese in the refrigerator no longer and transformed it into one of my favorite classic paneer dishes, paneer butter masala or "shahi paneer". Punjabi in origin, tender lightly fried paneer cheese cubes are smothered in a rich spicy tomato, butter and cream gravy. A staple on the menu at most Indian restaurants, along with mattar paneer, this is very easy to prepare at home.
Simultaneous cravings for a thick and creamy salad dressing and for the nutty and warming taste of toasted sesame led me to come up with this Asian-style miso and tahini sauce for a huge carton of mixed field greens I had on hand. It turned out to be better than I could have hoped for, and it's almost substantial enough to make a light meal out of by itself on a hot summer day. This would make a great dip for fresh cut vegetables like broccoli or peppers or for whole pea pods as well.
|Creamy Sesame Miso Salad Dressing|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on July 7, 2008
A creamy and slightly spicy Asian-style miso and tahini dressing with sesame seeds and sesame seed oil
If the reaction to the baked strawberry pancakes I posted last week is any indication, there's a blossoming passion for strawberries these days at least in those regions where the fresh local berries are just hitting the seasonal market. I know that I myself won't be without a pint or two around for the next month or so, so it seems like a good idea to share some other ideas for those extra strawberries that don't go straight into the bowl for snacking.
For that reason, I do hope that you try these baked French toast slices stuffed with creamy ricotta and loads of fresh strawberries for a remarkably easy but extraordinary breakfast, made even simpler by preparing them the night before for baking the next morning. If you're not sure you're hungry first thing, the heavenly fragrance of strawberries baking that wafts through the kitchen will definitely have you anxious for their arrival on the breakfast plate.
One of the many delights of Madhur Jaffrey's ethnic cookbooks apart from the astonishing variety of foods and tastes is the simplicity of so many of her recipes. This cooling and refreshing dish adapted only slightly from her World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking is no exception to any of these rules, and is a perfect light patio lunch for warm weather on its own or a nice counterpoint to a spicy meal, such as when I served it with a very hot spiced urad dal rice. Even if not for the pleasing taste, the aroma of dry roasted ground cumin — which I substituted for whole seeds — is worth the very small effort of putting this together.
My first attempt at clafouti, a French custardy delicacy, was savory. I danced with the season this time around and transformed some plump cherries into a naturally sweet indulgence. Yes, sugar is included in the mix, but the true sweetness is courtesy of the fresh cherries.
A cross between a pudding and a cake, I was rather surprised to learn that traditionally this dish is made with unpitted cherries. Apparently, leaving the pits in preserves the shape and juices of the fruit and also the pits are said to contribute an almond-like flavor. Well, I'm known to be a purist in the kitchen at times, but somehow the idea of a mouth full of cherry pits didn't appeal to me. Though pitting cherries is not my favorite kitchen task, even armed with a cherry pitter, I went against tradition in this instance. I was not disappointed in the result in the least. Add a few drops of almond extract if desired, or be bold by sticking to the original recipe and taking smaller bites.
Looking at the fresh local asparagus in the market this past weekend I was reminded that the end of the season must soon be at hand and with it my annual mad dash to incorporate asparagus into my recipes again after almost taking its availability for granted in just a little over a month.
For those of you who have contributed to Holler's and my No Croutons Required food roundups, your wonderful suggestions have not gone unappreciated … this little lunchtime saganaki and asparagus plate is directly inspired by the grilled halloumi and asparagus salad that Maybelle's Mom submitted for Holler's cheese salad event the other month. Even before the roundup was posted I knew I was going to have to do something with this idea, given my newfound love for halloumi cheese and the perfection with which lemon dresses both the cheese and asparagus. Add on the fact that it was less than fifteen minutes between pulling the ingredients out of the refrigerator and putting the finished product on plates, and there's no question that this is now one of my favourite early summer salads.
Fried Halloumi Saganaki and Asparagus
1/2 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces halloumi cheese, cut into 1/4-inch slices
juice from 1 lemon
zest from 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
fresh ground black pepper
4 radishes, thinly sliced
Wash the asparagus and snap off the woody ends. Steam lightly for 3-4 minutes until the asparagus is a rich green colour, just tender but still crisp.
Meanwhile heat a large frying pan over just higher than medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Arrange the halloumi slices in the pan, trying to avoid touching, and fry until browned on the bottom. Use tongs to turn the cheese over and fry the other side until browned. While still in the pan, drizzle half of the lemon juice and scatter the lemon zest and oregano over the cheese, and finish with a good seasoning of fresh ground black pepper.
Remove the cheese from the pan and arrange between two plates. Scatter slices of radish around the cheese and dress with the spears of asparagus. Drizzle the remaining lemon juice over the plates and serve.