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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Almond Crusted Coalfish with Ajvar Quinoa and Pickled Okra

When life hands you Ajvar,  inspiration follows.
Ajvar is a Turkish/Serbian spread made with roasted paprika peppers, garlic, and eggplant.  It's like Turkish caviar.  It can be eaten as a spread for a sandwich or wrap, mixed with yogurt for a madd veggie dip, spread on toast for canap√©'s, on eggs, as a salsa... well, pretty much anything because once you dip your spoon in to taste it.. your brain starts twirling and singing and you float along the Bosphore..
So here, I had some coalfish (lieu noir) filets and I was about to use my Ajvar as a marinade, but decided to make orange quinoa instead.

Coalfish filets in a coconut almond crust with Ajvar laced quinoa and a pickled okra, beet, and feta salad.. just another weeknight dinner..

OooOooh Coqinaee

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Seabass on the BBQ

 Sometimes you just need to BBQ between the rain drops...
Stuffed with sliced shallots, grated garlic, chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime and a nice dash of sexy black pepper and olive oil.
Grilled for about 10 minutes on the BBQ, until skin was golden and flesh was flakey..
A dream come true..

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Roasted Beet Pesto

Let me name all the things I love about beets...
I love the way they feel raw
I love the way they taste cooked
I love the way they penetrate others with their color
I love the way stain my fingers for days
I love the way make me feel closer to Earth
I love the dark red color through my body
I love their natural sweetness
I love the Halwa they give me
.. this list can go on...

Beets are the Fire Element, directly linked to the heart.. it's only natural to love them.
Every time I try something "different" with beets, I fall in love all over again..

Yield 1 1/2 cups (enough for 500g or 1 lb pasta)
Ingredients
2 red beets, unpeeled, cut in halves
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup ground cashews
1/3 cup olive oil
freshly cracked pepper
few pinches fleur de sel

Directions
1.  Rub some olive oil all over the beets and place them cut side down in a baking dish.  Bake at 275°F 180°C for 50 minutes or until tender.  Let cool.
2.  Peel the cooled roasted beets.  The skin should come off easily.
3.  Blend the beets with the garlic, vinegar, and ground nuts, adding olive oil as needed.  Blend this into a smooth paste, then add the fleur de sel and cracked pepper.
4.  Use on pasta (as I did) or as a spread as you would any pesto.
For pasta, make sure you reserve some of the cooking water to make it as saucy as you like it toss with the pesto.

I did this and added some roasted pollock to it
Eat Beauty.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Miso Mushrooms, Crispy Broccoli, and Kimchi Quinoa

Here is how I was feeling last night..

Stolen from TheKitchn
but made into my own with the mighty Egg...

I have writers block.. but I definitely don't have cooker's block.  I have 19 draft recipes.. the oldest one from November (whaaaaat?)
I need to make my own Kimchi to unlock my goddess trapped inside these hands.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Vegetable Roulade in a Buckwheat Crust

The roulade:  A bunch of random different colored vegetables sliced with the thinnest setting of the mandolin..
Zucchini, Carrots, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Bell Pepper
then layered vertically, each slice slightly overlapping the next into a neat little circle nestled in its buckwheat shortcrust brushed with a yogurt mustard spread
then sprinkled with thyme, fleur de sel, cracked black pepper, and heavily drizzled with olive oil
then popped in the oven at 190°C 380°F for at least 50 minutes
Then served warm with a salad

Eat Beauty

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cardamom Chocolat Mousse with GOLD

So I finally got a good picture of some Mousse au Chocolat..
But this time, I used the 4 hand method with the Brother and used cardamom to spice it up. 
Since this was a special occasion.. it was carefully dusted it with GOLD.. you know, to make it proper to serve to the Father for his 62nd birthday..

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Bella Capsicum Masala with Tandoori Eggplant

When I go Indian... I must make Thali.  I LOVE having several flavors and colors in my plate.
I do go overboard on quantities sometimes, which means I get to eat this several times during the week.
Who's complaining?
The new additions to my thali this time are the Tandoori Eggplant the Bella Pepper Curry.  The Sexy Dal and Red Cabbage Subzi are very common guests in my home.  I was looking for something veg but saucy enough to eat with rice.  When I found that Bells could be the main event, I swooned.
I may have swooned aloud around folks that had no idea why I was swooning.. but that's ok..
Borrowed from VegRecipesofIndia (as usual).
Serves 6 as a side
Ingredients
Paste:

2 large onions,  chopped
1 inch ginger, sliced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tbsp desiccated coconut
2 tbsp peanuts
1 tbsp sesame seeds (I used black)
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp concentrated tamarind or tightly packed seedless tamarind
½ to ⅔ cup water for grinding
Curry:
2 tbsp oil
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tomato, chopped
4-5 medium different colored bell peppers (capsicum), sliced
⅛ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
1 to 1.25 cups water
½ tsp powdered or grated jaggery or add as per taste
salt as required
chopped cilantro for garnish

Directions
Make the spice paste:

1.  Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the peanuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds and poppy seeds on a low flame for 3 to 4 minutes.
2.  Add the ginger and garlic and let cook for 1 minute before adding the onions.
3.  Cook, stirring until the onions turn translucent or a light brown, adding a pinch of salt.
4.  Add the coconut on low flame and continue to stir for 7 to 8 minutes, till the coconut turns golden. The whole mixture should turn light golden or golden.
5.  Let cool, then blend with the tamarind and enough water to make it into a paste.  Set aside.

Make the curry:

6.  Wipe down your pan and add oil on high.  Add the mustard seeds until they crackle, then add the fenugreek and curry leaves and cook for 1 minute.
7.  Add the chopped tomates and a pinch of salt.  Cook until the tomatoes soften.
8.  Add the sliced bells.  Cook stirring, for about 3 to 4 minutes.
9.  Lower the flame and add the paste along with the turmeric and chili powder.  Cook stirring for about 2 minutes, making sure the paste does not stick to the pan.
10.  Add 1 to 1.25 cups water and stir until incorporated, then add the jaggery and garam masala and simmer on low for about 15 minutes for softened bells.
Serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro. 
I served mine in a vegetarian Thali.
Yes that is tandoori eggplant... which is basically an eggplant halved lengthwise with criss-cross cuts into the flesh, slathered with lemon juice, tandoori spices, and olive oil.. then roasted until tender.
That was the Umami part of the fabulous evening.
Anything can be tandoorified (even endives!), making it shine in a very sexy light..

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Tandoori Endives with Madras Coconut Fish

A Desi Rani's meal with exotic fusions.
The exotic part of this meal is the totally French endives seasoned and grilled the North Indian way... tandoori style, of course!

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Marinated Grilled Quail Eggs with Sesame Salt

Here is something that might seem crazy.
Soft boil some quail eggs, marinate them in dark soy sauce, and then GRILL them before sprinkling with sesame seeds.
Yes!  Completely out of my mind craziness!
What happens is that the marinade really seeps into the whites without being too soy-ish or salty, the inside is perfectly creamy, and the outside is fun of sesame crunch.
It is an explosion of texture and flavor and it's naturally bite-sized, so perfect for a happy hour party!
From the brilliant mind of Yotam Ottolenghi.  I mostly respected the original recipe, which almost never happens around here.
Ingredients
20-24 fresh quail eggs
marinade:
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
topping:
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp black sesame seeds
2 tsp white sesame seeds
Directions
1.  Soft boil the quail eggs.  To do this, I placed them in my steamer basked and steamed on high heat for 3 minutes, then dunked them in ice water before peeling.  They were perfect.. not too liquid, but velvet cream style.
2.  Make the marinade by mixing the soy sauce and olive oil.  Place the peeled eggs in the marinade.  He says to do this for 30 minutes.  I left mine for 2 hours.
3.  Make the topping by dry roasting the sesame seeds on the stove top, then blitzing them with the salt in a blender or food processor.  You don't want to make a powder, you just want to lightly break some of those seeds.
4.  Get ready to grill.  I  used my stovetop griddle pan.  Drain the eggs from the marinade and place on the very hot griddle pan for about 1 minute, making sure to turn them at least once so they get the char marks on 2 sides.
Serve dipped in the sesame salt.

I absolutely LOVED this.  It is one of the most interesting things I've served for happy hour.  Not only is it healthy, but it's just so easy to pop into your mouth with a toothpick!
I'm starting to think this Yotam dude is sort of a genius...

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Spicy Szechuan Chicken Noodle Soup

Oh hello there..
It's been a while.
It's not that I haven't been cooking.. I've been cooking like crazy!  It's just that I've been cooking variants of my already posted recipes and while I'm enjoying rediscovering ingredients, I missed you. .. a lot.
Since it is the Chinese or Lunar New Year, I had to make a Chinese dish at least once this week.. and when I say Chinese, I mean Sichuanese.  It's not that I don't appreciate other Chinese regional cuisines.. it's just that Szechuan just really really really rocks my boat.
This "soup" has a deep flavorful broth.  It is spicy, but it all really depends on the spiciness of your bean paste.  Weaklings stay away.
Welcome to the year of the Monkey!
Adapted from GourmetpersuAsian
Serves 4
Ingredients
2-3 large chicken legs with thighs, bone-in skin on
2 Tbsp sunflower oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
5 cups water
20 small Shiitake mushrooms
2 baby bok choy, leaves separated
1 large handful Chinese watercress leaves
juice from 1 lemon
lots of ground green peppercorns
3 knobs glass noodles (or egg noodles)
Seasoning:
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp sugar
3 star anise
2 tsp five-spice powder
1 inch chunk ginger, sliced
4 large cloves garlic, sliced
4 Tbsp Doubanjiang (Pixian spicy broadbean paste)
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
Garnish:
4 soft boiled eggs (6 min steam)
chopped green onions
chopped cilantro
sesame oil
Directions
1.  Prepare the broth.  Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pot or dutch oven and add the chicken pieces.  Cook until lightly brown on all sides, then add the vinegar.  This part releases steam, so be prepared.
2.  Add the water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is done (the meat comes off the bone).  While this is happening, steam your eggs and prepare, chop, and slice the rest of the ingredients.
3.  Remove the chicken and let cool.
4.  Prepare the seasoning.  In a separate saucepan, heat the 3 Tbsp oil on high and add the sugar and let become golden.
5.  Add the star anise and five-spice powder and let bubble for 30 seconds before adding the ginger and garlic slices.
6.  Stir, all while keeping on the heat for another 30 seconds.  Then comes the flavor.  Add the 4 Tbsp doubanjiang.  This will make it too spicy for the weak.  It was perfect for me.  If you're unsure, use only 2 Tbsp and add more later into your own bowl (although the effect isn't the same).  Let bubble for another 30 seconds.
7.  Remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce.  Pour this mixture into the broth along with the mushrooms, bok choy, and watercress.  Keep the broth at a simmer.
8.  When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and discard.  Put the meat back into the broth with its fellow citizens.  Add the lemon juice and grind some pepper in there.
9.  Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes to let the flavors infuse.
10.  Decide what to do with the noodles.  Depending on in you are going to finish everything in one sitting or will be having leftovers, you can decide to cook the noodles directly in the broth or separately.  I soaked mine separately because I knew I was going to have leftovers.
11.  Serve spooned over noodles garnished with 1 egg per person, the chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, and a few drops of sesame oil.
Eat with chopsticks for the optimum effect..
The greens in this are incredible.  I love how the bok choy whites stay crunchy while the leaves wilt into a heavenly stew partnership.
And slurp those noodles... don't dare cut them.  They symbolize a long and healthy life...

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