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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Vegetable Manchurian

Oh whaat in the hail is goung on?  Those crazy Indian girls have made their way into my kitchen again.  Did I mention that I banned the deep fryer so why am I deep frying now?
Well because I do whatever I want when I want! Ha!  And this seems semi heathly since it's vegetarian, although I don't recommend it if you are on a diet.
These nuggets are so delicious my experimental dinner victim did not even ask "where's the meat?"
Serves 4
Ingredients
Balls:
3 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup grated zucchini
1 finely chopped red onion
4 minced garlic cloves
1 large green chili, finely chopped
6 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp corn flour
Salt + Pepper
1 beaten egg
(oil for deep frying)
Sauce:
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp grated ginger
6 grated garlic cloves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or chopped green chili, but I had none left)
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
3 cups whey or vegetable broth
3 Tbsp corn flour (or half of corn starch which I didn't have)
Directions
1.  In a mixing bowl, place all the ingredients for the balls and mix with your hands.  Heat some oil on medium to high heat in a skillet or deep fryer.  Make balls by squeezing some of the mixture in the palm of your hands.  I decided to add an egg that was not in the original recipe because they did not come together well.  You don't want the balls to fall apart in the oil.
 
2.  When they are nice and golden remove from oil and reserve ove some paper towels.  It can take up to 5 minutes.
3.  Make the sauce by heating 1 tbsp oil in a pan.  Add the ginger, garlic, and green chili and cook until the raw smell disappears.
4.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the corn flour and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
5.  To thicken the sauce, separately dilute the corn flour in some of the liquid, then mix it back in.  Keep simmering and it should thicken to your liking.

Serve the hot balls with sauce poured on top.  I served over rice noodles and garnished with some scallions, but you can do it over rice or even just do it finger food style.

I used the leftover sauce as cold dip for some peeled shrimp oh my... it reminded me of the ginger sauce they have at Kobe's in Rancho Mirage.  I suppose only my fellow desert rats can imagine the comparison.

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Malabar Chicken Curry

 The thing about cooking Indian is that there are usually several different dishes happening.  I like that, but it can be overwhelming and you have to have a strategy.  Imagine you want to go Indian all week or for several days in a row but you don't want to have to make several dishes a day.  Here's my strategy:
Start the first day with something simple, that you wouldn't mind eating by itself or simply with rice.  Make enough to have leftovers of that dish.
The next day, be a little more elaborate.  Now you have 2 dishes with the leftovers from the previous day.  Do this every day, and eventually you will have a many things to put into your home thali.
Another tip is to put someone in charge of the simple things such as rice or rotis or chopping, so that you can come in and save the day with your madd skillz later on.  Something I learned from watching my host's servants cook is to make things like pastes or curries in bulk and take out when needed, that way you only have to add it and BAM, you have a sauce.  Other cultures do this too, as I've realized through reading my Burma book.
  Since the weather is awful this weekend, I decided to spend some time in the kitchen perfecting my art.  Here's yet another jewel from the lovely ladies at ShowMetheCurry.
Ingredients
Masala paste:
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 onion, sliced
handful curry leaves
3 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 dried red chilies
6 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp ginger
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup water
Curry:
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 sliced onion
2 carrots, diced
some chopped green chili (optional)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 lb chicken breast, cubed
1 cup water
Directions
1. Make the masala paste.  In a wok or heavy based pan, heat the oil with the onion and curry leaves.  Cook until the onions are translucent and a pleasant aroma wafts through the house and into your nostrils.
2.  Add the coriander seeds and dried chilies.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.
3.  Add the ginger and garlic.  Cook, stirring until the raw smell disappears.
4.  Add the coconut.  Turn off the heat and allow to sit a few minutes.
5.  Grind into a paste, adding water a little at a time.  You may not need that whole cup of water.
6.  Make the curry.  In a wok or heavy based pan, heat the oil with the onion, carrots, and green chilis.  Cook until onion is translucent.  I personally did not use the green chilis because the 2 dried red chilis in the masala paste are strong enough spice wise.  Do what you feel is right for you and your family.
7.  Add the tomatoes and turmeric.  Cook until the tomatoes are unrecognizable.  They will have integrated with the onions.  This is a good thing.
8.  Add the masala paste to the curry on high heat.  Incorporate well.
9.  Add the chicken and enough water for it to look like a curry, not a paste.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until chicken is cooked (minimum 20 minutes).  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

I served this with some Bhindi, basmati rice, and Asparagus Mung.  It was a perfect healthy thali.  I would have made some rotis but I ran out of flour after making PB cookies.
Yea I kept busy today...

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Bhindi (Okra) Subzi

I'm not the kind of girl you offer flowers to.  Seriously, I don't get why females go so crazy over flowers that just die and end up stinking up the house.  They take up space, and you can't just throw them away because that's apparently rude.  You have to act all mushy and happy when somebody offers them, but come on, you can't even eat them!...well most of them anyway.
If you want to make me mushy happy, offer me shrimp, a bouquet of basil, grow me some fenugreek leaves, or let me buy okra.  Once you've got that part figured out, the rest comes naturally.
Okra.  That's what my little speach is all about.  I've been seeing recently at my local market, but it didn't look very green or feel very soft.  There's nothing worse than fibery unfresh okra.  Actually, there are a million things worse than that, but what I'm saying is that today, it was calling my name, and it was looking pretty sexy in its little "world" section basket.  Yes, world section.  It's popular in the US, mostly in Cajun cuisine, but here in France the cashier had to look it up in her little book because she did not recognize the strange vegetable.  It's ok though, we have cheese au lait cru here.
Back to the okra.  How I love thee.  Many do not appreciate the sliminess, but I have found that to be one of the reasons I desire it so.  I recently learned that it can be deslimed, which is what I'm going to do tonight, just to see which way I like it better.  Oh the delicious bhindi I shared with Monsieur Patel in Samode....o how I was happy nobody else wanted any so we could eat the whole thing ourselves...oh how that memory makes me happy.  (I told you I wasn't into flowers!)
So here is a Bhindi Subzi inspired by ShowMetheCurry.  I tweaked it just a little bit, but it's basically the same recipe.
Ingredients:
1 1/2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion seeds (nigella or black cumin)
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 medium onion, slided
1/4 tsp turmeric
pinch asofetida (hing)
chili powder, to taste
1lb (500g) okra/bhindi, washed, dried, and cut
juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp dried mango powder (amchur)
1 Tbsp chickpea flour (besan)
1/2 cup beaten yogurt
salt to taste
1 medium tomato, chopped
Directions:
1.  In a wok or heavy based pan, heat the oil and add the seeds until they start to crackle.
2.  Add the onion, turmeric, some chili powder, and hing.  If you're using regular chili powder, you can go ahead and add 1 tsp or more.  If you're using crazy chili powder, add what you can handle.  I added about 1/2 tsp.  Cook until he onion is translucent.
3.  Add the bhindi (okra), lemon juice, and amchur.  Stir gently and then leave it alone.  The sour ingredients (lemon + amchur) will take the slime out of the okra.  Agitation of the okra while cooking will guarantee slime.  Also, it is important to let the okra cook uncovered to avoid the slime.  Slime is such a bad word, I prefer the term natural viscosity.  Anyway, stir gently every 5 or so minutes to make sure nothing burns.  The okra will be done when it starts to have little spots and all the fiberous texture is gone.  I told myself I was going to time it and I forgot.  I'm guessing maybe 20 minutes total?  Just do a taste test.  It should be tender on the inside with a slight bite on the outside.. unless you like yours soft..which in that case, you would need to cook longer.
Here's what it looks like at this point.  It is perfectly fine to stop here if you are vegan or have an aversion to tomatoes.  It is already divine...
4.  When the bhindi is done to your liking, add the chickpea flour and salt, then stir in the beaten yogurt.
5.  Stir in the tomatoes, remove from heat, and cover.  Let it hang out until you are ready to eat.  Mine is hanging out right now.  I'll give it a quick high flame heat before serving.

My taste test was fabulous.  I love the texture of this insanely good for you vegetable.  Is is full of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, anti cancer...and all that good stuff.
The viscosity was very low or even non existant in this dish.  I agree that it is more pleasant to eat this way.. the only downside being that I won't get it all to myself since everybody liked it so much.

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Peanut Butter Almond Cookies

Here's an interesting twist to the Tahini Almond Cookie recipe using peanut butter instead of tahini...it logically should taste good, and logically should have the same crumbly effect as the tahini version.
The results are genius!  A perfect almondy peanutty cookie not too sweet, but sweet enough leaving an aftertaste of addiction just the way a cookie should.  They are also very pretty, so they can be shown off or shared with judgemental people.  I've already been told "these look like real cookies!"  Let me translate that.  A French person thinks "real" cookies are the packaged ones you can buy at the store, but it was meant as a compliment on the looks, not the taste.  I made him clarify because I first took it as an insult.  That comment was followed by, "I think I like these better than the tahini ones."  Lets not compare incomparable things please.  They are both spectacular.
Yield 41 cookies
Ingredients:
240g whole wheat flour
110g ground almonds
140g butter (5 1/2 oz)
150g cane sugar (3/4 cup)
1 tbsp maple syrup
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp water
200g pure peanut butter.. Smooth or chunky
1 tsp cinnamon
Drizzle of milk in case too dry
Some crushed peanuts for decorating
Directions:
1.  Sift the flour, salt, and cinnamon together, then add the ground almonds.
2. In a separate mixing blowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the maple syrup, peanut butter, and water.  Mix until smooth.  At this point I realized I only had 145g smooth peanut butter, so I finely crushed 55g peanuts in my mortar so it would be as if I added chunky peanut butter.  These cookies are going to have quite a bit of texture.
3.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until you have a big ball of dough.  You will need to set down the utensils and use your hands to make this come together.  Add a splash of milk if it is too dry.
4.  Heat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
5.  Make tablespoon sized balls out of the dough, dip the top into some crushed peanuts, and press them into shape onto a cookie sheet for baking.  These do not have eggs so the shape you leave them in is the shape they will be when cooked.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mung Dal with Asparagus

Getting back on track with help from ShowMetheCurry.  It smells so lovely in my house when I make dal.  I could probably eat dal every day...which is probably in my genes to do so.
What intrigued me in this dal was the asparagus.  I've never seen it used in Indian food and it's something I appreciate in all forms: cream, crunchy, soft, hot cold, whatever.. but in dal? Oh yes let me have it!
Ingredients:
1 cup mung beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 lb asparagus, cut into pieces
3 cups water
1/4 tsp turmeric
Seasoning:
1 TbspEVOO
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cracked peppercorns
1/8 tsp asofetida (hing)
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp grated garlic
1 minced greed chili
1 tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp curry powder
some red chili powder to taste
lemon juice
salt to taste
Directions:
1.  Cook mung dal in the slowcooker with water and tumeric for approximately 9-10 hours on low.
2.  Make the seasoning by heating the oil and adding the seeds until they crackle.
3.  Add the pepper, hing, ginger, garlic and chili and cook for 30s-1 min or until the raw smell goes away.
4.  Add the tomatoes and cook until the oil separates, then add the asparagus.
5.  Add the dal to the seasoning and bring to a boil.  Simmer approximately 5 minutes or until the asparagus is tender.
6.  Stir in the curry powder, chili powder.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt if necessary.  The lemon juice can be added to each individual serving.

I'm feeling the renaissance again...and it feels naughty!

Halfway through my meal I decided to add a dollup of plain yogurt which gave it a nice tangy creaminess and a new dimension to the dish.  It's a keeper, and I bet it would be out of this world with toor dal.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Grilled Burmese Chicken with Shallot Rice

I have not gone grocery shopping since I've gotten back from Marseille, so I had to find a way to make a well rounded meal without fresh vegetables.  I think I've done a fine job and you would never know after eating this meal that my fridge is literally empty except for half a cucumber and some salad for the dragons.  Nice, n'est-ce pas?
Serves 4
Ingredients:
1 lb (approx 500g) chicken breast in thin slices
Marinade:
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger
2 Tbsp fish sauce
Shallot Rice:
1 cup Jasmine rice, well rinsed (I used basmati)
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 Tbsp peanut oil (I used sesame)
2 large shallots, sliced thinly
1 tsp salt
handful frozen peas
lime wedges (I didn't have any)
2 cups water
Directions:
1.  Make the marinade by mixing the ingredients together.  Rub into the chicken slices and let penetrate at least 30 minutes.
2.  In a wok or heavy based frying pan, heat the oil and brown the shallots, approximately 5-7 minutes.  Add the turmeric and salt.
3.  Add the rice and stir, coating and cooking until slightly translucent, not burnt.  Turn the heat down to medium and stir for another 10 minutes.
4.  Add 1 cup of the water.  When it boils, turn the heat on low but leave it uncovered.  It should absorb quickly.  Then add the other cup of water and do the same.
5.  Grill the marinated chicken on the bbq or plancha or skillet or whatever you like to grill on.

Serve with some Shan Tofu Salad and you have your Sunday lunch ready to be enjoyed...

Grilled chicken from p. 163
Fried rice with shallots from p. 226

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Shan Yellow Tofu (Tohu Thoke)

Unless you make it yourself, you can never really be sure of what you're eating.  That is why I jumped with excitement after seeing a recipe for tofu in my Burma bible...well, my only source besides the internet.
Interestingly, Burmese tofu is made from besan (chickpea flour) instead of soy, which is not correctly processed by white people.  I can eat whatever I want though since I'm mixed blood, but it is good to know that human differences are more culinary and cultural than anything else.
For 1 lb tofu from p. 126
Ingredients:
1 cup (105g) besan or chickpea flour
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp turmeric
Directions:
1.  In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, salt and turmeric.
2.  Add 1 cup of water and mix to eliminate any lumps.  This is a very important step.
3.  Boil the other 2 cups of water in a wide shallow heavy pan, such as a wok, then add the chickpea flour mixture while stirring.
4.  Lower the heat to medium and cook while stirring for 5 minutes, making sure the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom.
5.  Lightly oil a baking dish 7-8 square inch or so that the mixture is maximum 1" high when poured.
For silky tofu, refridgerate at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.
For salad or frying, refridgerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

I did a finger dip and it was already quite tasty as warm goop, so I can only imagine as a firm chilled cube in a salad or stir fried with some veggies.

Tohu Thoke
Salad dressing for 1 lb Shan Tofu (p. 51):
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp soy sauce (or GF alternative)
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp shallot oil (I used EVOO + 1 Tbsp dried shallots)
few chopped kaffir lime leaves (or sub chopped cilantro)
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Spoon over your Shan Tofu and toss lightly to coat.

Interesting!  This tastes nothing like regular tofu (of course, I didn't expect it to) and the texture was very soft.  It is my first time using karrif lime leaves as well and I found it full of flavor and refreshing.
I refridgerated it covered in plastic wrap.  I'm going to let it sit uncovered in the fridge today so it hardens for a slightly different texture.  I liked this very much and I'm already imagining all types ways to eat this.  The best part is that it's Fight Food: high protein, low fat, low carb, extreme taste!

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Business Tripping

I'm armed and dangerous with a pound of shrimp, a Kent mango, cilantro, lime, and feta...
Watch out Marseille, I'm also here for Pleasure...
Mmm shrimp, I will always love you.. Please stay on earth forever!

And Kyo on Avenue Prado is probably the best sushi I've had (in France)
 Here we have some Toro, Shake, Unagi, Ebi, Miso, Wakame and the sushi near the rice is sea urchin.  What's that you say? Yes, sea urchin, which I recommend eating right out of the shell rather than on a bed of sushi rice.  Reallty it is a magnificent creature, but needs to be enjoyed within minutes of shell cracking... not like this.  When "dégusté" the way it was meant to be, and in the correct company, it will definately send you to Euphoria Ln.
I didn't photograph the Green Tea Mochi dessert, but oh does the memory linger on...
mmMMmmMM!!!!

Who needs to go out for Fête de la Musique when you have goodies straight from India,  Joe Bonamassa's whole discography, and Nirvana Unplugged on Vinyl?

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Burmese Golden Egg Curry

Burma: Rivers of Flavor is not just a cookbook, but an adventure to live through.  It's probably the only cookbook I'm reading cover to cover and not just skimming through recipes.  Naomi Duguid explains the way of life in different parts of Myanmar and explains how culture and tradition affects what's on your plate.  It is a pleasure to follow this Golden Egg Curry recipe I've been waiting to try for some time now.  The light frying of the hard boiled eggs does give it an attractive look and also a nice depth in texture.  The last time I tried this method, I didn't find that the results were worth the effort, but this time... in sesame oil with turmeric...how can you go wrong?
So.. compared to the picture in the book, it looks about right, doesn't it?
Here is the recipe as it is in the book.  I followed it precisely and I'm glad I did because it doesn't need any tweaking whatsoever.
from p. 122
Ingredients:
4 large eggs (I used 5) hard boiled and peeled
1/3 cup peanut oil or unroasted sesame oil (I used less)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
2 small shallots, minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon Red Chile Powder, or to taste
2 medium tomatoes (about ½ pound), finely chopped
2 teaspoons fish sauce
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste (I omitted)
2 or 3 green cayenne chiles, seeded and sliced lengthwise into 3 or 4 strips each (I used one large Moroccan chili sliced thinly)
Directions:
1.  Heat the oil in a wide heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turmeric and stir to dissolve it. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle when a drop of water is dropped into it, add the peeled eggs and fry until golden and a little blistered all over: cook on each side in turn, then try to balance the eggs on their ends to cook the tips. Frying the egg is a fun little task, quickly done, and it makes them very attractive. With a slotted spoon, lift the eggs out of the hot oil and onto a plate. Cut them lengthwise in half and set aside.
2.  Pour off all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil (the oil can be used again for stir-frying). Heat the oil remaining in the pan over medium heat, add the shallots and garlic, and fry briefly, until translucent. 3.  Add the chile powder and tomatoes and, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, cook at a strong simmer until the tomatoes have broken down into a softened mass, about 10 minutes.
4.  Stir in the fish sauce and salt, then taste and adjust the seasoning if you wish. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the chile strips, and stir. Place the eggs cut side down in the sauce and cook until the oil sizzles, about 3 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

I served mine with bulgur, topped it with scallions and a touch of Sriracha sauce.
Needless to say, I'll be making this again, maybe as a side dish with another veg dish and salad out of the book.  I love the way things come together in south asia.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Grilled Coalfish in Chermoula

I finally got it right: chermoula with cilantro instead of mint.  I'm not saying the mint version was a flop, far from it.. but chermoula was meant to be made with cilantro, and this time around, I had everything I wanted on hand.
Chermoula:
1 cup packed parsley
  1 cup packed cilantro
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 whole green chili (jalapeño)
1 Tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
1 Tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
 juice from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
approx 1/4 cup EVOO

Toast the seeds, then grind.  Blend everything together, adding the EVOO a little at a time until it forms a paste.
Use as a marinade on meat or fish, or as a refreshing salsa.  I used some plump Coalfish filets (Lieu Noir or Cabillaud Noir) but as you can see they are not black per se.  This would work with any firm white fish or chicken.. or rabbit or frog legs or whatever is floating your cruiseship named Desire.

I broiled the filets 7 minutes in the oven on EVOO brushed foil on a cookie sheet at the oven position closest to the heat source and it came out perfectly flaky without falling apart during transfer.  That is the way I like my fish.  I served with some toasted whole wheat bulgur and served with some rawness (tomatoes and cucumber).
I snapped the photo before adding the sauce:
1 plain yogurt (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp chermoula
1 tsp ground cumin
few cracks fresh pepper

The sauce is wonderful on raw veggies, but would also do well with pita or as a dip for.. well, anything.. especially raw veggies.  Omg I had a radishgasm with this sauce!
Yes, that is my MO...simple but perfected.

I just received my copy of Burma: Rivers of Flavor today so I plan to experiment in the very near future with the depth of Burmese flavors.  I could have easily started with Kachin Fish Curry (page 142) but when I discovered the book resting patiently in my mailbox, my coalfish was already marinating in the chermoula.

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Balsamic Strawberry Muffins

Just as I was speaking with the voices in my head about my sunday baking tradition being broken today, I jumped up with the sudden urge to make these strawberry muffins.
This recipe has been lingering around me since my neighbor brought back 1 kg strawberries from his parents' farm last month.  The thing is, you can't just down 1 kg of strawberries in one sitting, so I froze half and have been waiting for the right time.  The problem with freezing strawberries is that they will never have their fresh strawberry texture ever again, and tend to release water (although they keep their wonderful flavor).  The way around this problem is to cook them, or blend them into a sauce, and pair them with some special balsamic vinegar in a muffin.
Makes 10
Ingredients:
2oz (56g) melted butter
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (220g total flour + almonds)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses (100g total sugar + molasses)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 egg
1/2 cup strawberry balsamic sauce (see below)
10 tsp cream cheese
Strawberry sauce:
1 1/2 cups (200g) chopped frozen strawberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Microwave uncovered in a large pyrex dish for 6-8 minutes, then refridgerate while making the batter.
Directions:
1.  In a mixing bowl, mix the wet ingredients (butter, sugar, molasses, egg, yogurt)
2.  In a different mixing boxl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, almonds, baking soda, baking powder, salt)
3.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and fold in without over mixing.  Then fold in the strawberry balsamic sauce.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
4.  Grease some muffin tins.  Fill them halfway with batter.  Make a little indentation into each portion and drop in 1 tsp of cream cheese and 1 tsp leftover strawberry sauce.  Cover with the rest of the batter.  The tins or moulds should not be more than 3/4 the way full before cooking.
5.  Cook for 20 minutes, then remove and let cool at least 20 more minutes before unmoulding.  The strawberry sauce in the middle might ooze out, but that's good ooze.

These have a nice tang to them.  When cooled, the strawberry sauce thickens and behaves like preserves which is a nice mix of textures.  The cream cheese counters the tang without overpowering the original intent, which is farm fresh organic strawberries.  They're very moist and flavorful.  Just perfect for a warm, slightly rainy sunday afternoon...
Je oualide!

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Marinated Squid Grilled on the Plancha

I bought some frozen baby squid in December, when I bought my plancha, and I've been waiting for the moment I could actually give them some spa treatment and grilling.  With the terrible weather we've been having, I think I've only used my plancha 3-4 times.  These last 2 days have been satisfyingly hot, and tomorrow is supposed to rain, so it's now or never...or so I thought.  After a hot and sunny morning, it started raining again this afternoon after I had already thawed my squid and bought some baby scallops to join the fun.  Don't stop the rain because it's not stopping me!
The idea of grilling on the plancha is to have the ingredients bathe in a nice marinade, so that all you have to do is watch them sizzle and turn golden before your eyes.
Oooh!
Here is my marinade for the 500g (1 lb) squid and 200g (7 oz) scallops:
3 Tbsp EVOO
juice from 2 lemons
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 large tsp ground piment d'espelette (or hot chili powder)
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp basaalmic vinegar
let them chill for at least 1 hour, then grill at 250°C (480°F) for about 3-4 minutes, making sure to turn everybody around so they get a chance to color everywhere.

I served these with grilled red bell and home fries.  
I had planned to make some saffron rice and a salad, but somebody was going through fry withdrawal and there was more than enough to eat as it was.  I even had leftovers that I will most likely serve with pasta.

I really enjoy this cooking method and it works out wonderfully with seafood.  I can't wait to do this ginger style!

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Messob

I truly had no idea Ethiopian food would be so tasty and full of spices..
and what a delight to have no other choice than to eat with your hands!
The Messob in Lyon 6 is the only Ethiopian place in the area, so it would be hard to compare, but the experience was one I would gladly relive.
Everyone is served in the same dish, and you pick at it with little rolls of Ethiopian bread, which isn't really bread, but some steamed tortilla on which the food is served.  I don't remember all the names of the dishes, but I do know this:
On the middle right is Doro Wot, chicken in spices with egg and Ethiopian cheese.
Middle left is an egg curry served as a main dish.
On the periphery are individual servings of spinach, turmeric coral lentils, chickpea puree, sauteed vegetables, salad, mincedmeat curry, and one I'm forgetting but that I really enjoyed.
After the meal, you can have real freshly Ethiopian coffee, torrified in house.  It's flavor is strong but not overwhelming and it leaves you with a pleasant aftertaste, unlike any other coffee I've ever had.

This was a nice temporary cure for my Indian food craving that is flaring up again.  It will hold me off until tomorrow.

*It is now tomorrow and I made a wonderful whole green mung Patel style curry, but the photo is hideous, so I will have to make it  and post it at another time.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Tahini Mint Cookies

I don't know if this combination exists in real life, but I decided to totally freestyle these cookies.  I tried to make them healthier by replacing butter with yogurt + olive oil, and replacing most of the sugar with honey.  The mint...well, I had a bunch I needed to use and until I have someone who would enjoy transforming it into tea with me, it's going into all my freestyle dishes.
Ingredients:
240g whole wheat flour
120g ground almonds
100g plain yogurt
30g EVOO
100g honey
50g cane sugar
Pinch of salt
200g tahini
1large handful fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
Directions:
1.  Sift the flour and salt together.  Add the ground almonds.
2. In another large mixing bowl, mix the yogurt, olive oil, honey, and sugar together until homogenous, then add the tahini and mint and do the same.
3.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, a little at a time until well incorporated.  The mixture was "wetter" than it would have been with butter and sugar.  This somewhat worried me, so I put it in the fridge .
4.  When ready to roll, preheat the oven to 175°C or 350°F.  Make tablespoon sized balls of dough, roll them between the palms of your hands, and flatten them onto a baking sheet.  I sprinkled some sesame seeds on the top to make them pretty.
5.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  You want them to be golden.  Quickly tranfer to a wire rack to let cool.

Now, will somebody pour me some authentic mint tea so I can enjoy these the way I had planned?

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