lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip

lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tazitiki | A Brown Table

Lindsey's blog Dolly and Oatmeal is one of the prettiest blogs you will find, it's colorful and full of fresh flavors and ingredients. On her blog, Lindsey creates and shares a lot of delicious and wonderful gluten-free vegetarian recipes that stand out from the usual fare you see everywhere. In fact, through her new book "Chickpea Flour Does it All" , Lindsey shows you different and unexpected ways in which you can use chickpea flour, from savory to sweet there's something for every month and elegantly styled photos that accompany each recipe. 

I first met Lindsey on the internet (as most of us bloggers do) and then around a year and half later in person when she came on a trip to San Francisco. And inn case you're wondering, yes, she's sweet in person too! She's got the cutest little dog that I think Snoopy would love to play with. 

To be honest, I had some skepticism when I first saw this Tzatziki recipe. A yogurt/dairy-free one sounded too good to be true, would it look or taste the same? Will I miss the creamy texture and tangy taste of yogurt, will it be noticeably be absent from this beloved dip? The only way to answer this question is to just go ahead and make the recipe and have someone do a blind taste test. Lindsey's method uses a chickpea flour roux and cashews which seriously make it taste and feel like yogurt, neither me nor my blind taste testers could tell the difference! I couldn't taste that characteristic flavor of chickpea flour in the dip, this recipe is a winner. Even if you don't have dairy issues, her book touches upon the versatility of chickpea flour as an everyday ingredient and it makes you appreciate cooking with other non-wheat flours. Indian homes usually stock up on chickpea flour as a pantry staple so I'm naturally a little excited about her book. But what Lindsey shows us is a bunch of unique and tasty ways to use this flour, a non traditional take on traditional recipes we all love, it doesn't matter if you've never used chickpea flour before because she show's you how to. There's cake, there's pizza, there are pancakes, there are tartlets and clafoutis and fresh salads, I could go on and on. This is one of my new favorite books of 2016, thanks Lindsey! 

lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table

lindsey's chickpea tzatziki dip (from Chickpea Flour does it All by Lindsey S. Love; 2016)

yields: 4 to 6 servings

ingredients

1 medium cucumber, grated with a box grater

1 cup (240mL) water)

1/4 cup (30g) chickpea flour

1/4 cup (45g) raw cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1. Place the grated cucumber in a fine-mesh sieve (I skipped the sieve). Use your palm and push to squeeze out as much liquid as possible; set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, whisk together the water and flour until smooth. Turn heat to medium and continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 6 to 7 minutes; the mixture will resemble a roux or melted cheese. Remove from the heat. 

3. Place the flour mixture, cashews, garlic, vinegar, oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a high-speed blender; blend for 1 minute until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl; stir in the grated cucumber and dill. Let the tzatziki come to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

4. Remove from the refrigerator when ready to serve and give it a good stir. 

 

cranberry maple syrup pudding

cranberry maple syrup pudding | A Brown Table

When Le Creuset asked me to create a sweet thanksgiving side this year with their Heritage bakeware collection, I decided to stray away from pies and dive into the realm of baked puddings. I grew up eating a lot of steamed and baked puddings and since Thanksgiving dinner is all about traditions and comfort eating, I figured I'd bake a pudding this year! 

This sweet cranberry and maple syrup pudding can be made with fresh or frozen cranberries (so you can make it any time of the year) which burst when baked to release the tart and red juice into the batter (I don't recommend using dried cranberries as it doesn't cook and taste as good as it does with the whole fruit). Now maple syrup is delicious by itself but in this sweet side when baked it starts to caramelize with the berries and creates a deep dark brown color that smells heavenly. This cranberry pudding is best served warm and has a cake like texture yet buttery and soft with a sweet maple caramelized crust. 

You can get the cranberry and maple syrup pudding recipe here. I'll be busy moving and unpacking for the next few days so have a wonderful Thanksgiving folks and stay warm!

cranberry maple syrup pudding | A Brown Table

Note: This post was sponsored by Le Creuset but all opinions stated are my own.

herbed goat cheese ball

Herbed Goat Cheese Ball | A Brown Table

After I painted the rooms in the last house in DC, I swore I'd never paint walls again but here I am now, knee deep in paint and stained. Not to say that it isn't fun and a good arm workout but a couple of hours through and I keep considering my sanity and life choices when it comes to painting. The prospect of cooking in the new kitchen has me very, very excited. It was one of the things that immediately blew me away when we looked at the house and I feel fortunate that we were able to get it. Snoopy on the other hand has found it to be an exhausting experience, he spends most of his time running around the house while we work but he makes sure he gets his nap time, in and out of the sun.

Between wall painting and backyard cleaning, there was a mini blogger reunion last weekend and I got to spend some time with the lovely Molly and Lindsey who were visiting the San Francisco Bay on a quick trip for work. Oddly enough, it was also a reunion of sorts for those of us that live in the Bay but don't get a chance to meet each other as often as we'd like to. Our little party also included my local fellow bloggers and pals, Michelle, Phyllis, Todd and Phi, we met up for drinks at Prizefighter

Speaking of bars and drinks, I'm a huge fan of serving drinks with a few small bites. Cheese is usually a good accompaniment to most drinks and with so many varieties to choose from it makes it an ideal pairing option. There are cheese slices and cheese balls, and cheese balls are an amazing invention. The first time I tasted a cheese ball, was several years ago during an Easter dinner in Virginia. We were visiting M's family and his mother made two large cheese balls coated with all sorts of delicious things. She prepares them in the afternoon, the first one disappears by the time its made, the second one disappears by dinner. Taking some inspiration from her, I've made a fall themed, herbed coated cheeseball that has sweet cranberries and pumpkin seeds and a dash of hot sriracha sauce for a kick. http://blog.westelm.com/2015/10/30/herbed-goat-cheese-balls/

To get the recipe and learn how to make this cheeseball, headover to West Elm's blog,Front + Main!

herbed goat cheese ball | A Brown Table
Herbed Goat Cheese Ball | A Brown Table

Disclaimer: Thank you to West Elm for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

seared paneer with tea and pineapple dressing

seared paneer with tea and honey vinaigrette| A Brown Table

I've fallen in love with Netflix's new documentary called The Chef's Table. It's one of the most inspiring cooking documentaries, I've seen in a long time. I don't really care for the food competitions shows and rarely watch them but this is one show that has had me glued to the TV. It's easy to get repetitive when it comes to creating food (I find myself falling into this trap often) but after watching this series and listening to the stories and how these world renowned chefs overcame their personal struggles was uplifting, encouraging and exciting. My only complaint, too few episodes but I do hope it comes back for another season. I've been eyeing Marcus Nilsson's Fäviken cookbook for a while now and to see him in the series was exciting. I'm also hoping I get to visit LA to try out Niki Nakayama and her Kaiseki techniques that make her food so beautiful. If you get a chance, do check the documentary out, you won't be disappointed! 

Dairy is pretty popular in India, the fact that I grew up eating plain yogurt at any time of the day, is probably a good testament to this fact. Cheese however as we think of it here in the West, is made in a very different manner in India. Rennet and fermentative bacteria are not the tools of choice when it comes to preparing Indian cheeses but rather acid and heat coagulate the proteins in milk. You still get western style cheeses in India and they are popular but panner is by far the most prominent cheese used in Indian cuisine. 

Paneer is a type of cheese, that doesn't melt when heated and in many ways, it reminds me of tofu. It takes on the flavor of anything it's mixed with and you'll find it used in curries and other savory dishes. If you look into my freezer, you will often see a small pack of paneer stored because the possibilities with this cheese are endless when used correctly. You can find paneer at Indian and South East Asian and/or International food markets and I've also come across low-fat versions of this cheese too. The good thing about this cheese is that it holds it's texture very well when heated as it doesn't melt. However, this also makes it, in my opinion, unsuitable for a grilled cheese sandwich. 

This paneer recipe is very simple to make and is an easy appetizer or side to serve. It's definitely not a traditional way of serving it in India but as I always say, why not!  Just doll the warm slabs of paneer up with a few fresh daikon radish shoots and the tea and pineapple dressing before serving it. 

seared paneer with tea and honey vinaigrette| A Brown Table
seared paneer with tea and honey vinaigrette| A Brown Table
seared paneer with tea and honey vinaigrette| A Brown Table
seared paneer with tea and pineapple dressing | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing this paneer dish;

  • Use low-fat or full-fat milk derived paneer. Honestly, the fat-free kind tastes terrible.
  • I was tempted to call the tea and pineapple dressing a vinaigrette but the ratios of the components are a little off from the classical definition so I've labeled it a dressing. 
  • The tea is lightly sweetened with fresh pineapple juice which gives the dressing a little sweetness and tanginess. If you want it a little sweeter add a little more juice after tasting the dressing. 
  • The extra garnish of sea salt flakes at the end when serving is optional but I personally like the touch of saltiness because paneer by itself is generally not salty when made from milk.  
seared paneer with tea and honey vinaigrette| A Brown Table

seared paneer with tea and pineapple dressing 

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

400 grams (14 ounces) low-fat/full-fat paneer, chilled

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + a little extra for searing 

1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika powder

a few fresh daikon radish shoots to garnish

a little Maldon sea salt flakes (optional)

tea and pineapple dressing

1 black tea bag (I used Darjeeling tea)

100mL boiling water

50mL white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons pineapple juice, fresh

100 mL extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1. Slice the paneer into 9 cm X 3 cm long slabs that are 1.5 cm thick.

2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, place the olive oil and the rest of the ingredients from the salt to the paprika and mix with a spoon. Brush each of the paneer slabs with this mixture and allow them to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature to absorb the flavors.

3. Heat a little extra oil in a medium-sized skillet on medium - high heat. When the oil just starts to smoke, place two to three slabs of the seasoned paneer. Cook on each side until seared and lightly browned. This should take about 60-90 seconds on each side. Place the seared paneer on a dry paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Cook the rest of the paneer in the same manner and keep aside until ready to use.

4. To prepare the dressing, place the tea bag in a small heat proof bowl. Pour the boiling water over it and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Drain the tea bag to remove any excess liquid (avoid squeezing the bag or the tea liquid will turn murky). Pour the tea into a medium bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Whisk until combined. 

5. To serve place the hot/warm seared paneer slabs in a serving dish. Drizzle the paneer with as much as tea dressing as desired. Garnish with a few fresh daikon shoots and sprinkle with extra sea salt flakes if desired. Serve immediately with extra dressing and daikon radish shoots on the side.

 

rainbow chard rolls with sweet potato and chickpea stuffing

rainbow chard rolls with sweet potato and chickpea stuffing | A Brown Table

I'm off to Disney World to attend the Food Blog Forum, meet fellow bloggers, talk about food related stuff and make new friends. I've never been to either of the Disney spots in the country so this will be definitely be a new experience for me, one that I am looking forward to. On a side note, I kinda want to get Snoopy a lot of Mickey themed swag, I hope they have something for him that could become a halloween costume.

Folks, I have a guest post up and recipe for these stuffed rainbow stuffed chard rolls up at Whitney's lovely site, Jew Hungry. Whitney is one of the nicest bloggers form the West coast and her food is equally tasty. Ever since I saw these rainbow chards pop up at the market, I've been wanting to create a more winter inspired chard roll with Indian flavors. Plus sweet potatoes and green chickpeas are delicious to stuff things up with. So do head over to her site and give her some love.

rainbow chard rolls with sweet potato and chickpea stuffing | A Brown Table
rainbow chard rolls with sweet potato and chickpea stuffing | A Brown Table

baby fig spoon sweet with jaggery and himalayan black salt

Baby fig spoon sweet with jaggery and black Indian salt | A Brown Table

Ever wondered what to do with those unripe baby green figs, so did we! Well that is until, we found this wonderful recipe from a Greek food blog called, Mama's Taverna. One of the things, I really love about having this food blog and now participating in this supper club, is the opportunity to not only share my work but also getting to learn from other people who love food as much as I do. Food blogs, cookbooks, magazines and the likes all provide an avenue for us to experiment and try out new things, probably some of them we would never have heard of otherwise or even got the chance to try. 

Baby fig spoon sweet with jaggery and black Indian salt | A Brown Table

Alanna and Phi picked up tons of green figs for our supper club and we decided on a couple of recipes to see if these figs could be used. One of the recipes that stood out was this baby fig spoon sweet or Sikalaki Gliko. To be honest, it is a little time consuming because of the prep work required to soften the unripe figs and I was a little nervous about whether this would work. But no need to worry, it does! You need to boil the figs several times to get rid of the latex that is inside the ovule, once that is done, the figs soften and become tender and will absorb the flavors of the soaking syrup. 

So here is one of the dishes that we will be serving up tonight among a host of other fig containing plates, an Indian inspired Greek fig spoon sweet.

We have 8 courses of hand picked California Figs, RSVP here: eatFeastly.com and here's what we are serving up,

Sikalai Gliko on Gluten-Free Crackers with Dukkah A greek method of cooking and preserving unripened baby figs – served on crunchy crackers baked with dukkah, an Egyptian spice blend of nuts, herbs, and savory spices.

Shaved Apples and Fennel with Fig and Pomegranate Salad … and topped with fresh fig and pink pomegranate arils.

Fig Tagine with Defrosted Grapes Served with herby couscous.

Lettuce Cups with Lemony Herbs & Cheese Stuffed Figs in Filo

Fig & Pumpkin Samosa “Pot Pie” Served with Hot Date & Tamarind Sauce, Unripened Fig Chutney.

Olive Oil Ice Cream with Fig Syrup Swirl Served with crispy fig chips and toasted pistachios.

Double Chocolate Figs Fresh figs stuffed with brandy ganache, then, dipped in chocolate.

Fig Leaf and Vanilla Bean Soda

Baby fig spoon sweet with jaggery and black Indian salt | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips and some from Mama's Taverna while preparing this treat,

  • Use a stainless steel cooking pot that is cheap, one that you're not too attached to. Raw figs release a lot of latex while boiling. The latex will stick to the sides of the pot, so I recommend wiping it with a clean paper towel immediately after each boil is complete. Drain the liquid and the figs into a large colander and then wipe the sides with paper. You will still have to scrub the sides after the entire process is complete, so avoid using non-stick pots.
  • Jaggery is raw Indian sugar, it has a slight smoky flavor and a very unique taste that I love. However, you can substitute brown sugar with the same amount or even do a half and half mixture of both.
  • Indian black salt or "kala namak" is also called the Black Himalayan Salt has a distinct dark pink color, it has an interesting fragrance due to the sulfur trapped inside it which is released once the salt is mixed into liquids. I use it quite a bit when I cook and it is definitely a great seasoning to keep in the pantry. 
Baby fig spoon sweet with jaggery and black Indian salt | A Brown Table

fig spoon sweet with jaggery and himalayan black salt 

yields: 1.5 lbs

ingredients 

1.5lbs raw unripe green figs

cold tap water to boil the figs

2 cups water

20 cloves, whole

1 lb jaggery 

1 teaspoon ground himalayan black salt

1. Wash the figs thoroughly to remove any material that might be stuck on the skin. Poke a hole all the way through each unripe fig using a skewer (metal or bamboo). Place the figs in a large and deep stainless steel stockpot and cover with running cold tap water until there is an inch of water over the fruit. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and then boil for 15 minutes. Drain and discard the liquid in a colander. Rinse the figs in water and wipe the stockpot to remove any latex foam that might be bound on the sides. Allow the figs to cool to room temperature and then repeat this process two more times. The figs will be soft and tender once prepared. Drain and keep aside to cool.

2. In a separate medium sized stockpot, add the 2 cups of water,  cloves, jaggery and himalayan black salt. Heat on a medium-high flame and bring to a boil, boil this to form a syrup for about 20 minutes. Watch and stir occasionally to prevent the liquid from overflowing. Once the syrup is formed, add the prepared figs. Boil the figs in the syrup for another 15 minutes, remove the figs and then strain the liquid through a cheese cloth lined over a colander. Add the figs back to the strained syrup and then allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator. The figs will absorb all the flavors and will be sweet and flavored. Serve as needed.

cucumber cilantro mint raita

cucumber mint raita

Thank you so much for the feedback on the new look! I have to admit, having a blog teaches you all sorts of things that you never thought you would but as challenging as it can be, it's also a lot of fun. Speaking of fun things, this mention by Parade Magazine was exciting and I was very honored to be included in such an amazing list of creative and talented people. 

fresh mint
mint  chutney

Today, I have two recipes for you and I think they are perfect way to deal with all this hot weather that's coming our way here in California. There's a fresh cilantro and mint chutney which has a dash of fresh ginger root blended in. You can use this chutney as a dip, or spread it between slices of buttered bread or use it in this raita recipe that I've included in this post.

Raitas are a dish I make it at home a couple of times during the week and on hot summer days like the ones we are having right now, a refreshing and cooling cucumber and cilantro-mint raita hits the right spot. I've described two ways to prepare the raita but honestly, it's all up to you, present it the way you want to. Just have fun!  I do find that the "parfait" style makes for a good travel companion when it comes to packing lunches and a little more exciting because I like the personalized touch. 

I used Greek yogurt instead of the traditional method of using plain regular yogurt because I like my raitas a little creamy. A thicker yogurt base also makes it easy to layer and prepare the parfait.

grating cucumber for mint raita
fresh cucumber mint raita

cilantro-mint chutney

yields: approximately 1 cup

ingredients 

1 cup packed mint leaves, fresh

1 cup packed cilantro, leaves

1 inch piece ginger root, peeled, julienned

2 thai green chili peppers

1 lime

1/4 cup water, chilled

1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1.  Place the mint, cilantro, ginger, chili into a blender (or a jar if you're using an immersion blender), Squeeze the lime juice and add the water and salt. Blend until the ingredients for a smooth paste. You might need to add a little more water to the paste or occasionally stir the ingredients to get them moving in the blender. Once this chutney is prepared you can use it immediately or refrigerate it in an airtight container. You can also freeze this for for a few days. (Note: the vibrant color does tend to become a little darker after a few days of storage but the it is still good to use and eat)

cucumber mint raita

yields: approximately 4 cups

ingredients

2 cups plain Greek yogurt 

1/2 cup water, chilled (* if you want the raita thinner add more water but remember to adjust the salt and pepper according to your taste preferences)

1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

2 cups cucumber, peeled and grated

1 thai chili pepper, cut into thin slices for garnish

1. In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt, water, salt and pepper until the ingredients are completely combined. Keep this yogurt base aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

2. Squeeze the grated cucumber for any excess liquid. You can save the liquid and use it to for something else (I either drink it or use it in chilled juices).

3. There are two ways to prepare the raita. 

a) The first method is for the "parfait style". You can prepare about 4-6 (5-6 ounce) glass jars with this method. Layer the bottom of one jar, half-way with the yogurt base. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of the grated cucumber above and layer with more yogurt base until you're about half an inch from the top of the jar. Layer with 2 generous tablespoons of the cilantro-mint chutney and garnish with a few of the sliced chilies and a little left over grated cucumber. Prepare the rest of the jars using this method. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

b)The second method is to mix 1/2 cup of the cilantro-mint chutney prepared earlier with the yogurt base and the cucumber in a large mixing bowl. Garnish with the thinly sliced chilies. You can serve it immediately or cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled.