After spending a few weeks across the globe for Season, I’m finally back home. I went to the UAE for the Sharjah International Book Festival, visited London for the first time and wrapped up in Seattle before I headed home. I did miss home a bit but it was also difficult to see how much the smoke from the recent fires has taken over the air in the Bay Area, some of you might remember the terrible fires that ravaged the wine country region, to see this happen once again and so soon is sad but even worse for those who have lost their homes and loved ones.Read More
After taking a class at the CIA in NAPA on smoking olives, reading Diana Henry's Salt, Sugar, Smoke (Perhaps one of my all time favorite books by her) and Smoking Hot and Cold by Charlotte Pike , I've been trying different ways to smoke my food. I tried indoors and outdoors, outdoors are honestly, the best because you can let the fumes escape and your furniture won't smell like the aftermath of a fire pit or a dragon lashing. Liquid smoke and smoke guns are good options and a friend of mine, swears by the latter.
I recently got a Traeger smoker/grill which is pretty amazing. It's upped my smoke game up at home by several notches. We've tried steak, pork chops and chicken with a variety of different woods such as cherry to oak to pecan each infusing its own unique perfume on the food it kisses. While, meats are a sure hit when it comes to smoking, you can do a lot more than just that. I recently experimented and smoked young carrots with cherry wood pellets and then served them over a bed of turmeric infused creme fraiche with a little amchur. Amuchur is a tart fruity powder obtained from sundried unripe mangoes, it's also my best friend when it comes to barbecues. While cooking and smoking times, will obviously vary by the type of smoker you use, this method worked rather well for me with my Traeger grill.
And on a related note, if you want to make Kalua Pork at home and also check out my most recent trip to Maui, Hawaii, head over to Taste Cooking!
smoked carrots with turmeric creme fraiche
makes 4 servings as a side
1 lb young carrots, tops trimmed
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup creme fraiche
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes of any kind or color
1 tsp amchur
1 tsp red chili powder
flaky salt such as Maldon
Prepare the smoker as per the manufacturer's instructions. Fill the wood pellet chamber with cherry wood pellets.
Set the heat to 350F. Brush the grates with a little oil.
In a large bowl, toss the carrots with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Then place them on the grate of the preheated grill and let them cook for 45 minutes to 60 minutes, flipping them halfway through cooking using a pair of tongs. The carrots will be done when tender and golden brown.
Once the carrots are cooked, remove and transfer them to a tray.
In a medium bowl, whisk the creme fraiche, lemon juice, turmeric, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
To serve, prepare 4 serving plates, place a generous 1/4 cup of the creme fraiche in the center of a plate. Put 4 to 6 smoked carrots in the center along with 1/4 of the halved tomatoes. Dust with 1/4 tsp of the amchur and 1/4 tsp of the chili powder. Sprinkle with a generous amount of Maldon salt and serve.
(Note these instructions are for the Traeger grill, please adjust the method to work with whatever brand you use)
Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by Traeger. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
I just wrapped up the first round of copy edits and some reshoots for my solo book! It's all turned in and I'm going to take a breather for a days from the book and focus on a couple of other exciting new projects that are coming up. More on that soon!
Oh yeah and I also got to play with a kite this weekend while visiting a winery in Sonoma. Think of them like a large cat with wings but calm and patient. The kites are used in a natural program to protect the environment. I want one now but I don't think my pets want a third one to take away all the attention they get.
Let's get back to the kitchen. It's officially pumpkin season and here's a vibrant and tasty dip to kick it off. And it's easy. Roast, blend and serve. And it's made with Califia's unsweetened almond milk which gives it rich and smooth finish. I've been eating this dip with chips but you SHOULD also drizzle it over your fries or hasselback potatoes (especially those!).
And if you want it extra hot, throw in an extra serrano or use Thai chiles!
roasted red pepper pumpkin seed dip
makes about 2 cups
2 medium bell peppers
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 serrano pepper (deseed if desired)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (I use Califia's unsweetened almond milk)
Preheat the oven to 425F. Place the bell peppers and onions in a roasting pan and rub them with the oil. Place the pan in the oven and roast for about 30 to 45 minutes, rotating the peppers halfway through baking. The peppers will be seared in spots. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
Cut the cooled peppers and discard the stem and seeds. Transfer the peppers with the onions and the remaining ingredients to a blender. Pulse until you get a coarse paste. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a serving container and serve with chips. You can store the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Califia Farms. However, all opinions expressed are solely my own.
I've been wanting to share some of my quick weekday meals with you. They're quick ways to add a little flavor to your meals during the week without a lot of fuss and the posts are quick to be short. Lord knows, I have little time during the week and if you're like me these quick fixes make life easy but tasty!
These roasted romanesco are pretty aromatic once they're drizzled with the hot coconut oil that's flavored with a few spices, garlic and curry leaves. I usually eat it with a little plain yogurt on the side or with some rice. Just be extra careful when you add the garlic and curry leaves to the hot coconut oil as it will spurt since both contain water and water and oil hate each other!
roasted romanesco with curry leaf
makes 4 servings
4 baby romanesco
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp white sesame seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp urfa biber flakes
1 tsp minced garlic
8 fresh curry leaves, washed and wiped dry
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 425F.
Remove and discard any leaves that might be attached to the romanesco. Sprinkle the romanesco with the salt and pepper and place them in a baking dish. Drizzle the olive oil over the romanesco and toss to coat evenly. Place the baking dish in the oven and cook until the romanesco are tender and the slightly charred for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and keep warm.
Heat the coconut oil in a small skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sesame, cumin and coriander and cook for 20 seconds till the seeds start to pop. Now carefully add the urfa biber, garlic and curry leaves and cook for 20 to 30 seconds until the leaves start to turn crispy [See note below]. Pour the hot oil mixture with the spices over the roasted romanesco, drizzle the lime juice, and serve immediately.
Note: *Be careful when you add the curry leaves and garlic as the oil was spurt. To avoid getting burned, using a lid or screen.
Spring is a lot of things, like all these things I planted last year in the garden at the back. The excitement of vegetables growing is also met with a nervousness of when harvesting might be appropriate. Should I chop the artichokes now or wait till later? Should I cut the chive blossom or just let it continue to flower and do nothing with it. When you grow very little as is the case with most home urban type farming, you tend to put your produce on a pedestal and admire it because once you eat it, it is gone! There's a certain level of pride and excitement when you wake up every morning and stare at what's growing in your garden because you've planted it, nursed it, protected it against the weather and the annoying armies of ruthless bugs and predators. You've both been through a lot and developed a relationship. Yup, gardening on a small scale is an emotional experience and I think will always be one for me.
But Spring also marks the arrival of all the lovely vegetarian friendly cookbooks and this year, I'm particularly excited for one of my closest and dearest friend's Chitra (of Brooklyn Delhi) whose new book on South Indian vegetarian food, Vibrant India was recently released. Not only is the book a wonderful collection of cherished traditional family recipes on South Indian food but Chitra also adds a little contemporary twist, while simultaneously making everything approachable for the home cook.
I love dosas and I've made them on the blog before but this time, I wanted to share Chitra's recipe which is a little different but is tasty! And there's a sambar recipe too which I could probably eat daily by the gallon!
Chitra is also giving one lucky reader a copy of her new book. All you need to do is leave a comment below and share what your favorite Indian vegetarian dish is. Don't forget to leave your email. The contest will run for one week from April 22nd to April 29th, 2017. One random winner will be chosen and will have 24 hours to respond, or I will have pick another winner. Good luck and happy cooking.
Chitra's Dosa and Sambar from Vibrant India (Ten Speed Press, 2017)
Makes 18 crepes /serves 6 to 8
2 cups uncooked long-grain or basmati rice
1⁄2 cup urad whole gota or urad dal, preferably without skin
2 tablespoons chana dal
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1⁄4 cup cooked rice
1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt (not iodized)
Ghee or mild flavored oil such as canola, for frying
Making Dosa Batter
Wash the uncooked rice and place it in a bowl. Add enough filtered water to cover the rice by 2 inches. (Filtered water is important in case there is a high amount of chlorine in your water, which will inhibit fermentation.) Rinse the urad whole gota and chana dal and place in a separate bowl with the fenugreek seeds. (Good-quality urad will give off some bubbles when rinsed in water.) Add enough filtered water to cover the urad by 2 inches. Soak both mixtures, uncovered, for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
Note: If you don’t have leftover rice, make some to include in the batter the next day. This ingredient adds crispyness but is not mandatory.
The next morning, drain the urad and fenugreek, saving the soaking liquid. Place the urad mixture in a blender (an Indian wet grinder is best, but a powerful blender also works well). With the machine running, slowly add about 1 cup of the reserved soaking liquid to the container, until you get a smooth, light, and fluffy batter. You may have to grind the urad in batches, depending on the size and strength of your blender. Do not let the batter overheat. To check that your urad has been ground finely enough, drop a little into a bowl of water. If it rises to the top, it has been ground enough. Pour the batter into a large mixing bowl. Repeat the same process for the rice, in batches if necessary, using about 1 cup of the reserved soaking liquid. Once the soaked rice is ground, add the cooked rice and grind further. The batter will be smooth but will feel slightly grainy to the touch. Pour the rice batter into the mixing bowl with the ground urad mixture, and add the salt. Mix the ground rice and urad together with your hand. The heat in your hand is good to kick-start the fermentation process while also adding more wild yeast. You should have a loose, thick batter that falls through your hands easily but also coats your fingers. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set it in a warm place. The batter needs to be at a temperature of 80° to 90°F to ferment. (I usually place my batter in the oven with the light on and a large bowl of hot tap water below it. I change out the water a few times to keep the oven warm and humid. Home cooks in cold climates use many different methods, from placing the bowl on a heating pad to wrapping it in a blanket.) Depending on the temperature, your batter could take 8 to 20 hours to ferment. When fermented, it will have almost doubled and will look puffed up on the top. It will also have a sour, fermented smell. When you scoop it with a spoon, it will be a frothy mass of bubbles. Note that in colder climates, your batter may not rise as much, but if it has a frothy, bubbly look and smells fermented, you can start making dosas with it.
Cooking a Dosa
Stir the batter a couple of times. Ideally, you have a thick, flowing batter; it’s thicker than crepe batter. If too thick, add filtered water little by little. Before cooking the dosas, set a little bowl with ghee and a teaspoon, a metal spatula, a cup of water, and a few paper towels or a silicone pastry brush by the stove. I use a 1⁄3-cup measure to scoop up the batter and a large, slightly curved serving spoon to spread it in the skillet. Put a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet* over medium heat. Put a couple of drops of ghee in the skillet and lightly smear it all over using a paper towel or silicone pastry brush. A technique that restaurants use is to stick a fork in the top of a cut onion and put the cut side down on the skillet to smear the oil. This step helps to make the surface of the skillet more nonstick. At this point, you don’t want to add too much oil, as this will make it difficult to spread the dosa evenly. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the skillet to check whether it’s hot. If the water sizzles, it’s time. Turn the heat to low. Scoop up 1⁄3 cup of batter, using your measuring cup, and pour it into the center of the skillet.** The batter should sizzle a bit when it hits the skillet. Starting in the middle, swirl the batter outward in a circular motion, using the bottom of a large, slightly curved serving spoon, a flat ladle, or the measuring cup, until you have spread it out into a round dosa that is about 9 inches in diameter. It is important not to press down too hard with your spreading utensil. The reason a slightly curved or flat utensil is best is that if the bottom has too much contact with the skillet it will become hot and make it difficult for you to spread the batter. Spreading should happen more on the top surface than on the bottom. When you’ve finished spreading the dosa batter, turn the heat back up to medium. Wait a few seconds for the dosa to sizzle a little in the pan, and then drip about 1 teaspoon of melted ghee around the edges of the dosa and on top. If you have an oil sprayer, that will do the job efficiently. Cook until the dosa is dried out on top and you can see some browning and crisp spots appearing on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. When it’s ready, the dosa will peel off easily when you slide your spatula underneath. If you see the dosa browning but it is still sticking, just lower the heat and wait a few seconds. Then probe around the edges with your spatula until you find an area that starts to give, and usually the whole dosa will unstick once you start to pull it up from that spot. Flip your dosa over for a few seconds and then flip it over again. Fold the dosa in half in the skillet and slide it onto a plate for serving. You must cool down your skillet so you can easily spread your next dosa and prevent it from sticking to the pan. To cool it down, sprinkle a little water on its surface. When the sizzling stops, heat the skillet back up for your next dosa. Stir the dosa batter well before scooping up batter for the next one. You can refrigerate leftover batter; it will keep for about a week. If you do this, bring your batter back to room temperature before making the dosas. This will ensure that your dosas have a nice golden color when cooked. I personally prefer to make dosas right after the batter has fermented, as it results in the best texture and color.
*If using a nonstick skillet, you can reduce the amount of oil used to cook the dosa.
**To make a paper dosa, which is thinner and crunchier, you can use 1⁄4 cup of batter and spread it thinner in the skillet. For extra crispiness, use your spatula to flatten the batter down once you have spread it.
Makes 4 servings
1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
2 tablespoons unsweetened grated coconut (fresh, frozen, or dried)
1 tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter
1 tablespoon mild-flavored oil such as canola
1⁄2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
Pinch of asafetida (hing) powder
4 or 5 fresh curry leaves
1 dried red chile, broken into pieces
1⁄2 red onion, diced
1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick disks
1 medium red potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
6 cups water
2 tablespoons huli powder (see below) or store-bought sambar powder
1 teaspoon tamarind paste, plus more as needed
Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
Wash the red lentils thoroughly, using a fine-mesh
colander. Thaw frozen coconut or place dried coconut in a little hot water to plump it up. Put the ghee and oil in a saucepan over medium
heat. When the ghee has melted and the oil is hot and shimmering, add one black mustard seed. When the seed sizzles and pops, add the rest of the mustard seeds and the asafetida. Keep a lid handy to cover the pan while the mustard seeds are popping. When the popping starts to subside (a few seconds), turn the heat to medium-low. Rub the curry leaves between your fingers a little to release their natural oils, and drop them and the dried red chile into the oil. Cover immediately, as moisture from the curry leaves will cause the oil to spatter. Then stir to evenly coat everything with oil, a few seconds. Turn off the heat. Add the onion and turmeric powder to the pan and fry until the onion has softened and is translucent, a couple of minutes. Mix in the carrot, potato, and a sprinkling of salt. Stir to coat with oil. Add the lentils and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Ladle out any foam that comes to the surface. Then simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, until the lentils are falling apart and the vegetables are tender; this should take 25 to 30 minutes. Add the huli powder to the cooked lentils and vegetables and mix well. Add the tamarind paste and 1 1⁄4 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Cook at a boil for a couple of minutes, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Taste for salt and tamarind and adjust as needed. I like the consistency of my huli to be right in the middle, not too thick and not too thin. Add a bit more water or boil for longer depending on your preferred consistency. Mix in the coconut and simmer for a minute more. Turn off the heat. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve hot o with dosas. You can also enjoy the stew plain. When reheating huli, add water to get it back to your desired consistency, as it has a tendency to thicken up in the fridge.
Huli /Sambar powder
Makes 3 cups
3⁄4 cup chana dal
1⁄2 teaspoon urad dal
About 1 1⁄2 teaspoons mild flavored oil such as canola
2 cups coriander seeds
60 dried red chiles or 90 dried Byadgi chiles, stems removed*
4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 1⁄2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
1 cup fresh curry leaves, loosely packed (optional)**
1⁄2 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)**
1 1⁄2 teaspoons turmeric powder
Put a cast-iron frying pan or other heavy pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the chana dal and dry-roast, stirring it all the while, until it turns a reddish golden brown and has a nutty aroma. This may take several minutes, so be patient. Transfer to a plate to cool. Next add the urad dal to the pan. Dry-roast the urad dal, stirring it all the while, until it turns a reddish golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Transfer to the plate with the chana dal to cool. The next group of spices each needs to be fried separately in a bit of oil. It takes patience, but this step is important because each spice takes a different amount of time to roast. Add 1⁄2 teaspoon of the oil to the pan. Add the coriander seeds. Roast and stir continuously until they are fragrant. Be watchful that the seeds do not burn. Transfer to a plate to cool.Add another 1⁄4 teaspoon oil to the pan. Add the dried red chiles. Stir and fry them until they warm up and become fragrant and your nose starts to tickle. Transfer to the plate to cool. Add 1⁄8 teaspoon of the oil to the pan and add the cinnamon sticks. Stir and fry until fragrant.Transfer to the plate to cool. Add 1⁄8 teaspoon of the oil to the pan and add the fenugreek seeds. Stir and fry until they turn golden brown and have a nutty aroma. Transfer to the plate to cool. Add the remaining 1⁄8 teaspoon of oil to the pan and add the curry leaves, if using. Roast the leaves, stirring them the entire time, until they have dried and start to curl up. Transfer to the plate to cool. Add the coconut, if using, to the pan. Stir it until it just warms up and becomes fragrant. Transfer it to the plate to cool. Grind the cooled spices, curry leaves, and coconut to a powder in a spice grinder or powerful blender. Mix in the turmeric powder.Store in an airtight container or glass jar. It will keep for several months at room temperature, and longer if stored in the refrigerator.
I've been productive for the past few days. I finally built a trellis along the fence in the backyard for the passion fruit vines to climb up. I planted plants, I meant to plant 4 to 6 weeks ago. I trimmed plants that were now looking like a little jungle. I cleaned out the kitchen cabinet and tossed out any Tupperware item that lacked a lid. I tried to organize the attic but that requires the help of a second or third or fourth person so I gave up easily on that one.
It's still pretty cold enough here to still crave soup and this week, I'm sharing one of my favorite and easy soups to make at home. Serve it with toasted buttered garlic bread or some breadsticks while you stay warm indoors.
This is a one-sheet-pan kind of soup, you roast everything together and then pulse it all down with Califia Farmscoconut almond milk blend to get the smoothest and creamiest leek and potato soup.The soup is flavored with bay leaves, black pepper, nigella and chipotle making it perfect to ride this last wave of cold weather.
roasted leek and potato soup (vegan)
Makes 4 servings
2 large (390g) leeks sliced
345g potatoes peeled and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
8 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 cups Califia unsweetened toasted coconut milk (the plain unsweetened almond milk will also work well here)
Place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 350F.
Toss the leeks, potatoes, peppercorns, bay leaves, chipotle and nigella with the olive oil in a large bowl to coat evenly. Transfer to a baking tray and place in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until the leeks and potatoes are golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer all but 1/4 cup of the ingredients to a blender along with the salt and the milk. Pulse until smooth and completely combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Before serving, garnish with the reserved roasted leek and sweet potatoes.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia Farms, however all opinions expressed are solely my own.
I'm back from NYC and can you believe that it was actually warmer than Oakland this week! I tried a few new fun spots including Fish Cheeks, Westville Chelsea and Black Seed Bagels while I was visiting the city to attend the James Beard Foundation summit. Yup, I ate a lot and I ate well!
I have a few hot sauces and mixes in the door of my refrigerator at all times. Some hotter than the others, each of them unique in their own way which is why they occupy a special place in my heart. There's the usual suspects of Sriracha, Tabasco, Crystal, sambal oelek, lunu miris, harissa and always some gochujang. Whenever in a pinch, these sauces and pastes can transform your meal and take things to a whole new level. Now tell me, what do you include in your hot sauce inventory, anything you think I need to add to mine?
This gochujang flavored broccoli soup is one of my favorite ways to make a simple soup a lot more flavorful but it should also give you an idea of how you can change things too. Since gochujang has such a unique flavor, it won't make your soup feel like it's been flavored with any ordinary type of hot sauce.
There's also a recipe for my fiery winter chicken salad in the San Francisco Chronicle this week, that's easy to make and it has a good dose of blood oranges and yogurt for that little extra nudge of flavor.
- Use your favorite brand of gochujang and kimchi. There are so many good ones available in stores these days, it's hard to go wrong.
- Use fresh bright green broccoli florets when making this soup. I usually add almost every bit of the broccoli available, just trim off the stem end that's at the end that was cut from the plant.
- I've used the California Olive Ranch, arbequina oil here because I prefer it's color and fruity flavor profile.
broccoli, thyme and gochujang soup
yields: about 4 servings
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme leaves + extra for garnish
4 cups diced broccoli florets with stems
2 cups water
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons kimchi juice
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons gochujang
2 tablespoons arbequina olive oil or any other fruity olive oil
1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized thick bottomed stockpot on medium-high heat.
2. Add the onion and sauté for about 6 to 8 minutes until they start to brown. Then add the garlic and thyme and cook with constant stirring for about 40 seconds. Add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Add the water, vinegar, kimchi juice, pepper and salt and increase the heat to high. Bring the contents to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 12 minutes until the broccoli just starts to get tender. Transfer the contents of the stockpot to a blender along with the gochujang and pulse until combined. (Be careful since the liquid will be very hot). Once the mixture is velvety smooth, return the contents to the stockpot and adjust the heat to a gentle simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add more water if desired, if you want a thinner soup. Serve hot with toasted bread and garnish with extra thyme and a few drops of the arbequina olive oil.
Happy 2017!!! I spent much of the past few weeks celebrating Christmas and NYE with my mom and sister who were visiting us from India. Now that they've gone back to India, the house feels quiet even with our beloved pets, both of whom who can be loud at times. We ate a lot of good food, took a few trips, saw a few movies but most of all, it was great to spend some one-on-one time with my mom who I get to see once, perhaps every two years.
One of the things, my mom and I like to do is, snack. We snack a lot and if there was one way to mark the start of the new year here, an appetizer or some sort of snack would be fitting. And so I have an easy hazelnut and walnut based pâté flavored with mushrooms, tea and a few aromatics for you.
To make a nut based pâté, you'll need a blender with a bit of oomph to grind those nuts down and the powerful new Ascent blender from Vitamixdoes just that! With a few short pulses in a few seconds, I ended up with an impressive smooth and creamy nut based paste that was ready to be absorb the umami of the mushrooms and tea. The only annoying part was having a little patience to let the pâté stiffen a little in the refrigerator but that is something I can live with.
Note, that I've said portabello/portabella mushrooms in the ingredient list, it honestly just depends on what you can find, the male mushrooms have the "bello" while the females have the "bella" in their names. It shouldn't make a big difference in taste.
vegetarian pâté (with mushrooms, nuts and tea)
makes: about 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup (76 grams)hazelnuts
1/2 cup (46 grams) walnuts
1/4 cup (59 ml) melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons black tea such as Darjeeling
1/4 cup (59 ml) boiling water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sliced shallots
2 teaspoons garlic cloves minced
1/4 lb chopped crimini mushrooms
1/4 lb chopped portobello/portabella mushrooms
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
4 to 5 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the nuts on baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes until they just start to release the aroma and turn light brown. Remove from oven and transfer the nuts to the blender along with the melted butter. Pulse the nuts for a few seconds until they start to form a coarse powder. You might need to scrape the sides of the jug, just in case the nut bits move up to the sides.
2. Add the tea leaves to the boiling water in a small bowl and allow to steep for 4 minutes. Strain and discard the leaves, reserve the liquid.
3. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until they just start to turn translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, thyme and peppercorns and salt. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the contents of the skillet to the ground nuts and the reserved tea liquid to the blender. Place the lid and pulse until you get a smooth and creamy mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer the pâté to a clean air-tight container and refrigerate for at least four to six hours before use. Serve the pâté with slices of fresh bread such as a baguette.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Vitamix, however all opinions expressed are solely my own.
It's World Vegetarian Day today and I'm kicking it off at the KitchenAid blog (where you can get the recipe) with this easy and delicious spinach and chickpea stew in their lovely new Slow Cooker!This is one of the tastiest and easiest dishes that you can put together and not have to worry about. A few simple ingredients and spices and you let the Slow Cooker do all the work for you.
I chose a simple yet flavorful recipe to celebrate this day. Vegetables are as diverse and delicious as you can imagine and you can season them with simple ingredients to create more interesting flavors. I've gone back to the basics and taken inspiration from the way my mom would probably approach cooking if she had a busy week at work. Simple, easy and flavorful!
The "most complex" ingredient in this recipe is garam masala and you can find that at most stores or use my recipe to make your own. I also selected canned chickpeas and frozen spinach for use in this recipe (you can also substitute with fresh) because I always keep them in stock and to be honest, I sometimes don't plan ahead and they save me time in prepping. So don't feel guilty! The advantage of using a Slow Cooker is having to think less about cooking especially when you're short on time, so you can set this up at any time of the day and forget about it till it's ready. The chickpeas and spinach become soft and tender and every bite has the tanginess of fresh lemon juice to balance the flavors of the spices. Serve this with flatbread or rice or as is (maybe with a side of plain, unsweetened yogurt)!
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by KitchenAid. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
I think I'm getting old, we hit 90 degrees which is a bit of a rare event in Oakland especially when we've crossed the line into Fall. It was hot enough to make me stay indoors at all times, I had most of the blinds drawn to keep the heat out but kept a few of the windows cracked open to let the air in. Of course, as one would expect there was no draft when it was needed the most. I survived on a diet of cold things that included iced water, lemonade, popsicles, and salads.
My inability to handle hot weather might just be one sign of old age, our cat is now testing my patience. Vesper has learned to pop open the wire mesh panel on our backdoor. He's an indoor cat and neither M nor I want him strolling the streets of the neighborhoods or picking a fight with another cat or raccoon (ya never know what's out there). But my little kitten is curious and intelligent which for a pet owner is a terrible combination (There was that one time when he opened the pet cabinet door to help himself to treats, so now we keep that door under lock and key). Thank goodness, Vesper is driven by greed because I quickly lured him back in to the house with treats because if he had jumped over the fence and run away, I'd go nuts. He makes Snoopy look like a saint!
An Indian summer and a crazy kitten have kept me crazy and consequently, I've been thinking of cooler fall desserts to eat. This pumpkin pudding is almost tropical with it's coconut flavors. It reminds me of being at the beach while fall is sneaking in. I used Califia Farms toasted coconut and almond milk blend to create the base for the pudding, it's heat stable which makes it really easy to thicken it over heat. I've added shredded coconut which gives the pudding texture while cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg brings in the warm fall flavors with a hint of sweetness.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this pudding;
- You can use toasted shredded coconut to create a richer coconut flavor in the pudding. Another option is to add a teaspoon or two of coconut rum or liquor.
- If you want more shredded coconut in the pudding you can increase the final amount to 1 1/2 cups.
- Butternut squash and pumpkin both work in this recipe.
- The pudding gets thickened at two stages, once with tapioca starch (cornstarch will ask work here) and then by the shredded coconut.
coconut and pumpkin pudding
yields: 4 servings
2 cups Califia Farms toasted coconut almond milk
one 15 ounce can unsweetened pumpkin purée
2 tablespoons coconut cream
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (preferably palm sugar)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon + a little extra for garnish
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1. Place all the ingredients from the coconut milk to the nutmeg in a blender and pulse until smooth and combined.
2. Transfer the contents to a medium-sized saucepan with a thick bottom and on medium-high heat whisk until you get a thick custard like consistency in about 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Remove from stove and fold the shredded coconut into the pumpkin mixture. Transfer to a container and place a piece of clingfilm over the surface of the pudding. There should be no air bubbles between the clingfilm and the pudding. Refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours, preferably overnight before serving. Garnish the pudding with a little powdered cinnamon just before serving.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia Farms, however all opinions expressed are solely my own.