Archive for July, 2006

Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas


1 c. unbleached flour, 1 c. whole wheat flour, 2/3 c. water and 1/3 c. oil.

Mix flours in bowl, add oil and work into flour with hands. Pour in water, mix well to incorporate. Tear off dough and form balls with hands; cover with plastic and a wet paper towel and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes. Proceed with tortilla grill, or in saute pan. Stuff with any desired filling. We use: soy crumbles with seasoning, rice, cheese, refried beans, homemade guacamole (recipe is on this blog), chopped chipotles, salsa etc. etc. Wrap your fists around it and dig in. Delectably delightful.

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Roasted Corn and Tomato Relish

16 fl oz. olive oil
12 fl oz. white wine
½ oz. roasted garlic paste
½ oz. salt
1 t. coarse ground black pepper
3# 12 oz. roasted corn kernels
15 Roma tomato, concasse
2 oz. sliced green onions
3 T. chopped cilantro
3 T. chopped parsley

Blend oil, vinegar and garlic paste, season with salt and pepper. Add corn, tomato, green onions, and herbs. Toss to coat and chill. Adjust seasoning if needed before serving

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Rosemary Corn Soup

Rosemary Corn Soup

2 c. chopped onion

½ c. diced carrot

½ c. diced celery

3 T. butter

8 c. fresh corn

6 c. chicken or vegetable broth

1 T. fresh rosemary, minced

2 cloves garlic. Minced

¼ t. cayenne pepper

1 red pepper, seeded cored and diced

1 c. half and half

Salt and pepper to taste

In dutch oven, sauté onion, celery and carrot in butter until tender. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 5 cups of the corn, broth, rosemary, and cayenne and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. With immersion blender, process until smooth. In a small skillet, sauté red pepper in butter until tender, add to pureed mix with remaining corn and heat through. Stir in half and half, and season with salt and pepper.

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Pasta Fagioli

Pasta Fagioli

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, peeled and diced
1 c. fresh spinach, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded cored and diced
2 cup water
1 (16 oz) can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 pound ditalini macaroni (or other small pasta)
grated parmesan and asiago cheese
fresh basil

Saute the onion, pepper and garlic gently in dutch oven in the olive oil for 5 minutes, and then add the tomatoes and water. Let simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Add squash and drained beans, simmer for 5 minutes, add spinach, and simmer until wilted, just about 2 minutes. While simmering, in a separate pot cook the ditalini macaroni until al dente, drain and rinse quickly under cold water, set aside. Ladle soup into bowls, add 1/3 c. pasta, and top with basil and cheese.

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Palak Paneer

1 lb paneer pieces

2 lb spinach

3 tablespoon onion (chopped)

2 tablespoon tomato (chopped)

2 tablespoon any cream (alternate: sour cream)

2 teaspoon garma masala powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tablespoon ghee or oil

Heat ghee or butter and saute onion until golden. Add spinach and cook to a paste. Add cream and spices, stir to mix and cook for several minutes. Add paneer, cook for 10 minutes to allow flavor to develop

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This was my favorite of all the dishes I made. I love this combination of cauliflower, potato and spices. The fenugreek is an amazing flavor, the seeds are toasted in oil until they are black and WOW……the taste is…..Mmmmmm. And really different. This had the best spice combo and balance of all the dishes. Just right, nothing too overpowering or heavy. I will make this again and again until I cannot stand the sight of cauliflower anymore.

Gobi Aloo (Cauliflower Curry)

1 head cauliflower, chopped
3 potatoes, cubed
1 chili chopped
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup peas
2 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon ghee or butter
2 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon









1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon Fenugreek (Methi)
2 Bay leaf

Mix all the spices except fenugreek and bay leaf together in a bowl and stir well.


Sauté Fenugreek (Methi) in oil till it turns black. Add Bay leaf.

Add potatoes, half of the spices and sauté for few minutes in medium heat.

When potato is half done, add Cauliflower.

Add tomatoes, peas, and chili and sprinkle rest of the spices over it. Cook and stir until cauliflower is tender.

Serve hot with Rice or Roti.

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Making Paneer (Indian Cheese)

I’ll write about my Indian feast in manageable amounts. If I posted it all at once it would just be too huge to focus on. The Paneer was the first recipe I made yesterday. I followed the instructions in Nancy McDermot’s ‘The Curry Cookbook’. It called for 6 c. whole milk and 1 1/2 c. whole fat plain yogurt. Other recipes have called for mixing lemon juice or vinegar with the milk to acidulate, but I followed Nancy’s because I love her cookbook.

To start, line a colander with four layers of cheesecloth and place in the sink. Heat the milk to boiling (i used a 6-qt dutch oven), stirring constantly to prevent burning. Make sure it is rolling at a boil, then add the yogurt and stir gently. The milk will suddenly break into curds and whey, stir for about three minutes, then take the pan and carefully pour it all into the colander to drain. When it is cool enough, bring the edges of the cheesecloth together and squeeze out any excess whey, twisting the top of the cloth tight and squeezing repeatedly to wring out moisture. Tie to faucet and allow to drain for about 30 minutes. Place on a plate, put another plate on top of it, and weigh down the top plate to press the cheese. I used a lot of weight! Make sure it’s not too tippy. Leave it for 30 minutes. Carefully unwrap the cheesecloth and cut the cheese into 1/2″-1″ inch pieces. Chill in airtight container. It should keep for up to five days according to McDermot. I used it that evening in making Palak Paneer.

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Black Bottom Cupcakes

Black Bottom Cupcakes


8 oz. cream cheese

1 egg

1/3 c. sugar

1/8 t. salt

Stir well, add 1 c. chocolate chips and set aside

Mix together:

3 c. flour

2 c. sugar

½ c. cocoa

2 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

Add to dry ingredients, beating well:

2 c. water

2/3 c. oil

2 T. vinegar

2 t. vanilla

Pour batter into lined muffin pan. Top each with 1 T. cream cheese mixture. Top with sugar and chopped nuts if desired. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

This cake is amazingly tart and sweet at the same time.

Lemon Lovers Pound Cake
From the 2004 Taste of Home Annual Cookbook

1 c. butter, no subs
3 c. sugar
6 eggs
5 T. lemon juice
1 T. lemon peel, grated
1 t. lemon extract
3 c. AP flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 1/4 c. sour cream.

1/4 c. sour cream
2 T. soft butter
2 1/2 c. powd. sugar
3 T. lemon juice
2 t. grated lemon peel

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes; Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one; Stir in lemon juice, peel and extract; Combine flour, baking soda and salt, add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Beat until just combined. Pour into greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. For icing, beat sour cream and butter until blended, gradually add confectioners sugar then beat in lemon juice and peel. Drizzle over cake. Store in refrigerator.

Every year at Christmas my Mom would make these sinfully rich, decadent bars. I make them for our Christmas still, kudos to my Mom’s memory

Three Layer Bars


½ c. (1 stick) butter

¼ c. granulated sugar

5 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. graham cracker crumbs (from 32 square crackers)

1 c. coconut

½ c. chopped almonds


¼ c. (½ stick) softened butter

2 tbsp. vanilla instant pudding mix

2 tbsp. milk

2 c. powdered sugar


2/3 c. (4 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

2 tbsp. butter

Prepare the base layer: Melt the ½ cup of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in the granulated sugar and cocoa powder until well blended. Add egg, and cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, crumbs, coconut and almonds. Press into an ungreased 9-by 9-inch pan.

Prepare the filling: In the small bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the ¼ cup of softened butter and the pudding mix. Beat in the milk and then the powdered sugar. Spread over the base layer. Chill at least 15 minutes.

Prepare the glaze: Melt the chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring. Remove from heat, add the 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until butter is melted. Allow to cool slightly, then pour and spread over the filling. Refrigerate until set; cut into small bars.

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Risotto (my method with a little help from Cooks Illustrated)

2 T. butter plus 2 T. olive oil

1 large shallot, peeled and chopped

2 clove garlic, chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

3 c. water plus 3 c. chicken broth, heated but not boiling

2 c. arborio rice

1/2 c. dry white wine (i mostly use Sauv. Blanc, but have used Pinot Grigio also)

1 c. asiago cheese (or half parmesan too) freshly grated

Heat butter and oil in dutch oven. When butter foam subsides, add shallot and cook for 3-5 minutes or until opaque. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds until very fragrant. Add pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add rice, stir and cook until edges are clear, 4 minutes. Add wine, stir and cook until evaporated. Add 3 c. of the liquid, stir to combine and allow to simmer, stirring only to prevent rice from sticking to the pan bottom, usually once every 3-5 minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed. Add remaining liquid, about 1/2-1 c. per time, stir to combine and allow to simmer, stirring only to keep rice from sticking. This whole process should take anywhere from 25-35 minutes. The rice, when finished should be tender, but still a bit chewy and there should be a fair amount of creamy sauce surrounding it. Stir in half of the cheese and garnish your bowl with the rest. Add some cracked black pepper to taste. Try not to gobble.

Risotto is one of those dishes that tastes pretty good even if it isn’t perfect. The first time I made it, it came out like paste. Although the flavor was OK, the texture was something else! Very gluey and way overcooked. Keep on making it though, no recipe is fool proof the first time, especially this one. Add other veggies when you get better at it and can judge how they would best fit in; mushrooms work really well in risotto, and I have used cauliflower and carrot too. The addition of saffron will make traditional Risotto alla Milanese. I like the red pepper in it because it gives it a really beautiful color. Experiment. Sample. Taste and enjoy.

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A perfectly cooked piece of fish is a thing of beauty. This is delicious, quick and nutritious.

Olive Tomato Tapenade

6 Roma tomato, cored, seeded and diced (feel free to skin if you wish)

¼ c. kalamata olives, chopped

1 medium shallot, diced

2 clove garlic, minced

1 T. capers, chopped.

1 T. lemon zest

2 T. lemon juice

Dash balsamic vinegar

In sauté pan, cook shallot until clear in a small amount of olive oil. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add tomato and lemon zest, cook until tomato breaks down. Add olive, capers, vinegar and lemon juice, stir to combine and heat through.

For dredging tilapia (tastes good but not required- the fish is just as good seared plain)

1/2 c. yellow cornmeal

1/4 c. flour

1 t. each ground mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, dill weed, cracked black pepper, and kosher salt

Mix together on plate and dredge one side only of the filets well, then place in HOT saute pan with a little olive oil and allow to cook until well browned on bottom. Flip over and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve topped with tapenade.

By coating only one side of the fish, you get the crisp, crusty flavor of a fried fish without using a lot of oil or coating. Notice you don’t dip the filet in any liquid as is normal with coating fish for saute purposes. If the pan is hot enough, you will get a good sear on the flesh with the liquid it naturally contains. Don’t be too quick to rescue it once it’s in the pan, you should see the fish almost halfway cooked before you flip it over. And you will go  “Ooooohhhh” when you see how delicious and browned the bottom will be. One more tip: Coat the flat side of the filet with the cornmeal mix. It sears best that way.

Tilapia is a very forgiving fish. It works well when it is slightly over-cooked even given the fact that most fish over-cooked tastes like eating shoe strings. Tilapia is mild and works well with anything you want to put on the top. It’s great baked with lemon and dill, grilled plain or on a plank, seared in a pan or broiled. This fish turned out perfectly, moist, tender and so flavorful with the tapenade. The olives give it a slight briny taste with little jolts of the crisp caper nuance. There is the bite of the garlic, the sour of the lemon and balsamic, all working in tandem with the pleasant flavor of the Roma. A great multi- layered taste to deeply compliment the firm, meaty flesh of the fish. We ate it with steamed asparagus, which also came out very well cooked.

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