October 25, 2007

red lentil dhal

red lentil dhal

Lentils. Other than putting them in soups, I wasn't sure what to do with them until I found this great recipe. I found red lentils (or dhal) in the indian section of our supermarket.

There are a lot of different spices in this recipe. I have to admit, I don't toast them as the recipe calls for. Sometimes I don't even have some of the spices available (like cloves or cardomom) and it still tastes good. I buy the spices already ground down (faux pas I'm sure) and I make a big batch of the spice blend and store it in an airtight container. That way I save time when I make it.

I don't know why but I never have tomato paste kicking around the house. I hate that I only need 1-2 Tbsp and I have to open a can of tomato paste and then it just goes to waste. So my secret substitute solution... uhhh, ketchup. Yup. What can I say... gourmet is my middle name.

And sometimes I don't have tomatoes so I either use canned or stewed tomatoes or I have even used salsa. I'm the substituting queen and you know what, it works out ever time. Oh yeah, we always omit the cilantro, my honey isn't a big fan of it. But I've used kale and chopped spinach before. The picture above doesn't have any greens added.

I make this recipe often. If you are craving Indian food, this is a winner. Plus, it's healthy, can't beat that.

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Red Lentil Dhal
makes 6-8 servings

Toasting and grinding your seeds is so worth the effort, and doesn't take long at all. Serve this dhal as a main dish with rice or as a side dish. It is aromatic, rich and delicious.

Equipment:
Coffe grinder or spice millor mortar and pestle, saute pan, large, soup pot

Ingredients
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 medium yellow onion
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried red lentils
2 tablespoon tomato paste
4-5 cups water or veg broth
5 plum tomatoes, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 cup lightly packed chopped fresh cilantro

Spice blend
2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 whole cloves
4 cardomom pods

2 dried red chilis (seeds removed)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
In a saute pan over medium heat, toast the seeds (but not the dried red chili) for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from pan and let cool. Transfer to coffee grinder, aling with the dried red chili and cinnamon, and grind to a fine powder.

Over medium-high heat oil a soup pot, add onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and saute 5 more minutes. Add spices and salt, saute 5 minutes more.

Add 4 cups of water and stir to deglaze the pot. Add tomato paste and lentils. Bring to a boil then lower the heat a bit and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, lime juice and cilantro and more water if it looks to thick. Simmer 10 more minutes, or until lentils are completely tender.

Recipe: Red Lentil Dhal: Post Punk Kitchen

October 22, 2007

pineapple (or apple) upside down cake

pineapple (or apple) upside down cake

Golly, I've been very busy. Posting will be unfortunately sporadic in the coming months.

I have an endless TO DO list and I'm soooo counting down for the end of the year when it will hopefully be less chaotic. A full plate in the buffet line of my life. I can't wait for January, unfortunately it's so far away. boo hoo.

Anyhoo, this cake... it's awesome. It's so moist and tasty. I was really amazed. I had others comment on it too. A definite A+ .

So, when life is upside down, then make some upside down cake. Maybe it will turn you right side up. I doubt it but it's worth a try.

pineapple (or apple) upside down cake-fd0000

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pineapple (or apple) upside down cake

3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
8 pineapple rings, halved or 1 crisp apple, cored, peeled, thinley sliced

cake recipe:

note: This cake recipe makes 2 nine inch cakes, thus you can either freeze one of the cakes for another time or double the pineapple/sugar syrup above and make two cakes at the same time.

2.5 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar

In a saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, stirring until foamy. Pour into 9 inch pan that has been prepared with parchement paper. Arrange pineapple or apples.

Mix flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt in mixing bowl. Beat softened butter into dry ingredients, first on low then incrasing speed to medium until mixture forms pebble sized clumps.

Mix milk, egg & vanilla in another bowl. Slowly add 1/3 mixture into dry ingredients, mixing low until smooth. Add remaining milk mixture in 2 stages, beating on medium speed until batter is smooth.

Add sugar & beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Pour 1/2 the batter over the fruit. (The other half can be poured into another prepared pan to make a second cake.)

Bake at 350F for 35 minutes for the plain cake and 40 minutes for the upside down cake.

Cool for 2 minutes before running a knive around the perimeter & inverting cake on a wire rack. Remove parchement and cool completey.

Recipe from: Apple or Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Perfect Recipes for Having People Over.

October 12, 2007

chocolate

chocolate chips

When I'm busy or stressed (or happy or sad), well, whatever occasion really, chocolate is this girl's best friend.

That is why I don't buy it or usually keep it in my home. I can't say no. But I've been known to eat chocolate chips and baker's chocolate when I'm in dire chocolate-fix need.

Yes, I have no shame.

However, let me show you some great chocolate I've gotten as gifts recently.

purdy's chocolate

I got some Purdy's. Well known Canadian chocolate. And it was very creamy milk chocolatey good. I have enjoyed their hedgehogs many Christmas holidays. You'll want to cry with joy when you taste the creamy hazelnut filling. Guess that's why they've been around since 1907.

dark chocolate

I also got this glorious dark chocolate. I think I was grumbling about never having chocolate in the house. So, my hubby surprised me. I tend to gravitate to dark chocolate more. I will definitely eat milk chocolate but the dark has the stronger cocoa flavor that I love. This one was definitely not as creamy as the Purdy's but equally as delicious.

I'm sure many of you would make some chocolatey dessert with it or have a chocolate fondue. Oh no. I rather just eat it "raw" instead of cooking with it.

Are you a dark chocolate or milk chocolate lover?

October 9, 2007

curried cauliflower

curried cauliflower

We celebrated thanksgiving this weekend. I, however, did not make one single item. I got to enjoy all my mom's hard work and kick back and eat turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Don't forget the gravy. Never, ever forget the gravey. yum.

I'm sure I gained a few pounds but very well worth it. But here's a recipe that won't likely put any pounds on ya.

I usually love vegies raw or in stir fried dishes. But, I admit, I never know what to do with cauliflower. I usually don't buy it except when I need a big head of it for veggies and dip. I finally tried something different.

The hubby and I enjoyed it, the kids wouldn't touch it but they aren't huge cauliflower fans. Next time I might add either salt to make it more savory or sugar to make it on the sweet side. Either way, it's a tasty and easy recipe.

...

curried cauliflower

1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 whole clove garlic, smashed
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

Saute all the spices in oil. Toss in cauliflower florets and saute until soft. Serve.

Recipe adapted from: Hurry Curry Cauliflower, Food Network website

October 4, 2007

grilled teriyaki ginger beef satay

grilled teriyaki ginger beef satay

Satay.

Satay.

SATAY!

I don't know why but I just like the sound of that word. Sound much fancier than "meat on a stick".

AND I like the taste of it. Barbequed meat just can't be beat and this recipe really rocked it.

grilled teriyaki ginger beef satay-fd0000

I didn't really care for the peanut sauce and didn't even put it on my meat but the marinade alone on the bbq'd meat was great.

I did make a few alterations from the original recipe listed below:

I didn't have sherry in the house so I used some sake. I'm sure wine would be good too. Or apple juice for those folks that don't do alcohol.

I omitted the hot pepper spice because then my kids won't eat it.

I also didn't have any green onions. oops.

But it still rocked :) Yum. Satay!

PS: To any of you Canadians out there this weekend, Happy Thanksgiving!
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grilled teriyaki ginger beef satay

1 lb (500g) grilling sirloin steak, cut into 1/4 inch thick strips
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

teriyaki ginger marinade:
1 slice (1/2 inch/1 cm thick) gingerroot, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp fresh coriander
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp sherry

marinade: Whisk together all the ingredients marinade ingredients except for hoisin sauce and sherry. Reserve 1/3 cup aside for the peanut sauce later*. Add hoisin and sherry to the 2/3 cup marinade.

Toss the diced beef into the marinade and refrigerate for at least 2 hours upto 4 hours.

Meanwhile, whisk the peanut butter, onions and 3 tbsp warm water into the 1/3 cup reserved* marninade.

Soak 24 small wooden skewers in water for 1/2 hours. Weave the beef onto the skewers. Brush with marinade.

Grill, turning once, for 4-6 minutes or until browned.

Recipe from: Grilled Teriyaki Ginger Beef Satay, The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook

October 3, 2007

scalloped potato casserole

scalloped potato casserole

This summer, I made this recipe a lot. It actually got to the point that my hubby kept asking me if I was making this again, everytime we had people invited over.

We entertained a lot these last couple of months, so this was really easy. A big no brainer, actually. This can also be done up a bit earlier, leaving you to do other prep work for food, because it bakes in the oven for 50 minutes or so. Most everyone loves potatoes and this is a yummy way to eat them, a hit with the young and old.

I have also layered it with sweet potatoes and it's really good that way too.

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scalloped potato casserole

4-5 Potatoes, sliced thin (I sometimes use sweet potatoes or both)

1 onion sliced.
1 cup milk
1 cup mayonaisse
Cheese, shredded (your choice) to sprinkle

Slice potatoes (I don't usually peel them) and layer in 9 x 13 in. pan with sliced onions. Continue layering potatoes and onions.

Mix milk & mayonaisse until smooth and pour over potato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese of your choice (I usually use old cheddar) .

Bake covered in 450°F oven for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from: Scalloped Potato Casserole, kraftcanada website

October 1, 2007

apple crisp

apple crisp

When we bought our house many, many years ago, it came with two great apple trees in the yard.

At first, I was super excited. Making apple everything I could. Apple pies, cakes, apple sauce, apple crisps, you name it. Then, more and more apples kept falling and then I would start stressing. Putting cakes and applesauce in the deep freeze. I just couldn't keep up.

Now, it's like I almost hate those trees. The apples drop on the ground and the wasps and ants are all over it. As soon as I clean up the grass full of apples, the next day there is a new crop mocking me in the morning.

I appreciate the harvest but dang, I'm just too busy for them. One tree had apple maggots so we threw out a lot of them this year. That helped a lot but still... tooo much.

Next year, maybe NEXT year I'll be on top of it.

Sigh, I say that every year!

apple crisp-fd0000

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apple crisp

5- 7 cups of apples
lemon to prevent browning

2 cup oats
1-1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, melted

Thinly slice the apples & put them into lemon juice to prevent browning. (I usually leave the skins on but you can peel if you would like.) Then put them into a large oblong casserole dish or pan. Add cinnamon and sugar if needed to taste.

Combine in a bowl, the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and then butter until uniform. Cover the apples with the topping and bake for 30-45 minutes at 350F or until the apples are soft and the topping is crisped.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

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