Sunday, December 19, 2010

Seeking perfection: Aloo Gobi

This week's entry is a couple of tries in the making. I'm trying to fit more vegetables in my diet. This does not mean said vegetables can't be interesting. I love steamed broccoli as much as the next person (well, maybe not as much as Austin the former housemate), but I like a lot of variety in my diet.

For those not that familiar with Indian food, aloo gobi is a dry-spiced dish of cauliflower and potatoes. In my digging around, I discovered that tomatoes are not necessarily a part, although that was what I was most familiar with in restaurants. I thought I'd try it without.

My first try was this recipe, which just came out too subtle, so I started my search again and ended up here. Almost, but not quite perfect. A little too spicy, even for me. I love spicy dishes and this one gets more so the longer it sits, the more plain yogurt I needed to cool it down. My final recipe:

1 head of cauliflower, washed and chopped into florets
5 small red potatoes cut into 2" chunks (a "small" potato here is about the size of my fist. I'm 5'3". Adjust accordingly)
2 small yellow onions
2 cloves of garlic, crushed (I love my garlic press!)
1 t of chopped ginger (you can also use jarred paste or dry if you wish)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t tumeric
2 t cumin
2 t coriander
1 t cayenne
1 t garam masala
2 T oil, separated

In the interest of saving time, I thought I'd try chopping the potatoes and the cauliflower while I was cooking the onions. Don't do this. Chop everything first. Trust me.

I also mix the dry spices together in a ramekin. This helps with even distribution later on

Heat 1 T of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat, add onions and cook until they start to get translucent.

Add your wet spices--the ginger, the pressed garlic stir well. Add potatoes and stir well.

Cover to cook and check about every two minutes until the potatoes are half done--you should feel some resistance when you try to pierce them with a fork.

Add the cauliflower and the remaining oil, stir to coat. add in your dry spices, stirring all the while. Cover, stir every few minutes until potatoes are done and cauliflower is soft, but not mushy.

I can make a meal of this on its own, topped with plain yogurt. I've also served it as a side dish with a mild chicken recipe. 

Questions? Comments? Death threats? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Comfort food in fifteen minutes

I didn't feel like cooking tonight. It had been a long day at the office and it was cold and gloomy outside. On the other hand, I wanted something hot.

In the fridge, there was a pint of white rice leftover from take-out. A good start. It was a little dry, but I mixed it up with some water and put it in the microwave for three minutes and it was good as new.

I love black beans, and try to always have a can of them in the house. Luckily, I did tonight. Into small saucepan over medium-low heat they went, then I added:

a few drops of lime juice
one shake of cumin
one shake of onion powder
one shake of garlic powder
a heaping tablespoon of salsa
half a long hot pepper, chopped
one small jalapeno chopped
one green onion chopped (it was all I could salvage, the rest were pretty scary)
a dash of salt

other variations on this them include a shot of vinegar, a chopped white or yellow onion. 

The chopping took less than five minutes while the rice reheated, heating the beans took another five. Rice in the bowl, top with beans. Top with shredded cheese and sour cream as desired.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Where Kate once again cooks by the seat of her pants

Greetings one and all! I know a lot of you out there are doing some holiday baking, and I may do a little more this month, but today I decided to use my dear boyfriend as a guinea pig. He's a brave soul and has a nose and taste for food, so he's really a good person to try news tastes on.

Originally, I had wanted to make butter chicken, or chicken makhini. One slight problem in that I was out of tomato paste and it was pouring rain out. So I adjusted. What did I have? Chicken, butter, a few mushrooms, some peppers, assorted spices. I came up with a taste I really enjoyed, but will be tweaking a bit:

1/2 stick of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of beer (I had Harp in the house)
2 t coriander seeds
1/2 t coriander powder
sliced mushrooms
1/2 long hot pepper chopped
about ten grinds black pepper
1 pound chicken tenders
1 minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon salt

heat a large frying pan at medium-low heat. Add coriander seeds and shake pan gently until the seeds start to pop. Add butter to the pan. When it's melted, add the shallot, the mushrooms and salt, stirring until shallot is translucent. Add the long hot pepper  and powdered coriander and stir to coat. Increase the heat to medium and add the chicken to the pan. Cook until chicken is just done, about fifteen minutes.

I served this with aloo gobi, a recipe I will bring to you next week. I think it would also go well with rice and a green salad.

Enjoy whatever holidays you celebrate, if any!

Questions? Comments? Death threats? Happy to hear from you!