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Archive for the ‘Ethnic’ Category

One of my favorite mostly vegetarian blogs is Branny Boils Over. When I saw her blog and rave about chana masala, I knew it was something that I must try. For some reason the stars just didn’t align on this one and it took me months to finally get around to cooking it. I ended up making the chana masala on a really random night – Brandon was out of town and I had a terrible cold. But for some reason Indian food sounded like something that would warm my soul and make me feel better.

This is the perfect vegetarian dish – tons of flavor and protein and very satisfying. I served the chana masala over brown rice with naan on the side for scooping. I fed Brandon leftovers when he got back in town and even he was impressed. This dish has been added to the ever expanding list of vegetarian favorites in our house. I’ve really been cutting back on my meat consumption over the last couple years (I probably only eat meat/seafood 2-3 times per week and never for breakfast or lunch) and meals like this make it so easy to forget the meat.

One Year Ago: Fruit Skewers with Vanilla Cream Cheese Dip

Chana Masala
(Recipe adapted from Branny Boils Over and Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (juices included)
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced)

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and ginger and saute for another 2-3 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spices for a 1-2 minutes and then add the tomatoes. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Serve over rice or with naan (or both!).

Yield: 4-6 servings

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We first tried these tacos a couple years ago after Brandon got his Big Green Egg and was looking for fun recipes for his grill. We couldn’t get over how flavorful and different the tacos were. The recipe came from The Barebcue Bible by Steven Raichlen. We have a couple of Steve’s books and they are fabulous for getting inspiration for different recipes for the grill. Also, his recipes provide very specific grilling instructions so they’re perfect for both the experienced griller who’s looking for different recipes and for the novice griller who’s learning that grilling is more than flip, flip, poke.

According to Steven, this dish is commonly found in Mexico and traditionally served with guacamole, spicy salsa and corn tortillas. The adobo sacue has a nice gentle heat but is not overwhelming. It’s such a nice twist on your traditional taco.

Switch it up and try something new on the grill this summer!

One Year Ago: Cajun Tilapia with Polenta and Peppers

Adobo Grilled Pork Tacos
(Recipe source The Barbecue Bible)

Ingredients:

6 guajillo chiles or 1/4 cup pure chile powder (the guajilo chiles are dried and were available in my local store)
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (1 1/2 pound) pork loin or tenderloin

For serving: corn tortillas, guacamole and salsa

Directions:

If using the chiles, tear open and remove the veins and seeds. Soak in the vinegar for 30 minutes, or until soft.

Combine the chiles (or chile powder), vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, cinnamon and cloves in a blender and process into a smooth, wet paste.

Cut the pork loin into four broad, thin (1/4 inch thick) sheets (butterflying them). Spread each piece of pork with adobo mixture and stack in a glass baking dish. Cover and let marinate in fridge, 4 to 6 hours.

Preheat grill to high. Oil grill grate, arrange slices of pork on hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until browned and cooked through. This should take around 2-3 minutes per side. Internal temperature should be 145-15o when you pull it. Let pork rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Serve with tortillas, guacamole and salsa.

Yield: 4 servings

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Fish tacos are one of my favorite easy, healthy dinners. They are also a perfect warm weather dinner. As we were eating these we talked about how fun it would be to entertain with a make-your-own fish taco bar and margaritas or sangria. Just might have to do that soon!

Another great thing about fish tacos is that they can be totally customized based on your flavor and topping preferences. We happen to love ours finished with this Baja Cream that I discovered when I was making these shrimp tacos. I like to serve all of the toppings on a big platter so we can each build our own tacos.

I usually use a mild white fish and saute it with a Dizzy Pig rub like Jamaican Firewalk or Shakin’ the Tree.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you should be familiar with these rubs. I can’t sing The Dizzy Pig’s praises enough. These rubs have the best flavor and use high quality ingredients. Also, their customer service is awesome!

I’m sharing my base recipe for fish tacos but feel free to change it up to meet your tastes. But whatever you do, don’t skip out on the Baja cream – even if you’re not a mayonnaise fan – it sounds so simple but adds a wonderful, bright flavor to the tacos.

One year ago: Greek Inspired Flounder

Fish Tacos with Baja Cream
(Recipe source: tacos – Bakin’ and Eggs, baja cream – Bon Appetit)

Ingredients:

FOR THE BAJA CREAM
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lime peel
Salt, to taste

FOR THE TACOS
1 1/2 pounds white fish fillets such as tilapia, flounder or mahi
Seasoning rub of your choice – recommended Dizzy Pig’s Jamaican Firewalk
2 tablespoon olive oil
Shredded red or purple cabbage
Shredded cheese such as cheddar, colbyjack or your choice
1 avocado, sliced
Salsa
Lime wedges
Hot sauce, such as Cholula
8 soft taco sized tortillas

Directions:

FOR THE BAJA CREAM
Whisk all ingredients in small bowl. Cover and refrigerate. (Can be made up to 3 days ahead.)

FOR THE TACOS
Drizzle fish with olive oil and coat with seasoning rub. In a large, nonstick pan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add fish and cook about 3 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove fish from pan and cut into slices.

Arrange Baja cream and toppings on a platter and serve with fish and warmed tortillas (I usually wrap mine in a paper towel and microwave for about 30 seconds).

Yield: 4 servings

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67 Days of Gourmet: Day 58

I’m really embarrassed to admit that tonight was the first time I’ve cooked with quinoa. Bad foodie, especially given my love for all things healthy, whole grain and nutrient packed. :( And I’ve had it from the hot bar at Whole Foods and Earth Fare, just haven’t cooked with it yet.

I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for the last couple months. Every time I made homemade Mexican this was on the menu but I kept bailing on it. Every time I went to Harris Teeter I was annoyed that they were charging $5 for a small bag of quinoa. I was picking up a few things at Earth Fare this weekend and was so excited to find awesome bulk prices on all kinds of grains. I stocked up on quinoa and rolled oats.

I can’t believe I waited so long to make this. Whether you’re a quinoa lover or someone who has never tried it, this is a must try recipe. The flavors are so well balanced with the quinoa, black beans, fresh corn, bell pepper and jalapenos and the lime/oil based dressing is the perfect finish. I’m so looking forward to enjoying the leftovers for lunch this week topped with diced avocado and an extra squeeze of lime and know I’ll be making this many more times in the future.

BIG NEWS #1
YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY REGISTERED FOR THE 35th MARINE CORPS MARATHON! I did it! I registered! I’m beyond excited. And even better news, my friend Meghan registered to run it too! This will be her first marathon. I can’t even put into words how happy I am that I won’t be running this race alone!

BIG NEWS #2
I’m launching a Healthy Living blog!!! Don’t worry, Bakin’ and Eggs isn’t going anywhere but I’ve really been conflicted over whether to continue discussing fitness/my life on this blog or whether I should start a new blog. In the end, I decided that the healthy living blog was the best way to go. The name has been selected, the domain has been registered and I’m in the process of getting it all set up. I promise that I’ll let you all know the second it goes live!

Please try this quinoa recipe and then let me know what you think!

One Year Ago: Fresh Strawberry Scones

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad
(Recipe source Gourmet, July 1994)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked corn (cut from about 2 large ears)
3/4 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 pickled jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander (I subbed a bit of ground coriander because the store did not have fresh)

FOR THE DRESSING
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:

In a bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear and drain in a large fine sieve. (I attempted this step but my quinoa went right through my sieve so I skipped this step and just cooked it as is. Turned out totally fine.)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse with cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in pot occasionally, adding water if necessary).

While quinoa is cooking, in a large bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Add bell pepper, jalapenos, corn and coriander.

Let quinoa cool a bit then add to bean mixture and toss well.

FOR THE DRESSING
In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt and cumin. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly.

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 to 6 as an entrée or 8 as a side dish

Note: I cut this recipe in half and it made plenty for 2 with lots of leftovers!

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 51

Part two of our Greek feast – check out my homemade pita bread here. This dinner has been on the list since I first began researching recipes for 68 Days of Gourmet. I thought Kefta and Zucchini Kebabs with homemade tzatziki sounded great. Unfortunately, the kebab thing was not happening! I tried to putting these meatballs on skewers but immediately knew that there was no way they would stay on the skewer. They were falling off. I made a game time decision to cook them inside in a skillet and all was well and tasty with no grilling disasters!

I think one of the biggest milestones you make as a home cook is the ability to deal with situations in the kitchen that don’t go as planned. I had a lot going on in the kitchen – homemade pita bread, making tzatziki, assembling the meatballs and marinating the zucchini. It would have been easy for me to get frustrated and give up on the dinner but I just decided to make the best of it and cook the meatballs and zucchini on the stove top instead. I made a different kefta recipe last year using this method so I knew it would work out.

I don’t blame the recipe for my meatballs not coming together. I forgot to buy pine nuts for the meatballs and don’t know if they might have been a detrimental part of the binding. Regardless, this turned out to be a great dinner. We stuffed our pitas with the keftas and taziki and ate the zucchini on the side. Brandon enjoyed the leftovers in pita sandwiches for lunch.

Quick update on fitness recently. 10 workouts in the last 8 days – all yoga, running (!!!) and teaching BodyPump. Overall, I’ve been feeling great but kind of hit a wall today. I’m a big fan of the time change – love having daylight when I get home to run and hang out outside – but it was really tough getting up at 5 to teach BodyPump this morning. I felt so out of it and exhausted all day. Decided just to relax on the couch, catch up with the DVR and make homemade pizza this evening after work. Exactly what I needed. Sometimes you just need to listen to your body and rest!

One Year Ago: Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil Salad

Kefta and Zucchini Kebabs
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, January 2006 – originally published in 1980)

Ingredients:

FOR THE TZATZIKI SAUCE
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (I subbed parsley)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

FOR THE ZUCCHINI
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium zucchini (around 1 pound), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices

FOR LAMB MEATBALLS (KEFTA)
2 slices firm white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves (omitted, I just increased the parsley)
1 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and finely chopped (omitted because I forgot to buy them!)

12 (10-inch) wooden skewers, soaked for 30 minutes

Directions:

FOR THE TZATZIKI SAUCE
Stir together yogurt, mint/parsley, garlic and salt in a small bowl and chill.

FOR THE ZUCCHINI
Whisk together lemon juice, sugar, salt, pepper and oil in a large bowl and stir in zucchini slices. Marinate at room temperature while making meatballs.

FOR THE KEFTA
Cover bread with water in a bowl and soak 10 minutes. Squeeze handfuls of bread to remove as much excess water as possible and transfer to a bowl.

Pulse onion and herbs in a food processor until finely chopped. Add mixture to bread along with lamb, salt, spices and pine nuts. Mix with your hands until well blended. Form lamb mixture into 36 balls (about 1 tablespoon each).

TO ASSEMBLE
Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas). Thread 6 meatballs, 1/4 inch apart onto each of 6 skewers.

Thread zucchini lengthwise onto remaining 6 skewers (5 slices per skewer). Cut sides should be on grill, leaving 1/4 inch between slices. Grill zucchini and lamb on oiled grill rack, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve warm with yogurt sauce.

Alternatively, saute zucchini and meatballs over medium heat on the stove top (in separate skillets) until cooked through, 6-8 minutes.

Yield: 4-6 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 50

This was my first time making pita bread and it was a huge success. I followed the recipe directions exactly and the dough was a breeze to work with. I can’t even explain to you how much better this is than any store bought pita bread. It’s so soft and has that delicious homemade bread flavor.

Brandon asked if it would have a pocket and honestly, I had no clue. But while it was baking it puffed up and we were excited to cut into it and see that the pocket had “magically” appeared. I served this with kefta, homemade taziki and zucchini. I’ll be sharing that recipe tomorrow!

We’ve really enjoyed the leftovers for sandwiches this week and I’m already planning on adding this to the regular rotation. It would be so easy to make a big batch on Sundays and use if for the week. Also, The Gourmet Cookbook says they freeze well.

The only complaint I have is that Gourmet calls these whole wheat. But with only 1-cup of whole wheat flour and 2-cups of white flour, I didn’t feel like I could really call it whole wheat. I’m going to experiment next time with increasing the wheat to white ratio.

If you’re a pita lover this is a must try! :)

One year ago: Grilled Chicken Salad

Whole Wheat(ish) Pita Bread
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook, published in Gourmet May 2003)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/4 cups warm water (105–115 degrees F), divided
2 cups bread flour or high-gluten flour, plus additional for kneading
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheets

Directions:

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer if using), stir together yeast, honey and 1/2 cup warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. If mixture does not foam, start over with new yeast.

While yeast mixture stands, stir together flours in another bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup flour mixture into yeast mixture until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free/warm place (I like to use my oven – I turn it on for about a minute to get it warm – about 80-82 degrees and then turn it off and place dough in oven) until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water and remaining 2 1/2 cups flour mixture until a dough forms. Either turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead, working in just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, or use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and on low speed to knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.

Form dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free/warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Prepare 2 baking sheets by sprinkling with cornmeal. Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball, flatten the ball and then roll out into a 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer round to prepared baking sheet. Make 7 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas  with clean kitchen towels (not terry cloth) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to the lower third of oven and remove other racks (I left the other racks). Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto oven rack (alternatively, I think you could bake these on a preheated baking stone so they don’t get wire marks from the oven). Bake until puffed and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more.

Cool pitas on a cooling rack 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep pitas warm. Bake remaining 4 pitas in same manner. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 pitas

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 48

I hope you didn’t think I’d disappeared. My sore throat ended up morphing into laryngitis and a bad upper respiratory infection and we were out of town. I’m just now starting to feel normal again. To give you any indication of how bad I’ve been feeling, I haven’t worked out since Friday morning. Whatever was going on in my chest was not good and I needed to rest.

In slightly more interesting news, we did a five-course chef’s tasting dinner at Woodfire Grill on Friday night. For those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s Top Chef contestant Kevin Gillespie’s restaurant in Atlanta. I’m going to post a recap of that dinner tomorrow night and my experience meeting Kevin!

And now onto the food you see pictured above. I found this recipe for Chicken Hawaii while I was searching for older recipes to make for the 68 Days of Gourmet project. The recipe was originally published in 1953 and featured some of our favorite ingredients – coconut, curry, pineapple, chicken – it was a must try.

I was so excited about serving the coconut curry braised chicken with all of the fun toppings – lime wedges, pineapple, toasted coconut and chopped macadamia nuts. It smelled amazing while it was cooking but then kind of fell flat in the flavor department. I was so disappointed. There just wasn’t enough curry flavor and it was kind of bland. I was explaining the lackluster dish to my dad and he made a good point, the whole can of full fat coconut milk that I added to the curry mixture probably just washed out the flavor. And he made another funny point that in the 1950s people were really just starting to experiment with bold flavors and served a lot of bland dishes. Maybe this was pretty cutting edge in 1953!

So while I won’t be making this again, I still enjoyed cooking it and liked the idea of serving the dish with toppings so it can be customized to each diner’s taste.

One Year Ago: Lady Strawberry Cake (a show stopper!)

Chicken Hawaii
(Recipe source Gourmet, January 2006 – originally published in 1953)

Ingredients:

1 (3- to 3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
3 tablespoons peeled fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1 tablespoon curry powder (preferably Madras)
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
1 (13 1/2- to 15-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat)

Optional accompaniments for serving: rice, toasted coconut, fresh pineapple cubes, lime wedges, mango chutney,  chopped salted roasted cashews, macadamia nuts or peanuts, chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions:

Rinse, pat chicken dry and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Heat oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat. Brown chicken, turning occasionally, 8-10 minutes. You will probably need to do this in 2 batches. Transfer to plate and reserve fat in pot.

Add onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon sticks and bay leaf to fat in pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is browned, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder and flour and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring  constantly. Stir in sugar, coconut milk and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits from bottom of pot. Return chicken and any accumulated  juices to pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through. This should take around 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165 degrees. Discard cinnamon sticks and bay leaf. Season with salt to taste.

Serve chicken over rice with sauce from pot and toppings.

Yield: 4 servings

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