Archive

Recipe

Saag Paneer

I came across this particular recipe in the September & October 2012 issue of Cook’s Illustrated.  I’ve been on an Indian kick lately and for some reason was craving this for dinner.  I’ve made a different version of it before and found it to be pretty simple and straight forward.  Paneer cheese is honestly THE easiest cheese I’ve ever made.  Anyone can do it!  Just be sure to watch your pot and avoid scorching the bottom of it (like I did this time around which took many washes to finally come clean and look somewhat normal).  This dish is perfect over basmati rice with some warmed up naan on the side.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

Cheese (Paneer)

  • 3 quarts whole milk
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Spinach Sauce (Saag)

  • 1 (10 ounce) bag curly-leaf spinach, rinsed
  • 3/4 lb mustard greens, stemmed and rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped coarse
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews, chopped coarse
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Cheese

Line a colander with a triple layer of cheesecloth and set in sink.  Bring milk to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Whisk in buttermilk and salt, turn off heat, and let stand for 1 minute.  Pour milk mixture through cheesecloth and let curds drain for 15 minutes.

Pull edges of cheesecloth together to form pouch.

Twist edges of cheesecloth together, firmly squeezing out as much liquid as possible from cheese curds.  Place taut, twisted cheese pouch between 2 large plates and weigh down top plates with heavy Dutch oven.  Set aside at room temperature until cheese is firm and set, at least 45 minutes.

Remove cheesecloth and cut cheese into 1/2-inch pieces.  (Left uncut, cheese can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Spinach Sauce

Place spinach in large microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave until wilted, about 3 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, chop enough spinach to measure 1/3 cup and set aside.  Transfer remaining spinach to blender and wipe out bowl.  Place mustard greens in now-empty bowl, cover, and microwave until wilted, about 4 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, chop enough mustard greens to measure 1/3 cup and transfer to bowl with chopped spinach.  Transfer remaining mustard greens to blender.

Meanwhile, melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add cumin seeds, coriander, paprika, cardamom, and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add onion and 3/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes.

Add garlic, ginger, and jalapeño; cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and just beginning to stick to pan, 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes and cook mixture until pan is dry and tomatoes are beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat.

Transfer half of onion mixture to blender with greens.  Add half of cashews and water; process until smooth, about 1 minute.  Return purée to skillet.

Return skillet to medium-high heat, stir in chopped greens and buttermilk, and bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until flavors have blended, 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Gently fold in cheese cubes and cook until just heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with remaining cashews and cilantro, and serve.

Oven-baked Spicy Brussels Sprouts Crumble and Sour Cream Curry

I was in need of a good vegetable side to serve with my Baked Fish recipe that I was serving to friends  for dinner and came across this recipe in my Vij’s At Home cookbook and have now found a new favorite.  It’s a fairly simple recipe and doesn’t require too much time or focus (which is a plus when multi-tasking in the kitchen:)).  While the Brussels sprouts are baking, start the curry and voila!  You’ve got yourself a damn tasty side dish that everyone’s going to want seconds of!

Serves 6

Ingredients

Baked Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts, cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp mango powder (I couldn’t find this in my local grocery store so I omitted it)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil

Sour Cream Curry

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 1 cup  chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic (6 medium cloves)
  • 2 cups puréed tomatoes (4 medium, or canned is fine, but not crushed)
  • 2 Tbsp ground yellow mustard seeds (optional0
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp garam masala or ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 3 1/2 cups water

Directions

Baked Brussels Sprouts

Preheat the oven to 400ªF.

On a large baking tray, toss Brussels sprouts with cumin, salt, cayenne, mango powder and oil.  Bake for 15 minutes, carefully stirring them once after 6 minutes.  (The spices should be cooked and the Brussels sprouts slightly dry but not wilted.)  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Sour Cream Curry

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and buttermilk.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a medium pot on medium-high for 45 seconds.  Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.  Add garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until garlic is also golden brown.  Stir in tomatoes, mustard seeds, cayenne, salt, garam masala (or cumin) and fenugreek seeds and sauté for 5 minutes, or until oil glistens on top.  Stir water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

To prevent curdling, spoon about 3 Tbsp of the hot curry into the sour cream-buttermilk mixture.  Stir well, then pour the sour cream-buttermilk mixture into the pot of curry.  Using a whisk, mix well and simmer, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes, or until the curry reaches a gentle boil.  Remove from the heat.

Top baked Brussels sprouts with sour cream curry and serve immediately.

*Serve this dish with bread or on top of a 2-inch cube of paneer per serving.

Warm and Crusty Date Pudding

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence

YUMMMM!  What more can I say?!  I made this dessert for a dinner party that I hosted and it was unanimously a hit!  It’s a fairly easy dessert that will warm people’s tummies and satisfy their chocolate craving.  You can make this in one large soufflé dish or in individual ramekins like I did.

SERVES 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pitted dates (6 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into pieces
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 large egg whites
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375ªF and adjust the oven rack to the middle position.  Coat a 1 1/2 quart soufflé dish or eight 6-ounce ramekins with nonstick spray.

Place the dates in a saucepan and add 3/4 cup water.  Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the dates are very soft and the water is mostly evaporated.  Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth.  Add the granulated sugar and vanilla and process until well blended.  Scrape into a large mixing bowl.

Rinse out the saucepan and add the cream.  Bring to a simmer, then remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until melted.  Pour the chocolate into the date mixture and stir until smooth.  Sift together the cocoa powder and flour.  Fold into the chocolate-date mixture with a rubber spatula until well mixed.  In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Gently fold them into the date mixture until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish or ramekins and smooth the top with a spatula.  If using ramekins, set them on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake the ramekins for 20 to 25 minutes, the soufflé dish for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the outside of the pudding is set and crusty looking.  Cool until the pudding is just warm, and serve with confectioners’ sugar sifted on top.

Grilled Snapper with Mango-Avocado Salsa

Serves 4

This recipe is derived from the one and only Gwyneth Paltrow however she uses halibut in her recipe but because I don’t care for halibut, I’ve substituted it with red snapper and I’ve also modified the cooking technique such that I use a grill pan rather than the BBQ.  I don’t own a gas BBQ, only a charcoal Weber, and although I love the taste, it’s just not as convenient for a simple recipe like this…hence why I use the grill pan!  This is a super easy recipe and quite healthy.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1 medium ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 6-ounce red snapper fillets
  • 4 lime wedges

Preparation

  • Gently combine the avocado, mango, tomatoes, basil, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a large mixing bowl. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper and set aside at room temperature, gently tossing occasionally.
  • Place fish fillets in a 13x9x2″ glass baking dish. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoon lime juice over. Season fish with salt and pepper. Let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes, turning fish occasionally.
  • Prepare a grill pan on med-high heat. Grill fish until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plates. Spoon mango-avocado salsa over fish. Squeeze a lime wedge over each and serve.

 

Baja Fish Tacos

During the summer months I tend to have a serious craving for fish tacos.  They’re not too heavy and have all the flavors of summer that I love.  I found this recipe that I had printed a long time ago and decided to give it a whirl.  Good thing I did…VERY tasty and I’ll definitely be making these again.  I used rockfish instead of magi-mahi which was delicious but either will do.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb mahi-mahi
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • Salt, to taste
  • 8 flour tortillas, 8 inches in diameter
  • Southwestern Slaw
  • 1 cup Pico de Gallo
  • 1/2 cup Mexican Crema

Directions

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. If you are using a charcoal grill, build a fire and let it burn down until the coals are glowing red with a moderate coating of white ash. Spread the coals in an even bed. Clean the cooking grate.

Cut the mahi-mahi into 16 equal slices.

Combine the oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic, and salt. Coat the mahi-mahi with the marinade.

Grill the fish on the first side over direct heat until the flesh is firm and well-marked, about 2 minutes. Turn the fish and grill until cooked through, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more.

Grill the tortillas until they have light grill marks and are heated through, about 15 seconds on the first side. Turn the tortillas and grill them until they just start to bubble, another 15 seconds.

Center 2 pieces of grilled fish on each tortilla, and top with the Southwestern Slaw and Pico de Gallo. Add a dollop of Mexican Crema, fold in half, and serve immediately.

%d bloggers like this: