I was clearing my camera of the evidence of my culinary adventures, and came across a picture of something I don't remember making. It's clearly some sort of rice dish with vegetables, but did I make it up? Or is this someone's actual recipe? I don't remember at all.
As I've said before, I am a sucker for squash. Especially butternut. So when I was thumbing through the November issue of Gourmet on my way home from work yesterday, I decided that this recipe was dinner. Especially since I had bought some butternut at the store the day before. Now don't get me wrong, this was tasty, and you can't really go wrong with butternut, sage, pasta and cheese. But it lacked something. I'm not sure what. It was also most definitely NOT a 10-minute main. Not for me anyway. Possibly because I had to process the squash in batches (I had a lot of squash - I even weighed it in a bowl using the bathroom scale, thinking that I MUST have more than a pound. I didn't). Mostly though, the cooking time for the squash was off. Mine was nowhere close to soft and tender after just 8-10 minutes. Oh and then there's that compulsion to clean up as I go. So really the 10 minute meal is not an expectation I should have from ANY recipe. Ever.
Now there is a great deal of this hanging out in Tupperware right now. I can't let it all go to waste. I'm thinking it might taste a bit better reheated with some marinara sauce from a jar. I'm going to go and test the idea.
I served this with some garlic toast that I made from the very delicious whole grain loaf from La Brea bakery. The recipe's from the bag the bread came in. Very easy. Just slice the bread fairly thinly, spread it with butter, garlic, red pepper flakes and chopped shallots and bake in a 300 degree oven until golden on top.
And speaking of deliciousness. On the way back from the airport on Monday morning we stopped at Porto's for brunchy things. Among other things (can you say "over-ordered"?), we got potato balls. I think those are truly one of the best things ever.
This is one of my favorite Indian vegetarian dishes, so this recipe called to me as I perused my latest purchase from Green Apple books en route home to Los Angeles from San Francisco on Monday morning. I will make this again. The only glitch was that I couldn't find fenugreek. Bristol Farms told me to go to Whole Foods, and Whole Foods referred me to Bristol Farms, but it wasn't to be found at either place. I was looking for the leaves specifically--it seems they are ALSO known as "kasuri methi." I think I need to find a good Indian grocery store.
Here's the recipe:
3 medium eggplants 8-9 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 large onion, diced 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon garam masala 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 medium tomatoes, chopped 1/2 canned tomato puree 1/4 cup heavy cream 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 1/3 cup green peas (thawed if frozen)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Place them cut side up on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the oil. Bake for about 30 minutes or until soft. Cool the eggplants, remove as many seeds as you can, and scoop the pulp from the skin, squeezing out excess liquid. Chop the eggplant into 1-inch pieces
2. Heat the remaining 5-6 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion and cumin seeds until the onion is soft and translucent, just a few minutes
3. Add cayenne pepper, turmeric, ground cumin and garam masala to the skillet and stir quickly to blend everything. Then add the chopped eggplant, fenugreek leaves and salt. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. Bring to a simmer and cook gently, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.
4. Just before serving, add the cream and heat, then stir in 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and the green peas. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of cilantro and serve over rice.
1. You might wonder, as I did, how all of the items in steps 2 and 3 could fit into a "small" skillet. I decided not to do this the hard way, and used a 10-inch skillet.
Scones have become my latest obsession. Here are two offerings.The oatmeal ones are from Martha's Baking Handbook, and the round glazed ones are from the Joy of Cooking, (with Ina Garten's glaze). Recipes to come.
In my last post I mentioned a culinary theme for the week. Then posted nothing for days. NOTHING: that should have been my culinary theme for the week. Or rather: The Things I Won't Take Pictures Of. Because I did make a thing or two since that Quinoa salad, I just didn't photograph them. I'm not always good about that. Especially when we have people over--guests, cooking and picture taking is sometimes too much for a girl to take care of. Then when I don't have a picture I tend to forget about it. Until I look at my forlorn, abandoned cooking blog and start to remember. So to make sure these things get their rightful mention, I'm going to recap some of them now.
There was this zucchini gratin that I found over here that was jaw-droppingly good. As is Ina's way, there was a lot of "How bad can that be?" butter, but it was the perfect accompaniment to some grilled filet mignon and some risotto (I know, not exactly a light dinner). This is a contender for Thanksgiving dinner, if we host it this year, and even if we don't.
There was also a salad from this book. A book with a great name and concept that called to me from the library shelf (yes, I borrow a LOT of cookbooks from the library), and then when I took it home and perused it more closely, none of the recipes really called to me at all. But to give it a fair shot, I made the orzo salad with a roasted garlic and pesto dressing. It wasn't inedible, just not great; I wouldn't make it again, or suggest you make it even once, which is why I'm not posting the recipe.
For some Trader Joe's Tilapia, I turned to an old Cooking Light recipe that I've made many times before, just not since starting this blog. It's sort of like Chicken Piccata, only with fish, and peppercorns instead of capers. Here's that one:
Sautéed Tilapia with Lemon-Peppercorn Pan Sauce
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1 1/2 teaspoons drained brine-packed green peppercorns, lightly crushed 1 teaspoon butter 1 teaspoon vegetable oil 2 (6-ounce) tilapia or sole fillets 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons butter Lemon wedges (optional)
1. Combine first 3 ingredients.
2. Melt 1 teaspoon of butter with oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat.
butter melts, sprinkle fish fillets with salt and black pepper. Place
the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in flour; shake off excess
4. Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until
butter turns golden brown. Add fillets to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each
side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove
fillets from pan. Add broth mixture to pan, scraping to loosen browned
bits. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes).
Remove from heat. Stir in two teaspoons of butter with a whisk. Serve
sauce over fillets. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.
And now it's time to get ready for my late birthday dinner at a place that is a surprise, but I have my suspicions, (having dropped enough hints), and I am very excited.