Babotie + Oranges & Cinnamon

15 Apr

babotie orange cinnamon

When I studied abroad in New Zealand in college, I took a cooking class that was 5 continents in 5 weeks. That was about a decade ago (yikes) but this dish is one that i’ve remade many times through years. the best way to describe this dish- is like South African meatloaf. it packed with flavor and spices and the sweet of raisin- it’s everything i like in dish. the best part too- it’s a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Sauté onion, add meat, add spice- and you’re pretty much there! In addition to ground beef- you can- and i think i have- made this with lamb. The other dish- I love from that NZ class is good ol’ pavlova.

With the babotie- i made my quick snacko backo couscous. The one thing i should say about this recipe- the last step is to mix milk and egg and pour it over the top. It should- and i swear- it used to just stay on the top to form like a yellow custard/eggy topping. However, in my recent attempts- it seems to just soak down into the meat. don’t get me wrong- it tastes great this way. But it’s a different aesthetic. So if anyone tries this out- let me know how it looks.

The second picture- is not so much a recipe- but something so tasty and simple i had to share. Terry told me that on her recent trip to Morocco- almost every night at the end of meal- they would serve oranges and cinnamon. it’s genius.

Babotie 
1 onion chopped
2 Tbsp oil
1 pound ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs- diy- toast bread and food process
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp brown sugar
dash of  pepper
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup raisins
juice and grated peel of 1/2 lemon
4 bay leaves

1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Sauté chopped onion lightly in oil until it is is translucent and begins to soften.  Add meat, curry, turmeric, salt and pepper, and cook until just brown- turn off heat. (meat will cook more in oven- so i left it not totally brown as not to overdue)
Add rest of ingredients (except egg and milk) and mix well. Put in overnproof dish (I made this in a meatloaf/bread pan but have also used an 8×8 inch. I greased it very lightly with oil- though might not be necessary)

Beat egg and milk in a bowl and pour over the meat.  bake at 350 for 30 min.

Original recipe suggests serve with saffron rice, sweet chutney and a mixed salad. I made it with a couscous.

Snacko Backo couscous
In a small sauce pan, about 1 1/4 cup water, 1 chopped carrot, pat of butter, good pinch of cinnamon, zest from maybe half an orange, healthy dose of salt and pepper. cover. bring to boil. added 1 cup couscous and a handful of gold raisins/regular raisins or currants. cover. let sit for 5 mins. fluff with fork. can add more butter/olive oil, salt and pepper as desired.

Orange with cinnamon
slice orange. sprinkle with cinnamon. enjoy. [just thinking out loud here... but what if you did cinnamon sugar and popped it under the broiler for 30 seconds?]

Chickpea Sauté with Greek Yogurt

3 Apr

chickpea greek yogurt

I am a major fan of the Ottolenghi Plenty cookbook, given to me by Kara on my 30th bday. You may recall my glowing endorsement for the Soba w Eggplant and Mango, another recipe from that book. The thing about these recipes– they are simple–not too many indigents or tedious steps. But the ingredients they do use are – and at least to my mind – not so intuitive. For example, this recipe uses caraway seeds (caraway is that rye bread flavor). Like many of his recipes- this one finishes with mint, cilantro, and lemon, which imbues the dish with freshness. Also- flavoring the greek yogurt with olive oil, salt and pepper, epitomizes the simple cleverness of his recipes. The other thing i like about this dish- is its textural balance- the crunchiness of the carrots with the softer chickpeas etc

3/4 pounds swiss chard
1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8 inch dice
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or canned. i used a 15 oz can)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper
1/2 cup greek yogurt + 1 tbsp olive oil

separate chard stalks and leaves. blanch stocks in boiling water for 3 mins. Add leaves, cook another 2 mins. Drain everything and run under cold water and squeeze dry, then roughly chop.

heat up the olive oil in large saute pan. add carrots and caraway seeds, and sauté for 5 mins on med heat. Add chard and chickpeas and continue to cook for 6 minutes. Now add garlic, herbs, lemon juice and some salt and pepper. remove from heat and cool down a little. taste and adjust seasoning.

to serve, mix yogurt, olive oil and some salt and pepper. pile vegetables on serve dishes and spoon yogurt on top. sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and drizzle over more olive oil.

Crispy Oven Baked Buffalo Not Just Wings & Homemade Blue Cheese Dip & Kale Buffalo Chicken Salad

24 Feb

buffalo wings

so these are pretty fucking killer. i’m not sure what you do to procrastinate- but it’s a test kitchen over here. i first made this recipe for a super bowl party in andorra and i know i’m a few weeks late this year- but i’ve had wings on the brain. also– blue cheese- it’s my new thing- i used to hate it and now i’m all about it. So i made this recipe yesterday according to the original Bon Appetite – cooking the wings for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. totally fine. But as I said, it’s a test kitchen up in here. So i thought- why not thomas keller this bitch and treat them like the whole roast chicken recipe. This means- higher heat, no oil and less time. I did them for 450 degrees- 25 minutes. And what do we get? WAY crispier skin. I think next time i’d even check them at 20 minutes. before this recipe-  i never knew why wings tasted so good- but now i understand- it’s because buffalo sauce is essentially melted butter and hot sauce.

Now this need not only be applied to wings. Thighs, drumsticks, and fuck it, use it as a dipping sauce for your whole roast chicken.  I read an article the other day about how buffalo sauce is so hot right now. it had a recipe for buffalo skate. i’ve also recently seen in cambridge buffalo fried brussel sprouts (which are damn tasty) and buffalo cauliflower. So if you are a vegetarian this still feel free to play around with this sauce. The blue cheese recipe- i got from a random google search- i was into because i liked the greek yogurt base instead of being mayo and sour cream heavy. yum.

You by no means need to go this extra step but- when i was at ballymaloe i learned this little trick for the drumsticks where you basically turn them inside out- and make them look like lollipops. the ones in the picture are gigantic- but generally they are a lot tinier and cuter. this is great for serving at parties etc or nice with buffalo sauce- because the skin ends up on the inside- and the sauce sticks to outside meat. For the first time ever in snacko backo history- I made a demo video 

Buffalo Sauce – Bon Appetite

For 2.5 pounds of wings/drumsticks etc. Can scale up or down easily- if using more/ less chicken.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup hot pepper sauce (such as Frank’s) – [i've seen this brand listed in a lot of wings recipes and while i'm sure you can use another kind- i will say this tastes exactly like what you think a buffalo sauce would taste like]

Melt butter. Mix with salt, pepper and cayenne. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add in hot sauce. Rewarm just before using. Bon Appetite says can be made 5 days ahead.
Chicken- Preheat 450. take a wire rack, like a cookie cooling rack and place that over a rimmed baking sheet (aka jelly roll pan). wash chicken- pat very very dry. season generously with salt and pepper. spread on single layer on rack. Bake for 20-25 minutes. (how do you know they are done? same way regular chicken- stab one with a fork and see if juices run clean).

Blue cheese Dip - comes from How Sweet It Is 
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt / 2 tablespoons mayo / 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper / 1/4 tsp honey / 4 oz blue cheese
Use a fork to whisk together yogurt, mayo, salt, pepper and honey. crumble in most of the blue cheese- saving some to crumble on top. that’s it.

Buffalo Chicken Kale Salad- What to do with leftovers – Wings aren’t the best as leftovers because skin doesn’t stay as crispy (though i’m sure they’d taste great if drunk). and also how to bring it to work as leftovers for lunch. Rip off a bunch of chicken from the bones. Shred up some kale (rip off its stalk, stack leaves, roll up, and cut into thin ribbons) massage kale with some olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. My salad I added diced apple and avocado. If you want to get crazy add bacon. 

if you are prepping for lunch the next day- you can stick up in your mason jar (ha!) or tupperware. Blue cheese at bottom. then chicken. then apple (give a a little lemon juice) and kale on top. But the best part about a kale salad- is that you actually benefits from getting that time to soften- so if you mix the whole thing up in the morning- and eat it 4 hours later (like i did today) you’re set.

Also- shout out to mrs. weiner who gave me that super cute chicken cutting board. it came in a set of four- fish, chicken, beef and veg- so you keep each separate. similar to my carved out cutting board. 

Cincinnati Chili

19 Jan

cincinnati chili

Let’s talk about all the reasons I’m all about this recipe. 1. It comes from Mast Brothers new cookbook- elegant design- go Brooklyn [ if you have never watched this Mast Bro video- you must, now] 2. The ingredients are few, most of which I had lying around/in freezer. I love my vegetarian chili but requires much more chopping 3. The spice- I love the sheer quantity- ¼ cup of chili powder? Yes please. Plus cumin, allspice, and cloves. Now you’re talkin’. 4. The chocolate and sherry vinegar finish. Perfect- it adds so much depth and flavor 5. I’ve been curious about Cincinnati chili- the Mast Bro recipe heading says: “Found at chili parlors throughout Ohio.” Someone please tell me more about this. But I’m going to guess that most Cincinnati recipes don’t involve 2.5 oz chocolate 6. What I do know is that one generally serves Cincinnati chili over spaghetti with shredded cheese. This makes it not only an incredibly hearty dish… but to me the flavors rendered suggest like a Mexican chocolate/mole Bolognese? I hope those words convey how amazing this tastes, because damn, I am impressed with this recipe.

No idea if this is a sacrilege in Cincinnati chili but just because I like it-  I added carrots and beans to this recipe. I used only 1.5 pounds of beef (because that’s what I had on hand)- and i also made up for that weight in the carrots & beans.

Freezes well too.

A Mast Brothers Recipe. my adaptions in [ ]

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

[optional- snacko backo added 3 carrots, chopped and 14oz can of kidney beans]

2 pounds ground beef

¼ cup chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground allspice

½ tsp ground cloves

2 bay leaves

¼ tsp of cayenne [this gives a nice subtle undercurrent of heat, if you are heat-averse, lessen]

1 ½ cups tomato puree [I used canned San Marzano- sold in giant cans, freeze the rest]

4 cups beef stock [see way too long note below]

2 ½ ounces dark chocolate [no, I did not use Mast Brothers ($), while I might have gone for like 70% cocoa or above, I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet. Worked grand]

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 pinches sea salt

2 pinches fresh ground black pepper

for serving: I used whole wheat spaghetti and Colby cheese. Cheddar or maybe even a smoked cheddar also came to mind.

In a large stock pot, heat the oil on medium. Add onions and simmer until translucent. [after a few minutes, I added the carrots]

Add ground beef, a cook until browned [just browned is fine, it will get lots more time]

Stir in cumin, chili, allspice, cloves and tomato puree. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes [on low]

Add stock and simmer, uncovered for 1 hour. [can add beans maybe 20 mins before finish]

[Turn off heat]

Stir in chocolate, sherry vinegar, remove bay leaves.

Season with salt and pepper [more salt to taste]

A note on stock: I happen to find the box stuff- even the fancy organic kind- unpalatable- it takes like salt water to me- but call me a snob, that’s fine. In Marcella Hazan’s recipes- she recommends make stock yourself- or you if you use the box stuff dilute one cup boxed broth + 3 cups water. So i’d follow her advice on that. I did not make the stock myself- but picked up house made veal stock from my trusty butcher- Savenor’s.  I think if you wanted to sub chicken stock- you could. OR- I don’t see why you couldn’t sub the quick to make-rich stock from dried mushrooms- as in this post (which has recipes for French Onion Soup, Lentil Soup, Mushroom, Meat and Chicken stock recipes). Or you could just not be a snob about it. Something else to keep in mind- is that Cincinnati chili as I understand it- is more liquid-y than your standard chili- so you can scale back on the stock if you want thicker stew- but keep in mind that leftovers- tend to suck up all the moisture so you will have to add a bit of stock or water when reheating.

Ginger/Honey/Lemon/Turmeric

16 Jan

ginger lemon honey

When we got sick– my mom would make hot water with lemon and honey. Amazing how good– the simple things are. This takes the spice up on that home remedy– just a bit. Let’s call this a cold buster in a mug. * scratch that sentimental story– my sister said this was more something our Grandma would drink– out of those clear teacups, every night, and maybe it had something to do with weight loss? somehow the wires of our memories have crossed. but cold buster or weight loss, seems like a win win.

I drink this hot like a tea– but can also make extra- throw it in a mason jar in the fridge. boom- you got one of those $9 cleanse juice drinks. you could even add some cayenne in- if that’s your jam. or i’d prob prefer- cardamom- will give it a shot and get back to you.

**

Take about a 3-inch piece of ginger. Best way to peel the skin off? scrape a teaspoon down the side (learned that trick at ballymaloe and it works ten times better than any peeler or attempting with a knife). Cut ginger into dimes.

Thrown in a saucepan. Add two mugs of water. A rounded teaspoon of honey. Juice from half a lemon (that wooden reamer gets the most out of things). Add a pinch of turmeric. Turn on medium-high. Then i like to cover and leave on for at least 15 minutes?  bringing it up to a boil. the longer it goes- the more the ginger spicy it gets. Obvs- more honey if you like it sweeter- less ginger if you want it less spicy. 

That’s it. pour it in a mug. if you want to use a little tea strainer- can do. or can just avoid pouring the ginger dimes in your mug.

The ginger/turmeric addition is also inspired by Reed, who also– inspired this amazing purchase. Knife Sharpener & Honer. Do you know how much easier it is cut with sharp knives? This is probably one of these easiest- can’t fuck it up– methods.

Soba with Eggplant and Mango

11 Nov

soba eggplant mango

Dear Reader,

I fear you have become like a long lost pen-pal. That I should begin every post with apologies for not writing more. I could give excuses- and say, that i’ve been lazy– that i’ve started, as chrissy would say “to make food” more than cook. Or that- in perhaps a growing comfort in the kitchen- i’ve relied less on recipes– and become more like the people i used to despise— using a dash of this and glug of that. measurements too imprecise to pass on to you, dear reader. But instead of these quibbles,  i will offer you something better. A recipe. This comes from the Ottolenghi cookbook- Plenty- which happens to be vegetarian- Special Thanks to Kara- who gave me this cookbook for my last bday. This recipe is easy to put together— but it tastes like something i’d be willing to pay for in restaurant. the author says his mother loves to show off with it when she has guests over. the combination of eggplant and mango- with a lime-spiked dressing is refreshing- perhaps characteristic of a summer dish. boston is cold. but fuck it, this shit tastes good.

i should add- that i threw some best baked tofu in here [baked alongside the eggplant at 350]. you could also serve alongside some nice miso salmon or seared tuna.

1/2 cup rice vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 tablespoon salt

2 garlic cloves

1/2 fresh red chile, finely chopped [i subbed a big pinch of red chili flakes]

1 tsp sesame oil

grated zest and juice of 1 lime

2 eggplants, cut into 3/4 in. dice [mine weighed roughly 1 pound each]

8 to 9 0z soba noodles

1 large ripe mango, cut into 3/4 inch dice or 1/4 in thick strips [i used about 3/4 of a pound- sold pre-cut from whole foods- which i then sliced into strips.

1 2/3 basil leaves, chopped (ottelanghi writes if you can get thai basil- use it- but use much less of it)

2 1/2 cups of cilantro leaves, chopped [i will admit- this is a lot of herbs- and didn't use all, so it's ok if you are a little scant]

1/2 onion, thinly sliced.

1 cup sunflower- if frying eggplant- i did not.

in a small saucepan, gently warm the vinegar, sugar and salt for up to a minute, just until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add garlic, chile and sesame. Allow to cool and then add lime zest and juice.

original recipe is to shallow fry the eggplant in three  to four batches- once golden brown remove to a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave there to drain. HOWEVER- I decided to bake the eggplant- because I always find frying it problematic. I chopped, put in a colander- liberally salted- and left for an hour to drain. Then, I rinsed the eggplant, squished dry in paper towels. Put on a baking sheet- doused with olive oil [just a couple glugs :)- no need for a cup], salt and pepper- and baked in a 350 oven for about 40 minutes.

Cook noodles in boiling salted water- stirring occasionally- takes about 5-8 minutes- until tender but al dente [don't overdo.] Drain and rise well- running under cold water. Shake off as much water as possible- then put on a dry dish towel to further drain.

in a mixing bowl- toss noodles, dressing, mango, half the herbs and the onion. you can leave this for an hour or two. then when ready to serve add rest of herbs- pile on plate or bowl.

Gujarati Green Beans

18 Oct

gujarati2

I first came across this recipe at Ballymaloe Cooking school—last summer- shit, two summers ago—in Ireland. But the recipe originally comes from Madhur Jaffrey- a queen of Indian cooking. Normally, I would not count green beans among my favorite vegetables— but there is just so much flavor in these—I keep coming back. Also works great served along side a nice piece of fish, with some new potatoes etc. Btw-I’d rate this recipe as fast & easy.

 

1 pound fresh green beans

4 tablespoons vegetable oil [can also use grapeseed oil]

1 tablespoon whole black mustard seeds

4 cloves garlic- minced

1/2 -1 hot, dried red chili coarsely crushed in mortar [that’s a lot. Can also do a big pinch of red chili flakes]

1 teaspoon salt

1/2  teaspoon sugar

freshly ground black pepper

 

Trim beans- and cut into 1-inch pieces [I keep them a bit longer than this- cutting each bean in half or thirds.] Boil a medium pot of water- blanch [which means quickly cook]- by dropping them into boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until just tender [I go on the low-end of this- as they will cook more later in pan.] Immediately drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Put aside. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium. When hot – add mustard seeds. When they begin to pop [and they will] [quickly hold pan away from the flame] and mix in your garlic [this helps it not to burn. then, put back down on flame] and cook until just turns light brown. Stir in chili flakes- cooking for a few seconds. Add green beans, salt and sugar. Stir. Turn heat to medium-low. Original recipe says cook for 7-8 or until beans have absorbed the flavor of spices- I probably cook less than that- beans should retain their bite. Add black pepper- mix- serve. I also finish most green vegetables with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten flavor.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 47 other followers

%d bloggers like this: