Sunday, August 26, 2018

RECIPE: Roasted Tomato Soup

My husband proclaimed this was the best tomato soup he's ever eaten!  It's also the easiest tomato soup I've ever made,  MUCH easier than the recipe for my favorite tomato soup (which I will post soon).

Original Recipe: Tyler Florence Roasted Tomato Soup

The first time I made this soup it was late at night when the tomatoes came out of the oven and I was too tired to finish the recipe so I popped them back in the oven and left them there overnight.  The next morning, they were beautifully caramelized and made the most amazing soup!  It was also much easier doing all the prep on one day and finishing the soup the next.

I have successfully canned this soup (in a PRESSURE CANNER) but need to leave a good 2 - 3" headroom.  I no longer can this soup.. See my note below.

The soup is delicious with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Roasted Tomato Soup w Pistou Cream 
Serves 4 


2.5 pounds fresh tomatoes (regular, roma, or cherry or a combination)
6 cloves garlic peeled
1 medium onion or 1 large leek or a combination of the two, sliced
1/2 c. ghee, melted
Salt and pepper (I use cayenne)
1/4 c. demiglace*, OR 1/4 c roasted peppers, OR 2 T. balsamic, OR 1 T. pesto BE CREATIVE!
2 bay leaves or 1/4t. ground bay leaves
4 T. butter or ghee, softened

For serving:
1/4 c pistou (optional)
3/4 c. heavy cream (my husband prefers it plain, without cream or pistou)


Preheat oven to 450.

Wash the tomatoes, core them and slice in half.  Spread the tomatoes, onions and garlic in a baking dish.  Drizzle with 1/2 c. ghee and salt and pepper.

Roast for 30 minutes or until caramelized.  Open oven door to release some of the heat, close it back up and leave the pan in the oven overnight.

before roasting and after caramelization

Transfer everything** to a blender (yes, including the skins and seeds), add the demiglace, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and butter/ghee.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  

In my blender (a Blendtec) I press the "soup" button and, after 3 minutes of blending on high, the soup is smooth and warm enough to eat.  If your isn't warm, heat it gently on the stove (it will sputter!).

**The tomatoes will exude a lot of liquid while they roast.  The more of this liquid you use, the thinner the soup will be. If you use it all, you may need to blend it in two batches.  If I plan to serve the soup immediately, I use all the liquid.  If I'm going to store it, I have serious space limitations so I don't use it all, which makes a thicker soup.  When I reheat it, I thin it with either milk, cream, broth, or water. 

For Serving:  LIGHTLY whip the cream until it just starts to thicken, stir in the pistou (don't stir too vigorously or it will turn to butter!) and drop several tablespoons onto each bowl of soup.  You can stir it in if you prefer but I like the juxtaposition of the hot soup with the cold cream.

(I have also eaten the leftovers cold, sort of like gazpacho, sprinkled with basil chiffonade.)

* when I make this for vegetarians I use 2-4 T. roasted red peppers instead of demiglace.  
(I've never tried roasting the peppers with the tomatoes because I always remove the skins and seeds from the peppers.  If you try it, please LMK how it turns out!)

I have also made this without the demiglace, and without the additional butter, and using ghee instead of the additional butter, and it is fine both ways.  It's richer with the additional butter/ghee, but if you're watching your calories it's still delicious without them.  You shouldn't skimp on the ghee used when they're roasting, though. 

Bulk Batch:

4 large onions, sliced 1/4" thick
35 medium tomatoes or 25 large ones
3-4 heads garlic
1 c. ghee
3/4 c demiglace (I've used both veal, chicken, and vegetarian - use whatever you have)
3 t. salt
3/4 c butter
1.5 t. jalapeno or cayenne powder
1.5 t. powdered bay leaf

Preheat oven to 450 (convection 425)
Arrange onion in large roasting pan
Core tomatoes and arrange them, cored-side down, over the onions
Put one garlic clove in each of the spaces between the tomatoes
Melt the ghee and spoon it over all making sure you get some on each tomato and garlic
Roast for 25 minutes.
Rotate the pan and roast for another 25 minutes.
Turn off the heat and leave in oven until cool.

In three equal batches, adding 1/4 c butter, 1/4 cup demiglace, 1 t. salt, 1/2 t. jalapeno and 1/2 t. bay leaf to each batch, puree in high-speed blender for 3 minutes until smooth.

I no longer can this -  I had to leave too much headspace to get the jars to seal, and they took up too much space on my shelf.  I now store the jars in the freezer. 

Freeze, or transfer to quart canning jars and process 90 minutes at 10# pressure (use THIS GUIDE to adjust for your altitude.  Yes, the link is for canning meat, and that is the correct one to use because of the fat and onions in the recipe.) 
Do NOT use the pressure/time for canning tomatoes!.  
Pressure can only!!   DO NOT WATER-BATH CAN!  (Seriously, you can die if you do!)

35 medium tomatoes made 7 quarts, each one filled with 600ml or 6 quarts filled with 800ml.  
25 large tomatoes, pictured below, made 12 quarts!  

The photos below are from my last bulk batch
The pan is a huge 18" x 12":

Onions, cored tomatoes, garlic before roasting.

After roasting 1 hour, then resting in warm oven for 4 hours!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

RECIPE: Ribolitta - Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

We tasted ribolitta for the first time many years ago on a trip to Florence, Italy and were immediately smitten!  Since then, I've been making Paula Wolfert's recipe in Mediterranean Grains and Greens.  But, today, I decided to change things up a little and combined it with Sally Cameron's recipe from her blog, A Food Centric Life. The photo below is from Sally's blog, until I can take one of my own.

Sally's photos of Sienna, and her description of the ubiquitous Ribolitta, are worth reading. You can follow her directions for cooking the beans from scratch if you're up for it.  I use Eden Foods canned cannellini beans. 

Ribolitta is usually made the day before and then reheated because the flavors improve overnight.  It is also, usually, served over stale bread with the bread thickening the soup.  I prefer to skip the bread so I make the soup fairly thick.  If you eat the bread, add a little water.  

This recipe makes a lot - 12 servings - so I can freeze some for later.

Ribolitta - Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup
Sally Cameron's Ribolitta
Serves 12 (makes 8-10 quarts)
1 pound bacon (or 6 oz pancetta), sliced into 1/8" julienne
1/2 c. ghee
4 cups diced onion (I use the food processor to dice them)
8 large cloves garlic, chopped
3 c. carrots, quartered lengthwise and then  sliced 1/4" thick (I used yellow and purple carrots)
2 c. diced celery
(optional: 1 c. diced fennel - I did not use this but it sounds like it would be good)
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
5-6 t. salt or to taste
1 18oz jar tomato sauce
1/2 head Savoy cabbage, quartered and each quarter julienned
2 c. chopped kale (or 1 pint home- canned kale)
1 c. fresh basil, julienned
3 bay leaves
4 c. broth (I used veal)
1/8 t. each of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves

For serving:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
grated Parmesan cheese
Crusty bread

In a large pot (I use an 8-quart stock pot) over medium heat cook the bacon in the ghee until it releases its fat.  Add the onions and saute until soft and translucent.  

Add the garlic, carrots, celery, cabbage, (fennel if using), salt, and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender, 7-10 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce, kale, basil, bay leaf and half the broth.  Simmer another 7-10 minutes.

Open the canned beans and rinse ONE can.  Drain and add to the pan.  

Using an immersion blender, without draining the can, puree ONE can of beans and add it to the pan.
Using the immersion blender, puree HALF of the third can of beans and add the whole can to the pot. In other words, you are pureeing half the beans with the liquid they're packed in.  

Add the remaining broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Add the nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

You can eat it now but it will be better if you chill it overnight.  

Reheat on low, and serve over a piece of crusty bread with a dollop of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan.

* When I use 3 cans of beans, I get 10 quarts of soup; with 2 cans, I get 8 quarts.  It's good both ways, it just depends on whether you like a thicker soup or a greater vegetable:bean ratio.  I don't adjust the other seasoning so using 2 cans will give you a more highly seasoned soup.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

RECIPE: Gluten-Free Aduki-Walnut "Meat" Balls

Original recipe: Veggie Burger Master Recipe

The original recipe is a great template for devising your own veggie burgers/meatballs.  This is my first attempt and I must say they were delicious!  I made them using the same seasoning as the veal meatballs and served them in the same asparagus-mushroom-cream sauce.  No photo of the finished dish, though. 

The photo below is from the second time I made them and they were just as good with marinara sauce.  They really look like meatballs, don't they?  They don't taste like meatballs, though, the texture is different.  My husband, who's a big meat lover, enjoys these all the same.

Aduki-Walnut "Meat" Balls
serves 1-2

This recipe is a template - scale it up depending on the number of people you want to feed

1 T. ghee
1 c. onions, minced 
1 15oz can Eden Foods Aduki Beans, drained and rinsed*
1/2 c. walnuts, roasted (OR soaked, sprinkled with salt and new mexico chile, and dehydrated)
1 egg yolk + 2 T. water or milk
5 t. potato flakes OR 3 t. freshly ground psillium seeds

Seasoning mix:
1 t. basil
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. papria
1/4 t. cayenne
1 t. himalayan pink salt
OPT: 1 T. balsamic vinegar

Make a pomade with the egg yolks, water and potato flakes or psillium and set aside to re-hydrate.  This is the 'glue' that will hold your ingredients together when they're cooked (bread is normally the 'glue' in meatballs with gluten).

On med-high, saute onions in ghee until translucent and lightly browned.  Stir in seasoning mix.

Pulse walnuts in food processor until they're about 1/8" pieces.  Don't grind them too small - the pieces will give your meatballs some 'toothiness'.

Add remaining ingredients, including onion mixture and pomade, and process to combine.  Taste and adjust salt.  Chill (I left mine overnight).

Form into 1.5" balls using a #60 melon ball disher.

In the big oven, I baked these at 350 for 20 minutes.  Cut one in half and make sure they're cooked through.

In the small convection oven, where the heating coil is closer to the bottom of the pan, they burned in 15 minutes!  The next batch I cooked on a higher rack at 325 for 15 minutes, and then turned off the heat and left them in the closed oven for another 15 minutes until they were cooked through.

*Aduki beans are an awesome sources of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals!

I served these originally in an asparagus-mushroom-cream sauce.  They were also good with spaghetti marinara.  If you serve them this way, mix the spaghetti and marinara first and put the 'meat'balls on top.  They are fragile and will break if you try to mix them in.  Because they contain very little fat, you need quite a bit of sauce.

RECIPE: Gluten Free Meatballs, Master Recipe

We have several friends who are gluten free, and I prefer to avoid gluten when it's not necessary, so I developed this recipe for all the meats I make into balls - veal (my favorite), beef, chicken, lamb.

The original recipe is from America's Test Kitchen cookbook, "How Can it be Gluten Free" but their ratios didn't work with the lean pasture-raised meat we use, so I made adjustments.

Gluten Free Meatballs, Master Recipe
 each pound of meat makes 34 small meatballs
the photo above is 9 pounds of meat

For each pound of ground meat:

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat the eggs and cream together, then stir in the chia meal (or potato flakes) and the salt.  Let this sit for at least 10 minutes to develop the panade (binder).

Meanwhile, saute the onion in the ghee until it's lightly browned.  Add whatever seasonings you're using, saute lightly and then set aside to cool.

When the onion is cool stir it into the egg mixture.  Once it's thoroughly combined, add the meat and mix lightly - beef will toughen if handled too vigorously.  Fry a small piece and correct seasoning.

Form into 1-1.5" meatballs (I use a size 60, 1.5" disher).

Place the meatballs close together on baking pan lined with Silpat, parchment, or parchment backed foil. I make these by the hundreds and use jelly roll pans.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Do not overcook or they'll be tough!  I take them out when the centers are still a little pink and let them finish cooking on the countertop.

We eat these several different ways:

1. dipped into flavored mayonnaise (harissa is a favorite)
2. stirred into sauce (see ideas mentioned above)
3. made into sandwiches

*The original recipe calls for potato flakes but I prefer the taste and health benefits of chia.

RECIPE: Veal Meatballs in Spicy Cream Sauce with Asparagus and Mushrooms

I developed this recipe for a party we used to host every year featuring 'alien' foods.  Alien, as in outer space....  For that party, I pureed the asparagus to turn the sauce green.

This recipe tastes much better with mushrooms but my husband doesn't like them so, when I make it for us, I leave them out.

You can substitute green beans for the asparagus, as I did in the photo below, but asparagus tastes much better.

GF Meatballs in Spicy Cream Sauce with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Serves 6-8

Ingredients for meatballs:
Meatballs made using 3 pounds of veal and the following seasoning:
Seasonings for meatballs:
1 T. salt
1 t. garlic (or 3 t. fresh)
1 t. paprika
1 t. basil (or 3 t. fresh)
1 t. cayenne

Ingredients for sauce:
1-1.5 pounds asparagus cleaned, cut into 1" pieces, and steamed for 5 minutes
3 pounds of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 large onions, sliced 1/4" thick
1/4 c. ghee
2 cups heavy cream

Seasonings for sauce, identical to meatballs:
1 t. salt
1 t. garlic (or 3 t. fresh)
1 t. paprika
1 t. basil (or 3 t. fresh)
1 t. cayenne (or to taste)

Make the meatballs according to the recipe here.  When the meatballs come out of the oven, remove them to a bowl and scrape all the liquid that exuded into a large saute pan.  Add 1/4c. ghee.

Saute the onions until lightly browned.
Add the mushrooms and saute until lightly browned.
Add the seasoning mix and saute lightly.
Add the cream, bring to a boil, and cook for 3-5 minutes until reduced by one third
Stir the asparagus and meatballs into the sauce and stir until heated through.
Taste and adjust seasoning.

NOTE: This does not reheat well becuase there is no stabilizer (flour) in the cream so you must make the sauce right before you serve it.  If you do reheat it, it will separate into a greasy mess.  My husband does take this for lunch occasionally but he only reheats it to 'warm', not to 'hot'.

In the photo above I used fresh basil and added it last.

Monday, August 13, 2018

RECIPE: Sweet Lassi (Yogurt Drink)

For the past two months I've been preparing meals for our farmers once a week.  (You can see a description of the meals I've prepared HERE.)  This sweet lassi was part of the Indian meal I served them last week. 

Lassi is  yogurt-based drink served at all of the Indian restaurants I've patronized.  The original recipe is from Yamuna Devi's incredible cookbook, The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking

When I first made this recipe (years ago) I used extra-fine refined white sugar (and it was delicious!) but I can't get ultra-fine organic or biodynamic sugar so I use a smaller amount of honey.

Sweet Lassi Yogurt Drink

Makes 4 cups

3 cups yogurt
1/3 - 2/3 cups sweetener (I use 1/3 cups honey)
1/2 cup water
1 cup ice cubes or frozen fruit like mango* (photo above is a mango lassi)
1/4 t. cardamom powder (optional)

Blitz everything in a blender until smooth and frothy.  If your blender can't handle ice you will need to crush it first.

Restaurants serve this over ice but I prefer it 'neat'.

*I have found that prepared frozen mango is not that tasty because it's made with Alfonso mangoes, which are large but bland.  I prefer to freeze champagne mangoes (the small almost flat ones occasionally available at Whole Foods) which have much more flavor.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

RECIPE: Beef Keema with Fried Onions

For the past two months I've been preparing meals for our farmers once a week.  Last week I made an Indian meal, and they requested some of the recipes.  (You can see a description of the meals I've prepared HERE.)

This recipe is one I prepare often because it's so easy.  It's from Madhur Jaffrey's excellent cookbook, An Invitation to Indian Cooking.

Beef Keema with Fried Onions
Serves 6

1 medium size onion peeled and cut into very thin rings
4 T. ghee
2 bay leaves
1 3" long cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
1" square piece of fresh ginger finely chopped
5 cloves garlic minced
1 T. ground coriander
1 T. ground cumin
1 t. ground turmeric
2 T. plain yogurt
2 T. tomato sauce
2 pounds ground chuck
1/4 t. ground mace
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 t. salt
1/2 t. cayenne

Heat the ghee in a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat.  Fry the sliced onions until dark brown but not burned.  Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Put the bay leaves, cinnamon, and cloves into the hot oil.  When the bay leaves begin to darken and the cinnamon starts uncurling slightly, add the finely chopped onions, ginger and garlic.  Fry, stirring, for 10-12 minutes until the onions darken to a medium brown with darkish edges.  Lower heat a bit and add the coriander, cumin and turmeric.  Fry for about 2 minutes, stirring all the time.  Add the yogurt and cook, stirring another minute.  Now put in the tomato sauce and keep frying and stirring for 2-3 minutes.

Add the meat.  Raise the heat to medium and fry, breaking up all the lumps with the back of a slotted spoon, for 7-8 minutes.  Next put in the mace, nutmeg, salt, cayenne, and 1/2 c. water, and stir.  Bring to a boil, cover, turn flame down to low, and let simmer for 1 hour.  Stir every 10 minutes or so.

When meat is tender remove the cinnamon stick and serve, sprinkled with the browned onions.

RECIPE: Basmati Rice with Peas and Black Mustard Seeds

For the past two months I've been preparing meals for our farmers once a week.  Last week I made an Indian meal, and they requested some of the recipes.  (You can see a description of the meals I've prepared HERE.)

This recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey's excellent cookbook, An Invitation to Indian Cooking. It calls for chicken broth to cook the rice but because some of our farmers are vegetarian I used water.

Basmati Rice with Peas and Black Mustard Seeds
Serves 4-6

  • 2 T. ghee
  • 1/2 t. whole black mustard seeds
  • 2 c. basmati rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 c. shelled peas fresh or frozen (I used almost 2 cups)

In a 3-quart heavy-bottom pot, heat the oil on medium.  When hot, add the mustard seeds and wait until they begin to darken (10-20 seconds).  Add the rice and stir for a minute.  If you are using fresh peas, add them now.  Add the broth and salt and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to low.  Cook for 25-30 minutes.

If you're using frozen peas, defrost them by placing in a colander and running under hot water.  Drain.  When the rice has cooked 25 minutes, lift the lid and quickly put the defrosted peas on top of the rice.  Cover and cook 5 more minutes.

To serve, mix the peas gently into the rice.

RECIPE: Coriander Chutney

For the past two months I've been preparing meals for our farmers once a week.  Last week I made an Indian meal, and they requested some of the recipes.  (You can see a description of the meals I've prepared HERE.)

Coriander Chutney is one of my favorite Indian condiments.  It's often served with samosas (another favorite Indian dish) but I decided to serve it as part of this meal.  The original recipe is from another one of my favorite Indian cookbooks, Yamuna Devi's, The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking.

Coriander Chutney

Makes 1 to 1 1/4 cups

  • 1 t. cumin seeds
  • 3 T. sesame seeds
  • 3 T. shredded coconut
  • 1 c. trimmed fresh coriander
  • 1-2 hot chilies
  • 1/2 " peeled fresh ginger root, chopped
  • 2 T. water
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 t. salt

Combine cumin, sesame, and coconut in a heavy frying pan and place over low heat.  Dry roast stirring frequently until darkened a few shades.

Combine the coconut mixture with the other ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  The texture should resemble runny applesauce.   

RECIPE: Sag-Palak Paneer or Indian Greens and Cheese

For the past two months I've been preparing meals for our farmers once a week.  Last week I made an Indian meal, and they requested some of the recipes.  (You can see a description of the meals I've prepared HERE.)

This is one of my favorite Indian dishes.  I always thought it was made with spinach (palak) but I've just learned it can also be made with half mustard greens or arugula (sag) so use whatever greens you have on hand.  

Paneer is home-made cheese but most Indian restaurants use tofu.  Feel free to substitute tofu but it won't be as tasty. Paneer made with half-and-half will be richer than paneer made with milk.

This recipe serves 12 because it's one of my favorite ways to eat spinach!  You can easily halve it.

The original recipe is from Yamuna Devi's, The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking.

Sag-Palak Paneer
Serves 12


fresh paneer cheese (recipe below) cut into 1/2" cubes
1 c. coconut oil to fry the cheese

2-4 hot green chiles cut into pieces
1" piece of fresh ginger
1/2 c. whey or water
1 T. ground coriander
1 t. turmeric
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 c. ghee
4 pounds spinach or a combination of spinach, mustard greens and/or arugula
1 t. garam masala
2 t. salt
6 T. cream

12 c. half-and-half
9.5 T. lemon juice

Make the paneer: 

Pour half-and-half into heavy bottomed pot with plenty of room to boil (no more than 1/2 full!)  Bring to boil, stirring often to prevent scorching and sticking.  When it boils, it will bubble up to twice it's original size!!  Reduce heat to low and immediately drizzle in lemon juice.  Very gently and slowly move the spoon through the milk in one direction.  After 10-15 seconds, remove the pan from the heat and continue to gently agitate the milk until large lumps of soft curd form.

As soon as the cheese has formed, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

Set a large colander lined with cheesecloth (I use organic cotton muslin)  over a bowl (to catch the whey) and pour in the cheese curds (I used a skimmer).  Fold the cloth around the curds and rest something heavy on them (I used a gallon jar filled with rice).  Press for 45-75 minutes  (I left mine overnight because it was more convenient for me).  

Fry the paneer: 

Unwrap the paneer and cut into 1/2" cubes.

Fill a very small (1 qt) sauce pan with 1 c. coconut oil and heat to medium.  Fry cheese cubes 10 at a time, stirring, until lightly browned.  Drain on paper towels and set aside until the greens are cooked.

Cook the greens:  

Place chilies, ginger and whey in a blender or food processor and process to a smooth puree.  Add coriander, turmeric, cumin and paprika and pulse to blend well.  Set aside.

Heat the ghee over medium heat.  Add spice mixture then pack in the greens.  Reduce heat slightly, cover and cook 8 minutes.  Using 2 forks turn the greens over so that the cooked leaves on the bottom change places with the ones on the top.  Cover and cook another 8 minutes.  

Optional: Puree the greens in a processor or blender and return them to the pan.

Add the garam masala, salt, fried paneer, and cream. Cover and cook 5 minutes.  Stir well and serve.

I have seen photographs where the cheese is sprinkled over the top of the greens and is not mixed in.  I'm going to try it that way next time.

RECIPE: Indian Cauliflower and Potatoes "Sookhe"

For the past two months I've been preparing meals for our farmers once a week.  Last week I made an Indian meal, and they requested some of the recipes.  (You can see a description of the meals I've prepared HERE.)

The original recipe is from the first Indian cookbook I bought - Madhur Jaffrey's "An Invitation to Indian Cooking" - for Sookhe Aloo, or dry potatoes.  Although the recipe was for potatoes, when I was growing up they were always combined with cauliflower so that's how I make the dish.

Dry Cauliflower and/or Potatoes

Serves 6-8
  • 7 medium sized potatoes, boiled in their jackets and cooled OR 2 packages frozen cauliflower defrosted OR a combination of the two
  • 10 T. ghee
  • 1/8 t. ground asafetida (also called hing powder)
  • 1 t. whole fennel seeds
  • 1 t. whole cumin seeds
  • 1 t. whole black mustard seeds
  • 12 whole fenugreek seeds
  • 3 whole dried red peppers
  • 1/2 t.ground turmeric (please buy one that's been tested for lead!)
  • 1.5 t. salt
  • 1 T. lemon juice (I rarely remember this)

Peel the potatoes and dice them into 1.5" pieces.  If you're using fresh cauliflower, break it into florets.. 

Par-boil the potatoes and cauliflower until 1/2 cooked, about 10 minutes.  Drain

In a large saute pan heat the ghee on medium.  Add the potatoes and saute until lightly browned.  Remove and set aside.

If necessary, add a little more ghee to the pan.  When very hot, put in first the asafetida, 5 seconds later the fennel and cumin seeds, then the mustard seeds and fenugreek in quick succession.  As they begin to change color and pop (about 10 seconds) add the red peppers.  As soon as the red peppers swell and darken, add the turmeric, the cauliflower, and salt.

Keeping heat on medium, fry for 10 minutes, turning gently so as not to break the cauliflower.  Add the potatoes.  Continue to fry for 10-15 minutes until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked through and evenly browned.  Squeeze lemon juice over and check the salt.

This dish is even better the next day.  Reheat for 10-15 minutes in a 350 oven.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

RECIPE: Cucumber Raita

For the past two months I've been preparing meals for our farmers once a week.  (You can see a description of the meals I've prepared HERE.)  Last week I made an Indian meal and they requested some of the recipes.  Here is the first one, for a condiment made with yogurt and cucumbers.  In larger quantities, it can be eaten as a light meal.  I'll publish the other recipes later.

The recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey's excellent book, An Invitation to Indian Cooking.

Cucumber Raita

Makes 3 cups

2 cups yogurt
5-6 small seedless cucumbers (if you use larger cucumbers, remove the seeds first)
1/2 t. ground roasted cumin seeds (I used much less, maybe 1/8 t.)
1/8 t. paprika
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper (I didn't use this)
1 t. salt

Whip yogurt to combine the whey with the curd.

Peel and grate the cucumbers.  You should have 1 cup.

Mix all together, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.   

Monday, August 6, 2018

RECIPE: Risotto 'carbonara' with peas, prosciutto and cream

A few weeks ago, when I had just harvested peas, I was looking for a recipe using rice instead of pasta, since we'd been eating a lot of pasta.  What I could have made was this recipe for basmati with peas and cumin but I wasn't in an Indian mood so I made Risotto Carbonara instead, seasoning it like the classic pasta dish.

Risotto Carbonara with Peas and Prosciutto
Serves 6

2 T. ghee
2 large onions, chopped
1.5 c short grain rice
4 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 cups broth (I use veal broth)
2 cups fresh peas (if they're very large, cook them briefly)
1/2 c. heavy cream or 1/4 c. grated parmesan
2 T. italian parsley chiffonade
4 oz prosciutto, sliced 1/4" thick

Saute onions in ghee on medium high heat until softened.
Add rice and stir until opaque (do NOT let it brown!).
Add garlic and stir to combine.
Add broth in 1/2 c increments, stirring constantly, until rice is almost cooked, about 20 minutes.
Stir in peas and stir until they're heated.
Add cream and parsley and stir to combine.
Sprinkle prosciutto over the top (don't stir it in or it will cook) and serve.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

RECIPE: Green Beans with Onions and Dill

It's green bean season!  This recipe is my MIL's and it's delicious!  The beans can be cooked ahead  and then finished right before you eat.

Green Beans with Onions and Dill

Serves 4

2 pounds of fresh green beans, washed, trimmed, and cut into 1-2" pieces
1 T ghee
1 large yellow onion, halved and each half sliced into 1/8" pieces
2 T fresh dill, minced

Cook green beans in salted water for 7-8 minutes until just tender.  Drain and reserve.

Melt ghee in a saute pan over medium-high and saute onions until lightly browned.

Add beans to pan and stir until heated through.

Stir in dill and serve.

RECIPE: Red Chard and White Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic

This recipe sounds too simple to be good but, trust me, it's DELICIOUS!  My husband takes it to work with a slice of crusty bread, I eat it 'straight'.  It's even good cold!

Original recipe: Quick White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes

Red Chard and White Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic
 Serves 4

1 or 2 pounds* red chard, including the stems, cut into 1/2" slices
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 c. chopped onions
1 c. canned tomatoes, crushed
1 16oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 T. balsamic vinegar

Bring a saucepan of water to boil, add the chard and simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 8 minutes.  Drain and gently press out excess water.  (You can keep these in the fridge for several days - I use them to make risotto and other dishes calling for red chard).

Heat the oil on medium, add the garlic and red pepper and saute until the garlic is golden, 1 minute.  Add the onions and saute until softened.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.

Add the beans and simmer on med-high for 3 minutes.

Add the chard and simmer until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes.

Season with salt, add balsamic, and serve.

(This is also good with leftover chicken, stirred in just before serving (adjust salt and cayenne))

*I have made this with only 1 pound of chard and it was plenty.  If you have lots of chard, go ahead and use 2, but don't discount this recipe if you only have 1 pound.

RECIPE: Peppers Stuffed with Millet, Red Rice, and Mushrooms in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

I developed this recipe because I wanted to make a vegetarian stuffed pepper that didn't use white rice.  Even though my husband is a big meat eater he says he likes these because the filling has a meaty texture.  In fact, he's eaten them 3 days in a row and asked me to pack the leftovers for his lunch (I made a double recipe).  In the photo below, he got to the pan before I could take a picture and removed the pepper in the center.

Bell Peppers Stuffed With Millet, Red Rice, Mushrooms and (opt) Beef
in Spicy Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

Serves 4 (2 per person)

2 T. ghee
2 c. thinly sliced green onion bulbs (white and light green only)
1 c. carrot pulp or finely grated carrots

1 c. millet, rinsed
4 c. water
2 t. himalayan pink salt
1 c. Bhutanese red rice, rinsed
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. chopped mushrooms (I used baby bella but you could use shiitake)
opt: 2 cups cooked ground beef
4 T. basil chiffonade, divided
8 bell peppers, any color
1 20oz jar tomato sauce  (I use this one by Yellow Barn)
1/4 c. whipping cream
1/4 t. cayenne, or to taste
8 pieces of melting cheese 1.5" x 1.5"

Melt ghee in large saute pan on medium heat and saute onions and carrots until lightly browned.

Add millet and stir for a minute or two, then add water and salt.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add red rice, garlic, and mushrooms; cover and simmer until rice is cooked, 20-25 minutes.

Stir in ground beef and 2 T. basil chiffonade.  Adjust seasoning.  You can keep this in the fridge for several days.  It makes more than you will need to stuff the peppers, especially if you add the beef.

Preheat oven to 400.

While filling is cooking, cut the tops off the peppers, remove the core and seeds, and then slice a little off the bottom so they'll sit upright.  If you cut through (i.e. make a hole) put the bit you cut off inside the pepper to cover the hole.

You can either keep the tops intact and use them to cover the peppers (this makes a nice presentation but prevents the tops from browning), or you can remove the part around the stem, chop it and add it to the filling.

Combine the tomato sauce, cream, 2 T. basil chiffonade, cayenne and season to taste with salt.  Pour half into the bottom of a pan big enough to hold all the peppers snugly.  Put the peppers into the pan.

Spoon the filling into the peppers, top with a generous tablespoon of sauce and 1 slice of cheese.  Cover with the pepper tops if you're using them.  If you have sauce leftover, pour it into the pan around the peppers.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Cover with lid or foil and bake an additional 30 minutes.

If you don't cover them, they will take longer to cook.  If I'm making a big batch I use a baking pan and wrap it tightly in foil with a piece of MarthaWrap underneath to prevent the foil from touching the peppers.