February 23, 2004
Lemon Rice

This is one of my favorite South Indian rice dishes. Sometimes i do the whole thing, and sometimes i just shove some fried mustard seeds, turmeric, and lemon juice onto ordinary sensible rice. This is from Dakshin by the way.


1 cup long-graned rice
2 green chiles finely chopped
a peice of fresh ginger (1inch sq) finely chopped
3 tablespoons raw peanuts
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
juice of 2 lemons (actually i usually just use one)
coriander leaves, chopped (to garnish)

Cook the rice and set aside.

For Tempering
2 tsp oil
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 red chili (chili pepper) halved
1/2 asafoetida powder
a few curry leaves

Tempering: Heat oil in heavy frying pan or skillet. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, halved red chili, asafoetida powder, and a few curry leaves.
When the mustard seeds start to pop'n'sputter, add the finely chopped green chilies, finely chopped ginger, and peanuts. Saute for 2-3 minutes.

Add the cooked rice, ground turmeric, and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve Hot.

Posted by tapeworm on February 23, 2004
Sri Lankan Greens

This is my favorite simple take-some-greens-and-steam-em-up dish, found in Madhur Jaffries' World Vegetarian. Almost any leafy green may be used. I often use a combination of Collards, Chard and Kale, but Mustard Greens, Cabbage, Spinach, Turnip Greens also do wonderfully.

The most important thing is to cut the vegetable into very fine shreds. Coarse stems are discarded. Rather than putting them in a salad spinner, i usually leave them a teeny bit wet- this helps with tough leaves like collards when cooking. Though i'm thoroughly addicted to fresh curry leaves, the dish will taste just fine without them.

3 tbs peanut or canola oil
15 fresh curry leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into very fine rings
1 to 2 to 3 fresh hot green chiles split in half (i usually mince them)
1 pound green collards, kale, mustard greens, or chard-like stuff, well
washed and cut into fine shreds. (about 7 well-packed cups)
3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons dessicated unsweetened coconut or 3 tablespoons grated fresh coconut.

Put the oil in a large wok or frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the curry leaves, onion, and green chile. Stir and fry for about 4 minutes, or until the onions have browned a wee bit. Put in the shredded vegetable, salt, and turmeric. Stir and cook until the vegetable has wilted somewhat. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and cook 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Uncover, add the coconut, then stir again. Turn off the heat.

Posted by tapeworm on February 23, 2004
February 17, 2004
field trip: The Old Clam House

So, in my new neighborhood, at the end of Cortland, you'll find Bayshore Blvd. On Bayshore Blvd you'll find a number of businesses, and The Old Clam House. Established in 1861, with half the building still there, it sounds like someplace I need to visit - and soon. Anyone up for an outing?

Posted by shock on February 17, 2004
February 15, 2004
valentine's day supper

I can't think of a better Valentine's day than this one - a quiet home-comforting day, knowing what was going on at City Hall. I kid you not - i could feel the energy all the way down in Bernal Heights. A new kitchen toy (a VERY nice Delonghi Panini Grill). Dear, dear friends. And a menu chock full of comfort food. (I definitely say "I love you" with food.) How'd you spend your day?

Asian pears, blue-cheese stuffed olives, and Mt. Tam cheese
Chocolate "kir" Royals

Mimi's tomato bisque
Grilled panini - proscuitto, fromage d'affinois & basil
Grilled panini - chicken, asiago fresco and fresh apple salsa
Grilled paninin - bufala mozerella & basil
Free form pizza margarita
Caesar salad

Cesar's crema de chocolate
21 yo Port Ellen Single Malt Scotch (1979)

The tomato bisque was done with soy creamer, and one batch was finished with lactose-free yogurt rather than sour cream for our resident lactose-intolerants. I also substituted soy creamer for heavy cream in half of the batch of cremas - the end product was still delightful. The chocolate kir royals were done with clear creme de cacao and Domaine Chandon champagne - I rimmed the glasses ahead of time with good semi-sweet chocolate.

Posted by shock on February 15, 2004
February 08, 2004
cauliflower fondue soup

Cooking with Amy's Creamy Cauliflower Fondue soup looked good to me, but a little heavy for a daily soup. I toyed with it, removed the carrots and potato, and came up with this....

1 onion, diced
4-5 cups cauliflower florets
1 tsp olive oil or butter
chicken or veggie stock
salt & pepper
2 oz emmenthaler (or other nutty swiss melty cheese), shredded
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup soy creamer
1-2 tbsp sherry

Sauté the onion over medium-high heat until golden. Add the cauliflower, and cover with stock so the total volume is around 10 cups. (I'm guessing this is probably 5-6 cups of stock. I was ladeling straight out of the stock pot, so i didn't measure precisely.) Add a few pinces of salt.

Simmer for around 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender. Purée with a stick blender until almost smooth (i like a little roughness in my cauliflower soups). Add the soy creamer.

Toss the shredded cheese with the flour, and stir into the soup until melted over medium heat. (Cook at least 5 more minutes to take away the raw flour taste.) Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the sherry, a tablespoon at a time. Stop when it tastes right.

Serve in big bowls garnished with hazelnut oil, fresh ground pepper, and a long thin crouton.

Posted by shock on February 08, 2004
February 03, 2004
apple bran buttermilk muffins

Muffins are an I-love-you morning comfort food for me. I love waking up early enough to make them for guests or a boy that I like. Apparently Canadians eat muffins as a sort of stereotype: there's even a UK chain called "The Canadian Muffin Co."

I've been fiddling with apple muffins lately -- I think this buttermilk recipe is just about perfect.

Makes 12 muffins.

1/2 c. butter (room temperature)
3/4 c. white sugar (or a combination of white and brown)
1 egg, beaten
1 c. cultured buttermilk
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. diced apple -- about 1 apple in small (1/4 in.) dice
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. bran
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 F

Prepare a muffin tin, either by greasing the insides of the cups with butter or by using paper cupcake liners. If you have a good muffin pan, just greasing lightly is enough for these.

Blend together butter, sugar, and egg until smooth.
Add buttermilk, salt, apples, and mix well.
In a second bowl, stir together flour, soda, and cinnamon.
Add dry ingredients to wet, folding just to moisten. For muffins to come out right, you want the batter to look a bit lumpy.
Spoon batter into greased muffin cups.

Bake at 375 F for about 20 min.

Notes: The apples must be cut quite small for the muffins to hold together when you take them out of the pan. These are worth buying buttermilk for, substituting milk + lemon juice won't provide the same flavour. If you don't have bran, you can use (1 c. all purpose flour + 3/4 c. whole wheat) instead.

Posted by naomi on February 03, 2004
February 02, 2004
New All-Clad Fry Pans

Yesterday I was pondering what to do for super bowl dinner, and what to do with this piece of Chicken I had in the freezer. I decided upon the Chicken Paillard recipe from CI Nov-Dec 2003, but I wasn't going to attempt it with my 15 year old too-thin-with-hot-spots-smoke-everywhere fry pan.

Meriko suggested an all-clad stainless pan, and not being able to decide between an 8" or 10" pan, I got both. Macy's was having a 'no tax' day. So that was cool.

Let me say, the pan rocked. The recipe was good. Did I mention that the pan rocked?

Posted by tim on February 02, 2004