Thursday, May 31, 2007

Corn Patties

Last week I was compelled to experiment with my corn flour. Inspiried by Columbian style Arepas, but needed to make it vegan. Maybe I should just call this South American inspired polenta cakes? Anyway, this is what is in it:

Fine corn meal
(I don't measure this, just add water until it gets to be a good paste/dough consistency)
crushed and chopped garlic
pine nuts
chopped/grated yellow squash
smoked paprika *
crushed aleppo pepper*

sautee cakes in olive oil until golden on each side (kind of like cooking a potato cake)

Really great with your favorite hot sauce, I prefer Chiluli or Topatio hot sauce.

* The spices I used came from Savory Spice Shop in Denver Colorado. They will gladly ship thier spices anywhere in the country, and I've always gotten them quickly, and they have always been fresh.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rice and Beans

When I'm lazy (which is often), it's time for rice and beans. I got the recipie from the Joy of Cooking and it's incredibly easy, never fails...

Chop an onion, some garlic, and Jalepeno peppers (2-3, to taste). Fry them in oil, until the onions turn yellow-brown.

Add 12 oz. can of chopped tomatoes, 12 oz. can of black beans (rinsed), salt and pepper to taste. Let them simmer for about 5 minutes

Add 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is cooked and water is gone.

Let sit for a few minutes and serve.

Sometimes, I add lime, greek yogurt, or salsa, for more taste.

(The other stuff on my plate is spinach salad, and tofu with Sriracha)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Biblical Cuisine

The campaign to empty the pantry continues. To advance this noble cause, I cooked the last of our lentils into this delicious and simple potage. I simmered two or so cups of brown lentils in three cups of water and one cup red wine. I threw in a roughly chopped onion, some salt, and pepper, and voila! I don't know... an inheritance might be a fair trade for this dish.

**Interesting fact: my grandfather wouldn't eat lentils for the very reason that Jacob cheated Esau with them. I think in the community where he grew up, they weren't kosher.

Ice Cream Binge - Part V

Fifth batch: Salty Caramel

I stared ever-so-simmering milk, cream, sugar, a tiny it of baking soda, and a liberal pinch of salt. After about 2 hours, it was dark tan and thick. Once cool, it was ready to add to a regular vanilla base. The ice cream tasted great, though I wanted the caramel to stay in swirls in the vanilla; instead it got incorporated in lots of tiny bits. Great for the texture, not as much for the visual effect. Next time, I'll try freezing the caramel.

Balanced Meal

last of the torturesome tantalizing brisket
braised collards with mixed beans
corn bread
pinot grigio

Cruelty to Plants

Now that it's warmer outside and inside my house, I've had more success sprouting. Although now I'm having trouble reconciling their delicious fresh taste with the feeling that I'm committing pet-plant cannibalism. To sprout, you have to soak the seeds, wash and dry them twice a day, keep them covered for a while, then give them sun. There's a lot of care involved and I can't help but feel tender about the little lives I'm cultivating. After four days when they're ready, it's sad to see them go!

Monday, May 07, 2007

More Pizza

I hosted a small pizza party on Friday. Usual suspects attended plus a delegation from Boston who brought 18 bottles of Famosa(!!) beer. Thanks, Marcelo. Hil and I baked the pizzas pictured here the next morning with the leftover dough and toppings. The yeast was sort of kicked, but the crunchy flat pizzas were still delicious.

Pad Thai

Hil and I are looking to empty out our pantry before we leave for the summer so to make this, I got rid of a package of rice noodles, some sunflower seeds, and peanuts that had been collecting dust. I've been using a recipe for pad thai for the past five years that is totally manageable and never fails. It works fine to double the recipe; just make sure you keep the right proportion of sauce to noodles .

8oz thick rice noodles (usually 1/2 a package) - softened for ~15 minutes in hot water

4 tbs fish sauce (soy is OK if you're going veggie)
6 tbs white vinegar
6 tbs sugar - I usually use white, but palm sugar could be cool
1 tbs ketchup

Plus whatever eggs, tofu, meat, veggies you want - have them chopped and ready.

Stir fry a lot of garlic (4 or 5 cloves?) with whatever tofu or meat in a hot oiled wok.

Add veggies once tofu or meat is cooked.

Add noodles and sauce once veggies are cooked.

Bring sauce to a boil - 2 or 3 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup chopped scallions, cook one more minute.

Put in serving dish; garnish with lots of bean sprouts, ground roasted peanuts, lime wedges.