Monday, November 8, 2010

Carrot Ginger Soup

This is maybe the very best thing my aunt Mermer makes. Seriously, SO GOOD. I made it last night but it made a lot so we're having it again tomorrow when we have friends over. I'm adding maple grilled tempeh, cornbread, and a big salad for tomorrow. The recipe is pretty imprecise, so here's what my auntie told me and what I did when I made it last night...

2 lb carrots, chopped
1 stick butter, plus 1 T
4-6 c water...?
one small onion, chopped (~1 c)
2-3 cloves garlic
1/3 -1/2 cup cashews (raw)
1/3 - 1/2 cup cooking sherry (?? i just poured a bunch in...??)
~1/3 cup ginger (half minced half chopped) (i put in probably about 1/2 cup and it was a little too much)
~ 1/8 t cayenne (or to taste)
~ 1/8 t nutmeg (or to taste)
salt to taste
~1/2 cup heavy cream or sour cream (i used cream)

1. in the big ol' pot you're going to use, saute the carrots in 1/8 lb butter (half a stick). after a little bit, add water. (I added 4 cups and later had to add more, but it's better to start out too dry than too wet.) Let simmer 15 minutes.

2. in another pan, saute the onions in the other half stick of butter. when translucent add cashews, when more brown, add garlic. saute until onions are brown/nearly caramelized

3. in yet another pan, saute the ginger in the last 1 T of butter with a lot of sherry. do what you want here, i really don't know how much to add. Just saute a little bit, until the ginger absorbs the butter and sherry. (Mermer said the sherry is kind of important, but she's done without it. If you don't want to buy sherry, maybe some leftover cheap wine?)

4. add everything to the big ol' pot and blend until smooth. May need to add more water here to get it to desired consistency (which = whatever you like)

5. add cayenne, nutmeg, and salt to taste.

6. before serving, add cream, as much as you want.

7. now EAT IT!

Hope it's tasty!!

Holla' 4 Challah!

Here's the challah I baked up last week. So yummy! I would make two modifications to the recipe. The first time I made it, it was definitely on the way to burntown after only 20 minutes in the oven. The second time i made it I turned the oven down to 350, kept a close eye on it, and still took it out early (maybe 20 or so minutes). Maybe my oven is super hot/jankity and yrs would do better...? I'd just recommend keeping a close eye on it because all the egg can make it get really dark really fast. Second, next time i make it i'm going to make the loaves shorter and fatter, so it's not such a long skinny loaf. Anywho, here goes!

Recipe from The New Best Recipe (those cooks illustrated people) p. 752

(side note, this book is the BOMB! super thorough directions and tells you what changes make a difference and what don't...hiiiiighly recommend procuring this one. expensive, though, so maybe steal it?)

  • 3-3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour; plus more for dusting work surface
  • 1 envelope (~2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (said better than active dry, which i used and worked fine)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg separated (save white for egg wash)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, at room temp
  • 1 teaspoon poppy or sesame seeds (optional...= i didn't use)
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix together the 2 eggs, egg yolk, melted butter, and 1/2 cup water. Add the flour mixture; using the dough hook, knead at low speed until ball of dough forms, about 5 minutes, adding the remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary. (i did this by hand, no mixer, worked fine) In a small bowl, whisk the eg white together with the remaining 1 Tablespoon water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the egg wash until ready to use.

2. Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl, turning the dough over to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1.5 to 2 hours. Gently press the dough to deflate it, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size again, 40 - 60 min.

3. transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, one roughly half the size of the other. Divide the large piece into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 16" long rope about 1" in diameter (next time i make this i'm going to make them shorter and fatter, maybe 12" long?) Line up the ropes of dough side by side and braid them together, pinching the ends of the braid to seal them. Place the braid on a lightly greased baking sheet. Divide the smaller pieces of dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each pie es into a 16" long rope about 1/2" in diameter. Braid together, pinching the ends to seal. brush some of the egg wash on the top of the large loaf and place the small braid on the larger braid. loosely drape the load with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the loaf becomes puffy and increases in size by a third.

4. adjust and oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. brush the loaf with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with the poppy seeds (if using). Bake the loaf for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the side of the loaf reads 190 degrees. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack. let the loaf cool completely before slicing.

That's all! Happy baking, y'all!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Carrots with Arame (or Hijiki)

Nom nom nom, seaweed. I've been sick for the last week (thanks, Landon) and have been self-medicating with lots of tea and with this salad. My theory was that the ginger would clear up my sinuses while all the good stuff that collects in seaweed would boost my immune system. (Fun sidenote: I just heard a story on "immune boosters" on NPR where they argued that if you want to feel better sooner you should skip all that vitamin C and whatnot, because runny noses and fevers are your body's way of killing an illness. When you feel sick, it's because your immune system is working great; if you want to feel better you should cross your fingers for a weaker immune system. Thoughts?) Either way, it tastes great and I've made it three times since Monday. In fact, I just ate it for lunch.

The recipe is from Deborah Madison's excellent Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Servings: 2 to 4
Total Time: five to ten minutes in the pan, plus however long it takes you to shred the carrots.

Carrots with Arame (or Hijiki)
2 cups dried arame or hijiki
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons slivered ginger
3 big carrots, julienned
soy sauce
toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Cover the arame with cold water and soak for five minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the ginger and carrots and stirfry until the carrots begin to color around the edges, about 2 minutes. Add the seaweed and cook 5 minutes more, tossing frequently. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and let it cook off. Taste and season with salt and/or soy sauce. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Warm Quinoa Salad

I have not made this myself yet, but I ate it this weekend at my aunt's house. It was my grandpa's birthday so all the aunts, uncles, and cousins spent the weekend together in Malibu mostly sitting around eating. This salad is insanely delicious. It is a bit time consuming to make, I was told, but totally worth it. We had it for lunch served with steak sandwiches on dinner rolls, lentils cooked in red wine, and a green bean, tomato, and arugula salad. MAKE IT AND YOU WILL LOVE IT! Perfect for fall.. as in there is butternut squash goodness!

Servings: 4
Total Time: About 1 hour
Note: Adapted from Fig's Restaurant in Santa Monica, Ca. Red quinoa is available at well-stocked markets.

Orange Blossom Vinaigrette

1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup orange blossom honey
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. In a small saucepan, bring the orange juice to a simmer. Reduce the orange juice by 1/3 to yield 2/3 cup, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and place the reduced orange juice in a medium bowl. Set aside until cool.
2. To the reduced orange juice, whisk in the honey and then the vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed. This makes about 2 cups dressing, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the dressing should keep for about 5 days, refrigerated.

Salad and Assembly

1/4 pound peeled, seeded butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
Canola oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 pound haricots vert, ends trimmed (about 1 cup)
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 pound Swiss chard, ribs removed and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
Orange blossom vinaigrette
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup red quinoa (or white)
1 (2-inch) rosemary sprig
2 tablespoons Marcona almonds (or any almonds, I would say)
Toasted sliced almonds, garnish

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl, toss the squash cubes with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread the cubes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender and golden, about 10-15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then set the warm squash in a medium bowl.
2. While the squash is roasting, blanch the beans. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the haricots vert and blanch quickly to bring out the color, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and drain the vegetables, then quickly shock in a bowl of ice water. Remove from the ice bath and set aside.
3. In a medium saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. Add the beans, cubed apple and Swiss chard together with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Saute, tossing frequently, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes, adding 1/4 cup vinaigrette toward the end to deglaze the pan. Add beans, apple and chard to the squash in the bowl.
4. In a large saucepan. bring the vegetable broth to a simmer over high heat. Stir in the quinoa and rosemary sprig and gently simmer, covered, just until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain, discarding the rosemary.
5. Toss the warm quinoa and Marcona almonds in the bowl with the squash. Dress with additional vinaigrette as desired and season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Mound the warm salad on 4 plates, drizzling over additional vinaigrette if desired. Garnish with the toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jamaican Lentil Soup (we love bulk food)

Okay, I know that the last post was about lentils too, but I was racking my brain trying to think of the most delicious thing I had cooked in recent memory and I was stuck on this. I found the recipe online and oh man, so many yums.

Here it is, with the substitutions I made:

Jamaican Lentil Stew

1 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece ginger, grated
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (13 ounce) can coconut milk
4 cups water + a bouillon cube if you have one
4 ounces split red lentils
1 small sweet potato, diced
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/2-1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste (optional)
black pepper, to taste

Saute the onion until it's soft, then add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or so. Stir in the spices and keep on cookin until you can smell them. Add everything else, bring to a boil, and cook until it's really thick and the sweet potatoes are nearly falling apart. Red lentils collapse after being cooked for about 40 minutes, so just have patience and all of a sudden you'll go from soupy lentils to thick creamy lentil chowder. YUM! I served it with roasted broccoli and spoon bread and nearly fell over from all the praise I heaped on myself.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Curried Lentil and Vegetable Soup

So I love lentils. I think they are one of the most perfect foods in existence. Good source of protein, good fiber, small and cute and abundant, and tasty. As a former Prottie (Tenney House resident) I am well acquainted with the varying usages of lentils in the form of burgers, as daal, over rice, by itself, out of the bucket at 3am, cooked into baked goods, etc. I miss consuming lentils. This nostalgia led me to make a curried lentil and veggie soup for dinner tonight.

I found the recipe on my favorite foodporn site

Here is the link to the recipe:

I didn't use leeks, because I didn't have any, and I didn't garnish it with parsley, though I do think it would have looked nice with a little green sprinkling. It was super yummy and I am looking forward to eating it for lunch tomorrow and again on Wednesday!!!