Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Daikon radish salad - basic

A lot of people rejects this radish because they cannot take its "bite".  It is quite easy to take care of that.  After I grate the radish, I salt it a bit and let it sit for a few minutes.  It will release some of its liquid content which will greatly reduce the spiciness.  Handful by handful I squeeze out this liquid and shake the radish bits into a bowl.  Once I have it all, I taste it to see of it is not too salty, or still too hot.  If so, I give it a little rinse and squeeze it dry again.

Placing it in a bowl, I add a few spoonfuls of mayonnaise, not too much so it does not overwhelm the radish flavor.  Then I add a pinch of sugar, a sprinkling of salt if necessary, and that is that.  I have the radish base for a nice salad.

To top it all off, you can crumble a can of tuna on it, or canned crabmeat (real or imitation), sesame or other seeds. Chopped up scallions, chopped parsley, dill or aspoonful of grated carrots can add color to it.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Mixed veggie side dish

We had a lovely Canada Day BBQ in the backyard with marinated lamb chops and pork loin over charcoal. The problem was that, as it turned out, I did not buy enough vegetables to accompany the meats.  We had some potato salad, I made a bowl a fresh salad, but it did not seem enough.  We definitely needed more. In the fridge I found only two large zucchinis in the crisper.  Hmmm...

There was a one pound bag of peas-and-carrots in the freezer, I put them up to cook in lightly salted water.  Then I grated the two zucchinis, also about a pound, and sauteed them in a little butter.  When they were both done, I drained the peas-and-carrots, mixed them into the zucchini, and I folded a tablespoonful of Kraft Three Cheese Ranch salad dressing with a pich of dry dill weed into the mix.  To our surprise it turned out to be an instant success.  Wow!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Easy naan recipe

I have a wonderful Afghani bakery not too far (by car, that is) and I love their flat bread.  People line up for them and we get them still hot hot from the oven  But today my older son borrowd the car and I was "breadless",  So I looked around for a quick and easy solution.  I found the following video:

I saw other videos of this young man in the past, and I love the way he seems to salivate whenever he describes a particularly tasty aspect of the recipe he presents.  Fun!

Long story short, I made naan today!  But I was too lazy to even try his easy mode of preparation, instead I let my bread machine knead the dough.  These are the ingredients I used:

3 cups flour (regular all purpose)
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon instant, dry yeast
1 egg

I dumped everything in the machine and got it going.  I noticed that the dough was a bit on the dry side, so I added a bit of milk that I heated in the micro, just until the dough looked like in the video.  I closed the lid and went about my business until the end of the first cycle, meaning Knead and Rest.  When it started to knead again, I stopped the machine, turned out the dough on the slightly floured counter and stretched it out into a rectangle.  Then I took my largest baking sheet (big! - almost the size of the oven rack), sprayed it with a little PAM and stretched the dough all around on it. 

I put the tray aside while I set the oven.  I put the rack in its highest position and set the grill on high.  After a minute or so I sliced the dough into two triangles, gave them a bit of a better shape, and put the sheet in under the grill.  Well, within minutes it started to smell as if it was burning.  And actually in one small spot it was...! Apparently my HI setting is a bit too high? 

I removed the baking sheet, turned the naans over, and put it back, this time under the LO setting.  It took twice as long for the naan to start developing spots (I mean 4-5 minutes instead of 2...) but it turned out really nice.

In the meantime I melted a couple of tablespoons of salted butter in the micro and smeared the naan on both sides with a silicone brush right after I removed it from the oven.  It was sucked in instantly.

I do not need to reassure you that it turned out great, and tasted accordingly.  Although next time I may still try to use the HI setting but place the baking sheet one notch lower. I will also use double the amount of ingredients because this amount was a bit too small for the bread machine.  The dough flip-flopped from side to side, it needed my help to get all the flour incorporated properly.  Besides, it does not hurt to have more bread in the house!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My new beet relish

An interesting thing happened today.  My family loves beet relish.  I usually make it the traditional way, using beets, a few spoonfuls of prepared hot horseradish, a sprinkling of ground caraway seeds, vinegar, a bit of sugar and salt.

I cooked a batch of beets, got it grated, and then I realized that we happened to be out of horseradish.  Quickly dashed over to the nearest supermarket, ran to the usual spot where they keep it...  nothing.  I got two attendants whipped into action to keep looking for some, but when nothing was forthcoming I went to check out with the intention of trying my luck elsewhere.  I already paid when one of the attendants appeared, beathlessly waving a small jar.  Than you, thank you!  I paid for that, too, and came home.  With the bowl of unfinished relish waiting for me on the counter I quickly unscrewed the top of the jar, only to realize that it was not pure horseradish but horseradish sauce.  

Well, the manfolk was waiting and the jar was open.  So...  I added a generous amount of the sauce and presented the new relish.  To my surprise, the reception was very warm, as a matter of fact they now insist that in the future I use this sauce instead of just plain horseradish. 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Beet greens

I got an armful of unusual gift yesterday.  A friend was visiting her sister on the farm they have and she brought a big shopping bag full of tender beets with their lush leafy upper parts attached, still bursting with farm freshness.  I use quite a lot of beets in my cooking but mostly the root, for making beet relish.  I did buy a few times leafy bunches over the decades, but small amounts.  It was always consumed with interest, but the family did not take to them enough to request repeats.

So what can I do now with this large amount, I asked myself.  As usual, I took to the Net.  I settled on this soup recipe from The New York Times.

I used red kidney beens, that is all I had, and I ended up using even more greens than the recipe called for.   I found the taste a bit too "green" as I was tasting the soup, so I added a spoonful of beef broth concentrate to it.  Also, instead of Parmesan I added a bit of Grana Padano grated into it.  All in all, I ended up with a nice, thick, stew-like concoction.  The taste experience does take a bit of getting used to, but overall it turned out nice and flavorful. 

Of course, I still had more than half of a shopping bag there, so I separated the leaves, washed and chopped them, after which I steamed them a bit until the whole thing collapsed, and packed them into freezer bags.  I will have them now in the freezer for future consumption, and I can break off smaller amounts of it to add to soups, stews. 

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Long time no see...

I neglected this blog for so long that I almost forgot about its existence.  The reason?  Health issues, age: I had a cancer scare over two years ago, plus in the meantime I entered my eighth decade and given all the problems I lost quite a bit of interest in cooking and housekeeping.  Yet, life goes on.

These days I rely  a lot on the internet.  Whenever I gather up enough strength to face my daily cooking chores, I punch in the ingredients available in my kitchen that day and see the recipes and cooking ideas pouring out.  Often I make something that I would not mind repeating, but then I lose the recipe even when I copy it out in a word document.  My computer is filled with gygabites worth of "stuff" that I get lost in most of the time.  Sure, theoretically I can search for anything easily...  as long as I remember the name of the document.  Which often is NOT the case...

Anyway, I am attempting a new method now.  I will try to keep track of my daily cooking efforts, with links to the pages where I found the recipes. That should help me return to recipes that I earmarked as worthy of repeats.

If anyone happens to chance by "par hazard" as the French says, he or she may find it interesting to look through the polyglot culinary trips that this curiosity driven old lady is taking through the marvelous jungle of the internet.  Because I do not stop at English recipes.  I make liberal use of the Google Translator to check out any interesting looking recipe, be that in Spanish, Turkish, Hindi, Tagalog or Tibetan.  Maybe I will even inspire some chance visitor here to try my method.  If so, please, do let me know!  :)

So what was on today's menu?
My older son got a batch of chicken pieces beautifully marinated Ethiopian style by a friend and decided to BBQ it here.  He asked me to make some sort of legume based side dish for it.  I chose this red lentil stew

I did not change anything, except using less chili peppers in the spice mix than the recipe was calling for.  But I freshly made a batch of berbere spice blend , properly roasting the whole spices and grinding them afterwards into powder.  Interestingly my son said that it still tasted quite similar to my other spice mixes, the same blend somehow tastes different at his friend's house.  I belive it is because the spices themselves have different flavor if they were grown in different geographic areas.  And since I did not rush out to purchase a new set of spices in an Ethiopian store but used the ones I have here at home, of course, my blend tastes not too different from any of my other combinations. 

So that's it for today.  We had just plain basmati rice with it, although he found out that there is an Ethiopian place here in Toronto that sells injera that is flown in directly from Ethiopia, frozen and then baked fresh.  I will find out the address sooner or later and then I will add it to this blog entry. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ball game buffet menu

Here comes another season of fun ball game parties. I prepared a menu plan for myself for a buffet style spread. I thought I put it up here, with all the links I researched for some nice recipes, so that not only will I have everything at my fingertips, but maybe someone else can benefit from my preparation efforts. So here it goes:

Savory meatballs in brandy sauce (video)
Roast turkey breast and legs
Corn bread dressing
Chilled shrimp with remoulade sauce
Cold meat platter (thinly sliced salamis, ham, prosciutto, etc)
Cold vegetable platter (carrot sticks, cauliflower, celery, radishes, red and green pepper strips, etc)
Dip for the veggies
Israeli couscous and tuna salad
Green salad
Potato salad
Concorde salad
Deviled eggs
Scalloped potatoes
Chocolate stout cake
Double frosted Bourbon brownies