Food


Actually, as Donna wrote it, it’s supposed to be rosemary on the tarts, but since I am not a big fan I subbed in basil. Which was a good thing since my goat cheese is harb and garlic, specifically, basil. How can you go wrong with doubling up on a good flavor?

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The pick this week is Kayte’s, who has been awol for a while and is now back and making great picks for us as usual. What do you need for this one? Puff pastry, potatoes, goat cheese (Donna called for slices but all I buy is a local soft cheese), and rosemary basil. Drizzle with a little EVOO and some cracked pepper. Delish!!

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The recipe is on page 158 of Donna’s modern classics: Book 1

And don’t forget to visit with

for their tarts.

I used to think that I would never find ANYTHING on a Vegetarian Blog because I don’t eat a lot of veggies. I have my fave few – brocolli, cauliflower, eggplant, corn, asparagus, lentils – but there are many I don’t eat – well, yet anyway. Asparagus and lentils are new to me, eggplant almost as new. So when the word vegetarian comes up I tend to shy away.

No more! Not since I joined the Secret Recipe club and have been ‘assigned’ several over the past couple of years!! YAY Veggies!!

And April brought me another foray into delicious veggies – I still mainly stick to my faves but I am learning new ways to cook them all the time. And cooking with Nayna at Simply Foods was such fun! Nayna lives in the United Kingdom where she creates all kinds of lovely dishes – including 44 curries. Yes, FORTY-FOUR!! I was in heaven.

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I started with her Aubergine and Pidgeon Peas Curry which I adapted only slightly. I could not find Pidgeon Peas so I used frozen green peas instead. Now I want to make it with yellow lentils!!

    6 baby aubergines {I had one large so I used that.}
    120 grams frozen or fresh pidgeon green peas
    1 teaspoon tumeric
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon chilli powder {I doubled all the spices except for the salt}
    1 teaspoon cumin powder
    1 teaspoon coriander powder
    2 medium tomatoes1 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, drained
    1 teaspoon tomato paste
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 teaspoon garlic paste, diced
    1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
    1 tablespoon fresh chopped coriander for garnish.


Chop the tomatoes and puree them in blender
.
Peel the eggplant and cut into large dice.
Add the oil to a large skillet and when hot, add in the mustard seeds and garlic. Sautee until garlic is tender.
Add the eggplant pieces and peas and saute until tender.
Thoroughly mix in the salt, chilli powder, cumin and coriander powder and turmeric and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
Mix 1/2 cup of water {I used the liquid from the drained canned tomatoes} with the tomato paste and add to the eggplant mixture.
Cover and cook the curry till peas and eggplants are tender and cooked and most of the water is absorbed. (approx 15 minutes)
Transfer to serving dish and garnish with fresh coriander. (Original Recipe)

Or what about Nanya’s Sweet Potato Halwa

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    1 large sweet potato
    3 tablespoons Splenda {only because we are cutting back on our sugar.}
    2 tablespoons milk
    1 tablespoon ghee butter
    Pinch saffron
    Pinch nutmeg
    Chopped Almonds

Cook the sweet potato in a microwaveable dish with until completely cooked – about 5 minutes.
Let cool slightly, peel, and process the sweet potato until smooth.
Heat the milk and add a few strands of saffron and set aside until the saffron flavor has infused the milk.
Melt the butter in a pan and add the mashed sweet potato and milk. Stir.
Add the Splenda and nutmeg and cook about 3 minutes. Keep stirring the halwa at all times.
Spoon into small bowls. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and a few strands of Saffron. Original Recipe


This is listed as a sweet treat, but it makes a nice mid-afternoon snack that is high in protein and low in calories.

Not all of Nayna’s recipes are Indian. On my list to try: Greek Baklava ROLLS (easy roll recipe), Watermelon pops this summer when we harvest ours, Greek Phyllo Triangles Mexican Quesadilla..oh, wait I had that for lunch! And the only thing I changed was to add a little spicy chicken to the mix.

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– just to name a few of the 31 recipes I have pinned. So much good food, so little time!!!

If you want to get to know Nayna just read the poem she wrote:

    Cinnamon clove and star anise
    Fragrant aromas to tantalise and please
    Cooking, baking, mixing with a whizz
    Desserts, cakes, and ice creams that you can freeze please.
    Sweet and sour with a hint of bite
    Maybe a salad for that something lite light?
    Flour, eggs, and buttermilk
    Chocolate soufflés that fall down and sink turn out like silk.
    A savoury touch with some special spice
    Something that gives a kick and goes with rice
    Eastern, Western or a European dish
    Culinary delights to earn you a kiss fulfil your every wish.
    Day and night I think dream of food
    I know for my waistline this is no good
    So instead I write my creations in a blog

      ….and then go visit her blog!! You won’t be sorry!!

And to visit the other MEMBER’s Treats and Goodies :

I am slow getting started with this round of IHCC. Nigel Slater is the new chef until the end of September. I am excited to try some of his recipes, but not just yet! This week is Potluck Week. Since I missed cooking with Mark Bittman early in the group’s life I want to do his recipes for PotLuck. I read his bok, FOOD MATTERS ages ago and have lots of recipes marked. Seemed a logical choice.

Starting with someting sweet and SUGAR FREE.

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    1 cup sugar Splenda
    1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
    1 1/2 cups chopped nuts {I used pecans}
    4 egg whites [about 130 gms], {I would use a few more grams next time} lightly beaten until just foamy
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Pinch salt

Heat the oven to 350°F.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a rubber spatula or your hands.
Use a nonstick baking sheet, or line a baking sheet with parchment
paper. Use a small cookie scoop and make balls with the mixture,
each measuring about 1 tablespoon. Place balls on the pre-
pared sheet about an inch apart.
Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool on a rack for at least 30′minutes Store in an airtight container.

I remember Mom making a cookie like this when I was little.

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They didn’t last long around our house because we all loved coconut and pecans.

Check out the other POTLUCKS with the IHCC members.

Donna has many Asian or Asian style dishes in her cookbooks. They have been some of my favorites over the last few years. Like all the other easy recipes the end result is delicious. And her Thai Red Beef Curry (Gaye’s Pick) is no exception.

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The mix of the sweet coconut cream with the spicy red curry paste is a beautiful balance. The butternut pumpkin/squash adds to the sweetness without making it cloyingly sweet. Even without the Kaffir lime leaves (which I have NOT been able to find anywhere) it was a tasty dish. The recipe is on page 104 of Donna’s modern classics and you can find it HERE!
Check out Gaye’s Curry. Then visit with Sarah for her curry.

If you would like to join us in Wednesdays with Donna Hay, just leave us a comment. The more the merrier.

Which translates into darn good fresh veggie quiche!! Lots of leeks {first time fresh from MY garden}, sweet peppers, celery, carrots, and very, very little custard.

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One of my favorite things to make is quiche. But I don’t make them as often as I would like because they usually call for TONS of eggs. Not this one – one whole egg and one yolk. {I used two whole eggs instead.} That’s it!! And some cream. I am wondering if I can use this little bit of custard in some other quiches!

While the veggies and custard were VERY tasty, the star of the show was the Gruyère sprinkled on top. The smoky flavor just took the quiche to a much higher level!! I will be very sad when this one is gone….oh, wait, I can make another. Maybe with some squash this summer from the garden, or eggplant, or Romas, or…shoot, the possibilities are endless.

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More quiche can be found on French Fridays with Dorie and the recipe is on page 158 in Dorie’s around my French table.

Once a month I get to cook/bake with an awesome bunch of bloggers who live all around the world. Each month a theme is announced and then we all get busy and find something that goes with the current theme. Sometimes it is easy – PIE! Sometimes it is hard – literary meal! This month I thought would be difficult but it turned out, once I got my thoughts straight, to be quite simple. Come up with a dish using just 3 ingredients!!!

Now how on earth can you make any…… nevermind. Lots of things are possible

How about MAC AND CHEESE?

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    2 cups elbow macaroni
    1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
    3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

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Cook elbows in salted water until al dente and drain. Return to saucepan.
Add in 1/2 and 1/2 and grated cheese.
Stir until cheese melts and the mixture is thick and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

OR how about Peanut Butter Cookies?

    1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
    1 egg
    1/2 to 1 cup sugar (and you can sub out about 1/2 of that for Splenda if you like.)

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Peheat oven to 325.
Mix the three ingredients together.
Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Bake 8 – 10 minutes.
EAT!!

Okay I could go on but thought I better quit with two goodies. But that’s not all there is for lunch. Check with the other Let’s Lunchers by visiting Linda over at Free Range Cookies who is hosting our lunch this month.

My pick this week for Wednesday with Donna Hay. I chose something tasty.

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As usual it is super simple. Make rice {I used some left over}. Cook rice with some green onion, ginger, garlic chives, and chllies. Add shrimp. Or, in my case, CRAWFISH – it is the season after all!! And you have fried rice. The recipe is on page 148 of Donna’s modern classics BOOK 1
Visit with

    Gaye who also tried the rice.

It isn’t often, okay, its never, that I serve a pre-dinner snack. And a French one at that. Tonite it was differnt. Tonite we had a fine little tart just before we ate. Puff pastry, onions, bacon, scallops. All these came together in Dorie’s scallop and onion tartes finesP1030869What wonderful flavors these were. Just the fragrance of the soft caramelizing onions was enticing, but then you add the bacon and … Well, what can I say. Baked rounds of puff pastry are topped with an onion and bacon mixture. These are topped with slivers of scallop. While Dorie used raw scallops and then warmed the whole thing in a very hot oven I sliced and then quickly seared my scallops first. It definitely enhanced the flavor of the scallops. I did this because I wanted to make sure the scallops were done. And the Hubs does not like undercooked seafood.

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If you would like to see other Tartes Fines click on over the French Fridays with Dorie.

The recipe is in Dorie Greenspan’s around my french table on page 168

There is just something about the flavor of Hoisin sauce. It is sweet but not SWEET. A little bit may go along way. But then, sometimes you cannot get enough of it in your dish. The balance in this dish of Donna’s was just right. Donna’s stir fried noodles called for 3 Tbl of hoisin and 1/4 cup soy sauce. I increased the hoisin just a tad and decreased the Soy sauce just a tad. PERFECT!

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All you have to do is sautee some shredded ginger with some peppers, add the hoisin and soy and sugar and let it cook just a little. Then toss in the cooked wheat noodles {I used SOBA noodles} and let them ‘fry’ for a few seconds..

As for the Crispy chicken. Rice flour, 5 Spice and salt for the dredge with a quick fry in a little oil – shallow fry – to a golden brown. Serve it with the stir fry noodles.

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Using rice flour instead of regular flour makes for a very light, almost tempura like fry. And with the addition of the 5 Spice adds tons of flavor. I only wish I had increased the amount of 5 Spice. But next time. There are also supposed to be Asian greens, which I could NOT find in Podunk, USA, so left them out completely. I found out later I could have used Bok Choy or other cabbage. Ah, well!

The recipe is on page 62 of Donna’s off the shelf

Click on over and visit with Gaye, whose pick this was, and Sarah for their noodles and chicken.

There are three facts you must know.

    1. Asparagus is GREEN.
    2. If something tastes good it tastes even better fried! (I am a Southern Girl, after all)
    3. Monday 3/17 is St Patrick’s Day

How do these three fit together? It’s all about this week’s theme for IHCC – Eating of the Green, the choice was easy.

    FRIED ASPARGUS!!! DUH!!

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I used Donna’s Tempura Batter to fry up some fresh asparagus. The batter didn’t stick very well but the frying increased the wonderfully nutty flavor.

    2 cups rice flour
    12 oz iced water
    I egg, beaten
    sea salt.

Sift the flour and salt together.
Add in the egg and water and whisk til the batter is smooth. It will be somewhat thin.
Dip the veggies into the batter and fry quickly until brown and crisp.
I found the batter ‘stuck’ better to the asparagus if I dusted it first with some extra rice flour.

Since I still had asparagus left over, and we are nearing the end of our 6months with Donna Hay I also made her asparagus and poached eggs with brown butter .

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    2 3/4 oz butter
    1 Tbl sage leaves
    1 lb fresh asparagus
    4 eggs
    Parmesan cheese shavings
    cracked black pepper

Heat butter and sage in a saucepan over low heat until it begins to bubble and the sage turns golden brown. Keep warm.
Trim asparagus ends and steam until tender. While asparagus is steaming poach the eggs in simmering water one at a time. Poach for 3-4 minutes or until whites are firm and yolks are soft.
Place asparagus on warmed serving plates. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and place on top of asparagus. Pour over the browned butter, top with parmesan shavings and lots of cracked pepper. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.

This was so good for lunch. Light, but not quick, and delicious.

The recipe for the Tempura batter is in Donna’s new food fast on page 162 and 165.

The recipe for the asparagus and poached egg is in the new cook on page 17.

Check with the other IHCC members to see what kind of GREEN dish they came up with.

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