Friday, January 28, 2011

Indian à la mode

My Indian food suffers from a curse. Despite the best efforts of my extensive spice collection, all my dishes taste the same. Until today. Here's my latest (and most simple) renditions of aloo gobi and saag paneer served up with bulgar wheat. Tell me this isn't the shortest ingredient list you've ever seen. Maybe it would be more prudent to present these as in the style of aloo gobi and saag paneer - à la mode if you will. I'm only claiming deliciousness, not authenticity.

Aloo Gobi
à la mode

1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced

1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1 potato, 1-in. cubes
1 24-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander
salt to taste

Heat some oil in a pan. Cook onions for a few minutes, then add garlic, chile, ginger, and spices. Cook for another minute. Add potatoes, cauliflower, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer until potatoes are done, ~20 minutes. Mash up with a fork if you want it a bit thicker. Salt to taste.

Saag Paneer
à la mode

1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 c buttermilk
1/2 c yogurt
splash of heavy cream

paneer, cut into cubes (tofu works, but cheese is yummier)

Heat some oil in a pan. Cook the onions, garlic, and spices for a few minutes. Add the spinach, buttermilk, and yogurt. Simmer till spinach is wilted. Send some of it through a blender. Return to pan. Salt to taste. Add the paneer and heavy cream. Done-zo.

Friday, January 21, 2011

ghetto toffee

Like salted caramel heaven, but wayyy easier. This stuff is dangerous, yo.

Ghetto Toffee
Adapted from NYT

36 saltine crackers
1 c sugar
1/2 lb butter (2 sticks!)
1 tsp vanilla
2 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c pecans, toasted and chopped

Heat oven to 350 F.

Line a broiler pan or something with a lip with foil. Tile the crackers over the surface of the pan.

In a pot, melt butter and sugar over medium heat. Stir, stir, stir. When it starts to bubble, continue to cook for 2-3 minutes more.

Kill the heat, stir in the vanilla. Pour over the crackers. Bake 7 minutes.

Sprinkle chocolate evenly over top. Bake 2 minutes. Smooth out chocolate with a spatula. Sprinkle pecans over the top, gently pressing into the chocolate.

Pop in the fridge for a couple hours. Cut up, then become poster child for Type II diabetes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

lemon ginger scones

Scones are low in my repertoire since they usually involve the dreaded cutting of butter into flour. My overly austere take on kitchen gadgets relegates the task to a pair of steak knives. I don’t know why this is oft suggested as an acceptable alternative, because ‘pea-sized’ chunks of butter are a pipe dream.

These scones, however, are dreamy, dreamy, dreamy. Light, buttery, bright. Three forms of ginger provide the elegant balance of spicy sweetness. And best of all, the butter incorporation is outsourced to ye olde stand mixer. Yee-haw.

My only foible was the dough was far stickier than the recipe indicated, requiring several rounds in the freezer to eek out the dough into scone form.

Lemon Ginger Scones
From Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook
(The directions in the book are really well written, and far more detailed than the synopsis here. Check it out!)

2 3/4 c AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c sugar

1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 c crystallized ginger, finely chopped
2 tbs lemon zest

1 3/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
1/2 c cold buttermilk
1/2 c cold heavy cream
1 egg
2 tbs fresh grated ginger

Heat oven 350 F.

In a stand mixer, combine all dry ingredients, ground ginger, crystallized ginger, and lemon zest. Scatter butter in, and beat on low speed for ~30 seconds, just till the dough comes together.

In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, cream, egg, and grated ginger. On low speed, pour this mixture into the flour mixture. Beat till it just comes together, ~30 seconds.

Dump dough out onto a well-floured surface. If the dough is super sticky (mine was), pop into the fridge for a few minutes, then gently roll out dough into a 1-in. thick rectangle. Cut into scone shape of your preference. I made about 10 triangles. I had to freeze my dough again to ease transfer to a baking sheet.

Bake 40-45 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool a bit then enjoy!