Monday, May 23, 2011

Kale, Chickpea and Golden Beet Salad

I had to take something to a friend's potluck yesterday and couldn't for the life of me figure out what to make. I was in the mood to "make" and not just pick up something from the store. It was a beautiful Sunday and the sun was out. I could feel summer just around the corner. I put a bottle of lambrusco in to chill and headed out to the farmer's market. I thought the trip would help me figure out what I wanted to make; instead, I ended up with bags of vegetables all over my counter and too many ideas floating in my head. In the end I chose the kale as the main player and came up with this salad. (I also ended up making the Green Goddess Chicken Salad in the entry below.)

1 large bunch kale, rinsed thoroughly and coarsely chopped
6-7 golden beets, peeled
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
ground roasted cumin

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In bowl, add beets, some olive oil, salt and coarse black pepper, making sure beets are fully coated. Transfer to shallow baking dish and cover with foil. Cook for 30 minutes, or until a small knife easily slides through. When done, allow to cool, then cut into quarters. (Note: these can be roasted in advance.)

While beets are roasting, heat 3tbs olive oil in large pan and add garlic. (Don't let the oil get too hot or the garlic will burn.) Add kale and saute until it starts to wilt. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a splash of rice wine vinegar. This particular batch of kale was more bitter than usual, and I found the addition of the vinegars helped cut the bitterness of the kale. Once kale cools, transfer to a large bowl. Add chickpeas, onions, and roasted beets. Toss with juice of one medium lemon, salt, pepper and roasted cumin powder.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Goddess In You

Inspired by the cover of a Food and Wine issue from last year, today I made my version of a Green Goddess Chicken Salad. I took quite a few liberties with the ingredients, but tried to keep the integrity of the recipe -a creamy, herby, lemony dressing. Ordinarily, the creamy dressing is typically tossed with a green salad, but here it is added it to a chicken salad.

Interesting factoid: The coined "Green Goddess" dressing - a mix of mayonnaise, sour cream, herbs, anchovies and lemon— was created at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in the 1920s, as a tribute to an actor starring in a play called The Green Goddess. (This, according to Food and Wine.)

Salad Ingredients:
- two poached chicken breasts, pull meat apart into large pieces (the F&W recipe calls for rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded)
- 5 celery stalks, with leaves (the light-colored ones near the core of the bunch), thinly sliced
- 1/2 red onion, chopped

In food processor, pulse together the following: 1 cup chopped cilantro, 1 cup chopped parsley, 1/2 cup chopped mint, 1 clove garlic, lemon juice of one small lemon. In bowl, mix together 1 cup plain yogurt, 3 tbs mayonnaise*, and the lemon-herb mixture. Set aside in refrigerator to chill.

In separate bowl, toss together chicken, celery, and onions. Fold in half of the dressing, adding more until you have your desired amount. Salt and cracked pepper to taste.

*I'm not a big mayo fan, so I used a small amount and substituted the rest with yogurt. You could also use sour cream instead.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spicy Indian Meatloaf

For Mother's Day this year, I wanted to make a multi-course dinner for the family. Our mom likes to eat different types of food, things she would never make herself, where our dad is more of a traditionalist -preferring his homecooked indian food to most other cuisines. I decided on a few dishes that were new to them, yet that would have a traditional flavor that he would enjoy. This was our main course, and I'm glad to say it was a hit with the "kids" - that would be us - and the parents alike.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

1 1/2 lb 15% ground beef
1 medium onion, finely diced
about 1 inch of ginger root, finely chopped
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
one roma tomato, diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbs garam masala
1 tbs turmeric
1 tbs ground coriander
1 tbs "curry powder" (the one I used is called Raja Masala)
1 cerrano chili, diced
2 eggs
1 cup plain bread crumbs

In small bowl, combine all ingredients except for ground beef and eggs. In a larger bowl, mix ground beef and eggs, folding the eggs into the beef with a fork. Then add ingredients from small ingredients until evenly mixed. Place in loaf pan, glaze top with the cumin ketchup*. Bake for 45 min to an hour.

Cumin Ketchup
1 cup ketchup with 1 tbs ground roasted cumin (the roasting really brings out the flavor of the cumin, but if you don't have roasted cumin powder, use regular ground cumin). Use as much as needed for the glaze, serve remainding ketchup on the side.

Pan-Seared Polenta w/Asparagus-Chutney Puree

pan-seared polenta w/roasted red peppers and asparagus-chutney puree

A friend of mine asked, "asparagus and chutney?" when he saw the caption. I could almost hear the "tsk, tsk" in his question. My response was that in my fusion-mind, you will find the most unexpected of flavor combinations, and hopefully they come together to create something new and delicious. The sauce for this particular dish came about when I found myself with some very-overcooked asparagus. The flavor was still there, but the texture was so beyond mushy that I couldn't get myself to eat it. I thought about throwing the batch out, but I've been trying really hard not to waste food. With a few ideas, some ingredients in my refrigerator, and my food processor, I ended up with the asparagus-chutney puree.

7-8 cooked (in this case, overcooked) asparagus stalks
1/2 cup fresh cilantro chutney (cilantro, lemon juice, salt, cerrano peppers, blended in a food processor)
1/2 cup plain yogurt

combine above in food processor and pulse till you get a smooth puree

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mushroom-Arugula Omelette

Omelette stuffed with sauteed chopped arugula, green onions, and mushrooms.