February, 2009 Archive

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

red kidney bean curry


I have a confession to make: For years, I have been cooking a dish that I love very very much but I haven’t told you about it because it comes from two words that I cannot bring myself to publicly own up to.* Especially on a site where if you suggested I use one, I’d suggest you haven’t been paying attention.

It’s a box mix, people. And it makes the most fantastic rajmah, or kidney bean curry. Wait! Let me explain. Long before I had cooked a single Indian dish, I was overwhelmed at the thought of it. I didn’t have the spices. I didn’t know which spices I’d want. I was sure I’d use them all wrong. There’s like an art and a science to this and I am a dilettante in the world of Indian cooking.

kidney beans

And one day we were at Whole Foods, and they of course had some cooking samples out, these provided from a company that was packaging Indian spice mixes for classic dishes, for which they helpfully provided recipes on the back. The aloo gobi was okay. The chicken tikka masala was, you know, not bad either. But the kidney bean curry? Swoon. We took it home with us that very night.

In the years since, I have found Indian recipes I can’t get enough of. There are Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes, Tangy Cabbage Salads and an Everyday Yellow Dal, Red Split Lentils with Cabbage, Indian-Spiced Vegetable Fritters and my favorite, the one that we make many times a year, Indian-Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes.

indian spiced cauliflower and potatoes

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

hot fudge sauce

hot fudge sauce

Raise your hand if you’re surprised that my mother used to make us homemade hot fudge sauce for our ice cream? Right, I see you’re not new here! Welcome back. But really, the crazy didn’t start with my generation, despite the fact that I may or may not have crafted a really elaborate chicken dish this week when sick and not remotely interested in cooking or eating it. So I didn’t waste the ingredients. Also totally my mother’s daughter there.

hot fudge sauce, bubbling gurgly, thick and shiny

Is it me, or does something about hot fudge sauce on ice cream seem distinctively retro? I don’t hear much about fudge sauce and their accompanying sundaes these days. Maybe I’ve stepped too far into the Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream in a pool of cognac, drizzled in the world’s most expensive chocolate, covered with shaved white, black and clear truffles, topped with edible 25-karat gold leaf world… Let me fix that right now.

hot fudge sauce

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

devil’s chicken thighs + braised leeks

devil's chicken thighs + braised leeks with dijon

This, my friends, is all the evidence you will ever need that you can never go wrong with a Suzanne Goin recipe (also: that ugly food is the tastiest). Because despite having a horrible cold (not just any cold, mind you, but a Man Cold) all week, zero appetite, even less inclination to stand (upright! like on my two feet! how exhausting!) in the kitchen and cook and actually briefly calculating the food costs in my head of chucking the dish (already marinating) and trying it again another week, with Alex’s help we trudged on through and had this for dinner last night and it was amazing. Curative, even. I feel 50 percent better today.

halved leeksmmm, shallotsbrowned leeksshallots

So what’s all this about? Well, you start by braising leeks, which if you’re me, already has you sold. Amusingly, I was halfway into the leek prep when I had a vague feeling of deja-vu and you know what? I told you about these last year, to the day! Memory, what memory? Anyway, they’re unbelievable and seriously, if you’d like, you can stop right here. Serve them with some proscuito, a poached or sliced hard-cooked egg, mustard vinaigrette, some thick bread and maybe a sharp little salad on the side and you’ll be happy as a clam. Swap the chicken stock for vegetable stock and you can even make them amenable to vegetarians.

braised leeks

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

toasted coconut shortbread

toasted coconut shortbread

There is a notable, sad absence of recipes that involve coconut on this site and it’s like totally my husband’s fault. The boy thinks he doesn’t like coconut and every time I mention something that involves it he says “maybe you can make something chocolate instead?” But he’s wrong, no really, he is. I believe that he does like coconut, he just doesn’t like that shredded, hard to chew stuff people stick to the outside of otherwise-tasty frosting. It’s not the flavor that bugs him. And so I set out to prove him wrong by making these cookies, where the coconut is toasted and then ground and you get all of the flavor but not of the annoyingly papery texture. Alex was adamantly opposed, so I promised to either dip or fill them with chocolate or raspberry or even better, filled with raspberry and dipped in chocolate and do you know what happened?

coconut shortbread

None of this was necessary. Because I WAS RIGHT! He loves these cookies and he does love coconut when it’s not gagging and leathery and did I mention I WAS RIGHT? Because, well, I probably have one or three or a dozen times this week. I’m really fun and mature like that.

toasted coconut shortbread hearts

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

alex’s mom’s stuffed cabbage

stuffed cabbage (golubtsy)

I have been promising you my mother-in-law’s recipe for stuffed cabbage or “golubtsy”, which was her mother’s recipe for stuffed cabbage, for ages but do you know what is even sadder about how long it has taken me to get to this? That if I remember correctly, I jotted this recipe down on a page from my planner (a planner! with pages in it! many moons ago, my friends.) while sitting in the back seat as we drove to check out some wedding locations. Alex and I got married in 2005.

steeping the cabbagesauteing the fillingmixing the fillingcabbage rolls, ready to be cooked

And really, I have all sorts of places to blame for how long it has taken me to actually make the recipe at home. The first is Neptune on 1st Avenue, only my favorite place to sit outside for beers in the summertime and if you think that stuffed cabbage can’t taste good after a few Polish beers on a warm night, you obviously haven’t tried it yet. (With a side of kielbasa and pierogis, thank you.) The second is Veselka, also in the East Village — this is where I go for my winter stuffed cabbage fix. (Also cabbage soup. Small hands… smell like cabbage. Nobody else gets that, do they?) And the third is Alex’s mom herself, who often brings us extra that she has made, rendering it completely unnecessary for me to make any effort whatsoever to decipher my four year-old notes.

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