Category Archives: Recipes
Yummy, yummy in my tummy!
So, I’ve been virulently anti-cooking the last few months, mostly because it had stopped being a joy and turned into an enormous pressure. And way too much fresh produce went into the trash because the enthusiasm to actually cook it never lasted past the first trip to the farmers’ market.
Imagine my surprise when I found myself excited to come home and make this veggie recipe by uber-chef Marcus Samuelsson, which I discovered via Twitter. (He’s @MarcusCooks)
I used endives, which were tasty, but I think I’d like to try something a wee bit more flavorful next time, such as the radicchio. Since I’m calorie-conscious, I halved the blue cheese dressing part of the recipe, and only used about 2-3 teaspoons of what I made on the salad. I have to say the watercress was a revelation. I’ve never been a fan of “cressle,” which is what my grandmother called it in Trinidad when she forced me to eat it. But not only did the heat of the grilled endives wilt the greens quite nicely, but the slight bitterness of the watercress was a nice foil to the sweetness of the endive and the blue cheese.
Let me know how it turns out if you try the recipe!
p.s. No grill pan? No problem! I trotted out my trusty George Foreman. It doesn’t make things look as pretty as a grill pan, but if you just keep an eye on it, it usually does fine with grilling veggies.
p.s. #2 The brown identified substance to the right of the plate is 1/2 a turkey sausage that I cooked yesterday. Since I’m sugar-less right now, I tend to undereat so I wanted to make sure I had enough bulk on the plate.
“Think Spring” (Sligo Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland)
My slow cookers—that’s right, I’ve got more than one—have been getting quite a workout thanks to the snow upon snow upon snow we’re getting out my way. This evening my big boy outdid himself (and yes, I am referring to my 6 quart) by whipping up a dee-lish-us take on beef stew, which in this incarnation (courtesy of Real Simple) goes by the name “Spiced Braised Beef with Sweet Potatoes.” Enjoy!
SPICED BRAISED BEEF WITH SWEET POTATOES*
1.5 pounds beef chuck, cut into chunks
2 sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch thick half-moons
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
1/2 cup dried apricots
2 tsps. ground cumin
2 tsps. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt**
1/2 cup water
1 10-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
2 cups baby spinach***
1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped
1. In a four- to six-quart slow cooker, combine the beef, potatoes, tomatoes (and their juices), onion, apricots, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, and 1/2 cup water.
2. Cook covered until the meat is tender. On HIGH, for about four to five hours, or on LOW, for about seven to eight hours.
3. A few minutes before serving, add the chickpeas and baby spinach. Serve with the couscous**** and sprinkled with almonds.
* I took pictures of the stew, but, uhm, I think the snow ate them.
** I ended up adding more salt before serving.
***In lieu of baby spinach, I used frozen spinach I had on hand. I steamed the spinach, pressed out as much water as I could, then mixed it in. You also could defrost and drain the spinach while the stew cooks. It’ll cook when you add it to the crockpot.
****Out of sheer laziness, I skipped the couscous and almonds, opting instead for a slice of ciabatta withs some butter. I imagine this dish would also work over brown rice, quinoa, or similar grains.
Crockpot Chai Tea*
(*from Rival crockpot cookbook, I think)
2 quarts ( 8 cups) water
8 bags black tea
3/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
16 whole cloves
16 whole cardamom seeds, pods removed (This ingredient is optional; the first couple of times I used ground cardamom since I didn’t have pods)
5 cinnamon sticks
8 slices fresh ginger
1 cup milk (I use skim)
1. Combine water, tea, sugar, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger in crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
2. Strain mixture; discard solids. (I’ve been using a slotted spoon to just scoop out the solids so I can keep the tea warm). May be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
3. Stir in milk just before serving. Serve warm or chilled. (I’ve been adding the milk and letting it warm up a bit before serving.)
I bought the cardamom seeds and cinnamon sticks at the Takoma Food co-op so I could get the exact amount I needed. Here’s an article with some tips for storing the leftover ginger.
Here’s what it looks like when everything’s in the crockpot except for the water.
Every culture has its its own spin on what can be done by throwing flour, baking powder, salt, and water into a bowl. Trinidad’s version is called bake, and it can be fried, roasted (on a roti iron), and—in fact—baked. This is the perfect food for when you’re feeling too lazy to do anything but lie on the couch even though it’s a national holiday and the only thing you’ve eaten all day are the nachos you whipped up for breakfast . . . or so I’ve heard.
Note: I’d recommend using canola oil for the frying, although I used olive when I realized I only had about a tablespoon of canola left in the bottle. I started off with 3/4 cup of oil (instead of the full cup the recipe calls for), reusing the “leftovers” several times over the next few days. Mine were on the thin side, and I’d say I made about two dozen from one recipe’s worth of dough over a few days. You can refrigerate the unused dough and stretch out your enjoyment of this Caribbean delight over a long weekend.
Fried Bake a/k/a Float
4 cups of flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 cups of water (approx)
1 cup oil for deep frying
1. Sift* together flour, salt, and baking powder.
2. Add enough water to make a soft dough.
3. Knead for about 10 minutes then leave to rest for at least 30 minutes.
4. Cut in pieces and roll each piece to 5-6 inches in dimater and 1/4 inch thick.
5. Fry in hot oil. Turn once and fry until brown.
6. Drain on paper towels.
7. EAT! (with butter and cheese or butter and jam or butter and . . . )
*I don’t currently have a sifter, so when necessary I mix dry ingredients together with a wire whisk.
(Recipe from the Naparima Girls’ High School Cookbook)
Here’s John Derian’s* recipe for Roasted Carrots, Parsnips, and Shallots from Martha Stewart Living (September 2009).
1.5 pounds medium carrots, scrubbed well (peel if you’d like)
1.5 pounds parsnips, scrubbed well (ditto on the peeling)
8 shallots, halved if large
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used all of it, but it would’ve been fine with less)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive relish (I didn’t make this w/ my version, but email if you want the recipe)
Preheat oven to 450. Toss veggies and shallots with oil, and season with salt ‘n’ pepper. Spread mixture onto two baking sheets, and roast for about 35 minutes (til everything’s nice and browny- glazy looking). Turn veggies a couple of times while baking, and remove shallots if they get browned first. Eat lovely roasted veggies with your fingers (cause you didn’t make anything else to go with them, and who needs to dirty up another fork)?
(There were no parsnips at Whole Foods so I went with three pounds of carrots instead. The shallots didn’t caramelize that well; next time I think I need to chop them in half . . .though when I asked the farm lady if they were large—being sorely lacking in shallot-sizing experience—she declared them medium. That’s okay beautiful farm lady, I still heart you and your braided ponytails.)
*Go here to take a peek at John Derian’s home in Provincetown. Hmm, John Derian and P-town in the same sentence . . . yeah, that deserves a double SWOON.