Archive for January 2008

indian food

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We had tons of home-cooked Indian food at a dinner party last night (I made a cauliflower-potato-egg curry with coconut milk and tomatoes in the sauce, Rahul made lentils, and there was also channa masala, peas with ground turkey–I think they called it keema, samosas, chicken curry, store-bought vegetable biryani and naan, and yummy Western desserts including marzipan-like almond bars and chocolate mint Pirouettes).

I made mac and cheese with egg noodles and leek-morel Jack cheese grated into a bechamel of flour, butter, soy milk, and home-made vegetable broth.

We had pan-fried polenta slices with Crimini mushroom sauce one day, and lunch at the Uptown Cafe with our two-for-one card (eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, and a muffaletta sandwich for Rahul), and I got green Araucana eggs and Yukon Gold potatoes at the Winter market.


Written by orata

January 28, 2008 at 11:19 am

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1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 bunch kale, chopped

Morningstar Farms fake ground beef

2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ thick half-moons

vegetable broth

soy sauce

dried sage

dried oregano

fennel seed




red pepper flakes

10 medium eggs, beaten

1 cup grated Parmesan or Parmesan-esque cheese

Saute the onions, peppers, and kale together over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Add some vegetable broth, cover the pan, and turn down the heat to medium-low. Braise until the vegetables are tender. Add the fake ground beef and stir until heated through. Season with the spices and soy sauce.

Meanwhile, in another pan, heat some oil and fry the potato slices until golden brown and cooked through. I ended up finishing this pan in a 450-degree oven for about 15 minutes because I lost patience with frying.

Add the potatoes to the vegetables.

Preheat the broiler.

Mix the parmesan with the eggs, pour the mixture into the skillet with the vegetables, and cook on the stovetop for a couple of minutes, without stirring.

Place the skillet in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, or until browned on top and cooked through in the middle.

Written by orata

January 26, 2008 at 8:29 pm

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onion soup and pretzels from scratch

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6 large onions (about 5 pounds), sliced thin
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 quarts beef broth
twelve 1/2-inch-thick slices of French bread, toasted
3/4 pound coarsely grated Gruyère

In a large kettle cook the onions in the butter over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for 40 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Sprinkle the onions with the flour and cook the mixture, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the broth slowly, stir the soup constantly until it comes to a boil, and simmer it, covered, for 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Put 2 slices of the toast in each of 6 heated soup bowls, top each toast with 1 tablespoon of the Gruyère, and pour the soup over the toasts. (To serve the onion soup gratiné, arrange the 12 toasts on the bottom of a flameproof casserole, heap each of them with 1 tablespoon of the Gruyère and boil it under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat for 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.)

I made this with 2 onions, 4 cups broth (I used the fake-chicken version of Better than Bouillon) and a slice of toasted whole-wheat bread with a 3 taco cheese mixture melted on top.

I am currently making these pretzels, shaped like nuggets rather than real pretzels, and with baking soda in the boiling water:


1 tablespoon sugar
1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pretzel salt*

Special equipment: parchment paper

Stir together sugar, yeast, and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105 to 110°F) in a glass measuring cup, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon table salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Dust work surface with 1 tablespoon flour, then turn out dough and knead, gradually dusting with just enough additional flour to make a smooth sticky dough, about 8 minutes. (Dough needs to be somewhat sticky to facilitate rolling and forming into pretzels).

Return dough to bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. Using your palms, roll 1 piece back and forth on a clean dry work surface into a rope about 24 inches long. If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust them with flour. Twist dough into a pretzel shape. (Dough will retract as you form the pretzel.)

Transfer pretzel with your hands to an oiled baking sheet and form 7 more pretzels in same manner with remaining dough, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart.

Let pretzels stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a wide 6-quart pot of water to a boil.

Using both hands, carefully add 3 pretzels, 1 at a time, to boiling water and cook, turning over once with tongs, until pretzels are puffed and shape is set, about 3 minutes. Transfer parboiled pretzels to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining 5 pretzels in 2 batches.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and oil paper, then arrange pretzels on sheet. Brush pretzels lightly with some of egg and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake until golden brown and lightly crusted, about 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve warm.

Cooks’ notes:
• Dough can be mixed and kneaded in a standing electric mixer fitted with dough hook.
• Pretzels are best the day they are made. (When they are kept overnight, salt may dissolve.)

Written by orata

January 20, 2008 at 7:04 pm

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Cottage cheese pancakes

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Made these for breakfast, with some added lemon juice, the yolks of both eggs included, and a bit of local Indiana maple syrup.


  Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Serves 4 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Total time: 25 minutes

  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir in cottage cheese, milk, egg whites, and vanilla.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium. Working in batches, drop cottage cheese mixture by 1/4 cupfuls into pan (2 or 3 at a time).
  3. Cook until bottoms are set and tops have small bubbles, about 1 minute. Turn pancakes and cook until just firm in the center, 1 to 3 minutes more. Repeat, using remaining 3 teaspoons oil for the other batches.

Per serving: 213 calories; 7.8 grams fat; 10.8 grams protein; 24.2 grams carbohydrates; .6 grams fiber

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
2/3 cup milk
2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 teaspoons vegetable oil

Written by orata

January 20, 2008 at 12:38 pm

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The other night, I decided to un-veg and try buffalo for the first time: specifically, the buffalo burgers at Upland Brewery (when Kyle was visiting, the weekend of January 5th). They were pretty good, but I realized I hadn’t had a beef hamburger in so long, I wasn’t sure what the difference in flavor was between the two.

Anyway–I’m enjoying my leftovers today for lunch, along with some food I made last night:

Sauteed Brussels sprouts and Apples

1 bag brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1 Red Delicious apple, peeled and cubed (wouldn’t have been my first choice, but Rahul’s mom gave me three Red Delicious apples when we were leaving after Christmas and I don’t really like to eat them–hence I’m trying to cook them)

1.5 white onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp butter

Apple cider

Apple cider vinegar

Soy sauce



Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a heavy pan over medium-low heat and put in the onions and garlic. Season with the cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 20-30 mins, or until the onions are more or less caramelized. Add the apples and sprouts, the rest of the butter, the soy sauce, and the cider. Cook for a while longer, until the vegetables are tender. Deglaze the pan with a little water if necessary to get all the browned goodness off the bottom.

Corn pudding

Beat two eggs with about 1/2 to 1 cup soy milk. Season with salt, pepper, sugar, and dried dill. Add two small cans of yellow kernel corn. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 1 hr or until set.

Rahul also made lentils (with onion, garlic, and carrot) and brown rice.

Today, for lunch, I discarded the bun and sodden lettuce from my buffalo burger and chopped the patty into little pieces. I mixed it with the brown rice and ate a generous helping of brussels sprouts and apples on top. I am also having a cup of coffee from a coffee house in Cape Girardeau, with vanilla soy creamer. Tasty stuff for a rainy day.

Written by orata

January 10, 2008 at 2:37 pm

Peanut grail

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I made this microwave peanut brittle and it was very close to See’s! And no candy thermometer necessary. I’d add more butter next time, and I’d like a larger bowl to cook it in–I had to divide the batch up between a Pyrex measuring cup and our largest soup bowl because it kept bubbling over.

microwave peanut brittle


Bon Appétit | July 1993

Amy D. Lawley: Montgomery, Alabama

Cooking times may vary slightly because of differences in microwave power.

Servings: Makes about 1 pound.


1 1/2 cups unsalted dry-roasted peanuts (about 7 1/2 ounces)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda


Butter large baking sheet. In microwave-proof bowl, combine peanuts, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Microwave on High until mixture bubbles vigorously, about 6 minutes. Remove mixture from microwave and stir in butter and vanilla. Return to microwave and cook on High until candy turns light gold color, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from microwave. Working quickly, add baking soda to candy mixture and stir briskly (mixture will foam up). Immediately pour out onto prepared baking sheet. Shake baking sheet from side to side to spread brittle as thinly as possible. Let stand until cold and hard, about 2 hours. Break brittle into pieces. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

This Ekuri recipe looks tasty.

Written by orata

January 6, 2008 at 1:06 pm

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