Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kobi Gaajar Shaak (Delicately Spiced Cabbage & Carrots)

This is a simple (and healthy), yet delicious vegetable that Gujaratis eat with rotis.  This is one of my favorite vegetable dishes from my childhood.  Something about the simplicity of it and the delicate flavors coming together without overburdening the cabbage just makes this so right.  Forget coleslaw!! This is how you eat cabbage and carrots!

2 Tb Oil
1/4 tsp. Asofoetida (Hing)
1/2 tsp. Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp. Cumin Seeds
1 head Cabbage, shredded
3 Carrots, shredded
1/4 tsp. Turmeric
1/4 tsp. Red Chili Powder
1 Tb Toasted Coriander Powder
1/4 tsp. Toasted Cumin Powder
Salt, to taste
1/2 Lime

Heat oil in large pan.  Add asofoetida, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let sizzle for a few seconds.  Stir in cabbage and carrots.  Add turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and salt.  Cook down, stirring often, until cabbage is wilted and carrots are tender.  Squeeze lime over the cabbage and stir.  Adjust seasoning as desired.  Serve hot with warm rotis or parathas.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lamb Gyro Platter with Tzatziki Sauce

Ever since we moved away from the city, and access to just about every kind of cuisine possible, I have been learning to recreate some of my favorite restaurant foods in my kitchen.  Something that I crave often is NYC street food.  A plate of lamb on rice with grilled onions; lots of white and lots of red sauce, of course.  I'm salivating just thinking about it!  This is my version of this NYC classic and I have to say it's pretty darn close the real deal!  I must admit, this does take some time (mostly oven cooking time) but it is so worth the wait!

1 med Onion, finely chopped

2 lbs Ground Lamb
1 Tb Minced Garlic
1 Tb Dried Marjoram
1 Tb Dried Ground Rosemary
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tb Olive Oil
1 med Onion, thick sliced
1/2 tsp Dried Marjoram
1/2 tsp Dried Ground Rosemary
Tzatziki Sauce (Recipe Below)
Sriracha Sauce
1 Tomato, diced
2 c. Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
1 Cucumber, diced

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Process the onion in a food processor for 10-15 seconds then place on a towel and squeeze out almost all of the juice.

Return the onion to the food processor and add the lamb, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Process until it is a fine paste, about 1-2 minutes, stopping as needed to scrape down the sides.

Place the mixture into a loaf pan, making sure to press into the sides of the pan. Place the loaf pan into a water bath and bake for 60-75 minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 degrees F.  Remove from the oven and drain off any fat.  Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack and place a brick wrapped in aluminum foil directly on the surface of the meat and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Slice and set aside.  In a large skillet, fry the onion slices in the olive oil and add the sliced lamb, marjoram, and rosemary.  Fry until well browned.  Serve on rice with tzatziki sauce, sriracha sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumber.

Tzatziki Sauce

8 oz Plain Yogurt
Kosher Salt, to taste
2 cloves Garlic, finely minced
1/2 Tb Olive Oil
1 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
2-3 Mint Leaves, finely minced

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.  Serve as a sauce for gyros. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quick Pasta Bolognese & Bolognese English Muffin Pizza

Today I share with you two quick and easy weeknight meal ideas.  This bolognese sauce takes about 30 minutes to make…that's right, half an hour!  And you can stretch it out to make a second meal!  My kids and I love having the leftovers toasted over english muffins.  It's like pizza, but a bit healthier.  The sauce has veggies and protein in it and I use much less cheese than would be on a typical pizza.  You get 2 healthy, kid friendly meals in one shot!  What's not to like about that!

I have to admit, I do cheat on this bolognese sauce.  I know some would say that it's not a real sauce if I use a ready-made jarred sauce in it.  Most foodies would stop reading about here because it's just not authentic enough.  But come on, a mom's got to take a couple short-cuts here and again!  Plus, I have to say this comes awfully close to some of the best bolognese sauce I've ever had; and it takes so much less time to make. 

I like to use Rinaldi's Meat Flavored Sauce in this dish for a few different reasons.  First and foremost I like the taste of it.  It is very well-balanced - just the right amounts of salt, sweet, tart - and is a nice round, full-bodied sauce.  The second thing I like about the sauce is that it contains no preservatives or flavor "enhancers" (MSG); its about as wholesome as something in a jar can be so I don't feel too bad serving it to my family.  And third, it is CHEAP!  I stock up on the jars when they are on sale for $.99.  Typically, I would choose to buy an organic brand of sauce for 5 times the cost, but this sauce tastes better and doesn't have the added "junk" that some of other the sauces may contain.

Quick Bolognese Sauce

3 Tb Oil
1/2 c. Onion, finely diced
1/4 c. Carrot, finely diced
1/4 c. Celery, finely diced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 1/3 lb Ground Beef
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/2 Tb Thyme
1/2 Tb Basil
1 jar Rinaldi Meat Flavored Sauce
1/4 c. Grated Pecorino Romano

In a large pan, heat oil and sauté onion, carrot, and celery. Once cooked through, add garlic. Cook for a couple minutes, then add beef, salt, pepper, thyme and basil.  Brown beef and break down to as small as possible. Add sauce.  Stir in 1/4 c. water into the jar to completely empty the jar and pour into meat mixture. Simmer to desired consistency.  Stir in the pecorino romano just before serving.  Serve with your favorite pasta.

Bolognese English Muffin Pizza

This one's pretty self explanatory, so I won't get into details.  But basically, I fork-split the english muffins and toast them for a couple minutes in the toaster oven. Then I spoon some of the bolognese sauce over them and sprinkle with either mozzarella or cheddar cheese.  Toast in the toaster oven until the cheese is bubblling.  Enjoy the yummy goodness!