Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mung Beans

Last Friday I had to have my wisdom teeth removed.  Ugh! Such a pain, but it inspired me to make something I haven't had in a long while, my mom's mung beans.  I make it so that it's a thick soup-like consistency and serve with rice.  It's such a great comfort food for me, without being bland.  The garlic, onions, curry leaves, and asofoetida blend together in such a yummy, comforting way for me.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

1 c. Dry Mung Beans
3 Tb Oil
1/4 tsp. Asofoetida
1/2 tsp. Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp. Mustard Seeds
6-8 Curry Leaves
1/2 Onion, diced
6 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. Turmeric
1/4-1/2 tsp. Red Chile Powder
Salt, to taste

Cook mung beans in water until very soft.  About 20-25 minutes in a pressure cooker.

In a separate pot, heat oil and add asofoetida, cumin seeds, and mustards seeds.  When seeds are toasted, add curry leaves and onions and cook until onions are translucent.  Stir in garlic, turmeric, and red chile powder.  Add the cooked mung beans with some of the cooking liquid.  Season with salt, to taste.  Let simmer for 10-20 minutes to desired thickness, adding more liquid if desired.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Quickie Mac n Cheese

Medium Chain Triglycerides, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Artificial Flavor, Yellow #5, Yellow #6.  Mmm mmm…all the yummy goodness in the mac n cheese that comes in that little blue box!  NOT!

There is just no excuse to get that stuff.  You say it's so quick and easy to make…well, here's a mac n cheese recipe that cooks up just as fast…and with stuff you probably always have in your fridge & pantry.  The best part is that everyone in the family will like this. 

There are a few variations to the recipe if you want to change it up a bit.  Sometimes I like to add a little bit of garlic powder and onion powder.  Of course you can mix up the type of cheese you use as well.  For a grown up mac n cheese, I would opt for a nice aged gruyere cheese.  And if you have a little extra time, its nice to pour the mac n cheese into a casserole dish, sprinkle with buttered breadcrumbs and parmesan, and bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes. 

But when you're looking to make a comfort food that is quick and easy, this basic recipe is the way to go!

1 lb Pasta
3 Tb Butter
3 Tb Flour
4 c. Milk
8 oz Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 c. Grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)

Prepare pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile, Melt butter on low heat and whisk in flour.  Cook, whisking often, until the raw flour smell is gone.  Slowly whisk in milk.  Bring it to a slow simmer, whisking often.  When sauce thickens slightly, stir in cheeses.

When the pasta is ready, drain and stir into cheese sauce. 

Serve warm, cold, reheated the next day.  Like a good wine, it just gets better with time!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lamb Curry

This is an adaptation of my mother-in-law's lamb curry recipe. Although hers is amazing, I like the rich tanginess of the fire-roasted tomatoes and the smoky flavor of the black cardamom of my version.

1/2 c. Oil
6 Cloves
6 Peppercorns
1 Stick Cinnamon
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
2 Bay Leaves
1 Black Cardamom
2 med Onions, blended
1 Tb Garlic Paste
1 inch Ginger, grated
1 14-oz can Crushed Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 Tb Curry Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Red Chile Powder
1 Tb Ground Cumin
Salt, to taste
2 lb Lamb, Shoulder & Neck, bone-in

Heat oil in a large pressure cooker and add cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, cumin seeds, and bay leaves.  Stir for a few seconds then add onions, garlic, and ginger.  Cook, stirring often, until onion mixture is cooked and it smells sweet.  Stir in tomatoes, curry powder, turmeric, chile powder, cumin, and salt.  Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. 

Add lamb with about 1-2 cups water. Then close pressure cooker and cook on low-medium heat until meat is tender, about 20 minutes.

Adjust thickness of curry by adding more water or simmering uncovered to desired consistency.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Birthday Cakes!!!

Last weekend we celebrated another birthday in the family.  And because of the birthday boy's allergies, I was once again praying to the pastry gods asking to make a decent cake.  Over the last 4 years I have had to sharpen-up  my nonexistent cake-making skills.  I've come a long way from barely being able to make a box-made cake, to getting creative with a Rice Crispy Treat cake, to piling icing on allergy friendly cupcakes, to the best made-from-scratch eggless cake designed as a racetrack.  Don't get me wrong; I still have lots to learn, but it sure felt great to hear people ask where I bought the cake.

This was my first birthday cake: box mix with canned frosting.  Blah.

This was the oh-so-popular rice krispie treat cake. I made this in desperate attempt to have something allergy-friendly for the birthday boy.

A chocolate football cake made from an allergy-friendly cake mix with green coconut as grass for our football-themed party. 

Vanilla allergy-friendly cupcakes to match the mod-monkey cake from the bakery (shown below).

And the latest and greatest for our little man's Disney Cars themed party: an eggless from-scratch cake with homemade bavarian cream filling and homemade buttercream frosting.

Below is a link to the recipe I used for the eggless cake. It was SO good! You would never know it was eggless. In the notes, the recipe mentions using cake flour; I highly recommend that . It makes the cake lighter and fluffier. I also sifted the dry ingredients together to making the batter less lumpy.