Monday, July 20, 2009

Recipe Review: Gobi Matar Masala

Last week I tried this recipe for Gobi Matar Masala from Vegan Yum Yum. Gobi Matar Masala is a type of Indian dish with cauliflower, tomatoes and spice. It was inexpensive and relatively easy to follow, but ultimately wasn't very exciting. I don't think I'd make it again.

  • If you have all the ingredients on hand, you can get dinner on the table relatively quickly.
  • It is nutritious and inexpensive.
  • The recipe is not difficult to follow.
  • The finished product isn't bad, but its not exceptionally tasty either. I much prefer aloo gobi.
  • The recipe requires a number of spices that novices to Indian cooking may not have on hand (although if you enjoy Indian food, they are worth picking up!).
  • No real protein source, so may leave you craving something more. Could be OK if served with a hearty grain and a big salad.
Bottom Line:
  • If it sounds good to you, give it a try! I'll stick with aloo gobi when I get a craving for Indian style cauliflower.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Patty's Favorite Red Beans and Rice

Earlier this week I made red beans and rice for my Aunt Patty. I knew they'd be safe for her gluten-free diet, but I did not know that they were one of her favorite foods and something she makes nearly every week. She said that our beans were the best, and "better than Popeyes."

I started with this recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen and made a few modifications. Here is the recipe I followed:

  • 1 pound dry red kidney beans
  • 1 green pepper (chopped)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1-2 tbs freeze dried chopped shallots (fresh are OK too, or can sub onions and/or garlic)
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 2 small red chiles (chopped, seeded)
Prepare the beans (either by soaking overnight or by boiling for one minute and then soaking for at least an hour; drain and rinse the beans when done soaking). Put beans in a pot and cover with an additional 2 inches of water, add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer on low for 2-4 hours or longer as needed/desired. Remove bay leaves. If desired, use a stick blender to puree the beans in the pot to a smoother consistency. Serve over rice.

Optional condiments:
  • fresh cilantro
  • chopped red onion
  • tabasco
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chopped fresh tomato
Notes: I really liked the addition of the fresh cilantro. This went really well with a side of homemade vegan/g.f. coleslaw.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Easy Gourmet Trick--Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

One of my favorite, easy gourmet tricks is to make balsamic vinegar reduction. Its quick, cheap, fun and can really make a difference in your meals. The first time I had balsamic vinegar reduction was served over pumpkin ravioli. Since then, I've used it on roasted root vegetables, and I suspect it would be delicious anywhere you would consider using regular balsamic vinegar (on strawberries, over salad, with avocado, etc.).

To make it, pour some balsamic vinegar into a pot (aim for about twice as much the final volume you would like in syrup), then heat over a medium flame, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar is reduced to a syrup consistency. This doesn't take very long. Some people suggest various additions (brown sugar, salt, butter) as desired, but I like the syrup as-is.

Have you tried making balsamic vinegar reduction before? If so, do you have any tips or favorite variations?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Easy Rhubarb Raspberry Pie Recipe

I adore rhubarb, and buy it at the Farmer's Market just about every week during its short season. To be sure we have some when its not in season, I like to marinate clean chopped rhubarb in a bit of sugar and keep it in tupperware in the freezer.

This week, I made a delicious, relatively healthy raspberry rhubarb pie with a homemade graham cracker crust.

-1 small package raspberries, rinsed
-1 bunch rhubarb, rinsed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
-1/4 cup white sugar (or more as desired)

-approx. 8 oz graham crackers, crushed
-2 tbps butter (or more as desired)

To make the crust, I first crushed the graham crackers using the same method that I rely on for Ardelle's Dirt Cake: I place a few graham crackers at a time into a sealed ziplock bag, and smash them either with my hands or a tool such as a rubber mallet. Then, lightly grease the pie dish and arrange the graham cracker crumbles. Melt the butter and drizzle over the graham cracker crust (you may need to mix the crust a little with your fingers to even out the butter distribution).

Then I simply mixed the raspberries, rhubarb and sugar and let them marinate in the fridge for a few hours. I didn't use a lot of sugar, because the berries are sweet and I like the tart tang of rhubarb--but you may prefer more sugar. While the berries/rhubarb were marinating, I also let the crust chill.

Finally, preheat the oven to 375 and bake for 40 mins or so (depending on your oven) until the rhubarb is soft. Enjoy!