Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for September, 2011

Quick Curried Okra (Bhindi)

Posted by fourclankitchen on September 30, 2011

This is the simplest of simple vegetables to prepare on a weeknight.  Its caloric content is low and its nutritional value is high.  Does this sound like a winner or what?  This version of okra is made without onions, in the style of Rajasthan, the desert state of NW India.  The Jain tradition is strong here and people of this community do not eat onions, garlic – or anything that grows under the ground or hurts an animal (even a lowly underground worm).

The dominant flavors of this dish are coriander powder and hing (asafoetida).  To extract the most out of this minimal amount of flavoring, the spices are rapidly fried in hot oil to extract their flavor.  Then the okra is added to the infused oil and stir-fried at high heat so that it has a nearly fried flavor (same concept as Chinese stir frying).

A word or two about okra.  It is not the slimy vegetable that you might associate with gumbo, but it can turn into a soggy mess in no time at all.  Remember water is the enemy of okra.  Therefore do not use frozen okra and dry your okra with a paper towel after rinsing.  Also use high heat while cooking it so it has no chance to turn soggy on you.

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh okra, with the tops and bottoms cut off and slit down the middle.

2 -2.5 tbs cooking oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 heaping tsp coriander powder

1 tsp sweet paprika (increase heat by substituting cayenne as desired)

1 very generous pinch of asafeotida

1/4 tsp turmeric

Salt to taste.

Method:

1. Heat oil in a 12″ cast iron skillet or other large skillet.  When the oil is hot, add the cumin and stir around till it sizzles.  Then add the hing and stir until it gets fragrant- a few seconds.  Then add the coriander powder, turmeric  and paprika and fry the spices for another  20 seconds or so until fragrant. Do not burn your spices.

2. Now add the okra in a single layer (do not crowd) to the pan and stir to mix in the spices.  Add the salt. Continue cooking on high heat until the okra skin starts to brown.  This should take about 10 min.  When your okra is done, it should be crunchy as you bite into it.  Serve with any Indian meal.  Me?  I eat it as you would a French fry or potato chips as a munchie.  Very little actually gets to the dinner table!

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Posted in Asian, Indian Food, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Cherry Tomato Cobbler

Posted by fourclankitchen on September 25, 2011

This is one of those dishes which make you wonder why no one invented it before. Caramelized tomatoes and onions with a biscuit topping.  What could be better?  The original recipe, to the best of my knowledge was posted on Martha Stewart’s website. I saw it on a couple blogs and then I saw a recipe for a tomato tarte tatin on the Food52 blog.  This recipe is loosely adapted from both of these basic ideas.  The biscuit recipe is adapted from The New Basics by Sheila Lukins and Julie Rosso.

Ingredients

The tomatoes:

2 large onions, sliced thin

2 pint tomatoes

1 tbs. butter

1 tbs. oil

~ ¼ cup sugar

~1-2 tbs, balsamic vinegar

1-2 tbs. fresh thyme

Salt, to taste

Black pepper to taste

The Drop Biscuits

 

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbs. baking powder

5 tbs. butter (you will get away with 4 tbs)

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

Method:

1. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet (preferably cast-iron).

2. Add the onions and cook ~ 10 min.  You could cook them longer if you wanted a more caramelized onion flavor, but this dish doesn’t need it.

3. Add the salt.

4. Begin preheating oven to 425˚F.

5. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 20 min until the tomatoes burst open and their juices dry up somewhat.

6. Now add the sugar and the vinegar and cook for another 5 min.  How much you add will depend on the sweetness and tartness of your tomatoes.

7. Add the thyme and black pepper, taste, adjust salt.

 Make the batter for the cobbler.

8. In a food processor, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder and pulse.

9. Add the butter and pulse again so that the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

10.  Add the milk and pulse again briefly. The mixture should be spoonable and droppable.  Remove the blade from the food processor.  If you are not using an oven safe skillet, remove the tomatoes to a oven proof casserole dish.

11.Grab a spoon and drop the batter by the spoonful on to the tomatoes.

12. Place in the center rack of the oven.  If you used a cast-iron skillet where the skillet and its contents were hot,   bake for about 15-25  min, until the biscuits are browned and golden and the tomatoes are bubbly.  If you transfer it to a casserole dish, this will take longer, about 35-45 min.

We enjoyed  it for dinner with a piece of cheddar cheese.  Even my son, the consumate carnivore liked it!

Posted in baked, Brunch, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cranberry-Nut Bread

Posted by fourclankitchen on September 11, 2011

I have been making this bread (cake?) forever now.  I always thought that this ingenious recipe was from the family archives, given to my mother-in-law by her mother-in law.  Until recently, that is, when I noticed that the recipe on the Oceanspray cranberry packaging was identical!  But it is still an ingenious recipe, even if it was inspired by a corporate desire to sell cranberries.  Why ingenious?  Because it barely contains any fat (only 2 tbs. veg. oil!), using  orange juice and fresh (or frozen) cranberries for moisture instead. It also comes together with just a few min of prep, particularly if you have a food processor.  Its lovely for breakfast or an afternoon coffee on a routine weekend.  Its a nice bread to have in one’s repertoire.

Ingredients:

2 cups AP flour

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt.

1 tbs. grated orange rind

1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, briefly pulsed in a food processor (the cranberries need only be thawed for a few min)

3/4 cup orange juice

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tbs. vegetable oil+ more for greasing a cake pan

2 tbs. yogurt (my addition, to increase the moisture-can be omitted)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (use the food processor for this).

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

Add the oil, egg, juice, rind and yogurt to the flour mixture and blend well.

Then fold in the cranberries and the nuts.

Pour into the cake pan and bake for 55 min or until your tester comes out clean.  Cool for about 15 min before removing the bread from the pan.  Enjoy with a cup of coffee or milk.

Posted in baked, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert | 2 Comments »

A last summer fling: Pistachio-peach cobbler

Posted by fourclankitchen on September 5, 2011

Our local texas peaches are gone, but a few from Colorado are still streaming in.  They are not quite as juicy as the East Texas peaches, but they are pretty darn good.  I was going to preserve this batch for winter, but then ran across this peach cobbler recipe on Gastronomer’s Guide, a really nice blog with recipes that are dead on.  Its apparently a Southern peach cobbler a la Paula Deen and is unusual because it assembles a cobbler backwards with a layer of melted butter, followed by the biscuit dough and finally cooked peaches.  To the original recipe I added some pistachio nuts, lemon zest and almond extract.  I took out the cinnamon because I think it distracts from the pure peach flavor, while almond extract complements both the peach and the pitachio nuts.  I also reduced the number of peaches by 1 (because mine were very large) and did not peel them.  I dont think the peels hurt anything and they add a lot of flavor.

Ingredients:

5-6 large peaches , sliced (peel if desired)

2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1/2 lime)

2 cups sugar, divided

6 tablespoons salted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup pistachio nuts, peeled, unroasted

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

zest of 1/2 lime

Method:

1. P reheat oven to 350˚F. Toss sliced peaches with lime juice, zest and 1 cup sugar in a large saucepan. Let stand for about 5 minutes.

2. Simmer over medium heat until liquid is syrupy and bubbling, about 10 minutes. Add almond extract.

3. Meanwhile melt butter in a 13×9″ baking dish by placing in the oven.

4.  In a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, remaining 1 cup sugar, and salt. Pulse briefly. Then add the nuts and pulse briefly again, breaking up some of the nuts.

5. Pour in milk and pulse until smooth.

6. Pour over melted butter in baking dish. Spoon peaches + the juices over batter. Do not stir the ingredients. Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes.  Serve with a glass of cold milk.

Posted in baked, Brunch, Dessert, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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