Thursday, May 31, 2012

Taste & Create: Vegetable Pulao and Chutney Raita

***Taste & Create is a fabulous monthly blog event in which participants are randomly paired off to choose and prepare a dish from their partner's blog.  If you'd like to join us, please email me at cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com by the 8th of the month!!  ***

 This month, Taste & Create had dwindling numbers for some reason, and an odd number at that.  We can't have an odd number, so I put my name in the hat twice.  PJ from Seduce Your Tastebuds is one of my partners this month!  We've been paired up before (I think most of us have been paired up before), and I always find something interesting of hers to prepare.

This time I found her Vegetable Pulao recipe, actually her mother's recipe, and she said it's a favorite of hers so I just had to try it.

Although I do have some channa (dried chickpeas) in my pantry, I completely forgot to get them soaking the night before.  I thought I had canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans) to use, but I didn't.  I tossed in some cannelini (white kidney beans) which were the closest I could get!

I actually ended up taking several liberties with this recipe.  Luckily, it turned out good!  I didn't have basmati rice, and I had to improvise grinding things to a paste.  I used my Black & Decker One-Touch Electric Chopper to process everything that needed to become "paste" and it worked quite well.  I will double the spice mixture next time, as it turned out surprisingly on the bland side for an Indian dish, a good flavor, just not strong enough!

Another issue I had was that I don't own a pressure cooker.  Luckily since I didn't have basmati rice anyway, it wasn't an issue.  The only rice I found in my pantry was some brown Minute Rice, so I used that.  My substitutions and methods are listed below.  Please follow the link to PJ"s website for her original recipe.  I'm just happy that mine turned out at all!!

This is a satisfying dish, especially yummy with the tangy raita on top!

Vegetable Pulao
Adapted from Seduce Your Tastebuds

For Pulao :

2 cups brown Minute Rice
2 cups mixed vegetables, chopped [carrot, potato, cauliflower, green beans]
1/4 cup channa, (dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans) soaked overnight, or canned cannelini (white kidney beans)
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons ghee or butter

Saute with a little ghee (butter) and grind to a smooth paste with a little water:

Handful coriander leaves (cilantro)
2 teaspoons grated coconut
2 pods cardamom (I used 4)
small piece cinnamon (or about 1/2 teaspoon ground)
2 green chiles (I wasn't sure about this, so I used about 1/2 of a small can)

Prepare the ground paste as noted above, set aside.

Heat a little ghee in a saute' pan and saute' the vegetables on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Heat the remaining ghee, add the rice and saute for a couple of minutes.  Then add the ground paste and saute for 2 minutes.

Add the vegetables, salt, channa and 4 cups water and bring to boil.  Boil for about 10 minutes, or until water has evaporated, rice and vegetables are tender.

Serve with a raita of your choice.
You can add peas or any other veggies also .Raisins and finely chopped apples,pineapple can be added as a garnish if you like to give as sweet touch to the dish.

For Chutney Raita:

1/4 cup grated coconut
Ginger- 1" piece, peeled and sliced
2 cups thick yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
Cumin powder
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves (cilantro) to garnish

Grind the coconut and ginger to a fine paste with a little water.  Mix the yogurt with salt, stir in chutney (coconut mixture)  Pour into serving bowl, sprinkle with cumin powder and serve garnished with coriander leaves.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Casablanca Burgers

 These are burgers we tried a few months ago.  I wanted to get the recipe blogged before I lose it, they were so good.  It comes from a small magazine supplement of a cookbook, through Better Homes & Gardens.  The spices may sound unconventional for a burger, but you'll have to trust me when I say these burgers are delicious!  It's not like you'll even know there are apricots in the burgers, they are subtle and blend so well with the entire flavor, the ketchup....everything just works!

I may have a picture, but not right here right now.  I will add one soon!  In the meantime, try these yummy burgers!

Casablanca Burgers
Serves 4
Prep 20 minutes
Grill 14 minutes

1 pound ground beef
1/3 cup finely snipped dried apricots
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 kaiser rolls
1 recipe Moroccan Ketchup (recipe below)
4 leaves red leaf lettuce
1 medium tomato, sliced

In a large bowl combine beef, apricots, pine nuts, cilantro, garlic salt, cumin, cinnamon, coriander and pepper.  Shape mixture into four 3/4-inch thick patties.

For a gas grill, preheat grill.  Reduce heat to medium.  Place patties on grill rack over heat.  Cover; grill for 14 to 18 minutes or until done, turning once halfway through grilling.  Serve patties on rolls topped with Moroccan Ketchup, lettuce and tomatoes. 

Moroccan Ketchup:

In a small bowl combine 1/3 cup ketchup, 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Taste & Create: Puff Pastry with Poornam Filling

*Taste & Create is an amazing monthly food blog event, created by my friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Participants are paired up randomly, and each create a recipe from their partner's blog! It is so fun! Please join us.

The deadline to sign up is the 8th day of each month, email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com if you're interested!

For the month of March, I was paired with Jayanthi of  Sizzling Veggies.  I am so embarrassed that I have let this go for so long.  I'm not trying to make excuses about it, I just had a lot going on and did not get it done.  I had originally planned on making Jayanthi's Cabbage Koftas in Malai Gravy or her Baked Bread Koftas in Spinach Gravy, and one day I will probably make both of those!  All of her recipes sound so wonderful.

When it came right down to it though, I ended up choosing her Puff Pastry with Poornam Filling.  I have a huge container of jaggery for which I am always looking for uses, and I am a sucker for coconut.  Add cardamom to the ingredient list, and you didn't have to ask me twice!

These are interesting...I think they are good, but I'm not a huge fan.  They are sort of like chewy caramel with coconut in pastry.  My mother-in-law and my oldest son LOVE them.  Mixed responses from a couple neighbors and the rest of the family.  Maybe they are an acquired taste if you don't absolutely love them the first time? Also, mine look nothing like Jayanthi's...follow the link to see what they are probably supposed to look like!  ;-)

Puff Pastry with Poornam Filling

1/3 cup jaggery
1/3 cup shredded coconut (I used raw dried coconut, perhaps the smaller shred of the sweetened coconut would have worked better?)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
a pinch of cardamon powder
1 puff pastry sheet

Thaw frozen puff pastry sheet for 40 minutes at room temperature before starting this recipe.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper in case the poornam filling oozes out.

In a small pan, add jaggery powder with 2 tablespoons of water. Let the jaggery dissolve in the water and bring to a boil. Add cardamon powder and coconut and mix well. Let the jaggery and coconut filling thicken over medium-low heat.  I reduced until the liquid was almost gone.

Add sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Keep stirring until the poornam filling is thick and holds together.  You may want to reduce the heat during this step.

When pastry sheet has thawed, cut dough into circles. (not knowing exactly how big, I made mine about 3" diameter with a glass).  Roll the dough with a rolling pin (I flattened mine out with my fingers) and place a tablespoon of filling in the center.

Take two opposite ends of the circle and while holding this, pleat the entire outer part of the circle to form a shape of modakam.  (I have no idea what shape a modakam is, so I went by looking at Jayanthi's photos on her original post, see link above, and really just pleated around the outside to sort of hold in the filling)

Repeat steps 4 and 5 with other pastries. Jayanthi made 9 modakams with the given poornam filling measurements, I ended up with 11. 

 Bake the pastries in the oven till they turn golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Classic Bran Muffins

I like that this muffin recipe uses wheat bran and not any processed cereal, such as All-Bran.

Makes 12

1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup nuts, raisins, or coconut

1. In small bowl, mix together wheat bran and buttermilk. Let stand for 10 minutes.

2. In medium-large bowl, beat egg.

3. Add vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla to beaten
egg. Beat until well blended.

4. Add bran-buttermilk mixture and stir well.

4. Gently stir in all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and nuts.

5. Distribute batter among 12 greased or paper-lined muffin tins.

6. Bake in 375°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until muffins pass the toothpick test.

NOTE: Freeze well.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Saucy Spicy Grilled BBQ Chicken

2 pounds chicken wings
salt & pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 green onions, minced
  • Heat gas grill to medium high or a charcoal grill to medium hot fire.
  • Wash and dry chicken wings.
  • Generously salt and pepper the wings.
  • When grill is hot rub the grate with oil and grill chicken 20 minutes or so, turning every few minutes until browned and crisp.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, pepper flakes and half of the onions.
  • When wings are done either brush them with the sauce or transfer the wings to a large bowl and toss with sauce.
  • Sprinkle with remaining onions.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Taste & Create Partner List

It's that time again! Here is the T&C partner list for May! Please remember to submit your creations to Nicole's Taste & Create website by May 27th, 2012!  (I've extended the deadline because I didn't post the list on time, I must apologize again for that!)

If you have any questions or problems, check out the How it Works page, or please feel free to email
me at cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com.  Have friends who might like to join us? Referrals welcome!

Have you heard of Taste & Create? It's a monthly food blog event in which participants are randomly paired off, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner's blog. It is great fun! A picture of everyone's creation and a brief "review" gets posted on the Taste & Create website, linking back to your own blog post. Your photo and link will also be featured on Taste & Create's new facebook page!

If you'd would like to sign up for the NEXT event, please email me by the 8th of the month. You'll be randomly paired with another food blogger, and the fun will begin! And if you know of anyone else who might like to be included, please let them know about our event!

Can't wait to see what you all create!

(And a special thanks to you, 
Kat, Carol, Tamy and PJ,
for being so dedicated and coming back 
month after month!)

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