Archive for August, 2012

Rosewater and Cardamom Yogurt Lassi

Until about a year or so ago, I had never heard of lassi, let alone tried it. When I finally noticed it on the menu at our favorite Indian restaurant (which, by the way, is Great India in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota), I decided to give it a go. I started with sweet lassi, as the salty option, while more traditional, didn’t sound as appealing. I loved it and the next visit I opted for the salty version. While I didn’t enjoy that one as much, I knew I was hooked on this wonderful yogurty goodness.

So, when I was skimming an article on ways to use yogurt this last week, I was instantly drawn to the recipe for “Rosewater and Cardamom Yogurt Lassi” and bookmarked it for making soon. I had no idea what rosewater was (though it seemed simple enough), but I guessed correctly that I could find it at our local Indian grocery store, Namaste PlazaI had all the other ingredients including plain yogurt, sugar and cardamom, so once I picked up the rosewater, I was set to go.

MY NOTES: Yum.

Really, that’s all I need to say, but I’ll add a few notes about my process. For the yogurt, I opted for a mix of Greek and regular. No reason, other than I already had both for another recipe, so thought I’d give it a try. As the recipe suggests, lassi is also about the texture, so if you mix this up and aren’t quite ready to serve your beverage, I would suggest waiting to blend in the ice until just before you pour it.

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August 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm 1 comment

A trio made in heaven: zucchini, eggplant and tomato

When I did an online search for “zucchini, eggplant and tomato” the results went on for at least thirty pages before I stopped clicking through looking for something that wasn’t a recipe. From ratatouille to gratin and ravioli to grilled kabobs, the possibilities of combining these three lovelies are endless. This time of year is an especially good time to try some of these recipes with all three of the leading ingredients in abundance in home gardens and farmers markets.

This morning I knew I needed to find a recipe to use the two Japanese eggplants I had harvested from our garden last week, so I did a quick search for eggplant on Pinterest. One of the most tantalizing options that appeared was called “Teglia Di Melanzane, Zucchine E Mozzarella Di Bufala” which roughly translated to “Pan of Eggplant, Zucchini and Mozzarella.” Yum.

After reading the translated ingredient list, I knew I had all I needed except fresh mozz. Luckily, I had heard from a friend they were having a 2-for-1 sale on fresh mozzarella logs at one of the grocery stores, so I stopped by and got four. 🙂

Tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.

Here is the rest of the ingredient list:

  • 2 eggplants (360 gr)
  • 2 zucchini (300 g)
  • 360 g red tomatoes
  • 12 slices of mozzarella 1 inch thick
  • 1 clove garlic
  • olive oil
  • basil, chopped
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Here is my edited version of the translated instructions:

Wash the eggplant and cut into slices one centimeter thick. In a bowl, cover the slices with coarse salt and put a weight on top. Let stand for about an hour.
Wash the tomatoes and score the skins. Boil a pot of water and add the tomatoes. After about 20 seconds, remove and peel the tomatoes. Remove all the seeds and chop.
In a skillet, saute the garlic in a tablespoon of oil. Pour in the diced tomatoes, reduce heat, add salt, cover and cook for about ten minutes. Turn off the burner and add the basil.
Rinse the eggplant slices.
Wash the zucchini and cut them in slices.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (this is 350º F).
Brush the zucchini and eggplant with oil and saute in a hot cast iron skillet.
Pour a little oil on the bottom of a baking dish.
Place the tomato sauce on the bottom. Arrange alternating slices of eggplant, zucchini and mozzarella on top of the sauce.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven, pour a little olive oil, pepper, garnish with fresh basil and serve.

MY NOTES: This recipe was very easy. It takes a bit of time to wait for the eggplant to “sweat” but otherwise, it is pretty “low tech” and fast. For the garlic, the original translation said to remove the garlic. Maybe that didn’t come across from the Italian correctly, but I can’t imagine any reason to remove garlic, so that stayed in. It also said to add “one leaf” of basil, which seemed silly, so I added about three tablespoons.

The taste on this dish was excellent. Smooth, salty, rich from the oil, but also very much something I would describe as friendly for many palates. Like ratatouille, but in a casserole dish. Overall, a perfect choice for a late summer dish for the whole family.

August 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm 4 comments

Chicken with Bok Choy

Last night for dinner I made one of our household favorites, Chicken with Bok Choy. I originally found the recipe online several summers ago when we first received bok choy (also known as pac choi or “Chinese cabbage”) in our CSA share. I had never heard of the stuff, let alone cooked with it, so I turned to cooks.com, a fantastic recipe resource I discovered during my senior year of college when I was no longer on a student meal plan and had to fend for myself in the cooking realm. The database is made up of culinary creations – some excellent, others never to be repeated – from people all over the world, and one can simply enter in a few ingredients you’d like to use and all sorts of ideas pop up. Have some carrots, kohlrabi and cream, as I did? You might find this great recipe for “Kohlrabi and Carrots.” My husband will hate the Lynn Rossetto Kasper reference, but consider it an online solution to “Stump the Cook.”

So, this Chicken with Bok Choy recipe was one I came across and it seemed very simple. Few ingredients and a great use for a green completely foreign to me. I followed the original recipe the first time and have made some adaptations since then, namely rearranging the recipe to make it more readable. Here is my version:

Chicken with Bok Choy

  • 8 oz boneless chicken
  • 1 lb bok choy (pac choi)
  • 1 slice ginger root (or substitute: ground ginger)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • oil
  • Marinade: 3/4 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari, 3/4 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Sauce: 1½ Tbsp soy sauce or tamari, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp cornstarch, ¼ c water

Slice chicken and put in a bowl.  Add Marinade and mix; set aside.

Chop bok choy into slightly larger than “bite-size” pieces, separating the stems and leaves.  Heat wok (or large pan), then add 3 Tbsp oil. Add bok choy stems and ½ cup water and stir fry, approximately 7 minutes.  Add leaves and cook until limp.

In a separate wok (or pan), heat 3 Tbsp oil.  Stir fry ginger root and garlic until fragrant.  Add chicken and stir fry until cooked. Add Sauce, turn heat to high and stir quickly to mix.

Remove and mix with bok choy.

MY NOTES: As I mentioned, this recipe is adapted from the original. One of the main things I did was the step about separating the bok choy stems and leaves. I found when I added them both at the same time, either the stems would not get cooked enough or the leaves would become mush. Separating them might take a little more time, but this recipe is so quick anyway, it is worth it. I also removed the salt from the recipe, as it seemed very unnecessary, especially when you have soy sauce or tamari. Personally, I only use tamari, as the sodium is much lower and it is 100% soy, where as “soy sauce” often contains wheat, so isn’t edible for gluten free folks out there. Additionally, while the original calls for thighs or legs, I usually use chicken breast, and I often add more garlic and ginger. In a pinch, if I forget to get fresh ginger, ground does work, though I usually don’t add it until I add the chicken. When selecting the oil you will cook with, be sure to choose an oil suitable for cooking on medium to high heat (higher smoke point), like refined canola.

This summer when I was home visiting my family, we made this recipe, but were a little short on bok choy, so we increased the veggie volume with a few peas and celery. This last time, I threw in a little cabbage left from another recipe. You can definitely experiment with adding additional veggies, though I would stay away from things that have really strong or contrasting flavor (like sweet bell peppers). The bok choy flavor is rather delicate, and you might lose some of what really makes this recipe enjoyable. Of course, this is all up to personal tastes.

I’ve shared this recipe with friends and family probably more than any other on my favorites list, and I hope you enjoy it too!

August 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm 1 comment


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