Far more than cookbooks, I use my fellow bloggers as inspiration to try some new recipes and find new favorites. Every so often, a recipe from a food blog will make it to our hit-list, and go into routine circulation on our dinner menu. Here are some of my recent "finds":
1. My introduction to chard: I love eating my greens. Always have. Eating in the cafeteria in my hostel in college, I was the one person who would enthusiastically eat up the weekly serving of mystery-greens-in-a-mush (Am I right, M?). However, cooking with greens is another story: anything other than the familiar spinach intimidates me. So was it with chard. Those huge stalks and oversize leaves...what do you make with it? I jumped for joy when Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries posted her recipe for vegetarian enchiladas. The filling called for chard, corn and black beans. I followed Barbara's recipe for the filling, but used store-bought corn tortillas and my favorite tried-and-tested salsa verde recipe for the sauce. The result was wonderful: the chard tasted fresh and "green" without being bitter or overwhelming. Overall, the enchiladas were so tasty and healthy! The amounts suggested in the recipe made two whole dinners for V and me. I am dying to try chard in more dishes, so let me know if you have a suggestion.
2. One of every two nights, dinner at my home is some-form-of-rice with some-form-of-beans, and I am constantly looking for fresh ideas for cooking dal or beans. One recipe from Shammi's Food-In the Main caught my eye: it used one of my favorite beans- black-eyed peas. Shammi's black-eyes peas in yogurt sauce was easy to make, looked pretty and tasted sublime. Like all of Shammi's recipes that I have tried so far!
3. The next two dal dishes come from Sailu's excellent round-up of the foodie event "Jihva for Ingredients 3". Dozens of bloggers churned out some inspiring (and inspired) dishes using lentils, and I have my eye on trying on most of them. The first recipe I tried was from the host, Sailu, herself. I am always looking for good recipes for classic dishes, and dal makhani (translated as buttery lentils) is probably the the best example of a stereotyped classic Indian entree. Sailu's recipe for dal makhani was an instant hit: with the combination of lentils and kidney beans, a rich creamy sauce of tomatoes, onion, subtle spices, anointed with butter and cream; this dish is enough to make any dinner special!
4. This is the other hit from the dal round-up: I seem to be on a chana dal binge, and the dalcha recipe from Nabeela of Trial and Error looked intriguing and tempting. Since summer squash is in season right now, I used some beautiful yellow squash in place of the gourd in the dalcha recipe. I served the dalcha with rice that had caramelized onions stirred into it. The result was terrific!
5. To end this round-up, a simple and tasty dish from Gini-Ann of Salt and Pepper: a radish pachadi or yogurt relish that is perfect for summer. Gini, who has a green thumb indeed, used beautiful radishes from her own garden, while I had to resign myself to radishes grown by someone else (in new jersey, though, so it was close to home). This whole summer, I have been buying radishes almost every week: to be used in a simple mixed salad, or to be added to sambar, an idea I first got from Indira of Mahanandi. Gini's recipe is now another favorite: radishes (with some radish greens) sauteed lightly to bring out their sweetness, then dressed with a tempered yogurt sauce. Absolutely divine!
Finally, some of you were interested in taking a look at my *tiny* kitchen, where all the food on One Hot Stove gets made. Here it is:
The kitchen has been carved out of the niche that is the coat closet in normal (which is to say, non-NYC) apartments. So, to the right of this photo is the front door, and to the left is the living room. The kitchen contains three electric burners (two of which work), a small oven (good thing I never have to roast turkeys), and the only counter space is that between the knife rack and the dish drainer. Whenever I try to use a rolling pin in this counter space, I have to hold it at the diagonal across the space, otherwise I either hit the wall or knock the dish tray on the floor! Across from this niche is a wall which hold a little spice rack, and that is the sum total of my kitchen (fridge, toaster oven and microwave are scattered in the living room).
I happen to love this kitchen, though, and I have been cooking meals for 20 people here for years. If there is anyone out there who complains that they don't cook because their kitchen is too small, y'all know it is just an excuse :) !!
In a few months, I will be moving to another city and a bigger kitchen where I can hold my rolling pin any damn way I please, and I won't lie to you: I'm excited about that :)