Monday, July 26, 2010

BB5 Round-up, A Bonus Sandwich, and on to BB6

The challenge this month was to try a sandwich or wrap from another blog, and here are the delightful recipes that made it to the party-

Cool, juicy, sweet and salty- SS (SS blogs here): Lettuce wraps with sprouts salad. Inspired by Manjula's Kitchen.

A frankie by any other name would taste as divine- Aquadaze (Served with Love): Chicken egg kathi rolls. Inspired by Bong Mom's Cookbook.

She would be quite happy eating this every single night- Sana Hurzuk (Everybunny loved food): Grilled chicken wraps with tahini sauce. Inspired by Annie's Eats and Syrian Foodie in London.

Spice up a picnic- Priya (Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes): Gobi tikka wrap. Inspired by Authentic Food Delights.

What to make when you have 4 cauliflowers on hand- Veena (Veg Junction): Cauliflower tikka wrap. Inspired by Authentic Food Delights.

A light meal comes to the rescue on a hot day- Bhagyashri (Taste Buds): Spicy red kidney bean wrap. Inspired by Sailu's Kitchen.

Beans dress up in their summer best- Nupur (One Hot Stove): Rajma wrap. Inspired by Sailu's Kitchen.

A tasty way to eat your plant protein- Melissa (Her Green Life): Open-faced lentil sandwiches. Inspired by Show Me Vegan. YAY for St. Louis blogs :)

Pesto works with everything- Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal (Mharo Rajasthan's Recipes): Cheese pesto sandwich with veggie pattie and veggies. Inspired by US Masala.

She's not a sandwich person but took the challenge anyway- Denny (Oh Taste N See): Indianized grilled cheese sandwich. Inspired by One Hot Stove.

How a really good loaf of bread can transform a sandwich- JK (The Gujju Ben Cooks): Italian style pesto sandwiches. Inspired by One Hot Stove.

Using Farmers' Market finds- Yummy 4 Tummy: Portobello mushroom sandwich. Inspired by Veggie Belly.

The burger is kicked up a notch- Denny (Oh Taste N See): Hot Tamale Burger. Inspired by Tasty Palettes.

There's no such thing as too many carbs- Latha (A Peek Into My Kitchen): Potato-sago burger. Inspired by Wake Up and Smell the Masala.

I want to thank all the participants for sharing the sandwich/wrap love and giving me a few fresh ideas in the process.

* * *

Here is a simple sandwich I made this weekend for my trivia team- if you use fresh, good bread and a creamy filling, the sandwiches are gobbled up in minutes.

I made the bread from this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website. By now, I've made this recipe a few times and it is a keeper. Oats make the bread very soft and tasty. I like cutting it into very thin slices.

The spread: 1 can of white beans (drained and rinsed), 1 bunch cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, olive oil to process the mixture into a thick paste.

The filling: fresh cucumbers and red peppers.

* * *
For the next round of Blog Bites, BB6, I'm keeping it very simple.

BB6 is the Potluck Edition.

Try a recipe from another blog, and it can be anything you like, there is no theme this month. Here's our chance to sift through the bookmarks and try some recipes that have caught our eye while blog-hopping. In true potluck style, the round-up will contain a mish-mash of dishes, cuisines and flavors, and there will be something for everyone.

The Rules
  1. From now until August 25, look through your favorite blogs and try out ANY recipe. The recipe has to come from another blog. This is the whole premise of the Blog Bites event, so please turn to other blogs for inspiration.
  2. Write a post telling us about the recipe you tried, with the following: (a) A link to the recipe on the inspiring blog, (b) A link to this post announcing the event (c) Picture of your dish.
  3. Please do not copy a recipe word for word from another blog- that would be both illegal and unethical. Either re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply add a link to the recipe. One of the reasons I am hosting this event is to promote the idea of cooking from blogs while giving them due credit.
  4. Please make sure your entry meets all the rules above. Then, send me the link (URL) of your entry, either by leaving a comment on this post, or using the contact form. You can send in as many entries as you like.
  5. I will acknowledge the entries you send in by leaving a comment on your post and thanking you for the entry within 2-3 days. Check back on August 26 to see the round-up.
Thank you for your participation!

All this week, I am busy moving to another neighborhood. Regular programming on One Hot Stove will resume from my new kitchen in a week or so. Have a lovely week, everyone.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rajma Wrap

Dried beans and legumes are the "little black dress" of my kitchen. Keep them in your pantry and they can emerge dressed up for a feast or dressed down for an everyday lunch, and everything in between. 

In this recipe, kidney beans are decked out in their summer best, wrapped in a light wheat tortilla along with cool yogurt, fresh greens and sweet tomatoes. The inspiration for this wrap came from the curried kidney bean wrap from Sailu's Kitchen. You could think of this as an Indian burrito. 

I took Sailu's idea and changed it to fit the ingredients in my kitchen, and the fresh loot from the Farmers' Market, including the sweetest, ripest cherry tomatoes. This is a very flexible and forgiving recipe, as you can imagine.

Kidney Bean Wraps

A. Make the filling:

1. Heat some oil, and saute 1 small minced onion.

2. Add and saute:
  • 1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. cumin-coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. kasuri methi
  • turmeric and red chilli powder to taste
  • salt to taste
3. Add and stir fry on open heat until the mixture is quite dry
  • 3 tbsp. tomato ketchup
  • 2 chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 4 cups cooked kidney beans 
4. Turn off the heat, and add
  • a dash of garam masala
  • plenty of chopped fresh cilantro

B. Assemble the wrap:
  • For the base, you can use store-bought tortillas, pitas or other flatbreads. I love the whole wheat tortillas from Trader Joe's. Leftover (or freshly made) rotis or chapatis would be wonderful too. 
  • To the flatbread, add some kidney bean filling, dollops of thick Greek yogurt (or strained yogurt or sour cream), and your choice of fresh vegetables, including fresh greens, quartered cherry tomatoes, sliced onion etc. 
  • For those who love spicy food, some green chilli chutney would be right at home here. This wrap is very reminiscent of those frankies I love to devour every time I get a chance.

Because this recipe is inspired by a fellow blogger, it goes to this month's Blog Bites: Sandwiches and Wraps, hosted right here on this blog. If you would like to participate, send in an entry in the next couple of weeks.

Speaking of frankies and street food, I am teaching a class on Indian street food at the wonderful Kitchen Conservatory on Sunday, July 25th- two weeks from now. If you or someone you know might be interested, please contact me for details.

* Talking Trash * 

I am looking to set up a compost bin in a couple of weeks, and getting unduly excited about it. Once all the compostable material is removed from our weekly trash, there is so little left, so setting up a good composting system is a top priority in reducing the amount of trash my household produces.

My two criteria are, (a) it should be a container system rather than a pit I dig up in the yard, because I don't want to deal with the hassles of dogs and assorted critters getting into the pile, (b) I want to use some biological prowess- be it worms or bacteria- to speed up the composting process.

Right now, the top contender in my mind is the Bokashi method. Any and all kitchen waste is pickled using anaerobic bacteria, then the fermented mass is buried in soil for a few weeks to make rich compost.

There is a wealth of information out there on websites and in books and it can be overwhelming. Do you compost your kitchen waste? If yes, do you mind sharing your experiences with me, especially with small-scale container composting? Thank you for your time!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

We had a cozy pizza & cake party on the holiday weekend. Chocolate and peanut butter seems to be an ever-popular flavor combination around here, so I dug into the bookmarks and found the perfect recipe to try- peanut butter cup chocolate cake from Baking Bites. The recipe looked suspiciously simple. Aren't layer cakes supposed to be a pain to make?

To make it just a bit more complicated, I decided to make some crunchy candied peanuts as a topping for my cake. The recipe is from David Lebovitz and I followed it quite faithfully. In a heavy metal pan went raw peanuts (with pink skins on, the ones I buy in the Indian store), sugar and some water. Then it is a matter of stir, stir and stir again for nearly 30 minutes until the peanuts are coated in dark caramel and some grainy sugar. A final generous sprinkle of sea salt, cinnamon and red chilli powder, and the candied peanuts were poured onto a baking sheet to cool off.

We used some for the cake, as you will see later, and the rest became a too-tasty, addictive snack.

Now for the cake, which happens to be eggless, and the whole thing, cake and frosting, only used a stick of butter in all. Nice. Again, I followed the recipe closely. My only modifications:

  • Cut down sugar by a third of a cup.
  • Baked the batter in 2 cake pans, which needed only 20 minutes or so baking time since the cakes were not as tall.
  • Used powdered buttermilk.

Then came the frosting: crunchy peanut butter, unsalted butter, icing sugar, tiny bit of salt and milk. Spread frosting on one layer...

...slap on the other layer. Drizzle generously with melted chocolate (I used a combination of milk and dark) and scatter the candied peanuts.

Gooey, messy and oh so good. With this cake, I can finally use the words "layer cake" and "quick and easy" in the same sentence. This one is a keeper.

* * *
I've loved participating in food blog events ever since I started writing this blog. Now, Jacqueline has started a great new website to keep us all informed about the fun events being hosted every month- it is called The Food Blog Diary. I want to thank her for including the Blog Bites: Sandwiches and Wraps in the July line-up.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Summer Fare: Raw Pasta Sauce

While the blog has been rather quiet this past week, real life has been busy and productive. I passed my road test and finally renewed the drivers' license, something I had been putting off for way too long.

My new job starts in just 3 days and I know it will take a while to adjust to the new schedule. But this blog brings me a lot of joy and is an ongoing diary of my food-centric life; I don't want it to fall silent. The plan is to try and update the blog once a week or so, perhaps with shorter posts.

To commute to work, and go around town for errands, and for riding in the park, I bought myself a bike yesterday-

Believe it or not, it has been 11 whole years since I last rode a bicycle (a trusty red BSA SLR bike is what I used from middle school right past college). Turns out it is true what they say about riding a bike- you don't forget once you learn. I hopped on and rode confidently. Got any suggestions for what I should name my new bike?

I have to give a BIG shout-out to our friend Mike Weiss of Big Shark Bicycle Company and his team for being absolutely terrific and helping me pick out a sturdy and affordable bike that fits my needs. I love supporting independent local businesses, especially ones where they so obviously love what they do, and when they show their customers the love. They even tried to convince me that I don't look dorky (or dorkier than I usually do) in a bike helmet.

Meanwhile, the weather in St. Louis has been picture perfect. We have been gorging ourselves silly on summer produce, throwing together meals with the loot from the Farmers' Markets and consuming them without pausing for blog pictures. Last night I finally remembered to grab the camera.

This is what we enjoyed yesterday- whole wheat spaghetti with a raw pasta sauce, or salsa cruda, that simply captures the essence of summer. No cook recipes are always welcome in summer, although you will have to turn the stove on to cook the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, grab a big bowl and toss in ingredients to make the sauce. A gourmet meal awaits you in 11.5 minutes. This is not an exact recipe, just a general method that you can tweak to your heart's content. Because it is such a simple recipe, the quality of ingredients matters even more than usual, so please use the best seasonal produce you can find.

Raw Pasta Sauce 
Salsa Cruda

1. Start boiling salted water for pasta. When it comes to a rolling boil, cook whole-wheat spaghetti until al dente, then drain the spaghetti.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large bowl, mix the following-
  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large ripe fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 cup olives, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp. basil-walnut pesto
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, cut in chiffonade
  • Hefty pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Plenty of salt and pepper
3. Toss the cooked spaghetti with the sauce. Top with grated parmesan cheese and serve.

I'm sending this recipe to Presto Pasta Night, hosted at Fuss Free Flavors this week. This event is your one-stop shop for pasta inspiration for every season.

Neighbor Girl made this side dish to go with the spaghetti, again, something stunningly simple and completely delicious. This did not even make it to the table, everyone (except me- I don't do goat cheese) grabbed it in the kitchen and ate it standing up.

  • Halve and pit fresh apricots.
  • Grill them, or sear them on a pan with some butter, making sure to sear both sides.
  • Place the apricots cut side up on a plate, fill the centers with your choice of cheese (she chose a crumbled goat cheese) and drizzle with balsamic vinegar
To all my friends in the USA, happy Independence Day weekend! What are you doing this weekend?