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Tag Archives: recipe

Coriander Potatoes

18 Oct

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I am very sorry to have to tell you this, but I have been holding out on you. For a few months now, I have been in possession of the simplest, most delicious side dish known to all of humankind, and I have not, as yet, shared it with you. There is no excuse for this, particularly when this recipe takes under 20 minutes to prepare, contains only a few simple ingredients, and is, I have delightfully discovered, so popular with those pickiest of eaters—children—that is disappears almost as quickly as a slice of chocolate cake. Almost. Not quite. This is a potato dish, mind you, not a plate of miracles.

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Inspired by my son’s favorite side dish at a nearby Lebanese restaurant, the potatoes are perfectly warm with coriander, spiked with a bit of fresh chiles, and tinged with just enough garlic to make them interesting, but not dangerous. I can’t recommend enough that you make this side dish a last-minute staple at your house, as it has become at ours.

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Last Year: Cheddar, Apple, and Poppy Seed Scones and Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Coriander Potatoes

1 ½ pounds potatoes (I use Russet, but I imagine a waxier potato would work just fine here as well), peeled and diced into ½-inch chunks

¼ cup olive oil, or a mixture of 2 tablespoons of olive oil mixed with 2 tablespoons of ghee

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 small chile (a Serrano works well here), sliced into thin strips or rings (seeds and ribs removed if you desire less heat)

salt to taste

sprinkling of chopped fresh Italian parsley

Heat olive oil (or olive oil and ghee mixture) in a large pan set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the coriander and allow it to sizzle and brown for 10 seconds. Add the potatoes, stir to combine with coriander and oil, then cover, lower heat to medium, and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until potatoes have just begun to soften. Add the minced garlic on top of the potatoes, but don’t stir to combine. Place lid back over potatoes, and cook for another 3 minutes. Add sliced chile, stir to combine, and cook for an additional 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add salt to taste, then sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 6 to 8 people as a generous side dish.

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Green Tomato Pakoras

30 Sep

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Well, it happened. I’ve been wearing boots for the past week—a very rainy week, I might add—which can only signal that summer is officially over, and it’s time to buckle down and prepare our nests for the long, grey days of autumn and winter. And spring. And part of summer. But who’s counting?

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In anticipation of our summer plans that would keep us away from home for most of July and August, we planted a rather modest vegetable garden this year. Our main garden component was tomatoes, and we were able to harvest a really nice crop after our return, which made for a lovely welcome back home. The tomato plants were still going strong as of about a week and a half ago, but with the cold weather sitting on top of us, it is obvious that the plump green tomatoes holding onto each vine have absolutely no chance of ever ripening. This, of course, is not a bad thing, particularly if you are as big of a fan of green tomatoes as I am.

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I wanted to experiment with more ways to enjoy green tomatoes (aside from the ubiquitous—and delicious—fried green tomatoes), so, as I am wont to do when faced with a challenge, I turned to my Indian roots in the name of experimentation. It took me about five seconds to realize that my crop of green tomatoes was practically begging to be drenched in a spicy besan batter and pan fried into golden and crisp green tomato pakoras. I’ve made a few types of pakoras over the years, and I have to admit, I think these right here are my hands down favorites. In addition to using besan (chickpea flour) in the pakora batter, I added a bit of rice flour for an added lightness and crispness, and, in the interest of pumping up the mild flavor of the green tomatoes, I added a finely diced chile to the batter. The end result is nothing short of dreamy. With a stash of green tomatoes to keep me company, it almost makes me not so sad that summer has come to a close.

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Last Year: Homemade Multigrain CrackersCheddar Apple Cornmeal Bread, and Apple and Toasted Oat Cookies with Penuche Frosting –is anyone else noticing that all of these recipes practically scream “AUTUMN!”?

Green Tomato Pakoras

¾ cup besan (garbanzo bean flour, also called gram flour)

½ cup rice flour

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 small chile, finely minced, seeds removed if you are concerned about spiciness

3 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

¾ to 1 cup water

3 to 4 large to medium-sized green tomatoes, sliced into rounds

vegetable oil

ghee (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together besan, rice flour, dried spices, chile, cilantro, and salt. Stir the grated ginger into ¾ of a cup of water, then slowly whisk the water into the besan mixture. You want your pakora batter to be thicker than pancake batter, but not so stiff that it clumps over the tomato slices. If your batter seems to thick, slowly whisk in the remaining ¼ cup of water until the batter lightens up a bit.

In a large, heavy skillet (cast iron works very well here) set over medium high heat, pour in about ¼ inch of vegetable oil, or a mixture of vegetable oil and ghee. Heat the oil until a pinch of batter dropped into it immediately begins to sizzle.

Using your fingers (seriously, don’t even bother with tongs or a fork here—fingers just work so much better), coat three or four tomato slices at a time in the besan batter. Gently place the tomato slices in the hot oil. They should sizzle and bubble immediately. Cook the tomato pakoras for about 3 minutes on each side, give or take, until the batter is deep golden brown and quite crisp. Remove tomato pakoras to a wire rack lined with a double layer of paper towels.

Serve pakoras warm or hot, with chutney or raita.

Serves 4 to 6 people as an appetizer.

Super Seed Bread

20 Sep

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I always assumed that there were approximately zero things I enjoyed about the end of summer—goodbye sunshine, warm weather, long sunlit days, eating dinner outside, picnicking, ice cream in the afternoon…need I go on?—but this morning, the first morning so far this school year that I have worn a scarf while taking my son to school, it occurred to me that there is, in fact one thing I enjoy about summer’s end. I get to start baking bread again.

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There are many people, of course, who take kindly to baking bread year round, and I wholeheartedly salute those people. But it remains a fact that I am simply not one of those people. During the summer, I prefer to not turn on my oven, and instead make a concerted effort to concoct all of our meals via the magic of a cutting board, a salad bowl, a grill, and/or a single burner on the stove. Eventually, come autumn, when the weather takes on its inevitable chill, and keeps that chill for the better part of eight months, the oven will come on, and stay on, producing breads and baked goods aplenty.

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I baked this particular loaf of bread before summer officially began in Portland. The weather was still rather chilly, and I was craving the comfort of a freshly baked loaf of hearty bread to keep me company. Packed with every type of seed I could find in the house, this is a bread for the ages. It is great for sandwiches, perfect as toast, and it will fast become your best friend if swiped with a touch of salted butter and drizzled with a wisp of honey. Best of all, however, is the fact that this bread seems to beckon people, particularly children, with its heavenly aroma and nutty bite, so, really, you won’t ever find yourself with simply the bread alone to keep you company.

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Last Year: Perfect Oven Fries with Truffle Salt and Lemon Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

Super Seed Bread

Scant ½ cup warm water

2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons honey-divided

¾ cup warm milk

1 tablespoon unsalted melted butter

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for kneading

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

plus more pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for top

vegetable oil, for brushing over the top

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the warm water with the yeast and one tablespoon of the honey. Stir to dissolve, then allow to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, until nice and foamy.

In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the warm milk, the remaining tablespoon of honey, the butter, and the yeast mixture. Stir to combine, then add 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, all of the whole wheat flour, salt, and the sunflower, pumpkin, poppy, and sesame seeds. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes (3 minutes with a stand mixer, 5 if mixing by hand), until a smooth dough forms. Lower speed to medium low, and continue to beat the mixture while adding the remaining 1 cup of flour, 1/3 of a cup at a time, until the dough becomes shaggy.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface or, if mixing the dough in a stand mixer, replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and silky, adding just a teaspoon or so of flour if the dough is too sticky to knead. If kneading by hand, you’ll work with the dough for 5 to 6 minutes. If kneading with a stand mixer set on a lower speed, your kneading should be complete in 3 or 4 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball, then place in a greased bowl to rise. Make sure that every part of the dough gets greased at least a little bit, lest it stick to the bowl as it rises. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, a large lid, or a moist towel, and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour to 1.5 hours.

Carefully deflate the dough, then turn out onto a well floured surface. Grease a 9” by 5” loaf pan. Form the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 9” wide and 6” tall. Roll the dough into a tight loaf, pinching the seam closed at the end. Lightly brush or spray the loaf with just a bit of vegetable oil. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon each of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds on your work surface, then roll the greased loaf in the seeds, covering as much of the loaf as possible.

Place the loaf in the greased 9” by 5” pan, cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough has reached at least 1 inch above the rim of the pan, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the bread in the center of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the bread has an internal temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 1 loaf.

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