Sunday, December 30, 2007

Post #53b - Stuffed Grape Leaves, Part II

I took the rest of the cooked Himalayan red rice I made earlier, and mixed it with diced tomato, cucumber, feta, s&p, lemon juice, olive oil & sumac. Best at room temperature.

For the remainder of my grape leaves, here's what we did:

1 jar grape leaves
1 lb ground beef (lamb would most likely be better)
1/2 c white rice
1 egg white
few T chopped parsley
1/2 t dried basil
1 1/2 t salt
garlic powder

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop in the leaves (don't worry about separating them), return the water to a boil, then turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drain, then refill the pot with cold water and add the leaves. Let them sit until you're ready.

Mix up everything else.

Trim the stems from the leaves, unless you like chomping on undigestible greenery.

Lay a leaf out flat, and place a heaping teaspoon of filling near the stem end. Fold up one bottom leaf-lobe, then the other. Then fold in the sides, then roll up like a burrito. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Fill a large pot with about an inch or so of water. Place a plate in the pot. Place the dolmades on the plate, making them snuggle together so they don't come unwrapped. More than one layer is ok. Cover with any remaining grape leaves, then with another plate. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender, maybe 45 minutes (I wasn't really paying attention to time).

We served these with hummus and pita. Next time I'd probably cut back on the filling a little, because at times the grape leaf flavor got lost, and it felt like eating a meatball.

Post #54 - Spicy Green Chutney

I came across this recipe on Culinate for cilantro chutney. Sounded good, so I decided to give it a go. I left out the mint and upped the cilantro, because I think mint is unnecessary in food.

I had a little trouble, however. My mini-food-processor apparently couldn't handle it, and the motor burned up. So I tried the blender. That didn't work either, I think the volume was too small. Mortar & pestle? Nope. Endless chopping and smooshing? Closer. I ended up using my metal meat tenderizer - you know, flat on one end and spiky-pointy on the other. Very good for mutilating vegetable matter.

But because of all that, I wasn't able to get the recommended puree. (Hint to husband: a wet grinder would be nice.)

Here's the Culinate picture:

And here's mine:

Lack of puree notwithstanding, the flavor is incredible. Scooped on a tortilla chip like salsa - yum. Stirred into pinto beans from El Pollo Loco - amazing. It would probably be really good on top of fish, and I'm thinking that I could up the coconut content and use it to coat shrimp before pan-frying. Oh the possibilities...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Post #53 - Stuffed Grape Leaves

I bought a jar of Reese grape leaves a while back on a whim, and they've been sitting in my cupboard ever since, waiting for inspiration to slap me in the back of the head.

Well, tonight, my head suffered a resounding slap after I cooked up the last of my Himalayan Red Rice.

I rinsed a leaf, then stuffed it with some of the rice mixed with feta, olive oil, salt and pepper, rolled the whole thing up like a mini burrito, then steamed it for about 30 minutes.

Picture from the evil jungle prince blog. Check out his other pictures from the post on dolmades - I'm jealous!

Not bad for a first try, next time I'm going to add either some lemon juice or some red wine vinegar to counteract the starchiness of the rice and the richness of the feta and olive oil. And I'll probably steam it longer, maybe another 20 minutes, or maybe boil them first, as suggested by this recipe from Spicetart, because the leaf was still a bit chewy.

And by the way, if you ever buy a jar of grape leaves, there's no way you can remove just one - they're all rolled up together, and the whole mass of them comes out at once!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Post #52 - Post-Christmas Leftovers

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Our dinner consisted of tamales (from Tamales Ancira in Escondido), chili verde, and adobo.

Which brings up a question - do you put tomato sauce in your adobo? My husband's great-grandfather was Filipino, and put tomato sauce in his. But every recipe I've seen online (save one) is tomato-sauce-less. I'm thinking it's a Mexican influence, since the other part of my husband's family is Mexican. Then there's the names - adobado is Mexican, adobo is Filipino. Anyone have any ideas?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Post #51 - Merry Bordeaux

Is it wrong to drink before noon?

Not if it's a 2005 Chateau Ballan-Larquette Bordeaux on Christmas morning.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Twisted Christmas Humor

For those of you with a sick sense of humor...

Presents opening children:

Post #50 - Foodie Blogroll

Check out my hundreds of new friends on the Foodie Blogroll!

Look just below my archives on the right. I'll wait... Took a while to scroll through, didn't it?

Thanks to the Leftover Queen. If you're interested in joining, click below.

Foodie Blogroll

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Post #49 - Bourdain vs Food Network

I came across this interesting exchange between Bourdain and Ruhlman at B&N in NY at Profumo Profondo today.

So it looks like FN owns A Cook's Tour completely, and that Bourdain isn't in on the reprisal...

My favorite quote is the comparison of Guy Fieri to chlamydia. I don't like his shows, but I wouldn't go that far. Seems like Miss Yum-O is much more infectious.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Post #48 - Chili Beans

This is my husband's ex-mother-in-law's recipe for chili beans.

2 large cans of Sun Vista pinto beans
"lots" of California chili powder - I'm guessing he means about 2T
oregano - we used Mexican, but he says Italian is better - about 3/4 teaspoon
"itty bit" of cumin - about 1/4 teaspoon
some Lawry's
some garlic powder
1 serrano, cut in half, seeds left in
1 to 1.5 lbs ground beef
1/2 large brown onion
"tons" of garlic - it looked like about 8 cloves

Combine the beans, chili powder, oregano, cumin, Lawry's, garlic powder and serrano in a large Dutch oven. (Check out my orange Descoware!) Bring to a simmer.

In a separate large skillet, sauté the ground beef and onion until the beef is almost cooked through. Add the garlic, sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Drain the grease if you'd like. Dump into the pot o' beans. Let cook for about an hour, adding water if it starts getting too thick. Be careful when stirring (occasionally) so you don't smoosh up the beans.

Serve with shredded cheddar, sour cream and cilantro on top, ideally with jalapeño cornbread, or with chips, or stale bread, or whatever carbohydrate you have on hand.

I had planned on taking a picture of the finished dish, but we ate it all before I had a chance!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Post #47 - Bourdain Returns to the Food Network? What the @&$%*(!

I just read this, and I'm not sure I can believe it.

After all the things he's said about the network and the chefs?


Update 12/15/07:
Apparently in my shock, I missed the part about how they're airing the original episodes (thanks Jo). So does that mean that Food Network owns the sole rights to the show and knows that by airing the episodes, they'll get people to come back? Or that Bourdain owns at least part of the show, and let the Network re-air for a certain price? I wonder how many of the 7 deadly sins are represented by this whole story...

Post #46 - Avocados!!! Part III

I had planned on turning the 3rd avocado into a salad dressing for some romaine.

But when I walked into my kitchen, I saw this:

I put away my knife. Made a sandwich. Sans avocado.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Post #45 - Avocados!! (Part II)

The 2nd avocado (see previous post) turned into a BLT with avocado and sliced Hungarian peppers. No picture because I didn't want to lose the warmth of the toast and bacon, which were miraculously done at the same time (I typically suck at kitchen timing).

Wonder what I should do with avocado #3...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Post #44 - Avocados!

Free avocados! Yay!

Don't know what variety, they came from a tree in my friend's yard. The one on the left ended up in shrimp ceviche.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Post #43 - I Hate It When The Last Piece Sucks

I made my favorite asparagus tonight (I know it's out-of-season, but it was $2 a pound, and I couldn't resist).

Toss asparagus with olive oil and black pepper.
Roast at 400 degrees until it's the texture you like.
Toss with a little bit of butter, and equal amounts of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.

I was thoroughly enjoying my asparagus, right down to the last bite. Literally. The last piece tasted funny, completely negating my previous enjoyment.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Post #42 - Turkey Pot Pie

Yes, we're all sick of leftover turkey. But since I'm cleaning out my freezer, and found a cooked turkey breast, I figured, why not make a pot pie?

Turkey Pot Pie:
(Recipe based on what I had and 2 recipes I found that look remarkably similar.)

3-4 c cooked turkey, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 red potatoes, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 c peas
3 cups turkey broth
3 T flour
3 T butter/oil

Melt the butter over medium heat, and saute the onions for ~10 minutes. Add the garlic, saute for 30 seconds. Add the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Slowly add in the broth, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and simmer 15 minutes until nicely thickened.

Add the potatoes, carrot and celery. Bring back to a boil, lower to a simmer, and simmer 25-30 minutes. Stir in the turkey and peas.

Divide the mixture into ramekins / pot pie thingies. Top with biscuit dough. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are done and the filling is hot.

Biscuit dough (stolen / adapted from Wandering Chopsticks):
2 c flour
1 t sugar
1 T baking powder
large pinch of salt
handful of chopped cilantro
1/2 c chilled butter, cubed
3/4 c buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Mix in the buttermilk. I can never mix biscuit dough with anything but my hands - but mix just until it comes together, otherwise the butter starts melting and you'll get tough biscuits.