For my birthday Ambre got me the fantastic Baking Steel so that I may make a decent pizza after a disastrous attempt a few months ago. I can safely say, as you can see below, the results speak for themselves. Sauced with Cooks Illustrated No-Cook Pizza sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese. Pizza dough made by Trader Joes.
As it seemingly has become a tradition in this household, tonight was Indian night. This recipe was pulled from Lord Krishna’s Cuisine, a thick tome of an Indian cookbook. It was very easy(another pattern?). I sauteed whole spices and ginger, then browned pieces of cauliflower and potatoes, then added quartered tomatoes and another mix of spices, covered and steamed, until tender. Ambre thought the cauliflower was perfectly cooked and was better than Wegmans dish that inspired her to choose this recipe. My third revision of my Roti recipe worked great as well, less water, better workability. Overall, a welcome success from the first recipe we chose in this cookbook.
Or Zucchini Boats as Ambre called them. Carved out Zucchinis that are roasted and stuffed with sauteed onions, black beans, garlic, roasted red potato, tomatoes, shredded Monterey jack and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Topped with more Monterey. Though I took my time for this first attempt at this recipe, it was easy and quick to make. Additionally, I think Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce is an ingredient that needs to be used more frequently. They posses a very complex (and hot) smoky flavor that is delicious; I found myself licking the spoon more than a few times. Ambre thought the dish was amazing. It was. In her own words: “These make my mouth happy.”
Last night, Ambre and I spent most of the usual allotted cooking time doing some much needed grocery shopping. Therefore I decreed we eat a fast and simple meal: Zesty Ravioli. Utilizing canned diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, frozen cheese stuffed ravioli, fresh spinach and some heavy cream produces a very tasty and very quick meal. The original recipe calls on Jalapeno to add the zest but I found that since the heat varies much between each Jalapeno, it is much easier on the cook to use cayenne pepper and get an effect just as good.
Tonight I made a new Indian recipe – vegetable korma. My inspiration came from our recently purchased thali dish set. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to use the dishes since we are waging a war of attrition against the poor quality stickers that won’t come off of them. I again prepared roti, but this time with salt and a blend of flours (whole wheat and all-purpose). I made some simple basmati rice with a few cumin seeds sprinkled in (even though Ambre no longer eats rice after her trip to the Philippines). It was a good excuse to use my fancy Japanese rice cooker that usually just sits on the shelf and serves as a clock.
The korma consisted of a blend of Indian spices, toasted to bring out the flavor, and bite size pieces of cauliflower, broccoli, and green beans. The recipe calls for paneer, ginger, green chile, and a few other vegetables that I didn’t incorporate this time around. All of the veggies got tied together with a milk and cornstarch “gravy.” Next time, I won’t use green beans since I didn’t think they complemented the other veggies well. And Ambre said the crushed coriander seeds were too coarse for her liking so I will try to find coriander powder or find another way of grinding the seeds. Overall, the korma was very authentic-tasting and it felt like we were eating dinner on a different continent, far removed from most American cuisine. Success!
I am filling in for Tristan tonight. We ran together for the first time in a few weeks and he was so tired afterwards that he didn’t even feel like he had the energy to eat what he cooked for dinner-let alone post to the blog. Tonight he made a dish that I selected from one of our vegetarian cookbooks. The dish, stuffed peppers, was pretty simple to execute: steam the peppers, make the filling (mozzarella, corn, bread crumbs, tomatoes, scallions), fill the peppers, and bake for 25 minutes. These were so fresh-tasting and made a delicious summer meal! The only improvement we could have made would have been to use fresh local tomatoes; instead, we only had store bought tomatoes (from Holland of all places) on hand. Next time we make these, I would love to use some pepper jack cheese and chili powder to try and spice things up a bit.
For his birthday Tristan was given a wonderful chef coat from my mother. He finally had a chance to model it this week. It’s a professional coat with tons of pockets and his name embroidered in maroon! Doesn’t he look good? I decided to model, too. I especially loved the ridiculous, but very effective, onion glasses I got for him!