Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cucumber Salad with Smashed Garlic and Ginger

A simple and refreshing salad, although it does require some planning. The CSA box has decided that I need sunflower oil and it adds a nice flavour to the dish, but other oils would certainly work.

Cucumber Salad with Smashed Garlic and Ginger (from Plenty)

1 small red onion, thinly sliced
15g ginger, peeled and sliced
1 tsp sea salt
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
4 small cucumbers (600g), peeled
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
3 tbsp chopped coriander
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1. Whisk together dressing ingredients in medium bowl. Add sliced red onion, mix well, and marinate 1 hour.
2. Place ginger and salt in mortar and pound. Add garlic and continue pounding until it is well crushed and broken into pieces. Scrape contents into bowl with onion and stir together.
3. Cut cucumber lengthways in half, then cut each half on an angle into 5mm thick slices. Add cucumber to bowl, followed by sesame seeds and coriander. Stir well and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Scallop Sauce with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Hot Pepper

This is a quick and easy pasta dish that's elegant enough to be a restaurant meal. If you use very tiny scallops, you don't need to cut them up.

Scallop Sauce with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Hot Pepper (from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking)

450g fresh bay or deep sea scallops
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp garlic chopped very fine
2 tbsp chopped parsley
chopped red chili pepper, to taste
450g spaghetti pasta
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs, lightly toasted

1. Wash scallops in cold water, pat dry, and cut into pieces 3/8" thick.
2. Put olive oil and garlic in saucepan, turn heat to medium, and cook stirring until garlic is light gold.
3. Add parsley and hot pepper and stir.
4. Add scallops and pinches of salt.
5. Turn heat up to high and cook for 1.5 minutes, stirring, until scallops lose their shine and turn flat white.
6. Toss with cooked drained spaghetti, add bread crumbs, toss again, and serve.

Wok-Seared Chicken with Mustard Greens and Spicy Soy Sauce

This dish seems a bit more Chinese to me than Indian, but the mix of flavours results in a rich, spicy dish. As a warning, I should mention I found this spicy and flavourful while having a massive head cold. This is definitely not a child-friendly dish.

Wok-Seared Chicken with Mustard Greens and Spicy Soy Sauce (from 660 Curries)

1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp five-spice powder
450g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 tbsp cornstarch
8 tbsp peanut or canola oil
225g mustard greens, rinsed, finely chopped, and patted dry
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 - 5 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, cut in half lenghtwise, stems removed
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
3 scallions, cut into 2" lengths

1. Stir tomato paste, soy sauce, salt, and five-spice powder together in small bowl.
2. Toss chicken and cornstarch together in medium bowl.
3. Heat wok or cast-iron skillet over high heat. Drizzle 2 tbsp oil down sides. Add chicken and stir-fry until chicken turns reddish-brown and is cooked through, 5 - 8 minutes. Transfer to plate.
4. Trickle 2 more tbsp of oil down wok, add half of mustard greens. Stir-fry until wilted, 2 - 4 minutes. Add to chicken. Repeat.
5. Drizzle remaining 2 tbsp oil into work and stir-fry garlic and chiles (may sure the area is ventilated). Add tomato paste mixture and stir to warm it, 30 seconds.
6. Return chicken and greens to wok and stir to combine, 2 - 4 minutes.
7. Stir in cilantro and scallions and serve.

Moghalai-Style Chicken with Spinach, Almonds, and Raisins

An easy and remarkably flavourful curry. This book continues to provide success after success with very little effort.

Moghalai-Style Chicken with Spinach, Almonds, and Raisins (from 660 Curries)

1/4 cup canola oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
900g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
1 tbsp Punjabi garam masala
2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
225g spinach leaves, well washed and finely chopped

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, raisins, and almonds and cook until onion softens and turns dark brown, 15 - 20 minutes.
2. Stir in chicken and cook until it sears and turns light brown, 8 - 10 minutes.
3. Stir in garam masala, salt, cayenne, and turmeric and cook for 20 - 30 seconds.
4. Stir in spinach and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through, 5 - 10 minutes.

Slow-Cooked Baby Potatoes in a Yogurt-Fennel Sauce

Potatoes are such a wonderful, versatile food that I never seem to get tired of cooking them. These little potatoes absorbed the flavours of the curry beautifully without drying out too much.

One year ago: Thai Fried Rice with Chicken and Basil

Slow-Cooked Baby Potatoes in a Yogurt-Fennel Sauce (from 660 Curries)

1/4 cup ghee or canola oil
900g baby potatoes, scrubbed and pierced in multiples spots with fork or knife
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp whole cloves
4 black cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
2 tsp ground Kashmiri chiles (or 1/2 tsp cayenned with 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika)
1 tsp Kashmiri garam masala
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp cayenne

1. Heat ghee in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and fry, stirring occasionally until skin shrivels and partially browns and just a bit tender, 12 - 15 minutes. Transfer to plate.
2. Sprinkle cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom pods, and bay leaves into skillet. Cook until spices perfume ghee, 15 - 30 seconds.
3. Add onion and stir-fry until honey brown, 5 - 8 minutes.
4. Add yogurt, fennel, ground chiles, garam masala, salt, and cayenne.
5. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until liquid has evaporated and a deep red film of ghee is starting to separate, 5 - 10 minutes.
6. Pour in 1 cup water and return potatoes to skillet. Stir, cover, and cook over medium-low heat, basting every 5 minutes until potatoes are tender, 1 - 1.5 hours.
7. Remove cardamom pods, bay leaves, and cloves and serve.

Kashmiri Garam Masala
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp black cumin seeds
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground mace
seeds from 4 black cardamom pods

1. Preheat small skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin and cinnamon and toast until brittle and fragrant, 1 - 2 minutes. Transfer to plate to cool.
2. Grind all spices together.

Sweet Pineapple with Coconut Milk and Coffee

I was suspicious of this dish, but intrigued enough to try it. The end result worked remarkably well. The final product is savoury and the flavours just meld together with the sweetness of the pineapple balancing the bitter coffee.

One year ago: Rabbit with Rosemary and White Wine

Sweet Pineapple with Coconut Milk and Coffee (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds
1 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tsp Untoasted Sri Lankan Curry Powder
2 tsp finely ground coffee
12 to 14 curry leaves
3 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1" cubes
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp cayenne

1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cover, and cook until the seeds have stopped popping.
2. Add onion and stir-fry until light brown around edges, 3 - 5 minutes.
3. Stir in curry powder, coffee, and curry leaves and cook until aromatic, 30 seconds.
4. Add pineapple, coconut milk, salt, and cayenne. Stir.
5. Once the curry comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally until cooked but still firm-looking, 30 minutes.

Untoasted Sri Lankan Curry Powder
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds from green or white pods
1/2 tsp nutmeg shavings
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces

Grind all ingredients together.

Almond Chicken with a Yogurt Mint Sauce

When the boy's mom came for a visit a couple of weeks ago, she brought with her a giant home-grown chicken. Rather than roasting the entire gigantic chicken whole, I decided to cut it up and turn it into a curry. You could also scale this recipe down and just make it with a couple of thighs or breasts. The end result was a mild curry with moist chicken. My chicken was gigantic so the cooking time was quite a bit longer than the recipe states.

One year ago: Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Berries

Almond Chicken with a Yogurt Mint Sauce (from 660 Curries)

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup slivered almonds
8 large garlic cloves
3 slices ginger (2" long, 1" wide, 1/8" thick)
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 chicken, skin removed and cut into 8 pieces
2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup firmly packed mint leaves, finely chopped

1. Pour yogurt into blender and add almonds, garlic, and ginger. Puree. Pour into medium bowl.
2. Combine coriander, mustard, and fennel in spice grinder. Pulverize until finely ground.
3. Pour spice blend into yogurt along with salt, cayenne, and cilantro. Add chicken to marinade and coat. Marinade at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Brown chicken in skillet, reserving marinade for later, and set aside.
5. Add onion and bay leaves to skillet and scrape browned bits in pan.
6. Pour 1/2 cup water into skillet along with reserved marinade. Bring to a boil.
7. Return chicken to skillet and pile onion on top of chicken.
8. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, basting until chicken is cooked through, 15 - 20 minutes.
9. Transfer chicken to serving platter. Stir mint into sauce. Reduce if needed. Pour over chicken and serve.

Classic Shrimp and Tomatoes Baked with Feta Cheese

This is a dish that depends on the quality of ingredients to take it from good to outstanding. The original recipes cooks up incredibly quickly, but if you want to give it more depth of flavour, let the sauce simmer longer and let the dish rest so the flavours meld.

One year ago: Welsh Rarebit

Classic Shrimp and Tomatoes Baked with Feta Cheese (from The Olive and the Caper)

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp Metaxa or other brandy
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
900g medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
225g feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. While oven is heating, heat oil in large ovensafe casserole over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until slightly wilted, 1 minute.
3. Stir in tomatoes and cook until they soften, 5 minutes.
4. Stir in wine, Metaxa, tomato paste, 1 tbsp dill, and pepper. Cook until tomatoes are collapsing, at least 10 minutes.
5. Add shrimp and cook, stirring until they begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes.
6. Crumble cheese over top and place in oven. Bake until cheese melts, 3 minutes.
7. Sprinkle remaining 1 tbsp dill over top and serve.

Beet Tzatziki

This tzatziki is shockingly magenta to the point of looking artificial; however, the taste is excellent. It pairs wonderfully with the lamb souvlaki.

One year ago: Butter Chicken

Beet Tzatziki (from The Olive and the Caper)

1/2 tsp salt
1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 cups yogurt
1 large beet, cooked, peeled, and very finely chopped or shredded
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

1. Spread salt on a chopping board and finely chop garlic on top of salt.
2. Place yogurt in medium bowl and whisk until smooth.
3. Add beet, garlic, salt, and dill and mix well.
4. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.

Ground Lamb Kebabs (Souvlaki)

It's a bad sign when you're more than two weeks behind on recipe posting. Luckily, I at least managed to mark the ones I was falling behind on, otherwise I fear some delicious meals would be lost in the abyss. This is an excellent Greek dish. If you can't find sorrel, you can substitute spinach and add 1 tbsp lemon juice. I broiled this as it's not quite grilling season here yet. To make this a weeknight meal, make the lamb sausages the night before.

One year ago: Pinto Bean Stew with Butternut Squash

Ground Lamb Kebabs with Sorrel and Pine Nuts - Sousakakia Souvlaki (from The Olive and the Caper)

2 packed cups chopped sorrel leaves
450g lean ground lamb
1/2 cup pine nuts, finely ground
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
8 pita breads
olive oil
2 cups beet tzatziki or other tzatziki
fresh mint

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Stir in sorrel and cook 1 minute. Drain in colander and set aside to cool and drip dry.
2. Place lamb, pine nuts, onion, garlic, egg, coriander, and salt in medium bowl. Add sorrel and mix well.
3. Divide lamb mixture into 8 portions and shape into sausages 4 - 5" long and 1.5" in diameter. Cover and set aside in refrigerator (up to overnight; longer allows the flavour to meld.)
4. Heat a grill to medium-high and cook, turning once, until cooked but still moist 10 - 12 minutes.
5. Coat pitas with oil and grill, turning once, until lightly toasted, 1 - 1.5 minutes.
6. Serve with pitas, tzatziki, and mint.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Key Lime Bars

I wanted to make a key lime dessert for a dear friend who had requested a key lime dessert in the past. Pie dough seemed a bit beyond my one-handed abilities right now, but this bar recipe seemed do-able. Easy or not, it was a delicious success. Thank goodness I had previously juiced and zested key limes in the freezer!

One year ago: Chocolate Cupcakes

Key Lime Bars (from Farmers' Market Desserts)

1 1/2 cups ap flour
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp key lime zest
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp butter, cut into 10 pieces
1 2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup ap flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
5 eggs
3/4 cup key lime juice
1 tsp key lime zest
1/4 cup half and half

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom and sides of 13x9 pan with parchment paper.
2. Stir together dry crust ingredients. Scatter butter on top and cut in butter with pastry blender.
3. Scatter mixture in pan and pack down. Bake until light golden, 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, stir together sugar, flour, and salt.
5. Add eggs and stir until smooth.
6. Add juice, zest, and half and half. Mix slowly until smooth.
7. Reduce oven to 325.
8. Pour filling on hot crust. Return to oven and cook until set, 20 - 25 min.
9. Cool completely in pan, then refrigerate 30 min.
10. Lift out of pan, cut into bars. Store between layers of wax paper.

Tamarind and Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry

This is probably my favourite recipe that I've made out of Mighty Spice so far! It's rich in flavour, but still quick and easy enough for a weeknight meal. I scaled back on the chicken but left everything else the same.

One year ago: Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Tamarind and Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry (from Mighty Spice)

2 lemongrass stalks, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
500g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp chili flakes
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tbsp soy sauce

1. Puree lemongrass slices and garlic in FP.
2. In bowl, combine puree, chicken, chili flakes, coriander, sugar, and fish sauce. Marinate 30 min - overnight.
3. Put tamarind paste in small bowl with 1/2 cup water. Mix, let stand 5 min until paste dissolves. Remove any lumps.
4. Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add chicken and bell pepper and stir-fry until golden brown, 3 - 4 minutes.
5. Add tamarind water and soy sauce, stir-fry 3 - 4 min or until cooked through and sauce reduced. Serve.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lime and honey beet salad

I didn't chill this quite as long as recommended but it still worked.

One year ago: Pasta with Lemon and Olive Oil

Lime and honey beet salad (from Around My French Table)

2 tsp cider vinegar
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp honey
2 - 3 tsp olive oil
2 tsp minced dill
2 tsp minced chives
450g cooked beets, peeled

1. Whisk together vinegar, lime, and honey. Whisk in 2 tsp oil. Add dill and chives and season with s & p.
2. Cut beets into wedges, add to bowl, and toss. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

Chicken breasts braised with hard cider and parsnips

I love the flavour of the parsnips in the dish. It's definitely more than the sum of its parts.

One year ago: Broccoli-Cheese Soup (still a favourite)
Two years ago: Peanut Curry Noodles (still a favourite)

Chicken breasts braised with hard cider and parsnips (from All About Braising)

2 tsp olive oil
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2" strips
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 large shallot minced (3 tbsp)
2 1/2 cups hard cider
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
450g parsnips, peeled and cut into sticks 3" x 1/2"

1. Heat oven to 325.
2. Combine oil and bacon in large, deep skillet. Heat until bacon renders and is crisp, 6 min. Transfer to paper-lined plate.
3. Rinse and pat dry chicken. Pour off all but 2 tbsp oil. Season chicken with s & p. Place chicken skin side down and brown 5 min. Flip and brown another 5. Remove and set aside.
4. Add shallot and cook 1 min.
5. Add 2 cups cider to deglaze. Let boil to reduce to 1/2 cup, 10 - 15 min.
6. Add rosemary and 1/2 cup cider, reduce to 3/4 cup, 6 - 8 minutes.
7. Add parsnips ans season with s&p.
8. Add bacon and chicken skin side down. Cover with parchment and lid. Slide in oven and cook 25 min.
9. Flip chicken and cook 20 - 25 more min.
10. Remove chicken, degrease sauce, and reduce if needed (mine didn't). Serve with sauce over chicken and parsnips.

Sauteed kale with hot pepper and cumin

I used a mixture of kale and mustard greens for even more delicious flavour.

One year ago: Blueberry-Lemon Cheese Crumble Cake
Two years ago: Pear, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Sauteed kale with hot pepper and cumin (from Cook This Now)

2 bunches Tuscan kale
2 tbsp olive oil
2 - 3 garlic cloves, chopped
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin seeds

1. Remove ribs from kale, tear into bite-sized pieces, and rinse, but don't dry.
2. In large skillet over med heat, warm oil. Add garlic, pepper flakes, and cumin. Cook until garlic softened, 1 min.
3. Add kale handful at a time. Cook until greens completely wilted, 5 min.

Bulgur and vegetable pilaf with herbs and white wine

This is a great side dish for using up extra CSA veggies. The white wine adds a nice touch. I used Italian sweet pepper and a bell pepper in it, scaling the recipe in half.

One year ago: Roasted Vegetables with Hazelnut Gremolata
Two years ago: Lemon Sabayon

Bulgur and vegetable pilaf with herbs and white wine (from The Olive and the Caper)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 - 1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables, chopped
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp oregano leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp chopped dill or 2 tbsp basil

1. Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion, garlic, bulgur, and veggies. Saute 10 minutes.
2. Stir in stocks, tomatoes, wine, oregano, and s&p. Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 - 25 min.
4. Remove from heat and stir in dill. Cover and set aside 5 min.
5. Fluff and serve.

Homemade pork and veal sausage with orange, coriander, and red pepper

I fractured my wrist this week which slows down my typing ... a lot. I debated long and hard about what to do with this blog before deciding what to do. In the end, I need this record, so I'll still update, but descriptions and capitalization may suffer.

This recipe is the perfect dish for a busy week. Mix it up in less than 10 minutes the night before and then just fry it the night you're ready to eat. The patties can be made up to 5 days ahead of time. Mine rested for 2 days and I found the orange at bit overwhelming. I might also increase the red pepper a bit. These little patties had a lot of flavour though.

One year ago: Raspberry-Lemon Souffle
Two years ago: Guacamole Burger

Homemade pork and veal sausage with orange, coriander, and red pepper (from The Olive and the Caper)

450g ground pork
225g ground veal
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp (or less) orange zest
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp (or more) red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 cup retsina wine
olive oil for cooking

1. Combine all ingredients except oil.
2. Pat 1/3 cup portions into individual patties. Refrigerate, wrapped, for at least several hours.
3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook patties until cooked through, about 20 min.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Stir-Fried Chinese Leaf Cabbage with Chopped Salted Chiles

Finally! An end to the reign of cabbage ... for now. This cooks up quickly and is spicy without being overly hot. For now, a break from cabbage ... until the new basket shows up at least!

One year ago: Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms
Two years ago: Grapefruit Yogurt Cake (still one of my favourites)

Stir-Fried Chinese Leaf Cabbage with Chopped Salted Chiles (from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook)

450g Chinese leaf cabbage, chopped into large squares
1 1/2 tbsp chopped salted chiles (or chili paste)
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp peanut oil

1. Heat wok over high flame. Add oil.
2. Add chiles and stir-fry until fragrant.
3. Toss in cabbage and stir-fry until just tender.
4. Off heat, stir in sesame oil and serve.

Beef Slivers with Cilantro

This recipe is NOT for the cilantro-averse, but it is something unique and delicious. I was skeptical as to how much I would like Hunan cuisine when I bought this book as I don't have much experience with it. After trying a few recipes though, I only regret waiting so long to dive into it!

I've changed the method below slightly. The original calls for deep-frying the beef, removing it from the pan, and then heating 3 tbsp of oil with the chile and garlic. I've cut the deep-frying step for ease, although I'm certain based on other recipes that it would taste even better.

One year ago: Buttermilk Biscuits
Two years ago: Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Beef Slivers with Cilantro (slightly adapted from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook)

255g lean beef, thinly sliced into slivers (or fondue meat)
2 red chiles, cut into thin slivers
1 bunch fresh cilantro (140g)
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp shaoxing wine
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp potato flour mixed with 1 1/2 tbsp cold water

1. In a bowl, mix together marinade ingredients and meat. Set aside.
2. Rinse cilantro and dry. Discard coarser stems and cut into sections to match beef.
3. Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add garlic and chili and stir-fry until fragrant.
4. Add beef to wok and stir-fry until cooked.
5. Add cilantro and stir-fry for a couple of minutes, adding soy sauce and salt to taste.
6. Switch off heat, stir in sesame oil, and serve.

Warm Spiced Limeade

It seemed only appropriate to pair an Indonesian drink with an evening of Indonesian and Malaysian food. The drink can be served hot or cold, with alcohol or without.

One year ago: Five-Spice Beef Stir-Fry
Two years ago: Eggs en Cocotte with Pesto

Warm Spiced Limeade (from Cradle of Flavor)

3 lemongrass stalks, tied into a knot
2 pieces cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
1 2" piece ginger, peeled and bruised
4 1/2 cups water
5 tbsp palm sugar (or dark brown)
3 tbsp lime juice
mint and ice if desired

1. Combine lemongrass, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce to medium, cover partially, and allow to simmer until fragrant, 7 minutes.
2. Add 4 tbsp of sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add 3 tbsp of lime juice. Adjust as desired with lime juice and sugar.
3. Remove and discard seasonings, divide among 3 cups, and serve.

Stir-Fried Shrimp Sambal

This dish is quick and easy enough for a weeknight meal, but tasty enough to serve at a dinner party. I was out of dried shrimp paste and just omitted it. I would recommend including it if you have it, but it didn't seem worth an hour trip to pick up on an otherwise busy day! The recipe calls for serving in the shell, preferably with the heads intact, but I shelled in favour of making the dish easier for people to eat neatly.

One year ago: Pork and Sweet Potato Stew
Two years ago: Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Stir-Fried Shrimp Sambal (from Cradle of Flavor)

3 tbsp peanut oil
455g medium-sized shrimp in shell (see notes), preferably with heads intact
Flavoring Paste
1 tsp dried shrimp paste, toasted
70g shallots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
5 - 10 Holland chiles or other long red chiles
3 candlenuts or unsalted macadamia nuts
1 tsp palm sugar (or dark brown)
1/2 tsp kosher salt

1. Place toasted shrimp paste, shallots, garlic, chiles, candlenuts, sugar, and salt in small food processor. Pulse until chunky-smooth.
2. Heat oil in a wok or 12" skillet over medium-low heat. Add paste and saute, stirring, until shallots and garlic no longer smell raw and paste separates from oil, 5 - 7 minutes.
3. Add shrimp, raise heat to medium-high. Stir-fry until shrimp are cooked through, 3 - 5 minutes. Serve.

Potato Rendang

I've made beef rendang and a chicken rendang, so it seemed only fair that I finely try a vegetarian rendang. Of the three, the beef probably remains my favourite, but each of them are delicious. This one can get surprisingly spicy, so be careful.

One year ago: Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers (If you like cheese and haven't tried this, you need to!)
Two years ago: Simple Tomato Sauce

Potato Rendang (from Cradle of Flavor)

2 1/2 cups coconut milk
Flavoring Paste
1 lemongrass stalk, ends and outer layers removed, thinly sliced
85g shallots, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
5 - 10 Holland chiles or other long red chiles, stemmed and coarsely chopped
5 - 15 fresh green Thai chiles, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tbsp galangal, peeled and thinly sliced (optional)
3 stems fresh lemon basil, Thai basil, or Italian basil
3 whole daun salam leaves (optional)
680g very small potatoes, no more than 1" in diameter
3/4 tsp kosher salt
peanut oil if needed

1. Pour coconut milk in 12" skillet and bring to low boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered 15 minutes.
2. Place lemongrass, shallots, garlic, chiles, turmeric, ginger, and galangal in small food processor. Process until smooth paste.
3. Add flavoring paste, basil, and daun salam leaves to simmering coconut milk and stir to combine. Simmer, uncovered, stirring until reduced by half, about 45 minutes.
4. While coconut milk simmers, scrub potatoes (but don't peel), slit halfway through with sharp knife.
5. Add potatoes and salt to pan. Continue simmering, stirring until liquid has become thick and pastelike and fats have separated, 30 - 45 minutes longer. Add peanut oil to pan if needed so there are 2 tbsp oil in pan.
6. Reduce heat to low and saute potatoes until cooked through and medium dark brown, 25 - 30 minutes.
7. Transfer potatoes and paste to serving dish. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Cabbage with Coconut Milk

The original recipe for this calls for green beans, but the author suggests that cabbage works quite well. Given the overabundance of cabbage, it seemed like a better option! The sauce is quite mild for an Indonesian dish, but it compliments spicier dishes quite well. Depending on how soupy you want it, you can use 1/3 - 2/3 cups each coconut milk and water.

One year ago: West African Peanut Soup (I need to revisit this idea)
Two years ago: Mango and Avocado Salad

Cabbage with Coconut Milk (from Cradle of Flavor)

2 tbsp peanut oil
85g shallots, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 - 4 red Holland chiles or other long red chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced
1" piece galangal, peeled and bruised (optional)
2 whole daun salam leaves (optional)
455g cabbage cut into 1" cubes (or green beans cut into 1" pieces)
1 medium tomato, cored and cut into 10 wedges
1/3 - 2/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 - 2/3 cup water
1 tsp palm sugar (or brown)
1/2 tsp kosher salt

1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots, garlic, chiles, galangal, and daun salam leaves. Saute, stirring, until garlic and shallots are limp and slightly golden, 5 - 7 minutes.
2. Increase heat to medium, add cabbage and tomatoes and stir to combine. Saute, stirring until beginning to soften, 2 minutes.
3. Add coconut milk, water, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer stirring occasionally until cabbage is tender, 15 - 20 minutes.
4. Transfer to serving dish, discarding galangal and daun salam. Allow to rest and cool before eating.

Chicken Satay with Sweet Soy Sauce and Lime Dipping Sauce

I was pleasantly surprised by how much flavour these little chunks of chicken had. I served it as an appetizer, but you could easily turn it into a main dish. You could also serve the chicken with a peanut sauce instead of the sweet soy sauce, but I suggest you give this one a try first!

One year ago: Doughnut Muffins
Two years ago: Oscars baking!

Chicken Satay with Sweet Soy Sauce and Lime Dipping Sauce (from Cradle of Flavor)

1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 lemongrass stalks, thinly sliced, tough outer layers discarded
110g shallots, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp galangal (optional)
2 tbsp sliced ginger
1 tbsp ground turmeric
4 tbsp palm sugar (or dark brown)
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1.5kg bone-in chicken thighs (or less boneless)
1 lemongrass stalk
4 tbsp peanut oil
30 sharp bamboo skewers, soaked in water
Sweet Soy Sauce and Lime Dipping Sauce
3 fresh red Holland chiles (or other long or short), stemmed and thinly sliced
4 tbsp kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1 tbsp lime juice

1. To make marinade, grind coriander and fennel until a dusty powder. Add lemongrass, shallots, ginger, garlic, galangal, turmeric, sugar, peanut oil, and salt and process until smooth.
2. Remove skin from chicken and cut into pieces 1" wide, 1/4" thick, and 2 - 3" long. Combine chicken with marinade in bowl and marinate 1 - 2 hours.
3. Prepare lemongrass stalk to be a basting brush by cutting off the bottom end and top, discarding the outer layers, and bruising the thick end until it is bristly. Place in small bowl with the peanut oil for at least 10 minutes.
4. Thread chicken onto skewers.
5. To cook on grill, preheat grill, baste chicken with lemongrass oil and grill until cooked through and has crispy brown-black spots, 3 - 7 minutes each side.
6. To cook in broiler, preheat broiler. Line a pan with aluminum foil. Place skewers on pan, baste chicken with lemongrass oil, and broil 5 - 7 minutes per side.
7. To make dipping sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Sesame-Crusted Roast Chicken in Tahini and Caper Sauce

I feel a bit odd admitting that this was my first time roasting a whole chicken. This recipe comes together easily, but not exactly quickly. The only difficulty I had was that the pan I was using shattered 25 minutes into the cooking time. I ended up without enough chicken juices to make the sauce properly and had to add a bit of water. Be careful not to overcook the sauce or it will go gritty.

One year ago: Cornbread
Two years ago: Scrambled Eggs with Broccoli Pesto

Sesame-Crusted Roast Chicken in Tahini and Caper Sauce (from The Olive and the Caper)

1 chicken, rinsed and patted dry
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp capers, drained

1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. Stir sesame seeds, lemon juice, oil, and salt together in a small bowl.
3. Place chicken in a baking dish just large enough to hold it snugly. Rub the sesame mixture over the chicken, inside and out. Cover and place in oven.
4. Roast chicken until juices are no longer pink and breast is turning golden, 55 minutes.
5. Remove cover, pour juices into small saucepan, and set pan aside until fat rises to top.
6. Return chicken to oven and roast uncovered until browned and crusty, 10 - 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter.
7. Spoon fat off top of juices. Add tahini and capers and whisk until smooth. Bring to boil, whisk again, and pour sauce over chicken. Serve.

Red Beef Curry with Squash

This is a perfect weeknight dinner dish. Quick, easy, and full of flavour. Best of all, it used up a squash that's been sitting on the counter-top for entirely too long!

One year ago: Multi-Grain Pasta with Lamb and Butternut Squash
Two years ago: Double Broccoli Quinoa

Red Beef Curry with Squash (from Real Thai)

1/2 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup red curry paste
450g lean beef, thinly sliced into strips 2" by 1"
3 cups coconut milk
900g kabocha pumpkin or hard winter squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh Thai basil or other basil leaves

1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, warm coconut cream over medium heat until it boils gently. Cook for 6 - 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add curry paste and stir to dissolve into coconut cream. Cook 1 - 2 minutes.
3. Add beef and stir-fry to coat evenly with paste. Cook 2 minutes.
4. Increase heat and add coconut milk, pumpkin, fish sauce, sugar, and salt. Stir well. Lower heat to maintain boil and cook 8 - 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. When beef is done and pumpkin is tender, stir in 1/4 cup basil leaves. Remove from heat and scatter remaining 1/4 cup basil leaves on top.

Fall-Apart Lamb Shanks with Almond-Chocolate Picada

I can't believe it's already March and although we're only a few days in, I already feel horribly behind on recipe posting even with two nights off from cooking this week. This recipe takes quite a bit of time, although not a ton of work. It's rich and satisfying, but not for those who want a quick and easy payoff. The chocolate flavour in the dish isn't strong, it just added a depth to the sauce. The almonds also aren't overly prominent. I might even be tempted to double them next time!

I changed the method below ever so slightly to avoid dirtying as many dishes. It affects the browning on the ingredients.

One year ago: Impossible Chocolate Flan
Two years ago: Tostados

Fall-Apart Lamb Shanks with Almond-Chocolate Picada (from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen)

1 bottle (750ml) full-bodied red wine
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 onion, thickly sliced
1 large leek, halved lengthwise and thickly sliced crosswise
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
1 lemon, quartered
1/2 cup drained and chopped canned plum tomatoes
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cracked black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2.25kg lamb shanks (4 - 6 shanks)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
chopped parsley, for garnish
Almond-Chocolate Picada
24 blanched almonds, toasted
4 garlic gloves
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 slice stale country white bread, cut 1" thick and toasted, crust trimmed
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp brandy
2 tsp lamb cooking juices

1. The day before, in a large saucepan, boil wine until reduced to 2 cups, about 10 minutes.
2. Add carrots, onion, leek, halved garlic head, lemon, plum tomatoes, thyme, oregano, peppercorns, and bay leaves and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool.
3. Put lamb shanks in a large glass bowl, add marinade, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
4. The next day, let meat return to room temperature. Remove lamb and pat dry. Discard lemon quarters and strain the marinade. Reserve the vegetables and wine separately.
5. Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Cook lamb shanks in hatches turning until browned all over. Set aside.
6. Preheat oven to 250F.
7. Add reserved vegetables to Dutch oven along with 1 tbsp oil and cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until deep brown and tender, about 15 minutes. Press vegetables to express oil.
8. Add 1/2 cup water to Dutch oven and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits until reduced to syrup. Pour wine from marinade into Dutch oven and heat to bare simmer.
9. Return lamb to Dutch oven and cover with a sheet of wet crumpled parchment paper. Place lid on and put in oven to cook for 4.5 - 5 hours or until meat is very tender.
10. Transfer lamb shanks to shallow baking dish and season with salt and papper. Cover with foil.
11. Strain cooking juices through a fine sieve set over a saucepan, pressing hard on solids. Skim off fat. Boil juices over high heat, skimming until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. (Meat and sauce can be prepared in advance up to this point.)
12. To make picada, in a mortar or mini food processor, grind almonds and garlic to a paste. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
13. If refrigerated, let meat return to room temperature and reheat sauce.
14. Scrape picada into sauce and cook over moderately high heat until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
15. Pour sauce over lamb and bake at 250F for 30 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.