Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I've tried making hummus before, but I've never been 100% satisfied with it, so I had resigned myself to supermarket hummus. I decided to give it one last try. I've always heard that secret to silky smooth hummus is removing the skins, but never had the patience for it. Sadly (or thankfully depending on your perspective) that does appear to be the secret ... along with processing for 5 minutes and adding iced water. Luckily, getting the skins off of chickpeas that have been cooked, frozen, and thawed is remarkably easy. If you don't already do this, I highly recommend cooking bags of dried beans in the freezer and then portioning out into ziplock snack bags to freeze for later use.

One year ago: Miso-sesame Sear Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Hummus (from Jerusalem)

600g cooked chickpeas, skins removed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp tahini paste (270g)
4 tbsp lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 1/2 tbsp/100 ml ice-cold water
1 1/2 tsp salt

1. Place chickpeas in food processor and process until you have a stiff paste.
2. With machine running, add tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.
3. Drizzle in iced water and allow to mix for 5 minutes until very smooth and creamy.
4. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken

This dish is super quick and easy, but packs a lot of flavour. We cut back on the chicken and increased the peppers keeping the marinade and sauce the same, but you could easily increase the chicken instead.

One year ago: Watercress, Endive, and Blue Cheese Salad

Black Bean Chicken (from Every Grain of Rice)

2 boneless chicken thighs (225g), cut into 3/8" cubes
1 small green bell pepper or 1/2 each red and green
3 tbsp cooking oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
an equivalent amount of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 2 tsp ground chilies
2 tbsp finely sliced spring onion greens
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp potato flour
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce

1. Mix chicken with marinade ingredients. Set aside.
2. Cut peppers into small squares to match chicken.
3. Heat wok over high heat and add 1 tbsp of oil. Add pepper and stir-fry until hot and slightly cooked, but still crisp. Remove and set aside.
4. Reheat wok over high heat. Add remainder of oil. Add chicken with marinade and stir-fry to separate pieces.
5. When chicken is pale, add garlic and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant.
6. Add ground chili and return peppers to wok.
7. Stir-fry until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. Stir in spring onions and sesame oil. Serve.


This salad was something very different than what I've made before. I cut back a little bit on the buttermilk and would suggest doing the same as the salad is a bit moist otherwise. If you don't have buttermilk, he recommends substituting yogurt (1 cup) and milk (3/4 cup) and letting them mix together for at least 3 hours. I didn't have dried mint, so I left that out. My better half found the acid in this a bit much, but it didn't bother me. If you're less of a fan of acid, you might scale back the vinegar a bit.

One year ago: Braised Pork Should with Tomatoes, Cinnamon, and Olives over Polenta

Fattoush (from Jerusalem)
1 2/3 cups buttermilk
2 large stale Turkish flatbread or naan, torn into bite-sized pieces (250g)
3 large tomatoes (380g), cut into 2/3" dice
100g radishes, thinly sliced
3 Lebanese or mini cucumbers (250g), peeled and chopped into 2/3" dice
2 green onions, thinly sliced
15g fresh mint, coarsley chopped
25g parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp dried mint
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
3/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sumac, to garnish

1. Place bread in large mixing bowl. Add buttermilk followed by rest of ingredients, mix well, and let rest for 10 minutes.
2. Spoon into serving bowls, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with sumac.

Wheat Berries and Swish Chard with Pomegranate Molasses

Last week when we were at the farmer's market, I had picked up 2 bundles of radishes when they mentioned there was a discount if we bought a 3rd bundle and suggested we pick up some kale. Of course, I couldn't pass on the suggestion, but one week later the kale was still sitting in the fridge. In searching for something new, I decided to give this one a try. The slightly sweet and tart combination worked surprisingly well and this may be one of my favourite side dishes in recent memory. This is a great side for a Middle Eastern dinner.

One year ago: Chard with Nuts, Garlic, and Golden Rum Raisins

Wheat Berries and Swish Chard with Pomegranate Molasses (from Jerusalem)

600g Swiss chard
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large leeks, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced (350g)
2 tbsp light brown sugar
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
200g wheat berries
2 cups chicken stock
3/4 tsp salt

1. Separate chard stalks from leaves. Slice stalks into 3/8" slices and leaves into 3/4" slices.
2. Heat oil and butter in large heavy-bottomed pan. Add leeks and cook for 3 - 4 minutes.
3. Add chard stalks and cook for 3 minutes.
4. Add leaves and cook for 3 minutes.
5. Add sugar, pomegranate molasses, and wheat berries and mix well.
6. Add stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat covered for 60 - 70 minutes.
7. Remove lid and increase heat to allow any remaining liquid to evaporate. Remove from heat. Add more molasses to taste if needed. Serve.

Seared Duck Breasts with Blood Orange and Star Anise

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not crazy about the cooking method for the duck itself. I prefer a bit of a crispier skin with more fat rendered off (a low and slow sear) and the duck breast itself was a little bit overcooked. That being said, the rub and sauce combo was outstanding. Fennel steals the show and the chilies give it just a little bit of heat.

One year ago: Maghrebi Veal Meatballs with Spinach and Chickpeas

Seared Duck Breasts with Blood Orange and Star Anise (from Ottolenghi)

4 duck breasts, 180 - 200g each
2 tbsp fennel seeds
pinch of dried chili flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp coarse sea salt
240 ml blood orange juice
4 whole blood oranges
180 ml red wine
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
16 star anise
6 dried chilies

1. Score the skin of each duck breast in 3 or 4 parallel incisions. Repeat at a 90 degree angle.
2. Mix fennel, chili flakes, cumin, black pepper, and salt together and rub on duck breasts. Marinate for a few hours or overnight in the fridge.
3. Trim off 1cm from top and bottom of each orange. Standing them up, trim off skin and pith. Cut each orange horizontally into 6 slices. Remove pips, place slices in bowl, and set aside.
4. Heat a large frying pan. Sear duck skin-side down for 3 minutes or until skin is golden brown and crisp. Flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Set aside.
5. Discard most of fat from frying pan and add wine, vinegar, orange juice, and star anise. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 - 6 minutes until reduced by half.
6. Return duck to pan and stir to coat with sauce. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes.
7. Add dried chiles and orange slices. Simmer for 3 more minutes.
8. Remove duck breasts and let rest for 3 - 4 minutes. Reduce sauce further if necessary.
9. Slice breasts into 1 cm thick slices. Serve with oranges to the side and sauce poured over duck.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Seared Tuna with Pistachio Crust and Papaya Salsa

I don't know how I forgot to post this recipe (although I vaguely recall making this the night before I left town for a week), but I apologize for holding out on you. The papaya salsa on this is great on its own, but of course perfectly cooked tuna is a beautiful thing and with a pistachio crust, it only gets better.

One year ago: Fresh Fig and Raspberry Tart with Honey
Three years ago: Mole Risotto with Avocado Puree

Seared Tune with Pistachio Crust and Papaya Salsa (from Ottolenghi)
150g shelled pistachio nuts
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 kg tuna loin
2 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp Dijon mustard
coarse sea salt and black pepper
Papaya salsa
1 mini cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1cm cubes
1 large papaya, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1cm cubes
1 large mango, peeled, stoned, and cut into 1cm cubes
2 red chilies, finely choppedool completl
10g fresh ginger, grated
1 small red onion, finely chopped
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sugar

1. Place salsa ingredients in bowl, stir together, and season with salt and pepper. Chill and let rest for at least 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 500F.
3. Chop pistachios in food processor to fine crumbs. Scatter on baking tray with lemon zest.
4. Cut tuna loin into 2 or 3 cylindrical pieces. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
5. Place a cast iron pan on high heat and heat up. Sear tuna pieces for 3 - 4 minutes total. Remove from pan and set aside.
6. Brush tuna with mustard and roll in pistachios.
7. Place tuna in baking tray, transfer to oven, and roast 5 - 6 minutes or until done. Remove and allow to cool completely.
8. Cut tuna into 2cm thick slices. Serve with salsa on the top or to the side.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Indonesian Fried Rice

This makes a great side dish or you can fry up an egg and stick it on top (as in the original) for a fuller meal. The spice paste doesn't smell that great, but don't worry, it will all come together in the end.

One year ago: Parsnip Latkes
Three years ago: Clementine Cake

Indonesian Fried Rice (from Mighty Spice)

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
5 cups cold cooked rice
3 tbsp soy sauce
Spice Paste
1/4 tsp shrimp paste
1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 red chili, roughly chopped
pinch of sugar
1 tsp garam masala

1. Put spice paste ingredients into food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Heat wok over high heat, then add 2 tbsp of oil and heat until smoking. Add onion and stir-fry 3 - 4 minutes until golden.
3. Add spice paste and stir-fry 30 seconds until fragrant.
4. Add cooked rice and soy sauce and stir-fry 4 - 5 minutes until warmed through. Serve.

Stir-Fried Squid with Chili and Cilantro

If your squid (or baby octopus) is already cleaned, the slowest part of this dish is picking the cilantro. This ones packs a lot of flavor in it and is a great weeknight dinner.

One year ago: Quick-Braised Pork Chops with Spring Greens
Three years ago: Cherry Tomato Penne al Arrabbiata

Stir-Fried Squid with Chili and Cilantro (from Mighty Spice)
1 lb 9 ounces baby squid, dressed
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chili flakes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
juice of 1/2 lime
1 large handful cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1. Cut squid tentacles from squid. Cut open tubes.
2. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Add chili flakes and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, 30 seconds.
3. Add squid and stir-fry 2 - 3 minutes until cooked through.
4. Pour oyster sauce, fish sauce, and lime juice over and stir-fry 30 seconds until combined.
5. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Chargrilled Moroccan Chicken, Sprouting Broccoli and Couscous Salad

For some reason, this recipe feels closer in style to something I would've cooked a couple of years ago. Only one dish is needed to create a satisfying meal that's full of flavor. The original recipe calls for cooking the chicken on a griddle pan and then slicing it once it's cool. I opted for pre-slicing the chicken and pan-frying for a slightly quicker meal, albeit minus delicious char marks. Of course, I don't own a griddle pan and don't know many people who do. I also doubled the amount of broccoli included in the recipe below.

One year ago: Butter Lettuce and Clementine Salad with Brown Butter Dressing
Three years ago: Gorgonzola Drop Biscuits

Chargrilled Moroccan Chicken, Sprouting Broccoli and Couscous Salad (from Mighty Spice)

1/3 cup almonds, toasted
500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 1" strips
3/4 cup couscous
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped sprouting broccoli
2 large handfuls mint leaves, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Spice Paste
1 garlic clove
1 red chili
1" piece ginger, roughly chopped
1 handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Put all spice paste ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Place chicken in bowl and add paste. Mix well. Cover and marinate 30 minutes - overnight.
3. Pour couscous into a large mixing bowl. Pour 1 cup of warm water over, cover, and let stand 10 minutes or until tender.
4. Heat a skillet over high heat. Cook chicken. Set aside.
5. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add broccoli and cook until tender, 3 - 4 minutes. Drain and shock with cold water.
6. Add chicken, broccoli, almonds, mint, lemon juice, and oil to couscous. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Chile-Smothered Pork with Vinegar

With 8 chiles, I was worried this dish would be obscenely hot, but it was actually nicely balanced for an excellent vindaloo. If you're using a tougher cut of pork, you'll want to increase the cooking time and the water used, but otherwise, this would work for a quick weeknight meal (if you can remember to marinate the night before!).

One year ago: Lamb Merguez Burgers
Three years ago: Lamb Yogurt Cake with Blackberry Sauce

Chile-Smothered Pork with Vinegar (from 660 Curries)
1/2 cup cider or malt vinegar
1 tbsp cumin seeds
8 slices ginger, 2"x1"x1/8"
8 garlic cloves
8 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles, stems removed
1 cinnamon stick
1 lb boneless pork loin chops, cut into 1" cubes
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1. Pour vinegar into blender jar. Add cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, chiles, and cinnamon. Puree.
2. Place pork in bowl and pour paste over it. Sprinkle with salt and turmeric. Refrigerate covered for 30 minutes - overnight.
3. Heat oil in medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and marinade and cook, stirring until browned, 10 - 12 minutes.
4. Pour in 1/2 cup water and scrape to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, 15 minutes.
5. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Creamy Lamb Meatballs

Do I really need another Indian lamb meatball recipe? Objectively, probably not, but this one is too good to pass up. The cream sauce seems to work some kind of magic with the saffron and garam masala. This dish is rich and complex in flavor, but also incredibly simple to make. It may be another lamb meatball, but it's worth making room in the collection for.

One year ago: Hare and Chocolate Sauce
Three years ago: Lemon Sugar Cookies

Creamy Lamb Meatballs (from 660 Curries)
8 ounces ground lamb
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1/2 tsp black cumin seeds, ground
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp mustard oil or canola oil
1 cup half and half
1/2 tsp Kashmiri garam masala
1/4 tsp saffron threads

1. Mix lamb, salt, fennel, cumin, ginger, onion, and garlic together. Divide into 10 equal portions and shape into balls.
2. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and brown, 5 - 7 minutes. Drain off excess oil.
3. Pour half and half over meatballs and sprinkle in garam masala and saffron. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer uncovered until sauce has thickened and meatballs are cooked, 8 - 10 minutes. Serve.

Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Lamb Shoulder Chops

I was thrilled when I picked up our meat CSA box to discover not just the ground lamb I had specifically ordered, but two bonus cuts of lamb. I thought the lamb shoulder chops might be a good for a quick heat on the grill, but luckily, I checked my recipe archive instead and discovered they're much better suited to a long braise. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical of the idea of cooking such a small piece of meat for more than an hour, but the unbelievably tender results were well worth it. This recipe shines with a bit of planning ahead for the rub, but requires very little effort.

One year ago: White Chocolate and Raspberry Tartlets
Three years ago: Tomato and Olive Penne

Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Lamb Shoulder Chops (from All About Braising)
Spice Rub
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp allspice berries
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of ground turmeric
pinch of cayenne
4 bone-in lamb shoulder chops, at least 3/4" thick
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion (8 ounces), sliced 1/3" thick
large pinch saffron
coarse salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup lamb, veal, or chicken stock

1. Combine fennel, coriander, peppercorns, and allspice in skillet. Toast until fragrant, 3 - 4 minutes. Grind to coarse powder. Add remaining rub ingredients.
2. Dust lamb with rub on both sides. Lay on plate and cover with plastic. Refrigerate 12 - 24 hours.
3. Heat oven to 300F.
4. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in large ovenproof skillet. Add chops and brown well on both sides, turning once, 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
5. Lower heat to medium-low and add remaining tbsp of butter. Add onion and coat with butter.
6. Sprinkle saffron onto onion, season with salt, and cook until onions have softened, 8 - 10 minutes.
7. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
8. Add stock, increase heat to medium-high, and simmer. Deglaze pan. Simmer 3 - 4 minutes.
9. Return lamb chops to pan and spoon onion on top. Place parchment over pan and cover with lid. Cook for 1 hour 20 minutes, turning after 30 minutes.
10. Transfer chops to plate and cover with foil. Reduce sauce. Serve chops with onion sauce on top.

Spice-Braised Tuna

This delicate curry smells amazing while it's cooking, but the spice blend doesn't overpower the tuna. Another plus, unlike a lot of richer Indonesian curries, this one comes together quickly enough for a weeknight meal.

One year ago: Roast Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes with Lemon
Two years ago: Lentil, Goat Cheese, and Asparagus Salad

Spice-Braised Tuna (from Cradle of Flavor)
1 tbsp tamarind pulp, dissolved in 3/4 cup warm water
4 tbsp peanut oil
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole nutmegs, cracked open
1 tsp whole cloves
2 thick stalks lemongrass, tied into a knot
1 lb skinless tuna fillet, cut into 2"x1" pieces
4 tbsp Indonesia sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
4 tbsp water
2 small tomatoes (170g), cored and quartered
Flavoring Paste
4 shallots (85g), coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 piece ginger, thinly sliced (2 tbsp)
2 - 5 fresh red chiles, stemmed and coarsley chopped

1. To make paste, place ingredients in food processor and pulse into smooth.
2. Heat oil in saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add paste and saute until no longer raw, 5 minutes.
3. Add cinnamon, nutmegs, cloves, and lemongrass. Saute until fragrant, 2 minutes.
4. Add tuna and increase heat slightly. Saute until starting to brown, 3 minutes.
5. Add tamarind extract, sweet soy sauce, and water. Bring to simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer 4 minutes.
6. Add tomatoes and cook until soft, but not mushy, 2 minutes.
7. Let rest for 10 minutes off-heat and serve.

Beef Meatballs with Fava Beans and Lemon

It's been a while since I veered Middle Eastern, but the allure of fresh fava beans was too much to pass up. These herby meatballs are surprisingly bright and with a little lemon create a dish made for spring.

One year ago: Hash Brown Quiche
Three years ago: Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Beef Meatballs with Fava Beans and Lemon (from Jerusalem)

4 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 1/3 cups/350g fava beans, fresh or frozen
4 whole thyme sprigs
6 cloves garlic, sliced
8 green onions, cut into 3/4" segments
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp chopped parsley
1 1/2 tsp chopped mint
1 1/2 tsp chopped dill
1 1/2 tsp chopped cilantro
300g ground beef
150g ground lamb
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup/120g bread crumbs
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped dill
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp baharat spice mix
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp capers, chopped
1 egg beaten
3/4 tsp salt
black pepper

1. Place all meatball ingredients in mixing bowl and combine well. Form into Ping-Pong size balls.
2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Sear meatballs on all sides in 2 batches. Set aside.
3. Blanch fava beans in pot of salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and shock with cold water. Remove skins from half of beans.
4. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in large frying pan. Add thyme, garlic, and green onion and saute for 3 minutes.
5. Add unpeeled fava beans, 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/3 cup stock, 1/4 tsp salt, and black pepper to taste. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
6. Return meatballs to pan. Add remaining stock, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
7. Add remaining herbs, remaining 1 tbsp lemon juice, and peeled fava beans. Serve.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Minty Chicken Strips with Coconut

I love mint. The boy sometimes teases me for being the only person who knows who eats the mint out of a mojito. Why would I waste it? This recipe combines delicious mint with cilantro, coconut, and a bit of heat from the garam masala. I primarily chose this recipe because we had mint that was starting to wilt and I may have over-invested in cilantro more than a week ago. By over-invested, I mean that I couldn't pass on a giant bushel of cilantro at the farmer's market that was selling for 60 cents. I'm fairly sure I've picked at least 2 cups off of it now and I'm only down to the size that you normally see at supermarkets. Luckily for me, it was a very good choice. Other than the marinade time, the dish comes together very quickly. The coconut-onion paste yields an almost creamy sauce and the dish looks great with its combination of yellow (turmeric), red (tomato), and green (herbs). It's a great option for an easy weeknight dinner even if it does dirty a few dishes.

One year ago: Changde Clay-Bowl Chicken
Three years ago: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Minty Chicken Strips with Coconut (660 Curries)

1/2 cup Hara masala (recipe below makes 1 cup, so scale in half if you don't want leftovers)
1/4 cup yogurt
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" wide strips
4 tbsp canola oil, divided
1 large red onion, finely chopped and divided
2 tsp Usha Raikar's garam masala
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut or 1/4 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut, reconstituted

1. Combine Hara masala, yogurt, and salt in medium bowl. Add chicken strips and toss to coat. Refrigerate covered for 30 minutes - 2 hours.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of onion and stir-fry until light brown around edges, 2 - 3 minutes.
3. Add tomato, garam masala, and turmeric. Stew, uncovered until tomato softens, 3 - 5 minutes.
4. Add chicken with marinade and cook uncovered over medium heat until cooked through, 8 - 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining onion and stir-fry until light brown, 3 - 5 minutes.
6. Stir coconut into onion and cook until lightly browned, 2 minutes.
7. Pour 1/2 cup water into onion-coconut mixture and transfer mixture to blender. Puree.
8. Add pureed paste to cooked chicken. Stir and serve.

Hara masal
1 cup firmly packed cilantro
1 cup firmly packed mint
8 cloves garlic
4 lengthwise slices ginger (2 1/2"x1"x1/4")

1. Stuff all ingredients in food processor and chop until minced.

Boneless Pork Cooked with Toasted Coconut in Coconut Milk

There are few things in this world that aren't made better with a bit of coconut milk. Add in a kick of heat and some tangy lime and cilantro in the background and you have a delicious dish. If pork isn't your thing, the author also suggests making this with just about any other meat or poultry you desire. I don't see how you could go wrong.

One year ago: Spicy Greens Salad
Two years ago: A Perfect Weekend Breakfast (seriously!)
Three years ago: Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza

Boneless Pork Cooked with Toasted Coconut in Coconut Milk (from 660 Curries)

juice of 1 medium lime
1/2 cup firmly packed cilantro
4 medium cloves garlic
4 lengthwise slices garlic (2"x1"x"1/8")
2 fresh green chiles, stems removed
1 1/4 lb boneless pork loin chops, cut into 1" cubes
4 tbsp canola oil
1 small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 dried red chiles, stems removed
1/2 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp Usha Raikar's garam masala

1. Pour lime juice into blender and then add cilantro, garlic, ginger, and fresh chiles. Puree.
2. Transfer paste to a medium bowl. Add pork cubes and toss. Refrigerate covered for 30 minutes - 2 hours.
3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and dried chiles and stir-fry until light honey brown, 5 - 8 minutes.
4. Stir in coconut and stir-fry until toasty brown, 1 minute.
5. Transfer mixture to blender. Add salt and 1/2 cup water. Puree.
6. Heat remaining 2 tbsp in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork with marinade and cook, stirring, until meat is seared, 10 minutes.
7. Add onion-coconut paste to skillet. Pour 1/2 cup water into blender to wash out and add to skillet. Bring curry to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until meat is tender, 45 - 50 minutes.
8. Stir in coconut milk and garam masala. Raise heat to medium-high and simmer uncovered until sauce thickens, 5 - 7 minutes. Serve.

Usha Raikar's garam masala
1/2 cup dried red Thai or cayenne chiles, stems removed
4 dried bay leaves
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp white poppy seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black cumin seeds
1 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds
6 green or white cardamom pods
2 whole star anise
2 black cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces
5 blades mace
1 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp ground asafetida

1. Combine everything but asafetida in medium bowl and toss to coat with oil.
2. Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mixture and roast until chiles black and mixture is aromatic, 3 - 4 minutes.
3. Transfer to a plate to cool.
4. Grind in a coffee grinder (you may need to do this is batches).
5. Stir in asafetida.

Stewed Chicken in a Mustard Greens-Spinach Sauce

I feel a little weird posting two saags in one week, but I think I'd feel worse skipping this recipe entirely. If the cook time is too long for you, you could certainly switch to using chopped boneless chicken and reducing the simmer time. You'll still have to invest the time caramelizing the onions, but sometimes time is required for a delicious outcome. I used all mustard greens (using the other half of my $1 mustard green investment!).

One year ago: Cucumber-Sesame Salad
Two years ago: Baked Potato with Barbecued Beef
Three years ago: Cherry Tomato Pizza Margherita

Stewed Chicken in a Mustard Greens-Spinach Sauce (from 660 Curries)

1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 tbsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 chicken, skin removed, cut into 8 pieces
4 tbsp canola oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
8 ounces mustard greens, coarsely chopped
8 ounces spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 tsp rock salt, pounded

1. Whisk yogurt, cilantro, coriander, cumin, cayenne, coarse salt, and turmeric together in small bowl. Place chicken in baking dish and coat with yogurt mixture. Refrigerate covered for at least 1 hour or overnight.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces, reserving marinade. Cook chicken until light brown on both sides, 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
3. Pour remaining 2 tbsp oil into skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramel brown, 15 - 20 minutes.
4. Add greens a handful at a time, cover skillet, and allow steam to wilt. Repeat.
5. Stir in reserved marinade and 1/2 cup water. Cook uncovered until greens soften and marinade cooks, 3 - 7 minutes.
6. Return chicken to skillet, meat side down. Spoon greens and sauce over chicken. Cover and simmer until cooked through, 15 - 20 minutes. Remove chicken.
7. Transfer greens and liquid to food processor and process to create a sauce.
8. Spoon sauce over chicken, sprinkle with rock salt, and serve.

Mustard Paste-Smothered Cod and Mushrooms Wrapped in Leaves

This dish is a hit of spicy mustard that cooks up simply and beautifully on the grill. We forgot to sprinkle with cilantro on top before diving in. I recommend that you remember.

One year ago: Skillet Roasted Potatoes and Turnips
Two years ago: Sesame Chicken
Three years ago: Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Mustard Paste-Smothered Cod and Mushrooms Wrapped in Leaves (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp black or yellow mustard seeds, ground
1/4 cup boiling water
1 lb skinless fillet of code, cut into 2" pieces (or halibut, swordfish, bass, or pollock; we left the skin on one side)
2 tbsp mustard oil or canola oil
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 medium tomato, cored and cut into 2" cubes
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 or 3 green chiles, stems removed and finely chopped
1 piece banana leaf or a handful of collard greens
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1. Combine mustard and boiling water in a large bowl and stir to make a thick paste. Add cod and all remaining ingredients except banana leaf and cilantro. Toss to coat.
2. Preheat a grill to high.
3. Tear off a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to cover the grill grate. Pierce in numerous places with a knife.
4. Spread banana leaf or collard leaves over foil.
5. Spread fish and vegetables over greens. Cover and cook until fish is cooked through, 15 - 20 minutes.
6. Transfer curry to serving bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Burrata with Asparagus, Pine Nuts, and Golden Raisins

One of the best parts of working from home is the flexibility it offers in cooking. For some reason, the boy wasn't nearly as excited as I was about the start of asparagus season. I decided to keep all the deliciousness to myself not subject him to the horror of asparagus by eating it for lunch instead. Some leftover mozzarella (purchased for a start of tomato season salad) was lurking in the fridge, so this seemed like a perfect option. The crispy bread crumbs add a nice crunch to the dish, so I would recommend not skipping them. The golden raisins (I used currants) added a touch of much needed sweetness, so I also wouldn't skip those. Who in their right mind with skip pine nuts? So I don't need to defend those. I think the dish would be helped by adding some prosciutto or you could do what I did and add a bit of vinegar to give it a little something extra as well.

One year ago: Grilled Cumin and Chile Veal Meatballs
Two years ago: Potato Latkes
Three years ago: Tex-Mex Comfort Food

Burrata with Asparagus, Pine Nuts, and Golden Raisins (from The Cheesemonger's Kitchen)

9 ounces/255g asparagus
2 tbsp golden raisins/sultanas
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
6 threads saffron
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup/30g bread crumbs
2 balls fresh Burrata cheese, 6 ounces/170g each

1. Cut woody ends off asparagus. Blanch in salted boiling water for 2 - 4 minutes or until tender. Shock in icewater, drain, and dry. Cut on angle into pieces resembling penne pasta.
2. Soak golden raisins in warm water for 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
3. In large bowl, combine asparagus, pine nuts, raisins, saffron, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat and add bread crumbs. Fry for 1 minute or until crisp and golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Cut Burrata balls in half and place on plates skin-side down. Divide asparagus mixture among plates and sprinkle fried bread crumbs on top.
6. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and serve cold or at room temperature.