Monday, December 20, 2010

Dark Chocolate Bark Assortment with Cardamom, Salted Cashew or Spicy Almonds

So this was clearly an experiment but it turned our fabulous so I had to post the recipe. I wanted to make Dark Chocolate Bark because I absolutely love dark chocolate. My favorite is the 70% organic kind. That and red wine might be my two indulgences I can't live without. So I decided to try a couple variations on making chocolate:
1) Using Cardamom seeds -- this is an indian spice that is pretty strong but after toasting, it tasted good and I actually saw some chocolate at whole foods with cardamom that gave me the idea
2) Something with salt -- for this I was thinking about Chocolate & Sea salt but decided to use Salted Cashews instead
3) Something with Cayenne: For this I used the Sweet & Spicy Almonds that I have also posted 
8 oz Semisweet chocolate (two 4 oz bars of Ghiradelli)
8 oz Bittersweet chocolate (two 4 oz bars of Ghiradelli)
Nuts: Salted Cashew, Sweet and Spicy Almonds
Secret Ingredient: Cardamom seeds toasted.

Create a waterbath or double boiler by placing a glass bowl over a saucepan with boiling water. Ideally you want the steam from the water to touch the glass bowl but not the water itself so that the chocolate melts slowly. 

On wax paper, spread salted cashew on half and spicy almonds (see recipe in my blog) on the second half.  Keep the nuts close together before pouring chocolate.  Add toasted cardamom seeds to the chocolate and pour over the nuts. Leave to cool for several hours. Best the next day.   

Sweet and Spicy Almonds

These are a great holiday snack to have with drinks and for snacking before dinner. They have a bit of a kick and are much more fun than regular almonds - you wont be able to stop eating them.
2 Cups of untreated, unblanched Almonds
Olive Oil
Cayenne pepper, Coarse Salt, Sugar

1) Spread almonds evenly on baking dish and bake at 350 for 10 minutes and until fragrant.
2) In a large bowl combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tst of coarse salt, 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
3) In a small non-stick combine 1 tblsp honey + 1 tblsp water + 1 teaspoon Olive oil. Cook for 1 minute. Add to toasted Almonds. Toss to coat.
4) Transfer nuts to sugar mixture. Toss. Cool. Best the next day and can be stored for 2 weeks.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Chicken Biryani (homestyle) with Cucumber Mint Raita

Biryani is a traditional Indian dish made with a number of spices(whole and ground, rice, chicken or meat and vegetables. Sort of like a jambalaya or a paella but very different in the type of spices and flavor.
This is a homemade recipe from Lulu Auntie who is a family friend and I just love it. We made it the other day and enjoyed it for days so I thought it would definitely be worth uploading. The cucumber raita (salad) is a perfect accompaniment.
Chicken (2 - 3 chicken breast chopped ~2lbs)
Onion 2 medium or 1 large chopped lengthwise, fine
Whole spices fried to flavor oil:
Cinnamon sticks 2
Cloves 6
Cardamom 6
Masala (mix of dry ground spices):
Coriander powder 2 tsp
Turmeric 1 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Additional Ingredients:
2-3 cups basmati rice
Mint leaves (handful chopped)
Cilantro (handful chopped)
Green chilli 2-3 slit lengthwise but left whole
ginger garlic paste 1 tablespoon each
Yogurt 2 cups
Saffron (optional,gives a good color)

1) Sautee a whole lot of onions in olive oil and make sure they are golden brown before you set aside. While doing this make some half-boil rice (1 cup basmati rice usually = 1.5 cups water). Typically the rice takes 20 mins but in this case stop after 10 mins because we will be cooking it later in the oven.
3) In oil heat whole spices till they release their fragrance. Add the garlic and ginder paste.
4) Add the greens (green chilli, chopped cilantro and mint)
5) Add the masalas or dry ground spices. A bit of red chilli powder can also be added as optional.
6) Fry chicken and let turn a bit brown before adding the yogurt. Let thicken into a korma. Add 1/3 of the onions. Set the rest aside for layering in biryani.
7) In a glass baking dish, layer rice (1/3) followed by half the korma followed by the onions (1/3). Add second layer of rice (1/3), rest of korma, rest of the onions. Make holes and pour ghee or butter. Mix a pinch of saffron+warm milk and pour on rice for the beautiful coloring.  Bake for 30 mins at 350.

Cucumber Mint Raita:
Grate cucumber and squeeze out water. Mix with yogurt, salt and a pich of cumin (be careful not to overpower with cumin here). Add a tsp of chopped cilantro and mint. Grated carrot can also be used. Refrigerate if possible before serving.
The result is a wholesome rice and meat dish for a group of 4-6 people. The coolness of the raita helps compliment the spices. Mmmm, delicious.

Friday, October 22, 2010

White Gazpacho

As we reach cruising altitude at 30,000 feet, I think to myself how cool it would be to post my first recipe from up in the air!! I'm thinking of my sister right now as I travel to Boston and this recipe is for her because she likes light  soups.  I made this also a week ago with Cindy's help and it reminded me of the cucumber sauce in a gyro so it has that type of a taste but much lighter. The traditional gazpacho is a Spanish tomato based red soup. But not all gazpachos are red. The white ones are made with cucumbers and are very light, delicious chilled & refreshing. Since it is still 80 degrees in Mumbai right now, I think this will come in handy all year round!
Cucumbers 4 medium sized  (US)or 3 English long or 8-10 Indian small - peeled seeded and cut into chunks (save a thin slice for garnish if you wish)
3 garlic cloves
2 cups chicken stock (make stock with soup/bouillion cube and water)
Process above in blender and transfer to a bowl and add the following:

1 32 oz container plain yogurt (about 4 cups)
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper (I am not a big fan of white pepper because it smells wierd and a little excess could ruin the dish so I would probably go with black pepper)
1 large bell pepper (red or yellow or green) - chopped really fine
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced (use one that has been sitting in the fridge and not too strong or soak in water for 5 minutes to make milder)
1/4 cup milk
Stir to combine and chill well. Served garnished with a cilantro leaf, dill or a thin slice of cucumber.  Best if prepared several hours in advance or the night before. So easy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Paella with Rabbit, Shrimp and Bay Scallops

I learnt this recipe in a cooking class and havent really had a chance to try it until now. Thanks to Ernesto and Cindy for the idea to make a Paella and for Ernesto's suggestion of trying rabbit although i will probably always pick chicken. Pork could also be used. The key with Paella is really the pan. You should be using a Paella pan (in pic) which can be used on the stove top and oven This recipe serves 6-8 people
Meats (Proteins)
1 lb spicy sausage. Try 3-4 of the hand made chorizo from farmers market.
1.5 lbs peeled deveined, raw shrimp (15 to 20 large)
2 cups bay scallops (or squid rings)
1 whole rabbit or chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2-3 handfuls of fresh green beans
1/2 c frozen peas (and/or carrot)
1 can chopped tomatoes in puree
1 finely chopped onion
1 each red and green pepper cut into strips
2 lemons cut in wedges
2 cups rice - use a medium grained rice if possible. Jasmine or Basmati will probably work too.
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
pinch of saffron
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil, for saute
Paste of 8 whole blanched almonds, 4 tablespoons cilantro, 3 cloves garlic

1) Heat olive oil over medium high heat in paella pan
2) Sautee sliced sausage. Remove and add rabbit/chicken to remaining oil.
3) Add chopped onion, cooking until soft and translucent.  Add tomatoes and cook 5 minutes more.  Add raw scallops and shrimp, cook for a few minutes and remove.
4) Make a paste of last 3 ingredients in a processor and add it to pan cooking for 1-2 minutes.  Add rice and stir to coat then add wine. 
5) Next add bell peppers, peas and green beans. 
6) Bring stock to a boil and add to pan. Add saffron (2 pinches) and salt. Cook for 10 minutes, stiring frequnetly until broth is absorbed but some liquid still remains. 
7) Heat oven to 325 add cooked rabbit/chicken and scallops and bake for 10 minutes. Add lemon wedges and bake another 10 minutes.
So colorful and delicious!!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kerala prawn pickle

I love this dish.  This is very similar to the Goan prawn pickle I posted but even simpler and as delicious. This recipe is from Lulu auntie and originated probably in Kerala. It is usually served as an accompaniment to any rice and curry dish but I like the idea of using it as a snack with some Naan. Yumm!

Masala Ingredients:
Cumin, turmeric, pepper: 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri red chilli - 6
Garlic clove 1
Vinegar 2 tblsp
To make masala, grind the above ingreadients in small food processor.

Additional Ingredients:
Shrimp: Small or Medium 25 count; chopped
Tomato chopped 2
Ginger chunk chopped
Garlic 3 pods chopped
Curry leaves (optional)
Onion 1 chopped
Oil canola 3 tblsp
Green chilli 2 chopped

1) Make masala and keep aside
2) Fry the onions in oil until brown. Add ginger, garlic, green chilli. Sautee. Add masala and tomato. Cook tomato well for about 5 - 7 minutes.
3) Add shrimp. Sautee and add a bit of water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar. If you want to store in the fridge then increase oil and vinegar.
It is delicious, spicy and can be used to add flavor to any rice dish!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oven fried chicken with spices

I think this is a genius way to make oven friend chicken. So its fried chicken but not really because it is breaded and baked in a light layer of vegetable oil. I have to give 100% credit to Anjum Anand recipe that is in a book I ordered from London and use regulary -- It is published by the BBC and titled Indian food made easy.

It is also much healthier because it is not deep fried but the taste is still yumm. And I also removed the skin from the drumsticks and it was still so delicious. Another trick for tastiness is to use dark meat. Also chicken pieces cut at joints are always tastier than cuts without bone.

Chicken: 3 drumsticks, 2 thighs (highly recommend buying fresh and in seperates versus packaged -- like at whole foods)
2 eggs beaten
Breadcrumbs 2-3 cups
Cumin, salt, pepper, garam masala
Ginger (chunk)and garlic (9 cloves)
Green chilli 3-4
Lemon juice 1

1) Marinade the Chicken:
Blend the following in food processor: Ginger 1 piece, Garlic 9 cloves, 3-4 green chillies, 1tsp salt, 1tsp garam masala (at whole foods or indian grocery store), 1/2 lemon squeezed, 2 tblsp canola/vegetable oil
Coat chicken. Marinate for 2 hours or overnite.
2) Heat oven to 425
3) Coat chicken with breadcrumbs:
Mix cumin (1/4 tsp), breadcrumbs (2 cups), salt and pepper. Dip chicken in breadcrumbs, egg and back in breadcrumbs again.
4) Pour 3 tblsp vegetable oil into roasting pan. Place breaded chicken in oil layered roasting pan. Place pan on a high shelf in oven and bake for 15 mins. Lower heat to 400 and turn chicken and cook for 15 - 25 mins or until cooked. Serve with lemon squeezed on the top.  
Idea for a side: Tomato rice: When making rice add 1/2 tomato chopped, cilantro, salt, cumin seeds, olive oil.
Mmmmm - so delicious!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shrimp & Grits

SOURCE: Adpted from recipe in the September 2010 issue of Food and Wine Magazine (in stands now). I changed a few things but its mostly the same. I can see this pairing nicely with Prosecco for a yumm brunch dish or a Chardonnay for a nice dinner. The Prosecco Spago Nero is only $11 at whole foods and is the best Prosecco for the value.
So first of all I love the idea of Shrimp and Grits because it is such a traditional Southern favorite and personally one of mine too. But more importantly, I wanted to try a new ingredient 'smoked paprika'-- I've seen so many chefs using it on the food network and this past weekend, I decided to buy it so I could try it. Also important to use a good fresh cheese -- the white cheddar worked well.

3/4 cup grits
Shrimp 1 lb (peeled, deveined; I leave a few with tail on for the flavor)
Couple handfuls of baby spinach
Garlic cloves - 3 sliced thin and flat
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 -2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 cup white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc)
Grated Cheese - Fontina (soft cooking cheese) or Sharp white cheddar (I used a mix of the two)

1) Boil 3 cups of water. Add salt and olive oil. Stir in the grits slowly. Cook on low heat for 7 minutes. Be careful while you cook the grits because they have a tendency to splatter. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir in the shredded cheese and baby spinach. Cover and keep warm so that they don't solidify. Optional -- add cream cheese to achieve more of a creamy texture and chives is available.
2) In a bowl marinate shrimp with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and little olive oil for about 5 minutes. In a large skillet, heat oil. Sautee sliced garlic. When you smell the garlic, add the shrimp. Using tongs, turn and cook until they are pink. Add the wine and cook till alcohol evaporates (sauce is thick).
3) Spoon grits onto a plate or bowl. Top with shrimp. Serve. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cheese Chilli Tomato Toast

This is something you can make in 10 minutes when you are having a lazy rainy pyjama day and you don't want to step out.
Cheese (any and all types) -- I used a small piece piece of swiss, sprinkles of parmesan and crumbles of feta
Tomato (1/2 chopped fine)
Green chilli 1 -2 chopped fine
cilantro chopped fine
Any bread that you find in the house: Bread, garlic bread, bagel
Heat oven to 400. Mix and all ingredients. Place on bread that is buttered. Bake for 10 minutes. If you can do this with garlic bread, it is really tasty! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grilled Lamb Burger, Feta cheese & Tzatziki sauce

Perfectly delicious. Has the taste of a gyro but is really much better.
Feta cheese sliced
1 tomato sliced
Lamb 2 lb
Mint chopped fine
Garlic 2 cloved chopped fine
Paprika 3/4 tsp
cinammon powder 1/2 tsp
Salt (1/2 tsp) & Fresh ground pepper
Olive oil 1 -2 tablespoon
Make 4 hamburger patties by combining all the ingreadients. Grill to your preference.
Tzaziki Sauce:
Greek yogurt plain (strained in a cheese cloth to make thicker)
2 mint leaves
Pepper, salt
1/2 lime squeezed
Grind all ingredients in a food processor. Serve.
Spread sauce on bun. Add grilled patty, feta, tomato, dash of pepper and salt, spinach. Lamb burger is ready when you are.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Homemade gourmet sandwiches: Portobello mushroom,red onion jam & blue cheese

So here are some things that go really well together: Red Onion Jam, Blue Cheese, Portobello Mushroom, Challah bread, A refreshing wine like Sauvignon Blanc. You can always use steak, or lamb instead of the potobello and it would be awesome too.

For some reason, I got interested in making Red Onion Jam. I thought that blue cheese would go well with the red onion jam so I bought some from whole foods. I picked up Blue D'Auvergne. This cheese is from the south of France and is made from cows milk (versus sheeps). It is sooo good and I imagine it would be great on a salad or with mild crackers or baguette. I also picked up challah bread --- this is a traditional jewesh bread eaten on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. Its slightly sweet because the dough has honey and eggs in it.

Shopping list:
Challah bread or bun for burger
Blue cheese
Portabella mushroom
Thyme - fresh, 2-3 sprigs
Olive oil
Red onion (1 big or 2-3 small) thinly sliced
Thyme - 1 sprig
Red wine - 1 cup
Red wine vinegar - 1/4 cup
Honey 1/4 cup

Red Onion Jam: Add olive oil to a non-stick skillet. Add onions, sprig of thyme, salt and pepper. Sautee for 10 mins until onions are wilted. Add wine and cook on medium for 10 mins until wine is absorbed. Add the red wine vinegar and honey. Simmer for another 15 minutes until it turns into a jam/relish like consistency.

Marinade for the portabella mushroom:
Olive oil, garlic (1 clove), balsamic/red wine vinegar, thyme. Whisk. Toss the portobella and sear (Char on a grill, grill plate or pan on high heat for about 4 minutes).
Make a delicious sanwich or burger by layering bread, portobella, red onion, blue cheese. Enjoy with a chilled glass of white wine!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Authentic Indian Fish Curry with Coconut Rice

In my mind it's always been a challenge to master an authentic curry. I have made Indian food many times but havent posted much because I've been waiting to discover dishes that are truly unique. I am so tired of the word "curry" -- it is a generic and mediocre term applied with little authenticity. So let me introduce you to a bengali style fish curry that is mouth wateringly delicious. You will see when you taste it how the fresh tomatoes blend with the ginger, garlic and mustard to give you a powerful fish curry that is unique and authentic.

As usual, this technique is simple and the fish I have used is easily available in the frozen section if you are in a hurry but nothing like fresh fish if you can get it. My inspiration for this is a dish is the chef Anjum Anand who is from London. She has several TV shows there and has also publised a few books. I can't wait to try more of her recipes.

Cod -- 3-4 fillets. Recipe is for 1 lb. Cod is a firm and flaky fish that is ideal for curry and doesnt fall apart. I used the Cod fillets from the frozen section. Just bring home and thaw under hot water and they are ready for use. All good indian dishes have 2 main compoments - a masala or a paste of spices and/or a tadka which is spices toasted in oil.

To make Masala or Main paste, grind the below in a small food procesor with 4 tblsp of water until its a fine paste:
Tomatoes - 2 medium fresh
Garlic - 6 cloves
Ginger - two chunks, the size of your big toe (sorry but thats what came to mind!)
Coriander powder - 3 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp heaped
Mustard seeds ground if possible
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder 1/2 tsp
garam masala 1/2 tsp

To make the Tadka or Toasted Spice Oil (tempered in spices and herbs):
Oil - 4 tblsp
Fenugreek seeds (methi) - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Green chilli - 2-3 slashed or poked with a knife but kept whole
Cilantro and lime for garnish

For Coconut rice:
Boil 2 cups basmati rice, 2 and 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup coconut milk (Ratio of rice to liquid is 1 cup rice = 1 and 1/2 cup water). Add chopped cilantro, little onion, a few tblsp oil, salt. Cook for 20 minutes on low/medium.

1) Heat oil in a stainless steel mid size pan
2) When hot (not smoky), add fenugreek and mustard for 20-30 seconds until you hear the splatter. Add the green chilli and use lid if needed to contain the splatter.
3) In 10 seconds, reduce heat and stir in the masala or main curry paste
4) Season with salt, pepper, cover and cook over medium heat for 7 minutes
5) Remove lid and cook for 4 minutes until paste changes color (becomes darker) and the oil seperates from the rest of the masala. This is a very important step and it is here that the tru flavors of the spices start mingling
6) Add the fish gently. Use a spatula to fold the curry oaround the fish. Pour a little water. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes until fish is cooked.
7) Serve with coconut rice. Squeeze lime on the fish and sprinkle chopped cilantro

You will not be dissappointed with this delicious fish curry!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Delicious recipes for a long summer weekend

90 degrees. We are in the peak of summer and I'm in Boston celebrating 4th with my friends. Below are some recipes that are part of the long weekend celebrations. I am playing sous chef to my friend and co chef Sara who is on a roll!

1) Breakfast: Yogurt delight
Mango slices
Yogurt (something creamy)
lime zest
In a glass layer fruit, yogurt (whipped), honey, zest of lime. Enjoy!

2) Lunch or Light Dinner: Baked Cod with rosemary potatoes
Yellow potatoes cubed
Grape tomatoes
Olives (fresh mix, pitted)
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Garlic 3 cloves sliced thin
Fish (Cod fillet; red snapper would work too)

In a glass baking dish, mix potatoes, rosemary, salt, pepper, olive oil. Bake @ 450 for 20 minutes.
In the meanwhile, coat the fish with salt, pepper, olive oil, seasoning(we used italian all purpose but it could be any rub or spice).
Remove dish and add tomatoes & olives. toss.
Move to one side (like in picture) and place fish next to it.
Bake @ 450 for 20 minutes.
Serve with light salad

3) Snack: Proscuitto, olives & peppered salami

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Refreshing Watermelon and Feta Summer Salad

Watermelon might be my second favorite fruit after mango. This summer, try this delicious and simple watermelon salad. It will take you less than 10 minutes and the taste is thirst quenching and refreshing. I first saw this on the TV show 'Next food network star' last season but since then I've seen it literally everywhere -I've seen versions with olives (Nigella, Oprah) and red onions (Paula Deen) but I like it just simple.
It's hip, cool, healthy, refreshing and a perfect complement to your July 4th bbq celebrations. And if you are a little hesitant about combining feta with watermelon, let me just tell you that it is the perfect combo of sweet and salty and you have to try it to see what I mean.
Pick a good watermelon that has deep red color. July is a good time because they are in season and everywhere!

Watermelon sliced, no seeds
Feta cheese crumbled
Balsamic vinegar
Mint leaves chopped

Spread the sliced watermelon on a plate or dish. Crumble feta with fingers and spread over the watermelon. Drizzle balsamic vinegar. Top with mint leaves. How simple is that!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Night Italian -- Easy Penne with Sundried Tomatoes, Artichoke & Sausage

This is super easy and great for a quick Monday night meal. Inspired by the Molto Gusto (Mario Batali) & my friend Sara Eapen who made a version of this when Maureen and I went to visit her in her new condo in Boston.

1 bottle of sun dried tomatoes in oil.
1 can artichoke hearts quartered
1 sausage from the fresh meats section -- I just got 1 regular sausage but usually the mild flavored freshly made sausage like apple, garlic or other from whole foods also works well.
Garlic - 3 pods
Shallots 1-2
Dry spices: Red pepper flakes, oregano, crushed pepper
Parsley fresh chopped fine
Parmesan cheese -- freshly grated very fine
Penne pasta
1) Boil pasta per directions -- about 15 minutes for penne. Add oil and salt to water
2) In a skillet (cast iron if you have it or other) sautee and cook sausage (remove casing and break for more of a crumble texture). Set aside
3) Add some of the oil from the sun dried tomato bottle and sautee minced garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes. pinch of oregano
4) Add rest of the sun dried tomatoes. Sautee and add the artichokes. Season with crushed pepper and a bit of salt as needed
5) Turn off and focus on pasta -- it should be slightly firm and not overcooked. When done add to skillet. Toss & add sausage.
6) Serve in a bowl. Add freshly grated parmesan & parsley. Enjoy with a glass of Pinot Grigio!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Delicious Simple Italian

So I went to the Metropolitan cooking show last weekend and I saw Bobby Flay and Mario Batali demonstrate some really simple and delicious cooking. This dish I made yesterday was inspired by Batali -- check out his new book Molto Gusto. It has a lot of vegetables and VERY SIMPLE daily pastas with 4-5 ingredients.

Ravioli (from fresh section near eggs in the grocery store) - Cheese 1 box, Mushroom 1 box
Grated parmesano -- fine grated like powder works best
Fresh Italian parsely
Fresh chives optional (i was growing them so decided to use)
Tomato paste (in can)
2 Shallots sliced (not diced; these are better than onions because they are sweeter)
3 cloves of garlic sliced (fairly thick slices)
Milk (I used 2% because it was in the fridge instead of cream and it worked beautifully)
Red chilli flakes
Dried oregano
Start off by boiling the water because this takes the longest. Add olive oil to the water (so the ravioli is tastier and so they dont stick). Add ravioli and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and water.
In a stainless steel pan sautee the sliced garlic and shallots. Add red chilli flakes (this gives the spice and zest!!), sprinkle of dried oregano. When they are almost brown, turn off.
Add tomato paste (about 2 tsp). Sautee. Add milk and very little water to make sauce. Sautee. Add the raviolis. Toss for 3-5 mins and turn off.
To serve, spoon into bowl. Top with fresh parmesan and chopped parsely. Viola -- this is a delicious and beautiful simple Italian meal!!!
1) Push the outer limit of heat: Burn the garlic or the pizza a little or else you will never discover the real taste of food. We tend to take things off the fire too quickly because we are afraid to burn things. Char the shrimp on a pan by simply coating with salt and pepper to get the "real pure flavor"
2) Love the wine that you cook with. Typically we dont cook with the wine that we drink but according to Bobby, it is really important to taste and love the wine. His favorite for cooking is the Columbia Crest Chardonnay
3) Tomatoes are best in August, Sept and October. Rest of the year canned may be better. Use Pomi brand. Taste the tomatoes in the can before adding -- we typically just throw the canned tomatoes in but Mario was adding red wine venegar, salt, sugar or other touches to the canned tomatoes to get the tase that he wanted.
4) Use red chilli flakes or thai red bird pepper to add a kick to that pasta
5) Of all the onions, red onions go the best with pasta
6) Honey can be used to cut spice heat. Bobby likes to create rubs for meat (rib eye) or shrimp and then grill or cook on skillet (cast iron). Following that he created a seperate sauce to pour over the protien. This time it was a thai sauce for the Shrimp made with red onion, garlic, ginger sauteed + green curry paste, coconut milk, honey, lime. All food was always served over a bed of some type of salad (Arugula looks pretty)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lamb (or Beef) Burgers with Mint, Feta & Red Onion

CATEGORY: Meal, Burger
SOURCE: Tori Oakman
INSPIRATION: Boutique burgers which are a craze now and the restaurant Flip (Chef Richard Blais from Top Chef fame) is a recent favorite of mine. I must have been there 5 times already in the last 3 weeks. So, I had heard about Tori's lamb burgers for a while now. MJ who also works with me has been raving about them for a while so I decided to try them out and my god they were truly fantastic.
This is a truly delicious burger.
Ingredients for 4 burgers
For the Patty:
Ground Lamb or Beef (2 lb)
Fresh Mint (whole bunch chopped fine)
Cinnamon (powder) 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Fresh ground pepper 1 tsp
Garlic 3-4 cloves
Paprika 1 tsp
Olive oil 1-2 tblsp
For the Fixins:
Spinach (baby spinach leaves)
Red onion sliced round
Feta cheese 3-4 tblsp
Olive oil + balasamic vinegar (instead of mayo)
Buns (multi grain, french or fresh hamburger buns)
Make patty by mixing all the ingredients for the patty. Shape with fingers. Heat outdoor grill or indoor grill plate to high. Place burger and let sear. Turn and cover to cook inside.
To complete burger, either dip the spinach in dressing or smear dressing on bun. Layer the burger, feta cheese, spinach leaves and bun (toast bun as needed)