The Spice Bible

Next up on the book review agenda, The Spice Bible by Jane Lawson.

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Oh. My. This is like my dream cookbook about spices everyone. It’s encyclopedic, everything from Ajowan to Wasabi, all broken down by type – seeds and pods, berries and flowers, and roots and bark. It has great recipes, every single spice has at least one matching recipe, often it has two or three to try. It even covers spice pastes, and spice blends, all with recipes for those pastes and blends, as well as recipes using those spice pastes and blends. It’s A-may-zing. (You can tell I’m in love, I sound like a ten-year-old when I talk about it)

It’s on my wishlist. Please buy it for me?

Last night I threw together some Indian food from this book, as well as a side culled from several places online. Butter Chicken is a very common Indian food recipe. It’s relatively easy to make, and tastes very close to what you have in most Indian restaurants under the name Chicken Tikka Masala.

The side dishes were rice, and Saag Paneer. Typically restaurants have Palak Paneer, which is specifically spinach. But I was looking to finish up the kale we had on hand before it went all droopy. So, the word saag just means greens, and it can be any kind of greens – collards, mustard, kale, chard, beet. And this recipe could be used with just plain spinach if that is what you have on hand. Green and leafy? Give it a go in this dish. I ended up changing the dish a bit from most Saag Paneers, since I had used all my yogurt in the Butter Chicken, and didn’t really want to double down on the dairy in our meal anyway, I substituted coconut cream. It was a surprisingly awesome sub! Some vegan saag paneer recipes call for using it instead of yogurt, or cream. Sometimes those vegans are crafty and smart (don’t tell Anthony Bourdain I said that!). I used regular paneer (a type of cheese), since that is what I had on hand, but it could easily be switched out for lightly-fried extra firm tofu, and it would be a full-on vegan dish.

 

Butter Chicken
Serves 6
Chicken in a creamy almond, tomato, and butter sauce
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4" piece of fresh ginger roughly chopped
  2. 3 garlic cloves
  3. 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  4. 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cayanne pepper
  6. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  7. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  8. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  9. 4 green cardamom pods
  10. 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
  11. 2 lbs 4 oz skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into large pieces
  12. 5 tablespoons ghee (it's the butter in butter chicken, but I've been known to use olive oil also)
  13. 1 large yellow onion
  14. 1 large handful of cilantro leaves
  15. 1/3 cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Place the ginger, garlic, and almonds into a food processor and turn into a paste. Blend paste with yogurt, spices, and tomato sauce in a bowl. Add chicken pieces and let marinate in sauce for four hours, or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Heat ghee in a deep, heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and fry for 10 minutes, until softened and brown. Remove onions to a dutch oven. Fry chicken pieces in batches for 5 minutes to brown a bit. Add to dutch oven. Deglaze frying pan with cream, let set for one minute, and then add to dutch oven with chicken and remainder of marinade. Put lid on dutch oven.
  3. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and spoon off some of the excess oil.
  4. Optional: Remove lid on dutch oven and switch to low broiler. Allow chicken to brown for 5-10 minutes.
Adapted from from The Spice Bible
Adapted from from The Spice Bible
Motley Oklahoman http://www.motleyoklahoman.com/
Saag Paneer
Serves 4
An almost vegan version of the Indian dish so many know and love. Only this time made with kale instead of spinach. If you want an entirely vegan dish just substitute cubes of extra-firm tofu for the panner.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 7 ounces paneer in half-inch cubes
  2. 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or ghee, or vegetable oil)
  3. salt
  4. 1 large bunch kale
  5. 1 medium yellow onion
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  7. 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  8. 1 large clove garlic peeled and minced
  9. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  10. 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes
  11. 1 cup coconut cream
  12. juice of half a lemon
  13. 1 pinch Garam masala
Instructions
  1. Melt the oil in a wide skillet over a medium flame until it shimmers. Add the cheese cubes in a single layer, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the cheese brown on the first side, 3-5 minutes. It will spit and hiss, so be careful. Loosen the cheese with a thin, metal spatula, and flip each cube onto a second side. Let brown on the second side, 3-5 more minutes, then sprinkle with a bit of salt and remove the cheese to drain on a double layer of paper towels.
  2. If the oil in the pan burned or smoked, pour it out, wipe out the pan, and add another tablespoon of oil; otherwise, you can leave the oil in the pan for the next step.
  3. Use a sharp paring knife to slice the kale leaves off of the stems. Give the kale leaves a rough chop, then soak them in a large bowl of cool water, swishing occasionally to loosen any dirt or sand clinging to them. Drain and shake excess water off kale leaves.
  4. Heat the oil over a medium flame until it shimmers, then add the onion, ginger, cumin, garlic, chile flakes and turmeric. Saute, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, then add 1/4 cup water and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Steam the chard until the leaves are just wilted and bright green; this will only take a few minutes. Take lid off and continue to saute until most of the water is cooked away and kale is no longer wet.
  5. Stir in the coconut cream, and cheese cubes, gently heat through over a low flame, then remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Taste, adding more salt or lemon juice if needed to bring up the flavors.
  6. Serve the saag paneer over rice, garnished with cilantro, a pinch of garam masala, and lemon wedges to squeeze over the top.
Motley Oklahoman http://www.motleyoklahoman.com/

The Book Of Kale

I hawkishly watch the new cookbook releases feed for my local library system. I’ll admit it, I’m much more addicted to cookbooks than my income or shelf space will allow in new additions. So I borrow, I read, I cook with, I return – occasionally I return them in a fit of angst at not being able to purchase them. But at least they are there for me to peruse at will. I love our library system here. I’ve worked in it before and I hope to work in it again soon.

A couple of weeks ago I happened upon a new book in the system all about kale! The Book of Kale seemed like a great read for someone as fannish about kale as I am.

This is a slightly different cookbook than the usual. Not only does it have 80+ recipes, most involving kale in one way or another, but it also covers everything you could want to know about growing it. Grow it, then eat it. Talk about a well-rounded approach! Sharon Hanna the author goes into great depth in the first section. From the history of kale, to reasons why you should eat it, to growing, to how to get your kids to eat it and love it. She hits all the bases with this one topic cookbook. Ever wonder how many varieties of Brassica oleracea acephala there is? The answer is, a lot. Find out the difference between B. oleracea and the sub-type Brassica napus in the pages of this book. And then maybe you too can grow some dinosaur kale for your kid(s).

The second half of the book is comprised of the recipes. Broken down into seven categories: breakfast, starters & light meals, salads, soups & stews, vegetable dishes & sides, pasta, polenta & risotto, and main dishes. What, no kale ice cream?

Wondering what variety of kale makes the best kale chips? That would be Lactino (otherwise known as dinosaur) kale. Long broad leaves with minimally tough stems make for crunchy green nirvana when dried to a crisp in the oven (or even your food dehydrator, she covers that method also). Or maybe you’d like to make some crunchy crackers with kale? There’s a recipe for that too. Perfect with a smear of goat cheese. Yum.

For my first foray into the recipes in this book I decided to make something light for our Friday dinner. The Ligurian Kale and Potato Torta suited my mood. Simple, rustic, and stuffed full of kale (mostly because I left out the Chard that was in the original recipe). This northern Italian pie was a hit with my husband and my little girl.

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Ligurian Torta With Kale and Potato
Serves 4
Kale. Pie.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 pre-made pie crusts
  2. 3/4 cup mild feta, crumbled
  3. 3/4 cup Italian blend cheese, shredded
  4. 1 large potato, boiled, chopped, cooled
  5. 1 medium onion, chopped
  6. 4 cups kale leaves, chiffonade or chopped to smallish bits
  7. 2 eggs, beaten
  8. 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Saute onion til barely golden brown on edges. Add in kale and 3 tablespoons of water. Put on lid and let kale wilt. Remove lid and continue to stir and saute til most moisture is gone.
  3. Mix kale and onion, potato, cheeses, and a bit of salt and pepper in medium bowl. Pour beaten eggs over, mix thoroughly.
  4. Place first pie crust flat onto a sheet pan that’s been sprayed, or brushed down, with olive oil. Heap kale mixture onto middle of pie crust, leaving 1/2″ empty around edge. Place second crust on top, and crimp edges shut. Brush top and edges of torta with remaining olive oil. Slash a few holes in the top for steam venting.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Should be just golden brown.
Notes
  1. This recipe was adapted from The Book of Kale by Sharon Hanna.
Motley Oklahoman http://www.motleyoklahoman.com/
Baked

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Garlic Bread Croutons

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Garlic Bread Croutons

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Garlic Bread Croutons
Serves 4
Simple, yummy, and filling.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. Soup
  2. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1 cup chopped onion
  4. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  5. 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  6. 12 ounces dried green or yellow split peas picked over and rinsed
  7. 5 cups broth (veggie, or chicken)
  8. 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  9. 1/4 cup half and half
  10. Croutons
  11. 4 white or whole wheat rolls
  12. 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  13. garlic powder
  14. kosher salt
  15. garlic and herb seasoning (I use Zatarain's Big & Zesty Garlic & Herb Creole Seasoning)
Instructions
  1. Place the butter into a large (4 to 6-quart) saucepan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and sweat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sweat for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, making certain not to allow onions or garlic to brown.
  2. Add the peas, broth and poultry seasoning. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at a simmer until the peas are tender and not holding their shape any longer, approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Using care and a stick blender, puree the soup until the desired consistency.
  3. While the soup is cooking, cut the rolls into 1/2" chunks. Put into a bowl. Drizzle bread with olive oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with garlic powder, kosher salt, and garlic and herb seasoning, toss to distribute.
  4. Spread bread on cooking sheet, bake in 300° oven for 20-30 minutes. They should be nearly dry, a bit crispy, and very fragrant.
  5. Serve soup with a pile of croutons on top!
Motley Oklahoman http://www.motleyoklahoman.com/

 

New Year Day Gumbo

I’m always on the look out for interesting new recipes that incorporate black-eyed peas, especially around New Year Day.
This one is so great you will want to make it year around.

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New Year Day Gumbo
Serves 8
A spicy blend of black-eyed peas, barley, and kale. A bowl full of good luck.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  2. 1 green pepper, diced small
  3. 1 cup celery, diced small
  4. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (more or less to taste)
  6. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  7. 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  8. 1 bay leaf
  9. 8 cups low-sodium ham stock (or vegetable stock for veggie people)
  10. 1 cup pearled barley
  11. 1 1/2 cups canned black-eyed peas, drained
  12. 4 cups organic chopped kale or collard greens stems removed, washed
  13. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  14. 1/2 teaspoon gumbo file
  15. Louisiana Hot Sauce
Instructions
  1. Using a dutch oven or stock pot on medium heat, add olive oil, onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic and cook for about five minutes until onions are soft.
  2. Add Cajun seasoning, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, bay leaf, stock of choice and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Add pearled barley and reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Lastly add black-eyed peas, and kale and simmer until beans are heated through and kale is wilted.
  5. Remove from heat, adjust salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of gumbo file over top. Stir in and let sit for at least five minutes before serving.
  6. Remove bay leaf before serving and serve with Louisiana Hot Sauce.
Motley Oklahoman http://www.motleyoklahoman.com/

 

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (Aka Derby Pie)

So for Thanksgiving my mom wanted to make the pumpkin pies, so I was left in a dilemma as to what other kind to make. Pecan is a natural second in my mind to the necessary and ubiquitous pumpkin during Turkey Day. But what to do to make it a bit…different? The answer, usually, Booze! And Chocolate!

 


 

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (Aka Derby Pie)
Serves 8
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 prepared pie crust
  2. 1½ cups pecans, chopped
  3. 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  4. 1 cup dark corn syrup
  5. ½ cup sugar
  6. ½ cup brown sugar
  7. ¼ cup bourbon
  8. 4 eggs
  9. ¼ cup butter
  10. 2 teaspoons cornmeal
  11. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  12. ½ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle crust with pecans and chocolate chips.
  2. Combine corn syrup, sugars, and bourbon in a sauce pan and bring to boil on medium. Cook constantly for 3 minutes. Take off heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together eggs, butter, cornmeal, vanilla and salt. Gradually whisk in cooled syrup mix.
  4. Pour into crust. Bake at 325° for 55 minutes.
Motley Oklahoman http://www.motleyoklahoman.com/
 

Guinness Chocolate Cake

Guinness Chocolate Cake
Serves 12
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 250 ml Guinness
  2. 1 cup butter, sliced by tablespoons
  3. 75 g cocoa
  4. 400 g granulated sugar
  5. 140 ml sour cream
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  8. 275 g all-purpose flour
  9. 2½ teaspoons baking soda
Icing
  1. 300 g cream cheese
  2. 150 g powdered sugar
  3. 125 ml heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 355°F, and grease and line a 9" springform pan.
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan, and add the sliced butter. Heat until the butter is melted, and remove the saucepan from the heat. Whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
  3. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla in a bowl or mixer; then pour the chocolate mixture into the sour cream mixture and blend.
  4. Finally beat in the flour and baking soda.
  5. Pour the batter into a the springform pan, bake for 50-60 minutes (touch the top of the cake to test, it will spring back when touched if done). Leave to cool completely in the pan.
  6. For the icing: Beat the powdered sugar into the cream cheese. Add the cream, and beat again until it's spreadable. Ice the top of the cake only (so it looks like the frothy top of a glass of Guinness).
Notes
  1. This recipe works best if you line the bottom of a tight-fitting springform pan with parchment paper.
Motley Oklahoman http://www.motleyoklahoman.com/
 

Polenta with Sauteed Italian Sausage and Rainbow Chard

 

Polenta with Sausage and Rainbow Chard
Serves 4
Creamy, cheesy polenta is topped with a garlicky sauteed mixture of spicy Italian sausage and fresh chard.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
  2. salt
  3. 1 cup stone-ground polenta
  4. 3 tablespoons butter
  5. 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded/grated
  6. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  7. 1 pound Italian sausage
  8. 1 medium onion, chopped
  9. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  10. 2 pounds rainbow chard, chopped
Instructions
  1. Bring stock to boil, add salt and polenta. Stir often until polenta is thickened, about ten minutes. Add butter and cheese and stir to combine.
  2. Heat oil on medium high heat, brown sausage. Add in onion and garlic and saute until softened. Add chard to pan and saute until wilted down.
  3. Serve over polenta.
Motley Oklahoman http://www.motleyoklahoman.com/