Thursday, December 09, 2010

poplette di melanzane-eggplant balls

Cara, you probably already know this recipe or a similar one. Hope I'm not making a mockery of italian cooking but I made these last night and they were delish. Also pure veggie!

2 large eggplants
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped basil (optional
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 onion finely diced
olive oil
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.
Cut the eggplants in disks, salt them and let them drain for about 30 minutes. Then roast them with a bit of olive oil until brown and tender. When the eggplant has cooled, put it in a food processor and pulse. Add 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs and the rest of the ingredients. Shape the eggplant into balls, roll them in the remaining breadcrumbs and put them on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil and bake for about 30 minutes, turning them halfway through until they are golden and crispy. Serve with tzatiki sauce (recipe to follow)

Tzatziki sauce

1 cup balkan style or greek plain yogurt
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed
salt and pepper
squeeze of lemon
chopped fresh mint

Grate the cucumber, salt it and let it drain in a colander for 20 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water then add it to the rest of the ingredients. Delish!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Tom Kha-Thai Coconut Milk Soup with Shrimp

When I was in Thailand many many years ago I took a cooking class in Chang Mai. This is one of my favorite recipes that I learned from that class. I used to eat this all the time in Thailand and by the end of my trip I was so used to chiles that I would tell the waitress-"I want it very spicy, as spicy as you would serve to a thai person". One night, that soup was served to me and it was bubbling red with all the chiles they had added to it. I enjoyed it thoroughly sitting on a pillow by the ocean, and the soup was chock full with wonderfully fresh seafood. Unfortunately, my stomach did not share my enthusiasm and it punished me with a vengeance later on that night.

Anyway, you don't need to add that many chiles to this soup, when it's almost done you can adjust for spiciness, sourness, sweetness, and saltiness with the different ingredients. If you follow this recipe with the right ingredients (found in every asian grocery store) it will taste just like you've been transported to Thailand.

2 cans coconut milk
2 cups veggie stock
1 piece of galangal cut into 5 thick slices (substitute ginger if you want)
5 kaffir lime leaves (tear out the stem)
2-3 stalks fresh lemon grass (remove the outer shell and cut off the tough stems, then cut the stalks in half and bruise them-yeah baby!)
raw shrimp (about 20 to 30 shrimp)
Juice of one and a half limes (to taste for sour)
2 tbsp fish sauce (to taste for salty)
2 tbsp brown sugar (to taste)
A bunch of mushrooms chopped (button or oyster)
a bunch of coriander, chopped
a handful of baby tomatoes, halved
1 tsp or more if you like it hot of sambal oelek (a thai chili sauce)

Simmer 1 cup of the coconut milk on medium high heat, wait till it's bubbling, then add the lime leaves, galangal, and lemongrass. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, this will make the stock. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp is pink. Add the veggie stock, the coconut milk, the mushrooms, and the sugar and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Then add the fish sauce, lime juice, and chili sauce tasting as you add and adjust the flavors if necessary. Then, just before serving, add the chopped coriander and tomatoes. Serve with jasmine rice and a mango salad.

My sister always asks me to make this for her.


I posted this recipe four years ago but I wanted to repost it because it is SO good and is such comfort food for me. My dad has been making it for us since we were kids and its so warm and protein rich from the lentils. I love making it on a cold winter night such as this one. You can find the hing in indian grocery stores but it is an acquired taste so you can omit it if you want. Another name for hing is asafoetida or "devil's dung" and it adds a nutty burnt sort of flavor to the dhal which I love.

1 & 1/2 cup red lentils
5 cloves of garlic
1 onion
2 zucchinis
1 can of tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
8-10 peppercorns
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp dried red chilies
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
Few shakes of Hing (Asafoetida), found in indian grocery stores

Remove any stones from the lentils and rinse them. Put the lentils in a pot and cover them with water, about 2 inches above it. Add the cumin, salt, peppercorns, 3 cloves of mashed garlic, chopped zucchini, onion, and the tomato. Simmer until lentils are fully cooked and you can't see the individual lentils.
When this happens, heat oil in a pan on high and add the mustard seeds. Fry them and shake them around until they start popping then add two cloves of finely chopped garlic. When garlic is brownish, add two shakes of "hing". Then add this mixture to the pot. It will sizzle in a wonderful sort of way. You can even add some of the soupy mixture to the pan to make sure you got it all. Then simmer for a few more minutes, and eat with rice and lemon pickle.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

chickpea and pumpkin curry

1 large onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
ginger (one knob chopped)
1.5 cups of pumpkin (i baked mine first, and cut into cubes/small pieces)
2 cups of chickpeas (cooked or canned)
1 cup of water
1 can of coconut milk
curry powder
black pepper
fresh cilantro
fresh lime juice-

1. sautee onion and ginger until onion is transparent, then add garlic and curry, cinnamon (not too much) and black pepper (I'm sure a good quality curry paste would be better, but this is what I had in my cupboard). Fry up for about 5 minutes.
2. Add pumpkin, chickpeas and water-turn up the heat to medium high and let it simmer.
3. Add coconut milk-let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
4. Add chopped cilantro and juice of half a lime (or more)
5. Turn heat down to low for 10 minutes or so.

I served this over quinoa and added tempeh to it in the last 10 minutes.