Archive for September, 2013

Mirza Ghassemi

I love cooking, but sometimes I think I need to go back to cooking 101. It never fails. I get excited about trying a new recipe and get to work right away. Halfway through though, I realize I don’t have an ingredient that I could have sworn I had on hand. And then I have to improvise. Oh well. That’s how all the great inventions are made (potato chips, anyone?).

Anyway, I was in the middle of making mirza ghassemi when I realized I had no turmeric. As a result, this recipe uses curry powder and dried mustard as a sub. If you want a more authentic taste, just use 1/2 tsp turmeric instead. Either way, it tastes amazing!

Mirza Ghassemi Mirza Ghassemi 

Ingredients: 

1 medium eggplant

1 tbsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp dried mustard

1 large tomato, diced

1/2 tbsp tomato paste

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

salt and pepper, to taste

2 eggs

parsley

Directions: 

Pork several holes into the skin of the eggplant. Place on a baking pan and bake for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Afterwards, let eggplant cool before scooping out flesh and mashing with a potato masher. Set aside.

In a deep skillet or pot, heat up olive oil. Add in garlic cloves and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in curry and mustard, stirring for 30 seconds. Add in eggplant flesh. Let cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add in tomato, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook, occasionally stirring, for another 10 minutes. Move mixture to side of skillet/pot and crack in eggs. Allow to cook fully and scramble before mixing with the eggplant mixture. Place mirza ghassemi serving bowl and sprinkle with parsley for a garnish.

Beet “Cookies”

Beet Cookies

I’ve been holding out on you guys.

These “cookies” have been in the experimentation vault for a long time now. Before I’ve even started this blog, in fact. Perfection does not happen overnight. Apparently it takes years.

I say “cookies” with quotes because of the major lack of sweetener- it doesn’t need it, in my opinion. However, I think “cookie” may be misleading if you like super sweet treats. Scone, maybe? If anyone can think of a different name let me know!

I’ve always felt bad for beets. Nobody ever seems to give them a chance. Sure, they are ugly on the outside, but they have such a pretty color once sliced open. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s very much a metaphor. Kinda like an ugly duckling thing.

Anyway, I started experimenting with beets a few summers ago because my mom had gotten a bunch from her food co-op. While I was watching over a relative’s house, I took a bunch with me to play around with. That weekend, two of my friends came over the house to keep me company. While hanging around in the kitchen, I made a few batches of these “cookies,” all with variations to them. Then I offered them up to my taste testers. Using what they liked/didn’t like, I continued to mess around with the recipe. Some changes were good, others were horrible. By the next day, we had eaten all the “cookies.”

Fast-forward to December. Being crazy with the holidays and school, I had not cooked/baked in forever, let alone think about beets. While studying for finals, my friend texted me that she really wanted a beet “cookie.”

Pretty much the most random thing ever at the time. So I lied and said I’d make her some for Christmas (hey- I was busy). So, for the next few months I’d get the “you said” speech from her from time to time.

Fast-forward to the next summer: my friend wanted the recipe. I started to try and perfect it cause I refuse to release a recipe until it’s to my satisfaction. At one point, I tried changing the baking powder to baking soda on a 1:1 ratio (originally, the recipe only contained baking powder). This was the result:

Yup, it turned them brown (anybody know why??? I’m guessing a chemical reaction between the baking soda and lemon juice?). But they tasted so good with the baking soda! Yet, there’s no point of making beet cookies without the color. So, I had to reduce the baking soda until the color reappeared. Some other tried and tested variations:

-Different flours: Can make with all spelt, whole wheat, or white. Or a combination of all three. Oat flour can be used, just don’t exceed 1/2 a cup.

-Do NOT leave uncooked batter sitting out for long. It makes the “cookies” take on a sour taste.

-Don’t try adding cacao/cocoa powder. It does nothing for the flavor. It only dulls the color.

-Use UNrefined coconut oil. It makes it taste better.

-Don’t worry about greasing pan before hand

-Using lime juice and anise extract, as my friend did, WILL give it a different flavor. I won’t say bad because she actually liked it (I did not though).

-Do NOT place hot “cookies” immediately onto paper napkins on a wooden table when they are done.

Why? The next day I saw that they left 2 dozen round, white stains on the table. To make matters worse, it wasn’t even my table!

After a long google search, I tried everything to get the stains off. In case you are ever in this dilemma, turning the table around does not help. Blowing a hairdryer at the stains for 20 minutes does NOT work either! I had to rub toothpaste over the spots with a paper towel over and OVER again. And not a simple scrub. More like a hysterical, standing-up-and-putting-my-full-weight-into-it scrub.

I’ve never felt so exhausted from cleaning before. Even after this, the stains still shone faintly. I then rubbed on olive oil and let it sit for an hour. And presto! The stains disappeared. And the angels sang to me. I celebrated by eating a beet “cookie.”

Needless to say, these “cookies” have history to them.

Feel free to experiment. Just report the results please!!!

By the way, I apologize for my longest blog post ever. I’ll make it up with a recipe:

Beet Cookies

Beet “Cookies” 

(Makes 12) 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup spelt flour (can sub in whole wheat flour)

1/2 cup oat flour (can sub in more spelt or whole wheat flour)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

2 tablespoons UNrefined coconut oil, melted

1 tbsp pure organic maple syrup

2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup RAW beets, peeled and shredded*

water

Optional: add-ins such as chocolate chips, raisins, and/or nuts.

*To shred, pulse in food processor

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place flours, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Pulse in coconut oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add in beets and blend. To form dough ball, add 1/2 tbsp water at a time and give QUICK PULSES. Dough should be dry enough to work with without getting sticky hands. If its sticky, sprinkle in some flour or just work with the sticky dough (it won’t affect the finished product). Separate ball into 12 small balls and press down on baking pan (no need to grease) until desired shape. Press in add-ins. Bake for 8 minutes. Store in an air-tight container.

Oven-Roasted Shush Kabobs

Well folks, I can no longer pretend it’s summer. Last Wednesday was 94 degrees. As I’m writing this, it’s now 53 degrees.

Farewell heat.

To be honest, I’m not too upset summer has ended. Autumn is my favorite season after all.

Of course, I may be singing a different tune once I get more into this semester.

Just because I had to say goodbye to summer, however, does not mean I have to say goodbye to summer food. Which brings me to shush kabobs. Oven roasted shush kabobs to be exact. Now you can have a bit of summer in the dead of winter (or any season!).

I didn’t actually design this recipe with cold weather in mind. Really, I was just trying to find a way of making shush kabobs without using a grill. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to so much breathe near the grill at my house. I think it must be a man thing. Kinda like how men cannot ask for directions. Men cannot let women grill (no offense to anyone out there!). So, I went to my mom’s house to use hers. Except… well, maybe men do grill with good reason (again, no offense!). Main point being, I had to find a way to make these sans grill.

Oh, and another thing, no need to break out the skewers with these. Wooden chopsticks work perfectly! Since we have so many lying around, I figured it was about time I did something with them 🙂

NOTE: the first time I made these, I placed the ham in the oven with the rest of the shush kabob (which is why the ham in the picture is integrated in my fruit/veggie pattern.) Do NOT do this! The ham quickly gets all mushy and slimy. I made this again in the way it states in the directions and problem solved! Just don’t cook the ham. Since I used precooked ham, I don’t know how any uncooked ham or other meats will work with this.

Oven-Roasted Shush Kabobs

Oven-Roasted Shush Kabobs

Ingredients:

1 pineapple, reserving 3 tbsp of pineapple juice

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup precooked organic ham, cubed

3 bell peppers (1 green, 1 yellow, 1 red), sliced into desired shush kabob size

1 onion, peeled into desired shush kabob size

Directions:

Cut pineapple in half and cube into pieces. Reserve 3 tbsp of pineapple juice and store cubed pineapple in fridge. Combine soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, oil, garlic, and reserved pineapple juice in a bowl. Add in ham. Place in fridge and let marinate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil. With each chop stick, pierce onion, peppers, and pineapple into desired pattern. Place onto pans. Once ham has done marinating, remove ham and drizzle/rub about 3/4 of marinade over shush kabobs. Place in oven for 10-12 minutes.

Once out and cooled slightly, add on ham to each end of shush kabobs. Drizzle remaining marinade over shush kabobs before serving.

Eggplant Chip Nachos in Wasabi Sauce (Cheese-less)

When I go on vacation, I often have trouble finding something to eat at a restaurant.

Most places serve something over an abundance of pasta. I’ll eat a little pasta here and there, but not when it makes up most of my meal. I don’t eat meat when I’m out cause 95% of the time it’s not organic and shot up with god knows what. Normally I do grilled seafood, but at the place we went, it was rather expensive. So I ended up picking…

nachos!

Something I thought I’d never get.

Not a fan of the yellow mystery cheese.

But these nachos had no cheese. Instead, it had a bit of some wasabi sauce mixed in. There was so much stuff in the nachos that I dug my way around the chips (my family ate those) and still had left overs! It was so good that I had to recreate it.

Unfortunately, I do not have the money to grill me up some tuna steak, so I had to use canned tuna instead. Oh well, still tasted amazing. I also made eggplant chips instead of using tortilla chips. They came out of the oven nice and crispy, but when I mixed them in at the end, they kinda grew soft. Therefore, I advise just serving them on the side and using them as dippers if you want a “nacho” feel. Either way, it tastes amazing!

Eggplant Chip Nachos in Wasabi Sauce (Cheese-less)

Eggplant Chip Nachos in Wasabi Sauce (Cheese-less) 

Ingredients:

1 Eggplant

salt

pepper, to taste

5 (or more) large romaine lettuce leaves

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 large heirloom tomato, finely chopped

1 tbsp jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

1 5oz can of tuna, drained

Optional: Mashed avocado and/or salsa

         Wasabi Sauce:

1 and 1/2 tbsp wasabi

1 tbsp sour cream

1 tsp horseradish

1 tsp mustard

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions: 

Spray baking pans with cooking oil. Cut the eggplant into thin coins, as thin as you can make them. Quarter the coined slices. Lay the slices on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 20 minutes. Afterwards, blot up water that forms on top of the eggplant with another paper towel. Arrange slices on baking pans and spray with cooking oil of choice. Sprinkle with pepper and bake at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes, removing individual eggplant chips if they become crisp earlier.

Meanwhile, take several leaves of lettuce at a time, twist together, and cut into strips with kitchen shears. Spread out on serving platter. Top with chopped shallots and place in fridge.

In a small bowl, mix together wasabi ingredients. Also place in fridge.

Right before serving, add black beans, tomatoes, pepper, tuna, and wasabi sauce. Toss together. Add in eggplant chips and toss again (or just leave on the side to keep crisp). Mix in mashed avocado and/or salsa, if desired.

Eggplant Chip Nachos in Wasabi Sauce (Cheese-less)