Sunday, April 24, 2016

It's Spring! Peas, Parmesan and Prosciutto Soup

This soup has been on my menu for years!  I make mine without the prosciutto and it is delicious.  Go ahead and add it for another layer of great flavour.

This recipe will serve six.

8 tbsp         butter or olive oil
1/3 cup       shallots ( or onions) finely diced
1 head        bibb or boston lettuce, washed and coarsely chopped
2 16-oz packages   frozen green peas, defrosted
2 tsp           sugar
2 tsp           salt
4 cups        chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup         Parmesan cheese, grated (please use real Parmesan, not the stuff in the green container)
1 cup         light cream
4 oz           prosciutto

In a stockpot, heat the butter or oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until softened and translucent.  Add the salt, sugar, lettuce and peas (reserve 1/2 cup peas for garnish) to the pot, cover and cook gently for approximately ten minutes.

Transfer the peas to a food processor or blender and puree in batches.  Return the mixture to the pan.  Stir in the broth, cream, Parmesan cheese and prosciutto and heat gently for an additional ten minutes.


Sauteed Eggplant and Onions- taste those great Indian Spices!

One of my favourite activities in India was shopping for spices in the markets.  A little challenging for a non-hindi speaker; a great way to explore for a geographically challenged explorer (me!).  I was most successful when accompanied by newfound (and great) Indian friends.  Thank you Mehesh and Nina!

I've added mango to this sautee..

Buying local spices was a wonderful experience.  Some of the spice merchants offered their own blends of spices- masalas- which they made up right in from of you.  " A little bit of this, a little bit of that", ummm smelling good.

This recipe, from Vij's in Vancouver, will incorporate some of my spices and will serve six.

4               black cardamom pods
1/2 cup     grapeseed oil
8               cloves
1/2 tsp      asafoetida
1 tsp         turmeric
2 lbs         eggplant, cut into 1/2" dice
1 1/2 stp   cayenne
2 tsp         salt
1 med.     onion (white or red) sliced lengthwise
2 1/2 tsp  mango powder or 2 tsp tamarind paste
1/2 cup    fresh cilantro, chopped

Lightly crack the black cardamom pods to extract the seeds.  Crush them with a rolling pin.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot on medium-high heat for 45 seconds.  Add the cloves and cardamom seeds and saute for about one minute, until fragrant.  Add the asafoetida, turmeric and stir.  Stir in the eggplant, cayenne and salt and cook for about ten minutes.  Add the onions, stir well and cook until the eggplant is ready.  Stir in the mango powder (or tamarind paste) and cilantro, remove from heat and serve immediately with rice and naan.


Spicy Cauliflower Steak - Even meat lovers will love it!

This is the Indian version of cauliflower steak- thanks to Vij's in Vancouver...  You can even serve it with a poached egg on top- not so Indian but sooo good!

This recipe serves six to eight.

Dhaba Chicken Curry- that's Indian for Roadside Diner to you...

Ahhhh! the great smells coming from all the large pots of curries and sauces simmering in the open kitchen of the Indian dhabas!  Driving through India's Rhajastani countryside, we had the pleasure of enjoying lunch at a few notable dhabas...

Ready to take home... 

So, enjoy my "roadside" curry...

This recipe serves four.

3                onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves     garlic, finely chopped
1"-piece     fresh ginger, peeled and finally chopped
1/4 cup      grapeseed oil
1 tbsp        ground coriander
1/2 tsp       ground cumin
1/2 tsp       cayenne
1/4 tsp       ground cinnamon
pinch         ground cloves
pinch         ground cardamon
1/4 tsp       ground turmeric
1 cup         tomato sauce (or puree)
4- 6oz        chicken breast halves (or thighs), skinned, bone in
1 cup         water
Garam masala for sprinkling
2 tbsp        fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil.  Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom,  Cook over low heat until fragrant- about one minute.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is golden brown, about five minutes.  Add the turmeric and tomato sauce and simmer over medium-high heat stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about three minutes.

Season the chicken with salt and add it to the sauce.  Coat the chicken with the sauce.  Add the water, cover and bring to a boil.  Simmer over low heat, turning the chicken pieces over a few times, until it is cooked through.  Taste the curry and add salt and other spices to taste.

Transfer the chicken pieces and sauce to a serving bowl.  Sprinkle the top with garam masala and cilantro.  Serve with rice and naan.

WANNA PLAY?  You could add vegetables, such as eggplant, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, etc... Better still, your inner vegetarian would prefer no chicken and all vegetables...  just great sauce and vegetables.