Wednesday, September 17, 2008

recipe roundup

here are some recipes that i've tried and really liked over the past six months or so. i can't take any credit for them, but they're great recipes, really delicious, and i thought i should share...

  • channa (from Orangette): best when served with lots of fresh lemon juice and cilantro on top, and yogurt *on the side*
  • cardamom lassi (from Saveur): i make this with non-fat yogurt, a little water (to thin it out), a nice amount of ground cardamom, and simple syrup. you don't even need to dirty a blender—just put it all in a glass, insert a whisk, and vigorously twirl the whisk by rubbing your hands together. i'm sure this would also be swell with kefir (i've just discovered kefir, and am absolutely mad about it). it's very refreshing on hot summer days, which, it seems, are over for this year...
  • slow-roasted tiny tomatoes (from Smitten Kitchen): food bloggers have a tendency to rave about their creations, but really, this is fantastic, every bit as good as it's said to be. it turned boring grape tomatoes into flavorful, succulent little blobs. i suggest tossing the tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and an herb in a bowl prior to putting them on the cookie sheet (so that they get evenly coated with the oil). they're best right out of the oven, although they will keep in the fridge under oil. i'd eat them plain, or toss them on pasta, or spear them with a little piece of cheese, or put them on pizza.
  • roasted butternut squash strudel (from Epicurious): this is time-consuming, but a very yummy, impressive-looking wintery main dish. i rolled it in filo dough into a big log, but in the future, to save time and avoid a big mess, i will probably roll it in frozen puff pastry from TJ's. (and yes, i am "A Cook from Massachusetts"...)
  • pumpkin muffins (from Gourmet): this recipe makes perfect muffins. what more can i say? (be sure to use just 1 c. of pumpkin purée, not the whole can, and be sure to sprinkle the tops with sugar before baking—it results in a better texture on top.)
  • chewy ginger cookies (from Martha Stewart): follow the recipe exactly—it's a little fussy, with all the chilling, but just do it—and you'll get the perfect ginger cookie. i love these, and eat way, way too many when they're around. i happen to prefer them without the chocolate chips, but i realize there's room for rational disagreement here.
there—i've shared some secrets with you! and by secrets i mean a few recipes that have produced glowing oohs and ahs and mmms (especially, i must say, the ginger cookies). but see? it's not me at all, it's just having the right recipe.

i encourage others to post favorite recipes as well...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Frozen Papaya/Lemon Parfait

I know this is out of season, but I've just discovered a great way of using the papayas that grow in my backyard. I'm posting it here before I forget it. Who knows; it could be useful to the MIT community in the future.

1 Ripe Papaya
250 ml Heavy Cream
1 Lemon
1 pint Fresh Berries

Peel the papaya and puree it in the blender. Add milk until you've got something with the consistency of a thick smoothie, and add honey and cinnamon until you like the taste. Put the whole thing in the freezer until it's mostly frozen (I find this takes an hour and a half to two hours), then run it through the blender again and stick it back in the freezer.

Zest the lemon and squeeze out a tablespoon of its juice. Whip the cream together with the juice and the zest until it's good and whipped. Layer with berries and frozen papaya mixture in a clear glass. Serve immediately, or stick in the freezer for later use.

Delicious on a hot spring day (she says, as all her MIT friends don their sweaters and trot briskly through the autumn leaves).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Braised potatoes

Sometime ago I discovered Molly Stevens' All about braising, a lovely companion to our then new dutch oven. And while I went through it quite thoroughly, looking for more and more ways of having things cook in a pot for over two hours at low heat, I somehow missed what could be the One Way of making potatoes.

The idea is so simple. Just find some thin-skinned new potatoes. Wash thoroughly, place in dutch oven and add water (or broth, though do that at your own risk) and some wine to cover half of the potatoes. Add salt and pepper, some herbs, some fat, and some bruised garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, and cook, covered, for about 40 minutes (Molly Stevens says says 20, but that has never worked for me), turning once with a spoon midway through. Remove lid, bring heat to medium-high, and let the liquid evaporate, shaking the pot a few times to let the braised garlic coat the potatoes.

The original recipe has bay leaves for the herbs and olive oil for the fat. I like combining thyme and rosemary, and combining butter and olive oil. But that's me. Sage and duck-fat might work wonderfully for all I know.

(Disclaimer: The potatoes in the picture were never braised. The dutch oven was busy with a lamb shoulder, so we baked them.)