Saturday, September 28, 2013

Nasi kuning (Indonesian Yellow Rice)

This version of yellow rice would make a great side dish or quick lunch. I got the recipe from an Indonesian cooking book that I bought on sale at Half-Price Books!

I haven't been cooking many new recipes lately - I've actually been using previous blog posts to cook some favorites, like Honey Wheat Bread, Pierogie Pizza, and Breakfast Quesadillas (not that you need a recipe). Too busy reading Game of Thrones for much fancy cooking. I did make these chocolate oatmeal cookies, but I didn't write them up. They were good!

From Indonesian: Exotic Dishes from Empal daging to Nasi goreng for Creative Cooking

1 tbsp vegetable oil 

1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander 
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 3/4 cups long-grain rice
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup water
4 curry leaves (or 1 tsp curry powder)
1 cinnamon stick

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Salsa Verde

There are so many tomatillos at the farm right now! We are growing an entire row of them and none of us can keep up with the plants. I've been making lots of salsa verde and using it as a dip or even as enchilada sauce. You can tell when tomatillos are ripe when their skin splits on the bottom. My favorite version of this salsa is with roasted tomatillos. I also use the salsa to prop open my cookbooks.

1 1/2-2 pounds tomatillos
1 medium white onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic
1-2 jalapenos (or an even hotter pepper), sliced with seeds
1 lime, juiced
1 bunch cilantro
salt and pepper

Peel the husk of the tomatillos, and give them a quick rinse. Slice them in half and place cut down onto baking sheets.

Roast at about 400 degrees for 15-25 minutes until the skins turn golden brown in spots. Let cool a little. Then blend with the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Then add the cilantro and blend for a little longer. Add lime, salt, and pepper to taste.


I've been reading about the health benefits of ghee for a while now (antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties), and I finally decided to make it. I even read somewhere that they use it as a nutritional supplement or medication in India. I keep it near the stove to cook with since it is stable for frying. It also tastes delicious! You want the best quality butter you can get, preferably organic and grass fed for the most vitamins and omega-3's. The ghee is casein and lactose free!

1 pound butter (4 sticks)

In a heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. The melted butter will form a thick, foamy layer. You can use a spoon to discard the foam or just stir it into the butter. Picture of the first foamy layer:

Continue cooking over low to medium heat until the butter foams again. This foam will be less thick. The milk solids (proteins) should separate to the bottom and start to just lightly brown. The butter will be completely transparent and you should be able to see the milk solids sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Turn off the heat as soon as the solids are very lightly golden brown. Pour the butter into a large liquid measuring cup to transfer to a mason jar. I used a thin dishtowel to strain the ghee since I found that the towel is more effective than cheesecloth. Place the dishtowel over a pint mason jar and use the screw-on lid to hold it in place. A picture from before when I used cheesecloth:

Then just pour the ghee into the mason jar and the dishtowel will strain out the milk solids.
The ghee keeps for about 1 month at room temperature and longer in the refrigerator. There's no need to refrigerate it, and you'll probably use it before it goes bad anyway.

Belgian Waffles

I found this recipe on The Kitchn, labeled under The Best Waffle You'll Ever Eat. I think that my roommates and I would agree that is correct. The waffles serve better as a dessert or a sweet snack since they are pretty decadent! Making these waffles also creates a mess in the waffle iron since the key to sucessful waffles is for the sugars to caramelize on the outside. On the plus side, it smells delicious and once the sugar hardens, you have candy! Also, make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature to avoid deactivating the yeast.

6 tablespoons warm almond milk 
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar 

2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 medium egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at slightly cooler than room temperature
140 grams turbinado sugar (about 3/4 cup)

Mix the almond milk, 1/2 tsp sugar, and yeast in a small bowl together. Set aside for 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. You're looking for the mixture to get nice and foamy.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the spelt flour, cinnamon, and salt together. Make a well in the center and add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and yeast mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until no flour streaks remain since the mixture will be pretty thick.
Cover the mixing bowl with a wet dishtowel and set in a warm place for the dough to rise, about 1/2 hour to 1 hour. You could also let it rise overnight so the dough is ready for brunch. Just let the dough come to room temperature before continuing on to the next step in the recipe.
Cube the butter and beat in the cubes piece by piece with a mixing spoon. The butter does not have to be fully incorporated. What you want is kind of a swirled effect. Then mix in the turbinado sugar just until spread throughout the dough. Separate the dough into about 12-14 pieces and set aside for 15 minutes. Heat up the waffle iron and cook each waffle until golden brown and crispy. Take care not to let the sugar burn. Some waffle irons run really hot. If this is happening, after you place the dough in the waffle iron, just unplug it for each waffle.
Set the waffles that are done on a cooling rack so they crisp up nicely. You could also put them directly in the oven to keep warm at 200 degrees until they are all done.
Serve with some speculoos, ice cream, or homemade chocolate sauce! Look you can see the crispy goodness up close:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Vegan Belgian Waffles

The first time I bit into a Belgian waffle, I almost passed out because it was so good. Nick and I bought these waffles at a little shop smushed in between historic buildings in Ghent. We got ours drizzled with chocolate sauce (of course). They were perfectly chewy on the inside and there was caramelized sugar on the outside with bursts of even more sugar from the sugar pearls spread throughout the dough. I made these for my parents and my roommates so that they could experience the delicious waffles that made me melt : ) I opted to not buy pearl sugar but instead to use turbinado sugar (big sugar crystals). Oh yeah, and I got the recipe from the beautiful blog Oh, Ladycakes.

2 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups spelt flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp cane sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup liquid coconut oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 warm almond milk
3/4 cup turbinado sugar

In a small bowl, stir together the warm water and yeast with a pinch of sugar. Set aside while you mix the rest of the batter. After about 10 minutes, you should see the mixture get nice and foamy.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the yeast mixture, oil, vanilla extract, applesauce , and almond milk into the flour mixture. Whisk until combined then cover with plastic and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
To cook the waffles, stir the turbinado sugar into the dough and let sit for about 15 minutes. I used a normal waffle iron to make the waffles and it worked out fine. Spray the iron with coconut oil and cook 1/4 cup of batter at a time. My waffle iron has a little light that turns off when the waffles are done. The recipe makes about 12 little waffles.
The waffles are sweet enough to serve on their own. We spread some speculoos on them for breakfast and had banana strawberry smoothies on the side!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ground Cherry Coffee Cake

Ground cherries are related to tomatoes and tomatillos (all of them are in the nightshade family). They have a husk that surrounds them much like tomatillos, and they taste like a sweet tropical fruit with the texture of a tomato.

They are ready to harvest when they fall to the ground and will stay good for 2-3 weeks if you keep the husks on them. Laura has 2 plants at the house and we have a whole row growing at the Pittsburgh project. These are best fresh, but when there is such an abundance what can I do but bake them into a cake? This recipe is from The Kitchn and I made this cake while my family was in town.

2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 cup cane sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cubed
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup buttermilk (or regular milk with 1 tsp vinegar)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups ground cherries, husks removed
1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 10 inch springform pan.
Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the butter chunks are the size of peas. Remove 1 cup of flour & butter mixture into a second bowl and set aside to use as topping later.
Add in baking powder and soda to base flour mixture and whisk gently. Add buttermilk and egg fold in until incorporated.
Pour flour mixture into cake pan. Pour the ground cherries evenly over the batter. Next, mix the nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the reserved flour mixture. Stir and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for 60 minutes until a toothpick comes out crumby, but clean. It's hard to tell if the cake is done becasue the crumb topping covers it, but I just take it out after an hour. Serve with ice cream!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Coconut Beet Soup

This soup was made with both golden and red beets to make the swirls you see in the picture. We harvested beets at the farm but both kinds were planted in the same row so it was hard to distinguish since the roots are underground! It worked out this way because I got to make a beautiful beet soup!

1.5 lbs mixed beets
1 cup coconut milk
1 lime, juiced
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 hot red pepper, seeded and sliced
nasturtium flowers and leaves to garnish

Trim the beet greens and stringy roots off the beets. Roast the beets in a baking pan half filled with water at 375 degrees until tender, about 45 minutes depending on the size of the beets. Reserve 1/3 cup of the beet water. Saute the ginger, onion, garlic, and hot pepper for about 5 minutes until soft. Separate the golden and the red beets. Once cool enough pull the peels off. They should come off easily.
For the golden beet part: Blend the golden beets, half of the onion mixture, and 1/2 cup coconut milk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and lime juice. Add more coconut milk if necessary.
For the red beets: Blend with the other half of the onion mixture, beet juice, and the rest of the coconut milk. Add lime to taste.
To serve: pour the golden beet soup into a bowl. Then spoon the red beet mixture into the soup, swirling the two soups together. Drizzle some olive oil over the soup and some jalapeno hot sauce. Top with nasturtiums and enjoy!

Jalapeno Hot Sauce

We got a bunch of pepper plant donations up at the farm, so there are many peppers to be had.

The jalapenos are pretty mild this year. One of the farmers told me it's because we have had such mild weather this summer! So this sauce ended up being pretty mild. It has been great on enchiladas and eggs. I've been wanting to make my own hot sauce for awhile. It's actually pretty simple and you can add as much seasoning (onions, garlic, vinegar) as you want. The recipe is altered from Allrecipes.

10-12 large jalapenos, sliced with seeds
1 small onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 1/4 cup water

Saute the jalapenos, onion, and garlic for about 5 minutes. Then add the water and cook for 10 minutes. Puree the mixture once it is done cooking and add vinegar to taste. Store in a mason jar for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

Mussels in Fresh Tomato Sauce

The inspiration from this recipe came from a restaurant near our house, Park Bruge. They have delicious Belgian beers and best of all, mussels and french fries. Tiffany and my mom hacked at the bay marshes to get these mussels so they tasted extra delicious.

You will need:

1 large heirloom tomato, chopped roughly
1 medium white onion, sliced into thin strips
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 jalapeno, sliced thinly
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 heaping cup steamed mussels

Cook the onions over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and the jalapeno cook for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook just until it breaks down, just a couple of minutes. Add the herbs and plenty of pepper. Finally, add the mussels and cook just until warmed up. Serve with some crusty bread and garnish with extra herbs.


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