Archive for February, 2011

An Evening of Aphrodisiacal Delights

Posted in Potlucks on February 28, 2011 by zandrsn

Jessie Made: Chicken Kebabs with Pomegranate Relish and Tahini Yogurt

Serves 4
3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Baharat Seasoning (recipe below)
1 large garlic clove, pressed
1/2 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1/4 cup tahini
1 1/4 cups pomegranate seeds
2/3 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped (I’m going to substitute cilantro next time)
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup coarsely grated onion
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Baharat Seasoning (recipe below)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 2″ chunks
1. Make the marinade for the chicken. Whisk the grated onion, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 teaspoons Baharat Seasoning in a large bowl. Add chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Marinate at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
2. While the chicken is marinating, make the relish and yogurt sauce. Combine 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon Baharat Seasoning, and pressed garlic in a small bowl; stir to blend. Let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in yogurt and tahini. Add salt, black pepper, and sugar to taste. Let stand at room temperature until serving. Mix the pomegranate seeds, pistachios, parsley or cilantro, 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature until serving.
3. Preheat broiler. Thread 6 chicken pieces onto each skewer. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper. Place the skewers on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil chicken until cooked through (about 5 minutes on 3 sides, for me). (Be forewarned: My pan caught on fire and I set off the fire alarm several times while making these.) Arrange kebabs on a platter with tahini yogurt, pomegranate relish, and warm pita breads.
Baharat Seasoning
Makes 1/4 cup
1 1/2 tablespoons dried mint
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, ground
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Dave Made: Mango lime chile sorbet

60 oz mango pulp
1 lime, juice
1 jalapeno, minced
1 red cayenne pepper, minced
2 T agave nectar
1.5 oz vodka
mix all together and put load into an ice cream maker.
Kate (Johnson) Made: Vanilla Madeleines
24 cookies

Adapted from The Sweet Life In Paris by David Lebovitz

If you use baking powder, they may take another minute or so to bake since the batter will rise higher. They’re done when the cakes feel just set if you poke them with your finger. Avoid overbaking them. There’s nothing better than a fresh, buttery madeleine.

I also prefer to bake these in the upper-third of my oven, so the tops get slightly-browned. I love the lemon glaze, but you can omit it if you want your madeleines nekkid.

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup (175g) flour

1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a sprinkle of some vanilla bean powder

9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds

1. Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.

2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.

3. Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. (Rest the bowl on a damp towel to help steady it for you.)

4. Add the vanilla to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter.

Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.

5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)

6. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

8. Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter which you think will fill it by 3/4′s (you’ll have to eyeball it, but it’s not brain-surgery so don’t worry if you’re not exact.) Do not spread it.

10. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set.

11. Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack.

Tim Made: Cinnamon Ice Cream


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 heaping teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the sugar and half-and-half. When the mixture begins to simmer, remove from heat, and whisk half of the mixture into the eggs. Whisk quickly so that the eggs do not scramble. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, and stir in the heavy cream. Continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and whisk in vanilla and cinnamon. Set aside to cool.
  2. Pour cooled mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

I doubled the recipe for the party.

Rich Made: Avocado Love Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 mashed avocado

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup white flour

1/2 whole wheat pastry flour)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

½ cup Irish oats

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2cup chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 375F. Beat the butter until smooth, add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Gently beat in the avocado until blended.

2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.

3. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in the oats and coconut. Fold through the chocolate chips and walnuts (if using).

4. Drop into tablespoonful-sized balls onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and crispy.

Kelli made: Brussel Sprouts in Red Wine

4 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
12 large shallots, peeled and left whole
2 garlic bulbs, cloves peeled and left whole
1 stalk Brussel sprouts, trimmed
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock


In a heavy casserole with a tight lid, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the Brussel sprouts, toss to coat with the oil and cook about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with red wine. Cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock, stir well and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and braise just until Brussel sprouts are tender. Remove Brussel sprouts and reduce liquid until it just coats the Brussels sprouts. Add back Brussel sprouts, toss to heat and coat with sauce.

Zach made: Aysh Assaraya (Aish El Saraya)

Ingredients for Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoons of orange blossom
  • 1 tablespoon of rose water
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 cup of water

Ingredients for Custard

  • 1 litre of milk
  • ¼ (200 grams) tin of condensed milk
  • 300 ml of cream
  • 2 tablespoons of Rose water
  • 2 tablespoons orange blossom
  • 6 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 layer of packed rusks (about 20 small rusk’s – enough to line the dish you will be setting the dessert in. Or double toasted bread)
  • ¼ cup crushed pistachios


Place toasted bread evenly in a square dish.

Then make the syrup- mix sugar, water, lemon together and place over medium heat. Once hot and sugar has melted, mix the orange blossom and rose water into the syrup. Now pour the hot syrup over the toast so that it soaks it in. Set Aside.

Mix together milk, cream, condensed milk and corn flour for the custard in a saucepan and place over medium heat.

Keep stirring until thick; once the custard has thickened add rose water and orange blossom.

Stir for a little more while and when the custard has reached a thick pouring consistency, pour over the toast.

Once it reaches room temperature, cover with the dish and place in the refrigerator for cooling; a minimum of 4 hours.

Before serving, sprinkle with chopped pistachios


Secret Spice Suprise

Posted in Potlucks on February 27, 2011 by zandrsn

Jessie Made: Eggplants with a Nigella Seed Sauce

Serves 4 to 6


4 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon ground asafetida

1/2 teaspoon urad dal

1/2 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon whole nigella seeds (kalonji)

1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/2 pounds Japanese or regular eggplants, cut into 1″ chunks, so that each chunk has some skin on it

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1. Pour the oil into a very large frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the asafetida and the urad dal. As soon as the dal turns a shade darker, add the mustard, cumin, nigella, and fennel seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop like popcorn, add the onions. Stir-fry for a minute. Add the garlic and eggplant. Stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onions are a bit browned. Add the tomatoes, stock, salt, and cayenne. Stir to mix and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to bring the contents of the pan to a simmer, and cook about 40 minutes, or until the eggplants are soft, stirring now and then. Serve over basmati rice with raita.

Adapted from

Kelli Made: Szechuan Eggplant Lo Mein

1 1/2 pounds eggplant
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons chili bean paste
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark rice vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow rice wine
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns, ground
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

1 lb. of lo mein noodles, boiled

Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice each length into quarters.

In a small bowl, mix together chicken stock, chili bean paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine, and sugar. Set aside.

In a wok, heat oil until just smoking. Add eggplants and stir-fry until outsides become golden brown and insides begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and Szechuan peppercorns and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Pour in stock-sauce mixture and mix well. Allow sauce to simmer for 2 minutes and eggplant to absorb sauce. Stir in cornstarch mixture to thicken sauce. Add boiled noodles and stir to combine.  Garnish with scallions.

Tore made: Mediterranean Venison Tacos

The venison should be cut into strips and cooked in a crock pot for at least six hours.  Season with red wine, garlic, salt and pepper.  For tortillas, buy the best brand in town: La Providencia.  Cook them on high heat on a cast-iron skillet or comal for twenty seconds on each side.  Serve with shredded red or white cabbage and green onions, and HARISSA – the real key ingredient to the meal.  Harissa is easily made at home – combine Sriracha hot garlic sauce – not the smooth stuff that comes in the bottle but the plastic jars with lots of seeds in there – along with two parts fennel and coriander and one part cumin, all ground together, and blended with the Sriracha to taste.  Combine inside a taco and enjoy!

Sakura made: Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup


  • 1 pound medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • 2 (13.5 ounce) cans canned coconut milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (1 inch) piece galangal, thinly sliced
  • 4 stalks lemon grass, bruised and chopped
  • 1 lime bruised and cut in quarters
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the shrimp until cooked, about one minute. Drain shrimp, and set aside.
  2. Pour the coconut milk and 3 cups of water in a large saucepan; bring to a simmer. Add the galangal, lemon grass, and lime leaves; simmer for 15 minutes, or until the flavors are infused. Strain the coconut milk into a new pan and discard the spices. Simmer the shiitake mushrooms in the coconut milk for five minutes. Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Season to taste with curry powder.
  3. To serve, reheat shrimp in the soup, and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with green onion and red pepper flakes.

Galangal Cocktail

14 oz shochu
4 oz lemon juice
6oz galangal simple syrup

Galangal Simple Syrup:
For Galangal syrup, add one cup sugar to one cup water in a small saucepan. Add shredded 1 chopped galangal root, 1 stalk lemongrass, and some lemon rind to the mixture. Slow cook for 5-10 minutes until sugar has dissolved completely and let sit over night or until completely cool. Strain well. Refrigerate.

Zach Made: Black Cardamom and Pepper Ice Cream


4 black cardamom pods

1 tablespoon black peppercorns, whole

2 tsp black pepper, ground

3 green cardamom pods, crushed

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

6 eggs yolks

2/3 cup sugar


  1. Heat milk and cream over a low flame with spices for 30-40 minutes. In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow in color. Temper the egg yolks into the hot milk and cream, and cook until thickened and the mixture holds a line on the back of a spoon.
  2. Chill overnight in the fridge and spin in an ice cream machine. Serve with some fresh cracked pepper, for a spicy, smoky dessert unlike any you’ve ever tasted.

Cardamom Salted Hot Fudge


7 cloves

4oz unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup of butter

1 tsp salt

7 black cardamom pods

1 can of evaporated mile

3 cups of turbinado sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 crushed black cardamom pods

2 crushed green cardamom pods


  1. Heat

Oslo Couchsurfer Curry

Posted in Main Course on February 22, 2011 by d0g3n

Winter. Oslo, Norway. The cold wind from the fjord stings my skin like a nest of hornets. I am staying in a barely-heated legalized squat house, run by a local anarchist collective. The group coheres around the kitchen; tea, coffee, milk kept unrefrigerated save for the ambient temperature of the room itself. Tonight I cook; warmth to all.

Oslo Couchsurfer Curry

3 large red peppers
1 carrot
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2-inches of ginger
5 medium potatoes, cut to bite size bits
1 head cauliflower, broken apart
1 can green peas
1 can coconut milk
2 tsp cardamom
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp crushed black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
dash of cinnamon
Red pepper flakes to taste
2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter

Open the coconut milk and skim off the top half. Fill the can with water and mix thoroughly.  Chop the first five ingredients and sautee them in the ghee. When the onion begins to look translucent, add all the spices and sautee for another minute. Add the potato and the can of water/coconut milk. Add additional water as needed to nearly cover the potatoes. Stir, then simmer until the potatoes are nearly done. Add the cauliflower, cook 5 minutes. Add the peas. Using a ladle, draw off 1 cup of the simmering liquid and mix it with the reserved coconut milk cream. Add it to the pot. Adjust seasonings, serve over rice.

Royal Indian feast

Posted in Potlucks, Uncategorized on February 21, 2011 by zandrsn

Jessie Made: Pudhina Paneer

Serves 6


1 gallon whole milk

¼ cup distilled white vinegar

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

2 teaspoons Balti Masala (recipe below)

2 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt

6 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup finely chopped red onion

¼ cup tomato paste

¼ cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

2 fresh green Thai chiles, stems removed, thinly sliced crosswise (including seeds)

1 cup half-and-half


1. Pour the milk into a large saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring

frequently to prevent the milk from scorching. (Watch carefully because the milk boils

over quickly and easily.) Once the milk comes to a boil, add the vinegar. Remove the

pan from the heat and set it aside until the curds separate from the thin, watery, greenish

whey, 15 to 20 seconds.

2. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth, making sure there are 2 to 3 inches

hanging over the rim of the colander. Place the colander in the sink, then pour the curds

and whey into the cheesecloth and let it drain for 5 minutes.

3. Once most of the visible liquid is gone, pour the curds into a bowl and add ¼ cup of the

cilantro, the Balti Masala, and 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt. Stir to evenly incorporate and

then pour the curds back into the cheesecloth. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth over

the curds to cover them.

4. Fill a Tupperware container with water and set it on top of the wrapped cheese in the

colander. Set this aside until the cheese is firm, 3 to 5 hours.

5. Remove the weight and unwrap the now-firm cheese. (You can make the cheese up to

1 week in advance, swath it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it. You can also freeze the

block, sealed in a freezer-safe bag, for up to 2 months. Thaw the paneer in the refrigerator

before use.) Cut the paneer into slabs for frying.

6. Line a plate with several layers of paper towels.

7. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the paneer

slabs in a single layer and cook, turning them occasionally, until all sides are honey-

brown and crispy, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer them to the paper towel lined plate to drain.

Once the paneer is cool, cut the slabs into 1” cubes.

8. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high

heat. Add the onion and stir-fry until it is light brown around the edges, 5 to 8 minutes.

9. Stir in the tomato paste, remaining ¼ cup cilantro, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, mint,

and chiles. Lower the heat to medium and simmer the thick paste, uncovered, stirring

occasionally, until there is an oily sheen on top, 2 to 4 minutes.

10. Pour in 1 cup water, stirring to make a red sauce. Add the paneer and stir once or twice.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally and

gently, until the cheese cubes soak up some of the sauce and soften, 8 to 10 minutes.

11. Pour in the half-and-half and stir once or twice. Raise the heat to medium and simmer

the curry, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the creamy red sauce thickens, 8 to 10

minutes. Serve.

Balti Masala

Makes 1/3 cup


2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds

½ teaspoon whole cloves

½ teaspoon cardamom seeds from black pods

½ teaspoon nigella seeds

3 bay leaves

2 (3”) cinnamon sticks, broken into smaller pieces

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg


1. Preheat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add all the whole spices (reserving the

cayenne and nutmeg) and toast, shaking the skillet every few seconds, until the fennel,

coriander, and cumin turn reddish brown, the mustard, cloves, and cardamom turn ash-

black, the cinnamon and bay leaves appear brittle and crinkly, and the mixture is highly

fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. (The nigella will not change color.) The mustard seeds will pop

like popcorn, so you will want to have a lid handy to prevent them from flying out.

2. Immediately transfer the nutty-smelling spices to a plate to cool. (The longer they

sit in the hot skillet, the more likely it is that they will burn, making them bitter and

unpalatable.) Once they are cool to the touch, place them in a spice grinder or coffee

grinder and grind until the texture resembles that of finely ground black pepper. (If you

don’t allow the spices to cool, the ground blend will acquire unwanted moisture from the

heat, making the final blend slightly “cakey.”) The ground blend will be a deep reddish

brown and the aroma will be sweet and complex, very different from those of the pre-

toasted and post-toasted whole spices. Stir in the cayenne and nutmeg. Store the mix in a

tightly sealed container, away from excess light, heat, and humidity, for up to 2 months.

Adapted from 660 Curries

Charred Eggplant Raita

Serves 8


2 medium eggplants

1 ½ cups plain yogurt

1 small onion, finely minced

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Pierce the flesh of the eggplants with a fork in several places, then put the eggplants

underneath the broiler to char the skin. Turn the eggplants with tongs until all sides are

blackened. Place the eggplants in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool.

2. Once cool, peel the skin from the eggplant flesh and discard. Remove the stem. Put the

eggplant flesh in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Stir the eggplant puree into the

yogurt with the onion. Season with cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.

Adapted from


Rich made: Red lentil with Tofu Dal

2T veg. oil
2sm. onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
2t chopped fresh ginger
1c red lentils
6c water
1 pound tofu
1t cumin seeds
1t garam masala powder
1t salt
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper
6T chopped cilantro
Serve with cooked rice

Heat tablespoon oil in sauce pan over moderate heat. add onion, garlic and cook stirring until golden. add ginger stir for 1 min. add lentils and water, bring to a gentle boil, uncovered, until lentils split, about 20 min.
in meantime, rinse and trim tofu ends, press on paper towels to remove excess moisture.
when lentils are cooked, heat remaining teaspoon of oil in sauce pan,  add garam masala, salt, pepper, and cook, stirring until fragrant 15-30 seconds. stir in hot oil to lentils then stir in tofu cubes. let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in cilantro. salt to taste.


Kelli and Tore made: Aloo Gobi


1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets

1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 cup water

Accompaniment: lemon wedges and cilantro


Put oven rack in upper third of oven and place a shallow baking pan on rack. Preheat oven to 475°F.  Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in hot baking pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.