inspired carrot spread


While on vacation in Portugal with my daughter and our partners, torrential rain and gusty winds diverted us one day to the Chiado Museum Nacional de Arte Contemporanea where we truly enjoyed seeing the “Paradoxical Image” photography exhibit of Francisco Afonso Chaves’ (1857-1926). Some of the other disconcerting displays not so much– those led us to seek dry comfort and a good meal to revive our joie de vivre.

fullsizeoutput_16d7Thanks to Google we found Cafe Lisboa nearby. Oh my, what a find! The place itself is lovely, the food sublime starting with the freshly baked bread and carrot spread. I tried to isolate the complementary flavors in the luxuriously textured spread… then complimented the chef and asked the server, what were the ingredients please for the delicious carrot spread? Here now while the memory is fresh are my thoughts for my first attempt at recreating the simple yet inspired treat.

ingredients:

  • carrots
  • cream
  • vinegar – I’ll try rice vinegar, with perhaps just a few drops of Balsalmic
  • garlic – just a little
  • cumin
  • black pepper

instructions:

I’ll update this post as I play with this recipe…

Fresh Fig & Golden Beet Chutney with Ginger Root and Jalapeno


My friend Carla’s fig tree produced an awesome crop this year, and Carla generously IMG_0424shared her bounty with me when I said I wanted to make fig chutney. My own raised bed garden provided a fabulous crop of jalapeno and serrano peppers, and I spotted wonderful golden beets at the farmer’s market. All I needed to do was buy more apple cider vinegar, then set aside some time to prepare the jars and lids, simmer, and then preserve my chutney in a boiling water bath.

ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh figs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups golden beets, blanched to remove skin, then coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped
  • 1-2 red jalapeno peppers, diced, including seeds
  • 2-3 t fresh ginger root, minced
  • 3 t coriander seeds
  • 2 t black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 t cardamom
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lime, squeezed

instructions:

First blanch the beets: Cover with water, bring to a roiling boil and boil for 3-4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the beets and dunk into cold water to cool enough to handle; then use a sharp paring knife to remove outer skin and chop.

In a medium sized deep pan, saute the onion in a teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat until almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mustard seeds and coriander seeds and continue stirring over medium heat until the seeds begin to pop. Add the jalapeno and ginger root and continue to stir for another minute.

Add all of the remaining ingredients withholding only 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar; bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the chutney for 1-2 hours until thickened and fragrant, stirring more than just occasionally. Taste the chutney and adjust the seasoning if necessary with more cider vinegar, or perhaps 1/8 t sea salt? I was shooting for a balance of sweet and tart with jalapeno heat on the finish. When you’re satisfied with your balance of flavors and texture, ladle into sterile jars, and can in a water-bath according to standard safe canning procedures. This simmered down to fill six 8oz jars.

 

Tahini Sauce with Nut Pesto and Pomegranate Seeds


I just stumbled over The Cook Sisters blog for the first time and spotted this recipe. The combination of ingredients and photo are appealing (showing it served on what appears to be Food for Life’s Ezekiel pocket bread.) The only thing I think I’d delete is the word ‘only’ in “great over grilled or sauteed fish, grilled chicken or roasted or grilled lamb and even over grilled tofu.” Yes! This sounds like it would be great over baked tofu…

The Cook Sisters

tahini

This combination has it all – tart lemon, crunchy nuts, sweet pomegranate seeds. It’s also chock full of nutrition and it’s versatile. Great over grilled or sauteed fish, grilled chicken or roasted or grilled lamb and even over grilled tofu.  You can also toss the tahini sauce in linguini and garnish it with the pesto and pomegranate seed topping. You could even serve it as a dip.  Pomegranate molasses is a staple of Middle eastern cuisine and can be found in specialty food stores or on line.  There’s nothing quite like it, but you can substitute balsamic syrup, made by boiling down balsamic vinegar until it becomes slightly syrupy.  Adrienne demoed this at Brookside Gardens January 22 2014 and served the sauce over sauteed chicken breasts.  The next day, January 23 2014, it was on the US Botanic Garden agenda, this time scooped onto pita chips. Adapted from Fine Cooking.

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garam masala


ingredients
2 T cumin seeds
2 T coriander seeds
2 T cardamom seeds
2 T black peppercorns (1 T + 1 t)
3-inch stick cinnamon, broken up
1 t whole cloves (1/2 t)
1 t grated nutmeg

instructions
Put the cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves in a dry heavy skillet over medium heat. Toast the spices, stirring constantly, until they turn several shades darker and give off a sweet, smoky aroma, about 10 minutes. Do not raise heat to quicken the process, or the spices will brown prematurely, leaving the insides undercooked. Cool completely. (If not using a wrought iron pan, reduce heat to low.)

Transfer the cooked spice mixture to a spice mill or well-cleaned coffee grinder and grind to a powder. Transfer to a glass jar with lid. Add in nutmeg, mix thoroughly. Use immediately or store in an airtight glass jar in a cool, dry place for up to six months.

-Recipe from Julie Sahni’s Indian Regional Classics: Fast, Fresh and Healthy Home Cooking. My modifications are in parenthesis.

pesto


ingredients:
1 1/2-2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup parmesean cheese
1/4 – 1/3 cup walnuts
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

instructions:
Peel garlic then drop into running food processor. After garlic has been finely chopped, add walnuts. After walnuts are finely chopped, add basil leaves and parmesean cheese, process until smooth. Lastly add olive oil a little at a time, until pesto is desired consistency. Can be frozen for later use.

cashew cardamon tofu


ingredients:
1 brick firm tofu, cubed
1 head cauliflower, chopped then steamed. reserve cooking fluid to use to cook the rice.
1 red pepper, chopped
Bhutanese brown rice- 1 cup rice rinsed, cooked in 1 3/4 cup water for 15 min
cashews
cardamon
coriander
fresh ginger
water

instructions:
I bought these ingredients this morning, will let you know what the instructions are after I try out my idea for sauted tofu served over brown rice with steamed cauliflower, red pepper, topped with cashew sauce.

Peanut Sauce


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c Adams or other natural unadulterated peanut butter
  • 1/8 c red miso
  • 2 thin slices fresh ginger root, peeled then minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 T molasses (or a little less maple syrup if molasses not available)
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed
  • 3/4 to 1 c water (depending on thickness of peanut butter)
  • black pepper to taste
  • pinch sea salt if peanut butter is unsalted

Instructions:

Place all ingredients into 2 cup glass measuring cup. Warm for 1 minute in microwave to soften peanut butter, then mix well. Store in glass jar with lid (so can shake and microwave to heat before serving) for up to five days.