Posts tagged ‘asian’
Paneer (fresh Indian cheese) is an ingredient that I’ve been waiting to do as a kitchen first all year, and a chilly fall evening seemed like the perfect time to whip up some warming curry. I waded through recipe options just enough to notice that there are about a million things you can do with paneer (or rather, a million different recipes for two or three things to do with paneer), and we settled on a nice looking mattar paneer recipe (paneer and pea curry) that sounded perfect for a blustery day. We adapted things along the way just a bit and were delighted to find that this dish can be really easy! Perfect for a weeknight, and a great way to incorporate a satisfying vegetarian recipe into your repertoire.
I love my River Cottage Bread Handbook. I tend to go through obsession phases with new cookbooks and then let them fall neglected for months, but this is a book that I’ve returned to reliably over the last few months of owning it. It is a great resource for bread making– concise, clearly written, well photographed, and full of recipes for really tasty breads of all kinds. The author recommends no fancy tools (his bread/pizza peel is a board nailed to a stick), and doesn’t really advocate shortcuts or secrets, he simply shows you how to make delicious rustic bread.
When I was considering whether to buy the book or not, one of the things that really sealed the deal was the promise of a five minute bread recipe. Was this possible? Turns out it is! Enter roti, a simple, unleavened flatbread from India/Nepal that is great for scooping up puddles of stew or chasing the heat from a mouthful of spicy curry. It’s crazy easy to make – flour, water, and salt – and while I wouldn’t call it a showstopper when it comes to flavor or texture, it’s tasty in a simple way and provides some palate-relief from whatever you’re dipping it in. And for five minutes and three ingredients, I think that’s a pretty reasonable result! There’s really no excuse for not trying it– even if you’re in the middle of cooking right this minute, you could probably still whip out some roti and have it on the table before your main dish!
I may have admitted before that as a child and young adult I always had a somewhat tense relationship with meat. I never abandoned meat entirely because of it (some things I just like too much), but encounters with gristly/bony/skin-covered/gelatinous/vein-containing meats occasionally left me teetering dangerously close to vegetarianism. My adolescent rule was always “don’t eat meat that looks like it came from an animal,” meaning that burgers, boneless skinless chicken breasts, and boneless pork chops were a-ok, but chicken or steak with bones or skin, dark meat of any kind, and ribs were all out (embarrassing admission no. 2: I’ve still never eaten ribs).
I realize that most people would argue that the list of kinds of meat I wouldn’t eat includes all of the best meats, and throughout my meat recovery program I’ve slowly started to agree. What’s more, my old policy is actually rather embarrassing now that I am trying for a more enlightened relationship with the meat I eat and the animals that produce it. But it’s hard to overcome years of self-brainwashing, so up until, well, now, drumsticks were one part of the chicken that I would avoid like the plague. While I’ve been assured that I’m wrong, they just look like they’re going to be stringy little slimeballs, and the idea of gnawing said meat off a bird’s leg bone is just not that appetizing to me. But, in the name of getting over my silly adolescent fears, and in the name of kitchen firsts, I decided it was high time to get over my aversion and make some drumsticks (read: Stephen made me).
Rather at the last minute, we decided we needed some coleslaw on the fourth of July (to go with our pulled pork). I didn’t have a go-to recipe at the time, so it was back to the internet research table for me. And here’s the thing I’ve realized about slaws– you can pretty much make a slaw with anything you want, as long as you start with a good base for the dressing.
You want a standard slaw? Creamy dressing + red/green cabbage + carrots. A slightly less traditional coleslaw? Try adding some julienned jicama or celeriac, or finely sliced sugar snap peas or bell peppers. Like onions? I like to julienne red onions and chop green onions, so you could choose one of those, or use sweet or yellow onions. You want some kick? Throw in a minced jalapeno or some horseradish. Something sweet? Use honey mustard, or add sliced or julienned apples. Something unexpected? Throw in some bleu cheese crumbles. Want to go asian with it? Quick edit the dressing by subbing oil for the mayo, rice vinegar for the cider vinegar, soy for the mustard, then add a splash of sesame oil and you’re golden. And of course you could use savoy or napa cabbage instead of or in addition to regular cabbage. See? Choose your own adventure, as long as you have the dressing blueprint to bring it together.