Sunday, November 19, 2006

Party Food!

A couple of weekends ago, we had a party at our place, and I made just a few easy things for people to snack on while they were nursing the keg :) - Fat-Free Bean Dip, Fresh Salsa, and Chez Megane's Pumpkin Bars. It turned out that people were very happy with them, and I got many recipe requests, which was really nice. Unfortunately, the only picture I have is of the bowl from the bean dip, which was clearly emptied out...

Fat-Free Bean Dip
adapted from the Foster's Market Cookbook

2 cans rinsed black beans
scant 1/2 c. tomato juice
juice of 2 limes
1 T. cider vinegar
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. chili powder
2 t. salt
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/3 c. fresh cilantro

Place all of the ingredients, except for the cilanto, into the bowl of a food processer and blend until smooth. If you add a full 1/2 c. of tomato juice, the dip will be a bit thinner than a typical bean you may want to add a bit less and test it depending on your taste. Then, add the cilanto and pulse until cilanto is roughly chopped into the dip.

Fresh Salsa
adapted from the Foster's Market Cookbook

7 cored, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
One 14 1/2 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, drained (or 3 more fresh tomatoes)
One 4 1/2 oz. can diced mild green chiles
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 t. red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and adjust seasonings to taste. This makes a mild salsa - plan on added extra jalapenos, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce to spice it up if you prefer a hotter salsa. This makes a lot - 6 cups or more, and keeps for about a week.

So...lastly, I made the fantastically delicious Pumpkin Bars, which are posted here and here. I doubled the recipe, which seemed to fit nicely in one 11x17 jelly roll pan and a 9x 13 baking dish. I did make one change to the original recipe - Chris was kind enough to pick up a couple of things from the grocery store for me, and when he returned with the items on my list (cinnamon and ginger) he handed me a bag of ground cinnamon....and a big ol' hunk of ginger root. So, I decided it was better to up the nutmeg and cloves by 1/4 t. each rather than attempt to add grated ginger root to the recipe (although I am sure that would have worked out fine...). These were a hit as well - they were all gone!

Friday, November 03, 2006

One month later...

Many apologies. A month? It's ridiculous. I'm gonna kick-start the return to my semi-abandoned- for-school blog by sharing this spicy (not too spicy) delicious Malaysian-Inspired Tofu Curry. It's a great, easy, tasty one that will fill you up in a healthy way and keep you warm as the temperatures drop low. (can you hear Barry White?)

Malaysian-Inspired Tofu Curry
(adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

1 lb. firm tofu
2 15 oz. cans light coconut milk (or one can plus one can water)
2 t. light brown sugar
1/2 t. salt plus more to taste
1 T. ground coriander
2 t. curry powder
1/2 t. turmeric
1/4 t. cayenne
1 t. tamarind paste
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T. finely chopped ginger
4 Roma tomatoes or 2 Beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 scallions, chopped (white and green parts)
8-10 oz. green beans, okra, peas, broccoli or asparagus
juice of 1 lime
chopped cilantro or scallions for garnish

Drain and chop tofu into cubes. Place coconut milk through ginger into a rimmed skillet and bring mixture to a boil. Boil for one minute, whisking spices in until combined, and add tofu. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then add tomatoes and scallions and simmer for about 8 more minutes. Add green vegetables and simmer for about 5 more minutes or until crisp-tender. Add the lime juice and taste, add salt if necessary. Serve on top of steamed brown rice and garnish with cilantro or scallions.

Garlic Naan
(adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

1 c. warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 t.)
1 8 oz. container plain yogurt
1/4 c. melted butter
1 1/2 t. salt
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. wheat bran
3 c. all-purpose flour

Sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 c. of the water and let sit for about 10 minutes or until foamy (you may need to lightly stir the yeast into the water). In a large bowl, combine 3/4 c. warm water, yogurt, butter, and salt, then stir in the prepared yeast, whole wheat flour and bran. Add as much of the all-purpose flour is needed to form a heavy dough, then turn out to knead (adding more flour if necessary) until smooth and slightly tacky. Turn ball of dough around in an oiled bowl, then cover and leave to rise for about one hour, or until dough has doubled.

Dice up 4-5 cloves of garlic and place in a small bowl with a few tablespoons of olive oil or melted butter and set aside. Place a cookie sheet or pizza stone in the oven (add a couple if you only want to bake one batch) and preheat to 450 degrees. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and divide into 8-10 pieces, then roll into balls and leave, covered, to rest for 10 more minutes. After resting, flatten out the dough balls with your fingers, spreading them and turning them until they have reached about 6-7" in diameter. I found it helpful to pull the dough out into a circle in the air instead of on the counter (gravity is your friend). Pull the preheated sheet pan(s) from the oven and place the dough rounds on top. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until beginning to puff, but not yet browned. Remove from the oven and baste with the garlic mixture (alternatively sprinkle on the diced garlic and place a small pat of butter on each naan) and return to the oven to finish baking for about 2-5 minutes, or until the breads are slightly browned and the garlic begins to fill your kitchen with it's oh-so-lovely aroma. Depending on how long you leave them in the oven, they will be slightly crispy and cracker-like where thin and soft and chewy where thick.