This mushroom curry is a slightly modified version of the recipe I usually make. The mushrooms are cut into larger chunks, and the serving size is smaller. It's an ideal side dish for two people.
This oriental-style asparagus and pine nut dish is a perfect accompaniment to small light summer meals, and takes little time to prepare and cook. Fried pine nuts give it nutritious protein-packed crunch, while the asparagus is… well, it's asparagus, nothing more needs to be said.
Anyone who reads this blog already knows that I use cornmeal in all kinds of dishes, not only for its sweet corn flavor and crunchy-chewy texture, but for its incredible versatility — and this smooth and creamy pudding takes full advantage of the versatility of both cornmeal and eggs to take care of almost any kind of bean or vegetable leftover that you might have on hand. Here I use my leftover refried beans to give it a zesty Mexican flair, but even if you don't have any leftovers on hand, this pudding works just as well with a good few handfuls of some sautéed peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, corn, or whatever you've got on hand. For a more savory version, add some of your favorite herbs or try using fresh grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled goat cheese for the topping.
There are as many versions of refried beans as there are cooks. My recipe might not be the most traditional, but I've perfected it over the years to suit my tastes. As my regular readers will expect, it is an accordingly fiery variation. Simply cut down on the peppers and spices if you can't take the heat. If you are hooked on heat like me, increase the number of hot peppers and amount of cayenne.
Creamy cabbage coleslaw is something that everybody likes, and it's a feature at so many get-togethers. It only takes about 20 minutes to throw together this classic summer and fall salad. Like almost everything I make, I like to add at least just a bit of a spicy kick to dress things up, in this case with a dash of cumin and chili, but feel free to leave these out if you prefer the traditional flavor. Red or green cabbage work equally well, but red cabbage will give your slaw a colorful visual appeal in addition to the flavor.
If you are looking for a quick and easy dessert that can be made up ahead of time, I highly recommend this berry pudding cake. It is delicious served hot or at room temperature. If you do prepare the pudding ahead of time and want to serve it hot, simply reheat it up in the oven for about 20 minutes before serving. I've used a combination of blueberries and raspberries here, but any combination of berries can be used. One of these days I'm going to make it using fresh cherries.
Native to India, the small, beautiful gold-green mung bean is one of my favorite beans to cook with. Although Indian cooks most often cook with split mungs, I particularly enjoy cooking with them whole in a dry texture finish so that the plumb and tender legumes stand out by themselves — besides, they take hardly any longer to cook than the split ones, especially if you soak them ahead of time. Serve this simple but incredibly flavorful curry with vegetables, an Indian rice dish such as simple pulao rice or piquant lemon rice and an Indian flatbread for a complete and satisfying meal.
You may also wish to try one of my all time favorite mung bean recipes: mung beans with paneer cheese. It is a flavorful combination of buttery-soft and sweet mung beans, golden-brown fried paneer cheese, tomatoes and spices — a wonderful dish to serve to your dinner guests.
It must have been a cold spring out East this year, because the fresh ostrich fern fiddleheads from the Maritimes are still showing up at my local market. It's summer now in Ontario, but I still relish this unique flavor of spring that some describe as a slightly nutty cross between asparagus and artichokes, and others as something like okra or broccoli. However you describe fiddleheads though, they are entirely distinctive in both taste and texture and deserve to be cooked simply without any other strong flavors to detract from the fiddlehead experience. This lovely lemon rice fiddlehead soup is easy to make and lets the fiddleheads shine through the mild flavors of lemon and rice.
I'm away from home for a bit, but I haven't stopped cooking. For the past few days I've been making my culinary creations in my parents' beautiful, large and well-equipped kitchen. It's quite a treat, but every cook needs a break, so tonight I'm proud to present good old-fashioned macaroni and cheese made by my Dad using my Mom's classic recipe. Or at least, it's nearly a classic version, as I requested my Dad substitute cornmeal for the bread crumbs. Cornmeal or bread crumbs, you can't go wrong with this winning comfort food.
I had some cherries left over after making cherry-vanilla ricotta muffins the other day, so I decided to make some of these cherry cornmeal scones to fill out a meal of leftovers. I ate them for breakfast this morning as we didn't eat them all for dinner. These scones are filling and very easy to make. Any type of berry or current can be used instead of cherries. For a spicy scone, omit the cherries, add some finely chopped jalapeños, along with some ground chili powder and a cup of shredded extra old Cheddar cheese.
When I was younger, I used to skip breakfast most of the time. I've since grown wiser, and now recognize that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Considering most people expend more energy during the day than in the evening, it just makes sense to consume more calories in the morning than at supper time. A well-rounded breakfast provides the essential nutrients to help us get through the day.
Once again I've consulted Mollie Katzens Sunlight Café for breakfast inspiration, but these ricotta muffins loaded with fresh sweet cherries are good enough for dessert! Her own description pretty much sums them up:
Imagine a muffin that took Italian cheesecake lessons. In all seriousness, that's what these taste like.I paid a small fortune for fresh cherries, as the local variety are not yet in season, but it was worth every dime. Serve these up at any time of the day.
Miso adds a uniquely earthy and salty flavor to soup stocks, and it's an easy way to add plenty of protein to your soups as well. This basic miso vegetable soup is incredibly quick and easy but tastes like you've put a lot of effort into the pot. It's also a great soup for using just about any combination of vegetables you might have on hand.
The small azuki bean is widely cultivated throughout China where it is known as hungdo, or simply "red bean," as well as in Korea and Japan. In all Asian cuisines, it is almost always eaten as part of sweet desserts or boiled and puréed with sugar to make red bean paste as a stuffing for pastries. On the other hand, savory dishes featuring the azuki bean as the main ingredient are quite rare, but fortunately this recipe from Yunnan Province in southwestern China provides an absolutely delicious and simple-to-prepare example of using the bean as a meal. Like many Chinese dishes, there is a wonderful (and, according to the Chinese, healthy) contrast in colors.
I've made this stir-fried azuki and green pepper many times now, and my guests are always ecstatic to find out that it will be served. Like so many of my favorite recipes, I've modified it from my indispensable and well-thumbed copy of Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, in this case to make it spicier, more savory, and more "mushroomy". I've used some white mushrooms along with the dried shiitakes (also known as Chinese black mushrooms), but if you want it to be absolutely authentic, substitute more shiitakes for the white mushrooms and dispense with the cayenne. As for myself, though, I'm sticking with the cayenne.
Another weekend, another delicious breakfast idea from Mollie Katzen's gorgeous and original breakfast cookbook, the Mollie Katzens Sunlight Café. These baked egg and ricotta cheese muffins are loaded with good proteins and other nutrients to get you started on the day, and, with the addition of cayenne and jalapeño peppers, they pack the spicy flavour that I like for kicking off just about anything. Once they cool down a little, they also make portable little snacks. Make sure you use whole milk ricotta.
After five days of sweltering heat outside, temperatures and tempers have finally reached the simmering point right here in my kitchen - even the butter has melted down in its dish. Time for an undemanding, light meal that, most importantly, doesn't involve any cooking. A baby spinach salad with lots of fresh vegetables and goat cheese along with a nice French baguette from the market will go a long way today, even if just slicing the salad ingredients had me sweating.
This ranch dressing takes minutes to prepare and has a cool, refreshing and authentic flavor that will go well with any green salad on a summer's day. You can use it as a delicious dip for fresh cut vegetables as well.
Mushrooms are the mainstay of this and many other beautiful creamy Italian risottos, but the leeks and lemon in this risotto ai funghi give it an appealing background pungency that will turn heads, not to mention noses and mouths.