Posted tagged ‘Cooking’

Top 10 Signs You’re Seriously Into Indian Cooking

August 14, 2012
  1. You can’t remember the English names for common ingredients
  2. No matter what someone asks you how to cook, 80% of the time your instructions begin with “Heat up a Tbsp of oil and add jeera. When they begin to sizzle…”
  3. You stop measuring ingredients when making roti.
  4. You say belan instead of rolling pin, tava instead of skillet.
  5. You no longer keep your pressure cooker in the back of the cupboard.
  6. You perfect that palm-to-palm flipping motion to knock excess flour off of your roti.
  7. You know what regions your sabzi’s come from, and you start cooking sabzi’s from places other than Punjab.
  8. The only time you say the word curry, it’s followed by “leaves.”
  9. You keep your seven most common spices in a masala dabba.
  10. In your mind, a complete meal consists of daal, a sabzi, and rice or bread.

Arancini di riso

May 10, 2010

A couple days ago I came home and surveyed the fridge and pantry. There was not a whole lot there, as it was almost time to go grocery shopping, but I didn’t feel like cooking one of our lazy day frozen pizzas. However, I realized I had everything I needed to make risotto alla milanese. I love it when I can cook something with a fancy sounding name using stuff that’s left around; it’s just saffron risotto. Mario Batali’s recipe is a pretty good one, and this is not a bad recipe to start with if you’ve never made risotto before. To get the most color and flavor out of your saffron, crush the threads before using, and soak them in hot water for 20-30 minutes before adding to the recipe. The uncrushed threads look nice in the finished dish, but I think they are a waste of the spice. Before I started crushing the threads and pre-soaking, I was always disappointed with the overall color and flavor of my saffron cooking.

Today, we had some risotto left. So I made arancini di riso. (I admit this was part of my original plan all along). The name means “little oranges of rice,” and that is kind of what they look like. These are breaded, fried balls of risotto, stuffed with gooey, melty mozzarella. I didn’t feel like getting out all the stuff to deep fry, so I made baked arancini, and they were almost as good as the fried ones.

The method: take two cups chilled, leftover risotto. Mix in two beaten eggs. Roll the mixture into ping pong ball sized balls, and press a 1/2 inch cube of mozarella into the center of each one, sealing up the risotto around the cheese.  Roll each ball in some seasoned bread crumbs, then place on a cookie sheet in the fridge to chill and firm up while the oven preheats to 425ºF. Lightly drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 25 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Homemade Primanti Sandwiches

January 18, 2010

I really enjoy cooking foreign, exotic cuisine for dinner—Indian, Thai, Chinese, French,…Pittsburghese? Yes. Several foods common to the area around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (where I grew up and went to college) are foreign in New Hampshire. Pittsburgh cuisine might even be more foreign than the other foods I enjoy cooking because making them at home is the only way to get them here (whereas I can walk to one Indian, two Thai, and three Chinese restaurants; one of the Chinese restaurants is actually good, too!).

So, I thought I’d share some notes on a few of these, in case you, dear reader, have enjoyed Pittsburghese cuisine in the past but now find yourself far from the steel city, or if you are just curious and want to try making them yourself. I’ll start with the most iconic food: the Primanti Bros. Sandwich:

As you can see, two thick slices of fluffy Italian bread embrace fresh-cut french fries, melty provolone cheese, tomatoes,  and sweet-and-sour coleslaw. What else occupies the space between the bread varies. Could be steak, corned beef, ham, tuna, blackened chicken, fried fish, fried egg, more cheese. The list goes on, but the essentials are the fries, the slaw, and the bread. Joe Primanti created these massive beasts at his sandwich cart in Pittsburgh’s strip district in the 1930’s. There are now five Primanti Bros. locations in the city and 8 in the suburbs around the city. It’s taken me a bit of experimentation, but I now have a recipe that does a pretty good job to recreate the original.

If you can’t make it to the Pittsburgh area, I  highly recommend making these yourself. They are so good, they could make you make this face:

Not many recipes get an endorsement like that! Sadly, I don’t think many readers who haven’t already tasted one of these will want to try making them. But if you would, read on… (more…)

Adventures in Cheesemaking: Paneer Butter Masala!

January 4, 2010

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I was looking over my past posts and thinking it’s been a while since I’ve posted any cooking or recipe entries.  The total lack of any Indian cooking posts actually surprised me because I love cooking Indian food. (Sometimes I think I cook Indian meals enough days in a row to wear out Beth’s taste for them). So, Indian food post, your time has come.

One of my favorite dishes to cook is paneer butter masala. This dish consists of (more…)

Homemade English Muffins

November 12, 2009

I enjoy English muffins from the store (after they’ve been split, toasted and buttered), but homemade English muffins are in a whole different ballpark. Straight off the griddle, they taste delicious with or without butter, but if you know me,you know I’ll always go with the butter if it’s an option.

EnglishMuffins

English muffins on the griddle

These are one of those foods that for some reason we tend to think cannot be made at home. (Pita is another one). However, they can be made at home; they are very easy to make, and they taste much better than the storebought ones, (which do taste fine; don’t get me wrong). They don’t even require an oven, just a griddle. The first time Beth and I made these (and the second and third times as well) was in Cameroon with a propane burner and a non-stick pan. The recipe (from the “Chop Fayner”):

The Ingredients:

  • 1 c.  hot water
  • 1/2 c. scalded milk
  • 2t sugar
  • 1t salt
  • cornmeal for dusting
  • 1T yeast
  • 4 c. flour
  • 3T softened butter or margarine

The Method:

Combine the warm water, milk, sugar, and yeast. Wait 10 minutes to see that the yeast froths up. Beat in 2 c of the flour & wait 1 hour. Add softened butter, salt, and the rest of the flour. Let rise until doubled. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 3″ circles on a surface generously covered in cornmeal. (We used the lid of an Ovaltine™ jar to cut them out).  Let rise until doubled in height. Grill on a lightly oiled, hot frying pan until puffed and lightly browned. Flip and brown the other side. Split with a fork and enjoy!

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Braided Calzones

September 30, 2009

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I made some braided calzones during tax season, as can be seen below from the forms strewn about the back of the table. I think they turned out pretty well, and the same method could be used for strudel type dessert pastries if one used pie crust instead of pizza dough.

Here’s how the construction goes: (more…)


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