We are back after a couple weeks of delay with some exciting news. I am officially moved into an apartment in Austin to continue my culinary knowledge and journey with an exploration of flavors. Before I left my fiance, however, to come to this brave new world of flavor, I prepared a dish that combined two of our favorite cuisines together: Indian food and Italian food.
Not a combination you see every day, true, but this vegetable korma risotto led to no leftovers. The spiciness of the East Asian flavors coupled with the saltiness of Parmesan in the risotto led for a decadent dish full of flavor. Want to go vegan? Sub out the risotto with some regular rice for a more classic pairing!
Vegetable Korma Risotto
For the Korma:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 28 oz. canned tomatoes, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
3 yellow potatoes, diced
12 oz cauliflower (either frozen or 1 head, trimmed and cut)
12 oz broccoli (either frozen or 1 head, trimmed and cut)
salt to taste
2 tbsp turmeric, ground
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
In a blender, blend the tomatoes, garlic and ginger. Set aside.
In a large pot, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add onions and carrots and a pinch of salt. Cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
Add jalapenos and cook until fragrant, approximately 30 to 60 more seconds, stirring.
Add potatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli. Cook approximately 8-10 minutes, stirring, until potatoes are seared.
Add puree mixture and remaining ingredients, scrapping bottom of pot as it is de-glazed. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
Cook, covered, until vegetables are tender, approximately 30-45 minutes depending on range. Adjust seasonings and serve.
For the Risotto:
1 cup short grained rice, like Arborio
6 cups good quality vegetable stock
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Parmasean, grated
Salt to taste
In a sauce pot, bring the stock to a simmer and keep it at a low simmer during the cooking process.
In a large pan, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt, and cook until translucent approximately 5-6 minutes. Add the rice, and cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring, until well coated with the onions and oils and beginning to toast.
Add approximately 1 cup of the hot stock to the pan, de-glazing it, and stirring frequently.
When the liquid is mostly absorbed by the rice, add another ladle of stock, continuing to stir frequently. Keep repeating this until the rice is cooked through and is al dente with a slight bite.
Stir in the cheese until incorporated and melted. The mixture will be thick. Taste and adjust salt as desired. Serve with the Korma above.
My dad’s birthday was a couple of weeks’ ago (Happy Birthday, dad!), and what better way to celebrate a summer birthday by grilling up a storm. We made a number of dishes, but the favorites may surprise you: grilled portabellas and cauliflower, and grilled whole fish.
While a rib eye maintained its well earned love by my mother and me, my father prefers lighter meats, such as fish, and has a passion for vegetables without rival. To be sure, between the tender flesh of the branzini and the smokey, melt-in-your-mouth mushrooms, nobody will miss red meat if you decide to just go with those items for your next cook out and ahead of the Fourth.
Chili Spiced Portabella Caps
4 portabella caps, stems removed (reserve these for another use such as making vegetable stocks, or dicing and sauteing them as a topping for a burger).
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients except the mushrooms together in a bowl to make a thick paste – add more vegetable oil if needed.
Slather the mushrooms evenly with the paste, and place in a plastic bag up to overnight so that they absorb the flavors.
When ready to cook, on a hot, well-oiled grill, over direct heat, cook the mushrooms for approximately 3 minutes per side, trying to flip the mushroom as infrequently as possible as the flames allow.
Serve immediately – if desired, squeeze some lime juice on top before serving.
Grilled Whole Branzini
2 whole branzini – ask your fishmonger to clean and gut these for you.
2 lemons, sliced
1 bunch of cilantro, trimmed and cleaned
1 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp pepper, divided,
1 tbsp cumin, divided
2 teaspoon chili powder, divided
Several hours before you wish to grill, take the whole branzini and rinse them under cold water, making sure the fishmonger did not leave any remnants of unpleasantness in them and that the fish is entirely de-scaled. If not, de-scale the fish by running the back of a knife against the fish to get any missed scales.
Make sure you have everything prepped ahead of time. Squeeze some vegetable oil throughout the fish (we did this previously out of video).
With your CLEAN hand, sprinkle the seasonings evenly among both fish and the cavities of both fish. Stuff the fish with lemon slices and cilantro sprigs – as many as you can fit without the herbs and fruit spilling out.
Wrap butcher’s twine around the fish to keep everything inside of it. Place covered in fridge until ready to grill and up to overnight.
When grilling, make sure you oil the fish (again) very liberally, that the grill is very well oiled, and that you are working on high, direct heat. This will all prevent the fish from sticking. Grill for approximately 4-5 minutes on each side. The fish should not stick when you flip it over if it is cooked and you’ve done all these steps. If you do not feel like dealing with risk of a sticky fish, use a cedar or other wood plank pursuant to their directions and cook the fish on top of that. This will take longer but will still be delicious.
Remove the fish and serve with a squeeze of lemon. Remember to be wary of bones!
Few things remind me of my childhood more than a Sunday brunch. Growing up, it became a weekly tradition to have a large brunch after mass on Sunday morning. While my brunches all these years later do not always consist of hummus, falafel, and a glorious over abundance of cheeses, meats, and olives, it is a tradition I continue to try to maintain.
Being diabetic certainly led to some of my favorites having to be modified, however. Gone are the days of the buttermilk biscuit (though keep an eye out for a lighter version coming soon!) smothered in sausage gravy, but some things never changed. This hash is one of them. Have some leftover vegetables from the week? They may go well in a hash. We had some leftover sweet potatoes that we did not get around to finishing earlier this week, an onion and some potatoes on the cusp of their final days. Enter: the hash.
This hodgepodge dish delights the senses with its sweetness from the sweet potatoes being balanced with some heat from cayenne and chili powder reminiscent of flavors well known to Southwestern cuisine.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
1 cup diced bell peppers (feel free to use frozen if that’s what you’ve got!)
1 Sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 small russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups baby spinach
3 tbsp cheddar, shredded
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. This recipe works well in a cast-iron pan as well but be prepared for more sticking (though crispier potatoes).
Add the onions and peppers with a pinch of salt. Cook down until the onions are nearly translucent, approximately 4-5 minutes.
Add potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are crisp tender, approximately 15-20 minutes depending on stove top. Add the chili powder and smoked paprika while the potatoes are cooking.
Once the potatoes are cooked, add the eggs, stirring frequently until the eggs are cooked. Add the cayenne pepper, another pinch of salt, and the black pepper to this step.
Add the spinach, stirring frequently until it cooks down and is wilted. This will not take long. Turn off heat and add the cheddar cheese, mixing it in well so that it melts. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy. Optional: Serve some lime with it to brighten up the dish and have some acidity to play off the heat from the peppers and sweetness of the vegetables.
It was my birthday last week, and my parents surprised me with a cooler of live lobsters. Those who know me know that I try to cook with new ingredients often (read: at least weekly) so I can learn about new ingredients and methods of cooking (and just in case I ever make it onto Chopped on Food Network). Despite this, I had difficulty a month back finding anywhere in my vicinity that sold live lobsters, but my parents came to the rescue in a big way.
I opted to make a Lobster Boil as I had been informed we would be having company over, and the recipe below follows. Few meals are as inclusive as a seafood boil – friends and family huddled over a mass of shared, delicious food can be the ultimate comfort food experience.
I then used the shells to make a lobster stock for Jambalaya, and that recipe will be posted later on separately. I did also take one Lobster and make a Lobster Curry, and I’ll share that recipe as well. I also apologize for the lack of photos – this was not originally intended to be on the blog, but enough people have expressed interest in how to do it that thought I would share!
Before we get started though, I want to say hello and thank you to our new followers. We’re happy to have you here!
So here where the lobsters that starred in the show:
Later on, we grabbed the pot and started pouring the liquids and first ingredients:
Next came the corn:
Then, it was time for the seafood:
Let the feasting begin!
2 medium onions, quartered
1 head of garlic – all cloves peeled and crushed (not chopped)
8 Yukon Gold Potatoes, halved
3 Thai chilis, sliced
3 Mexican Style Beers of your choice (If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can substitute seafood stock).
2 links of Turkey Sausage (We had some dietary restrictions with our company, but you could easily substitute Andouille or Kielbasa sausages, and if you eat pork, would recommend doing so). Cut these into about 1.5 inch pieces.
4 ears of corn, husked and cut into 3 pieces of each for a total of 12 small cobs.
5 live medium lobsters (about 1-1.5 pounds each)
4 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp toasted coriander seeds
4 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 pounds of mussels, scrubbed and cleaned
2 pounds of shrimp, under 16, cleaned and deveined (alternatively, use frozen but make sure that they are cleaned and deveined as well)
3 tbsp cilantro, cleaned and chopped
Place the onions, garlic, potatoes, chili peppers, and sausages in a large pot. Place 4 cups of water and both beers on top.
Place pot on medium high heat to bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer. Add the corn. Cover pot and cook for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper together. You may want to make a double batch so you can sprinkle the mixture on top of the boil later.
After 15 minutes has elapsed, add half the spice mixture over the ingredients already in the pot, then add the lobsters. Cooking time for lobsters will vary. We followed these guidelines to make sure that we treated the lobsters humanely before putting them in the pot: https://www.thespruceeats.com/ways-to-kill-a-lobster-1808804.
After you add the lobsters, cover the pot. For the lobsters, you will need about 20 minutes for the first pound, and about 7 minutes per pound after. So after 20 minutes, add the mussels and shrimp and cover the pot again. Add the rest of the spice mixture. The liquid should be simmering and steaming during all of this.
Cook for about 7-10 more minutes depending on size of lobsters and check on pot. Mussels should be open at this point (discard and do not eat any unopened mussels) and shrimp should be pink and opaque.
Strain the pot and make sure to reserve the broth. Lay out the seafood wonders onto prepared newspaper or parchment paper. Garnish with chopped cilantro, more of the spice mixture, and lime wedges. Serve immediately.