Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Coconut Chickpea Curry - My Legume Love Affair - Sixth Helping

Coconut Chickpea Curry with Naan
A creamy, nutty curry so fast and easy you can practically
prepare it with your eyes closed. The original recipe calls for
jalapeño peppers, but I replaced them with a small handful of
tiny, Thai chiles, because some like it hotter - much hotter.

Green Thai Chile
Sweet little thing, isn't it? Beware!

Coconut Chickpea Curry - Slightly adapted from the Vikram Vij Green Onion Coconut Chickpea recipe found here in his Elegant & Inspired Indian Cuisine


2 tablespoons flavorless oil (such as canola or safflower)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 generous inch fresh ginger root, peeled and slivered
4-6 tiny green Thai chiles, chopped with seeds retained* (or hot green chile pepper of your choice)
1/2 cup canned peeled tomatoes
4 heaping cups cooked chickpeas, drained of their liquid
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper

In a large skillet, heat the oil over low heat until thin. Add cumin seeds and fry them until they are slightly toasted and fragrant (less than a minute). Add onion, stirring occasionally until golden and translucent (about 5 minutes.) Add ginger root, chiles and tomatoes, stirring to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the chickpeas and coconut milk. Stir in salt. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat to low, barely simmering until heated through (about 4 minutes). Stir in green onions. Cook another few minutes. Remove from heat. Top with a few cranks of ground pepper. Serve with naan bread or basmati rice. Serves 3-4. --

* Do not rub your eyes while cutting hot chiles. For those with delicate skin, wear thin latex gloves. Wash hands thoroughly after cutting. For a less incendiary bite, discard seeds and ribbed internal membranes which hold much of the heat.
Coconut Chickpea Curry

This recipe is for Suganya of Tasty Palettes, hosting My Legume Love Affair Sixth Helping, closing today.

Been There, Done That~

Mango and Tomato Curry

Salsa Verde
Lotus Root Curry

Other People's Eats ~

Pindi Chana

Curried Lentils
Surti Livla Nu Shak


Thursday, December 25, 2008


Brass Incense Burner

Brass incense burner.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Farewell to Fall - Black Walnut and Caramel Blondies

Black Walnut and Caramel Blondies
Keep autumn's glow going just a little longer with
rich butterscotch squares draped in clinging
caramel and studded with pungent black walnuts.

When I was growing up, the U.S. seasons magically yet predictably changed on the 21st day of every quarter. You could even say you could set your clock to the tilt of the Earth and its proximity to the Sun. Galileo and Newton would approve. Alas, though, something's happened along the way. The 2008 seasonal calendar is all akimbo: spring on March 20; summer on June 20; fall on September 22; and winter on December 21. In fact, our seasons have been shifting ever so slightly for years now. Never mind that March more often than not lingers in its lion phase far longer than welcoming the lamb. Things aren't quite as they seem to be. Perhaps the Earth's spinning on its axis to internal rhythms that the average denizen cannot perceptibly measure without the aid and acumen of the astronomical community. Perhaps the Earth's orbit is a longer loop than back in the day. Perhaps its my rhythms and orbit that are off. All I know is that after waiting months through a lazy and recalcitrant fall, there wasn't enough time to savor the golden, burnished glories of trees tucking in for their dormancy before the landscape was fiercely shrouded in hard gray ice on December 19. December 19? It wasn't even officially winter yet. Ah, well, maybe next year.

Bridge over Third River 1
November 12.

Icicles in my Window
December 19.
Black Walnut and Caramel Blondies - Adapted from the basic Good Housekeeping recipe


1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons butter
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped black walnuts (or other nut of your choice)
2 heaping cups packaged caramels
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Well grease a 13 X 9-inch baking pan.

In a small bowl, whisk flour and baking powder to combine, then reserve. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, then whisk in brown sugar, allowing it to melt before whisking in vanilla. Remove from heat. Add eggs, beating very well to combine. Add flour mixture, again beating very well until smooth without any flecks of dry ingredients left unincorporated. Stir in chopped nuts just until blended. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 20 minutes on center rack of oven. Do not overbake. Remove from oven, setting pan on rack for cooling.

When pan has cooled for 10 minutes, begin melting caramels and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until very smooth. Remove from heat and pour slowly and evenly over surface of still-warm blondies. If necessary, smooth out the caramel for maximum coverage with an offset spatula or the bottom of a metal spoon. Allow to cool completely to facilitate cutting, but you may want to briefly microwave servings if you like your caramel very warm and oozing. Makes 15 2 X 2-inch squares. --

Pan of Black Walnut and Caramel Blondies

Been There, Done That ~

Fire-Breathing Brownies
Maple Walnut Layer Cake
Lemon Curd Shortbread

Other People's Eats ~

Raspberry Pecan Blondies
Butterscotch Brownies/Blondies

Monday, December 1, 2008

Quick and Dirty - Congris (Cuban Red Beans and Rice) - My Legume Love Affair Fifth Helping

One of several Cuban variations of many Caribbean
rice and bean recipes, congris (Spanish for "with gray")
translates colloquially to "dirty rice." Call it what you
will, it is one of the great, classic comfort dishes.

Kidney Beans
Red kidney beans. A similar dish, Moros y Cristianos, is prepared
using black turtle beans. It is sometimes confused with congris.

Congris - My own recipe


1 cup long or medium-grain rice (I used medium grain which produces a stickier texture, more like paella)
2 cups cooked red kidney beans
2 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Handful cilantro leaves (optional garnish)


In a large skillet, sauté garlic, onion and green pepper over low heat until soft and gently browned. Stir in oregano, salt and pepper. Stir in rice to coat each grain. Add water and kidney beans. Increase heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, covering the skillet. Simmer covered for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. If the rice is not quite tender when the liquid is all absorbed, add another 1/2 cup water or broth, and continue simmering another 10 minutes. Remove from heat, keeping the skillet covered to contain the steam for another 10 minutes. Remove the cover, fluff the rice, and adjust salt to taste. Serves 4. --

Even better the second day.

This very late post is for Simona of Briciole, hosting My Legume Love Affair Fifth Helping. Do stop by Simona's blog later this week for the round-up and announcement of the randomly drawn cookbook prize winner.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Salad to Go Nuts Over - Quick Pecan Salad for Vegan Ventures 2


Subtly sweet and protein-rich with healthy fats, pecans work in
savory dishes with the same aplomb as they do in desserts.

Pecan Salad

Glistening in a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon, sugar and
spices, this filling salad can be ready in fifteen minutes.

Pecan Salad – Based on the Syrian Pecan Salad recipe from a vintage copy of The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken


8 – 10 cups salad greens, your choice (I used baby romaine)
2 cups raw pecan halves
1 cup chopped scallions (white and green parts)
1 tablespoon flavorless oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 heaping tablespoon brown or other unbleached sugar
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 2 large lemons
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sea salt


In a large skillet over low heat, gently toss pecans in the flavorless oil until lightly toasted and warm, around 8 minutes. Remove from heat, then tip them into a large serving bowl to reserve.

Using the same skillet, again over low heat, toast cumin and coriander seed, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Turn off heat. Add olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper, combining with a whisk. Let the ingredients gently heat in the stored heat of the skillet.

Add greens and scallions to the bowl with the pecans. Toss ingredients gently. Pour dressing over the salad, tossing once more. Scatter top with sea salt. Serves 4. –

This last-minute post is for Suganya of Tasty Palettes, hosting Vegan Ventures - Round 2, challenging the food community to create and share recipes that use no animal ingredients whatsoever.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Sugar High Friday - All That Glitters - The Round-Up

Known in the United States as Black Friday, today is the traditional kick-off to the holiday buying frenzy. I didn't do any shopping today; I had better things to do, like sort through forty-three gorgeously sweet creations submitted by wonderful bloggers eager to share their fascinating recipes, designs and techniques. I thank you all for your wonderful treats. It's an eye-popping round-up that I was very happy to have hosted. You glow, girls and boys! I wouldn't called today Black Friday at all. How could it be when we all know it's SUGAR HIGH FRIDAY - ALL THAT GLITTERS!?!


A daughter's last-minute guilt inspires a mocha
gateau with an intriguingly intricate glossy design.

Chocolate Espresso Cake
Deeba - Passionate About Baking
Gurgaon, India


A softly frosted fondant and foil frills are among the
finishing touches to an extravagant cream puff creation.

La Religieuse
Cathy - La Prochaine Fois
Austin, Texas, U.S.A.


Shot with simple table sugar, crispy chai
cookies twinkle in even the faintest light.

Sparkled Chai Cookies
Hannah - Bitter Sweet


The alluring fragrance of quince lights up a
kitchen for a sweet sauce featuring fall's harvest.

Apple-Quince Sauce
Sarah - What Smells So Good?
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Fruity-sweet squares of semolina and sugar
glisten in a classic Indian confection.

Mango Burfi
TBC - The Budding Cook


Carved Italian creams, as delicate, feminine and romantic
as cameos, luxuriate in the sweetest of floral elixirs.

Rosewater Panna Cotta
Dhita a.k.a. barefootster - Cooking Etcetera
Inner Mongolia, China


Coconut milk pastry cream provides a delicately
novel filling under a line-up of ganache-slick éclairs.

Coconut Milk and Chocolate Éclairs
Monica - The Sour Plum


Pretty as party dresses, tender little pink cakes
gather to gossip about all sorts of frilly things.

Pomegranate Petit Fours
Lori - Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness
Rochester, New York, U.S.A.


"Sugar-free, wheat-free, vegan" ambitious and creative
baker turns a chocolate nut dessert into a taste no less dangerous.

Chocolate Pecan Pie
Ricki - Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Melted ghee lacquers the surface of a crushed nut
and cardamom experiment that proves a sweet success.

Badam (Almond Halwa)
Sharmi - Neivedyam
Illinois, U.S.A.


The romance and mystery of the rose flavor the refined
curves of one of world's most-favored miniature butter cakes.

Rose Madeleines with Glittered Honey Lemon Glaze
Zita - Simplicious
Amman, Jordan


Vegan cookies are easier than you think. You'll put your stamp
of approval in the center of each one before you fill it with jam.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Mansi - Fun and Food Cafe
California, U.S.A.


As glamorous as Grace Kelly's gloves, a green tea and
amaretto terrine makes a movie-star entrance.

Matcha and Amaretto Cheesecake
Venus - L'Atelier Vi
Bay Area, California, U.S.A.


Dark, chewy, naturally sweet fruits replace nuts in moist,
deliriously rich squares of an easy, classic comfort cake.

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Dried Fruit
Lisa - Lisa's Kitchen
London, Ontario, Canada


Pastel-pale citrus and sweet spice sparkle on
the palate for a refreshingly frozen last course.

Grapefruit and Star Anise Granita
Lisa - Dandy Sugar
San Francisco, California, U.S.A.


A mistress of decorative arts carves a comma of a cake
evocative of an ancient and exquisite design motif.

Choco Floral Ecstasy
Swati - Sugarcraft India


Silver-beaded cashous create exciting
caché when pressed into heavily frosted cupcakes.

Chocolate Studded Cupcakes
Alex - Eating Leeds
Leeds, West Yorkshire, U.K.


A Daring Baker dares not let caramel get the best of her
for a French confection as decadent as it is distinctive.

Brilynn - Jumbo Empanadas
Ontario, Canada


Rich chocolate and fanciful adornments create
sweet holiday gifts that are simple to stir up.

Chocolate Spoons
Suganya of Tasty Palettes for The Daily Tiffin


Natural brown sugar melts into a sparkling mantle
atop tiny tins of egg-free pumpkin custard.

Pumpkin Mini Pies
Libby - The Allergic Kid
Tampa Bay, Florida, U.S.A.


A terrific trio of layered spice wakes the tastebuds
to the thrill of golden ginger in every bite.

Gingered Ginger Biscuits with Ginger
Lysy - Munchkin Mail
Warwickshire, U.K.


Homemade berry and cream cheese ice creams won't
have you singing the blues in this holiday tribute to Elvis.

Blueberry Ice Cream Pie
Elizabeth - Cake or Death


Like a beguiling gift box wrapped in festive cellophane,
a golden ganache cake tempts you to look inside it.

Chocolate Bling Bling Cake
Anne a.k.a. Foodie Froggy - A Foodie Froggy in Paris
Paris, France


You'll feel like a queen when you serve this crown jewel of a
cheesecake sparkling with ruby-red pomegranate seeds.

Gemstone Cheesecake
Katherine - From My Table...To Yours
North Shore of Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.


Gold dusting powder is the icing on the frosting of citrus
cupcakes baked for the sophisticated and adult diner.

Blood Orange Margarita Cupcakes
Denise and Lenny - Chez Us
California, U.S.A.


Don't cut that cake yet! You'll want to catch yourself
smiling in the high-shine reflection of rich red fruit.

Acai Mousse Tart with Acai Mirror Glaze
Anna - Pure Pastries
San Diego, California, U.S.A.


Working with hot, molten sugar is tricky business. Let this
practical guide to a simple candy teach you with its valuable tips.

10 Indian Chikkis (Brittles)
Ramki - One Page Cookbooks
Chennai, India


Do you like your cookie dough straight from the bowl?
Then you're going to love adding cookies into your dough, too.

White Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes
Shaheen - Ambrosia


A crafty baker designs a foil-lined display tree to do her
sparkling, mile-high cupcakes the justice they deserve.

Very Vanilla Cupcakes
Montreal, Quebec, Canada


An airy light angel cake lives dangerously, enrobed
in a devil of a dark and shiny ganache.

Angel Food Cake with Honey Ganache Glaze
Anna - Life's Too Short for Mediocre Chocolate
San Diego, California, U.S.A.


Blood-red cherries are sacrificed on the etched
pewter altar of a veganized dessert. Don't worry.
It's all for a delicious, cruelty-free cause.

Wine Dark Cherry Kanten
Lucy - Nourish Me
Melbourne, Australia


You'll need a very sharp knife to cut this creamy and dreamy
cake into clean servings. Ricotta makes for a super-moist
crumb reminiscent of pudding-in-the-middle recipes.

Chocolate Ricotta Cheesecake with Chocolate Gelatin Ganache
Priya - Priya's Easy 'N Tasty Recipes
Paris, France


Not too fond of the holiday fruitcake your boss is
walking your way? Best to bake your own with fresh,
homemade peels to show 'em all how it should be done.

Candied Peel
Kate: A Merrier World
Devon, U.K.


A devoted daughter conjures up a magical dessert to
treat her mom to a gluten-free birthday surprise.

Glitter Gelatin Torte
Sarina Nicole - Trini Gourmet


Easy, crackly, sugar-crusted cookies, easily eaten up,
give a novice baker a well-deserved boost of confidence.

Sparkly Snickerdoodles
Jenn - sweet * catastrophe
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.


Like hand-crafted ornaments, these candy snowflakes
are so precisely prepared, you will want to make
an extra batch to hang on the tree.

Glittering Marshmallow Snowflakes
Winnie - Bake from Scratch


Sugared cranberries and maple glaze add to the merry
mix in a bundt cake built for every festive occasion.

All-in-One-Holiday Bundt Cake
Paula - Half-Baked
Alabama, U.S.A.


When such elegant and sumptuous desserts as delicately
crusted custard grace the earth, one sometimes wonders
why the planet also offers deep-fried Mars bars.

Carolyn - 18thC Cuisine
Shores of Lake Huron, U.S.A.


Pineapple isn't the only fruit you can turn over on its head
for a show-stopping, crowd-pleasing dessert.

Upside-Down Cranberry Cake
Mansi - Food and Fun


Dark chocolate shells encase caramel ganache for a box of
bon bons so luxurious, Marie Antoinette would have approved.

Salted Caramel Truffles
Kelly - The Pink Apron
Charleston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.


Hershey's Kisses lend an elfin touch to rich peanut butter
drops that disappear as quickly as they bake up.

Peanut Blossoms
Candice - Mmm, Tasty!
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Pomegranate, pistachio and cardamom - three exquisite flavors blend
seamlessly in a crumbly, frozen treat sure to garner accolades.

Pomegranate Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwiches
Laurie - Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.A.


Butter, brown sugar and cinnamon burnish the
crannies and contours of a simple yeast cake
with a powerful flavor and fragrance.

Thanks, again, for the fantastic round-up - and a thunderous applause, too, for Jennifer, The Domestic Goddess, for creating an event that is still going strong for quite a few years now. Please let me know if there are any errors or omissions, and I'll make the changes right away. I'll be visiting your blogs next week to leave individual comments on your posts. ~~~