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.