A blog about cooking and food, and how to make it taste good and be healthy. The dishes are almost all gluten/dairy free, and many are vegetarian. The focus is on techniques and ingredients over recipes - this is about everyday cooking, and that means making it work with whats on hand!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Indo-Chinese Chili Chicken with Fried Rice

Indo-Chinese food is a cuisine that isn't well known in the US, but is an incredible fusion of Chinese and Indian ingredients and techniques. Many Indo-Chinese dishes are somewhere between a stir-fry and a dry curry, and tend to be spicy and fried. This chili chicken is a simple, delicious one-pan dish.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Achar Chicken Wings

This is an amazing wing preparation that is a combination of two earlier posts: nimbu aachar (lemon pickle) and crispy roasted chicken wings.The pickle is used as a sauce for wings, and is perfectly hot, sweet, and sour 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Meat Pies

After having some success with corn rotis, I decided to try something else with the corn flour. What I ended up with, I can only call a "meat pie". I used a similar dough as for the rotis, and it was hard to get it thin. The result was on the dry side, so I need to figure out how to work better with the dough.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Vinegar

Until recently, I didn't know black vinegar existed, and I can't even remember where I heard about it. In addition to the vinegar itself, there's some extra flavors. It tastes a little like Worcestershire sauce, and a little like balsamic vinegar. In it's own words "western seasoning theories ... meet with Chinese flavors."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bourbon Chicken

This is a bourbon chicken along the lines of what you get in mall and airport food courts. It actually a pretty simple dish, as it comes down to basically chicken and sauce.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chicken Saag with Corn Roti

 I've been getting so much food through my CSA that I've been giving some of it away every week. Some mustard greens ended up making it to my friend Ricky who used it to make chicken saag, an Indian dish made with pureed spinach or mustard greens. The next week I got more mustard greens, and decided to make some myself. Saag can be plain or made with meat, chickpeas or paneer (cheese).

Friday, October 26, 2012

Breakfast Salad

One Saturday morning, I woke up and went to the kitchen with the intention of making a bacon and egg on bagel sandwich, but was out of bagels and bread. I did have some fresh salad greens that I needed to eat, so I improvised and made a breakfast salad.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cucumber, Strawberry, and Basil Salad

A great summer dish just in time for late fall! Cucumbers and strawberries are two wonderful summer foods. They're fresh and in season, and their high water content makes them lighter foods that are agreeable in hot weather. The basil helps bring the flavors of both together. Paired with salad greens and grilled shrimp, it's a nice lunch and can be served on its own as a side dish with other courses.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Whitefish with Endive

I got this idea from a recipe in a book I like called Simple Cooking. If you look for it, try to get an edition with nice, big pictures. They were in the one got from the library, but not the one I got from Amazon.  It uses the idea of vegetable juices and purees in many of the recipes. The first four chapters are "Building Blocks": Juices, Vinaigrettes, Flavored Oils, and Vegetable Broths.

The recipe I was loosely following was "Whiting with Endive Broth". The dish consists of fish (whitefish in the book, cod here) with endive puree and juice. The tartness of the endive goes well with the delicate flavor of the fish.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Korean Bachelor Cooking

My former roommate was Korean, and he would often cook for himself. He was a single grad student, and he wasn't cooking "just like his mom," just something fast and easy. The cuisine was more the equivalent of mac and cheese with hot dogs, but at least healthier. This dish is what he cooked one night, and he often made a similar one-pot meal.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Quick Mango Pickle

I learned this from Phen, a Cambodian woman who insists I eat every time I visit her house. This dish is made with green mangos, and is very quick and very tasty. Its not a main dish, but more of a condiment that goes with almost everything.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Summer Squash Noodles with Shrimp

This is a fast and easy light summer meal which could also be used as an early course in a larger meal. The "noodles" are strips of summer squash made using a vegetable peeler. This preparation is a good use of fresh, in season vegetables.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Leftovers Omlette

I had shrimp, caramelized fennel, and corn leftover from the dinner in the previous post, so I used them to make an omelette.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Seafood Dinner

One useful thing to be able to do in the kitchen is prepare several dishes at once. A few simple side dishes can add extra flavors and textures to meal, creating a more satisfying (and often more nutritious) meal. The trick is to be able to use time efficiently in preparing and cooking ingredients. This dinner consists of crispy baked cod, aromatic steamed shrimp, grilled corn, and caramelized fennel.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sweet and Sour Eggplant Curry

Here's another way to do eggplant. This is similar to a vegetable curry, but includes tamarind, which gives it a  sweet and tangy taste.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Grilled Corn

Another food that can be grilled on a gas stove is corn. Its as simple as shucking it and turning it over the flame.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

BBQ Eggplant (Baingan Bharta)

The first time I ever had this dish was in the middle of the woods on a road trip to Amarkantak. We got up early and drove for hours before lunch, going slowly through the mountains on a journey of only 100km. We stopped for lunch at an ashram, where my travelling companions/guides made lunch around a fire. They put the eggplant right into the fire to roast on the coals, and it was one of the first times I really enjoyed eggplant (I learned I like my eggplant well cooked). In an American kitchen, cooking directly with fire is uncommon, but if you have a gas stove you can cook the eggplant directly on the flame.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Stuffed Eggplant

I try to eat a balanced diet without too much meat, and using ground meat as a stuffing in a vegetable is a good way to make a savory, filling, and healthy dish. Winter squash and pumpkins are good vegetables to use in colder months, and eggplant is a good vegetable year-round. This is eggplant stuffed with a mix of ground beef and lamb.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sauteed Bok Choy

I got some fresh organic bok choy from the farmers' market, and wanted to cook it in a way that let its flavor come through. I chose to quickly saute it, a cooking method that works well with fresh summer vegatables.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First Farmers' Market in Davis Square

The first Davis Square Farmers' Market of the summer was this afternoon. There wasn't too much there yet, but I did pick up some collard greens and bok choy, and some litlle bok choys still in soil to transplant to the garden.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Crispy Roasted Chicken Wings

Deep-frying is a pain in the ass, but chicken wings are best when the skin is crispy. The solution is to rub the wings with olive oil before roasting them in the oven.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nimbu Aachar (Lemon/Lime Pickle)

Aachar is the Indian style of pickles. A good aachar is hot, sweet, salty, and sour, adding a little of every taste group to the plate, and letting each person regulate the intensity of their meal.  You can buy aachar in jars at the store, but they are thick like tar, too salty, and loaded with preservatives. So, make your own.

This aachar is made with lemons and limes. Nimbu is the Hindi word for a lemon, though they use a different variety that is a little larger than a golf ball and is often green. As a substitute, we are using lemons and limes. Instead of vingear, the fruits are pickled sugar, salt, spices, and their own juices. After sitting in the sun for a few weeks, the peels become soft, and are eaten with the thick liquid.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tea Infused Vodka

The last infused vodka used 5 or 6 ingredients and had to sit for weeks. These tea vodkas are much simpler... about as complicated as making tea.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

South Indian Egg Curry

For many people in India, eggs are the closest they get to eating meat. An egg curry can add protein to a meal and offer a change of pace from pulse and grain-based proteins. The most common version is hard boiled eggs in a masala sauce, like this egg curry. Here we have a different preparation that comes from South India - I was served it in Hyderabad and Vijaywada, both in Andhra Pradesh. The eggs are fried hard with onions and crusted with garam masala, resulting in chewy, savory, meaty nuggets.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rosemary Liqueur

Infusing flavors into alcohol seems impressive and difficult, but it is actually super easy. It works along the same principles as making tea - put something flavored in a liquid for a while, and then take it out.

I had this liqueur when my friend Tanya made it, and I had to make some of my own. Its a sweet, herbal liquor that is best served on the rocks or with seltzer. Its so good that guests will skip over high end whiskeys to get a glass!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

 While its still cold out, here's one more soup - Italian wedding. The basics of Italian wedding soups are chicken broth, meat(balls), and green vegetables. Its a hearty and healthy soup that can almost be a meal by itself.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Orange Beef

One of the first Chinese dishes I ate was crispy orange beef, and I loved it. It was the perfect mix of salty, spicy, crispy, sweet, and sour. Every time I've had it since then I've been disappointed it wasn't quite as good as that first one. This was my attempt to get as close as possible to recreate that dish.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Shred a Pepper

This style of cutting peppers is going to be used in the dish in the next post, and I wanted to explain it first. It is one way to cut a bell pepper into short, skinny pieces, that I refer to as a "shred". I use this more often for red peppers than for green peppers, because red peppers are more intensely flavored and small pieces spread the flavor around.  This goes great in salads, slaws, soups.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Quick Noodle Soup

Soup is no one's favorite food in 80 degree weather, but this preparation is left over from winter... which only ended two days ago. I'm sure there will be a few more chilly days coming through for this to be useful. The soup is made with buckwheat noodles and topped with some Teriyaki Beef. The key is, as always, homemade broth which keeps well in the fridge or freezer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ratatouille : A Guest Post from Eleanor

Seth invited me over for dinner yet again, offering to make burgers on Udi's gluten free buns. On my way to meet him I stopped by CMart, a small Chinese grocery in Boston's Chinatown and looked around for what seemed freshest. Surprisingly, I left the store with the ingredients for, ratatouille.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Asparagus Season

Its great when a vegetable or fruit is in season, because they are usually both fresh and cheap. Its now asparagus season, so you can look forward to a few months of $1.99/lb fresh aspargus.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Teriyaki Boneless Shortrib

There are two qualities that are sought after in beef, flavor and tenderness, and cuts that are high in one tend to be lower in the other. Short ribs are a part of the cow that is high in beefy flavor, but have to be prepared carefully to avoid getting tough and chewy. One way that works well is to slice it thin and cook it fast.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Homemade Lamb Sausage with Mint Fenugreek Sauce

I love the taste of lamb sausage, and I decided to make my own. I used fresh thyme as a "rope" to connect the links, and made a chutney-like sauce out of fresh mint and fenugreek.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Eat More Broccoli

There's not always a lot of time to cook, so it helps to have shortcuts. A simple homemade meal will almost always be healthier and tastier than a microwaved meal, and healthier and cheaper than takeout. One time-saver I use is to cook extra rice and broccoli when I can.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Potato Leek Soup

I wasn't originally planning on posting this, so there's only one picture. This is a delicious potato leek soup made with asparagus-mushroom broth. Normally a potato leek soup is mixed so that the potatoes give the soup some body, but I took a different approach, and it worked!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stuffed Bok Choy

I got this idea from the Ideas In Food blog, where they usually do much crazier things involving dehydrators or smokers or sous vide cookers, so I was happy to see something I could follow along with. The idea is stuff baby bok choy with sausage, and then bake it. Their approach was a little more complicated, and had an additional step of adding tomato sauce after roasting.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dinner with Eleanor

A few weeks ago, my cousin Eleanor came over for dinner, and we cooked up a nice big dinner of candied yams, collard greens, and dirty rice. All of these require some cooking time, but not a lot of preparation so its possible to prep one thing, start it cooking, and then prep the next dish, and so on.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Twice Cooked Pork

Twice cooked pork is a Chinese dish where pork belly is boiled and then sliced and fried. I like the idea of it, but in restaurants it's always too chewy. Traditionally, the pork is mixed with cabbage and/or leeks, but I used green bell peppers because that's what I felt like.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bhindi (Okra)

Some people don't like okra, but they're crazy. Many people who claim not to like okra will like it this way, cooked with Indian spices. The goo that offends some people becomes an integral part of the curry gravy. This is similar to a Nepali preparation of the dish, but I don't remember exactly what went into that (it had tomatoes, turmeric and fenugreek), so I won't claim that this is Nepali.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

9 cooking myths you probably believe (Cracked.com)

From Cracked.com: 9 cooking myths you probably believe. How many did you believe?

I would add this about searing:

If I am cooking a good steak, I will basically only sear it, and eat it rare. You can do your searing at the end to get the extra browning and flavor if you are making a roast. If I am braising/stewing/slow cooking something, I still sear it to get the flavors - the cooking juices will keep it moist, and you can't brown the meat when you're done if you're making something like pulled pork or beef stew.

Monday, January 9, 2012

MockRib Sandwich

I've always enjoyed McRibs, riblets, On-Cor boneless rib patties, and other similar pork products, but haven't been able to eat them in awhile due to gluten.  This was my first (and to-date, only) attempt to make a McRib-like sandwich that was free of gluten (and suspicious chewy bits, and organ meats).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Duck Fat Smashed Potatoes

I had some duck fat, so needed to make something before it went rancid, and I settled on fingerling potatoes, fried and smashed up.