Yotam Ottolenghi's Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

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eggplant  polenta

This is my favorite dish of the summer. I made it many times once corn season started. Yesterday I found some beautiful corn at the farmer’s market so last night I made the just sweet corn polenta as a side dish. My Aunt Sylvia loved it so much she had three servings! I’m sorry that it’s the tail end of the corn season here in the Northeast. I like this recipe so much, I plan to try it with frozen corn. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I am not a fan of pre-made polenta, especially the kind that comes in a tube. I’m also not a fan of making it from corn meal. This polenta recipe definitely takes more time that either of the aforementioned preparations, but it’s well worth the effort. Promise.

The recipe calls for frying the eggplant. The first time I made the recipe, I used 2/3 cup of vegetable oil, as specified. The next time I made it, I cut that in half and the eggplant cooked perfectly. I might actually try to bake the eggplant next time to see how that turns out.

One night I didn’t have any fresh oregano, so I used dried and the sauce was still delicious.

Would the boys try this? Nope.

This is going to be close to the top of my go-to summer recipe list.


Yotam Ottolenghi’s Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi via Food52

Eggplant Sauce

2/3 cups vegetable oil (I used 1/3 cup and it worked fine)
1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned)
6 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped oregano

Heat the oil in a large saucepan (wait until the oil is hot) and fry the eggplant on medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until nicely brown. Drain off as much oil as you can and discard it — the safest way to do this is to scoop out the eggplant to a plate using a slotted spoon, then pour off the oil into a bowl before added the eggplant back in.

Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir with the eggplant. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes to get a deep-flavored sauce. Set aside; warm it up when needed.


Polenta

6 ears of corn
2 1/4 cups water
3 tablespoons butter, diced
7 ounces feta, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper

Remove the leaves and “silk” from each ear of corn, then chop off the pointed top and stalk. Use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels. You want to have approximately 1 1/4 pounds kernels.

Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and barely cover them with the water. Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Use a slotted spoon to lift the kernels from the water and into a food processor; reserve the cooking liquid.

Process the corn for quite a few minutes, to break as much of the kernel case as possible. Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes too dry to process. I have never needed to add any of the cooking liquid.

Return the corn paste to the pan and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to mashed potato consistency.

Fold in the butter, the feta, salt and some pepper and optionally cook for a further 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Yield: 4 servings


One year ago:
Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes
Two years ago: Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna
Three years ago: Grilled Pork Chops with Garlic Lime Sauce
Four years ago: Mini Maple Pancake Muffins
Five years ago: Mar-A-Lago Turkey Burgers
Six years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Cake

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Rosemary Butter Cookies

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Rosemary cookies

These rosemary butter cookies are delicious. They are delicate, buttery and the rosemary flavor is definitely there, but it’s subtle. They’re not too sweet, but just sweet enough. The cookies crumble in your mouth like a good, buttery shortbread. I tried these cookies for the first time this summer at a neighbor’s house and I fell in love with them. My lovely neighbor subsequently gave me the Martha Stewart Cookie cookbook where this recipe can be found. I have to say, we have the best neighbors in the whole world; we couldn’t have moved onto a better street. They’re social, they’re fun and you immediately get the feeling that if you ever needed anything, they’d be there for you.

This recipe calls for rolling the dough into logs and putting them into paper towel rolls. I didn’t have any empty paper towel rolls kicking around, so I rolled the dough in parchment, then wrapped it in a Slipat mat and put rubber bands around it to keep it tightly wrapped. That seemed to work just fine. Don’t skimp on freezing the dough for an hour. They are much easier to cut when frozen.

These cookies would make a great addition to a cookie swap.  They’re also great as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea.

Only one of our boys would try these cookies and he LOVED them. The rest were put off by the green flecks. Wouldn’t you figure that after 12 years, they’d get over their fear of green stuff in/on their food?

 

Rosemary Butter Cookies
Recipe from Martha Stweart

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg white, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup fine sanding sugar

Cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in whole egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour, rosemary, and salt, and mix until combined.

Halve dough; shape each half into a log. Place each log on a 12-by-16-inch sheet of parchment. Roll in parchment to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log. Transfer to paper-towel tubes to hold shape, and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375. Brush each log with egg white; roll in sanding sugar. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake until edges are golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Yield: ~60 cookies

One year ago: Grilled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Basil and Feta
Two years ago: Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Three years ago: Cream Cheese and Wild Blueberry Pound Cake
Four years ago: Summer Corn Chowder with Scallions, Bacon and Potatoes
Five years ago: Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts
Six years ago: Grilled Salmon with Sweet Corn, Tomato and Avocado Relish

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French Chocolate Macarons

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Chocolate Macarons

I love looking at macarons in bakeries.  Aren’t they pretty?  They’re typically lined up by color and one looks more perfect than the next.

I have made these numerous times. These cookies are delicious and they impress guests when they’re served. Please don’t confuse macarons with macaroons. Macarons are light cookies made with egg whites and almond meal. They are typically served as sandwich cookies with a filling in them. Macaroons are cookies that are like small circular cakes often made with coconut.

I didn’t find these cookies difficult to make, but take a tip from me. If you want to serve them at a particular time, don’t decide to start them two hours prior to serving. Numerous steps are involved in these cookies, and the filling needs time to cool before you use it. Do yourself a favor and unlike me, start these cookies in the morning of the day that you want to serve them (assuming that you’re serving them in the evening.) You don’t want the tops sliding off the cookies like mine did as I transported them to a meeting. As they cool, the filling will set and the tops will stay put.

You need a pastry bag to make these cookies. If you don’t have one, you can put the batter in a ziploc bag and cut the corner off. You won’t have the control that you do with a pastry bag, but it should work for you.


French Chocolate Macarons

Recipe from DavidLebovitz.com where the recipe was adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovits

Macaron Batter

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup powdered almonds (about 2 ounces, 50 gr, sliced almonds, pulverized)
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons granulated sugar


Chocolate Filling

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch) ready.

Grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and cocoa so there are no lumps; use a blender or food processor since almond meal that you buy isn’t quite fine enough.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.

Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).

Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.

Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons, then bake them for 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.

To make the chocolate filling:

Heat the cream in a small saucepan with the corn syrup. When the cream just begins to boil at the edges, remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth. Stir in the pieces of butter. Let cool completely before using.

Yield: 15 – 25 sandwich cookies, depending upon how big you make the cookies

One year ago: Classic Potato Salad with Peas
Two years ago: Chocolate Fudge Zucchini Cookies
Three years ago: Honey Cornbread Muffins
Four years ago: Pork Chops with Peach-Ginger Chutney
Five years ago: Blueberry Crumb Bars
Six years ago: Decadent Brownie Tart

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Shrimp and Grits

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shrimp with grits

This is a really quick and easy weeknight meal, and if you’re a fan of both shrimp and cheesy grits, this is the recipe for you! I bought a big bag of grits from Trader Joe’s a while ago and wasn’t sure what to do with them until I found this recipe.

According to the Houston Press, “Shrimp grits started out as a seasonal fisherman’s dish of shrimp cooked in bacon grease served over creamy grits in the Low Country where they were also known as “breakfast shrimp.” The simple seafood breakfast became an iconic Southern dish after Craig Claiborne wrote about it in the New York Times in 1985.”

I buy my shrimp at Costco. The shrimp come frozen in a bag in their freezer section. I almost always buy frozen shrimp. I like to keep a bag in my freezer for quick meals like this. Most all shrimp that you see in a supermarket fish case or fish market has been previously frozen, so I don’t mind buying it frozen from the get-go. You almost never see fresh shrimp for sale, or at least we don’t in NY.

Shrimp and Grits
Recipe from Serious Eats

4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup stone-ground grits
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
32 medium shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
5 scallions, white and light green parts finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
5 oz. baby spinach (about 2 loosely packed cups)

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt, then grits and cook, stirring frequently, until thick, about 25-30 minutes.  Follow your package instructions for precise cooking time.  Stir in cheese. Keep warm.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, add to pan, and saute until cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Whisk flour into pan and cook, stirring constantly, until pale golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in chicken broth, garlic, scallions, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp and spinach to pan and cook until spinach is wilted.

Place grits on every plate and top with shrimp, spinach, and sauce.

Yield:  4 servings

One year ago: Lemon Ricotta Waffles
Two years ago: Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin
Three years ago: Neiman Marcus Chicken Salad
Four years ago:  Pepper Jack, Chicken and Peach Quesadillas
Five years ago: Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
Six years ago: Grilled Tuna with Herbed Aioli

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Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies

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Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies

Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies

I’m back!

I know that I haven’t posted for a while. Things have been busy for the past couple of months. Great, but busy.  We bought and moved into a new house. We’re really excited about it. Even though we don’t have a lot of furniture yet, it truly feels like home. I LOVE my new kitchen. It’s the biggest one I’ve ever had, which isn’t hard when the only kitchens you’ve ever had have been in NYC apartments. Although my husband doesn’t have his good camera here, I hope to be back to posting more regularly now, even if the photos are taken with his iPhone.

This is one of my favorite brownie recipes.  I have made them many times.  They’re great to bring to or serve at a party. They are quite rich, so I like to cut into small squares, which end up looking really pretty on a serving tray. The original recipe calls for butterscotch chips, but I have made them with white chocolate chips also, for those who don’t like butterscotch. I prefer the butterscotch version, but both are delicious.

These brownies are cooked in a 9×13 pan, so when cut into small pieces, you can get about 50 brownies out of the recipe. They really are rich, so trust me, they’re fine being cut into small squares.   Wait until the glaze is firm before cutting them.  If you want to speed up this process, put the pan in the refrigerator.  The glaze will then harden quickly.  The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate chips. If you don’t have any, you can easily substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips.

 

Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies
Recipe from Taste of Home

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter, cubed
2 cups sugar
3 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate baking chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

GLAZE:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter, cubed

In a microwave, melt unsweetened chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine sugar and chocolate mixture. Stir in egg whites and vanilla. Gradually add flour to chocolate mixture. Stir in chips.

Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool on a wire rack.
For glaze, in a microwave, melt chips and butter; stir until smooth. Immediately spread over brownies. Cool until the glaze is firm before cutting. Cut into small pieces, roughly 1.5″ square.


Yield: about 5 dozen


One year ago:
Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice
Two years ago: Quinoa Cakes
Three years ago: Two-Bite Chocolate Chunk Muffins
Four years ago: Fresh Strawberry Muffins
Five years ago: Curried Chicken Salad
Six years ago: Spinach and Bacon Quiche

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Spring Root Vegetable Casserole

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Veggie Casserole

My friend Becky uses a service called Blue Apron. Once a week they send a box of fresh ingredients accompanied by three detailed recipes. She loves it. She received the opportunity to give free meals to friends, so she gave me a free week to try. This is one of the Blue Apron recipes that I made. They always send you the exact amount of ingredients needed. I love the fact that there’s no waste. I also like that they send ingredients that I might not try on my own. A good example of that is the kohlrabi used in this recipe. Before trying this recipe, I don’t know that I would have ever bought a kohlrabi, but I will now when I make this recipe again.

Ok, so what is a kohlrabi, and what are spring onions? A kohlrabi is a vegetable that is shaped like a turnip but has a taste and consistency much like a cross between cabbage and broccoli stems. It’s actually a German word that means “cabbage turnip”. When you cook with it, you typically peel off the outer layer of skin using a vegetable peeler. On to spring onions – these look similar to scallions, with a long green top, but they have a little, round, white onion at the bottom. In the Northeast, they’re typically found at farmer’s markets during the months of May and June. They’re both great seasonal ingredients and were perfect in this casserole.

 

Spring Root Vegetable Casserole
Recipe adapted slightly from Blue Apron

6 ounces English peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 spring onions
1 small bunch lemon thyme (~6 sprigs or to taste)
1 kohlrabi, medium diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and medium diced
5 ounces egg noodles
1 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat 2 medium pots of salted water to boiling on high. Shell the peas. Remove and discard the root of the spring onions. Thinly slice the spring onions, separating the green tops and white bottoms. Pick the thyme leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the thyme.

Once the water is boiling, add the kohlrabi and sweet potato to the 1st pot of boiling water and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

While the vegetables cook, and once the 2nd pot of water is boiling, add the egg noodles and cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain thoroughly; set aside. Wipe out the pot.

While the vegetables continue to cook, in the same pot used to cook the noodles, make the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter on medium. Add the flour, garlic and white parts of the spring onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the flour is golden and the onion is slightly softened. Stir in the milk and half the Parmesan cheese; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat.

To the béchamel sauce, add the shelled peas, cooked vegetables, cooked noodles, 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and all but a pinch of both the lemon thyme and green parts of the spring onion (save the rest for garnish). Stir to combine. (If the mixture seems too thick, add up to an additional 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water.)

Transfer the vegetable-pasta mixture to a medium baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese and sprinkle evenly over the casserole. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until bubbly and browned. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving. Prior to serving, garnish with the remaining lemon thyme and green parts of the spring onion.

Yield: 2 servings

One year ago: Gail’s Rolled Sugar Cookies with Piped Icing
Two years ago: Avocado-Mango Salad
Three years ago: Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Four years ago: Curried Carrot Soup
Five years ago: Butterscotch Blondies
Six years ago: Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies

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Chock-Full-of-Chips Drops

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cookies

These cookies are delicious. They’re stuffed with oatmeal, chocolate chips, white chips and M&Ms. They’re a like a loaded oatmeal cookie with an excellent chip to cookie ratio. The boys loved them. One cookie after a meal will satisfy any sweet-tooth.

 

Chock-Full-of-Chips Drops
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup wheat cereal flakes
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup miniature candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
1/2 cup white baking pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine flour, oats, wheat flakes, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a very large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Mix in the flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the semisweet chocolate pieces, miniature candy-coated chocolate pieces, and white baking pieces.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons, or using a small ice cream scoop, 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are golden. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks; cool.

Yield: ~2 dozen cookies

One year ago:
Provençal Cherry Tomato Gratin
Two years ago: Black Bean and Pepper Jack Burgers
Three years ago: Strawberry-Orange-Vanilla Smoothie
Four years ago: Shortbread Cookies
Five years ago: Sweet Potato Bread
Six years ago: Asian Salmon Burgers

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Brigadeiros (Brazilian Fudge Balls)

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brigadeiros

I have had my eye on this recipe for a while now and I decided to make it when I found real chocolate sprinkles (or jimmies as I used to call them when I lived in Boston). Most of the chocolate sprinkles you find in places like supermarkets are made of wax and food coloring. I’m not sure they have any real chocolate in them. If you want real chocolate in your sprinkles, look for chocolate vermicelli. I found mine on Amazon.

These fudge balls are currently one of my favorite desserts. I’m a sucker for chocolate sprinkles (the real ones) and these little balls remind me more of a chocolate caramel than traditional fudge. They are incredibly delicious, but a little dangerous too because it’s hard to eat just one.

When you make these, plan to stay right next to the stove for at least 20 minutes. This is a very hands-on recipe. Once you start to cook the ingredients, you need to stir the fudgy mixture for at least sixteen minutes, until it gets quite thick. If you leave the stove, the chocolate at the bottom of the pan will burn.

Store these fudge balls in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them. They’re best chilled. Did the boys like these?  You bet.

 

Brigadeiros (Brazilian Fudge Balls)
Recipe from Saveur.com

4 Tablespoons salted butter
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup chocolate sprinkles

Bring butter, cream, and milk to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add chocolate and sifted cocoa powder, and reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is the consistency of a dense, fudgy batter, about 16 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; let cool. Chill until set, at least 4 hours.

Using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, portion out fudge and roll into balls. Roll each ball in chocolate sprinkles until evenly coated. Chill until ready to serve.

Yield: About 24, but this depends upon what size you make them

One year ago: Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon
Two years ago: Peanut Butter Cup Blondies
Three years ago: Caramels
Four years ago: Yucatan Pork Tenderloin
Five years ago: Carole’s Country Style Spareribs
Six years ago: Buttermilk Bran Muffins

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Spinach and Chickpea Curry

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spinach chickpea

This side-dish is easy to throw together and it’s packed with flavor. Using canned chickpeas and canned (or boxed) diced-tomatoes really speeds up the process. We ate this one night as a side dish, and another night on brown rice as a vegetarian main course. This dish has an Indian flair, and it makes your kitchen (or your whole apartment in my case) smell great while it’s cooking. If you live in a house with an exhaust fan that vents to the outside, you’ll be in good shape because you’ll smell the curry while it’s cooking, but the smell will soon dissipate. In the case of NYC apartments, you might smell the curry for a couple of days. This is not one of my favorite features of NY apartments. We burn a lot of candles here.

If you like Indian food, it’s worth investing in some garam masala, which is a standard ingredient in many Indian dishes. If you invest in some (it’s actually not that expensive), you can use it in these recipes: Shrimp with Spiced Masala and Coconut Milk, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Caramelized Spiced Nuts.

This recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. If you like dishes with a little kick, you can up this to 1/4 teaspoon, or even 1/2 teaspoon, depending upon how spicy you like things.

The boys wouldn’t go near this with a 10-foot pole.

 

Spinach and Chickpea Curry
Recipe from FineCooking.com

3 Tbs. canola oil
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbs. curry powder
1 tsp. garam masala
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes
Kosher salt
7 oz. (7 packed cups) baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, and cayenne, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas, tomatoes, and 1-1/4 tsp. salt. Add the spinach by the handful, stirring to wilt it as you go. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the spinach is completely wilted and the flavors have melded, 4 to 5 minutes more. Season to taste with more salt. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Spoon onto a platter, and serve with yogurt as an optional topping.

Yield: 4 servings

Two years ago: Curried Lentil Stew with Potatoes
Three years ago: Pink Grapefruit Sorbet
Four years ago: Tortillitas with Shrimp
Five years ago: Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas
Six years ago: Basil Parmesan Chicken Salad

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Double Chocolate Banana Bread

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chocolate banana bread

I always have a couple of overripe bananas in my freezer. I keep them for times when I want to make a banana bread or a smoothie. It’s tough to buy a banana that’s perfect for cooking. I find it takes a couple of days of sitting on a kitchen counter to get to the stage where it’s perfect for a recipe.

I used three of my overripe frozen bananas for this decadent chocolate banana bread. If you love chocolate, this recipe is for you. My boys don’t like bananas, but they all loved this bread because it tastes a lot more like chocolate than it does bananas.   One of my sons actually thought it could have been a little less chocolatey, but he still liked it.  All you need is a small piece of this bread to satisfy any chocolate craving you might have. A slice is perfect with a milk chaser.

 

Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

3 medium-to-large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan or coat it with cooking spray.

Mash bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. (You should have slightly over a cup of mashed bananas.) Whisk in melted butter, then brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Place baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder in a sifter or fine-mesh strainer and sift over wet ingredients. Stir dry and wet ingredients with a spoon until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks or chips.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 55 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter-free. Cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert it out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 1 loaf

One year ago: Salted Chocolate Caramels
Two years ago: Monkey Bread Muffins
Three years ago: Baja-Style Fish Hand Pies
Four years ago:  Chicken, Ham and Swiss Roulades
Five years ago: Sweet-n-Sour Pork Chops
Six years ago: Sweet Corn Muffins

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