Monthly Archives: February 2014

Adas Polo – Rice with Green Lentils, Raisins and Dates

Lentils, rice and onions, that wonderful combination.  Then add raisins and dates and it turns into a high protein, high energy meal that is also a real treat.

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I had never tasted Adas Polo before making it, but when I tasted the rice, lentil and fruit mixture, I couldn’t believe how good it was!  I honestly wanted to eat the entire bowl of rice myself!  Don’t worry, I didn’t.

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I am on the final legs of the dried dates I brought back from Iran this summer.  They are getting a bit too much on the dry side, but cooking them this way is perfect for bringing them back to life.

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I have significantly adapted this dish from Jila Dana-Haeri’s New Persian Cooking.  I used my rice cooking technique since I am always happy with the results.  I also significantly reduced the amount of oil and butter – just my preference.  I want to thank her for the recipe as a guide, I would not have made this without it.

Adas Polo – Rice with Green Lentils, Raisins and Dates

adapted from New Persian Cooking by Jila Dana-Haeri

14 oz basmati rice

5 oz green lentils

3 1/2 oz raisins

2 os dates

1 medium onion, chopped

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 tsp turmeric

4 Tbsp prepared saffron (ground saffron dissolved in 4 Tbsp hot water)

Directions

Place the rice in a bowl, cover with water and swish the rice around to remove the excess starch, then drain.  Do this 3 times. To make the rice, fill a pot with salted water.  Add the drained rinsed rice.  Bring the uncovered pot to a boil, about 20 minutes – you want to cook the rice until it still has a bit of a bite to it.  Drain into a strainer.

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RInse the raisins and place on a paper towel to dry.  Remove the stones from the dates and chop to be the size of the raisins.

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Rinse the lentils.  Put them in a medium saucepan and add just under a pint of cold water (do not add salt).  Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until the lentils are al dente (about 20 minutes).  Drain and set aside.

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Heat 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Fry the onions until golden.

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Reduce the heat and add the raisins and dates, stir.

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Add the lentils and 1 tsp turmeric.  Add salt to taste.  Stir and set aside.

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Remove about 1/4- 1/2  cup of rice to be used for the Tadig.

Stir the lentil mixture into the rice.  Mix thoroughly.

Place the pot back on medium high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp butter and 1 tsp oil. Once the butter melts add the plain white rice – sprinkling it over the bottom of the pan.

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Spoon the letil-rice mixture over the white rice (gently so as not to dislodge the white rice).

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Cover, using either a padded pot cover or clean cloth towel under the lid.

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Reduce heat to low (a relatively high low, but not quite medium low).  The the rice steam for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Scop the rice into a large bowl or plate.  Sprinkle with prepared saffron as you fluff the rice.

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Place the Tadig on a separate serving plate.

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Serve the rice and pass the Tadig…Enjoy!!!

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Serves 4 -6.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Breakfast Burritos

Ok…yum!  Breakfast for dinner again.

I have to admit that I do not like big, heavy breakfasts…ever.  But I love breakfast foods, especially for dinner.  So when I saw a breakfast burrito by Ellie Krieger, I knew it would be light but satisfying, so I adapted it for my family’s preferences.

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I love bell peppers, but my family does not, so they were omitted.  I had my pickled serrano peppers,  so I used them for the heat.

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And none of us are sour cream fans, so we skipped adding that.  I used fresh local eggs from Powers Farm; pretty, aren’t they?

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I did make two variations on the burrito.  A spicy version for the adults, and a mild, egg and cheese only for Cam.  The benefit of fewer ingredients, a very pretty, tight burrito…

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…with his ever-present cucumber slices and tomatoes.

So, come, join us for some tasty breakfast burritos for dinner.

Breakfast Burritos

Adapted from Ellie Krieger

2 tsp canola oil

1/2 small red onion, diced

1 can drained, rinsed canned low-sodium black beans

1/4 tsp chili flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 eggs and 4 egg whites (from Powers Farm)

1/3 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

Cooking spray

4 flour tortillas (preferably whole wheat)

4 pickled serrano peppers, sliced

1/4 cup salsa

1 avocado, cubed

Directions

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.  Cook the onions until softened, about 5 minutes.

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Add black beans and chili flakes and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a dish.

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Whisk together the eggs and egg whites, then stir in the cheese.  Wipe out the skillet then spray with cooking spray and reheat over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and add eggs, scrambling until cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Add 1/4 of the eggs to each tortilla.

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Add the beans, avocado, pickled serrano, and salsa.

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Roll up burrito-style, serve and enjoy!

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Serves 4.

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Categories: Breakfast, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Roasted Vegetables as the Solution to Leftovers

Tonight was a scrounging-through-the-fridge night.  What to make for dinner?  So many leftover ingredients…cabbage, brussels sprouts, roast chicken, rice, and…the treat I found in the freezer – I had cubed and frozen half of one of the butternut squash from my garden in the fall!  I had totally forgotten about it.

So, this sounded like the perfect mix for chicken and rice with roasted vegetables as the side dish.

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I used a very simple treatment for the vegetables to be roasted, a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper.  You can use many different vegetables for roasting: root vegetables, cabbage family (including broccoli and cauliflower), so see what you have on hand.

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By the way, here’s the view out the window that afternoon…

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I am very glad the mockingbird that had been chasing away all the other birds has finally decided to share again.

Roasted Vegetables

a variety of vegetables, chopped to sizes that would cook in similar times (for example, cabbage gets chunked larger than the butternut squash)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Heat the oven to 425F.

Put all the vegetable in a large bowl.  Toss with oil, salt and pepper until all are well coated.

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Spread the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet (use 2 if you have a lot of vegetables).

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Place the tray in the middle of the oven.  Cook in 15 minute intervals until the vegetables are well browned (about 45 minutes).  At each 15 minute interval, stir the vegetables.

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after about 30 minutes

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after 45 minutes

Remove from the oven and serve. Enjoy!

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Servings vary based on the amount of vegetables you make.

Categories: Butternut Squash, Kosher, Recipe | Tags: , | 5 Comments

The “Just OK” Heart Cookies

I promised to post the good the bad and the ugly.  Well, here’s a “they taste good, but I am very disappointed”…

It is our turn to bring snacks to Cam’s pre-K class.  They are supposed to relate to the letter R.  I wanted to make ROUND banana chocolate chip mini donuts, but Cam insisted we make the heart cookies from his Disney cookbook – they have RED cranberries and candy centers.

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The ended up looking pretty and tasting pretty good, but the whole process was an exercise in frustration.  First, Cam bagged on helping me shortly after finishing crushing the candies.

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The dough started out looking good when I creamed the butter and sugars…

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But was way too dry after adding all the ingredients.

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You can see the cracks in the dough before I chilled it.

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It was totally un-rollable.  I eventually added a little water and was able to roll it and cut out the hearts.

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The recipe said it would make 3 dozen cookies, I got half that many.  My cutter may have been bigger than what they used, but I don’t think so. Then, based on the recipe, there was not enough candy to fill the hearts, so I went searching throughout house for red or pink hard candies to crush, luckily, I found some.

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Without any more candy, I decided to use the remaining dough to make some little solid hearts.  That would also work well if any of the kids didn’t want the candy-filled cookies.

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In the end, it worked out and I have plenty of cookies to send to school.

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But I do not trust the recipe enough to share it here.  If you want to try it, let me know and I will send you the recipe.

Categories: Recipe | 2 Comments

Gheimeh (Persian Beef and Split Pea Stew)

Each of my Iranian sisters-in-law have the dish they are best known for.  For Nargas it is her gheimeh – a citrus-y beef stew made with split peas and topped with fried potato sticks.

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It is one of the persian dishes that has eluded me, whenever I have made it, my husband said it was wrong.  It may have tasted good, but it was not gheimeh.  Well, finally, I have Nargas’ instructions, which worked – my husband declared it “wonderful!”

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I have interpreted Nargas’ instructions as a recipe here.  I cut my potato thin, but I would even make them thinner next time – think fat matchsticks instead of thin french fries.

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My son loves that I made the potatoes, he started his evening with a plate of “french fries” while I cooked dinner.

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Gheimeh (Persian Beef and Split Pea Stew)

1 onion, chopped

1 Tbsp veg oil, plus more for frying potato

1 lb stewing beef, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 Tbsp turmeric

1 – 2 tsp cinnamon

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 cup split peas

2 – 3 dried limes

Kosher salt

1 lg potato

Lemon juice

Prepared saffron (1/2 tsp saffron threads ground with a pinch of sugar and dissolved in water)

Directions

Pierce the dried limes and place in a bowl with water.

In a dutch oven, fry the onion in 1 Tbsp vegetable oil with the turmeric until the onion is golden.

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Add the beef and brown – about 4 minutes per side.  Add the cinnamon, pepper and garlic while the beef is browning.

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Add the split peas and about 1/2 cup water.  Scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. When the water evaporates, add the tomato paste and allow it to change color.

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Add 2 cups of water and 2 or 3 dried limes.

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Simmer for  1 1/2 hours (check the water level periodically and add water if it dries out too much).  Toward the end of cooking, add the dissolved saffron.

While the  the beef cooks, cut the potato into thin strips, fry in plenty of oil.

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Drain on paper towels.

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When the stew is cooked, add salt to taste. Allow sit.  Add lemon juice.

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Serve with rice and top with the fried potatoes and enjoy!

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Serves 4-6.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe | 3 Comments

Cammy’s Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Cam has two treats planned for Valentine’s Day – chocolate raspberry sweetheart cupcakes and candy-filled heart cookies.  He started with the cupcakes…

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His inspiration for these came from the Sweetheart Cupcakes in “Cupcakes and More” cookbook he picked out at Disney World last year.  I enjoy the fact that my son, who can typically be found in the fighting stance below, begged for the princess cupcake cookbook…but he knows a good thing when he sees it, he puts his own spin on things and we have liked everything we’ve made.

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So today, instead of hearts, we cut animals in the tops of some cupcakes, but left most of the tops whole.  Since the cupcakes are made from a boxed mix, the highlight of the cupcakes is the raspberry frosting – a combination of white frosting and raspberry jam.

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Cammy’s Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

1 package chocolate cake mix, plus required ingredients (oil, local eggs, water)

1 container white frosting

3 Tbsp seedless raspberry jam

Directions

Preheat the oven to the required temperature for the cupcakes.

Place cupcake liners in 21 muffin cups.

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Prepare the cake mix according to package directions.

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Fill the cups about 2/3 full and bake according to package directions (typically about 18 minutes).  Cool completely.

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Blend the frosting and jam until smooth.

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Cut of the rounded tops of the cupcakes.  Using mini cookie or bento cutters, cut shapes in the top of the cupcakes (we used dolphins and penguins) or leave them whole.

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Spread frosting mixture generously over cupcake bottoms, mounding slightly in center.  Replace the tops, pressing gently.

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Serve and enjoy.

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Makes 21 cupcakes.

Categories: Cammy's Cooking Adventures, Dessert | 2 Comments

Brussels Sprout and Salami Grilled Cheese

Brussels sprouts, the quintessential winter veggie.  One of my favorites.

Salami, I can’t remember a time when I did not love good salami.

Grilled cheese, comfort food you can hold in your hand.

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Bring them all together, add a salad and it is a fairly quick, simple, tasty dinner.  We added a carrot-peas salad, adding some pretty color to the plate.

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This recipe is inspired by Food Network Kitchen’s Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Grilled Cheese.  For this I used Fontina for the cheese, which was good, but the sandwich really called out for a sharp cheddar.  So for the recipe below, I have converted the cheese to cheddar.  I might even try a horseradish cheddar with this, somehow that thought makes me want to get up and make this all over again.

Brussels Sprout and Salami Grilled Cheese

2 – 3 oz beef salami

6 large or 8 medium brussels sprouts, thinly sliced

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces sharp cheddar, sliced

4 slices country white bread

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Directions

In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, cook the salami until lightly browned and crisped, about 5 -7 minutes, turning once. Transfer to paper towels.

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Increase the heat under the pan to medium high, and add the olive oil if needed.  Cook the Brussels sprouts, stirring, until slightly softened and browned, about 3 – 5 minutes.

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Transfer to a bowl and toss with the salami, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste.

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Divide half the cheese between 2 bread slices.

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Top with the Brussels sprout- salami mixture.

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Top with the rest of the cheese.

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Top the two sandwiches with the other 2 slices of bread.

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Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat.  Add the sandwiches and cook, pressing occasionally with a spatula, until the bread is toasted and the cheese melts, about 4 minutes per side.

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Plate, slice and enjoy!

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Serves 2.

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Categories: Recipe, Sandwich | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Garlic & Sun-dried Tomato Pickle

One of the many things Jews and Persians have in common is a love for pickles.  Not just cucumber pickles, but pickled vegetables of any sort.  This recipe celebrates both our pickling heritages and the garlic and tomatoes grown in my garden earlier in the year…

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The recipe comes from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia, torsh-e sir. It is a real treat! If you are interested in buying her cookbook, click here.

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The recipe, as written, is for 1 bulb of garlic, but it can be multiplied for however many bulbs you want to pickle. I will have to restrain myself from making these pickles with all the rest of my garlic.

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Garlic & Sun-dried Tomato Pickle

 from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia

1 head garlic, separated into cloves (from the garden)

1 or 2 dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, torn

1/2 tsp organic cane sugar

1 Tbsp honey

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Red wine vinegar, to cover

Directions

Prepare a bowl of ice water and bring a small saucepan of water to boil.  Drop the garlic into the boiling water and boil for 2 minutes.  Drain and immediately immerse into the ice water.

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When cool, pull off hte skins.  Sloce off any brown or broken spots, and place the garlic in a clean glass jar.

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Add the sun-dried tomatoes for the garlic, followed by the sugar, honey, and Kosher salt.

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Add vinegar to cover, seal and shake to dissolve the sugar, honey and salt.

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Store in the refrigerator.  The pickles are tasty within a few days, but will be really flavorful in 2 weeks.  When serving, remove portions with a clean spoon.

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The pickles will last for about 6 months in the refrigerator and acquire a more intense flavor with time.

Makes 1 cup.

Categories: Kosher, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Broccoli Pesto Pizza

Growing basil indoors in the winter gives me fresh basil to use to make pesto.  There is no denying that I would like this dish even better in the summer and fall when I have my own broccoli and tomatoes to use, but since I love my tender little basil leaves, I will post it now.

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This isn’t your mother’s pesto pizza, it is Broccoli Pesto Pizza.  I have adapted a recipe by Ellie Krieger in Food Network Magazine to better fit my family’s tastes…fresh mozzarella (not goat cheese) and adding garlic to the pesto.  I think next time I will add some sun-dried tomatoes on top as well – my husband and I looked at each other as we ate it and both thought that sun-dried tomatoes would be a perfect addition.

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It is a feel-good dinner.  It’s pizza, and who doesn’t love pizza?  But it is also incredibly healthy.  So, enjoy!!!

Broccoli Pesto Pizza

adapted from Food Network Magazine (Ellie Krieger)

2 cups cooked chopped broccoli (ok to use frozen)

2 cloves garlic, chopped (from the garden)

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan

1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves (kitchen grown)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp cornmeal

3/4 lb store-bought pizza dough (whole wheat is preferable), at room temperature

Cooking spray

4 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped

1 large tomato, thinly sliced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions

Preheat the oven to 475F.

If using frozen broccoli, thaw according to package directions.

In a food processor, add the broccoli, garlic, 1/3 cup parmesan, 2/3 cup basil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  While the processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil.  Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

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Spray a pizza pan or baking sheet with cooking spray, sprinkle with cornmeal.  Place the pizza dough in the center of the pan and use a rolling pin or your hands (I used my hands and it worked great) to stretch the dough into a 12-14 inch circle.

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Spread the broccoli pesto over the dough, leaving a border for the crust.

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Scatter the cheese on top of the pesto.

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Arrange the tomato slices on top.

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Bake until the cheese and tomatoes are softened and the crust is golden brown, 12 – 14 minutes. Garnish with remaining parmesan, basil and the red pepper flakes.

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Slice into 8 wedges and enjoy!

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Serves 4.

Categories: Broccoli, Kosher, Main Dish, Pesto, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | 2 Comments

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