Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rasananda's Samosas

This recipe is from 'Cooking with the Dead' by Elizabeth Zippern. How can you not love the cover of that book? Or how it contains "Over 65 fabulous, kynd, and caring vegetarian recipes prepared with love"? I love lots, I love lot food, and every time I even hold this book, I am in love.

In the book (page 4) it quotes on fan as saying "When you think of Samosas, you think of Rasananda, and when you think of Rasananda, you think of Samosas." This is his recipe.

Rasananda's Samosas:

2 cups white &/or whole-wheat flour
Water ~ 1/2 - 1 cup (or enough to make dough)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 ghee (Note ~ I just use butter)
*Ghee is butter which has had its protein solids cooked off. To make this, cook butter for a few hours over low heat & scrape off the solids which form on the surface after cooking. To further separate the solids from the ghee, strain over a paper towel. Ghee can also be purchased in a Co-op, health food store, or Indian market*

2 cups potatoes
1 cup cauliflower
1 cup peas
1/2 cup tomatoes
1 tsp or more to taste of cumin, coriander, turmeric, curry, & chili powder

~Steam or boil the cauliflower and potatoes and then drain. Saute them in oil with cumin, coriander, turmeric, curry, and chili powder. Add the tomatoes and peas. Mix well and continue to saute until thick enough to stuff into the dough as a filling. When finished, take off heat, mix, and let cool.

~ Mix the flour & salt with the ghee and add water to make a dough. Make equal golf-ball sized balls out of the dough and then roll flat with a rolling pin. Stuff the stuffing inside, then close tightly like a turnover for frying. Fry in oil combined with a few more teaspoons of ghee. Flip occasionally and fry until a light brown.
* Note ~ I bake mine. I find this much easier, personally speaking, and like staying away from the extra oil. I line them on a cooking sheet and bake at 325 for approx. 20 - 30 minutes, till they are nice and brown. We then serve them with sour cream on the side. Yummy!

~The filling, in the pot, cooling down~

~The dough, looking deceptively dry in this photo~

~The filling in the dough, ready to be folded over. I am notoriously bad at starting with good, small amounts of dough that yield beautiful Samosas and them making them consecutively bigger until I have Hot Pocket sized Samosas. It's a problem, I need counseling &/or therapy.~

~Hot Pocket sized Samosas, brushed with butter, and ready for the oven~

They might not be 100% true to Rasananda's, I've never actually had his, I bake mine and I used butter instead of Ghee. But they are made with love, and they are yummy. And every time I eat them I feel them healing me. It is wonderful and beautiful. Try them sometime.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Homebrewed Pancakes

A while ago a friend of mine posted a very intriguing blog. -- Pancakes with beer?!? Bailie's boyfriend Kevin is a homebrewer like us. Beer snobs we all are. I HAD to try this.
The very next Thursday I made them. We've found that Shannon seems to do better with his drum lessons on Thursday evenings (or at least he did once) if he's eaten breakfast food for dinner. So, a new family tradition has been born.

~The batter in one of my favorite vintage Pyrex bowls, and 3 pancakes cooking in my cast-iron skillet - ahh, life is good~

Here is the recipe, based on a Buttermilk Pancake recipe from my Grandmother's Better Homes & Garden's New Cookbook, 8th Edition (1968, I believe).

Beer Pancakes:

1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup beer - warmed (or else it will cause the butter to congeal)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

~Sift together the dry ingredients. Combine the egg, beer, and butter; add to the dry ingredients just till flour is moistened. (Batter will be lumpy)
~Bake on a hot griddle or skillet. Makes about 12 dollar-size or eight 4-inch pancakes. I always double the recipe.

~The VERY delicious result!! These babies didn't last long on the plate!~

The Result:
Oh my, these were GOOD!! For the beer I used some of our Ruby's Deep Winter Stout, hence the pancakes darker color. I also believe in letting my pancakes brown a little bit on each side. Call it an Anti-IHOP & Denny's thing. (IHOP & Denny's suck by the way!!)
For those who may be worried about beer in food that is being served to kids, fear not. The alcohol cooks out of them, leaving only the flavor of the beer itself. If you're still worried that the time on the skillet isn't long enough to cook any alcohol out, put the pancakes on a plate and set them in your oven. Turn the oven to low bake and let them bake for 5-10 minutes. They'll still be delicious (my mother has always kept food warm like this till dinner was ready) and you can definitely rest assured.
For different flavors, try different beers. Bailie (& Kevin) used Sam Adam's Coastal Wheat with a touch of brown sugar to help sweeten it. Experiment and enjoy. You will seriously put IHOP to shame!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Help, ideas Needed!! & There's a Reward!

We try to eat pretty darn healthy. We try to eat real food, slow food, traditional food. But, let's be honest ... some nights we revert to take-out/fast food. *head hung in shame*

SOME nights are just THOSE nights. When you've had one of THOSE days. When doing anything much more than popping something into something else to cook is just too much. We all have those nights (and those days), so let's be honest about it. --- In our world, especially when we're still transitioning from boxed & processed to real & slow, we need some dishes that can become real "fast food." Real THOSE nights food. -- We also need a better name for that .... what are your ideas??

Usually, this is where my love of leftovers comes in. Often I'll make things in big batches (I've been a little lax lately - head hung in shame again), just to freeze part for a later meal. My Mattar Paneer is my standby for this type of stuff. Lucky for me at least, I love it and can always eat it.

Here's where I need your help though. I need some ideas on other dishes that are good to pre-start/make-up ahead of time and freeze for later. Something that is as easy to prep as tossing it in the microwave or oven. Something for when I'm too drained, I'm gripping onto the kitchen counter and hanging on for dear life, trying not to snap and kill all in a 25 miles radius like a Atomic Mama Bomb.

I wanna hear your ideas. Comment on this, leave recipes or link to recipes. I'll review them (hey look, a goal!), I'll even remember to post photos!!

And there is a REWARD: The one I end up liking the best, I'll send you a little sumthin'-sumthin' filled with homemade love. --- Ok, that sounds wrong and naughty. But hopefully you'll like it. ... and yes, I know that didn't sound any better.
AND - the person who comes up with the best name to replace 'Real THOSE nights food' will win a little sumthin' sumthin' too. If the same person wins, then they'll get a bigger sumthin' sumthin'.

Deadline???? Hmm .. let's say the deadline for this is one month from now, April 10th.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Best Fridge

If you follow my main blog, you'll know by now we're looking at hopefully renovating the kitchen. We have a great kitchen already, but it needs to work better for us. But this blog today isn't about the kitchen itself. It is about the fridge.

This is a picture of our current fridge, a picture I took today. The fridge is too small for our needs, has some minor other issues, hence we need a new fridge. But I realized something as I was looking at the fridge today. Something that made me stop, instantly take a photo (hence the cell phone pic, sorry) and post this.
This is the BEST our fridge will EVER look. I know that sounds silly. But it is true.
Right now, as you can clearly see, our fridge is old. It is covered in alphabet magnets, farm magnets, construction paper cut-out creations, photos of the kids, my favorite photo of our nephew Gabe, a dry erase board, coupons, and so on. And it is the best it will ever be.
I simply HAD to capture this moment. If I didn't, I would regret it forever. This fridge, as it is today, is something that makes me want to cry.
Right now our children are still tiny and young. That is what makes this fridge so fantastic, so perfect.
One day, before we know it, the alphabet letters will be long gone & construction paper creations, colorings, and art projects will likely not handed to us with great pride to be displayed on the fridge. Right now they are.
Right now, the fridge is beautiful and perfect.

And .. when we get a new fridge, it too will get happily covered in the same things. Our new one will almost certainly be a stainless steel fridge, ones notorious for finger print smudges. And I will love those too. I will not try to erase them as quickly as they appear. They will make the new fridge all the better instead.