March 27, 2013

vegetarian kofta masala

2013.03_vegetarian kofta masala
I had been halfheartedly wondering how my favorite Indian restaurant made their vegetarian kofta masala, but I didn't bother figuring it out.  I mean seriously, "veggie balls in sauce" is a pretty nondescript thing to look up on the internet.  But when I was looking for inspiration during the snow storm this past weekend, I decided that I would give Bon Appetit's masala sauce recipe a try.

I am glad I did because the masala sauce was pretty spot on.  The kofta balls are not too similar to the restaurant version but they taste good.  Plus they are probably healthier because they include veggies and they are baked instead of fried.  My only complaint is that the whole meal is a little time intensive, but I am sure it can work as a prepare-the-night-before kind of thing.

2013.03_vegetarian kofta
Kofta Ingredients:
2 large russet potatoes
3 carrots
1 c. peas
1/4 c. paneer or ricotta
1/4 c. chopped cashews
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. ground corriander
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. cardamom powder
1/2 t. red pepper flakes

Masala Ingredients:
8 cloves garlic, minced
4 t. ginger, finely grated
2 t. turmeric powder
2 t. garam masala
2 t. ground coriander
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. salt
vegetable oil
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 8-oz. can of tomato paste
6 cardamom pods, crushed
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. water

Served on basmati rice and top with cilantro.

Preheat oven to 450.  Roughly chop the potatoes and carrots.  Boil until tender.  Drain.  Mix together all of the kofta ingredients and mash.  Form balls and place them on an oiled baking sheet.  Place on the top rack and back for 10 minutes.  Flip the balls and bake another 8-10 minutes.

Mix the garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, and salt.  Cook the onion, tomato paste, cardamom pods, and red pepper flakes.  with vegetable oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft.  Add the prepared spice mixture and cook for another 5 minutes.  Pull out the cardamom pods.  Add the can of whole peeled tomatoes.  Be sure to crush the whole tomatoes with your hands as you add them.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the heavy cream and water.  Simmer another 10 minutes.

March 25, 2013

if this then that

The webtool "if this then that" is not new, but it is my new favorite tool for finding free stuff on craigslist. Instead of scanning the free section of Craigslist every day or so, I create "recipes" to get email alerts when something of interest gets posted on Craigslist; in my case, insulation, mulch, straw, or manure. Just today, I picked up some free horse manure and had some wood chips dropped off for free.

March 24, 2013

go team cocopeat

We got three more loads of cocopeat the other day. Go team Wheat Ridge!  

plum galette

2013.03_plum galette
I was hoping to spend this weekend outside gardening but we had a snow storm instead.   Plan B included making a version of the Raspberry-Hazelnut Galette from Bon Appetit (variations due to snow storm pantry limitations). I would absolutely make a galette again even though I swore a bunch while rolling out the crumbly dough.  The final outcome is like a nutty, grown-up Pop-Tart.

1 1/4 c. unbleached white flour
3/4 c. fancy mixed nuts (no peanuts) roasted/ salted
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. salted butter, chilled
1/4 c. sugar
2 egg yolks
1 c. homemade plum jam
some of the leftover egg white
raw sugar or regular sugar and brown sugar

Use a food processor to blend the nuts, salt, and flour.  Set the mixture aside.  Cut the butter into 1/2" chunks.  Food process the butter and sugar.  Add the egg yolks and pulse to combine.  Add the nut and flour mixture back in and pulse to combine.  Force the crumbly mess into a ball, press the ball into a disk, wrap the disk in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Pull the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle parchment paper with flour.  Attempt to roll out your crumbly dough disk into a 14" circle without swearing.  I tacked the seams together a few times.  Next spread the jam around leaving 1 1/2" at the edges.  Brush egg white over the 1 1/2" of exposed dough.  Use the parchment paper to flip the exposed dough over the jam.  Press together any cracked edges to keep jam from oozing out.  Brush the newly formed crust with egg white and sprinkle it with sugar.  Slide the parchment onto a baking stone and bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Let cool before serving.

March 23, 2013

green chile and goat cheese quiche

2013.03_green chile and goat cheese quiche
Green chile and goat cheese is such a perfect combo!  I sometimes forget.  Luckily I have Eric around to remind me.  He ordered a pizza this week with green chiles and goat cheese on it and at the time I was like "really?" but he was right.  And then I got obsessed so I made this quiche.  Tomorrow we'll be having soft tacos filled with black beans, green chiles and goat cheese.  Good thing our freezer still contains many green chiles from the summer.

Crust Ingredients:
1 3/4 c. flour (223 g)
3/4 t. salt
1/2 c. canola oil
1/4 c. cold water

Filling Ingredients:
5 eggs
1/2 c. almond milk
3/4 c. green chiles, roasted, skinned, seeded
3 oz. chevre goat cheese
1/4 onion, diced, carmelized
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Mix up the crust ingredients.  Spread the dough out in a cast iron skillet or pie pan to form a crust.  Mix the filling ingredients and pour it over the crust.  Bake at 375 for 50 minutes.

March 13, 2013

johnny rye ale (with caraway)

2013.03 caraway rye ale
We started our next batch of homebrew! Here is the recipe:

Johnny Rye Ale with Caraway
Ingredients for 5 gallons – Extract with Specialty Grains
7 lbs amber malt extract
1/2 lb 60L crystal malt
1/2 lb rye
1/2 lb flaked barley
1/2 oz Northern brewer hops 45min
1/2 oz Northern brewer hops 30min
1/2 oz Summit hops 15 min
1/2 oz Summit hops 5 min
2 T. caraway seeds, crushed and toasted
I used liquid Irish ale yeast, but just about any ale yeast should be fine.
Additional caraway infused in vodka to be added to taste at bottling

Recipe adapted from Hounddog 

Caraway is not a typical brewing ingredient, but I am just so excited about including it in a rye beer. It makes perfect sense.

The nice thing about brewing when there's snow on the ground is you can use it to chill your wort! It's not any faster than the ice and sink method, but it means you don't have to make or buy ice.
2013.03_snowpile wort chilling

tofu misozuke pt. 2

2013.03_tofu misozuke 2
Six months ago we made tofu misozuke (miso-cured tofu), a magical transformation of tofu into a crumbly cheese-like spread. This time we tried adding red pepper flakes to the miso paste, which added a subtle spiciness to the final product. We also improved the process by being diligent about changing paper towels every day and checking on it often (since we got some mold last time). It was done in about two weeks.

Still wrapped in cheesecloth and miso/sugar/sake paste:
2013.03_tofu misozuke 3

2013.03_tofu misozuke 1

March 10, 2013

growing tea indoors

2013.03_tea plant
Julie got me a tea plant for my birthday! I've wanted to try growing tea for a long time.

Here's the key points to remember when growing tea indoors (I think):
  • Camellia sinensis var. sinensis is more cold-hardy than var. assamica
  • acidic, well draining potting mix
  • half-day or partial sun
  • prefer a humid environment (misting or pebble tray)
  • prefer a cool winter temperature (35ºF – 60ºF) –the cold encourages bud formation
(Sources: ehow and camforest)
Julie ordered the plant from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The "Small Leaf Tea" variety is their most cold-hardy offering (Zone 6b). The plant shipped with enough soil to fill the pot, so that is taken care of. We put sheet moss on top of the soil to help retain moisture

It will be challenging to provide adequate humidity since we live in a dry climate, but we will mist it regularly and put the pot above a pebble tray with water to try to provide localized higher humidity.

It will be tricky finding a spot indoors that isn't too warm, since all of our windows that get good light have baseboard radiators below them.

what are friends for?

2013.03_coconut husk pile
I came home to find a big pile of used coco peat bags in our driveway. Thanks friends! A local greenhouse was giving away 3,000 of these bags–thanks Circle Fresh Farms! They were used them to hydroponically grow organic tomatoes. They've had nutrients pumped through them, so they should be extra good for spreading on the garden like mulch.