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Showing posts with label recipes for pregnant women. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes for pregnant women. Show all posts

Friday, August 27, 2021

Egg Drop Curry, Filipino Style


This will not be your traditionally authentic "Broken Egg" curry that you may find in Mumbai. Actually, I'd never even heard of "Broken Egg" or "Egg Drop" curry until my friend Sneha told me about it. If you're looking for something of a more South Asian flavor, may I offer you this wonderful recipe from My Ginger Garlic Kitchen? It's delicious, has gorgeous photos, and will guide you - step-by-step - on how to do it. This is a Filipino style curry...or should I say "kare"?

Please allow me to explain: If you're of Filipino descent or if you are familiar with Filipino cuisine, you've likely heard of the dish "kare-kare" which is an extremely delicious peanut and oxtail stew that has green beans and eggplant in it. My mom reports that her maids took four days of preparation to make it in the big house in Pampanga. I don't have four days of mental planning available to me at this time, so I'm going to do a quick version. My own Kare-kare is not nearly as extravagant as how they would prepare it in the Philippines, but I daresay it is quite tasty in its own right. Why is this important?

"Kare" is derived from "curry" as the Philippines has been a huge trade hub in the Southeast Asian seas since before the beginning of colonization. It is said that it's nearly impossible to say what is purely Filipino food because it's just so naturally diverse and has evolved to be the world's first-ever fusion cuisine. I thought it would be fun to try a "kare" version of this curry, and it turned out to be quite tasty. Here we go!

Egg Drop "Kare"

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 c raw peanuts
  • 1 Tbsp dried coriander
  • 1 /2 tsp dried cloves
  • 1/2 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 10 leaves basil
  • 2 Tbsp garam masala powder
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 c water
  • 1 c fresh beans, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 small or 1 large bell pepper, sliced
  • 6 eggs
  • Lots of Parsley or fresh coriander, chopped
  • Garlic rice, as needed, to serve
The day before*
Chop the tomatoes and add to a casserole dish with the chopped leek, garlic, and a generous glug of oil with some salt and pepper. Cover and roast for at least an hour and a half at 300 degrees F. You can also stick this in a crock pot at your lowest setting and leave it all day to stew. Allow it to cool in the fridge before using, ideally overnight, but will be fine if you do it early in the morning and let it cool all day in the fridge. 

The day of*
To a large Dutch oven or any thick-bottomed stewing pot with a lid, add a healthy glug of either coconut or canola oil and heat on a medium flame. Add all of your dried spices, along with your peanuts, and toast on medium-low until quite fragrant. This shouldn't take more than two or three minutes. After that, lower the heat and add the garam masala and basil, along with the stewed tomato mixture from earlier. Allow this to stew on low for about 5 minutes, stirring every so often. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil before turning off the heat. 

Add your mixture to the pitcher of a blender and blend on low for 1 minute. Turn the blender up to medium and blend for a full 2 minutes, or until absolutely everything has been pulverized. Add the lovely orange-red mixture back into the pot and rinse out the blender with two cups of warm water to get the extra goodies off the sides before adding that all together. 

Add your chopped beans - I had green beans and long beans from the farmers market and CSA, so I used those. I also had some gorgeous bell peppers and fresh onions, and these are classic flavors in kare kare, which is the meaty Filipino stew that usually has beans and eggplant in it. Since we're only going for a nod to kare kare as well as traditional masala curry, we'll be sticking to the beans alone. Either way, now is the time to add your fresh vegetables and stir in to coat.

You can now turn off the heat at this point and let this mixture hang out until you're ready to serve it. This is an excellent make-ahead meal that you can even make in large quantities and freeze in bags for later! If you'd like to continue making it, please read on. 

Prepare any rice you plan on serving with. If you'd like to add an extra protein to this dish, you may add chopped chicken thighs, seitan, tofu, etc., but I don't believe it's necessary. This is a wonderful vegetarian dish that's high in folate and protein from the peanuts and eggs!

When you're ready to serve, simply bring your curry mixture to a gentle simmer over a low flame until it is hot. Taste for salt at this point and ready your eggs. You can crack an egg and pop it directly in to the simmering broth, but I like to be a little gentle with mine by cracking each egg into a small bowl or cup individually to ensure that I don't get any bits of shell inside. 

As the name suggests, drop the egg in and let the curry broth accept it into its embrace. The trick is to drop the egg from about four inches above the surface of the curry so that it creates a hole for itself, lest it just sit on top. Repeat this in a clockwise motion until you've used all the eggs you want to use. Cover and set a timer for 5 minutes. When the timer is up, simply turn off the heat and let sit for another 2 minutes before serving over rice and garnishing with lots and lots of parsley.

I love this dish because it is creamy, nutty, and somehow bright, but it is an excellent 'end of summer' dish to use up all of those seemingly random vegetables that you may not know what to do with. Even better, the peanuts are high in folic acid, which I - as a human that is currently growing a human - very much need. Peppers, tomatoes, and green beans? Not a usual combo for the average American - at least not as far as I've seen - but I think they go great together with this dish. Surprisingly, my husband loved it too, even though it was a vegetarian meal.

Thank you so much for spending a piece of your day with me. I hope you have a wonderful morning, evening, or night. Happy cooking and happy eating!

Friday, July 9, 2021

In Search of the Salad Nicoise


This is what the kids in the classical French school of culinary arts would call a classic composed salad. This means it is not a salad that is tossed, which is how we would normally have a salad here in the United States on our dinner tables. Composed salads take some more thought and a little more effort, but are absolutely worth it.  The actual definition I have from my days in culinary school are as follows:

Salad Nicoise

·         From Nice, France

·         Garlic, tomatoes, anchovies, black Nicoise olives, capers, and lemon juice

o   Potatoes and green beans are VERY much debated on

o   MAY see this on lettuce

I have no clue what I meant by most of my notes, but it's good to know what the classics actually mean. I assume that when I wrote "MAY see this on lettuce" means that the actual lettuce part of a salad is optional. In this case, I'm sure it's not uncommon for this to just be served as an antipasti platter. This comes from Nice, which is in the south of France, which means Italy is right on the border. If I remember correctly, we also usually serve this with tuna, but that's one of the foods I cannot have during my pregnancy...so today we're going to be having this with anchovies packed in olive oil instead!

I'm also going to note that I'm going to omit the capers and olives. Capers, which are pickled and brined peppercorns, are wonderful but I don't really keep them in my pantry as they don't necessarily coincide with how I normally cook. I'm not putting in olives because I personally hate olives. I think they ruin everything they touch. Please, though, don't let me stop you from adding olives to this salad! Nicoise olives are, after all, a key ingredient if you speak to most purists out there!

When it comes to a fancy salad your words to remember are mise en place. This is French for "things in place." If you're an avid reader of my blog, you know I've spoken about this concept before. It just means to prep everything ahead of time so you can quickly assemble. Because this is a salad made for just little ole me, I'll just be showing you how I make it the way I like it. I am eating for two, however, so I assure you that the amounts will serve two. My husband even ended up eating some of it, and we still had some left over. 

Here's how I made my own Midwest version of this classic of Southern France! 

Salad Nicoise a la Kansas City
Serves 2

  • Kale and butter lettuce washed and chopped
  • 2 small potatoes, fresh from the garden
  • A handful of young, tender garden green beans
    • About a dozen, I think!
  • 2 eggs
  • Anchovy filets, as many as you like
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon
  • 2 slices of bacon, sliced
  • Red onion, sliced ultra-thin!
  • A few cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Oyster mushrooms, sliced, about half an ounce
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, as needed
  • 1/2 c good extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh chives, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
First thing's first: let's work on our cooked items! 

Grab yourself a small sauce pot with about a 4 cup capacity, fill with cold water, and add a good fat pinch of kosher salt. Add your eggs and washed potatoes, cover, and bring to a boil. When your water is at a rolling boil, put on a timer for 5 minutes. In the meantime, prepare your green beans by snapping off the stem ends but leaving the pretty cute long ends in tact. Give them a quick rinse in cold water. Prepare an ice bath in a medium bowl. You're going to be blanching these babies!

When your timer goes off, evacuate your eggs and plunge them immediately into the ice bath. Add your green beans to the boiling water and cook until they turn a gorgeous bright green. This shouldn't take more than 30 seconds to 1 minute! Remove those beans from the boiling water and add to your ice bath, along with the eggs. Let your potatoes cook until they're tender, which usually takes a total of 15 minutes. You can chop the green beans if you like, but I don't think it's necessary. When your potatoes are cool, you can cube them in small pieces and set aside. Make sure you peel your eggs when they're cold!

To prepare the bacon, cut into batons, or slice crosswise in 1/4" pieces and fry until fat has rendered and until they're crisp. This doesn't take more than 5 minutes. Drain all of the bacon fat except for 1 tsp  and fry the mushrooms. You can slice these, but honestly I think I prefer to tear oyster mushrooms by hand because I prefer the look of it. Fry these until browned and set aside. 

To make the vinaigrette, combine the mustard, white wine vinegar, herbs, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and a generous pinch of both salt and pepper to a mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle in your olive oil while whisking constantly until it thickens. Taste for seasoning. You likely won't use all of it, so make sure to save what you don't as either the continued life of salad dressing or as a tasty marinade for chicken. 

Plating could not be easier! Simply tear pieces of kale and butter lettuce into bite sized pieces and pile into a bowl. Arrange all of your beautiful items atop and across the bed of lettuce in any design you like. I personally like the look of stripes, so I chose that for my presentation. I used quite a bit of anchovies all piled up because I love them and feel they replace the saltiness that the olives would have given, but you can change this up for your preference. Of course, you can do what you like!

Keep in mind, though, you're going to be messing it up when you grab some for yourself, so don't stress too much. This is meant to be fun! Play with colors and textures next to each other for maximum effect. See how beautiful that egg yolk is cooked after a 5-minute boil? See the bright green of the green beans next to the bacon? When making a composed salad, don't be afraid to be adventurous.

Salade Nicoise is such a wonderful summer dish to serve for a summer barbecue or a summer night. Do you see how I've said "summer" thrice in that sentence? This is because I want to drive home to you the importance of seasonality in your cooking. I got most of this from either my CSA box from KC Farm School at Gibbs Road or my own garden. When you grow your own food, you are allowing yourself to have a little taste of what it is to have a hand in creation. When you go back to the basics, like I just did in returning to my roots in culinary school, you're reminded of how far you've come in life. 

Maybe this is what the Salad Nicoise is? A little bit of il dolce far niente which is Italian (sorry, not French, but Nice is close to Italy) for "the sweetness of doing nothing" will take you a long way on the path of mental health. Learning to be in the moment has been one of my hardest struggles as an adult American woman, who has constantly been working against the grind and working with the hustle. Now that I'm in a better place in my life that I've been given the opportunity to stop and rest, I've found what's truly important. 

Maybe, while you're having some of this, you can think of what's important to you too? Happy cooking and happy eating!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Turnip Green Pasta

If you must blink, do it now:

Yes, you saw that: bright green pasta. No, there were no dyes in this recipe, only the natural color of the turnip greens. What sorcery is this? Before I get INTO this recipe, allow me a brief introduction of my dear friends and our sponsors of this post, KC Farm School at Gibbs Road

This is one of my favorite places in the city. This humble farm is the epicenter of education, permaculture, and diversity in the middle of Wyandotte County, my Home Sweet Home. I've been working with this organization for years, and it's always a pleasure. Some of my absolute favorite programs to participate in are CSA programs, and "Let's Grow, Wyandotte!" which is a gardening initiative in which participants get free plants to start a garden, all in an attempt to help reconnect citizens to their food, their land, and our connection with the earth. Are you ready to hear what all of this has to do with turnip greens? 

The items for this week's CSA box from KC Farm School at Gibbs Road consist of broccoli rabe, fresh herbs, and - you guessed it - turnip greens! These are incredibly high in calcium, iron, and - shockingly - folic acid! This is great because I currently need a good amount of that, but that's another blog post. Could I simply take these greens and braise them with chopped bacon, onions, jalapenos, and chicken stock? Absolutely. Could I chop them up and bake them in a big casserole of macaroni and cheese? Of course! But why would I do that when I know for a fact that so many more people have become that much more adventurous with cooking since the Quarantine last year? Don't you remember how everyone was baking homemade bread? Compared to that, homemade pasta is an absolute breeze! So let's get right to it.

Turnip Green Pasta

  • 10 oz all-purpose flour (or 2 cups)
  • 7.5 oz semolina (or an over-full cup)
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 5 oz turnip greens, washed and chopped(that's about 2 cups)
  • 1/3 c water
Combine the flour and semolina in the bowl of a standing mixer, or on a clean countertop. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and get ready for the liquid stuff. Combine the greens, water, eggs, and yolk in the pitcher of a blender and turn it on. Make sure you use the plunger that usually comes with the blender, or stop it a few times here and there to scrape down the sides. Begin at a low speed, and slowly increase speed. You're ultimately going to want to blend all of this until it's entirely liquid, which will end with your blender in the highest speed it can possibly go to, being on for at least 30 seconds during this stage. I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that you want to make sure that this is as smooth a liquid as possible, and that it will take at least 2 minutes with the blender on for this to happen. When it's all done, it'll be bright green and ready for you to pour into the middle of your well. 

Fit your mixer with a dough hook and stir all of this together until it is just combined. If you are doing this by hand, simply take a fork and slowly mix it all together, from the inside out, until it's all just combined. Either way, cover your dough and let it rest for 10 minutes at room temperature. When that time has passed, turn on your mixer to low and let it knead for 20 minutes. Yes, you read that right - I want you to let this knead for a solid 20 minutes straight. Set a timer and come back when it's all done, wrap it and let it rest for another 20 minutes before continuing. Are you mixing it by hand? Don't fret! Here's what you do:

Flour your hands lightly, take the dough and fold it in half over itself. Do that again. Then, do it again. The kneading process for this is honesty best if you simply knead by folding it over and over and over and over again, and you'll do that for five minutes. Then, you'll wrap it and let it rest for five minutes. Then, you'll knead it by way of folding for another five minutes, then let it rest for another five. You're going to do this knead-rest-knead process about four times. Think of it as the day you can skip the gym. Once you've kneaded it four times, you can let it rest for the full 20 minutes and go give yourself a break.

After you, and your dough, have rested, the fun part is going to now begin. If you have a pasta maker, this is where you're going to run the dough through. If you're doing this by hand, you'll feel all the more satisfied by doing it...and I'll tell you how! First thing's first, however: set up your drying rack. The apparatus you choose to dry your pasta can be anything. For example, you can use a lovely beech wood rack you've acquired, or something as simple as few clean coat hangers to hang in your kitchen. No, really! When I was in culinary school, before I had a standing mixer, a pasta machine, or even a real rolling pin, I used an empty wine bottle to roll out my noodles and hung them to dry on coat hangers. As proof of this absolutely ridiculous story, I will now provide you a horribly over-exposed phone photo taken over ten years ago on my Samsung Galaxy at 10:45 at night. 

Hashtag Cursed Image.png

To put this dough into manageable sizes, I cut this into eight portions and floured each one generously before running it through the pasta maker. Generally, I'll fold over the sheets I'm rolling out two or three times to ensure a homogenous texture and roll them through again. I usually repeat this process a few times, just until I feel like I have a texture I'm really happy with. The dough should feel quite firm in your hands, yet still just slightly pliable. No matter what, don't be afraid to use flour. I MEAN that! Your sheets of pasta should be practically floating on a sheet of flour that separates each one. You don't want this dough to stick!

I've got eight sheets of pasta here, all separated with a ridiculous amount of flour between.

I rolled these to the 4 thickness setting on my pasta machine because that is my preference. You can roll it as thick or as thin as you would like it to be because ultimately you'll be the one eating it. I used the fettuccine attachment cutter to make these strips, but you can just as easily roll this to your desired thickness with a rolling pin and cut it with a knife to whatever shapes you desire. No matter what, you'll want it to dry out. 

I realize this makes quite a bit of pasta, so you'll definitely have enough for tonight and a few nights down the road, as this - once dried - stays good for up to 6 months in an airtight container. When cooking it the same day you made it, all you have to do is boil it for 90 seconds before tossing it in the sauce of your choice. While you're cleaning up, let's contemplate flavors!

Turnip greens are, as you can guess, the leafy greens of the turnip root, which is a member of the rose family. Turnips themselves have a very floral quality in taste, so the greens are naturally a hair bitter and astringent while being fragrant in their own right. It is easy for one to conclude that this means that the flavors will translate into the pasta noodle itself, and therefore should be paired appropriately. Bitter is counteracted by sweet and by sour. You can also counteract it with a little bit of fat. So what to do about your dinner tonight? Let's see...

I happen to have some sun-dried tomatoes from last summer, packed in oil. All I've got to do now is sear some chicken thighs in a hot pan, remove and set them aside, then add equal parts of fresh cherry tomatoes and sundried tomatoes in the fond of the pan and cook until the liquid comes out. 

Add in fresh onions, a little garlic, some fresh herbs of your choice, and the chicken back to the pan. Cover and let cook on low heat for 15 minutes while your pasta water reaches a boil. All that's left to do now is to cook your fresh pasta for a whole 90 seconds (or 6 minutes, if it's made it to the dried stage) and quickly toss in the pan sauce. Finish with a little bit of the tomato oil from the jar and you're all ready to eat. 

I hope you've enjoyed this recipe! Remember that my suggested serving of this pasta is only that, a suggestion. It is my true and sincere hope that you take this pasta dough from this green that would otherwise be either used as an afterthought or simply discarded and make something incredible out of it. Cooking nose-to-tail isn't just for animals, you know! If a part of a plant is edible, you owe it to yourself to try eating it. Waste not, want not...right?

Thank you so much for hanging with me for the time it took you to read this. Happy cooking and happy eating!