Friday, October 17, 2008

Pumpkin Curry

2 lbs. pumpkin, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp smoked paprika
4 cups chicken broth (can use water if you want to keep the recipe vegetarian)
1 cup coconut milk
10 oz. freshly grated coconut
3 tsp. cumin seeds
2 Tbsp. sunflower oil
2 tsp. black mustard seeds
2 tsp. curry
3 small red chiles, split in half lengthwise (I used red fresno)


To make Curry:

You don't have to make your own curry, but the store bought stuff loses its potency very quickly so make sure if you buy a mix that it is fresh.

You can use all kinds of spices in this. I used cinnamon, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, dried arbol chiles, turmeric, paprika, nutmeg, white peppercorns, black sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and chili powder. Grind in a mortar and pestle until fine.

To make shredded coconut:

Open the coconut by hitting it with the tang of your chef's knife. Drain out the coconut water and save for another use.

Cover the coconut with a towel and use a hammer to break it into smaller pieces. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, then use a knife to peel the husk off of the meat. Shred in a food processor.

For the pumpkin curry:

put the cubes of pumpkin in a saucepan and cover with the chicken broth or water and coconut milk. Add the turmeric and paprika. Boil for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkin is fork tender.

Grind coconut with the cumin seeds, then add it to the pumpkin along with the curry spice and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the coconut is tender.

Next, combine the chiles and mustard seeds in a saucepan with the oil and cook at medium high heat for 3-5 minutes.

Add this to the pumpkin, season with salt, turmeric, and paprika to taste. Use an immersion blender to roughly puree the pumpkin (or just use a regular blender or food processor to puree in batches).

Top with steamed long grain rice and serve.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Beef Stuffed Zucchini Tagliatelle with Shiitake Mushrooms and Prosciutto San Danielle in Carbonara Sauce


First, you make the pasta dough by combining 7 oz. of flour with two eggs. Use a fork to slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs, then knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Coat with a little olive oil and let rest for 20 minutes.


While the pasta is resting, make your carbonara sauce. You'll need 4 egg yolks, a half cup of grated parmesan, and a little less than a half cup of cream. Whisk it all together and it should look something like this:


For the zucchini, I sliced them into thirds and used a tomato corer to hollow them out. Then I ran the tomato corer down the sides of the zucchini to make the little lines on the outside.



To make the stuffing, I combined bread crumbs, ground beef, garlic, a little white onion, chopped fresh basil, cream, ricotta cheese, the chopped insides of the zucchini, and salt and pepper. Pack it into the hollow zucchini and put in the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes on each side.


Roll out and cut your pasta while waiting for the zucchini to cook.Toss pasta in a pot of hot boiling water for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick together.Take 2 thick slices of prociutto and chop with 3 cloves of garlic. Saute in olive oil at moderately high heat. When the fat renders from the prociutto, chop or thinly slice a couple handfuls of shiitake mushroom caps and throw those in the pan. Add about 3/4 cup of white wine and cook, stirring, until all liquid is absorbed. Then drain the pasta and toss it with the mushroom/prociutto mixture.


By now your zucchini should be out of the oven. As soon as it is cool enough to handle, slice into thin rounds and brown in the saute pan you just emptied. This will help all the flavors meld as well as give the zucchini filling some color. now put the pasta back in the pan with the zucchini and heat for about a minute, stirring. This is just to even out the temperature. Place in a serving dish, cover with carbonera sauce, and serve.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Robin doesn't add much, but....

We have had some AMAZING meals lately:


SUPER Spicy chicken and pineapple

BBQ Shrimp and Corn


More BBQ Shrimp!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Taste is an existential, sensual experience. We don't really understand it. Language is what we use for taste, and yet the body goes through this temporal process; there are highs and lows, intesities, durations, complexities. Taste is a very, very complex thing in the body, where it unifies a number of factors."

--Mark Miller

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sake Marinated Sea Bass with Coconut Curry Sauce

This is a GREAT Thai recipe from epicurious. Since we're landlocked in Austin, Sea Bass is a bit on the expensive side ($20/lb, about .5 lb./person), but you could substitute orange roughy, halibut, or another thick white fish.

For the sake marinade:

1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup tamari or regular soy sauce
2 tablespoons yellow miso
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 6-ounce sea bass fillets (I halved this recipe and only used 2 filets for 2 people)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Steamed white rice
coconut-curry sauce (keep reading for the sauce)
Chopped fresh cilantro

yellow miso paste you will probably have to go to an Asian market for. You can find it in the refridgerated section, and they'll have different colors. Yellow or white miso paste will work.

Lemongrass can be found at Central Market in the produce section, but you may be able to pick it up at an asian market as well. Mirin is also called Aji-Mirin, and most grocery stores carry it. Any kind of Sake will work for the marinade. I used a sweet sake.

The marinade is easy - just add the first 7 ingredients to the food processor or blender and mix it up. I used liquid aminos in place of the soy sauce. It has nearly the same taste with 16 amino acids and less sodium. Now put the fish in a glass dish and slowly pour in the marinade. You want to marinate the fish for at least 2 hours, turning every 30-45 minutes.

In the meantime, make the coconut curry sauce and the rice. If you want to make authentic Thai steamed rice there's a good recipe here: I chose to just steam some sushi rice.

For the Coconut-Curry Sauce:
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup chopped fresh lemongrass
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons Thai green or red curry paste


First, you'll want to prepare the lemongrass. Pull off the outer leaves and cut off the bulb. You'll need a sharp knife. Then slice the white part of the stem into thin slices. To chop it, I used the food processor. You can use a knife but make sure to chop it pretty finely.

Place mirin, lemongrass and ginger in medium saucepan. Boil until reduced to 1/4 cup.
Add wine and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Add cream and coconut milk. Make sure to stir the coconut milk before measuring, as it tends to separate. Bring to a boil (be careful, it's easy to burn the cream!). Reduce heat to medium. Simmer sauce until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Stir in curry paste. (I used red for more color, but green works too). Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When the fish is done marinating, pat dry and sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan at medium-high until almost smoking. Sear the fish for about 2 minutes on the first side. The brown sugar in the marinade will help the fish to caramelize on the edges, giving it a nice golden brown color.
Cook the second side for about a minute and then place in the preheated oven. Bake for about 8 minutes,or until the fish is flaky and opaque in the center.Spoon the steamed rice onto the plates and top with fish filets and sauce. Pictured below with Edamame on the side.Yes, the presentation is terrible but I don't really care ;-)


Monday, February 4, 2008

Wild Mushroom Manicotti

Another healthy recipe from food network:,,FOOD_9936_28130,00.html

manicotti shells are kind of hard to find - I got mine at Central Market. It's easy to make your own, I just wasn't feeling up to it yesterday (coming down with the flu).

Here's my version of the recipe:

Manicotti Stuffing:
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps sliced thinly
6 large manicotti shells
Olive oil

1/2 pound lean ground turkey
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 small onion, finely sliced

1 shallot, finely sliced
4 ounces jarred roasted red bell peppers, chopped
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon course black pepper
Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, grated
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Tomato Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed

1/2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms

1/2 small onion, minced

1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups prepared tomato sauce (I used garlic lover's organic tomato sauce)

Boil Manicotti shells in salted boiling water for 8-10 minutes, drain, and cool. Make sure to separate them out right away so they don't stick together and tear later. Coat a medium-sized baking dish with olive oil and set aside.

Prepare your ingredients:

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat, and coat with olive oil as it is heating. Add ground turkey and brown, breaking it up to cook evenly. Drain fat from pan. Add garlic and onions and cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes. Add roasted peppers and cook for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, and stir in the ricotta. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

The turkey doesn't pipe well since it has sliced mushroom and onion in it. I just used my fingers to stuff the manicotti shells by hand. If you make homeade manicotti you can just roll the stuffing up in it like sausage.

Place the stuffed manicotti shells in the prepared baking dish and make the sauce.

To make tomato sauce:

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, mushrooms, and dried oregano, and saute until onion is translucent. Add tomato sauce and bring to a simmer.

Top the manicotti shells with tomato sauce and then sprinkle Parmesan and Romano cheeses over top. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve .

This recipe also reheats well.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Orange Roughy with Tomato-Cilantro Salsa

This recipe is from Epicurious. It has so much flavor you would never know it's actually a healthy :-)

8 plum tomatoes, seeded, diced (about 2 2/3 cups)
1 red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
For fish
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 6-ounce orange roughy fillets (each about 3/4 inch thick)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 pound haricots verts or other slender green beans, trimmed
Fresh lemon juice
Additional olive oil

For the salsa, just throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it up, then cover and put in the fridge:

The chipotle en adobo sauce gives this salsa a spicyness that kicks in almost as an aftertaste.

At this point you'll want to put some water on to boil for the green beans. Add a little salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Throw in the green beans once the water is at a good boil.

preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To prepare the fish, put some olive oil in a skillet and turn to medium-high heat. Rinse the fish filets gently under a slow stream of cold water and pat dry. Salt and pepper the fish, then pour a little flour on the cutting board and coat them in flour.

Saute the fish until golden brown; be careful flipping them as the fish will start to get flaky and break easily. Once brown, transfer to a baking dish and bake until opaque in the center, about 5 minutes.

By now the green beans should be done. I cooked them longer than the recipe said because I didn't want my green beans to be crunchy, just a little crispy. Dump into a small bowl, and put that bowl into a larger bowl of ice water to cool.

Get the salsa out of the fridge and let it warm up a little. You want it to be cooler than room temperature, but not cold. Take the fish out of the oven and let them cool a little before removing them from the baking dish. In the meantime, toss the green beans with olive oil and lemon juice.

Divide the green beans among plates. Top each plate with a fish filet and put a handful of salsa on top. Enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Home Made Tuna Nigiri and Miso

Wow. Tuna was under $10 per half pound at the seafood market and we gave it a shot. Good call, it was perfect. It took two trips to the market to get all the miso ingredients right to do it from scratch. Tasted amazing.

Miso Soup:
4 to 5 cups dashi, recipe follows
2 tablespoons brown miso paste, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons white miso paste, plus more to taste
6 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 scallions, white and green, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 tablespoons aji mirin (sweetened rice wine), optional
In a saucepan heat the dashi and whisk in the miso pastes. Bring to a simmer and add the tofu, scallions, and mirin, if using. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

6 cups cold water
One 12-inch long piece of kombu, wiped with a damp cloth
One .88-ounce/25 grams package shaved dried bonito flakes

In a saucepan, combine the water and kombu. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium heat. Remove the kombu and discard. Bring the liquid to a boil, add the bonito flakes and immediately remove the pan from the heat. Allow the dashi to sit undisturbed for 2 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Discard the bonito flakes. Use immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Yield about 4 to 5 cups

Robin will need to post the Sushi rice recipe.