Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Saag Paneer Enchiladas

I forgot to tell you that I am a bad singer.  I don't necessarily sing all that often.  Especially not seriously.  But I have noticed that if I am singing along to a song in the car, I feel like I am pretty good.  Then I turn off the music and continue singing and it is no different than the rest of the America who tries out for American Idol.

I guess the good news is that I have really good hearing.  This allows me to be very aware of how incapable I am of maintaining the intended note.  I have reason to believe that if I learned how to sing, I might have a more promising future.  Promising in the sense that I could sing "Happy Birthday to you" with my chin up.

Oh yeah.  And I am also lyrically challenged.

Also, am I the only one who hates edible arrangements?  Come on.  Like, that idea makes no sense, right?

This is a fun twist on the Saag Paneer, a common dish served at Indian restaurants.  Saag is for a yummy spinach sauce and Paneer is for a fresh cheese.  These enchiladas are stuffed with something similar to Saag Paneer and then topped with a punchy sauce full of cilantro and mint.  I was terrified of this mint sauce, but I did it.  And it was delicious.  If you want to try something fun and different, this is wonderful.

PS:  Scot made this paneer from scratch!  He used this recipe.  We couldn't find it at Whole Foods OR at our Indian grocer (which is weird, I am not convinced it is not there).  It is pretty easy.

Saag Paneer Enchiladas
adapted from Jalapeños and Smita Chandra’s From Bengal to Punjab via homesick texan

for the filling:
1 medium yellow onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 10-ounce packages of frozen spinach, thawed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 pound paneer cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

for the sauce:

2 cups cilantro, leaves and stems

1/4 cup mint leaves

1 jalapeño, seeds and stems removed, chopped

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt or sour cream

Salt to taste

for the enchiladas:

8-10 flour tortillas or roti

Chopped cilantro for garnish

In a blender or food processor, grind the onion, garlic and ginger. In a skillet, heat up the vegetable oil on medium-low heat and add the onion mixture and cook while stirring for 5 minutes. Add to the skillet the spinach, cumin, cinnamon, clove, cayenne, yogurt and buttermilk. Turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the half and half and paneer cheese and simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings and add salt.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, in a blender, puree the cilantro, mint, jalapeño, garlic, ginger, cumin, lemon juice and buttermilk until smooth (you will probably have to press down the sides of the blender with a spoon a couple of times to make sure all the herbs are pureed.). Stir the cilantro puree into the yogurt. Add salt to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350. Wrap the tortillas in foil and place in the oven for 10 minutes while the oven is preheating.

Grease a baking dish. Remove the tortillas from the oven and open the foil (be careful as there may be hot steam). Take a tortilla and spoon 1/4 cup of the filling down the center. Roll the tortilla and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cover the tortillas with cilantro-mint sauce and bake uncovered for 5 minutes.

Serve topped with cilantro.

(Servings:  4-6, Prep time: 1 hr, Cook time: 10 min., Difficulty:  Easy)

Printable Version

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  7/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  4/5

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lebanese Sfeeha Tostadas

This was a great and easy dinner.  It is a baked whole wheat tortilla, topped with a creamy bean mixture (garbanzo and pinto) and a spoonful of fresh cucumber and tomato salad.

Also, can emphasize something?  I do not eat to survive.  And I mean that in many ways.  First, I don't eat because I have to.  Second, I don't eat to get by.  I don't try to spend as little money as possible on food.  I don't only eat organic.  I don't only eat local.  I eat meat.  I eat healthy.  I eat donuts.  I don't starve myself.  I don't stuff myself.

Let's just all calm down for a second.

I say this because, I am sometimes afraid that food is too intimidating.  And I felt like it was important to emphasize that I don't eat food that I don't enjoy eating.  So if you see some healthy looking dish full of kale, whole grains, beans or other notorious "health" foods and you think that it will be too painful to eat, I am here to tell you that you should have no fear.  I don't like "health" food either.  I don't gnaw on rice cakes.

I want to promise you that everything I post on here is something I enjoyed eating.  I have tried lots of recipes over the past several years which called for "whole wheat tortillas".  And for the longest time, I always just got regular tortillas because whole wheat tortillas seemed like a bad idea.  Well turns out, they are actually pretty good.  I have had them several times over the past year and actually enjoy them.  The same goes for beans.  10 years ago, I would never choose to eat beans.  Now we eat them almost daily.  There are so many kinds!  And they are all delicious and easy to make!  Possibly the most useful food ever.  And when I first discovered kale when I was living in Boulder, I thought it was only for hippies and other crazy health nuts.  Now I buy it every week because I crave it.

PS:  I am fired up because I just saw a Tyson chicken nugget commercial targeting children.  It makes me so angry.  Don't let Tyson brainwash you.  Let me do it instead because I don't get any money for what I say, so you can trust me.   

Lebanese Sfeeha Tostadas
adapted from Cara’s Cravings

olive oil
½ of a medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup of water or chicken stock
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)

½ tsp of coriander
½ tsp of cumin
¼ tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses

2 heaping tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt

4 whole wheat tortillas
3/4 cup (4 oz) grape tomatoes, quartered

3/4 cup chopped, peeled cucumber

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375ºF. 

In a medium skillet, heat some olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onions and cook for 5 minutes until they have softened.  Add garlic, cook for 1 minute.  Add beans, water (or chicken stock), salt, coriander, cumin, and cayenne.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until all the liquid evaporates off.  Taste beans to see if the texture is good (I like mine really soft).  Add more liquid and repeat process, if desired.  Mash beans with the back of a spoon.  Add parsley, pomegranate molasses and yogurt and combine.

Meanwhile, prepare the salad by combining the grape tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, scallions, olive oil, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a metal cooling rack on top of it. Place the tortillas on the rack. Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the tortillas are lightly browned and crispy.

To serve, top the hot tostadas with bean mixture and a generous scoop of the salad mixture.

(Servings:  4, Prep time:  10 min., Cook time:  40 min., Difficulty:  Easy)

Printable Version

foodforscot Ratings

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hard-Boiled Eggs Masala


I have been away.  But now I am back.  I have learned a lot.

1.   Most places need more electrical outlets.
2.  Copper has no reason to believe that he deserves anything less than the best.
3.  Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana take a really long time to drive through.
4.  Hotels think that putting crappy coffee + a crappy coffee maker in your room is an amenity.  Still.
5.  Wave 9 skiers aren't so good at (a) going down hills (b) going up hills (c) stopping (d) not crashing (e) skiing.  Myself included.
6.  People literally think the plane might take off without them.
7.  I got honked at three separate times when I was driving in State College.  Sorry Pennsylvanians!  I will work on my skills.

Remember how I told you how I was cooking non-stop Indian?  Well, I never posted any of the recipes.  Here is one!  I loved the idea of this hard-boiled masala.  And this was so delicious.

Hard-Boiled Eggs Masala
by Madhur Jaffrey

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper , to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon cumin seed
5 tablespoons onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger , finely chopped
1 cup canned tomato, chopped
¼ teaspoon sugar
3 -4 tablespoons fresh cilantro
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into halves lengthwise

Combine turmeric, cayenne, ground cumin, coriander. lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and 1 tablespoon water in small bowl. Mix.  Put oil in medium-sized, nonstick pan and set over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, put in cumin seeds. 10 seconds later, add onion and ginger.  Stir and fry till onion turns medium brown.   Add spice paste.  Stir and cook for 15 seconds.   Add tomatoes and sugar and bring to a simmer.  Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.   Add cilantro and combine.  Lay the cut eggs into the sauce and spoon more sauce over them. Cover and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes.

(Servings:  2-3, Prep time:  20 min., Cook time:  20 min., Difficulty:  Easy) 

Printable Version

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  7/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5