Friday, March 16, 2012

Flash Back to 2009

My mother just forwarded me this article from The Insider Travel blog, written back in 2009, that I had never seen before.  Not sure the blog is still posting anymore but it was a nice write up so I thought I would share.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sista Dinner

It's been a while, a long while, but I am excited to start posting again.  2012 has brought a lot of changes to my life, all for the better, including a new job and a new apartment with a new, bigger kitchen. To make 2012 even better, my best friend (since preschool), Cara (who's blog Hair Peace, you should check out) just moved up to Brooklyn a month ago.  Since both of our sisters live in Brooklyn as well as my boyfriend's sister, Cara came up with the idea of a Sunday night dinner, where we invited everyone over for food and a chance to catch up with family.  Since our siblings will still love us no matter what, even if the food doesn't turn out delicious, it also seemed like the perfect opportunity to try new and more complicated dishes.  Last Sunday night was the first official Sister's Dinner at my new place.  The menu was as follows...

Cucumber raita, labneh yogurt dip and toasted sourdough bread for dipping
Bibb lettuce, fresh mint, basil, and chive  salad with a homemade ranch dressing
Moroccan style roasted vegetables

Curry pot pie with cauliflower and peas
Ginger mini cakes

And drinks included...
Golden storm sets - dark and stormy's using gold instead of black rum
Jengibre vinos - a take on red wine spritzers

The evening went amazingly, the food was delicious and I was even able to trick my sister, who at the age of 24 still hates all vegetables,  into eating cauliflower so a win/win for everyone.

Labneh Yogurt
Mix one cup greek yogurt, a half cup of chopped fresh mint leaves, a tbsp. of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  
Note: Not only did we use it as a dip along side the Cucumber Raita but drizzled it over the Moroccan vegetables, which helped cut some of the heat.

Cucumber Raita
(Recipe from Everyday Food)
serves 4

2 English cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 1/2 cups low-fat plain yogurt
coarse salt and ground pepper

In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, lemon juice, mustard seeds, and yogurt. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. (To store, cover and refrigerate, up to 3 hours.) 

Buttermilk Dressing
I just winged this but the ingredients where as follows:

Greek yogurt
fresh chives
lemon juice
dried dill-weed
garlic salt
onion powder
salt and pepper

Curry Chicken Potpie 
(Recipe from Everyday Food)
serves 6 • active time: 45 min • total time: 1 3/4 hr + chilling

To make potpies ahead of time, let the filling cool, then assemble and freeze for up to 4 months. Bake at 425°, 1 1/4 hours (1 hour for small pies).

for the crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
for the filling
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced small (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons curry powder 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
coarse salt and ground pepper
3 cups shredded cooked chicken (15 ounces)

1 Make crust: In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 2 tablespoons ice water); do not overmix. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour or overnight (or freeze, up to 1 month).
2 Preheat oven to 375°. Make filling: In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion and carrots and cook until softened, 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add flour and stir to coat vegetables. Slowly add broth, whisking constantly until sauce is smooth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in peas. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in chicken and parsley. Pour filling into a 2-quart baking dish.
3 On a floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Place dough over dish and fold overhang inward while pinching to crimp edge. Cut vents in dough. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling around edge, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving. 

Moroccan Mint Roasted Vegetables
(Recipe from 101 Cookbooks blog)
Serves 4
Prep time: 5 min - Cook time: 15 min
1 lb / 16 oz / 450 g mix of potatoes, cauliflower, and a few radishes (save the tops)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons dried mint
1/2 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
toppings: fresh mint, toasted sesame and/or pumpkin seeds, plain yogurt (seasoned with a bit of salt)
1.Preheat your oven to 425F / 220C. Wash and dry the vegetables, then cut the potatoes and cauliflower into 1/4-inch thick slices/pieces. Trim and quarter the radishes, setting aside the green radish tops.
2.Place the dried mint, chile pepper flakes, cumin seeds, and salt in a mortar and pestle and pound a bit, long enough to somewhat break up the cumin seeds. Add the ground cumin, cinnamon, and ground ginger. After that, add the olive oil and stir until combined.
3.Place the potatoes, cauliflower, and radishes in a large bowl. Pour the spiced olive oil over the vegetables and toss gently but thoroughly - until everything is equally coated. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until everything is cooked through.
4.Remove from the oven and serve on a platter topped with the radish greens, a squeeze of lemon and any/all of the other toppings. A fat dollop of salted yogurt really brings everything together.]

Gingerbread Mini Cakes
(Recipe from Everyday Food)
makes 18 • active time: 20 min • total time: 1 1/4 hr + cooling

These cakes were baked in cannelé molds, available at baking stores. They’re just as sweet made in muffin pans. You can also use a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan; bake 70 minutes.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin cups
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for muffin cups
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin purée
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour 18 standard muffin cups. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. In a medium bowl, beat granulated sugar and butter with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Whisk in pumpkin purée until smooth, then whisk in molasses, eggs, and buttermilk. Add to flour mixture in 3 additions, stirring well to combine.
2 Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until puffed and set, 35 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Let cool completely in pans on wire racks.
3 Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Spoon over muffins and let glaze set, about 15 minutes, before serving. (Refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 1 week.)