Monday, August 29, 2011

Peach Crostata

Adapted from my other favorite recipe book: Souper Suppers by Arthur Schwartz.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp butter
5-6 medium peaches, peeled and cut in half
cinnamon (optional)
1 cup sour cream (or you could use heavy cream or yogurt, or a combo)
2 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar and salt 
  3. Cut in the butter, using your fingers, until the mixture resemble course meal
  4. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a deep 9 or 10 inch pie plate (I used a rectangular dish).
  5. Arrange the peaches over the crust sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cups of sugar.  Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes
  7. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat together the sour cream and eggs till well blended
  8. once the crostata has baked for the 15 minutes, remove from oven, pour over the egg and sour cream mixture and then return to oven for another 30 minutes
  9. Serve warm (not hot) or at room temp. It's best if it's never refrigerated, as the peaches will weep and make it too wet.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beet and Carrot Latkes

One of my favourite cook books is "Fifty Ways to Cook Most Everything" by Andrew Schloss.  We've had it for years and have yet to have a recipe that we've tried from it fail.  We had never tried the Beet and Carrot Latkes before but they sounded intriguing.  We've made potato latkes, zucchini pancakes and corn fritters before, all with similar recipes and yummy results.  The Beet and Carrot Latkes delivered.  Slightly sweet from the beets, they pair very nicely with sour cream.  They were also quick and easy, something you could start after work and still eat dinner at a reasonable time.  We had ours with a serving of sausage, but truth be told, I would have been happy just having latkes.

1/2 pound carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 pound raw beets, peeled and shredded
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp finely chopped onions
salt and pepper to taste

  • Combine carrots and beets in bowl

  • Mix eggs, flour, onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Mix into beets and carrots.
  • Heat 1/4 inch of oil in deep skillet.
  • Fry heaping soup spoonfuls of the batter, flattening mounds to form pancakes about 3 inches in diameter.

  • Brown well, 4-5 minutes per side.
  • Drain on paper towel and serve hot with sour cream.


I did not weigh my vegetables to start, but eye balled it based on what I thought we would need for dinner for 2 for 2 nights.  As a result, I felt that I needed more egg and flour to bind it together, so I added an extra egg and another tbsp of flour.  They held together nicely.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ratatouille and Polenta

I made a baked Polenta, using a Food Network recipe.  It was creamy and very cheesy.  I fried it in olive oil after it had set to warm it through before serving.

I served it with Ratatouille.  No real recipe here.  Start by sauteeing onions and garlic and keep adding in vegetables that have all been cut up in chunky pieces.  I used carrots (not traditionally found in Ratatouille), eggplant, green and yellow zucchini, green, red and orange bell peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes.  Add in the hard vegetables first as they will take the longest to cook.  Let the whole thing simmer over a low heat for 20-30 minutes till everything is done.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Our August Daring Cook Challange was to make Appams.  Be sure to check out my full post on my main blog.  The recipe was provided to us by Mary of Mary Mary Culinary.

Servings: Makes about 15. I find 3-4 are enough for a serving


  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml/300 gm/10½ oz) raw rice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml/5 gm) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of coconut water or water, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (22½ ml/18 gm) cooked rice
  • ½ teaspoon (2½ ml/3 gm) salt
  • About ½ cup (120 ml) thick coconut milk (from the top of an unshaken can)


  • Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours. You can soak it overnight, although I did not try that.
  • Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy.
  • Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed, but I did not. Add the cooked rice, and grind/blend to combine well. You can see that it is not completely smooth, but very thick—that’s about right.
  • Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell. Don’t worry--they are mild tasting when cooked!
  • Add the coconut milk and salt, and a bit of water if necessary, so that you have a batter that is just a bit thicker than milk. Notice how it bubbles after you add the coconut milk. I recommend test-cooking one before thinning the batter.
  • Heat your pan over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy.
  • Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately. These need to be served hot out of the pan.
  • Make another, and another.  

  • Serve with curries of your choice - I served mine with a lamb ishtew and a sambar vegetable curry

Sambar Curry

Sambar Recipe 
Adapted from South Indian
This Sambar recipe is one of the most loved dishes in South Indian cuisine. It accompanies most every meal. 
  • 1/2 lime sized ball Tamarind
  • 1 cup Toor Dal (or red lentils)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 small dry red chilies (or to taste)
  • 8 Curry Leaves (see note)
  • 1 medium onion (shallots are preferable)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida (optional) (substitute garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 tablespoons sambar powder (see note)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves (also known as coriander leaves)
  • 1 cup of a vegetable of your choice like green beans, chopped carrot

  • Soak the tamarind in 1 cup water for 20 minutes. Squeeze it out, adding water little by little to prepare 1 cup of juice.
  • Choose a heavy cooking pot. Wash and clean the dal.
  • Boil 2 cups of water and add the dal, turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of oil.
  • As the dal boils, skim off the foam and discard.
  • Boil until the dal is soft and then mash it coarsely.
  • If needed, add more water as it is boiling but do not let it get too watery. If you use a pressure cooker it will take about 5 minutes.
  • In a separate pan, heat to medium and pour in the remaining oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the chilies, mustard seeds, fenugreek and curry leaves and sauté for 2 minutes.
  •  Add the onion and brown lightly. Add the tamarind extract and let boil lightly until the onions are cooked.
  • Add this mixture to the dal with asafoetida, tomato, vegetable of choice and sambar powder.
  • Allow this to boil for 5 to 10 minutes and remove from the heat. Garnish with cilantro.

Lamb Curry

Mutton Ishtew
Adapted from Indian

This delicious South Indian stew is delicately flavored with a mix of spices and coconut milk. It tastes great with rice, Dosas, Idlis or Appams.
  • 1 kg mutton/ lamb/ goat meat cut into small pieces (bones included if any)
  • 25 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • 2 large onions chopped fine
  • 2 green chillies slit lengthwise
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1" stick of cinnamon
  • 8 cloves
  • Seeds from 5 green cardamom
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 10 baby potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


  • Put the meat, vinegar, 15 curry leaves, freshly ground black pepper and 1 cup of water into a deep pan and set up to cook on a medium flame. Cook till meat is half done. Keep aside for later use.
  • Heat a flat pan on a medium flame and gently roast the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns and fennel seeds on it till they begin to turn darker and release their aroma. Allow to cool and then grind into a coarse powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder.
  • Heat the cooking oil in another deep pan, on a medium flame and add the chopped onions, green chillies, chopped garlic and remaining curry leaves to it. Cook till the onions are soft.
  • Add the powdered ground spices to this and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the meat now and cook till browned.
  • Add the baby potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the previously cooked meat and stock to this and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk to this and cook till the meat is done.
  • Add salt to taste and the juice of 1/2 a lemon and turn off fire. Mix well.
  • Serve with hot rice, Idlis, Dosas or Appams.

If you are going to use a coffee grinder for your spices, be sure to have a 2nd one, since the flavours don't go well with coffee!