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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Spicy Chickpeas

I know my friend Mary was on a chickpea kick a while back. I finally found the recipe I wanted to give her. When you have 900 cookbooks, sometimes it takes a while.

This recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking (which provided a recipe for creamed eggplant about a week ago). I toned down the spice a bit. The original recipe is called Very Spicy, Delicious Chickpeas. If I had used all the cayenne, it would have blown my husband's head off. As it was, it was still quite spicy but absolutely delicious.

There is one exotic ingredient here: ground amchoor. Amchoor is ground dried unripe mango and it adds a unique tart-sweet flavor. You can find it in Indian grocery stores.  I don't know a substitution. Hopefully, you'll be able to find some for this dish because it's a winner.

Spicy, Delicious Chickpeas
(serves 6-8)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Turkey Thighs in Herbed Tomato Sauce

In November I posted a recipe for polenta. Back then, I said that the polenta is only part of the recipe. The main recipe is turkey thighs cooked in a tomato sauce flavored with dried porcini mushrooms and dried herbs. The porcini is a key element so, though it's an expensive ingredient, don't leave it out. Turkey thighs have a rich, gamey flavor that I love and they go nicely with the woodsy porcini. This is a hearty dish, particularly when you serve it over some stick-to-your-ribs polenta.

Turkey Thighs in Herbed Tomato Sauce
from Rick Rodgers' The Turkey Cookbook
(serves 4)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fun with Eggplant

Eggplant was on sale this week. I wanted to make some baba ghanoush but I bought enough to make more than that. So, here are 2 recipes that use eggplant. In fact, they both start with eggplant broiled whole but after that, they go in totally different directions. There are no pictures of the dishes because neither of them looks all that interesting. But, they taste so good, each in their own way.

Baba ghanoush is a Middle Eastern eggplant dip enhanced with tahini and lemon juice. It retains the delicious smokiness that comes from getting the eggplant skin well-charred.

The other recipe is Indian, using a plethora of fragrant spices to transform the eggplant into something special. It's called Creamed Eggplant but the cream isn't that key to the dish. You could leave it out and it would still be awesome. The original recipe called for vegetable oil. I used butter instead and I do think it adds a depth of flavor. Use vegetable oil if you prefer. There is enough flavor here even if you use a neutral oil.

Both recipes came from Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking. I have added additional instructions on broiling the eggplants. She says to rinse them after peeling but I feel that is not necessary. Just be careful about removing all the skin because it would add a lot of bitterness, seeing as it's burned totally by the time it's done. It does take a while to cook the eggplant but it's worth it. The long broiling develops the smoky flavor that enhances both recipes.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Garlic Creamed Chard

There's a lot of swiss chard in my freezer. Swiss chard is one of those vegetables that I admire in my garden but don't eat very often. It is quite lovely, especially the Bright Lights variety that has red, pink, and yellow stems. But, come the first snows or that forecast of a stretch of temps in the teens, I decide it's time to pick it all. I separate the leaves and stems. I blanch them separately since the stems have to cook a little longer and I like to freeze them separately too. Drained well and into plastic bags for use through the winter. Which isn't such a bad thing, really. I like rich recipes for chard. Chard, like spinach and beet greens - in reality, chard is just a beet that lost its root - has a drying sensation on the tongue. It comes from the oxalates in the leaf. I don't really like that feeling much, but cooking greens with cream seems to mute this sensation. Sounds like a great reason to cook my swiss chard with cream!

This recipe is much simpler than your average creamed spinach recipe. No roux, no bechamel. It's still darn good. I'm sure it would work as well with spinach as chard.

Garlic Creamed Chard
(from Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans, and Other Good Things)
4-6 servings