Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fried Okra - A Picture Tutorial

Childhood favorite, what can I say? I think I forgot about it for a while after moving to DK, then had a craving for it. Called my mom to ask how she'd prepared it for me as a kid, and, this is it. Quite easy.

You'll notice that in the first picture the okra appears to be frozen. It is. This is because okra is a slimy thing by nature, so freezing it first helps reduce gooeyness when you're chopping it, and mixing it later on. The cold is also an element that helps make it extra crispy.

Chopped into bite sized bits.

A few tablespoons of flour (cornmeal is good too), and one egg (no need to beat it first) into the bowl, and using a fork, mix it all together. Add salt and pepper, liberally.

Very lumpy in apperance.

Fry up in a good oil, until it's golden brown, a little darker at the edges.

There you have a plate of crispy, delicious Texan childhood.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Celeriac Schnitzel

Admittedly, we haven't sprung out as full blown vegetarians here, but the other day, when someone asked if we had, I couldn't even remember the last time we'd had meat for dinner. Sometimes, I do have to make an effort, since you can't just make a salad, and expect two small kids and one metabolically active husband to be satisfied. We eat burgers, just with soy patties. We enjoy "chicken" fajitas with quorn instead. Someone mentioned making schnitzel out of celeriac once, I gave it a try, just winging it, and wasn't that impressed. I decided to give it another try, and scoured up some tips on teh interwebs. This time, I loved it! Not only that, my boys wolfed it down as well, oblivious to the sneaky veggie hidden inside, just happy to eat something pan fried and crunchy.

The lowdown:

- Take 1 whole celeriac, peel or cut the hard skin off. Cut in in half, and take each halve and slice it into finger thick slices.
- Steam/boil the celeriac until a knife easily pierces them, app. 16 minutes. Let them cool off a bit before the next step, and drizzle them with lemon juice while cooling. Don't go easy on the lemon btw.
- Prepare two shallow bowls. One with 1 egg, beaten. The other with bread crumbs. Add a good amount of salt and pepper to the crumbs, to ensure a flavourful crust.
- Melt a knob of butter and a drizzle of your choice of oil in a pan over low heat. Low heat is key here, you want these to fry up delicately and not be darker than golden.
- Dip each slice of steamed celeriac in first egg, then crumbs, and fry 'em up (in butter!), turning after the golden color has been attained.

Serve with a side of salad and/or potatoes like I did. Next time I might do a sauce/gravy to beef it up a bit, but even without this is a mouth watering dish!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fridge Cleaning Eggnoggy Cheesecake

Blogger ate my picture!

So, no, this will not actually clean your fridge, you know, with soap and water....but it just happened to use a few ingredients I had lying around in small amounts so in a way it did! Hubby has a sweet tooth (okay, me too) and this was just what I happened to dream up after a few google searches using my leftover ingredients. It's not the perfect cheesecake, but it fit the bill nicely.

For two years now, I've had two, count 'em, two boxes of gingerbread in the cupboard, ready to be hoisted into little houses and decorated with icing and other goodies. I thought they might be used better otherwise, than standing around in December, slowly going stale. I happened upon the novel idea that they can be used as a substitute for digestives in a cheesecake. Bingo! The Christmassy spices added give this an eggnoggy feel, but it's not Christmassy enough to be annoying. And the crispy, buttery crust is what really takes the cake here. I will say though, that the amount of filling wasn't quite enough to my liking, but I think it'd work beautifully if this recipe were made as individual mini-cheesecakes with a dollop of warm raspberry coulis on top. Just sayin'.

150 grams gingerbread
4 tbsp soft butter
½ cup ricotta
125 grams cream cheese
½ Cup raw cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 dash each of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180 C.
In a food processor, pulse gingerbread until it's crumbs. Add butter and mix until incorporated.
Grease a springform, and press the crumby mixture into the bottom. Bake for app. 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool.
Mix the remaining ingredients until the mixture is smooth, and pour into the cooled crust. Bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool, and refidgerate for as long as you can stand it, before pulling it out and eating it all up.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pimento Cheese Spread

There *was* a picture here, now it's gone forever, thx Blogger!

Okay, so you've guessed the obvious. There is cheese and pimento in the spread I'm presenting to you now. But there is also, the epitomy of buffet lunches in the southern part of the U.S. You'll most likely find the spread between the veggies/dip and the crackers/bread, just behind the devilled eggs. Most people buy it ready made at the supermarket, but it's tastier if you make it at home, not to mention dead easy to make.

1 cup of finely grated cheddar cheese
1 whole pimento, diced (smoked red pepper, from a can or jar)
1/4 cup of mayo (Hellman's preferably)
1 small pickle, finely diced
dash of salt
dash of ground garlic

Mix ingredients well.
Just for kicks, I grated fresh horseradish, and added about 1 tbsp to the mixture. It wasn't too strong, and freshened it up a bit. Very tasty.

Most Americans know pimento cheese from the starchy white sandwich it's usually served in. It's excellent on Wasa too, or used to dip carrot/celery/cucumber sticks in too.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Any Bright Ideas?

The stem is arguably the better tasting bit of the broccoli. Not as easy to use though. Sometimes I'll peel it, and grate it in spaghetti sauce. Or, dice it and use it in soup.

What do you do with it?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

This bears repeating. Black bean and Tortilla Soup.

It all started when I was thinking up dinner tonight. I looked in the cabinets for inspiration. Found an opened packet of tortillas that my husband had thrown back in, after our fajita dinner the other night. The two tortillas left in the pack were dry, stale, inedibe. I was about to get mad in the way that only an anal housewife can, but then I remembered that tortilla soup is pretty popular back in my home state of Texas....voila.

First off, cut your leftover tortillas in strips, and fry them on a pan with a little oil. I used canola. They'll brown and become crispy, and that's just what you want. Set your fried tortillas aside.

- Fry up an onion in some oil.
- Add a tsp. each of turmeric, cumin, garlic powder and paprika.
- When onions are soft, add one can of tinned tomatoes, and one can of black beans. (I used canned, because I wanted to make this quick, and I hadn't any pre-soaked)
- Add a little extra water and a broth cube. (I use Herbamare from the health food store)
- Let it all simmer together, adding salt and pepper and a dash of cayenne to taste.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, chopped coriander, a few drops of lime juice, and a handful of your fried tortillas. Some of the tortillas will go soft in the soup, but that's ok. Also, for extra nutritional value, I added to finely diced potatoes to this soup, to bulk it up, and so my kids wouldn't only get full on the fried tortillas. A hearty inconspicuous addition! Enjoy.