April 23, 2009

Apple Puff Pastries

Puff pastry is surprisingly easy to make. Doing it myself certainly beats the $13 price tag for a box of them at Whole Foods. They also freeze very well, so I've divided what I've made into several parcels and squirreled them away for emergencies.

I used this recipe I found on Tartelette, and Foodbeam has a charming step-by-step visual on the technique.

I made 8 pastries using probably a third of the puff pastry recipe, along with 2 thinly sliced apples cooked with some butter, sugar, cinnamon, and a couple spritzes of lemon.

April 16, 2009

Chickpeas, Pumpkin, and Raisins with Couscous

In the original recipe, this dish is made of two parts--the couscous and the chickpea stew--but since I only had Lebanese couscous (mograbeyeh), I found it more convenient to toss them into the stew instead of serving them separately.

Chickpeas, Pumpkin, and Raisins with Couscous
from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian
serves 4

1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cinnamon stick, about 2 inches
1 medium onion, cut into fine half rings
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups cooked, drained chickpeas
2 heaped cups peeled, seeded pumpkin or butternut squash cut into 1 inch dice
2 tablespoons raisins
3-1/2 cups vegetable stock
salt to taste
1 cup zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

You also need
Couscous of your choice
Harissa (Moroccan Chile-Garlic paste) or any hot sauce, thinned with a little liquid from the stew

Combine the ginger, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and cayenne in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the cinnamon stick and stir for a few seconds. Add the onions, and stir and fry for about 3 minutes, until it is medium brown. Mix in the reserved spices, stir, and quickly add the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes have softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the chickpeas, pumpkin/squash, raisins, stock, and salt and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and cook until the pumpkin is tender when pierced with the point of a knife, 13-15 minutes. Add the zucchini and simmer uncovered for another 5 minutes. If using (cooked) Lebanese couscous, toss in with the zucchini. Add the cilantro and parsley just before serving.

To serve: Put a mound of couscous on each plate. Make a well in the center and put some of the vegetables and beans from the stew in the well. Dampen the couscous generously with some of the sauce. Pass the hot sauce on the side.

April 4, 2009

Potato and Leek Frittata

This was a kitchen bits and bobs clearing dish, really, that turned out to be great. I had some potatoes that were starting to sprout, a surfeit of leeks, and some random leftover mushrooms, so I decided to toss them all together and make a frittata. Huzzah.