Friday, May 4, 2012

Lamb Heart and Bone Stew

About three weeks ago on a nice sunny Saturday, the wife and me hit the U. District Farmers Market with a couple of foodie friends. It was one of those visits when everything seemed awesome! Even though this Farmers Market is close to where I live, visits are far in between and I meant to make the most of this one.

Highlights from all the purchases where:
1) Lamb Heart and Lamb Bone (forgetting the producer)
2) Rachel's Ginger Beer ( Thanks Lillian!)
3) Chevre from Blue Rose Dairy based in Winlock, WA

Lamb Heart and Bone Stew.


2 Medium Lamb Hearts
2-3 pieces of Lamb Soup Bones
1 Cup flour
2 Cups mirepoix (diced onion, carrot, celery)
5-6 Cloves finely chopped garlic
Dried herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano, basil)
1/2 Cup Tomato sauce
2 Cups Red wine
Salt and Pepper

Season half cup flour with salt, pepper and dried parsley, then coat heart nicely with flour. Fry on one side in canola oil for about 5 mins, then flip and fry for 2-3 more minutes (when heart turns medium-rare to medium, take it off heat and rest).
Season Bones with salt and pepper then brown on med. heat in canola oil in a 2-3 gallon pot.
Once the bones are sufficiently browned (but not burned), extract them and deglaze the pot with half a cup of red wine.
Add mirepoix  and garlic and saute for 10-15 mins till vegetables soften.
Add tomato sauce and saute for 10 more mins, then add your herbs.
Add remaining red wine, some more salt and pepper and reintroduce the heart and bones in the pot. (add 1/2 flour and incorporate if thicker stew is desired)
Cover and seal edges (I do it by first covering the pot with foil, then jamming the cover over the foil)
Cook on the lowest heat possible for 2 hours.
Before serving, extract the bones and heart, slice the heart in thin slices and serve over stew. (Bones can be discarded or eaten)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Desi Paneer Pizza

A desi variation of the good 'ol pie.

The Dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour.
1/2 packet of active-dry yeast.
pinch of salt.
1 tsp of sugar.
0.8 cups of water.

Add the yeast to water and microwave for 30 seconds or till the water is warm.
Add sugar to the yeasty water and let sit for 10 mins.
In a mixing bowl, add the flour and salt.
Introduce the yeasty water to the flour in parts and knead into a smooth dough.
Knead for atleast 15 mins till the dough looks slightly glossy and uniform.
Cover the bowl and let it sit for 30 mins till the dough rises to almost twice in size.
After 30 mins, punch the dough to remove all the air bubbles. Let it sit covered for an hour more.
Finally on a clean kitchen surface , dust some flour an on this take the dough ball and roll it with a rolling pin to a circle base about the thickness of a naan (1/2 cm).
Take the base and set it on a pizza oven pan.

The Sauce:
2 tbsp of oil
1 small onion
1 tbsp ginger/garlic paste
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric power
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp kasoori methi powder
1 tsp mango powder or juice of 1/2 a lime.
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 can tomato sauce
1/4 cup half and half

In a sauce pot , add finely diced onion to hot oil and saute for 2 mins.
Add the ginger garlic paste and reduce temperature to low.
After 2 mins add all the spices and salt and a sprinkle of water to avoid burning.
After the spices start sweating, add the tomato sauce and turn the heat up to medium.
Cook for about 20 mins, then turn heat to low and introduce the half and half.
Cook for about 5 mins more then turn heat off and allow sauce to cool.
With a spoon evenly spread the sauce on the pizza base leaving about 1/4 inch on the border.
Take care to keep the coat of sauce thin and even and use only as much sauce as required and save the rest.

The Toppings:

1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup of freshly made paneer

Sprinkle the paneer on top of the base and sauce. Fill the gaps with mozzarella till you can barely see the red sauce peeking through the cheese. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top for garnish.


Boil 1/2 gallon of whole milk.
Add 1tbsp of lemon juice diluted by 1 tbsp of water gradually to the boiling milk till the curds start to seperate.
Will a slotted spoon scoop the curds out onto a cheese cloth.
When all the curds are transferred to the cheese cloth, wrap the curds entirely with the cloth and squeeze out any remaining water.
Hang the cheese ball enclosed in the cloth for about 30 mins.

Bake the assembled pizza in a 400 degree oven for 20 mins , or till the cheese start bubbling and the crust starting browning a little.

Slice and serve.

P.S Payal Paradkar knows how to make the best paneer ever!!!!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday evening blues

Mystery and allure.
A dark wet night.
From the window of my favorite cafe,
lurid thoughts escape.

Fire engine sirens.
Car tires swish.
Jazz music in a seedy bar,
accompanies the concerto.

Coffee and cigarettes.
Thoughts and ideas.
Tears and melancholy.
You and me.

A favorite meal at night.
Senses are tickled.
Then he gives me a bone.
I might need a long walk.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

High Steaks

As a steak lover I try to consume organic , sustainable and aged beef whenever I eat steak which is about twice a month. Obviously the traits I mentioned above come with a price and so over time I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to find the best cheap cuts and optimum ways to extract the tenderness and flavor you would expect from an expensive cut like the filet mignon or the rib-eye. One of my favorite economy cuts is a bit rare as most chain groceries make two cuts out of the same peice of meat . Top sirloin is the length of muscle right below the tenderloin. Scientifically called the biceps femoris , its nearness to the kidney gives it a more mineral flavor which is quite unique. Since this muscle does not have a lot of fat marbling and hence is a lot leaner , it is sold cheaper than its neighbors tenderloin and sirloin. When cut french style which is in steaks of at least 2 inch thickness , it offers the home cook a chance to cook it in a tender, delicious way. The thickness is important while cooking as it helps keep the lean inside moist and tender while searing the steak on the outside. Only a handful of meat shops that I know carry thick steaks of Top Sirloin. In Seattle A&J Meats shop in Queen Anne and all the Whole foods shops come to mind.

Pan seared top sirloin with potato and pea hash and blue cheese sauce:

~Heat pan on really high heat with a tblspn of canola till the oil starts to slightly burn . Season room temperature steak generously on both sides with fresh ground pepper and sea salt and introduce in the pan .
~Without disturbing the steak sear on one side for 4 mins , then the other for 3 mins and then turn heat down to medium.
~Add two pats of butter with two cloves of garlic and a sprig of thyme to the pan and baste the meat for about 2-3 mins.
~Introduce the pan in a 400 degee oven for 5-10 mins , depending on the thickness of the steak.
~The goal it to get the inside of the steak to 130 degrees which is medium rare.
~Remove steak from oven and rest on a dry room temp. plate for about 5 mins before slicing for presentation.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lamb kebabs , chickpea masala , mint sauce

Start out with never frozen freshly ground lamb ... highlight one spice and add few others for certain high notes and cook the kebabs to medium (150 degrees) . What you will get is the bold flavor of lamb enhanced by its own tenderness and mouth feel with the zing and slight aroma of earthy spices.

Cumin scented Lamb Kebabs:

2 lbs of freshly ground lamb
1 large red onion, finely diced
6 cloves finely diced garlic
1 tblspn diced ginger
1 large egg
3 tblspns chickpea flour
1 tblspns cumin powder
1/2 tblspn garam masala
4-5 sprigs of finely chopped cilantro
lemon juice from one medium lemon
1/2 to 1 tblspn of kashmiri lal mirch ( less pungent variety of chilli powder )
1.5 tblspns of salt
1/2 tblspn ground black pepper.

-Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl for about 5 mins till they look homogenized.
-Rest the mixture in the fridge for 1-2 hours for the flavors to meld.
-Remove mix from fridge and rest for about 30 mins so that the mix comes to around room temperature.
-Gouge a small amount from the mix ( enough to make a oversized meatball) and roll it in your palm , then flatten two opposite sides and then flatten the edges to make the shape of a small round box. The box should be about 1/2 inch thick with a diameter of two inches.
-Heat a pan to medium with tblspn of canola oil , and fry the kebabs for about 4 mins each, or till the side touching the pan is caramalized to a golden brown. (no oil is needed as the lamb consists of about 20% fat, but the canola keeps the kebabs from burning)
-Then either shove the pan in a 350degree oven for 5 mins or cover the pan with a aluminum foil and let it sit on a really low flame for 7-8 mins.

Chickpea Masala:

1 can chickpea , drained and rinsed.
1 small red onion , julienned
2 diced roma tomatoes
2 seranno chilis , finely chopped
4 cloves garlic , finely diced
1 bay leaf
pinch of brown mustard seeds
pinch of cumin seeds
2 cloves
1/2 teaspn turmeric powder
1tblspn cumin powder
3/4 tblspn vinegar
1 tplspn salt
roughly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish.

- Heat oil on a medium flame in a pan .
- introduced mustard seeds and cumin seeds after a while , they should start sputtering immediately.
- add the cloves, bay leaf, ginger , garlic and fry for about a min without letting the garlic burn
- add the onions with a pinch of salt and saute till the onions became translucent
- add the tomatoes with rest of the spices and vinegar and thoroughly mix for about a min
- then add the chickpeas with rest of the salt , cover and cook on low heat for 30-40 minutes.

Mint sauce:

3-4 ounces mint leaves , washed and roughly chopped
2 tble spoons of diced ginger
1/2 tblspn salt
1/4 tblspn ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream.
1 teaspoon of mild tamarind water (for acidity and balance)

-Blend all ingredients thoroughly in a blender, then strain it through a seive for a smooth finish.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fish in a pond

The swish of a knife the sizzle on a pan
Sweet sweat on the clavicle of a recognizable tan

As I sneak on the bearer the fritters come alive
In a frenzy of grease they begin to jive

The bearer undaunted turns about face with guile
With a hot flat handle she threatens awhile

But the mirth on her face has put me to ease
The fritters keep popping the sweat doesn't seize

Just then in that moment of unfettered love
White froth in steel threatens to run amok

With seconds to spare the golden beads are mixed
The burgeoning broth of goodness ceases to resist

As the clock chimes the fifth time and the sun starts to alight
The aroma of the broth and the sweat seem just right

Like yesterday the heavenly sip has renewed the bond
O' mother without you I would be a fish without a pond.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Soul Soup for a Chicken

That is what I felt like last week ..all cooped up in my room with a nasty cold. My words sounding like 'cluck cluck' or even less coherent. Since I had been trying to rid my pantry of all processed foods , there was nothing I had that could be shoved in the microwave for a hot dinner so I decided to experiment with soup cooked from scratch. Not only did it turn out to be the best soup I have ever made .... this chicken could pretty much fly after the last drop hit the back of my sore throat.

Soul Soup:
What you need:

About half a pound of frozen or fresh chicken with bones (wings , legs, thighs ..the works).
Three chopped carrots , six chopped stalks of celery , one large diced onions , four cloves of garlic, six sprigs of thyme, soy sauce , chili sauce , patience.

How to make it:

In a large pot with six cups of water add the chicken with three pinches of salt and pepper and bring to a boil on high heat.
Once the water has been boiling for about a minute, add the celery, carrots , onions , garlic , thyme and reduce the heat to medium ..cook a further 20 minutes.
Extract the chicken and discard the thyme. Pull chicken from bone with a fork or fingers and reintroduce the bare bones to the pot...cook a further 20 minutes.
Extract the bones for the last time and blend the contents of the pot in batches to a smooth consistency.
In the last batch add about a fifth of the pulled chicken , a pinch of salt and pepper and blend away.
Introduce all blended batches with rest of the pulled chicken back to the pot and add a couple dashes of soy sauce and red chili sauce ( adding a little extra soul to the soup) and adjust the seasoning.

Serve hot and top it up with shredded parmesan and spring onions.
p.s: I didn't actually fly , but I did feel rejuvenated enough to walk across the street to the pharmacy to buy cough syrup.