Aloo Gobi

On July 16, 2017, in Food, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I don’t make enough Indian food at home. Perhaps, it’s because we have some excellent Indian restaurants around Los Angeles.  One of my favorites is Mint Leaf in Altadena.  They make great Indian food that reminds me of place that started my love for Indian food back when we lived in Michigan, Priya in Troy, Michigan.

Now back to my kitchen.

Indian food isn’t a difficult cuisine for the home cook. Sure it uses a couple handfuls of spice jars every time, but if you’re like me you have a hundred spice jars and can pretty much make anything without a long list of spice jars for that one-off recipe.

A favorite dish has become Aloo Gobi. It’s a vegan dish made with potatoes and cauliflower. It’s fairly simple and only took about 30 minutes to prepare.  Add some rice and you have an easy, exotic vegan dish in no time at all. I ran across a recipe on Pinterest from the blog Edible Garden.  I had to adjust some things as the cooking time was way off and the flavors need some adjustment.  You can find the source recipe here.

Aloo Gobi
Serves 4

1/2 head or 2 cups chopped cauliflower
4 medium potatoes, large dice
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp ginger, diced
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2-3/4 tsp red chili powder, adj for taste
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garma masala
1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste

Heat pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat and place onions, garlic and ginger in pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Cook without burning and then add diced potatoes and chopped cauliflower to the pan.  Stir pan and add the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil to coat potatoes and cauliflower. Add some salt to taste. Cover and heat stirring every few minutes so the items do not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.  Cook covered for about 10 minutes.

Add the spices and tomato paste to the pan and coat all the items to combine.  Cover the pan again and stir every 3 minutes and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Try a potato to check for doneness. When ready, add the chopped cilantro to the pan to coat and serve immediately over rice.

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Asparagus Soup

On May 7, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This is simple, quick recipe that only takes about 20 minutes to prep and make. Add a salad with some cut apples and red onions and some crusty bread to make it a meal.

Asparagus Soup
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 bunch asparagus, tips and mid section cut into 2 inch pieces
1 quart vegetable broth
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained
Lemony Pesto (recipe follows)

In a large pot saute onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until the onion begins to brown. Then add the asparagus, reserve the tips.  Cook for another minute.  Add the vegetable broth and let the pot come to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes at a simmer.

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Add the beans and blend the soup with a immersion blender to get a creamy texture.

When ready to serve, add the asparagus tips and lemony pesto. Cook for about 2 minutes and then serve.

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Lemony Pesto

1 tablespoon garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon black crushed pepper
1/2 cup fresh italian parsley

Grind all ingredients together in a food processor or using a mortar and pestle.

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Braised Curry Cabbage

On March 20, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I mostly write and share main dishes from my kitchen, but today I spent a few minutes in the morning braising cabbage to enjoy throughout the week.

Braised cabbage is a wonderful dish that makes a great side to enjoy with many styles of cooking. This particular dish has a Southeast Asian vibe with garlic, ginger and curry powder bringing it to life.

The best part is this dish takes about 5 minutes of preparation and only 15 minutes of cooking.

Braised Curry Cabbage
Serves 4

1 whole cabbage, cut into large bite-sized pieces
1/2 onion, half moon thin slices
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water

Heat the coconut oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and salt.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes until browned. Move the onions to a dish to set aside.

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Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder to the pot and let it cook for about 1 minute scraping up and bits from the cooked onions.  Add the chopped cabbage and stir, letting the cabbage cook for about 2 minutes.  Return the onions to the stockpot and then add 1 cup of water. Cover and let the mixture come to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes.

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When finished, remove from heat and serve or place in a storage container to enjoy later. It can be enjoyed reheated or cold.

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Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Sauce

On January 18, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I love a simple recipe.

By simple I mean two key things, simple ingredients and simple to make. This dish I found on Pinterest on the Pinch of Yum blog met both criteria and is sure to be a go to recipe.

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You could make this dish with your favorite jarred sauce; though, I’d follow the recipe instead since the tomato sauce is easy to prepare and could be used for a lot of other dishes too if you wanted to make a double-batch.

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Checkout the Pinch of Yum blog. Her pictures are waaay better than mine too. Enjoy!

Full recipe: [Pinch of Yum blog, Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Sauce]

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Cavatelli with Vegetables and Olive Oil

On August 30, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Cavatelli is an often forgotten pasta. You probably don’t recall what it looks like when you see it on a menu, but when you see it you go “oh yes, I’ve had that before.”  It doesn’t have a familiar shape like bowtie, fusilli, or penne pasta. Cavatelli is great for sauces that are oil based, like this simple pasta dish that makes for a great lunch or quick dinner on any weekday.

Cavatelli with Vegetables and Olive Oil
Serves 4

1 lb Cavatelli pasta
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 bell pepper, small bite-size diced pieces
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
fresh ground pepper to taste

Parmigiano Reggiano, additional to add to pasta for serving

Cook the cavatelli pasta in a pot of boiling water.  If using fresh, cook for 2-3 minutes. If cooking dried, follow the instructions on the package. Drain pasta when finished.

Pour half of the olive oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat. Add the red onion, garlic, and bell pepper cook for 3 minutes. Add the drained pasta to the saute pan, remaining olive oil, grape tomatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano then cook for a minute more.  Before serving add the Italian parsley and pepper.

Sprinkle each dish with Parmigiano Reggiano, if you desire, and serve with a piece of sourdough bread.

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Cherry Republic BBQ Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

On July 6, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Normally I would put a pork butt in the smoker and wait 12 hours for an amazing piece of meat.  Unfortunately, a lot was going on this Fourth of July holiday weekend and well I almost forgot to cook the pork I defrosted.  It was 11am and we were getting ready to head to the beach so I needed to do something quick. So this is a solution to quick using slow.

A slower cooker (aka Crock Pot) was my solution. It was slow enough and fast enough at the same time. On high, I could have the pork ready in 6 to 8 hours the perfect amount of time for when the family came back from the beach ready to eat dinner.

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You do lose the rich smoky flavor with a slow cooker, but this recipe depends more on the barbecue sauce.  I went with one I received as a gift from Glen Arbor, Michigan’s Cherry Republic. Their Spicy Cherry BBQ Sauce has a hint of spice that still maintains the sweet cherry flavor. For a jar barbecue sauce, it’s pretty good for a sandwich like this, but you can use whatever sauce you like.

Before arriving home, we also made a quick stop for some La Brea bread bake at home ciabatta bread. They are a great option. If you can’t find them, use a rustic roll instead of a hamburger bun. You’ll enjoy it a lot more and the bread will not get soaked in sauce.

Finally for the meat, use a sustainable ranch.  For this recipe, I bought the pork at the Studio City Farmer’s Market.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Serves 4-6

3-4 lb Pork Butt
1 sweet yellow onion, sliced in half moons
4 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup bbq sauce (optional)

Combine dark brown sugar, salt, and spices into a small bowl.  Pat down the pork butt with some paper towel to make it as dry as possible and then rub the spice mixture into the pork on all sides.  Then add the onion and garlic cloves to the bottom of the slow cooker.  Place the rubbed pork on to the onion and garlic and pour in the stock around the sides so as not to wash off the rub.

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Cook for 6-8 hours on high or 10-12 hours on slow.

Remove the pork when done and then strain the liquid left in the slow cooker, reserving the liquid and discarding any onions, garlic, and fat.  Pull the pork by removing strands of meat and placing them back into the slow cooker and then add 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid back into the pot along with the bbq sauce of your choice.  Mix it up and then let it cook on low for 20 minutes in the slow cooker.

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Serve on hard bread rolls along with sides of your choosing.

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Vegan Superfood Bowl for #SundaySupper

On July 4, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Bowls are a great way to enjoy vegan cooking. They can include anything.  If you have some vegetables leftover from the prior weekend’s Farmer’s Market finds, a bowl is a fantastic way to use your remaining vegetables.  They’re also easy to travel with whether that includes a meal for lunch at work, a day at the beach, or to bring along for long road trip so you can avoid fast food.  Packing a vegan bowl is easy and simple.

This week I wanted to experiment a bit with dressing.  I also wanted to incorporate something known as superfood.

So what are superfoods?

I wondered that too and did a little research to learn more.

In it’s simplest form a superfood is basically any food that is good for your health.  Well that seems pretty broad and inline with most of what I eat. There must be more to it than that, right?  There is more. Foods that are dense in nutritional content are considered superfoods. Examples include ingredients like hemp seeds, chia seeds, seaweed, and many other foods are rich in nutrients in a compact size.

There is no agreed upon definition when it comes to superfoods. That issue has been a key criticism from many who are quick to attack the term superfood as simply a marketing term, chosen be a few savvy companies who use the term to sell products using a small amount of a superfood as a way into questionably better health.

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I’m not a nutritionist nor do I pretend to be one like The Food Babe.  I honestly don’t really care about the use of superfoods as a nutritional edge.  The reality is most of the superfood products use so little of the superfood ingredients that the benefit is likely very small, if there is any real benefit at all.  Even this recipe uses only a small of amount of superfoods like maca powder and hemp seeds.

What I do know is that the recipe here is good for you. It uses only real foods and is loaded with fresh, unprocessed, organic ingredients.  You really can’t go wrong with this dish.  Is it super?  Maybe.  I know it is super in taste and that’s what is most important to me and my family.

 

Vegan SuperFood Bowl
Server 4

2 cups dried farro
8 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

4 red beets, 1-inch diced cubes
1 purple bell pepper, cut into strips
2 japanese sweet potatoes, 1-inch diced cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch kale, rough chop
3 carrots, peeled and grated into long strips

For dressing

¼ cup almond butter
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven at 375 degrees.

Bring water to a boil and add dried farro and salt. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed by the farro. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork while adding olive oil.

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Meanwhile, place the beat, jicama, and bell pepper on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil and add salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes.   Remove from oven and set aside. Should be ready about the same time as the farro.

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Make the dressing by placing all ingredients, except the water, into a VitaMix or blender and blend. Add half the water and blend. Continue to blend and check consistency then add more water as necessary. It should not be watery or paste-like. You want a smooth and creamy dressing.

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Place a generous spoonful of cooked farro in each serving bowl. Add some chopped kale and carrots to each bowl. Then divide the roasted vegetables between bowls and keep ingredients separated. Drizzle the dressing in each bowl then serve with some rustic bread and butter.

Enjoy!

 


 

Want more great food that will travel recipes? Checkout this week’s Sunday Supper posts from some really great food bloggers.

Adventurous Appetizers

Destination Desserts

Mains in Motion

Sightseeing Sides

Traveling Treats

More Tips

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more greatSunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

 

 

 

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Spaghetti with Fava Beans and Mint

On June 17, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I am always looking for new ways to enjoy pasta. The base combination of olive oil, garlic and parmesan reggiano is the beginnings of a great dish.  The addition of the fava beans and mint give it some sustenance.  Finally, the addition of red pepper flakes kicks it up a notch, just be careful not to add too much of the red pepper as a little goes a long way.

Of course this dish can be made vegan by simply not using cheese or by using a vegan cheese.

Making your own fresh spaghetti is easy if you have the right equipment, if not you can do what I do most weekends and that is pick-up some fresh pasta.  The pasta I usually get is from Domenico’s as they are at many of the farmer’s markets I go to including South Pasadena, Studio City, and others around LA.

Spaghetti with Fava Beans and Mint
Serves 2

12 oz. fresh spaghetti
¼ cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup fava beans, peeled and blanched
1 small bunch fresh mint, thinly sliced
dash of red pepper flakes
grated fresh parmesan reggiano

If you did not purchase already peeled and blanched fava beans, prepare the fava beans and set-aside after blanching.

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Heat a pot of water for the spaghetti. Add a dash of salt to the water and add spaghetti when water boils. If using fresh spaghetti heat for only 3 minutes, and for dry spaghetti cook for 10 minutes.

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While spaghetti is boiling, in a sauté pan heat olive oil at medium-high heat and add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook the garlic for 2 minutes and then add the fava beans. Cook the garlic and fava beans for another 2 minutes and then add ¼ cup of water from the pasta. Now add the pasta to the sauté pan and mix with the fresh mint.

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Remove pasta to plate each meal and add the grated parmesan reggiano.

Serve with some garlic bread.

 

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Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup

On January 4, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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My wife bought me a new wood cutting board for Christmas and I found the perfect recipe to break it in.  It does make the vegetables more delectable than my bright green plastic cutting boards.  And while I don’t think I can attribute the new cutting board to this, but this recipe turned out amazing and maybe, just maybe, slicing the vegetables and chorizo on the new cutting surface may have played a small role.

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Besides exchanging gifts, the whole family exchanged germs too. The whole Christmas break was spent with a family of four sick people and what better way to get over an illness than a hearty warm soup.  Plus the addition of some spicy chorizo sausage in for good measure.

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Kale is helpful too and the starch in the potatoes helped to fill stomaches that weren’t feeling all too good to enjoy a large meal.  This dish also doesn’t use a lot of  ingredients but you wouldn’t know it with the abundant flavor it provides.

I found a simple recipe that at first I found too simple, but gave it a try and stuck to the recipe word for word. I’m glad I did.

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The soup doesn’t need any tweaking.  It has plenty of flavor and while I fought the desire to add some carrots or more onions, I decided to see how it went without my modifications.

My advice: Don’t mess with it.  Just make the recipe as is and enjoy a delicious soup.

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Full Recipe: [Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup]

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Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup

On June 8, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Lentil soups are very hit or miss in my experience.  They are often too watery, lack flavor, or get too complex where the soup has too much going on to enjoy it.  Fortunately, this evening was a hit or as my wife said “this one’s a keeper.”

I love coconut milk based curry and with this recipe you could go 5 cups vegetable broth to 1 cup coconut milk, just make sure you eliminate the tomatoes.

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The richness of flavor starts early. Using coconut oil the onion, garlic and ginger are cooked for a few minutes to give the soup a strong, flavorful base. Combining the curry powder, tomato paste for some additional time before adding the liquid helps make this soup deep in its flavor profile.  I only added 1 tablespoon of curry powder, the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons. I also used a yellow curry powder that is of medium spice.

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The lentils are added with the carrots.  Everything cooks for only 20 minutes once all is combined. This time is recommended as you do not want the lentils to get too mushy.  Plus the flavors combine plenty in this short simmer.  I added some cilantro near the end and then topped each bowl with bean sprouts and chopped cilantro.

Full Recipe: [Coconut Curry Lentil Soup]

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