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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Tarragon Potato Salad

On August 17, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Summer is ending and with that comes the time of year when people try to get in the last summer picnics.  We were in Northern Michigan last week attending a BBQ at my brother in-law’s place and asked to bring a dish.  It had been awhile since I’ve made a potato salad, but there was something so good sounding when thinking about a fresh made potato salad.

I found some Tarragon at the local Farmer’s Market in Northport, Michigan.  There were some fresh shallots for sale too.

One of the great things about potato salad is how easy and versatile of a dish it is.  I’m not a fan of potato salads with egg whites, but if you are you can add some chopped egg whites to this.  Also feel free to add other vegetables like celery or carrots.

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Tarragon Potato Salad
Serves 6-8

3 lbs white or red potatoes, cubed into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large shallot, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Tarragon
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 10-12 minutes until cooked, but still firm not mushy. Drain and set aside.

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Add potatoes, mayonnaise, shallot, and Tarragon to a large bowl.  Mix and add some salt and pepper to taste.

Serve.

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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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German Lentil Soup

On January 14, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I lived in Portland, Oregon for 12 years growing up and one of my favorite places was The Rheinlander.  Our family would often do their Sunday Brunch, which is still the best brunch I’ve ever had. The restaurant also has an amazing cheese fondue that was reason number one to go there.  With so many great things, it was easy to overlook one of their best dishes – Lentil Soup.

Fortunately, chef Horst Mager published a cookbook years ago and I was sure to buy one last time I was in town.

Someone posted the recipe for the Lentil Soup on AllRecipes.com.  I highly recommend cooking this one and put up against your favorite lentil soup. If you have found better, please share. Otherwise, enjoy this wonderful German version then make some Wiener Schnitzel and Cheese Fondue.

Full Recipe: Rheinlander Lentil Soup.

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Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s Pie

On March 18, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Thank you FoodieChats. If you are not familiar with #FoodieChats on Twitter, I highly recommend you join the weekly chat held every Monday night at 8pm EST.  The group’s Facebook page posted a Shepherd’s Pie recipe from Gordon Ramsay that looked quick and flavorful so I decided to give it a try.  Here is the video rapidly showing how to make it:

 

Boil 5 medium Yukon gold potatoes in a pot of salted water.  Let them cook for about 10 minutes and start cooking the meat filling while potatoes cook.

First you begin with a pound of ground beef and a 1/2 pound of ground lamb. Cook it down, not letting it burn or get dry. Using a grater mince 1 1/2 medium size carrots and a small red onion and 2 cloves of garlic.

 

Let that all cook for about 3 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of worcester sauce, 1/2 cup red wine, 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary, and 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme. Let that combine and reduce until the wine is reduced by half for about 3 more minutes.  Then add 1 cup of chicken stock.  Let that cook down until the liquid is evaporated.

Once evaporated, spread the meat mixture into casserole dish.  Your potatoes should be ready by now and you can mash them with some milk, butter and 1/4 cup of Parmasen cheese.

Now spread the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture using a cake knife to make it smooth.  Using another 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmasen cheese spread that on top of the potatoes and then “fork” the potatoes to give it small peaks. Place in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes checking for a nice light brown top, no burning.

Will serve about 4 people.

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Vegetarian Chiles Rellenos

On February 27, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Mexican dishes offer a lot of options for vegetarian cooks.  There are a ton of recipes for vegetarian or vegan enchiladas, including some I’ve made myself.  Tacos, burritos and quesadillas are all excellent vegetarian options since pretty much everything is simply stuff a tortilla.  Stuffed peppers in dishes like Chiles Rellenos also provide an option for the non-meat eating cook.

This dish is adapted from a blog post find; though, the original post doesn’t give any exact measurements and tasted a bit bland so I’ve added a few changes to make it more flavorful.

Vegetarian Chiles Rellenos
Serves 4

4 Poblano Chiles
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, small cubes
1 can of black beans, drained
1 small red onion
1 cup red quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled queso blanco cheese
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste

Cook the red quinoa following the instructions from the quinoa bag or other recipe.  A simple version is 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed several times, added to a 1 1/4 cup of water. Once boiling then cover and reduce heatto simmer and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Roast Poblano chiles on an open flame or in the oven. For a gas stove, simply heat chiles on an open flame at medium-high heat turning often for about 3 minutes per chile.  Set aside in a paper bag and let cool. Remove after 5 minutes and peel skins and seed, cut open leaving top of chile and just enough to later stuff.

Meanwhile, boil potatoes for about 8-10 minutes in salted water. Add onion and garlic to a pan with the olive oil. Saute for about 4 minutes, do not brown. Add black beans and reduce heat to simmer.  Add cilantro and the other herbs to the pan along with the cooked potatoes. Increase the heat to medium and blend the mixture to coat with the herbs and salt & pepper to taste.  Remove from heat after combined.

Stuff the poblanos with the potato and bean mixture.  Crumble cheese on top of each stuffed chile. Place stuffed poblanos in a boiler for 3 minutes to let cheese melt and brown.

Serve using a large spoonful of red quinoa and placing stuffed poblano on top of quinoa.

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Last Christmas I asked for some new cookbooks to add to my bookshelf.  With the change to making vegetarian/vegan 4 times each week, I thought some updated cookbooks in my meat-focused cookbook collection would be welcome.

One book that kept coming up is Veganomicon many reviews felt it is the essential vegan cookbook on the mark and the subtitle even makes the not-so-subtle claim of being “The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.”

I made a couple recipes this past week. The first is vegan enchilada recipe that uses kale and potatoes.  The other is a leek and navy bean with biscuits recipe that reminds me of a meatless, no dairy version of a light chicken and biscuit recipe I also have on this blog.

Of the two, the biscuit vegetables and bean dish was excellent. One of the best vegan recipes I’ve ever had.

Veganomicon is definitely worth picking up.  I have a ton of recipes I still need to get too.  Fortunately the first two recipes turned out great.  I look forward to more ultimate vegan success!

Find out more about the book and buy it here!

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Vegetable Potpie

On January 16, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I now have to favorite must go places while in New York City. The first is Mario Batali’s Babbos. The second must stop is Candle Cafe, a vegan restaurant that is well-known in vegan and vegetarian circles.

My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas and one of the top cookbooks was The Candle Cafe Cookbook (I already own Babbos’ cookbook.)

Tonight I made my first recipe, but made some modifications that took it from vegan to vegetarian, plus had to change out some vegetables. I also took a short cut that I’m sure led to a lesser potpie and went with a store bought Immaculate Baking Company pie crust.

I highly recommend you  buy The Candle Cafe Cookbook as it includes how to make this vegan and also includes a recipe for herbed pie crust that I’ll have to try when I have more time.

Vegetable Potpie

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium red potato, peeled and diced
2 small celery stalks, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1/4 cup frozen sweet peas
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 rosemary sprig (or 1 tsp dried)
1 thyme sprig (or 1 tsp dried)
Salt and pepper to taste

Pie Crust, store bought or your favorite homemade recipe

Preheat oven at 325 degrees.  Lightly butter a pie plate.

Prepare the pie filling by heating the olive oil at medium heat and adding all of the vegetables and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes to soften, stirring often so vegetables do not stick to pan.  Add the wine, milk, butter, spices, salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium-low heat.  In a separate small cup put in 2 tablespoons of flour with just a little water and stir so there are no clumps of flour. Add flour water mixture to pan.  Let the filling cook for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf when done.

Roll out pie crust and put into pie plate. Add the filling and cover with sheet of pie crust making sure to add a few slits to top.

Heat pie in oven for 30-40 minutes until top is golden brown.


 

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Yankee Beef Pot Roast

On October 3, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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A simple pot roast for football Sunday

It’s football Sunday and with the Detroit Lions facing the Dallas Cowboys, it was going to be a day of sports and it was time for something basic. Something manly. Something like meat and potatoes. So I thawed a boneless beef chuck roast I bought on my last trip to Burgundy Pasture Beef Ranch and diced some vegetables.

Yankee Beef Pot Roast

Serves 4

1 boneless beef chuck shoulder pot roast (about 2 1/2 lbs)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups beef broth
1 cup dry red wine
2 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 potatoes, medium size cut into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into bite-size pieces
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch rounds

Combine 1/4 cup flour, salt and pepper in a 1 gallon freezer bag, placing beef into bag. Seal and shake to coat. Meanwhile heat oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Place beef into stock pot and brown evenly.

Remove the chuck roast after browning

Remove beef from pot and deg-laze with red wine. Scrape up beef bits and then add beef stock, thyme and remaining flour. Whisk to combine and return beef to pot. Let it come to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover stock pot and cook for 2 hours.

Add the vegetables to pan and then simmer covered

Add vegetables after the 2 hour simmer. Continue simmering for 45 minutes or until vegetables and pot roast are fork tender.

Serve with fresh bread.

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Vegetarian Tacos

On July 7, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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It’s no secret I love tacos, but finding a great vegetarian taco is not easy. So many restaurants over use bell peppers or try to get to complicated with sauces or cheeses. Fortunately, I found a fairly basic recipe from the vegetarian cookbook Appetite for Reduction. I modified it quite a bit, but kept some of its essence too as I liked the minimalist but impact of the spices used.

On a side note, our son Oscar liked the tacos too with one change – “no hot stuff.”

Vegetarian Tacos
Serves 4

1 medium yellow squash, cut into small cubes
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 small red or yellow potatoes, cut into small cubes and cooked
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed, removing all liquid
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup of salsa verde
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
tortillas
salt

Cook the potatoes in a small pot for about 8-10 minutes until done.

Start by heating the olive oil and cooking the squash and jalapeno together for about 7 minutes on medium heat and adding some salt to taste. Add the cumin, coriander, black beans and cooked potatoes to the squash and jalapeno. Cook for 5 minutes on medium-low heat then add the salsa verde and cook for about a minute more.

Heat the tortillas. I prefer heating them on a gas stove top turning frequently to get a nice charred burn or two.

Serve.

 

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