Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rice with Vegetables - Indian style

An adaptation from Indische Kochen. Die Beste Rezepte, Edition Trautwein (p. 36)
400 gr. broccoli - boiled
300 gr. Basmati reis - boiled
100 gr. raisins secs
400 gr. carrots - boiled
200 gr. small tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
300 gr. Creme fraîche
2 tsp. curry powder

You can add also ananas, nuts or ginger.
And, in less than 45 minutes, you can make 4 hungry people happy.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Rice noodles with tofu

If you are in a hurry, as me - always -, but hungry and only 15 free minutes, I recommend the following dish:
1-2 pack of rice noodle
3 fresh tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
100 gr. garden beans
100 gr. silk tofu
You can share with another person and you can be friends for ever.

Salad of Fresh Vegetables with Tofu

Easy to make, tasty and in just 13 minutes, for 3-4 persons:
250 gr. soft/silky tofu
3 tomatoes
100 gr. garden beans
100 gr. okra

You can add some oil, but without it's still tasty.
Bon appetit!

Cannelloni with vegetables fantasy

I didn't prepare some special cannelloni, I worked hard only on the creative side of the filling.
And I had the following ideas, for 3 persons:

1 broccoli, boiled - 25 minutes
1 eggplant - fried - 15 minutes
5 potatoes, mashed with 2 nails of butter
The final mixture is filling the cannelloni to which you can add a good white wine.


MalawachImage via Wikipedia

Malawach is a fried bread that is a staple of the Jews of Yemen. It resembles a thick pancake, and it consists of thin layers of puff pastry brushed with oil or fat and cooked flat in a frying pan. It is traditionally served with a crushed or grated tomato dip, hard boiled eggs and skhug - סחוג - or for a sweet taste, it is often served with honey. Skhug is a Yemenite hot sauce, made from fresh peppers seasoned with coriander, garlic or other spices.

Here it is a recipe recommendation:
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday histories: Short story with okra

Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus Moench, known also as “lady's fingers” or gumbo) is cultivated in various tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world for its fibrous fruits or pods with white seeds. It can be frozen, pickled and canned and it goes well with tomatoes, onions, peppers and eggplant.


One of the earliest accounts of the vegetable is by a Spanish Moor who visited Egypt in 1216, who described the plant under cultivation by the locals who ate the tender, young pods with meal. It was brought to the “New World” around 1600, with the first transports of slaves.
In Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Yemen, and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean, including Cyprus and Israel, okra is widely used in a thick stew made with vegetables and meat. It is one of the most popular vegetables among West Asians, North Indians and Pakistanis alike. In most of West Asia, okra is known as bamia or bamya. West Asian cuisine usually uses young okra pods and they are usually cooked whole. In India, the harvesting is done at a later stage, when the pods and seeds are larger.
It is popular in India and Pakistan, where chopped pieces are stir fried with spices, pickled, salted or added to gravy-based preparations like Bhindi Ghosht or sambar. In western parts of India (Gujarat, Maharashtra), okra is often stir-fried with some sugar. Okra is also used in Kadhi. The ladies finger is used to make sambar (kodel) in Udupi cuisine.
In Singapore, okra is commonly a part of yong tau food – a Chinese soup dish - cuisine. As a part of the cuisine, it is stuffed with processed fish paste (Surimi) and boiled with a selection of vegetables and tofu. It is then served in a soup with noodles.

The vegetable

The species is an annual or perennial, growing to 2 m tall. It is related to such species as cotton, cocoa, and hibiscus. The leaves are 10–20 cm long and broad, palmately lobed with 5–7 lobes. The flowers are 4–8 cm diameter, with five white to yellow petals, often with a red or purple spot at the base of each petal. The fruit is a capsule up to 18 cm long, containing numerous seeds.
The products of the plant are mucilaginous, resulting in the characteristic "goo" or slime when the seed pods are cooked; the mucilage contains a usable form of soluble fiber. While many people enjoy okra cooked this way, others prefer to minimise sliminess; keeping the pods intact and cooking quickly help to achieve this. To avoid sliminess, okra pods are often briefly stir-fried, or cooked with acidic ingredients such as citrus, tomatoes, or vinegar. A few drops of lemon juice will usually suffice. Alternatively the pods can be sliced thinly and cooked for a long time, so that the mucilage dissolves, as in gumbo. The cooked leaves can also be used as a powerful soup thickener. The young pods may also be pickled.


It can be served raw, marinated in salads or cooked on its own, and goes well with tomatoes, onions, corn, peppers, and eggplant. Whole, fresh okra pods also make excellent pickles. Its mild flavor can be compared to eggplant, though the texture is somewhat unusual.
In the Caribbean islands, okra is eaten as soup, often with fish. In Haiti it is cooked with rice and maize, and also used as a sauce for meat. It became a popular vegetable in Japanese cuisine toward the end of the 20th century, served with soy sauce and katsuobushi – the name for a preparation of dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna -, or as tempura.
Okra forms part of several regional "signature" dishes. Frango com quiabo (chicken with okra) is a Brazilian dish that is especially famous in the region of Minas Gerais. Gumbo, a hearty stew whose key ingredient is okra, is found throughout the Gulf Coast of the United States and in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Breaded, deep fried okra is eaten in the southern United States. Okra is also an ingredient expected in kallaloo, a Caribbean dish and the national dish of Trinidad and Tobago. It is also a part of the national dish of Barbados coucou (turned cornmeal). Okra is also eaten in Nigeria, where draw soup is a popular dish, often eaten with garri or cassava – knows also as manioc. In Vietnam, okra is the important ingredient in the canh chua – sour soup dish from the Mekong Delta. Okra slices can also be added to ratatouille, combining very well with the other ingredients of this French popular dish.
The Thai variant – which I used by now - is keeping the same taste and texture, but might look as a medium zucchini.

How and what to cook

Okra may be stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel in a perforated plastic bag for 2 to 3 days, or it may be frozen for up to 12 months after blanching whole for 2 minutes. Cooked okra can be stored (tightly covered) in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
The leaves may be cooked in a similar way to the greens of beets or dandelions. The leaves are also eaten raw in salads. The seeds may be roasted and ground to form a caffeinate-free substitute for coffee.
Common Okra seed is reported to contain only 15% oil.  The oil is extracted from the seeds, resulting greenish-yellow edible oil with a pleasant taste and odor, high in unsaturated fats such as oleic acid and linoleic acid. The oil content of the seed can at about 40%. Oil yields from okra crops are also high. At 794 kg/ha, the yield was exceeded only by that of sunflower oil in one trial.
Also, okra can be dried and ground into a powder, to use as a thickening agent for soups and sauces.

Culinary use// Source: USDA Nutrient database
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy           129 kJ (31 kcal)
Carbohydrates        7.03 g
Sugars           1.20 g
Dietary fiber            3.2 g
Fat      0.10 g
Protein          2.00 g
Water            90.17 g

My experience

The first encounter was very bad, as I had lacked any basic experience and bibliography in dealing with. After boiling it for 15 minutes, the result was a terribly gummy vegetable, with a disgusting aspect. I got the recommendation of frying it by didn’t try it yet. By now, I used only the Thai - Siam herbs branded - but I am ready to try the tempura version in the days to come.

Here are some links for okra recipes:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ready for professional muffins (P)

At the end of the last year I was offered the occasion to write about the CSN Stores and to chose some products to test and write about after. My choice was Lust auf Muffins. The products arrived, are in my kitchen, waiting for me to finish the busy schedule to breath deep and cook some tasty muffins. Soon, this dream will become reality, count on me!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday salad with broccoli, carrots, nuts, mushrooms...and everything you want to

After one busy week, we need to rest and spend some quality time with our families. The food is ready, the Internet is off. It is an invitation to rest and positive thoughts. And for more inspiration, while tasting slowly my wonderful salad (for four)

2 big broccoli - boiled
300 gr. mushrooms, sliced and fried for 5 minutes
8 carrots, boiled and sliced
1 buch of fresh scallion
7 nuts
If you want, you could add some tomatoes too, parsley, dill, garlic (I'll never refuse such an opportunity), sesame seeds.
Befriend all of them, mix, put in the fridge and...that's all.
Preparation time - 25 minutes - including the boiling time for the vegetables.

Sweet avocado with lemon and sugar

I found the inspiration for this sweet avocado recipe from the South-African Cooking Book. The result was a bit different, and not exclusively a success, but I am not always hunted by the success of the (perfect) beginner.

What do you need to feed 2 (not always very sophisticated, but always curious) people:

2 medium avocados, sliced and minced in the mixer
1/2 lemon juice
200 gr. sugar - brown or white
You could add some avocado honey, if you are lucky enough to own.

Preparation time: 20-25 minutes

Mix all the ingredients together, and serve it cold or at the room temperature. 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Smoked tofu with tomatoes, garlic, sour cream and avocado

Did you miss my avocado recommendations? Well, be ready for more than one recipe. 

Let's start with the sour part:

To the wonderful recipe of smoked tofu with tomatoes and garlic, from the Vegetarian Tofu Recipes book, please be so kind and add a big avocado sliced and some 250 gr. sour cream, or yogurt. Maybe also some salt.

And, that's all!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Smoked tofu with tomatoes and garlic

The same source of inspiration, but an easier variant. To be included in the same category of spring recipes.

Here it is, for making happy 2 persons:

Smoked tofu
1 tomato, sliced
3 cloves garlic
100 gr. Garam Masala
3 tablespoon of oil

The basic architectural structure of the products - in various combinations, mine was a very stable one - is cooked in the oily heated pan for 16-20 minutes, at 100C. 

If you add a fresh lemonade with mint and some brown sugar, the meal will be even more delightful.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Simple tofu receipe - Mushrooms, tomatoes and sesame seeds

From the book of Tofu recipes, a simple and affordable choice

For 3 persons

4 tomatoes, sliced
250 gr. white mushrooms
2 eggs
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
7 slices of white tofu
With 100 ml. of olive oil in pan, add the ingredients one by one. Mix them slowly and wait maximum 15 minutes, at 100C for having a very good breakfast, dinner or lunch.

And, anyway, here it is an amazing air of spring so be ready to finish fast the good cooking for spending more time outdoors.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Green tea cookies

I am one of the biggest fan of green tea-based products. Maybe the tea is on the second place, but the cookies are a temptation I won't resist.

In Asia, I tried various combinations and I was rarely unhappy with the choices. But, apparently, the products delivered for the European market are not of the highest quality. I had a bad experience a couple of months ago with some moichi and it was repeated with the colourful cookie, made in Taiwan, I found in my "Asia shop" - a generic name for mosty Chinese, Thai and sometimes Japanese and Taiwanese products. The taste was like an unsuccessful combination of too much wheat and too much raw green tea. I gave a chance trying to consume with some tea or some coffee but the artificial and bad taste remained, as my deep regrets of not having a wonderful green tea dessert. 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mango with almond and baked bananas

Out of time and raw materials, but with a fresh lecture and keen to experience something new and tasty, I took the risk of a special South-African recipe, adapted to my time and - let's dare to say - cooking style (please, don't ask me to define what it is).

Ingredients, for 2 persons:

2 medium sized bananas halved
2 spoons of oil
1 egg white
1/2 mango sliced
2 spoons almonds
2 spoons cinnamon sugar

If you want a special taste, you could add the juice from half of a lemon.

Time for preparation: 30 minutes

How to:
Bananas are baked in the oily pan, for 7 minutes, at 100C
Beat the egg white, together with 1 spoon of cinnamon sugar, till you have a baiser.
Add the egg white and the almonds and bake them together for another 17 minutes.
Everything is done, so be ready to add the mango (and the lemon juice, if you want to) - in a more inspiring way that I did. To be served warmed or cold.
It was easy, isn't it?
Enhanced by Zemanta

Baked bananas with coconut milk

At the end of 2010, I recommeded fresh bananas with coconut milk. Since then, every time when I have the basic ingredients, I sip my coconut milk with bananas during my early morning writing hours. 

Times changed and I needed a kind of change, so I tried the baked bananas variant. Which is not so attractive and tempting. Sometimes, it's better to stay where you are. 
Enhanced by Zemanta

2 Cooking books

I was busy in the last days, but I was not starving. And, of course, I didn't forget about reading.
Here are my two sources of inspiration.

I was very excited to discover the South-African cuisine, a country I would like to visit one day. Lots of spices, the perfect sour-sweet combination I would always love, diversity of the vegetables and fruits. For the meat, I promise to never eat crocodile, zebra or oystrich. But I will strongly recommend soon, some salads and vegetarian meals (I am not vegetarian, though), adapted to my own style and taste. 

This collection of vegetarian recipes was easier to digest and I was pleasantly surprised about the diversity of choices - I never thought before making sweets out of tofu, and, after testing some of them I am definitely decided to explore more about. 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Looking for more tasty stories

Not too many stories left for the moment and I will need to spend some new interesting time looking for the best sources and inspiration for new recipes and cooking tricks. A very exciting writing and cooking start for this year, don't you think?
See you soon, my dear readers.

Fidellos Tostados

The one and only source of inspiration for this recipe is, again, Jüdische Küche. 100 authentische Rezepte
I made this dish a couple of weeks ago and what I will present here and now is an adapted version. In the original version it is recommended some rice and oregano and coriander too, but I preferred:
375 vermicelli - to be boiled
Olive oil - 60 ml.
1 dose of Tomatoes - 250 g.
Salt - 1teaspoon
Water - 500 ml.
orange pepper - 1/2 nail
All the ingredients will boil together for maximum 20 minutes. At the end, add some fresh parsley and this is!
The total amount of time you need is of approximately 45 minutes and this dish is for 5 hungry persons.
Enjoy your meal and when you will taste it you will get closer to the Spanish-Sephardi Jewish traditions.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Vegetables in coconut milk

Let's return to our Thai atmosphere - and, in my case, memories.
My basic source of inspiration for this recipe is here, but also my brain and taste that remember very well the tasty food I had in Thailand not so long time ago.
The maximum time for preparing is of approximately 1h.30 - depending of the time of boiling the vegetables. This is a dish for three persons.
Beforehand, you need to shop the following vegetables:
carrots - 7, to be boiled and then sliced
potatoes - 15, medium seize, boiled and then sliced
scallion - 7 finely chopped
garden beans (see the previous post) - 10, finely chopped
tomatoes - 5, sliced
ginger - 2-3 finely sliced
dill - one bunch, finely chopped
After the carrots and potatoes are ready, add the whole group of ingredients in a pan - 150 C heated - , where you add some canola oil - 100 g.

After maximum 15 minutes, you add 1 l. of coconut milk, add some salt - if do you have with some herbs, even better - and mix over and over again. If you have some saffron too, even better, and you will obtain a wonderful light yellow colour. Just the right rainbow for making you even hungrier and learn you to love for ever the Thai food. As I do.
Bon appetit!
Enhanced by Zemanta

A simple salad

Before starting to write about elaborate dishes, on the basis of very elaborate and complicate recipes, I would like to share with you another speedy food combination. Of course, it is about a salad, and you can prepare it in no more than 10 minutes - up to your speed, maybe for a normal person 15 minutes.
What do you need:
Rucola leaves - washed and chopped
Cucumber - chopped
Fat-free yogurt - 100 g.
Sesame seeds
Help the ingredients befriend each other by mixing them and then dare to eat it! It is fresh, easy to digest and to combine with some cheesy food, in the morning, evening or for lunch. Also, a good contribution of vitamins if you are on diet.
Enjoy and you will never have enough!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Siam herbs - sweet garden beans

From the same category with the previous post, I have the great honor to introduce you in the world of Siam Herbs. My choice for today - and for the meal I am about to tell you the story soon - is garden beans. I will not assign then a special taste - or at least this was the case of the products I bought - but freshness. In a spicy combination, this is the element of equilibrium, the balance of simplicity, bringing the air of early spring.
I recommend them in salads (very fresh and natural, without any add of oil) - together with tomatoes and carrots, or in the spicy food following this post.
Enjoy it!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Drinking as elephants do

This week-end, we were in an exclusive Thai mood, hence you don't have to wonder why the next posts will have at least one trace of South-Asian spice. But preparing for the spicy food, we bought a couple of Chang Thai beer, for properly cleaning our throats. In Thai, Chang means elephant, a national treasure there. It doesn't mean that the beer contains too much water, or only water, but the right combination for helping you to cope with the rich tastes of the food. And you can drink more than one, before risking to get drunk.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Orange Pepper

I didn't have any idea about the taste, but the name and the colour were enough for me for buying this spice. 
It contains: orange peel, pepper, curcuma and sugar.
When you taste it, the first second sensation is of sweetness. The next second, the spicy taste is getting more and more intense.
By now, I used it with chicken and also in some salads and the final taste was a perfect and pleasant surprise.