Sunday, August 30, 2009

South Indian style green beans

This style involves popping black mustard seeds and generally layering a variety of flavors.

I like to do all the preparation before I get the skillet hot so that I can time things nicely and not have to be trying to prep things and add things all in a rush. The first stage is popping black mustard seeds and that requires a nice hot pan like you would heat to pop corn. Once the oil is just on the verge of smoking I pour in the mustard seeds and cover the pan so the seeds don't fly about. After popping has slowed down I lower the heat and put in a dried chili and some hing.

I soaked urud dal for awhile to soften it and put it in after the popping to toast it a bit. It absorbes flavors differently than the veggies and brings out a lot of flavors. Once the dal is golden I add the "soft" veggies to become tender. I like them to be just at the tender stage, with the onions turning translucent.

Once the veggies are starting to get tender I want to add in more "top" layers of flavors. Tonight's version has a fresh Thai green chili, garlic and ginger. The Thai chilis are firey - I added one for this whole pan full of veggies, and I'm a bit of a chili weenie, so you may want two or three.

Fresh curry leaves are a wonderful accent, and I put them in about the last five minutes. For this version I also squeezed in the juice of half a lime.

It's fragrant and yummy!

Friday, August 21, 2009


At the point when lettuce becomes more annoying than a pleasure I turn to cucumbers and tomatoes for salad inspiration. This adorable salad has those two basic ingredients and then onion, fresh garlic, fresh basil, fresh parsley, capers, an anchovy filet, salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice and olive oil.

Using the basic cucumber and tomato combination this salad can be dressed in an infinite variety of ways. Then the additional ingredients are up to you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Breakfast Soup : yet another variation

These flat noodles have become a soup favorite. Lots of slurping pleasure.

The kombe (kelp) adds that little bit of seafood flavor. I also used a shrimp soup base, carrots, onion, and tofu. The kelp comes out, since it's a bit woody, and I added wakame for the dark green color and more seafood flavor.

This gorgeous little green Thai chilies are a nice addition to spice up the rich soup. I use only half of one and remove the seeds. A friend claims the seeds are bitter, but I've never popped one of the little devils into my mouth. They require a good deal of caution. If you use these chilies and you have not done so before, please use caution and wash your hands a couple times afterwards before you touch sensitive skin areas. I put them in about mid way through the preparation so that the chili infuses the broth and becomes a nice background flavor.

I like a bit of cilantro for garnish and scallions are also nice.

Buffalo Wagon

I went shopping for slacks at the Talbot's surplus store on Metro Park Dr. and as I left, hungry, I spied this Asian restaurant across the way and decided to give it a try.

A serving of pickled carrots and peanuts was brought as a light appetizer on the house, and they were a nice complement to the rather heavy meal I selected.

The spring roll appetizer was on the greasy side and nothing special, but I did manage to get its photograph. I failed on my entree, which was the crispy roasted pig, sold by the pound.

It was delicious if not handsome. The pound portion would be the perfect thing to order with a vegetable entree and split between three people. It's salty roasted pork goodness is the perfect complement to rice. I took two thirds of it home and had two more meals with it, all lovely and satisfying.