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Thursday, April 21, 2011

baba ghanoush

Guys. I just made baba ganoush and it was SO GOOD.

Here is what I did. First, I had two little eggplants. Pro tip: in the future, I will get big eggplants, because there was not NEARLY enough of this stuff. Anyway, then I chopped it into slicesand sort of brushed them with oil and salt but APPARENTLY most people do not, they just poke holes in the eggplant. Either way you are supposed to grill the eggplant but your oven broiler works just as well! When it looks browned and squishy, remove peel, put in bowl. Avoid eating delicious roast eggplant. So good.
To mushy eggplant, add garlic (I had one HUGE clove), and a few tablespoons lemon juice and tahini. I put in a little too much tahini, but actually that is ok because tahini is delicious! Also, fun story, I went next door to my friendly local falafel-vendor-cum-middle-eastern-themed-convenience store to get some tahini  and then I asked if they sold any lemon juice and he poured me out a whole CONTAINERFUL and gave it to me for free! So that was fun.
And then salt to taste, and eat, for it is delicious!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Peanut sauce!

We already had peanut sauce on this blog a really long time ago, but today I made some myself, using the recipe in How to Cook Everything as a loose guideline. My version involved frying up some garlic and some pepper flakes, and then adding a splash of soy sauce, a pinch of brown sugar, several shakes of turmeric, the juice of an extremely aged lime, and of course peanut butter. (My motivation in making this was in part that we have several jars of peanut butter in my apartment for some reason and I decided some of it needed to go away.) I didn't have coconut milk, but I did have some dried coconut I bought at the asian market a long time ago. All that is necessary is to pout boiling water on it and let it sit about for a bit, and hey-presto, coconut milk. Though I must say it turned out rather thinner than store-bought, as did the sauce; this is probably due to the fact that I didn't measure out ratios at all.  Oh! and also you are supposed to put lemongrass in the sauce, but I had none, so I put in a bunch of ginger instead.  Anyway then you heat it all up! I put some egg noodles in it (the long kind that comes all wrapped up in a little knot--came from the same expedition as the coconut) and so I had peanut noodles. And I wish I made more because it was very good; though I think I need to experiment a little with the dashes and pinches and splashes to get it to be excellent.

Also, the various bagged items in my cupboard that I bought this winter have since inflated (well, the bags, not the items themselves). Low pressure front coming in?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Potato Gnocchi

Since Anna needs things to read...

Earlier this week my lab held its (questionably) annual potluck. I had to feed a lot of people, stay within my imaginary budget, and use up almost two pounds of potatoes before they were overwhelmed by eyes. And so I decided to make potato gnocchi (I almost made a potato cake, but this idea was vehemently rejected by a friend).

Anyway, the process is pretty simple, although the whole process, from washing the potatoes to making the tomato sauce that went with the gnocchi, took approximately five hours. It won't take this long if you don't attempt to feed anything larger than a family, but just keep the timing in mind if you're ever inclined to try this recipe.

2 medium potatoes (~400 grams)
70g flour
1/2 tsp salt
  1. Wash the potatoes and remove any eyes or damaged parts. Boil whole, with skins, until soft.
    (I boiled for about half an hour.)
  2. Peel potatoes, and mash in a bowl until smooth.
    (This is the key part--I mashed the potatoes with the end of a rolling pin until they were the consistency of slightly lumpy mashed potatoes. I then began to knead the potatoes with my hands until all of the lumps were removed, and the starch was drawn out. By the end, the potatoes had become a sticky, uniform ball.)
  3. Add flour and salt, and mix together into a ball of dough.
  4. Pinch off a bit of the dough and roll into a small ball. Place on a flat surface, and flatten the ball with the tines of a fork. This helps the gnocchi take up the sauce after it has been cooked.
  5. Repeat, repeat, repeat!

    In case you were wondering, 960 grams of potatoes makes 150 gnocchi.

  6. Bring a pot of water (with some salt) to a boil, then add the gnocchi. Once a gnocchi floats, remove quickly from the pot and let drain in a colander.
  7. To prevent the gnocchi from sticking to each other, drizzle a very small amount of olive oil on top and mix so that they are all evenly coated.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

things that are delicious

Guys, if you are reading this, don't. Go away and make something wonderful and write about it. I want to read! Shoo!

Anyway, here are things that I made recently that were good.
The first thing is inspired by something I had at a Turkish restaurant. It was basically tzatziki, but Turks don't call it tzatziki. Anyway, to make it, you will need some yogurt (which I have lots of), and also garlic and dill and cucumber and a little salt and olive oil. I think I used about half a bowl of yogurt and about an inch of cucumber cut up small, and several smallish cloves of garlic (can you have too much garlic?) and then put in as many shakes of dill as seemed useful and then a little more than that. The olive oil is mostly to thin it, only my yogurt is already kind of runny; but olive oil is also delicious. Anyway I served this with pasta, and it was good.
The other thing I made was to use up some leftover pasta I had from the previous thing, and also some broccoli raab I have lying around (I think it's in season? but normal broccoli is supposed to work too), and taken from The Cookbook. Basically, boil the green things in a pot, and meanwhile roast up some garlic in a skillet; when the raab is done, which takes less than five minutes, take it out with a slotted spoon and dump it in the skillet. You now use the same water to boil up some pasta, while stirring around the green things (possibly with some pasta water added to them); then when the pasta is good, drain it and reserve some water, and put pasta and water into the skillet and toss with some salt and pepper and maybe some red pepper flakes. Serve with some grated Parmesan/Romano. I put in a lot of red pepper and it was good; however I suggest erring on the low side for the pasta because my rotini to not-rotini ratio was really suboptimal.