Monday, November 24, 2008

Yammy Bread in White

It's that time of year again! Hurray! Sweet potato season makes for very yammy breads. Last year it was with an orange sweet potato. This year it was with white.

I was surprised (probably for no good reason) to find out that the sweet potatoes are very similar in flavor. The bread came out a bit lighter, but I think it's mostly because Mark didn't write down the recipe last year, so he had to reinvent it. It was so good to eat it straight out of the oven with just butter spread on it. Mmm... melting in the mouth...

Two rather large sweet potatoes make a lot of bread. Mark baked one of them - the long one - in the ceramic bread pan, and the other in a small glass loaf pan. It stuck terribly to the glass and was very difficult to remove. The bread was slightly damaged, but it was still yummy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Southwestern Waffles

This one came from the Vegetarian Times Magazine. Mark was skeptical, and loyal to his initial reluctance, he decided that he didn't like them so much, but "they're ok". *I* thought they're GOOD! But I like savory waffles. Especially with sweet corn kernels and yummy Hoffman super-sharp cheddar cheese inside.

They were topped with beans, corn and salsa, and then some sour cream. Delicioso!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Indian Feast

We got an Opo squash the other day, and the oracle said we should make an Indian dish called OLAN out of it. So that's what I did 2 nights ago. Of course, Mark had to bake bread for it, so he made some naan. It turned out delicious! The sweetness of the acorn and the sofness of the naan complemented each other wonderfully!

To make the olan, follow the recipe, but just note that Opo squash is VERY similar to zucchini, so if you don't feel like going to the Asian market just for the former, just use the latter. The acorn squash, in my opinion, deserves the most credit for the deliciousness of this dish, as does the coconut milk. Also, I did not have coconut oil, so I just use 1 T of vegetable oil. Also, I did not have green beans. I can't see how omitting them would harm when you already have such a delicious vegetable as acorn squash. Yumm!
I found that cooking halved acorn squash in the microwave (in a covered bowl with a bit of water) for 5 minutes or so makes it softer and much easier to dice. It also saves some over-the-stove time.

We had leftovers for last night, but not enough for a whole meal. So I added some traditional chickpea dish that my mom taught me, and mark made some crisp and delicious chapati that turned out almost the same as the one my mom makes (she usually doesn't use whole wheat)!

Making Southern Indian dishes is really simple once you have a few essential ingredients, and most of them use pretty much the same technique - the only thing that changes is the vegetable. I think it's worthwhile investing a little in those special ingredients, especially since they are not expensive and they can last a long time.
The essential ingredients are:
  • Mustard seeds (can get at Asian markets)
  • Curry leaves (available at Asian markets, and keeps in the fridge. They dry out and are usable for at least a few months).
  • Dried red pepper (available at Asian or Mexican stores)
To make the chickpea dish you will need:
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 t mustard seeds
  • 1/2 T chopped (or crumbled, if the leaves are dry) curry leaves
  • 3-4 dried red peppers, crushed (less if you want less spicy)
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • salt to taste
  • cumin, turmeric and paprika (a little of each goes a long way!)
  • Heat the oil in a small-medium pan.
  • When the oil is fairly hot, add the mustard seeds and cover immediately. A few seconds later the seeds will pop. Reduce heat to medium.
  • When the seeds stop popping, uncover and add the onion, pepper, and curry leaves.
  • Cook until onion is golden-brown.
  • Add chickpeas and spices and stir for a few minutes.
You can substitute chickpeas with either cooked diced potatoes or cooked red lentils for variation. It's highly recommended to turn the over-the-stove fan on HIGH or else you and your surroundings will smell very Indian...

For dessert, we had a sweet snack that my mom sent me:

I don't really know what's inside, but it's really good and probably not very healthy :)