Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spinach Gomae

I always order these at sushi restaurants, and then think to myself why am I ordering this when it has to be so easy to make! Well, it is. Almost too easy - especially if you take a couple of shortcuts like frozen spinach and tahini.

  • 3-4 bunches of fresh spinach or 1 large bag of frozen whole leaf spinach
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • water
  • sesame seeds
How to:
  1. Either blanch the fresh spinach and immediately cool in an ice bath or defrost the frozen spinach. In both cases, the spinach should be cold.
  2. Press all of the water out of the spinach. Using a ring mold (or biscuit cutter) form the spinach.
  3. Mix the tahini, soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar in a bowl. If the mixture is still too thick and not sauce like, slowly add water until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
  4. Pour the sauce over the spinach and garnish with sesame seeds.
Notes: I think the sushi restaurant I order these at the most uses brown rice syrup instead of sugar because the sauce has a more syrupy consistency. The taste was definitely right on, but I might swap out the sugar next time and use brown rice syrup to see if that makes a difference in terms of texture.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Chocolate Dipped Candied Orange Slices

I ate these every time I visited Bern, Switzerland last summer. There was a darling chocolate shop in the Old Town of Bern that had the most delectable chocolate dipped candied orange slices - among other treats. I have been meaning to try my hand at making these since I got back to the States. I finally got around to it. I did a little researching for recipes, and they all seemed to vary quite a bit in the sugar to water ratio. Rather than following any particular recipe, I decided to go with using a basic simple syrup -- equal portions water and sugar -- and it turned out great.

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

How to:
  1. Using a very sharp knife, slice the oranges into wedges about a quarter inch thick. I was able to cut 16 slices per orange, but this will depend on the size of the oranges you're using.
  2. In a large skillet (at least 12 inch) bring sugar and water to a boil.
  3. Place the orange slices into the skillet. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the orange slices simmer for about 30 minutes, until the pith becomes translucent. Flip the oranges once or twice and occasionally press the oranges down into the syrup.
  4. Remove the orange slices from the syrup and cool on parchment paper.
  5. When the orange slices are cool, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Dip half of the candied orange into the chocolate and let set on a sheet of parchment paper.
  6. The orange slices are ready too eat once the chocolate is cool and hard -- you can store the orange slices in the refrigerator.
Notes: Don't forget to save the syrup from the skillet! It's great over pancakes, ice cream or in other baked goods. I am trying to think of what to use mine in. Also, the bigger the skillet the better - you do not want to over crowd the pan. I was barely able to get 2 full oranges in a 12 inch skillet.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

Are you looking for a dish where the leftovers are not only as good as the day you made it, but maybe even better? Moroccan chickpea stew is one of those dishes for me - it's a hearty meal and somehow keeps tasting better every day.


For the stew
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1 medium size eggplant
  • 3 small Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 medium size yellow onion
  • 28 oz can of tomato puree
  • Apx. 14 oz of water
  • 15 oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup of golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2-4 dried whole chilies
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or kefir
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • slivered almonds
For the couscous:
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon bouillon
  • 1 cup couscous
How to:
  1. Chop the onion, eggplant, carrot, cauliflower, and potatoes in to larger than bit size pieces
  2. In a large heavy bottom skillet, or a dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Saute the onion until translucent, then add the carrot, cauliflower, potatoes. Add a little salt to taste and cook the veggies for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the tomato puree, water, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon and chilies. Cover and continue to cook until the carrot and potato are soft enough for a fork to pierce through easily.
  4. Add the raisins and chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes. Salt to taste.
  5. In a medium size pot bring the water for the couscous and bouillon to a boil. Once the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat and add the couscous. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  6. In a small bowl mix the cilantro and yogurt/kefir.
  7. Serve the stew over the couscous, and garnish with the yogurt/kefir mixture, and slivered almonds