Posts Tagged ‘cayenne’

Kefta Tagine with Eggs and Roasted Cumin

January 16, 2012

After 2 weeks of not cooking, due to a lack of dishwasher (yes, we were actually so lazy we dirtied as few dishes as possible!), I wanted to try something lengthy, complicated, warm and comforting. Something that could go terribly wrong, but could also go terribly right. So, I broke out my Tagine cookbook, by Ghillie Basan, to find something spicy and filling to warm us on a cold winter night.

This dish caught my eye because even though it was comprised of the traditional lamb that is in many African dishes, it came together as meatballs, with sunny side up eggs, all cooked in the tagine.

The meatballs are called kefta, and they are filled with amazing spices, and are poached in water (which helps them keep their perfect shape), then cooked in spiced liquid that absorbs into the meatballs, and creates a hot, dry bottom of the tagine in which to cook the eggs.

Not only did the dish turn out perfectly, but the combination was nothing we had ever experienced. The spice, ras-el-hanout, is worth seeking out (I found mine at my local spice store, but you can also find it online).

My only caution is to be careful of the spice level. I will write this recipe with the spice level I used so hopefully it will do the trick (vs. the original recipe from the cookbook).

Trust me, it is worth the effort. And, ironically enough, at the end of the day there really weren’t many dishes to speak of – except the tagine itself (which doesn’t go in the dishwasher).

KEFTA TAGINE WITH EGGS AND ROASTED CUMIN
Serves 4

For the Kefta:
16 ounces ground lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried mint
3 teaspoons ras-el-hanout
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
a small bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Rest of the Dish:
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6-8 eggs
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, dry-roasted and ground
a small bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley

To make the kefta, put the ground lamb, onion, mint, ras-el-hanout, cayenne and parsley in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and mix well together. Using your hands, knead the mixture and mold it into small balls.

Fill a tagine (or dutch oven) with water and bring it to a boil. Carefully drop in the kefta, a few at a time, and poach them for about 10 minutes, turning them so they cook on all sides. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. Reserve roughly 2 1/2 cups of cooking liquid.

Add the butter to the tagine with the reserved cooking water and bring to a boil. Stir in the salt and cayenne and drop in the poached kefta. Cook over high heat until almost all of the liquid has evaporated (about 15 or so minutes). Carefully crack the eggs around the kefta, cover the tagine with the lid, and cook and steam until they are just set. Sprinkle the roasted cumin seeds and the chopped parsley over the top of the dish. Serve with pearl couscous and flat bread.

Maryland Crab Cakes

July 4, 2011

I recently finished a book called “I Loved, I Lost, I Make Spaghetti” by Giulia Melucci. The book was a quick read, and a wonderful mix between Sex in the City and Bon Appetit. The book takes you through Guilia’s dating life, along with the food she makes along the way. Recipes sneak into many of the pages, so the creations can be made by the reader.

When I read her crab cake recipe, made for her boyfriend at the time as an “all American dish,” I thought I could give it a try with the crab I had from a month ago (frozen) on this Fourth of July Weekend.

I have to admit I have tried crab cakes before and although they are always good, I could never get the texture just right. I am unsure if it was this particular recipe or my previous “practice,” but these cakes had the perfect crab cake texture. After reading more on the subject, I have a few tips for making crab cakes that don’t turn into crab scramble.
1. Make sure your recipe includes an egg as a binder.
2. Make sure your recipe includes some panko/bread crumbs as an additional binder.
3. Make sure to refrigerate for at least one hour to solidify before baking or frying.

Now that I have the basics down, I might get creative with this classic recipe – but for now, this is one of the best crab cakes I have ever had. I created a lemon mayo sauce to be served on the side.

Thanks to Giulia Melucci for her recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine.

MARYLAND COLONY CRAB CAKES
Serves 2

2 tablespoons celery, minced
2 tablespoons scallions, green parts only, minced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 pound crabmeat
1 1/2 cups panko
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 lemon, cut into wedges

In a medium bowl, mix together all but the olive oil, butter (and lemon wedges, of course). Shape into 4 patties. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour.

Over medium heat, fry in olive oil and butter until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges.Yields 4 small crab cakes (2 per person).

LEMON MAYO SAUCE
Add 2-3 tablepoons of mayo with lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Put a dollop on the crab cakes.

Mexican Feast: Grilled Ancho-Rubbed Pork with Smoky Tomato Salsa, Grilled Corn with Cheese and Lime, and Tangy Cabbage Slaw

July 21, 2010

Sometimes I find myself cooking and grilling in one-offs – I find a great steak recipe then think of a good potato recipe to go with it. I see a kabob recipe that looks good then think of some orzo or rice to go with it. Rarely, I have a cookbook or magazine article that gives me a full menu. And, what I have found is the more I try to cook from full menus, the easier it is to create my own.

This one came from Real Simple on an article about BBQing Beyond the Burger. I like it because it is an unexpected grilling menu, but is a great “theme” dinner and makes a good excuse to have a margarita! It seems like a lot of components, but take the effort to make them all if you can. They all meld together on your plate and complement each other perfectly.

If you haven’t used ancho chile powder, use this as your excuse to buy some. I like to think of it as a milder chili powder that has a bit of smokiness. It is traditional in Mexican cooking, and once you try it you will see why.

I recommend trying this menu on a Sunday night like we did – grill it all outside and enjoy a nice, cold margarita!

GRILLED ANCHO-RUBBED PORK WITH SMOKY TOMATO SALSA
Serves 8

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground ancho chili pepper or regular chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
3 pork tenderloins (about 3 1⁄2 pounds total)
2 pints grape tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 to 4 jalapeño peppers, seeded and sliced
16 8-inch flour tortillas

Heat grill to medium-high. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili pepper, cumin, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and 1½ teaspoons salt. Rub the mixture all over the pork.

Divide the tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeño peppers between 2 large pieces of heavy-duty foil. Dividing evenly, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Fold and seal to form 2 pouches.

Divide the tortillas between 2 pieces of heavy-duty foil and wrap.

Grill the pork, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 145º F, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, grill the tomato pouches, shaking occasionally, for 10 minutes; transfer the contents to a bowl. Grill the foil-wrapped tortillas until heated through, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve the pork with the tomato salsa and tortillas.

GRILLED CORN WITH CHEESE AND LIME
Serves 8

8 ears corn, shucked
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese) or Feta
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 limes, cut into wedges

Heat grill to medium-high. Brush the corn with the oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Grill, turning often, until tender and charred, 5 to 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the corn with the cheese and cayenne. Serve with the lime wedges.

TANGY CABBAGE SLAW
Serves 8

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 medium red cabbage (about 1 1⁄2 pounds), cored and shredded – one one bag of pre-shredded cabbage
2 large carrots (about 1⁄2 pound), grated
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, whisk together the orange and lime juices, oil, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.

Add the cabbage and carrots and toss to combine. Let sit, tossing occasionally, for at least 45 minutes. Fold in the cilantro before serving.

Pastitsio

May 22, 2009

IMG_0329Now I will admit, when I made pastitsio the other night, it was the first time I had even attempted it. It is a Greek dish – almost the Greek’s version of Italian lasagna. The bottom is a traditional pasta with tomato sauce (with some comfort spices like cinnamon) topped with a cream topping – either a custard or a cream sauce.

When I made it, one thought came to mind – why on earth hadn’t I made this before?! It is an amazing comfort dish that makes you feel all warm inside. To give you an indication as to how filling it is, the Greeks would traditionally eat pastitsio on Easter after a long period of fasting.

This version has lamb, but I have seen others with any type of meat. If you aren’t sure if you like lamb, this would be a great dish to test it out – it gives an earthy flavor that compliments the sauces perfectly!

This particular recipe is from my PBS station, The Everyday Food television series.

PASTITSIO
Serves 8

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound penne, cooked and drained
2 pounds ground lamb
2 medium onions, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta and drain. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, cook lamb, breaking apart pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a colander, drain fat, and discard. Return lamb to pan; add wine. Cook over medium heat until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cinnamon and 2 cups water; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Make Parmesan cheese sauce while mixture is simmering. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; whisk in flour until incorporated, about 30 seconds. In a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps. Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cayenne, if desired, and Parmesan.

Add pasta to lamb mixture, transfer to a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Pour sauce over the top, smoothing with the back of a spoon until level. Bake until browned in spots, 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool 15 minutes before serving.


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