cooking


I joined the local food coop, Karma Coop early last month. It is no behemoth like the last one I belonged to, but it certainly gets the job done.

Anyway, I saw these patty pan squashes at the coop, and I thought to myself, what the hell do you do with these?

patty pan squash

They looked so darned cute, so I had to try them. Chocolate and Zucchini happened to run a recipe that looked interesting, so I tested it out this weekend.

patty pan squashes cut up

chopping up herbs

Instead of breaking out the mini-chopper, I just coarsely chopped the herbs, thrashed it all around with the rest of the dressing ingredients.

Originally I wasn’t going to blog about this recipe, but the first forkful I put into my mouth was so delicious, I just had to post about it. The whole recipe is really outstanding and simple to make. Get those patty pans while they’re still in season!

kale pre chipping

Most weeknights, I throw together a quick and simple meal for myself. A great thing to have under the tool belt is a quick, easy, nutritious snack/side dish like kale chips. The kale chip comes from my friend L, so I cannot take any credit for it, except that I make everyone I know eat it.

These are incredibly easy to put together. Preheat oven to 350F. Get a bunch of kale, chop off the end bits and discard. Then chop up into pieces no bigger than 1 inch/3 cms. Put into a mixing bowl, and toss with olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper. Feel free to add in your own spices.

kale chip prep

Spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until everything looks crispy.

kale chips on the baking sheet

Take out of the oven, and careful not to burn yourself while munching on them. They’re fun to eat!
kale chips finished!

bag of mint

My friend R was moving out of her place last week, and I helped her move into her new place. Before she vacated the premises, we grabbed as much mint as possible from the garden she was leaving. By the way, apparently, you’re supposed to plant mint in a pot, otherwise it will take over your entire garden. I filled a bag full of mint and there was still plenty left growing in the garden.

I had dreams of making some mint juleps, but there was a lot of mint, and I haven’t found a proper julep cup yet.

Instead, I went back to the chutney recipe from last month.

I did one thing a bit differently, I let my tamarind soak longer.
tamarind soaking

Last time, I only let my tamarind soak for about 15 minutes and it was hard to seed. This time around I let the tamarind soak for 24 hours. Other sites say that you can soak for a minimum of 2 hours and it will be easier to handle.

Same basic premise, ginger, garlic, red onion, chilies, lemon juice, tamarind, mint, salt, pepper:
mint chutney pre blend

Blend everything well:
mint chutney blended

Easy peasy, the whole process took about 15 minutes plus 24 hours for tamarind soaking.

I had never seen mint flowers before, and assume that they’re edible. Has anyone tried cooking with them? Or are they purely ornamental?

prepping for coriander chutney

When I was still living in Brooklyn, our household became obsessed with Swad Coriander Chutney from Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights. We put it on everything. We would buy huge jars of the stuff and put it on salmon burgers, veggie burgers, all sandwiches, toast, eggs, rice, salad, beans, etc. It was our newest hot sauce.

To that end, having not yet found the equivalent of Patel Brothers in Toronto*, I decided to make my own coriander chutney. I always find that I buy a bunch of coriander use about half and then it goes bad in my fridge. Making coriander chutney seems like a good use of resources.

I used this recipe from indiasnacks.com and made a few adjustments.

Dhanya Chatni (Fresh Coriander Chutney) Recipe
Servings: 1

Ingredients

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 lb coriander stems & leaves; washed, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup coconut; finely chopped
1/4 cup onion; finely chopped
2 tablespoon ginger root; finely chopped
2 teaspoon chile, red, hot; chopped
1 teaspoon sugar, granulated
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, black

Directions: How to Cook Dhanya Chatni (Fresh Coriander Chutney)

Combine lemon juice, water and 1/2 cup coriander in blender; blend at high for 30 seconds until pureed. Scrape sides, add 1/2 cup coriander. Repeat until all the coriander has been pureed. Add coconut, onions, ginger, chili, sugar, salt and pepper. Blend again. When perfectly smooth, taste and add more sugar or salt if desired. Serve immediately or keep tightly covered in refrigerator up to 1 week.

From “The Cooking of India” posted by DonW1948@aol.com

coriander chutney ingredients in the bowl

I left out the coconut, and added some tamarind. As usual I added a little too much chili so it’s a bit on the spicy side.

coriander chutney!

Going to make a coriander chutney, avocado and cheese sandwich after this post goes up.

* To be fair, I haven’t yet been to Little India on Gerrard, so it’s really my own fault.

I’m currently having a preoccupation with making milk by-products. Since I’ve started making my own yogurt I’ve been left with an excess of whey on my hands. I looked around the internet to see what was the best way to use the leftover whey. I found a few ways to use the way:

1. Drink it.
2. Feed it to someone’s dog or cat.
3. Make your own whey powder.
4. Use it in curry, or soup.
5. Bake bread.
6. Make ricotta.
7. Make paneer!

I chose #5, especially since I'm not exactly a huge fan of ricotta. Paneer, I had heard was pretty easy to make. Again my first batch went a bit awry, but my second batch went off without a hitch!

First you start with some whey (about 1/4-1/2 cup) and about a liter of milk (preferably full fat).

step 1, paneer making

Bring the milk up to boil and turn off the heat, immediately add your whey (or other curdling agent like lemon juice). The curds should separate from the whey. If not, stir in more whey.

curds separating from whey

It looks totally funky, but don’t worry! Strain out the curds from the whey by lining a colander with cheesecloth and squeezing out as much water as possible. Quickly run the curds under cold water, and it’s now time to press the paneer.

pressing paneer

I used my cast iron pan with a brick wrapped in newspaper to press my paneer. I let it stand for about an hour and a half. Soak the paneer in cold water in the fridge overnight.

paneer!

I made saag paneer the next day. I would say double the recipe for the amount of paneer that you get from the liter of milk. I found that I had way more paneer than saag.

I have always wanted to make my own milk by-products. First on my list is yogurt. I eat a lot of yogurt. I go through one of those big tubs of yogurt in 4 days. Every morning, I wake up, put some yogurt on granola and fruit and that’s my breakfast.

I followed a tutorial from the Times and one I found from randomly while googling.

I will say that the NYT tutorial was a bit better for me because I got too bogged down by the details from the other more comprehensive guide. I also got frustrated with my thermometer and that made me throw out my whole first attempt. By my second attempt, I just eyeballed the thing and didn’t use a thermometer.

Harmony Milk from Fiesta Farms.
I got some nice whole milk from Fiesta Farms (new favourite grocery store!). On my first attempt, I did the double boiler thing. On my second attempt, I just heated the milk directly.

milk in a double boiler

Heated the milk up until it got all steamy. Put the pot into an ice bath and waited for the milk to cool off. Added the last two tablespoons of balkan style yogurt from the store. Stirred the whole thing up. Put it into a pyrex covered container, wrapped everything into a towel, and put it into the oven with just the light on. The hardest part was to wait 7 hours.

After 7 hours, I lined a colander with cheese cloth, poured the mixture into the colander and set it over a mixing bowl overnight. Here’s the end product: yogurt!

I especially enjoyed this morning’s breakfast!
mmm, yummy breakfast

The only thing I would change is that I would wait longer than 7 hours so that the yogurt would come out more tart. Otherwise, the consistency was right on the money.

My Fort Myers trip wasn’t all about oysters, but we did some cooking too. I’m not use to all the strip malls, but our trip to Publix was amazing. The staff there were super awesome to us.

Anyway, by the end of our trip, we had a fridge full of odds and ends. I made up a quick quinoa salad with green peppers, red peppers, red onion, pear, cilantro and tomato. I learned about quinoa in university, and loved it ever since. It’s a nice alternative grain to throw into the mix when you’re tired of making rice.

quinoa salad in fort myers

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