Monday, April 26, 2010

Tomato Jam

Delicious with plain couscous or as a condiment on Middle Eastern flatbread! And so easy to make...

Butter, 12 ripe tomatoes, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, rosewater, honey, and black sesame seeds.

Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add tomatoes, salt, spices, and rosewater. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer until most of the moisture has evaporated, about 40 minutes. Add the honey, mix well and cook for another 15 minutes. Stir in sesame seeds.
Store in a sterlized jar for up to one week.

Seafood B'stilla (Moroccan Seafood Pie)

Use whatever seafood you have - make sustainable choices, please! For this b'stilla I used Pink Shrimp (wild-caught, from Oregon), Bay Scallops (farmed), Mussels (farmed), Pacific Cod (longline-caught, from Alaska), Squid, and Shrimp.

Saute onions, garlic, mushrooms with the seafood, except the shrimp. Season with lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin. When seafood is almost cooked, add fresh, rough-chopped taragon.

Layer six sheets of phyllo dough is a large sauce pan. Fill the dish with the seafood mixture, drained of its sauce. Fold the overhanging pastry towards the middle and cover with a second layer of filling. Cover with the remaining pastry sheets and form a seam by folding the pastry over the edges and tucking inside the rim of the dish. Seal the seam with egg yolk. Overturn the pie onto a flat baking dish. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 400 degrees till the phyllo dough is browned and crisp, probably about 35 minutes.

In the meantime, marinate large shrimp in the cooking liquid. Pour off the liquid and quickly brown the shrimp. Lay a layer of thinly sliced lemons on the cooked pie and pile on the shrimp.

This is the dish that received the loudest ooos and ahhhhhs. Brian said it succinctly: "two of my favorite things - seafood and pie!"

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

This is so easy and so delicious. Just be sure to give yourself enough lead time if they're for a specific dinner; they need to be in the jar for at least three weeks.

Wash the lemons well. You can use any lemons, I suppose, but I always use Meyer lemons because the rinds are softers and lemons have more juice. Cut the lemons into quarters, leaving the attached only at the stem end. Pack the cuts generously with salt. Put a couple of tablespoons of salt in the bottom of a jar and pack the lemons in layers, sprinkling a thin layer of salt between each layer of lemons. Push the lemons down firmly to pack them tightly and to help express some of their juice. Add a bay leaf, or two, a few whole cloves. Cover them with water. Finish with a layer of olive oil. Cover the jar tightly. Leave at room temperature, in the dark, for at least three weeks.

Culinary Trip to Morocco

Since it's Jacob's birthday, I asked him to pick the culinary adventure for this month. He opted for Moroccan. On the menu...

Flatbread with Tomato Jam, Roasted Spiced Eggplant Puree, and Spiced Butternut Squash Puree

Seafood B'stilla

Vegetable Couscous

Lamb with Zucchini and Fresh Mint

Honey Wheat Pudding


Recipes and photos coming. It was a hit! Brian, Pia, Jenn, and Mike were debating whether or not this trumped January's South African foray to earn the distinction of 'best dinner of the year'.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Butternut Squash Tart with Spiced Almond Crust

Spiced Almond Tart Crust
1C white whole wheat flour
1C ground almonds
1/2C powdered sugar
ground cardamom
ground cinnamon
ground ginger
pinch of salt
3/4C butter

Preheat oven to 350. Put all except butter into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in 1t cold water with a form till the mixture forms a ball. Press the dough evenly into a pie pan or tart dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool slightly.

Butternut Squash Filling
Peel, seed, and cube one butternut squash. Boil in water till you can pierce them easily with a fork. Drain and mash. Let cool slightly. Add 3 eggs, 1/2C raw sugar, ground cardamom, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger, a splash of vanilla. Pour the filling into the crust.

Spiced Almond Crumb Topping
1C white whole wheat flour
1C ground almonds
1/4C powdered sugar
1/4C raw sugar
ground cardamom
ground cinnamon
ground ginger
pinch of salt
3/4C butter

Put all except butter into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the filling and return it to the oven. Bake till the filling is firm and the topping golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Egg Terrine

This was as delectable as it was gorgeous. I didn't make this lovely dish - Ulla did! -but here's my usual recipe for a veggie terrine...just remember to pick contrasting colors for an eye-catching dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a 2-pound loaf pan and line it with waxed paper or parchment. Keeping all the vegetables separate steam them until tender. Drain off as much liquid as possible, the more the better. Finely chop each vegetable and season well with salt, pepper, and coarsely chopped herbs. Beat the eggs and divide equally among the vegetables - mix well. Place the vegetables in contrasting layers in the pan taking care to smooth each layer so that the colours will stay separate. Cover the tin of layered vegetables with a sheet of lightly oiled wax paper

Stand the filled loaf tin in a roasting dish and add sufficient boiling water to come two thirds of the way up the sides of the tin. Don't let the tray dry out during the cooking time - add boiling water if required. Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes until a sharp knife comes out clean when inserted. Remove the wax paper and cook for a further 10 minutes. The terrine should cool for 10 minutes before turning out. To remove the terrine run a knife carefully round the edge of the baking dish and invert onto a suitable serving dish.

No longer a Yakiniku Virgin

One of my favorite things to do in San Francisco - well, really anywhere, I supppose - is to eat. And with the variety of cuisines to be had, I try to pick something new and adventurous when we go. Because my mother-in-law was staying at the Hotel Kabuki, I looked for something in Japantown that wasn't just noodles or sushi, though those are perennial Mann favorites!

Yakiniku (焼き肉 or 焼肉), meaning "grilled meat" is a Japanese term that refers to grilled meat dishes. At a yakiniku restaurant, you order several prepared raw ingredients and cook them on a gas grill built into the table.

This weekend, I did it for the first time and was quite enamoured with the process and the flavors. Delicious!

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