Friday, January 27, 2012

How Irie.

I made Rasta Pasta!

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I thought it was good considering I have only had it once and it did taste really good!  Also there are a few recipes for Rasta Pasta online and they  are different. I chose one that I would call “ital.” Typically, Rastafarians believed in “clean eating” way before it was a fad to eat clean. We used to refer to this type of food as “ital” which is derived from the word “vital”. Eating clean is vital to Rastafarians.

I suppose the name of this recipe came from the fact that the sauce itself is very natural. This recipe had all the spices I love and the vegetable I love too. I knew I couldn’t go wrong with choosing it, especially since the hubsta loves to eat “ital” food.  However, what went wrong was my preparation time. My original recipe source said 20 minutes!  Oh boy.. where they incorrect. I totally underestimated how long it would take to prepare this dish. My advice to anybody that wants to attempt this pasta is to prep everything prior to cooking.

The sauce for the pasta is so tasty, I almost wanted to just eat that alone! I know for sure I will be using the same ingredients for the sauce to make a great soup one day. I didn’t serve this pasta with anything else. No bread…no salad. It was a one meatless meal all on its own. Now if you want to add chicken to it I am sure that it would be great too. But this is the perfect recipe for the vegetarian or the “ital” eaters in your life.

So here goes..

Recipe

Source: Group Recipes

 

Ingredients:

4 oz uncooked penne
1/4 cup butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 chili pepper, seeded and minced
2 cups diced pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash
1 cup water or vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 green pepper, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 small zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup corn kernels, fresh,canned or frozen & thawed
6 broccoli florets,blanched

 

Directions:

Place the pasta in boiling water and cook. Drain and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan.

Add onion, garlic, ginger and chili pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes.

Add the pumpkin and water to pan and cook 15-20 minutes or until tender.

Add coconut milk, coriander, cumin, thyme, white pepper, nutmeg, allspice and salt, and simmer for another 4-5 minutes.

Place the mixture in a food processor and process 15 seconds, or until sauce is smooth.


In a large skillet,melt remaining butter and add the green pepper, mushrooms, zucchini and sauté for 4-5 minutes.

Add corn and broccoli and sauté for 2 more minutes.

Pour pumpkin mixture into skillet and stir.

Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for about 1 minute.

Blend pasta thoroughly into the mixture.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cream of Fresh Cauliflower Soup

So fresh and so yummy.

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Don’t let the good looks fool you… this is some good good soup. Made with curry and vegetable broth the flavor is one you savor forever. This will be in regular rotation in my house.

The motive to making soup today in this 62 degree weather in  January in Atlanta is for a good cause. The ASPCA and a blog that goes by the name of Branny Boils Over.

I had the pleasure of meeting and dining with “Branny” in May 2011 at the Blogher Food 11 Conference here in Atlanta. Prior to meeting her I have always admired her blog. I felt like I knew her before actually meeting her because in her writing I got a good sense of what type of person she is. Upon meeting her just solidified all my previous assumptions. She is pretty cool. Likes to laugh and smile and can be serious and not so serious. Just my type of girl. Icing on the cake? She loves animals and this year, the second year, she is honoring her love of animals by turning our focus on them and their needs.

For every soup recipe she collects with picture via blog or email she will donate $1 to the ASPCA. This encouraged me to break out the soup bowl. And you should too. Lets support the ASPCA together.. go on over and check out the rules of Souper Bowl Round 2 on her blog and take out your soup pots, bowls, Crockpot or whatever it is that you can to whip up your soup. The deadline is January31st, 2012!

 

Cream of Fresh Cauliflower Soup Recipe

Amended from a recipe by:  Jessica S. Wade

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cups sliced fresh cauliflower

1/2 tsp curry powder

1 tbsp of butter

1 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp salt

dash of black pepper

1 cup low fat or skim milk

 

In a saucepan, combine vegetable broth, onion, cauliflower and curry powder.

Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Place half the cauliflower mixture in a blender and blend for 30 to 60 seconds or until smooth. Repeat with remaining mixture.

In same saucepan melt the margarine and blend in flour, salt and pepper.

Add the milk.

Continue cooking and stirring until mixture is thickened, smooth and bubbly.

Stir in the cauliflower mixture.

Cook and stir until the soup is heated thoroughly. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Optional:  Garnish with sprinkles of cauliflower mixed with red pepper flakes.

 

~~This year she asks us to dedicate our post to a pet. I have had a few pets in my life so it was hard to pick just one. I don’t have a picture of any of them…not on paper anyway. Just in my heart. So, I dedicate this post to my pets gone but not forgotten… Frisky, Kujo, Whiskers, Misty and Shadows. Thanks for the joy and I and my family shall continue to spread it.~~

Monday, January 23, 2012

Molasses and Ginger go hand and hand

..or hand to mouth.

 

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I finally made my mom’s gingerbread! And it was so worth it! The recipe is easy as ever and I am not sure what took me so long to make it! Especially since gingerbread is one of my favorites.

My mom visits me often and on one such occasion I asked her to make the gingerbread so that I could watch.

There is something about the hand of a mom that makes everything taste good…even when she adds more or less of an ingredient than the recipe calls for. Not sure how that is possible because with baking everything comes down to science. Perhaps that skips their generation of moms..because no matter what she decided to add to the recipe it always works out.

So I tried it myself and I tried to do it as she did. I substituted butter for margarine or shortening which is what her recipe called for. I just don’t bake with those ingredients so I risked the change in texture and taste for that. Also instead of putting a cup of molasses.. why not add the whole bottle!? I watched her do that herself when she showed me. My mouth dropped open because I was so sure the recipe was a goner from that. And just as her,  I did no other adjustments to the recipe to compensate for the addition of extra molasses. Just a prayer and a whim that it will work out.

I enjoyed the smell throughout the house as it was baking. And not once did I text her to ask her any questions as I usually do when cooking or baking something that I love when she makes it. I had to decrease my baking time as the smell became so intense that this cakiest knows..it is done. When she baked it the gingerbread took an hour. With my hands it took about 45 minutes. Maybe she did add something extra I didn't know about. She can’t tell me all her secrets or should she?

Results? Perfect gingerbread. Not her gingerbread.. but pretty darn close. Maybe because of the butter…but my guess  is that I was missing that generation of “ just add this and add that.” But regardless, my gingerbread was still darn good. It didn’t last 2 days in this house.

With that said I am going to post my mom’s recipe for Gingerbread.

Update: In doing some research I recently found this recipe online at  allrecipes.com !

 

Seriously good…

 

 

My Mom’s Gingerbread

 

12 ounce bottle of molasses (the darker the better!)

1 cup hot water

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg, at room temperature

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare 9 x 13 inch baking pan with grease and flour for easy release. I use Bakers Joy :)

Combine molasses and hot water in a medium size bowl and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a separate bowl

Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl.

Add egg

Add dry ingredients (flour mixture)  alternately with water and molasses mixture to the creamed butter and sugar in the mixing bowl, ending with the dry ingredients.

Pour mixture in baking pan and place in oven for 30 minutes at 350 then drop temperature to 300 for approximately 20 minutes.

Gingerbread should be baked when tester comes out clean.

Let cool and carefully remove from pan.

 

For extra yummy goodness.. pour some warm custard on top!

 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How would you like your Tuna Steak?

Seared or burned?

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I can’t tell what this is. But it tasted great! I have never had tuna steak. Nor have I had anything seared or even attempted to sear anything myself.

Today, tuna steaks were on special at the grocery store. I didn’t even know if  the hubsta ate tuna that was not in a can. I am pretty sure he appreciates anything that is not “canned” anyway. So the tuna came home with me.

Searching for a baked tuna steak recipe I came across a Marinade for tuna steak. This could be grilled but some people seared it.

Seared? Well, why the heck not? I was feeling adventurous. After all I had just baked 3 cakes, boiled sweet potato, steamed vegetables, baked chicken and cooked rice. I might as well end my exhausting day with an adventure.

I marinated the tuna steak and let it come to room temperature. I learned that watching a video I found online… gooo me :)

My mom had been hounding me to buy a cast iron skillet… and thank goodness after her hounding of 7 years we got one last week. This was perfect to test out my newbie searing skills.

I got the skillet hot hot hot. Well..that is what they said. I think I put too much oil on the bottom of the pan but nevertheless, it got hot. I placed 2 tuna steaks in the pan and let them sizzle. I had to walk away as I was tempted to touch them. But I had learned that I needed to leave them alone. That is hard… anything in a pan I immediately feel that I have to turn or mix or just mess with.

I watched the clock. 3 minutes? 4 minutes? 5? Oh dear… isn’t it supposed to be kind of pink in the middle? The hubsta will not eat pink fish unless its name is Salmon. Anything other then that is just plain old undercooked. So I watched it and the clock and hoped that I didn’t over cook it. Okay.. I couldn’t make it the entire 5 minutes on one side. I turned it at 3 or 4 or something…it doesn’t matter because I think I burned it. Crust… yeah.. black crust. Oh well.. blackened tuna steak is good. Right?

I let it sear (burn) on the other side for about 2 minutes. I didn’t see any pink line in the middle of the tuna steaks. I then removed. I was nervous but I took my fork and flaked it. It was no sign of pink. I over cooked it, over seared it…burned it. Well, hubsta would say it was cooked. But…is it hard… like burned hard..and rubbery? I tasted..

Best.fish.ever. Well almost. But close. My mouth sang. Yes… score. I can say it again with confidence because it tasted great. No pink…a little black around the edges…but the taste was great. Seared or burned … this wife that bakes… loves it.

Recipe source for Marinade : Allrecipes.com

My one adjustment is not using soy sauce. I love Publix Steak marinade and substituted it for the soy :)