30 Sep 2011

Tomato Jam


Tomato jam. When I saw the recipe I was intrigued. It promised to be a jam but with all the Indian spices involved I was convinced that it would be more chutney – like. I tried it out though. I was looking for a spread I could eat with a slice of toast before heading for work each morning and this completely fits the bill. Its thick and tangy but not so jammy that it has only sugar. Its sweet and salty with the perfect dose of spices. 




The best part about this jam is its versatility. I eat it with toast in the morning but I can see myself eating it like a pickle within a sandwich that has cheese and lots of veggies. I can also use it like a chutney with tandoori roti (flat Indian bread).

I put in a bit more of the spices than asked for and the flavor was evident though not powerful. But the best part were the tomato seeds that got roasted while the jam simmered. The white bits made the jam look so good. Go ahead and try it!


Tomato Jam
Adapted from The Wednesday Chef via Mark Bittman
Makes 1 small jar

Ingredients:

350 grams ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne 
1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes (according to the recipe) or ½ hour (for me). Taste and adjust seasoning, then pour into hot, sterilized jam jars, screw the lids on and turn the jars upside down to cool completely.






24 Sep 2011

Apple Pear Crisp


All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and Radhika a disgruntled girl.  I started a new job this month guys. Actually TWO new jobs (it is here that I must interject with an apology for the lack of posts this month). And teaching has not turned out to be such a piece of cake. For the past one month I have been studying like I have exams everyday! But what I did discover was, being disgruntled = awesome food!


I had ordered Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home toYours quite a while back and had been itching to try another recipe from it. However due to a lack of time I got around to making this apple crisp only yesterday! And boy, was I in a rush even then. You see, I had to make some notes (the same ones, again!) for my students because they had been misplaced. But the result was this delicious apple crisp that had an unbelievable contrast in flavor as well as texture.


I played around with the recipe a bit and used only 2 apples instead of 4 and put in 2 pears. I read up a lot on the correct quantity of fresh ginger that would be a substitute for ground ginger powder and ended up using only 1 teaspoon of it instead of the prescribed 1 tablespoon. I didn’t bother getting my measuring scale out and threw in what only looked like a teaspoon of cinnamon, what looked like a teaspoon of ginger and what looked like 115 grams of butter! The result though, was stupendous.



The crispy layer was grainy with a hint of cinnamon and ginger and held together by lots of butter. The next layer which was bubbling all around the crisp in the oven consisted of the apples and pears. They released all their juices and became utterly moist and flavorful. The cranberries all went to the bottom along with the sugar. The sugar caramelized and had a tinge of bitterness that was the perfect foil for the tartness of the cranberries. I had this crisp after / for three meals straight – served straight from the oven after dinner, chilled with a hot glass of milk for breakfast and warm with cold vanilla ice cream as an afternoon snack. Just thinking of it is making my mouth water and I think I need to make this again next week!





Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

For the topping

¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
½ cup oats
½ cup shredded dried coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 stick (115 gms) cold butter, cut into pieces

For the filling

2 medium apples, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
2 medium pears, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
½ cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F or 190 C. Lightly butter 8 oven proof bowls and place on a baking sheet.
  2. To make the topping: Put all the ingredients together and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed till it all comes together.
  3. To make the filling: Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. Divide the fruit evenly among the cups, then spoon an equal amount of topping over each portion. Bake the crisps for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the fruit juices are bubbling up around it. transfer the cups to a rack for 10 minutes before serving.



11 Sep 2011

Crispy Garlicky Baked Fries



I do not have words to describe these fries. How do you describe fries that are not actually deep fried but baked, that induces guilt free eating? Potato wedges that are wonderfully crisp and golden? A batch that makes the kitchen aromatic and smelling of warmth and home-iness?  


I didn’t even get to take proper photos as my family pounced on them as soon as they were out of the oven! We ate them with tomato and red lentil soup and it became a meal all by itself.

Garlic infused olive oil is the best thing that has come out of my kitchen and this is what I used to give the potatoes the awesome flavor. Also, since I find using the microwave a little scary, I parboiled the potatoes, tossed them in garlic and oil and then baked them for 45 minutes. These will give you wedges that are crispy on the outside and really soft and moist on the inside. Just what fries are like!


Garlicky crispy baked fries

Adapted from Lottie and Doof

Ingredients

15 small garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 russet potatoes (about 8oz each), each cut into 12 wedges
2 ½  tablespoons cornstarch / cornflour
2 teaspoon garlic sea salt (thank you, foodie!)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Method
1.Preheat oven to 475 F / 250 C. Combine the garlic and oil in a large bowl and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 3 - 4 minutes. Transfer 5 tablespoons of the oil (leaving the garlic in the bowl) to an aluminum foil coated baking sheet, tilting the sheet to coat.


2.Parboil the potatoes. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the remaining oil mixture and toss to coat.  Bake for 5 minutes.
                                                         OR

2.Add the potatoes to the bowl with the remaining oil mixture and toss to coat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and microwave on high power until the potatoes are translucent around the edges, 3 to 6 minutes, shaking the bowl to redistribute the potatoes halfway through cooking.

3.Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder (if not using garlic salt), and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the hot potatoes and toss well to coat. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning once, until deep golden brown and crisp, 30 - 40 minutes. Serve.