The Sensitive Kitchen

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Spaghetti Squash Sevai Uppuma (Spaghetti Squash South Indian Style)

Good in place of rice or noodles with other Indian dishes. Also good as a unique side dish in its own right.

1 medium spaghetti squash
1 1/2 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp urid dal (or 1 Tbsp broken unsalted raw cashews)
1/4 tsp turmeric
3 Tbsp freshly grated coconut
Cilantro (optional)

Pierce spaghetti squash with a knife in several places to create steam vents. Cook, either by baking (I like to bake it while using the oven for other things) or in the microwave, until a knife goes in easily. Allow to cool, then cut in half. Remove seeds and discard. Prepare flesh by raking it out with a fork into a bowl. Set flesh aside and reserve until ready.

When ready to cook, heat oil over high heat in a large skillet with a lid. Add black mustard seeds and cover. When mustard seeds pop, add cumin seeds and dal or cashews. When dal or cashews are just beginning to brown, stir in turmeric and salt, then add spaghetti squash and coconut. Toss with a wooden fork until spaghetti squash is evenly coated. If you're feeling fancy, throw in some chopped cilantro for color. Serves 4.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Oven Fries

4 good-sized Yukon Gold potatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Cut your potatoes into french-fry-looking strips, either by hand or with a nifty french fry cutter (I have one that used to be my mom's). Put in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes, then drain and dry well (this removes excess starch). Spread on a cookie sheet, toss with oil to evenly coat (use the tongs God gave you, aka your hands) and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 450 for 30-45 minutes, turning several times for even browning.

Asparagus and Red Onion Frittata

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small bundle asparagus, woody bases discarded, tops cut into 1" lengths
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
6 eggs
2 Tbsp water

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium-sized saute pan. Saute red onion until translucent and beginning to brown. Season to taste. Add asparagus; cook 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender.

While asparagus is cooking, break eggs. Whisk together with water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lower heat to medium. Sprinkle on parsley, then pour on egg mixture. Cook, stirring from the bottom with a heat-proof spatula, until about half done. Shake pan to distribute evenly, then pop the entire pan in a 400- to 450-degree oven (or under the broiler) for 3 to 5 minutes to cook the top.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Madison Farmer's Market Pasta

This is a peak-of-summer dish to celebrate the garden's bounty at its finest. Only use the freshest, ripest, most flavorful ingredients for this dish. If you're not in the mood for pasta, the remaining ingredients make a wonderful side dish on their own.

1 pound whole-wheat fusilli or other short chunky pasta
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, diced
4-5 small zucchini, cut in thick half-moons
4-5 small yellow squash, cut in thick half-moons
1 large heirloom tomato, coarsely chopped
15 kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
2 Tbsp capers
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh oregano

Start pasta water to boil. When boiling, add a generous amount of salt and cook pasta until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large kadhai, wok or skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook for a moment, then add red onion and increase heat to medium-high. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. When onion is translucent and beginning to brown, increase heat to high and add zucchini. Cook, stirring constantly, until zucchini is firm but fork-tender and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; add tomato and its juice, olives, capers, pine nuts, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

When pasta is ready, toss with vegetable mixture. The liquid given up by the vegetable saute should be enough to create a sauce with the pasta. If not, add pasta cooking water and/or olive oil to taste.

This dish is so flavorful that no one will miss the cheese. We had a bowl of freshly grated Pecorino Romano at the table, and no one touched it.

Serves 6-8.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Chicken and Potato Masala Burritos with Coconut Chutney

Fusion food in the truest sense of the word. Also great for travel - and they're very good cold.

Coconut Chutney:

1 coconut
3 green chiles, stemmed and seeded, or to taste
2 limes
1 Tbsp coconut oil
Salt, to taste
water, as necessary

Crack open coconut and remove meat from shell. Set aside.

Place green chiles in the work bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add coconut meat. Process until finely chopped and a bit sticky. Add lime juice, coconut oil and salt; process until mixed. With processor running, drizzle in water until chutney just comes together (it should be very thick). Set aside.

Potato Masala:

6-8 small Yukon Gold potatoes
1 tbsp canola or coconut oil
1 tsp black mustard seed
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp urid dal
6-8 curry leaves, optional
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped (I use a coarse microplane grater)
2 green chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 small yellow onions, diced
1/4 tsp turmeric
Salt, to taste
1 bag Quorn Tenders (optional; can substitute soy tenders or cooked chicken cubes based on dietary preference)
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped

Boil the potatoes in their jackets. Peel when cool. Set aside.

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mustard seed and cover. After mustard seed has spluttered, add cumin seed, urid dal and curry leaves. When urid dal has just turned golden brown, add ginger and green chiles. Stir a moment, then add onions. Cook until translucent.

Stir in turmeric and salt. Add Quorn Tenders, stirring to defrost. When tenders have browned a bit, crumble in potatoes with your hands. The chunks should be between the sizes of a pea and the Quorn Tenders. Stir and fry a moment until heated through and flavors are melded. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat.

To assemble burritos, warm 8 large burrito-sized tortillas. Spread each with a bit of coconut chutney. (You will have some left over, but it freezes well.) Add potato masala and roll up. Serve hot, or chill thoroughly and wrap in aluminum foil for travelling.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Chocolate Banana Date Pancakes

Adri ate two of these this morning, a first. She likes them smeared with sunflower seed butter.

I know the amount of sugar from the bananas and dates sounds like a lot. But you will need a lot to counteract the bitterness of the unsweetened chocolate almond milk and unsweetened cocoa powder.

2 overripe bananas, peeled
8 dates, pitted, or to taste
2 eggs
2 Tbsp flax oil
1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Place bananas, dates, eggs, flax oil, almond milk and oats in a blender. Puree. Combine dry ingredients, whisking together. Pour contents of blender onto dry ingredients and stir until combined. Cook on a griddle as you would regular pancakes. Makes approximately 2 dozen pancakes. Store extras between slices of waxed paper and freeze in a zip-top bag for breakfasts on the run.