The Sensitive Kitchen

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cabbage Paruppu Dry Curry

Today was one of those days when I looked bleakly into the fridge and thought to myself, "All I have in here is a head of cabbage!" Fortunately, the rest of this dish comes together with pantry staples, meaning we added a few whole wheat tortillas and ate very well.

1 1/4 c water
3/4 c toor dal
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 small head cabbage, chopped
1 1/2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp urid dal
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
5-6 fresh curry leaves
2 Tbsp unsweetened dried coconut

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add turmeric, stirring to dissolve, then dal. Return to a boil, then simmer covered on LOW for 20 minutes, or until the dal is cooked through, but still firm, and all water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, place cabbage in a medium saucepan with 2 Tbsp water and salt to taste. Cover and cook 15 minutes or until cabbage is tender but not soggy. Drain off any excess water.

Heat oil over high heat in a large skillet. When hot, add mustard seeds. When they pop, add urid dal and crushed red pepper. When the dal turns golden, add curry leaves and cooked dal. Reduce heat to medium-high; fry for 2-3 minutes. Add cooked cabbage and coconut; cook until all the water has evaporated. Serves 4.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Best Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

Today I received the best compliment a cook can get: a little girl I know asked her mom to get this recipe from me so she could eat it for her upcoming birthday. She ate it once, three months ago, at our house. I am bowled over with love. That, in a nutshell, is why I cook.

7 ozs Barilla Plus elbow pasta
8 ozs reduced-fat shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (I used Lucerne)
1/2 c 1% milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 c reduced-fat sour cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/3 c panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp freshly grated Romano cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder (I use Trader Joe's - it smells like real garlic)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray. Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, get a medium bowl and stir together milk, eggs, sour cream, mustard, salt and cayenne. Set aside.

Drain pasta; return hot pasta to pot. Add cheese to hot macaroni. Stir milk-egg mixture into macaroni-cheese mixture. Pour into prepared casserole dish.

Combine bread crumbs, Romano cheese, garlic powder and oil in a small bowl until blended. Evenly sprinkle crumb mixture over macaroni; lightly spray with nonstick spray. Bake until filling is hot and topping is golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve hot.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Best Winter Vegetable Soup

Don't fear the parsnips. They add the sweetness and depth of flavor that elevate this soup above others.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
3/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 c shredded green cabbage
1 can organic diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4-6 cups water
1 Tbsp broth concentrate
2 Tbsp pastina or other very small pasta shape
4 c shredded kale

In a large pot, saute onion in oil over medium heat until translucent and beginning to brown. Add garlic and celery; cook a few minutes. Add herbs, crushing in your palm to break them up. Saute until fragrant. Add parsnips, sweet potato and cabbage. Cook 2-3 minutes, then add tomatoes, water and broth concentrate. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Stir in pastina and kale; cook 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve.

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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Spaghetti with Kale, Garlic and Pecorino

A lovely winter dish suitable for all ages. The kale cooks up so mild and tender that even veggie-haters (like my youngest, who refuses to touch most dishes containing greens) will gobble this up. 

If you feel like gilding the lily, pine nuts, Kalamata olives and feta cheese make excellent additions. Bring the dish through to the spring season by adding halved heirloom cherry tomatoes.

3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red chiles (to taste)
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped to yield 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp
1 large bunch kale, stemmed and chiffonaded to yield 6 to 8 cups leaves
10 ounces Barilla Plus spaghetti
1/2 cup chiffonaded basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for passing at the table
Salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

While pasta cooks, heat olive oil over low heat in a large saute pan. Add garlic and crushed red chiles. Cook 5 minutes or until garlic is soft and mixture is very fragrant.

Add kale; stir to mix, then cover and cook 2-3 minutes or until wilted. Add pasta; toss into kale mixture with 2 forks to evenly distribute kale into pasta. Stir in basil and cheese; add salt and pepper to taste. Top with additional cheese to taste. Serves 4.

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