The Sensitive Kitchen

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hot Cheesy Artichoke Crab Dip

3/4 cup light sour cream
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
8 ozs neufchatel (light cream) cheese, softened
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp chiffonade fresh basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 scallion, minced
1/4 c roasted red pepper, finely chopped
14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup (2 ozs) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese 2 cans (9 ozs) lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
Vegetable cooking spray
Smoked paprika

Mix all ingredients in order given. Scoop into a 1 1/2 quart oval baking dish prepped with cooking spray. Top with paprika. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until bubbling. Serve with pita bite crackers or crostini and fresh vegetables (carrots, red bell peppers, etc).

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Saturday, August 03, 2013

South Indian Okra Kootu

Okra is my family's favorite vegetable, and at no time more so than the dog days of summer when farmer's markets burst with an abundance of the small tender pods. This mild curry contains dal for protein and heft, and can stand alone with some rice and yogurt as a satisfying hot-weather meal.

1 pound small okra, ends trimmed, cut into 3/4" pieces (3-4 cups of pieces)
6 Tbsp moong dal
2 tsp rice bran or other high-heat oil3 red chiles, or to taste
2 tsp bengal gram dal
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp urid dal
healthy pinch asafetida
4 Tbsp shredded dried coconut
2 tsp Sucanat (or jaggery)
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp rice bran or other high-heat oil
1 tsp black mustard seed
2 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 Roma tomato, chopped, or a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Cut okra into small pieces. Set aside.

Boil moong dal in a partially covered pot with 2 cups water until softened and beginning to break down, about 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat 2 tsp rice bran oil over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add red chiles. When one side is brown, flip the chiles. Add bengal gram dal, stirring to coat with oil. When dal is beginning to brown, add urid dal, peppercorns and asafetida. Be cautious; peppercorns may burst. When urid dal is beginning to brown, add coconut. Stir just until beginning to brown; remove from heat. Scrape browned spices into a small blender jar; process with up to 4 Tbsp water until smooth.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add mustard seed; quickly cover. When seeds stop popping, add okra. Cook, stirring, until okra is no longer sticky and has browned in places but is still bright green, about 8 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cups water, spice paste, salt, and jaggery. Boil 5-10 minutes, or until okra is soft. When dal is cooked, add it to the kootu, stirring well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from heat; add tomatoes and cilantro. Serve with pongal or basmati rice.

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Barrio Cafe Guacamole

photo courtesy Barrio Café

1 avocado
1 heaping Tbsp diced tomatoes
1 heaping Tbsp diced Spanish or red onion
1 heaping Tbsp seeded and diced jalapeño
1 heaping tablespoon diced cilantro
1/2 fresh lime
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 heaping Tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds

Dice avocado into small chunks; place in a serving bowl. Add tomatoes, onion, jalapeño and cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime juice over mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Fold together gently. Add pomegranate seeds. Mix gently; serve immediately. Makes 4 servings. 

Approximate values per serving: 88 calories, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, 6 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 6 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 82 percent of calories from fat.

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