Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey and gravy pot pie

The sheer volume of meat on a sixteen pound turkey doesn't strike you, even when the bird comes out of the oven. It's when you start slicing it up, that the prospect of somehow getting all that meat eaten gets daunting. On Friday, I pulled together a turkey curry that worked well with the cornbread stuffing as well as the mashed potatoes. Today, the kids and I tried our hands at making a turkey and gravy pot pie! The kids took exception at the name, for some reason...but I talked them over that little technicality! They helped me dice the carrots with butter knives - that took about ten minutes. Then they enjoyed messing around with the dough....

I've never been a big fan of store-bought pie-crusts. There is something bomb shelter-like about them, tho' I would use one if I needed to.... I remember creating a pie crust a couple of years ago when I pulled together a quiche for a friend who was on the Atkins diet. It used Crisco shortening, and I had more than a half tin of it in the back of the fridge for months. This time, I went with a simpler recipe that's butter-based.
Pie crust:
Four cups Bisquick
One cup butter
Eight tablespoons boiling water
  • In a large bowl, mix the Bisquick and butter with a fork till it's a nice crumbly mass
  • Add the boiling hot water and knead the mix into a soft dough
  • Lower layer: Use a little more than half the dough to line a nine or ten-inch baking dish. Pat the dough with your fingers so that there is a consistent layer of dough, ideally a millimeter thick
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Place the dish in the freezer for about ten minutes, then place in the oven to bake the pie crust for 15 minutes
  • Upper layer: Given the crumbly nature of a good pie crust, it's tough to manage the "lid." I figured out a little trick today. Lay a tin foil on the dish before putting it in the oven and tap it so you have the diameter of dish. Then knead out the dough so it is set up as a nice consistently thick layer that's the absolute right size. When it's time, you can slowly roll over the lid onto the pot pie!

Two cups chopped leftover turkey
One cup diced carrots
One cup leftover gravy

  • Mix the ingredients in a bowl, then ladle it into the baked pie crust
  • Roll the lid on, then place the pie in the oven to cook for about twenty-five minutes
  • Take out, let cool (maybe on a window-sill) slice and enjoy!

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Cranberry sauce on Breakfast foods

Thanks to friend Meera, we used up the leftover cranberry sauce this morning, using it instead of syrup with waffles. At one point, it looked like K was eating cranberry sauce with waffles on the side, not the other way around. A huge hit! There a little leftover, and I'm going to mix it into my oatmeal tomorrow - a nice wallop of vitamin C in the morning, AND one less dish in the fridge!

PINCH pizzas and S'Macs

The day after thanksgiving, we planned on a day at the museum with friends, but instead landed up walking lazily around the UWS and enjoying a childlike gastronomic treat. We stumbled on PINCH, Pizza by the Inch. Besides pizzas, the cheery joint also featured S'macs, or Sarita's Macaroni and cheeses. The kids enjoyed the "inches" of cheese and cheese and olive pizzas. The mac and cheese was deemed "totally cheesy - almost too cheesy!" The grown-ups tried the Macaroni and cheeses, including Masala(cheddar, American, tomato, cilantro, garlic, ginger, and various Indian spices) Mediterranean (goat cheese, spinach, olives and roasted garlic) s'macs. Innovative, and extremely tasty, these s'macs are served up piping hot in skillets and are a real treat. Sarita Ekya (nee Malhotra) certainly hit on a great idea here. Eight thumbs ups from the four of us....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vikas Khanna's Lamb Chops

I had to delete this post I had originally posted in January, because of a garbled comment left by "craftmatic bed" - a link with lots of search words (argh)

"Last night, I saw the kids eat up what must amount to a small lamb! We were at a tree-trimming party at Shelley Rubin's (of the fabulous Rubin Museum) and she had invited Vikas Khanna to cater the elegant evening. The whole meal was amazing, with a whole series of appetizers circulating all night, and multitude of entrees to choose from. I especially loved the eggnog, which Vikas had engineered into a delicious "warm kulfi" affair.My kids, however, were true gourmands - yes, gourmands, when it came to the mini lamb chops. Given that my son said he'd "eat these lamb chops for breakfast, lunch and dinner," we weren't surprised. It got to a point where the nice waiter would come straight out of the kitchen with the platter of lamb chops and make a bee-line to lil' K, who would proceed to take two at a time and place it on his plate. Five minutes of silent munching later, he ran back to continue decorating the tree.For an in-depth recipe for the lamb chops, see Vikas's book "Modern Indian Cooking" (foreword by the legendary Daniel Boulud).

Vikas's recipe calls for marinating the thinly sliced lamb chops in a mix of yogurt, garam masala and salt (1 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon garam masala, salt to taste for a pound and a half of lamb chops). As with most meats, it's best to marinate it overnight. Grill the lamb chops in a pre-heated oven (at 375°) turning over once for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Given the marination, the chops should be very tender and easy to get done. I should admit, I haven't tried this at home, but wanted to share the recipe and quote the book for the adventurous spirits out there. This isn't a spicy dish, so the kids will love it (I speak from experience there!)Serve the chops with couscous (see my veggie-filled couscous recipe coming up soon). "

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pudina (Mint) and Cucumber sandwiches

Pudina (or mint) sandwiches are perfect for a warm evening snack, or a mid-morning nosh. When the kid’s weekend class had a small Diwali get-together, we took pudina sandwiches as a starter for lunch a couple of weeks ago. They pretty much vanished!

I remember these sandwiches from warm picnics out in the park with my parents…there is a charm about sitting back, with family, and gulping down lemonade and sandwiches under the shade of a tree….

Ideally, you serve them cut into triangles, sprinkle fresh mint or chives around them to add some color to the presentation. Use a nice white or lightly flowered plate to pay them out. I believe these sandwiches may be by English sandwiches, though the Indian version has very piquant sauces and in some cases, they even use sliced potatoes instead of cucumbers! You just boil the potatoes till they are soft but sturdy enough to be cut into thin slices and place them just like you would the cucumber in the following recipe.

For the sandwich:
A loaf of white bread. White bread works best, since the mint and cucumber are delicate flavors and may clash with fancier breads
Kirby cucumbers (small)
Pudina paste ingredients (see below)

Pudina paste:
- One cup mint leaves (pudina)
- Half cup coriander leaves
- One chopped green chilli (optional, I don’t use this with kids)
- Half tea spoon of ginger paste
- Quarter cup lemon juice (you can also use tamarind juice, instead)
- Grated coconut, ¼ cup (optional, I don't usually use it but does add some body to the sauce)
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, ideally crushed before being put in the blender

Grind all the above ingredients in a food processor till it’s is a consistent paste (but retain some texture.)

Preparing the cucumbers:
I have learned to slice the tip of cucumbers off, them rubbing the cut ends together. You may see a white foam emerge – that seems to get rid of the bitterness that some cucumbers have as they ripen. Cut another slice off the cucumber, and you’re ready to go!
Peel the cucumbers and slice them finely

Assembling the sandwiches:
- Spread butter on a slice of bread
- Follow with a layer of mint sauce
- Arrange 4 to 6 slices of cucumber on the slice, and sprinkle salt and pepper on the cucumber
- Butter the next slice and close the sandwich
- Trim the edges, then cut it cross-wise into 2 triangle sandwiches

Coconut Raisin Loaf

I was ill for a couple of days, and spent some time recuperating in bed. As I prepared to get back to work on Monday, I realized I needed to get out of bed and be a little more active. The kids wanted to make it a family activity - and since I didn't have the energy to play ball, we decided on a kitchen adventure.

We rifled through the cupboard and fridge, and pulled out a box of organic cocoa powder, sweetened coconut flakes, raisins, Bisquick, eggs, confectioners sugar and milk. After a quick review of online recipes, none of which worked perfectly, I concocted the following recipe.

Two and a half cups Bisquick
Three teaspoons baking powder
Eight tablespoons cocoa
Four eggs
Half cup butter
Half cup sugar
Quarter cup milk
Half cup raisins
One cup sweetened coconut
  • Soften the butter. Beat the eggs till they are fluffy
  • Sieve the Bisquick, cocoa and baking powder together into a large bowl
  • Mix in the coconut flakes and raisings into the dry ingredients
  • Fold in the butter, and then the eggs. Whisk the mixture gently and ensure there are no lumps (other than the raisins and coconut, of course!)
  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Generously butter a baking dish, pour in batter and pop it into to the oven for 30 minutes

The kids had a great time whisking the eggs, measuring out the ingredients, and generally doing pretty much everything except putting the dish into the oven and taking it out. Try it - this was fun and delicious!