Koresht Fesenjan

We recently went to a cooking class on Persian food, given by Hip Cooks, and this was one of the dishes that we made in the class. It was delicious, and pretty simple to make, so when we finally found the pomegranate molasses, we decided we would have to try it out on our own. It turned out brilliantly, so well that we plan to keep the pomegranate molasses and some walnuts in our standard pantry stock, so that we can make this on a regular rotation. This is one of those dishes where almost the best part of it is smelling it cooking, so please try it out for yourselves, you won’t regret it.

If you can’t find the pomegranate molasses, you can make it by cooking down 100% pomegranate juice with sugar until it is a thick syrup. It’s expensive to do it that way, but if you have no other option, it works. Recipes for that can be found online.

edit: The last time we made this, I did the walnuts with a manual nut chopper instead of the small food processor, and it was actually quicker and worked better. With the food processor, you have to pulse it so that you don’t burn the nuts, but with the manual chopper, you can just keep going, and it actually chops the walnuts at least as finely.

This recipe would be a good lunch or dinner for about 4 people.


Ingredients

  • 12 chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole, raw, walnuts
  • 2 onions
  • About 3/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2-3 tsp sugar
  • A couple handfuls of chopped mint, parsley, and cilantro
  • Greek yogurt

Directions

  1. Using a small food processor or nut chopper, chop the walnuts until they are a coarse meal. If using the food processor, pulse it, so that you don’t heat up and burn the nuts.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the walnuts, just until they become nice and fragrant.
  3. Add the 3/4 cup pomegranate molasses and about 1/2 cup of water to the pan, and mix well. This will cook down for basically the rest of the preparation time, but you may need to add a bit more water periodically if it gets too dry. Stir periodically to keep it from burning.
  4. While that is cooking down, finely chop your onions, and cut the chicken thighs into small pieces.
  5. In another skillet over medium heat, add a few tablespoons of oil, and saute the onions until they become translucent, then add the chicken and saute it until it just turns color on the outside.
  6. Add about 3 glasses of water to the chicken and onions, bring to a boil, and let boil for 20-30 minutes.
  7. In a rice cooker or pot, start 2 cups of jasmine or basmati rice cooking.
  8. Once the chicken and onions are done boiling, and the pomegranate/walnut sauce is nice and thick and rich, strain the liquid out of the chicken and onions, and add the chicken and onions to the pomegranate/walnut sauce.
  9. Mix the chicken and onions into the sauce, and then add a bit of the cooking liquid from the chicken and onions. Mix everything together well, and let it all simmer down for another 10 minutes or so.
  10. Meanwhile, chop up your mint, parsley and cilantro.
  11. In the skillet you used for the chicken, add some oil, and once the oil is hot, toss in the herbs, and saute briefly until bright green and fragrant.
  12. Stir the herbs and some greek yogurt into the pomegranate/walnut sauce, remove from heat, and serve over the jasmine or basmati rice.
Koresht Fesenjan Koresht Fesenjan Koresht Fesenjan Koresht Fesenjan Koresht Fesenjan Koresht Fesenjan Koresht Fesenjan Koresht Fesenjan Koresht Fesenjan

Cocotte Eggs with Creamed Mushrooms

We’ve been watching Jacques Pépin’s show: Fast Food, My Way. It’s a brilliant show, and illustrates something that we’ve thought about and discussed a lot – that really good food doesn’t have to be elaborate and take forever to make.

Anyway, this morning we were trying to decide what to make for breakfast, and we happened to have a ton of eggs to use up, some leftover mushrooms, and a shallot, so we decided to do a slight modification of his recipe for cocotte eggs with creamed mushrooms. We made it just for two, since there are only two of us here, but you can just double what we did, and make it for four, with really very little difference in time spent.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped roughly
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup creme
  • Small bunch of chives, roughly chopped
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Directions

  1. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Once pan is hot, add the shallots, and saute until they begin to soften.
  3. Add the mushrooms, and the tablespoon of butter, and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid and reduced a bit.
  4. Add the cream, and cook over medium-high heat until the cream reduced a bit into a nice sauce.
  5. Spoon the mushroom cream sauce into the bottoms of small cocottes or ramekins, something which is heat-resistant.
  6. Sprinkle chives on top, and grate a little bit of parmesan cheese over the mushroom cream mixture.
  7. Crack one egg over each dish.
  8. Rinse well the pan you used to make the sauce, then add about an inch or so of water to the pan, and bring to a soft boil over medium to medium-high heat.
  9. Place the cocottes in the water with the lids on until the egg whites are mostly cooked, then remove the individual lids and place a lid over the whole pan, so the steam will finish off cooking the surface of the eggs, but not cook the yolk too much.
  10. Remove ramekins carefully from water, and serve as-is, with a few pieces of chive on top for garnish.

Cocotte Eggs with Creamed Mushrooms

Cocotte Eggs with Creamed Mushrooms

Cocotte Eggs with Creamed Mushrooms

Cocotte Eggs with Creamed Mushrooms

Cocotte Eggs With Creamed Mushrooms

Cocotte Eggs With Creamed Mushrooms

Cocotte Eggs With Creamed Mushrooms

Cocotte Eggs with Creamed Mushrooms

Cocotte Eggs With Creamed Mushrooms

Japanese Hot Pot

We just checked out the book Japanese Hot Pots by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat from the library, and today we decided on a whim to stop by the Japanese market after I left work and get some food to try one. We didn’t follow a single specific recipe from the book, but combined elements of a few based on ingredients we had on hand and what sounded good, but we primarily based it on the Kimichi & Pork Hot Pot recipe. It turned out absolutely delicious, was a very filling meal, and we have leftovers, and plenty of ingredients to make it once or twice more. Here is the approximate recipe we used, which should make enough for 3-4 people.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Dashi Stock
  • 2 tablespoons shiro miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 lb (225 grams) very thinly sliced pork
  • 1 lb napa cabbage kimchi
  • About 1/2 lb (225 grams) age tofu, cut into 6 pieces
  • Shiitake, oyster, and enoki mushrooms
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch of mizuna, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 large or 2 smaller cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 package fresh ramen noodles per person

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dashi stock, soy sauce, mirin and miso paste. Whisk together so the miso paste dissolves in the liquid.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, heat up the sesame oil, and cook the thinly sliced pork until nearly done.
  3. Add the kimchi and it’s liquid and the garlic, and cook until garlic softens.
  4. Add the stock mixture.
  5. Increase heat and bring the pot to a boil.
  6. Decrease the heat to medium, cover the pot and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Randomly pile the tofu, mushrooms, green onions, and mizuna on top of the other ingredients, cover pot, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  8. Ladle out the ingredients into small bowls, and cover with broth. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top as a garnish.
  9. Once you finish eating the ingredients in the broth, pour broth back into a pot, heat up to a simmer, and cook the ramen noodles in the broth. Divide the noodles between bowls, and then ladle the broth over them.

Japanese Hot Pot

Japanese Hot Pot

Japanese Hot Pot

More Japanese Hot Pot

More Japanese Hot Pot

More Japanese Hot Pot

Japanese Hot Pot

Japanese Hot Pot

Japanese Hot Pot

Dashi Stock

One of the basic stocks in Japanese cooking is a sea stock, or Dashi. It is a very simple stock, and much quicker to make than chicken, beef or vegetable stock. This recipe will make about 4 1/2 cups of stock, which seems to be about what many soup recipes call for.

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • About 20 sq inches (130 sq cm) of Dashi Kombu (kelp)
  • About 1/4 cup katsuobushi (dried, shaved bonito fish), loosely packed

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, soak kombu in unheated water for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Over medium heat, bring water up to temperature where small bubbles are just beginning to break the surface of the water.
  3. Add katsuobushi, remove from heat, and let sit for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove kombu, and strain the stock through a fine mesh or cloth to remove the katsuobushi.

Japanese Hot Pot

Japanese Hot Pot

Japanese Hot Pot

Peanut Butter Cookies

We made this recipe a few days ago for the first time, (found here: http://glutenfreegirl.com/yum-yum-peanut-butter/) and then again to take to some friends who were bogged down with school work and needed a diversion, and both times it has turned out delicious. Since the primary ingredient is peanut butter, the flavor will depend largely on what kind you get, so get one with good peanutty flavor, and one that is not too oily, so that the cookies will remain cohesive after being baked. It’s a very simple recipe, and you can have fresh-baked cookies about 20-25 min after starting to make them.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup no-stir peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (about 176 C)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together peanut butter, sugar, and baking powder using a wooden spoon until everything is well-mixed.
  3. Crack your egg into the bowl, and again, mix it in with the sugar/peanut butter mixture until it is well-mixed.
  4. Pinch bits of dough, and roll them into about 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) balls, and space out on a cookie sheet.
  5. Using a fork, press down the tops of the cookies with the fork tines first facing one direction, then perpendicular, so you get a grid pattern on the top. Press gently, so that you don’t crumble the cookies.
  6. Place cookie sheet in oven and bake about 10 minutes, until the dough in the indentations where you pressed the fork is the same color as the outside of the cookies.
  7. Remove cookie sheet from oven, and let sit for about 3-5 minutes with the cookies still on it.
  8. When the cookies feel solid enough, use a spatula to remove them from the cookie sheet, and place on a cooling rack to cool off.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

김치 (Kimchi)

김치 Kimchi!

Following in the vein of preserving foods, pickling, fermenting, etc – we decided to try kimchi, a korean fermented cabbage dish. Actually, there are hundreds of varieties of kimchi, anything from cabbage to radish to garlic stems to cucumber. Napa cabbage kimchi is the most common, and what you would refer to if just saying ‘kimchi’ without specifying which type. We followed the recipe for Traditional Napa Cabbage Kimchi from koreanbapsang.com, except we didn’t put radish in with the cabbage, and we left out the fresh shrimp. It turned out delicious and very flavorful, but not extremely spicy, so if you like it spicy, I would up the amount of chili flakes.
Ingredients

  • 1 large napa cabbage (5-6 lbs)
  • About 1 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon glutinous rice powder (찹쌀가루)
  • 1/2 cup red chili flakes (고추가루)
  • 1/4 cup fermented shrimp (새우젓), finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  1. Cut a slit about 2-3 inches deep in the root end of the cabbage, and then pry the cabbage apart into halves. This allows the leaves to be pulled apart and to stay whole, instead of being shredded by the knife. Repeat with each half, so that you have 4 whole quarters of the cabbage.
  2. If the cabbage looks dirty, rinse lightly in water to remove the loose dirt.
  3. In a large bowl, dissolve 1/2 cup of salt in 5 cups of water. Thoroughly douse each cabbage quarter in the salted water, then shake off the excess, and put into a large pot or bowl (we use our stock pot).
  4. Take each quarter cabbage, and sprinkle salt mostly on the thick white portions of each cabbage leaf, then replace into the large pot/bowl. Use about 1/2 cup of salt total for the whole cabbage.
  5. Pour the salted water from step 3 over the cabbage quarters, and let them sit in the salted water for around 6 hours, turning them over every 2 hours so that each part has time to soak. The thick white parts of the cabbage should be soft and bend easily when it is ready to take out.
  6. After the cabbage has been soaking for around 4 hours, mix the garlic, ginger, fish sauce, fermented shrimp, chili flakes and 1/2 cup water together in a large bowl.
  7. In a small saucepan, mix together the 1 tablespoon glutinous rice powder with 1/2 cup water, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens into a paste. Take off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, then mix with the other seasonings in the large bowl.
  8. Once the cabbage is done soaking, take the cabbage quarters out of the water and rinse thoroughly, making sure all the salt is washed away. Squeeze the excess water out after rinsing.
  9. Place one quarter of the cabbage in the bowl with the seasoning mix, and, while wearing kitchen gloves to avoid chili burns, coat each leaf with a little bit of the mixture, using about 1/4 of it for each quarter of the cabbage. Repeat with each quarter of the cabbage.
  10. Fold the top soft leaf parts of each cabbage quarter over the thick stem parts, and place into a glass jar or air-tight container. Press each down firmly to remove air pockets and make sure they are tightly packed.
  11. Rinse the seasoning mix bowl with 1/2 cup of water and pour over the cabbage. Seal the top and set out at room temperature.
  12. Leave kimchi out at room temperature for about 2 days, then place in the refrigerator. The kimchi is edible at this point, but will taste best after a few days to a week in the refrigerator.

Kimchi.
Kimchi.
Kimchi.
Kimchi.
Kimchi.
Kimchi.
Kimchi.

Good Old Oatmeal

This weekend we made oatmeal for breakfast, and it reminded me what a good, simple and cheap meal this is. Very versatile as well. We topped ours with brown sugar, chopped almonds, and chopped dates, but you can use anything that sounds good – honey, molasses, cream, buttermilk, bananas, mango, chocolate, hazelnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom – the possibilities are endless. This recipe serves about 4 people.

If you don’t have time to make it for yourself in the mornings before work or whatever, make a double batch on a weekend, and keep it in the fridge in individual servings, reheat it on the stove or in the microwave.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 3-4 cups water (check the packaging of the oats for exact proportions)
  • Toppings

Directions

  1. Bring your 3-4 cups of water to boil in a pot.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, and then add the oats.
  3. Cook oats for 1-2 minutes to toast them slightly.
  4. Add the boiling water to the oats and butter, and cook for approximately 30 minutes with the saucepan covered (again, check packaging of oats for exact directions), stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the oats.
  5. Dish up the oatmeal into bowls, and add toppings.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal

So(ba) Lovely

We’ve been on a bit of a Japanese food kick lately, and one of my personal new favorites is soba noodles.

The other day we made a nice, quick lunch by cooking the soba noodles along with some chopped shiitake mushrooms, draining them and rinsing in cold water, and topping with sesame seeds and chopped green onions, then adding some soba noodle soup base (we bought pre-made soup base, but you could make it yourself and just keep it around). In this case, the soup base is really just a thin sauce to coat the noodles, not to make it like an actual soup.

This was really tasty, and made for a nice, quick, 10 minute meal.

22

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This comes from this recipe, with very few modifications – and is really our perfect ideal chocolate chip cookie. Easy too. This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. smallish-medium coarse sea salt (if you only have table salt, use about 3/4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 150 grams baking chocolate, smashed to bits

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 360 F (182 C).
  2. With a hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until somewhat fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat for another minute or two.
  4. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour, and incorporate with a fork (it’s easier with a fork, as the mixer will tend to fling powder all over the place).
  5. Once the dry ingredients are fully absorbed into the dough, add the bits of chocolate, and mix them by hand into the dough so they are well-distributed.
  6. The dough should be fairly thick at this point.
  7. Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper, or a silpat mat
  8. Make 1 1/2-2 inch balls of dough, placing them about 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  9. Pop the cookies in the oven, and let them bake about 12 minutes, until just starting to brown, then remove from oven and let them sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until the dough is all used up.
  11. Make sure to have some good milk on hand :)

13

Fresh Salsa

It’s a bit late in the season, but a few of our tomatoes finally ripened by the midle of September, so we made some salsa using those, and some tomatillos we got from a friend. Fresh salsa can be so good, is really flexible just based on whatever you like in it and how spicy or not spicy you like it to be. This one turned out fairly spicy, but is really tasty. Good combination in my book :) So better late posted than never posted, here’s one of our many variations on fresh salsa…

Ingredients

  • 6-7 small tomatoes
  • 12-13 small tomatillos
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • salt & pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2-4 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 tablespoons lime juice

Tips

  1. The easiest way to do this is to just chop everything up and put it in a food processor to finely chop it.
  2. Optionally, if you want chunkier salsa, just crush the tomatoes/tomatillos, and then dice everything else and mix it together
  3. Let it sit for a day to really develop good flavor, but it is good right away if you’re making it to use for a recipe.
  4. Be creative and use different types of tomatoes, different mix of tomatoes and tomatillos or only tomatillos, add spices or beans or corn or anything that sounds good to you. This is a good base to go from to experiment.

Fresh salsa Fresh salsa Fresh salsa