I made cheese! Paneer, that is. I think that officially takes me from “Home Cook” to “Kitchen Hero.” Yay! But honestly, it wasn’t that hard. You can do it too, I’m sure. If you can bring milk to a boil and you own a cheesecloth, you can make your own paneer. I mean, there’s other steps in there as well, but it really is very simple.
Look at how good it looks. Milky cheese curds held together and compressed in cheesecloth. The waffle weave of the cheesecloth stamped onto the exterior.
After making your beautiful disc of fresh whole milk cheese, you cut it into large cubes and lightly saute all sides in shimmering oil or ghee.
And serve it with mustard greens (or spinach) that have been sauteed with lots of toasty, aromatic spices. Or you can put these “cheese croutons” on whatever else your heart desires. My reminiscing heart is currently desiring to add paneer to all sorts of shameful things. Bacon-y things.
So if you’re ready to venture into the world of cheese making via the paneer route, I recommend Aarti Sequeira’s recipe. It’s all sorts of squeaky cheese delicious. Also I learned that if you can make paneer, you can also make ricotta and queso fresco. The recipe and technique is very similar. Except for ricotta you don’t compress it, and for queso fresco you salt it. That’s right, folks, paneer is a gateway dairy product into cheese making. Which is sounds perfectly wonderful to me.
My Mom recently said she really likes my blog posts about things that go wrong in the kitchen and I should do more of those. Like that time I got a knife stuck in a pumpkin. I’m not sure what to make of that request. Maybe she thinks I should eat more humble pie and less tarte tatin? Probably it’s that she and I both enjoy self-depreciating humor. Let’s go with that one…
Just because I haven’t posted my foibles lately doesn’t mean they haven’t been happening. Two weeks ago I baked a cake and when I went to unmold it, it came out in shattered crumbles. I nearly cried. I also added way to much salt to a dish last week and had to make a second, unsalted batch and then mix them together to fix it. Double the amount of work, no fun. But at least it meant plenty of good leftovers for later. Also, I tried a new recipe for making red bean ice cream for the first time and I made a big error. I mixed what was supposed to be the ice cream topping drizzle right into the ice cream base. It never set up. Instead of of ice cream, it ended up more like red bean pudding. Very cold red bean pudding.
But I’m pretty sure I can fix this.
Falafel patties on “Quick Naan” with Garam Masala Yogurt Sauce is a very excellent lunch or dinner. I love all three of these components separately, and together they are pretty terrific. If I do say so myself. And that’s not a brag ‘cause I only came up with one of those three on my own. The easiest one (Hint: It’s the yogurt sauce).
The falafel patties are slightly modified from a recipe on Gourmandelle. I added 2 teaspoons curry powder because I wanted to turn this into an Indian-fusion kind of a meal. Plus an extra pinch or two cumin, turmeric, and red pepper flakes. Bring on the spices! The other difference is that I added the rest of the ingredients the chickpea puree in the food processor and pulsed it all together. It gave it a smoother texture on the insides of these delicious little discs of bright, vivid flavors that are gently fried in a shallow pool of shimmering oil. I love the recipe. The addition of carrot, paprika, and caraway made it special. Click the link and give it a shot (with or without my additions). You’ll love these easy to make, easy to eat falafels.
Next up, the “Quick Naan”. I happen to be a naan lover. It’s a chewy and fluffy flat bread that seems to go with everything and is way too easy to snack on. I’ve made it a couple times before. Each time I’ve used the recipe from Allrecipes that is a bread raised by yeast which takes at least 3 hours to make. Which I’m not saying isn’t worth it. It’s great, fluffy naan. Love it so much. Wish I had time to make it all the time. But I don’t. Or always plan that far in advance for dinner. Quick Naan, while less fluffy, takes about an hour or less (start to finish, most of that being inactive time), has 4 ingredients, and is still thoroughly delicious. I got this recipe from my cousin, who get the “Cousin of the Day” Award for turning me onto this naan making method. Heck, I’m going to bump that up to “Cousin of the Week”, for sure. I’d increase that even more based on how life-changing the recipe is if I didn’t have a boatload of cousins, all of them competitive. What I like about these naan is that they’re nice and chewy, and a little bit puffy.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of plain yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add yogurt and stir in. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. If dough is too dry, add more yogurt, 1 teaspoon at a time. If dough is too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes to an hour. Lightly flour surface. Divide dough into 8-10 pieces. Roll each piece out on floured surface until it is about 1/4” thin. Heat a lightly oiled griddle, saute pan, or cast iron pan to medium heat. Give each disc of dough a gentle stretch right before placing them in pan. Cook for about a minute on each side. Cover finished naans to keep them warm and tender until ready to serve. I hear they’re even better if brushed with melted butter and sprinkled liberally with Za’atar.
Garam Masala Yogurt Sauce is wayyy too easy to be good. But it is. Nicely seasoned and spicy food like falafel benefit from just a drizzle of a creamy, yogurt based sauce. I like the addition of garam masala because it contains all these nice toasty and nutty spices. A little vinegar for extra zip and the sugar adds a touch of sweetness to balance it all.
Garam Masala Yogurt Sauce
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of garam masala
- 1 tablespoon of white or red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Done.
Add it all together and you get this:
What a great dinner.
Hey Guys, today is my two year blogiversary! I should use this as a flimsy excuse to build myself a cake or something. I really like having a little corner of the internet to post about foods I like, that I want you to try because I think you’d like them, too. My little way of sharing food with all of you. Wish I could bake all you a batch of cookies. Instead I’ll share with you this recipe that completely delighted me. Marshmallows can be bit tricky to make your first time around, but WORTH IT. Really, really worth it.
I’ve made several types of marshmallows so far. Vanilla, strawberry made with strawberry puree (nice, but weak flavor), lime (an obvious choice for me), and chocolate cinnamon espresso swirl. And one day I plan to make stout marshmallows, coat them in dark chocolate, and sprinkle crumbled pretzel bits on top. That will be a good day, my friends. But these strawberry and cream ones are far and away my favorite marshmallows. They’re made with freeze dried strawberries so there’s this nice strawberry punch of concentrated flavor when you get a little morsel of the freeze dried berries on your tongue. And they create a minor-ly crunchy complementary texture to fluffy, chewy, marshmallows. They’re a beautiful confection. They’re a little bite of sweet for your day. They’re a little bit of strawberry season any time of year. And they’re, in a word, marvelous.
So you know how chili goes on lots and lots of things to make them taste even better? Like hotdogs, burgers, cornbread, corn chips, spaghetti noodles, rice, french fries, baked potatoes, biscuits, etc, etc, etc? And how waffles are just plain wonderful all the time, even when accompanying savory foods like fried chicken? And you know how waffles have those little square reservoirs all over their surface, perfect for holding other foods (usually syrup, but this time chili) in their place? Well, those three reasons are exactly why chili and waffles work together. The waffle just makes the chili better. It’s a great combination, I’m telling you. Whatever kind of chili you made for dinner, put it on top of a waffle (just not a sugary one, tho), and it’s going to feel like the best chili ever.
Although for the photo I went a bit overboard and used 2 waffles and a couple fried green tomatoes. The ratio of 1 waffle to 1 serving of chili works a bit better. The fried green tomatoes were nice, but not necessary. I made this again without the fried green tomatoes and they weren’t missed. A sprinkle of onions and a dollop of sour cream on chili is never wrong, however. Sourdough waffle recipe follows.