let’s try a new recipe

I don’t know about you, but I’ve collected over a hundred cookbooks and continue to add to my library when the next great one comes along. These days it’s so easy to download a recipe, but there’s nothing like cracking that book open for the first time and losing yourself in the recipes.

Now that the weather is finally cool and rainy here, I’m drawn to the kitchen. I was thinking the other day that I tend to cook the same meals over and over, and how it would be fun to make something new from one of the cookbooks each week. When I put the idea out on our Facebook page, it seemed as though others were hungry for new recipes, too. Each week or so, I’ll post a recipe or two that I’ve tried. If I have any special notes, I’ll add them in red text. I’ll include photos from the cookbook (when available) and *gulp* photos of my actual dish. No food stylist here, just me. ūüėČ

from the cookbook:  MING TSAI: SIMPLY MING IN YOUR KITCHEN

Roasted Eggplant Caviar

With curry pita chips

 Makes 24 chips and 4 cups caviar

2 large eggplants

3 small or 2 large heads garlic

3 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling and brushing

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 whole-wheat pita breads

2 T curry powder

1 bunch scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced

¬Ĺ C balsamic vinegar

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Put the eggplants on a large baking tray. Cut the tops off the garlic heads, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, and wrap each in foil. Transfer to the baking tray and roast the eggplants and garlic until soft, about 1 hour. Cool.
  2. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Brush both sides of each pita bread lightly with oil, sprinkle with the curry powder, and season with salt. Halve each pita vertically then cut each half into thirds. Place the chips on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, turning once, 15 to 20 minutes. (I like to separate each triangle into two thinner chips – less bread).
  3. When the eggplant can be handled, halve the eggplants and scoop the flesh into a food processor. Squeeze the garlic from the cloves into the processor, add the scallion whites, season with salt and pepper, and puree, drizzling in the 3 tablespoons oil. Adjust the seasoning and transfer the caviar to a serving bowl.
  4. In a small nonreactive saucepan, bring the vinegar to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vinegar is reduced to a syrupy consistency, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Place the caviar in a bowl. Sprinkle with the scallion greens and surround with the chips. Drizzle the syrup over the caviar and chips and serve.
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Apricot Lamb Lettuce Cups

With Sambal Yogurt

 Serves 4

1 T sambal or other chile paste

1 C nonfat plain Greek yogurt (I felt this was too thick and would use regular yogurt next time)

¬Ĺ C chopped dried apricots, preferably unsulfured (I would put these in hot water for a bit – for a softer texture).

1 bunch scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced

1 T canola oil

1 pound ground lamb

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 T ground coriander

1 T minced garlic

2 large leeks, white parts, cut into ¬Ĺ inch dice

1 C shredded carrots

Palm-size leaves from 1 head iceberg lettuce

  1. Heat a small sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the almonds and toast, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sambal, yogurt, apricots and scallion greens. Mix and set aside.
  3. Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil is hot, add the lamb and sauté, breaking up the meat, until it loses color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the coriander, and continue to sauté, stirring, until the lamb is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate.
  4. Add the garlic, leeks, and scallion whites to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft but not colored, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the carrots and lamb to the pan. Stir and heat through, about 2 minutes.
  5. Transfer the lettuce cups to a platter or plates. Fill the cups with the lamb mixture and garnish with the almonds. Serve with the yogurt dolloped on top or on the side. (My yogurt mixture turned out really thick using the Greek yogurt. I served it with the yogurt on the bottom for presentation purposes. Next time I would use regular yogurt and drizzle it on top when serving).
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We enjoyed both of these recipes very much. They were surprisingly quick to prepare, had tons of flavor and were quite filling! If you try them, I’d love to hear your comments!

 

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