Dildar’s Bhindi (Indian Style Okra)

Bhindi: stir-fried, spicy okra.

Here’s a little something extra from Dildar (aka Guru) whom you might remember from his delectable aloo tikki with tamarind chutney. This time (actually he cooked this at the same time as he cooked the other dishes – oh, the wonders of editing) he prepared bhindi (Indian style, stir-fried okra). It’s such a simple and delicious dish that I wonder why I haven’t attempted it before. Oh, yeah the main ingredient: okra.  I didn’t grow up eating it, my parents never cooked it and when I’d had it in the past, it had been prepared  in the Indian style or deep fried in the tradition of American Southern cooking. Okra is a tricky little vegetable because as you cook it, it tends to ooze a slimy liquid which wikipedia terms “mucilagenous” which might very well be my new favorite word.  It basically means “snotty” – not the most appetizing quality in a food.  But Dildar has a great tip for minimizing this.  Basically he… oh I guess you’ll just have to watch the video.

Bhindi Recipe:
Ingredients (quantities are approximate)
1 – 1 1/2 lbs of okra
2 medium yellow onions
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1/2 tsp garam masala
lime juice (to taste)

And here’s how he does it…

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C’s Beet Soup (ok, borscht)

Despite appearances, I’m not actually of Eastern European heritage. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the hearty and delicious food of the old county. Case in point: beet soup (aka borscht). The first time I remember eating borscht was all the way back in 1986 during the last years of the Cold War…

For the full account of my borscht experience and the full recipe and making of video please click the photo below.

Easy, delicious and nutritious.

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C’s Beef Stew!

Fall has fallen and that means one thing: the stinky poo smell of gingko fruit as they fall on the sidewalks and get all caught up in the treads of your shoes. On the bright side, you can come home and fill your stomach with rich beef stew. But first of all you have to cook it and I’m happy to show you how.  Click on the photo below for my personal recipe. Believe me, it smells a whole lot better than gingko fruit.

So beefy, so good.

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Soojin’s Vegetarian Bibimbap

I have no qualms in admitting that this blog is decidedly meat-centric. But, in the interest of greater balance (and healthier bowels) I’ll sometimes include an entry sans meat.  So in that vein, my friend Soojin brings to you a vegetarian option: vegetarian bibimbap. “But,” you say, ” how can this classic rice dish from Korea – home of one of the great meat eating culinary traditions – hold up without meat?”  Well, I’m hear to say it holds up quite well. In fact it’s delicious and Soojin’s version is rather light and refreshing if one can consider a big bowl of rice with a bunch of stuff in it light and refreshing. Click on the photo below for the full recipe and to watch Soojin prepare her delightful version of bibimbap.

Fresh and delicious

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Sourdough pizza…dough

Remember Matt’s sourdough starter baby?  Well two years later, it’s still alive and kicking (figuratively speaking).  I’ve made numerous  bread loaves – some successful, others, to be honest, terrible.  But it’s been a learning experience throughout and it’s been great to pass on the starter to friends and see what they’ve done with it.  It’s like watching my friends raise their kids.  For example, PK has become and ace waffle maker, adding corn meal to the recipe which adds a whole new dimension of flavor and texture to the already sumptuous and rich sourdough waffles.

And my friend Niels has from the get go baked beautiful and tasty loaves and was the first person I knew to do a sourdough rye which he brought to our last dumpling party but which was unfortunately  consumed before I had a chance to take a photo.  It was delicious though. And he’s also the one who advised and reminded me that to bake  a good loaf, you have to get the starter going again so it’s really active and really productive.  So recently, if I make bread, or waffles or pizzza dough, I make sure – per Niels reminder – to take the starter out of the fridge in the morning, stir it up and get it bubbling again, feed it once or maybe two times over the course of a day (maybe pouring off some of the excess  (I know wasteful, but if you’re not making waffles or pizza dough what are you going to do with so much starter).  So by the time I’m ready to make the dough some time in the evening, it’s super bubbly and has that really fermented sour smell.  The last few times I made bread this is what I did and it made a noticeable difference.  I also made a really good sour dough pizza dough.  Here’s the rough recipe:

1 cup of starter
3 cups of bread baking flour
about 3/4 cup – 1 cup of water (you can add a little more or use less depending on how wet you want the dough)
1 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt
1 1/2 tsp of sugar

Mix all the contents until you have a nice dough and like the no knead bread, you let this dough mixture proof for about 18 hours until it gets really bubbly and rises until it’s about twice its original volume. Then you can punch it down and roll it into you pizza crust and let the crusts proof for about fifteen minutes to half an hour – per Saveur Magazine‘s recommendation – so they’ve risen again too. Then put your toppings on and bake in your preheated to 500 degree oven. Hopefully you have a pizza stone. The dough should be crusty, chewy and tangy. And the pizza should be delicious. If not, you failed.

Here's my pizza baking in the oven

The finished pizza (toppings: pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, bell peppers, cheeze, sauce)

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