Bhuna Gosht (Beef Short Ribs in a Spicy Yogurt Sauce)

bhuna-gosht

I’ve been cooking a lot of simple food lately – roasted veggies, plain lentils, pan-fried chicken or fish, everything seasoned with nothing more than salt, pepper, and lemon. It’s easy dinner on a weeknight, easy for husband and I to remix into lunch salads, and most importantly, easier to feed the kids who eat a wide variety but like boring flavor profiles.

Not that there is such a thing as kid food, but my 18-month-old is coming off a stint where he insists that he’s picky. I assure him he’s not, and explain that there are lovely foods besides bananas, and that this is just a phase, control, testing boundaries, etc. Sometimes I just get tired of cleaning up green beans that were hurled to the floor because I dared taint them with soy sauce.

But I refuse to let this baby tyrant rule our lives! I will cook something complex and rich and spicy if I want!

Hence this bhuna gosht – melt in your mouth short ribs (although you can make it with other types of meat) in a spicy yogurt curry. I referred to a couple of recipes for this, including those from Simply Reem and Chef Gulzar. My cooking method was a little different, and I also used the trick of adding a little besan to the yogurt to help stabilize it, because I am the worst about curdling it, but it’s optional.

Bhuna Gosht

  • 4 beef short ribs on the bone (about 1 3/4 pounds)
  • salt & pepper
  • flavorless cooking oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
  • 2 inches of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon each: red chili, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric and garam masala
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon besan (optional)
  • for garnish, small handful cilantro and small handful mint, mixed and pretty finely chopped, and julienned ginger

Trim some of the fat from the short ribs (but you don’t have to be super thorough about it) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat about a tablespoon of oil on high, and sear the ribs on both sides. Remove to a plate.

Lower the heat to medium, and drain off the fat. Add back 1 tablespoon of the fat and 1 tablespoon oil, and saute the onions until they are soft and very golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, then add the powdered spices and a good pinch of salt, cooking and stirring for another minute. Add a splash of water and stir, scraping the bottom to make sure nothing’s stuck.

Add the ribs back into the pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours until the meat is very tender, almost falling off the bone. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt and besan, and allow to come to room temperature.

When the meat is done, uncover and turn up the heat a little and cook, stirring, until the liquid has dried up a bit (it should still be fairly wet, but thickened up some). You can smash the meat a little with a wooden spoon so it starts falling apart. Lower the heat and add in the yogurt, combining well. Adjust seasoning if necessary and cook 5-10 minutes more.

Sprinkle liberally with cilantro, mint and ginger, and serve hot with roti or naan.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I love hosting Thanksgiving. The decorating, the menu planning, the cooking frenzy, the not having to pack and haul my kids places.

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I don’t make any traditional family recipes since my family’s traditional “recipes” are stuff like store bought stuffing mix or can of asparagus + can of mushroom soup + Ritz crackers crumbled on top. Instead, over the years I’ve collected a bunch of recipes, most of which I’ve made at least three times which I believe legally constitutes a tradition. I usually make a base meal (an app, turkey of course – although last time I hosted my brother-in-law made a fried turkey which was awesome, gravy, several sides including potatoes, a green vegetable and a salad, and a dessert) and let people add to that if they want.

I’m actually NOT hosting this year which is it’s own set of perks (way less stress, my cousin is a fantastic cook who maybe will give me some tips, and all I have to make is a pie), but here’s what I’d make if I were.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Warm brie with honey and walnuts
Served with crackers or baguette.

Sage Butter Roasted Turkey with Cider Gravy
From Bon Appetit

Cranberry Sauce
From Alton Brown. None of that canned jellied – ugh, I can’t even. Plus the cranberries popping when they cook are fun.

Scalloped Potatoes and Fennel
From Bon Appetit. I think both the turkey and potato recipes are from the same issue, from the year that I hosted my first Thanksgiving.

Haricot Verts with Walnuts and Walnut Oil
From Amanda Hesser. This is quick yet still special, and doesn’t take up valuable oven space.

Arugula, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
On Food 52. I love this salad, I also make it for holiday potlucks.

Probably Balsamic Brussel Sprouts
Which we had at our friend’s house last year, was delish. I’ve also got these Pomegranate Brussel Sprouts which are great as well, but there’s already a pomegranate salad so…

Some kind of roasted squash

Some kind of dessert

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But this year, all I’m making is this Maple Cream Tart that I’ve had my eye on for awhile.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just Tiramisu

tiramisu

My husband doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, but he loves tiramisu, and so I make him one every year on his birthday (which was in September but I didn’t have time to post before Pumpkinfest 14 so here we are). For several years I was getting a little creative, trying different versions (including Martha Stewart’s Tiramisu Cupcakes and The Delicious Life’s Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake – both fantastic!), and although he liked them, he is generally not impressed with “creative.”

“I am a simple man,” he loves to tell me; I mentally translate “simple” to “boring.” But I have slowly come to accept that he likes what he likes, so although I will not stop the kitchen experiments and irreverent deviations I live for, on his birthday I make him exactly what he wants.

Sometimes I make this with ladyfingers, but my grocery store is kind of unreliable as to whether they have them on any given day, and procrastinators very busy important people don’t have time to shop around, so I’ve found this lovely genoise recipe (adapted below) to be both easy and reliable (it uses extra egg yolks instead of butter, which I guess makes it lighter and less likely to fall).

The zabaglione method I got from Giada, you can simply whip up the egg yolks, sugar, and marscapone and not worry about the double boiler.

Tiramisu

Adapted from Plain Genoise on Epicurious and Tiramisu from Giada De Laurentiis

For the genoise:
The original recipe bakes 1 9-inch round cake, I divided it to 2 thinner layers with no issues (I have a roundish casserole dish that I was planning to use and wanted two layers). I imagine you could also bake this in a 9×13 dish and cut into two square if you wanted – I haven’t tried it but it seems pretty versatile. Or just slice the cake into the shape you need.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cake flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

Butter 2 9-inch round pans and heat oven to 350° Half fill a medium saucepan with water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Whisk together eggs, yolks, salt, and sugar in a heat-proof bowl. Place bowl in the simmering water, and whisk until the egg mixture is lukewarm. Remove and continue whisking until cool. It will be thick and foamy.

Sift together flour and cornstarch. In thirds, with a spatula, fold into the egg mixure and gently mix until combined, making sure to scrape the bottom for lumps. Evenly divide between the pans and bake for 10-15 minutes, until risen, deep gold, and firm. Loosen with a knife and cool on a rack.

For the tiramisu:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tbsp marsala wine, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups strong espresso, cooled
  • 2 9-inch genoise cakes (above)
  • shaved chocolate or cocoa powder for garnish

With a mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale (5 minutes or so). Add marscarpone and beat until smooth, then add 1 tbsp marsala and beat until combined.

Mix 2 tbsp of marsala with the cooled espresso, and pour half onto a large plate. Dip one round of the cake in the espresso mixture – only for a couple seconds – then place in the dish. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the top. Repeat.

Cover and wrap in the fridge for at least 2 house. Right before serving, garnish with shaved chocolate or cocoa powder.

Although it’s hard to beat the original, these versions look elegant and interesting – I’ll save them in the recipe box for one of Shan’s unbirthdays.

Fiction Kitchen

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Announcing our brand new podcast, Fiction Kitchen!

As an avid podcast listener I’ve had it in my head to start one for a long time. I was thinking to talk about books, movies, and TV and cook recipes either straight from or inspired by the material.

But who to discuss with? After a little searching, I had the luck to find Diana from Food Adventures in Fiction who is already doing just that on her wonderful blog – and besides that she’s funny and sweet and interesting and I’ve had so much fun getting to know her and working with her to get our podcast going. We have a lot in common, but we also have a lot of interests of our own so this podcast will be great for discussing our old favorites and discovering new ones.

We plan to talk about everything from classics to pop culture. In our first episode (available herehopefully will be on iTunes soon) we discuss Game of Thrones. You can listen to Diana being lovely and eloquent and me being nervous and giggly – but we have a pretty good discussion, and it was our first podcast, it will only get better!

Happy Halloween!!

This month has been going pretty well foodwise, I have a lot to show for my Halloween cooking frenzy! I almost made it to the end of the month, but just as sometimes I get on hot streaks, sometimes everything just comes out so so. I have a bunch of recipes this month that came out just meh – totally edible, but not delicious and exciting and something I’d want to share with the world. However, all of them are recipes I want to have in my Halloween repertoire, so I’m going to stick a pin in these until I have a chance to revisit:

pumpkin-chocolate-chip

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These were good in theory, but they came out pretty bland. However, I love the idea, so I’ll be playing with these next time I feel ready to risk it. I mean, they got eaten, but I had let the dough sit 3 days because I was so excited about the chocolate chip cookie method, so that was 3 days of disappointment.

soul-cake

Soul cakes. These were actually pretty nice, just a spiced short bread, but I foolishly set the timer and didn’t check until the end and they got a little done (this was the least singed of the bunch). Wicked, vengeful oven. However, I am pretty happy about this pic, aren’t little kid hands holding Halloween stuff creepy? I need to slap a bluish filter on it to make it full scary movie.

shrimp-fra-diavolo

Shrimp fra diavolo. Devil’s shrimp! This was ok, but I added rosemary to make it more autumny, which sounded like a good idea but quickly became overpowering. Also I used red wine instead of white wine because that’s mostly all we ever drink, and it tasted fine but came out a weird purple color.

diablo-shrimp

So since my shrimp fra diavolo only came out ok, I thought I’d take it to Mexico for some Shrimp a la Diabla. This was actually decent, except for the sauce was atomic – I only added about a quarter of what I had made (was supposed to add the whole thing and thicken it). I mean, I get that’s the point for it to be super spicy – and we can handle spice! – but any more would have been over the edge.

spicy-pumpkin

Kaddhu ki sabzi (spicy pumpkin). So of course I’ve got to get some Pakistani food up in here. And again, this was ok, but not quite there, going to play with it a little more…and finally…

squid-ink

Kraken pasta! Squid ink pasta with braised and seared octopus. This was almost a success – I am feeling super smug about having cooked octopus for the first time and having it come out banging. The pasta was fine too (Zoeya certainly liked it, as you can see. And yes she wears her cricket uniform for pajamas sometimes). It just…didn’t feel cohesive. I just made a simple olive oil and garlic sauce, but I think I’ll have to make it again and throw in some more seafood and maybe a veggie.

I guess it’s kind of anticlimactic going out on a list of “failures”, but overall am pretty happy about what I accomplished this month. These are on THE LIST OF TO-MAKES. This week though I need to get out of the kitchen (I’ve got costumes to make, parties to plan, Twin Peaks to watch) so I’m going to do that before any more innocent pumpkins have to die. I wish you a ghastly and ghoulish holiday – Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Quesadillas

pumpkin-quesadillas

pumpkin-quesadillas

For the last several years, it’s been a tradition to make pumpkin quesadillas on Halloween – they’re easy, the kids love them, and they go great with Beetroot Chili (or any chili for that matter).

Pumpkin Quesadillas

  • 4 oz cheddar cheese, or a mix of cheddar and jack, grated
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (or a mix of cumin and cinnamon)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • good pinch cayenne
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • small corn tortillas

Heat a pan or griddle over medium high heat – I use my tawa :)

Combine cheese, pumpkin, and spices and mix well. Spread a smallish amount over a tortilla and top with another, cook on both sides, flipping, until toasty and brown. Allow to cool slightly then slice in quadrants, serve with salsa/sour cream/chili.

Mash o’ Nine Sorts

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mash-of-nine-sorts

This month I’ve made a couple of traditional recipes associated with Samhain (namely Irish Boxty and Barm Brack), so here’s an English one for the mix. It has nine ingredients – hence the name – and is also played as a fortunetelling game, with a ring (symbol of marital happiness) hidden inside to be served to a lucky guest.

For the record, I got the ring, but Zoeya got upset so I re-hid it and she totally by chance got it and was really excited about it. Which is to say, usually in these situations I just tell her to get over it, but I think it’s ok to spoil your kids a little once in awhile to see them smile.

Mash o’ Nine Sorts

Slightly adapted from Food.com

  • 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped into thin slices, including some of the green tops
  • 6 ounces farmhouse cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cream (or half & half, which I always have around)

Heat oven to 350°.

In a big pot of salted water, bring the potatoes, carrots, turnip and parsnip together to a boil, and cook until soft. Mash them thoroughly (I think it’s supposed to be more uniform but I left it a little lumpy) and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the butter and saute the leeks for a few minutes until soft. Add to the potato mixture along with the cream and mix. Stir in the grated cheese – and the ring! – and spread in a baking dish. Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes.

We ate this on Friday movie night while watching Frankenweenie.

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

pumpkin-cake

pumpkin-cake

Or more accurately for my purposes, Cream Cheese Frosting with some Pumpkin Cake. I hate to say this, but even I, professed pumpkin fanatic, am getting some pumpkin fatigue. I am however still interested in the tangy sugar bomb of cream cheese frosting, but as it’s unacceptable to just eat cream cheese frosting out of a bowl for some reason, I thought I’d make some cake to go with it. I saw a photo of this cake in my Instagram feed and it looked just lovely, and was said to be more light and cakey than quickbread-like (although I like those too). I made it for a another October staple, the block party, with friends last this weekend.

The original recipe calls for caramelized pumpkin seeds on top, which I will definitely try at some point, but I had it in my head to top something with chopped pistachios, so that’s what we’ve got.

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

From Sarah Jampel on Food52, original recipe from Tartine

For the cake

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Heat oven to 325° and prepare a 9 inch round cake pan.

Whisk together pumpkin, oil, sugar, and salt. Whisk in egg yolks. In another bowl, Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. With a spatula, stir into wet ingredients until just combined.

In another bowl, whisk egg whites until they are white and frothy, and fold into the batter. Pour into the pan and bake 40-45 minutes. Cool and invert onto a plate.

For the frosting/garnish

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 8 tbsp butter, room temp
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cups or so chopped pistachios

Beat together cream cheese, butter and cinnamon, then add sugar a little at a time, beating until combined. (I used 2 cups).

Spread over cake (you may have some leftover) and sprinkled with pistachios.

Dulce de Leche Apple Muffins

caramel-apple-muffins

caramel-apple-muffins

A couple weeks ago, my friends made caramel apples (salted caramel apples to be exact). Melty caramels + tart Granny Smiths = me almost losing a bracket but it was worth it! #bracelife

Ever since I’ve been dreaming of them, so these are caramel apples in muffin form. I used the apple muffin recipe for King Arthur Flour with a dollop of dulce de leche in the middle – and another one on top. I put a little sprinkle of sea salt too just for good measure.

Side note, if you are wont to Google things like “dulce de leche vs. caramel,” these is a nice succinct (and yet questionable? Carmel?) answer by “therealchiffonade” on this Serious Eats thread:

Dulce De Leche = milk + sugar cooked till lightly brown.
Caramel = Water + Sugar cooked to a specific stage.
Carmel = Cream + the water and sugar you cooked to reach the caramel stage, above.

So there you go. (Edit: Woah, cajeta is made from goat’s milk!)

Dulce de Leche Apple Muffins

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

For the dulce de leche

  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

I used to make this in the oven, but now use the ingenious method of cooking this in your crockpot for 8-10 hours – which doesn’t seem like it should work but it does. (I know this is not news to anyone, but I am still fascinated). I did it on high for an hour, then on low 8 hours or so overnight, then 1 more hour on high in the morning.

For the muffins

  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and smallish diced

Heat oven to 375° and prepare a muffin tin. I used liners because I had some cute one but usually would just do this in the pan.

Beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in egg, then gently mix in yogurt.

Whisk together whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, then stir into the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in apples.

Spoon into the muffin cups until half full, then spoon about a tablespoon of dulce de leche into each one, then spoon more batter until they are full. Bake 25 minutes, then add a spoon of dulce de leche on top of each one then bake two minutes more. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a rack to cool the rest of the way.