curry enchiladas and mashed cauliflower

Indian and Mexican cuisine are a great example of (nearly) opposites attracting. I apoligize, I am still camera-less, but still excited about Mr. Obama being my (nearly) president, so I’ll forgive my camera being dead. Earlier in the week, I had my friend Lisa over for dinner and Gossip Girl (a must watch for Monday nights). Lisa is a vegetarian and I am not. Most people in my life try to be vegetarians most of the time (see my roommate) so, it is not hard for me to cook vegetarian food. It’s an enjoyable challenge, met with vigor and enthusiasm on my part.

I served some vegetable soup (a variation on a previously posted recipe, unfrozen), mashed cauliflower, and curry enchiladas. I’ll detail the recipes below.

Since I am trying extra hard not to eat wheat these days, sometimes things feel pretty grim. I wanted Indian food. My friend is in India right now, and it’s been on my mind as well as in the news. Is it tacky that a crisis gives me a craving? Probably, but what’s a better way to express concern than through sharing a meal with someone you love? All the good energy we shared during our meal was directed towards India, so I’ll try not to feel too guilty about it.

Mashed Cauliflower
Ingredients:
1 large head of cauliflower
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup half and half
2 different teaspoons of salt
As much pepper as you like
1 8×8 pan
An oven preheated to 350 degrees
Hand blender (makes it easier, a regular blender or potato masher will do well if you don’t have this amazing appliance)
1 large/medium sized bowl

Recipe
1. Clean your cauliflower.
2. Chop off the green parts
3. Dice the remaining parts of cauliflower into smaller pieces (all this should fit in the previously mentioned 8×8 pan)
4. Place the chopped cauliflower in the pan, drizzle with olive oil
5. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt
6. Place in oven
7. Roast for 30-45 minutes (everybody’s oven is different)
8. After it’s roasted, the cauliflower should be soft. Move the roasted cauliflower into the bowl (if you’re using a blender, place it in the blender… if you’re using a masher, place it in the bowl)
9. To the bowl (or blender) add the half and half and butter. The cauliflower should still be quite warm, so the butter will melt without a problem.
10. With your hand blender, (or masher, or regular blender) mix up all the ingredients until they are blended and smooth. Add the remaining salt and pepper when you feel like it.

This dish is great. Cauliflower is very nutritious and this is a fantastic way to incorporate it into you diet along with butter and half and half. Just kidding. It’s better than mashed potatoes, but still not super healthy. I must note, this dish is not for people who do not like cauliflower. I happen to love it, so it worked out well, but not so much for Lisa.

And now to the big shebang: Curry Enchiladas
As I mentioned before, not eating wheat totally blows. There’s no other way to get around it. So, instead of mourning the loss of naan with my Indian food, I decided to just let it be and make Indian style enchiladas. This recipe has a few parts: Filling, Sauce, and Corn Tortillas. Read the whole recipe before you begin because it has several parts that need to be happening at the same time.

Filling for Indian Enchiladas:
Ingredients
1 large potato
2 tablespoons Tandoori Masala Spice
1 tablespoon Curry Spice
1 teaspoon crushed Coriander
1 small onion
1 clover garlic
1/2 cup olive oil (separated into 4 1/8 cups)
As much salt as you like- I used Kosher Salt
1 large pot
1 large pan
1 small pan

1. In the large pot, boil your peeled potato until it is tender.
2. While the potato is boiling, saute the onions in 1/8 cup olive.
3. Combine the curry, tandoori, and coriander with the remaining olive oil into a paste. Once the onions are sizzling and fragrant, add this paste into the onion and olive oil already on the pan. Let that marinate for a minute or ten.
4. By this time (about a half hour) the potato should be soft. Strain the potato and chop it into small square pieces. After that, combine it with the curried onions.
5. Cook the potatoes in the pan with the onions until they get caramelized on the edges. Since you’ll be cooking the sauce at the same time, you can let the potatoes brown. I let the brown for about 45 minutes.

CONCURRENTLY: Curry Sauce
Ingredients
1 15oz can Coconut Milk
1/4 cup curry powder
1 tablespoon tandoori spice
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, chopped
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
1 medium sized sauce pan

Recipe
1. Open the coconut milk and pour it into the sauce pan. Make sure you get all the solids from the can into the saucepan. I put the water needed for the recipe in the can, caught all the remnants and then poured that into the sauce pan.
2. Add all the spices and ginger.
3. Bring mixture to a boil, turn down and let reduce. You can taste test it now and decide how much salt you want.
4. When it is reduced to a thickness similar to mole, you are finished!

Once your filling and sauce is done, you are ready to roll the mix into tortillas.

Curry Enchiladas:
Ingredients
Potato/ Onion Filling
8 Corn Tortillas
8 slices Chihuahua Cheese
Curry Sauce
4 x 9 Pan
Oven preheated to 350 (f)

Recipe
1. Prepare your tortillas by laying them flat and placing half a slice of cheese in the middle of each.
2. On top of the cheese, place the potato/onion filling.
3. Roll the tortillas so that the filling will not come out.
4. Place the stuffed tortillas in the pan, again so the filling is not coming out (I did this one at a time and had some help from toothpicks to keep things closed)
5. Once your pan is filled, cover the stuffed tortillas with the remaining slices of cheese, halved so that everything is symmetrical.
6. Once the cheese is in place, pour all of the curry sauce on the stuffed tortillas
7. Place in the oven and let cook for 30-45 minutes (everybody’s oven is different)

These are really tasty. Too bad I don’t have a camera at the moment. bah humbug.
It’s worth noting that without the cheese, this recipe is vegan, so that’s a plus if you are one or know some.
Also, these keep really well in the fridge and are easily reheated in your oven.

PS: Not everybody has such immense access to cheap specialty ingredients in the town where one resides. A quick Google search informed me that there is an immense variety of authentic Indian food available on the internet for much less than typical grocery store prices. I’m sure that shipping makes it more expensive, but Garam Masala from McCormick’s isn’t nearly as tasty (and is 5x more expensive) as the real deal.

PPS: We paired this with a variation on a gin gimlet.
St. Germain Gimlet

Ingredients
1.5 oz Hendricks Gin (Plymouth would probably be better)
.75 oz St. Germain
1 oz fresh Lime Juice
.25 oz simple syrup
Ice
Shaker

Recipe
1. Place Gin, Germaine, lime juice, and simple syrup in shaker over ice.
2. Shake.
3. Serve in a martini glass.

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housewarming

Last night, Danielle and I hosted our housewarming party/ bbq. Since I work Saturdays and Fridays, and we both wanted something pretty low key, we thought a Sunday afternoon gathering would be nice and relaxing. We decided to provide some snacks and drinks, and asked people to supplement with their own. Danielle left the menu planning up to me, and I was stumped at first… and then I wasn’t. We decided to make samosas and gin and tonics.

I suppose you could try and find the ingredients for Indian cooking at Dominick’s, or pay too much for them at Whole Foods, but me being me, I decided to ride my bike up to Devon Street to get some authentic Indian ingredients for a reasonable price. On Saturday morning, I went on quite the bike ride, including the other errands in my neighborhood, calculations show that I rode at least 17 miles on my bike in the span of about 3 hours. I woke up early on Saturday, and I ended up going to Patel Brothers, because it was open. Patel Brothers has a lot of great stuff, but it can feel a little corporate, ala Trader Joe’s. Most things appear to be store brand, which allows for great quality control, but feels like… Trader Joe’s, not an awesome Indian grocery. Online, I’ve found that they have quite the network of groceries all over the country. The house brand name is “Swad…. The Best Taste In Town” which is a quaint tag line. I wonder if it sounds quaint on purpose, because if they’re being serious, maybe they should say the “Swad…. The Best Taste in North America.” Anyway, I digress. I picked up tons if Indian treats, for a quarter of what they would cost at Whole Paycheck. After trudging home on my bike, I went to pick up some gin and tonic for the party.

The problem with cheap gin is that it tastes like cheap gin. Most people have an aversion to this kind of gin, and I am cheap. What to do? We were making samosas, so I was intent on having gin and tonics, because they were invented in India by the British East India Company. I decided to buy cheap gin, and infuse it with cucumber. I only did this overnight, and it made a significant difference in the taste. I’m curious to see what happens if I let it sit for a week. To make infused gin:

Ingredients:
1 handle Seagrams or other inexpensive gin
2 large English cucumbers, peeled and chopped
3 drops rosewater
A small handful of fresh mint leavea (if you are infusing this over a longer period of time than a day, I would omit the mint.

Directions:
1.Chop up the peeled cucumbers
2. Put in a pitcher
3. Drip in the rosewater
4. Throw in the mint
5. Muddle it up
6. Cover with gin
7. Let sit covered in a dark place for at least 24 hours

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While the gin was infusing, Danielle and I made a lot of samosas. Samosas, despite what you might have been told, are not hard to make, however they are extremely labor intensive. I was struck with how Samosa Kohl (dough) is very similar to Pâte Brisée but MUCH easier to make. Some other day, when I decide to eat wheat again, I will try to make a quiche using Samosa Kohl. I used this recipe, and found it to work extremely well.
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We made 3 different fillings: potato carrot, potato pea paneer, and chickpea spinach paneer.
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They fried up quite nicely and were a hit at the party.
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We had quite the spread of chutneys and tasty snacks. I guarentee that Indian food has the best options in the world for snacking. Here’s a picture before the guests arrive
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Some people also brought cool food to share.

Laryssa brought a pineapple boat
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Ena brought a salad from her garden
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Mary brought deviled eggs
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This delicious syrup used with the infused gin, but I am still working on perfecting my recipe for a drink I’d like to call the Rose Garden…. Stay tuned.
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Here’s me and D, in socks, so our dirty feet don’t mess up the floor that our main men cleaned for us.
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