Monday, October 24, 2011

Indian Chana Masala with Roti

Tonight I sit here on the couch with my mom cracking up as we watch cooking shows and crunch on homemade popcorn balls. It's a special night. Just the two of us. We made dinner together and sat down to watch our favorite fall movie, Arsenic and Old Lace as we had a bowl of this Indian dish. I got this recipe from Rachel Ray. This vegan recipe is fun, healthy and very easy to make!

Indian Chana Masala with Roti

1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 fresh green chiles (such as serrano), chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 t. fresh ginger, grated
2 t. garam masala
2 large tomatoes, chopped (about 3 cups)
3 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
salt
2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed
1 T. fresh lemon or lime juice, plus 4 wedges
2 C. flour (I used 1/2 wheat, 1/2 white)
1 T. butter, melted (I used vegan butter)

  In a Large bowl, mix the flour and 1 t. salt. In a small skillet, heat 2 T. of the vegetable oil over high heat until very hot, about 1 minute. Drizzle it over the flour mixture. Pour in 1/2 cup water in a slow streamm, mixing with a wooden spoon. Add up to 2 T. more water, 1 at a time, until the dough hold together when pinched. Working by hand or using a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, knead the dough until smooth and firm, about 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes by mixer. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  In a large skillet, heat 2 T. oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 10-12 minutes. Add the chiles, garlic, ginger and garam masala and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, half of the cilantro and 1/2 t. salt. Simmer gently until saucy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Cover and set aside to keep warm. 
  Divide the dough evenly into 8 balls. Roll each ball into a 6" round (about 1/16" thick). Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. 
  Meanwhile, wipe the inside of a medium nonstick skillet with an oiled paper towel and heat over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Working with 1 dough round at a time, place the dough into the pan and cook until brown in spots on bottom, gently pressing the air bubbles with the back of a spatula to expel the air, about 30 seconds. Flip and continue pressing for about 15 seconds. Transfer to a plate and brush with some of the butter. Repeat with the remaining rounds and butter. 
  To serve, spoon the chana masala into individual bowls. Top with the remaining cilantro and the lemon wedges (or lime). Serve with the roti (bread). 
 Looks amazing huh? It sure was. We sat there, snuggled up on the couch enjoying each bite. We ended up sprinkling the roti with a little sea salt. That really kicked it up. The chana masala was perfectly spicy and the chickpeas gave it a great bite. Feel free to use only 1 or even less peppers. Or get creative and use any pepper or add veggies. If you add more veggies, I would add more tomatoes so you have plenty of "sauce." It was a perfect fall dish. Felt good to have a healthy, yet satisfying meal. 

I hope you are enjoying this time of year. It's my personal favorite. If it's not yours, try to make the best out of it because it's only here once a year:)

Chef Teebs

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Wonderful Pumpkin Patch that led us to Pumpkin Penne Pasta


Every year I look so forward to going to Jerry Smith Pumpkin Farm. We walk through all the displays as we snap shots of each other in the scenes, feed the goats, pick out a perfectly wonderful pumpkin, and get some of their amazing sugar cookies on the way out! This time I decided to get a pumpkin I could cook with, a sugar pie pumpkin. I had yet to bake one myself. I've always used canned pumpkin. Until now. An adventure is about to begin..
I brought the dirty pumpkin home, scrubbed it and whipped out a recipe from Rachel Ray that I've been wanting to make for too long. It's called Penny-Wise Pumpkin Pasta. The name comes from it's low budget ingredients, supposedly. The recipe called for a 15-oz can pure pumpkin puree, so I had to figure out first how to roast this thing. I googled and found super easy and effective instructions, here
This is how my pumpkin turned out!  

Now time to make this pasta!

Penny-Wise Pumpkin Pasta

Salt
1 lb. whole wheat penne rigate
2 T. EVOO (I used coconut oil)
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
2 C. vegetable broth
1 15-oz. can pure pumpkin puree or roasted pumpkin*
1/2 C. heavy cream (I used soy milk)
1 t. hot pepper sauce (like tabasco)
2 pinches ground cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
pepper
7 leaves fresh sage, thinly sliced
Grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese or vegan cheese (I used nutritional yeast)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.

*If using roasted pumpkin, you can puree it in a food processor or what I did was mash it with a potato masher to leave some chunks (I like lots of texture)

While the pasta is working, in a medium skillet, heat the oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, pumpkin and cream/soy. Add the hot sauce, cinnamon and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sage.

Toss the pasta with the sauce and pass the "cheese" around the table. 
This pasta was delicious. I think it could easily be tweaked and altered if needed. I actually used yellow onion instead of shallots. It was easy to make. So, thoughts on roasting the pumpkin? Well it was easier than I thought but didn't have a huge amount of more flavor than canned. But I loved the texture it gave. I would do it again though. I served this pasta with homemade garlic bread. You can find the recipe here. This time I used vegan margarine instead of oil and cooked chopped sun-dried tomatoes with the garlic. It was a very yummy change. 

I can't wait to watch the movie Arsenic and Old Lace! Been so in the mood! What are you doing this fall?

Chef Teebs

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eggplant Roll-Ups served with Barbie's Marinara Sauce

I've really been in the mood for some good old marinara sauce. I think my first cookbook was The Barbie Party Cookbook. I don't even know how old I was but I remember making the spaghetti recipe in there and my family really liked it a lot. So for years my mom and I have used this marinara sauce recipe. The cookbook is hilarious to me now! Ken is featured in romantic scenes for the Valentines Day recipes. I believe Skipper is skiing in the winter section with hot chocolate. As the years have passed I basically stopped looking up the recipe and have kinda made it my own. For a while I've wanted to try one of the many eggplant recipes I have and I just happened to have an eggplant on hand I wanted to use. I found this recipe in Rachel Ray's magazine, who I like a lot but I personally like to cook from scratch, so I adjusted some things. 


Eggplant Roll-Ups

1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise into 8 slices
salt & pepper
4 large eggs (I used 4 "eggs" of Ener-G Egg Replacer)
3/4 C. store-bought pesto (I made this recipe)
2 1/2 C. bread crumbs
6 T. EVOO
3/4 C. ricotta cheese (I used this instead)
1/3 C. grated pecorino-romano cheese (I used nutritional yeast)
1 C. store-bought marinara sauce (I made it from scratch)

Season the eggplant with salt and pepper. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and 4 T. of the pesto. Pour the bread crumbs onto a large plate. Dip each eggplant slice into the egg mixture, then coat with the breadcrumbs.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the eggplant until golden, 2 minutes on each side, using the remaining 4 T. olive oil if needed. Transfer the eggplant to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. 

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta and 3 T. grated cheese (or nutritional yeast); season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 T. of the remaining pesto on each eggplant slice and top with about 2 T. of the cheese mixture. Roll up each slice. Place them in a casserole dish and bake until the eggplant is tender when pierced with a toothpick, about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan bring the marinara sauce to a simmer. Serve the roll-ups with the sauce and remaining grated cheese. 
 And lastly, here's Barbie's recipe for the marinara sauce.
Tomato Sauce 

1 garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. oil
2 bay leaves
1 28-oz can Italian crushed tomatoes 
1/2 t. oregano 

Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Add the garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until onions are soft. 
Pour in the tomatoes, oregano, and bay leaves. Cook, uncovered, at a low boil or simmer for 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove bay leaves before serving. 

The eggplant was pretty good. I honestly couldn't taste the pesto very strongly. Maybe I didn't put enough on each slice. But it was a ton of work since I made everything from scratch. It took forever and the end result wasn't worth it. This recipe may be only worth it if you take short cuts. It did have a good taste and it was kinda fun to make.. Give it a try, do something different if you'd like. If nothing else, try this amazing marinara sauce. It obviously worked for Ken!;)

Chef Teebs

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Homemade pizza for a friend's baby shower..

A couple close friends of mine, Ro and Chris, are having a baby. Ro and I work together and one of our co-workers decided to throw her a special baby shower. I was asked to make my famous pizza and was told to top it with grilled vegetables. 11 cups of flour later, I finally had enough dough to make 4 pizzas...
I ran to the store, bought all kinds of veggies including butternut squash, red and green bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, red onion, broccoli and garlic. Chopped it all up and roasted it with EVOO, sea salt and cracked black pepper until it was nice and caramelized. 
 The home was decorated beautifully with glossy silverware, darling placemats, organic grapes to snack on and of course lovely tunes like Over the Rhine filling the room with a calm, unpretentious ambience.  I loved that it wasn't a typical baby shower with the same old games no one wants to play. Instead we had great conversation, took turns getting facials & hand massages from 2 lovely ladies for an affordable price.. it was a relaxing and fun night for everyone! And lastly, the food was delicious. Tahmi, the hostess, prepared a tasty spinach salad with roasted beets, walnuts, and goat cheese. 
My buddy Ro and I at work
The shower was a success, the pizza was well received and most importantly, Ro was thrilled! It was a great night. If you are interested in having a Chef Teebs' pizza at your next party, drop me a line! 
    
Chef Teebs

Monday, October 10, 2011

Red Lentil Dal with Charred Onions


I'm really excited about fall. I just went through my huge binder of recipes to pull out all my warm and cozy recipes. I hope you enjoy pumpkin, acorn & butternut squash, soups, roasted veggies and lots of spices because I got some yummy recipes I'm looking forward to trying! This particular recipe was amazing! Lentils are loaded with fiber and protein. I served this spicy, savory dish with short brown rice and a side of steamed carrots tossed in a garlic-ginger "butter." This recipe is from Cooking Light.

Red Lentil Dal with Charred Onions

1 T. olive oil, divided (I used coconut oil)
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4" think slices
1 t. mustard seeds (or ground)
1/2 t. coriander seeds (or ground)
1/2 t. cumin seeds (or ground)
1 whole clove (or ground)
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/8 t. ground cardamom
1 dried hot red chile (I used ground cayenne)
1 T. fresh ginger, peeled & minced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 C. organic vegetable broth
1 C. dried small red lentils (I used green)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained (I chopped up fresh tomatoes from the garden)
1/4 C. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 T. fresh lime juice

Heat 1 t. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 2 minutes or until charred. Carefully turn over onion and cook an additional 4 minutes or until blackened and charred. Remove from heat. Coarsely chop; set aside. 

Combine mustard seeds, coriander, cumin, and clove in a skillet over medium heat. Cook 1 1/2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Combine with cinnamon, cardamom and red chile. If using whole seeds, use a spice or coffee grinder and pulse until ground. 

Heat remaining oil in a small dutch oven over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic to pan; saute 1 minute. Stir in spices; saute 1 minute. Add broth, lentils, and tomato to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover; add onion and cook 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and juice. 

 Steamed Carrots with Ginger-Garlic Butter

2 garlic cloves
5-7 carrots, peeled and cut into "coins"
1 T. butter (I use vegan butter)
1 t. fresh ginger, peeled & minced
1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 t. grated lime rind
1 T. fresh lime juice
1/4 t. salt

Steam carrots, covered, 10 minutes, or until tender. 
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in carrots, cilantro, and remaining ingredients. 
I obviously altered it here and there according to what I had on hand and of course to veganize it. I really feel a difference in my body by taking out the animal products in food. I don't feel that yucky weighed down feeling after eating and I feel just better in general. My parents really enjoyed this meal. We all loved the lentils. The carrots were a nice change and complimented the lentils very well. The carrot recipe wasn't outstanding. But I am going to keep it when I want something different than the usual way of preparing carrots. I still thought they were tasty! I also served some homemade dinner rolls my mom had made the night before. Yum!

I just bought a sweet pumpkin.. so get ready for something good to come. I'm going to make dinner with it! 

God bless you all,

Chef Teebs

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Baked Acorn Squash and stuffed poblanos gone wrong...

Sigh... So here goes. I saw a Rick Bayless recipe for Chorizo-Stuffed Poblano Peppers, which to me--sounds like a winner. I was very excited. Well, I had one frustration after another. The recipe said to broil the peppers whole and then after they are cooled to remove the stems etc. But I learned my lesson last time I tried to roast poblanos because they were falling apart when I tried removing the stems. So this time I removed the stems and veins before roasting.. still failed! I tried peeling the skins and it just ripped apart the whole pepper. Plus my fingers were on fire! I honestly wanted to cry and just throw them in the garbage. I finally crumbled up and tossed the recipe! I ended up just slicing up the peppers into strips and serving them with tortillas on the side along with a mixture of soy-rizo and potatoes, guacamole, and this onion/carrot mixture in Rick's recipe. I ended up having to dig through the garbage and get the recipe to finish it. But I was pretty bummed when I had to spend the rest of the night with my hands soaking in half and half... 
 The tacos were pretty good. But the recipe was useless to me. So I threw it back in the garbage. I'm sorry. But I did make delicious roasted acorn squash along with it. Here's the recipe for that..

Teebs' Roasted Acorn Squash
   serves 4


1 acorn squash, middle scooped out, Cut into fourths
brown sugar & butter (I use vegan butter)

Simply line a brownie-style pan with foil and place squash slices in pan. Top with dabs of butter and a generous amount of brown sugar on each slice. Bake at 400°F for about 30 mins or until tender and toasty. 

 This recipe is perfect to warm you up on a chilly day. I think what happened with the peppers is I probably should have rotated them as they were cooking. It seems like they were scorched in some places and raw in others.. I never have this problem with bell peppers so I was surprised. Anywho, I'll wear gloves next time!

Chef Teebs