Monday, June 18, 2018

Cauliflower Tikka Masala

One of the dishes we sampled at the new Topside at the equally new Hotel Revival was a dish of cauliflower flavored a la Indian butter chicken. It was really good, and reminded me that cauliflower would make a fine meat substitute in a similar dish, chicken tikka masala. So rather than fuss around like the restaurant did and fry the cauliflower separately, I just made straight-up cauliflower tikka masala. I've made the chicken version before, and used heavy cream for the sauce. This time, I used whole milk yogurt, which made it extra tangy and delicious.

Cauliflower Tikka Masala

2 teaspoons garam masala (divided use)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric (divided use)
1 teaspoon ground coriander (divided use)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (divided use)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (divided use)
5 tablespoons whole milk yogurt (divided use)
1 medium cauliflower, trimmed into florets
1 small onion roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1-inch chunk of peeled ginger, roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
Steamed basmati rice (for serving)

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl. Remove half of the spices to a small bowl and set aside for later. Add three tablespoons of the yogurt to the spices in the large bowl and stir well to combine. Add the cauliflower florets. Using your hands, rub the marinade into the cauliflower (using a spoon won't cut it), and set the bowl aside at room temperature for at least half an hour.

Place the chopped onion, garlic, and ginger in a food processor and pulse to a paste. Heat a large skillet and add the vegetable oil. Add the onion puree and cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture gives up its juices and is starting to look dry. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook the mixture until the tomato paste has darkened and the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes with juices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the mixture, stirring often, for 8-10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, preheat your broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange cauliflower in a single layer. Broil for eight minutes, until cauliflower starts to blacken in spots. Turn the pieces over and broil for another 5-6 minutes.

When the cauliflower is almost done, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of yogurt to the sauce and stir well to combine. Toss in the cauliflower, stirring to coat it with the sauce. Turn the heat to low and cover the pan to allow the cauliflower to cook to your preferred texture (it will still be a bit crunchy when it comes out of the broiler, but that's the way I like it).

Serve with rice and cilantro garnish. A side of roasted okra is nice, too.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Flashback Friday - Fumetto #19 - Always Dieting Girl

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This post originally appeared on on March 22, 2012

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Friday, June 08, 2018

Flashback Friday - Where There's Smoke...

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This post originally appeared on on August 6, 2012
Some time ago, my brother bought us a stovetop smoker. This one, to be exact. We used it exactly once, to smoke some pork tenderloins. We neither burned the house down nor filled it with smoke, so I suppose the first experiment was largely successful. Except that the meat didn't taste particularly smoky. Recently, I got it in my head that I should put the smoker to use again, this time smoking some vegetables. The Fourth of July was coming up, and on that day we'd be eating beef burgers flavored with the smoke from the grill. Portobello mushrooms make pretty good burger substitutes and I wondered if they'd be even better when smoked.

Mushrooms, buns, and poblano peppers were purchased during our usual weekly trip to the grocery store and hung around in the fridge awaiting the weekend. And then Mother Nature struck, knocking out our power for four days. The mushrooms got packed up with the rest of the contents of fridge and freezer and were transported to Dad's place, where we lived until BGE got the electricity up and running (I think they saved our neighborhood for last). Rather than let the mushrooms dry out and go to waste, I chopped them up and used them to stretch a bit of frozen pasta sauce from our freezer (a bonus - doing so made for two fewer things to carry home later).

Once we were back in our own digs, I was determined to make the smoked mushrooms, come hell or high water. (The temperatures around here sure did feel like hell.) I also smoked some thickly sliced onion that became a sweet and tangy jam for topping the mushroom burgers. I was pretty pleased with the results. While the smoked mushrooms would never fool a carnivore, they made for a fine meatless supper.

Smoked Portobello Burgers with Smoked Onion Jam

4 large or 8 small portobello mushroom caps
1/2 onion, sliced thickly

Place mushrooms and onion in a stovetop smoker and smoke according to manufacturer's directions for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool inside smoker. When cool, remove mushrooms and set aside. Place onions in a saucepan to make the jam.

Onion Jam

smoked onion
olive oil
pinch salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)

Add a teaspoon or so of olive oil and a pinch of salt to the saucepan of smoked onions. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until the onions start to wilt and become translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and vinegar, turn heat to low, cover, and simmer an additional 20-30 minutes, until onions are very soft and have caramelized. If there's too much liquid left in the pot, raise the temperature and cook, uncovered, until the juices thicken. If the onions aren't smoky enough, stir in the smoked paprika.

To serve:
olive oil
sliced cheese (optional)
Hamburger buns
roasted poblano or red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
avocado slices

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet and add mushrooms. Cook on both sides for a couple of minutes to heat through. Top with cheese in the last minute or so of cooking, if desired, and cover pan.

Spread a bit of mayo on each side of a hamburger bun and add a few strips of pepper. Place one large or two small portobello caps onto the peppers. Top with avocado (tomato is nice, too) and a spoonful of onions.

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