Monday, February 22, 2010

20. Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

I found this dish here while searching for interesting side dishes for well...anything. Steamed or roasted vegetables gets pretty old after 168 days of dieting. The original is so very much prettier than mine, but mine was really very tasty. Now the points here are a little high for a side dish and normally I'd have aimed lower, but it looked so good, I just couldn't help myself. I love Indian food! Of course as always I made changes, and I paired this with roasted pork tenderloin.

I am going to post the recipe as is for you all to see with parentheses for my changes.

Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes - 6 points per serving (with my changes)
Serves 4 (I changed it to serve 6)

1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets (1 1/4lbs)
1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2lbs)
5 tablespoons vegetable oil (4tbsp)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (didnt have seeds, used ground, upped to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (used two tbsp minced)
2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds (used 1/2 whole jalapeño seeds and all, minced)
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger (used 2 teaspoons ground)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (heaping)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (1 teaspoon garam masala)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup water (1 cup)

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and place a shallow baking pan on rack. Preheat oven to 475°F.

Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 (I sprayed the pan with cooking spray and lightly drizzled a single tbsp over the vegetables) tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in hot baking pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes (If you do not cut the potatoes and cauliflower small enough this will take longer.).

While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 (I used 3 here) tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Makes 4 side-dish servings.

It was amazing!

19. How to season and use that cast iron skillet you have just lying around

How many of you have cookware lying around or hung up or hidden in your kitchen that you have no idea how to use or that you want to use but aren't sure of the upkeep? Growing up we had one kind of cookware. The copper bottomed kind. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about! I used to watch my grandmother dutifully shine the copper on the bottoms of every one of her pans once a month with ketchup, thus learning how to shine copper very cheaply. This was also the only thing I learned about cookware growing up. However I am not here to talk about copper bottom pans, I am here to talk about: Cast Iron.

I always thought of cast iron as something that my grandmother would have used (even though she didn't) and that the pans themselves were just gross. You never use soap to clean them as that would destroy the wonderful nonstick coating that you are going to create by seasoning it. I'm over that now. I used to love and use (and still use as I have only just recently started replacing all of my cookware with the set I plan to have for the next um, forever.) non-stick or Teflon pans, but after reading articles on Teflon possibly having some pretty heinous heath risks and seeing how quick even the most expensive pan deteriorates I have changed my mind. This isn't to say that everyone should run out and replace their Teflon, but there are alternatives. Cast iron is one of many alternatives including stainless steel and glass.

Now, get that old rusted cast iron pan out from where ever you have been neglecting it and follow my lead.

You are going to need:
1 (or several) cast iron pan (s)
Fat (I have tried both vegetable fats and (recently) animal fat and I like the way animal fat works a lot more. I used bacon fat and the result was a gloriously seasoned pan. Vegetarians, do not despair! I have been reading and vegetable fats are just fine!)

1. Preheat your oven to anywhere between 300 and 500 degrees. This is entirely up to you, I used 300 degrees today.
2. Scour your pan out very well with hot water and a scouring pad or steel wool. If you have light rust spots scour them until all traces of the rust are gone. Then wash and immediately dry your pan.
3. Coat your pan with fat and place it into the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan and drain the excess fat.
4. Place the pan back into the oven for 1-2 hours.

Note: Repeating the process several times will help to create a stronger seasoning and better cooking surface.

Caring for your pan:

1. Do not use soap, though I am sure you can find several resources for why you can and how. Soap will start to break down the seasoning you have created.
2. Let the pan cool down some, rinse it with hot water, and wipe with a soft sponge if you need to.
3. Dry with paper towels and then place over low heat on the stove to make sure the pan is completely dry.

Voila! You have an amazing non-stick pan that should last years and years with proper care.

18. Chipotle Lime Flank Steak

Oh no! I do not have a picture for this incredibly flavorful dish to entice you into making it! Don't worry...I will be making it again!

I found this recipe on the WW online boards and it called out to me not only because I had almost all of the ingredients on hand, but because I love chipotle flavors, and we hadn't had steak in a while. I paired this recipe with a whole wheat wrap, 1/4th cup of rice, and saute'd peppers and onions. Amazing! However when I made it I made some tweaks, so I am going to post it with my tweaks and recommendations.

For example, the original calls for 1 lb of steak. I used 1 1/2 lbs and doubled some of the ingredients in the marinade. I doubled the amount of peppers in Adobo. Don't do that, no matter how much you want to, unless you like your food extremely hot! However I do believe that you will find what I post to be quite satisfying... The recipe as I made it with 1/2 the peppers:

Quick side note: Always double check your points values no matter who posts them or how often they are correct. You don't want ruin a good run with someone else's mistake!

Chipotle Lime Flank Steak - 4 points per serving (as long as you do not add extra marinade to your actual serving.)
Serves 6

1 1/2 lb flank steak or skillet steak
4 chipotle chiles canned in Adobo, minced
1/2 c fresh lime juice
1/2 c honey
1 cup chopped cilantro (not packed)
3 Tablespoons dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground allspice (I did not have any allspice left! I used a dash of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients for marinade. Marinate flank steak in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight (I only had 3 hours and it was still fantastic, this is a no worries recipe!). Remove steak from marinade, reserve marinade. Grill or broil to desired degree of doneness. *If you are going to cut your steak into strips, do it now rather than before putting it into the marinade. Trust me, its easier to fish it out of the marinade this way.

If desired bring marinade to a boil. Boil until slightly reduced and thickened. Serve sauce over thinly sliced steak, and enjoy!