Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fall Flavors and Mock Falafel - 11.23.08

I've been cooking so much that I haven't had the energy to update the blog in the past couple of weeks. So here is my pre-Thanksgiving update:

Chicken Curry in Squash

I have wanted to cook with squash and I decided to go through with it. First is chicken curry in a roasted acorn squash. While baking two halves of an acorn squash in a 450 degree oven, you saute chicken, red bell pepper, and onion with curry powder, some milk and golden raisins (those with good eyesight will notice in the picture that I could not find golden raisins so I used regular raisins). As always with any milk-based sauce, you want to make sure not to overcook it and "break" it. After everything is done, serve the chicken inside the squash halves and garnish with chopped cilantro. I found this recipe in Men's Health Magazine, so it is reasonably healthy, very filling if you can finish an entire half of an acorn squash (I may quarter it next time) and has decent flavors.

Pumpkin Ravioli

The second dish is one you could make year-round since it does not rely on fresh squash. I combined pumpkin puree with toasted pumpkin seeds, lemon juice, asiago cheese, a lot of arugula, peppercorns, and salt in a food processor and blended until smooth. If you, like me, does not always want to make fresh pasta dough for ravioli, you can use wonton wrappers. The recipe I used called for cornstarch dissolved in water to seal up the ravioli. This worked very well and the ravioli did not burst when I boiled them (only for a few minutes until they float). For a sauce, I combined 6 tablespoons each of butter and chopped sage. I may have cooked the sauce a little too long, but the end result was a nice butter sauce with crispy sage in it. I used some shaved asiago cheese at the end as a final touch.

Steak with Olives

As an accompaniment to the ravioli, I made a very quick and easy steak dish. Start by patting the steaks dry and seasoning them with salt and pepper. Cook them in a pan with oil until they reach the desired doneness. Remove the steaks from the pan and add 4 sliced garlic cloves and about a cup and a half of coarsely chopped olives. This time around I used a combination of black and pitted kalamata olives. Cook this until the garlic is browned and everything is heated through. Top the steaks with the olives and garnish with chopped parsley. I've discovered I like my steak medium rare to give it a nice juiciness and flavor. The olives add a simple, rustic flavor that matches the steak well.

Mock Falafel

The last dish I've made is a little out of left field. It's a non-traditional version of falafel using pinto beans instead of favas. Combine mashed pintos with monterey jack cheese, tortilla chips or breadcrumbs, green onion, cilantro, cumin, and egg whites. Form this odd mixture into patties and cook in a pan with olive oil until the patties have a nice, crispy outside. I wanted to make an avocado spread for this, but my avocado went bad prematurely, so I combined sour cream with lime juice, onion, and tomato for a cool topping. I served these inside of pita with shredded iceberg lettuce. These falafel may not be as crispy as the usual ones are, but they turned out to be quite enjoyable anyways.

1 comment:

kaylin said...

i am in awe. you are amazing, dave!