Apple and Beet Salad
Fall and apples are in season, as are most root vegetables. This so reminds me fo a fantastic salad a local restaurant used to make. The then Chef De Cuisine was an absolute fiend for “Fresh, Simple, Spectacular”, and on a number of occasions we spoke. During one of those conversations he imparted a few pointers about this dish.
Sadly, he left to start his own restaurant on the West Coast, and the food at the restaurant became rather pedestrian, if not unpalatable.
The beet (Beta vulgaris) is a plant in the Chenopodiaceae family which is now included in Amaranthaceae family. It is best known in its numerous cultivated varieties, the most well known of which is the purple root vegetable known as the beetroot or garden beet. However, other cultivated varieties include the leaf vegetables chard and spinach beet, as well as the root vegetables sugar beet, which is important in the production of table sugar, and mangelwurzel, which is a fodder crop.
The usually deep-red roots of garden beet are eaten boiled either as a cooked vegetable, or cold as a salad after cooking and adding oil and vinegar. A large proportion of the commercial production is processed into boiled and sterilised beets or into pickles. In Eastern Europe beet soup, such as cold borsch, is a popular dish. Yellow-coloured garden beets are grown on a very small scale for home consumption.
Beetroot can be peeled, steamed, and then eaten warm with butter as a delicacy; cooked, pickled, and then eaten cold as a condiment; or peeled, shredded raw, and then eaten as a salad. Pickled beets are a traditional food of the American South. It is also common in Australia and New Zealand for pickled beetroot to be served on a hamburger.
Meatless Mondays – Abakado ma’Taheena
Wandering though the green grocer this weekend, I noticed a number of close to ripe avocados. These “alligator pears” have a number of health benefits to include lowering cholesterol levels, are natural sources of potassium, B vitamins, Vitamin E and K, plus they are just down right tasty…
Of course the first things that pops into one’s mind is guacamole but EVERYONE does guac, some mediocre, some worse, so I’ll not follow the thundering herd in that direction, the next suggestion that bubbles up from the depths of memory is an avocado salad, and that is just so booor-ing, I might cry..
These are subtropical fruits grow in a very few specific areas where the soil and climate conditions are right, particularly in southern Spain, the Levant, South Africa, Peru, parts of central and northern Chile, Vietnam, Indonesia, parts of southern India, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida.
Hmm, the Levant, traditionally, the Eastern Mediterranean at large. Think the northern portions of the Arabian Peninsula, all the way up to Turkey and as far west as Egypt. Home to warm weather, and high humidity near the water, perhaps a wonderful fit for the miserable steam baths we are having this week. And they have been surviving and thriving in this type of weather since the beginning of recorded history, so I’d say they have a clue as to how to “eat to beat the heat:.
I’ve not done Mideastern for a while … Perhaps an avocado hummus. A dish that is unlike guacamole, the dish / sauce is smooth and thick like hummus. It makes a great dip for pita bread or vegetables. Something that can be part of a evening mezze, (meze = starters) that will provide an assortment of cool / cold appetizer dishes to be eaten in place of a whole meal.
I will of course add my own twist, in the form of either chili’s added or a dolop of zhug in the center fo the serving plate.
I’ve been running crazy, and have not had the chance to cook for my wife. To make up for that sin, I’ll have to make her something special. Several years ago, (We will not discuss how many), she had a chance to taste Baba Ganoush and still complains she can not find a decent one anywhere. I suppose I’ll have to correct that…
Baba Ganoush is a Middle Eastern spread and dip is similar to hummus, but uses eggplant rather than chickpeas. This is a vegetarian/ vegan recipe and is particularly hummus-like, since it uses some chickpeas for a thicker texture. For a RogueChef twist try chili and lime spiced baba ganoush, (Sorry have a bunch left over from Thai food …)
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Clarified Butter for Indian Dishes (Ghee)
We all know I tend to rummage from end of the spectrum to the other, and that it takes very little to set me off on a different tangent. Wwll, I’ve been asked to lay out some tips for Vegetarian / Indian dishes. Please note, Vegetarian dishes contain no meat, Vegan dishes contain no animal products at all..
Anyway off we go with some basics..
Ghee is a class of clarified butter that originated in the Indian subcontinent, and is important in South Asian (Indian and Pakistani) and Middle Eastern cuisine (Levantine and Egyptian).
Ghee is made by simmering unsalted butter in a large pot until all water has boiled off and protein has settled to the bottom. The cooked and clarified butter is then spooned off to avoid disturbing the milk solids on the bottom of the pan. Unlike butter, ghee can be stored for extended periods without refrigeration, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation and remains moisture-free. Texture, colour, or taste of ghee depends on the source of the milk from which the butter was made and the extent of boiling. In India, ghee is usually made with water buffalo’s milk as it tends to be whiter than cow’s milk.
Ghee can be generally found in the Ethnic section of any big grocery store or on any Indian/South Asian store. When buying Ghee, be sure to buy Ghee from animal such as cow. Do not buy an artificial ghee made by hydrogenating vegetable oil that being basicly disgusting, nauseating, and overall unhealthy.
Spicy / Sweet Noodles
Again a fairly simple, quick meal, with an asian kick.
Tofu is the underdog of protein, face it even Vegetarians hate the stuff, but is just so damned ubiquitous in asian cooking it needs to be examined.
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