Monthly Archives: August 2012

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Sambal Oelek (Indonesian Red Chili Paste)

Chili pastes are probably my favorite condiment so I knew once I read about Sambal Oelek I had to try it.  I really enjoyed the Thai Red Curry Paste I made a while back as well as my usual go tos, Moroccan Harissa and Korean Gochujang. I was looking forward to trying out a new chili paste and thankfully this new one did not disappoint in the least! Sambal Oelek is a Southeast Asian chili paste that varies from country to country but generally consists of red chilies, shallots, ginger, garlic, lime and lemongrass.  The mixture is then ground up and can be added to soups, noodle dishes, meat marinades, etc. The paste was very spicy but had wonderful flavor.  I loved the combination of the sweet, spicy and citrusy flavors. I have a feeling this will go well with a lot of different dishes!

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Apple Rhubarb Crisp

What better way to make a slow transition into fall than with an apple rhubarb crisp? I am a little reluctant to acknowledge the fact that fall is coming so it’s nice to bring the two seasons together in a dessert! I saw a lot of recipes for apple rhubarb crisp that called for green apples but I thought sweet red apples would be a good choice since rhubarb is so tart. To compensate on the apples’ sweetness I just cut the sugar a bit and it turned out great! The recipe is similar to the other rhubarb crisp recipe and just as delicious! I liked the combination of the sweet apples, tart rhubarb and crunchy crust. Whipped cream and vanilla ice cream are the perfect accompaniment for this dessert!

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Rye and Spelt Injera (Ethiopian Flat Bread)

This post was a long time in the making as I have been thinking about and craving this Ethiopian flat bread for years, but never got around to making it until now! Injera is similar to Indian Dosas as it is cooked on a flat pan like a crepe. The bread is very sour and spongey, making it an accompaniment for all sorts of curries and stews. The bread is usually made with teff flour but I chose this recipe that uses a mixture of rye and spelt flours. Making sourdough is a neat process since you’re basically supporting a little cosmos in a bowl–full of fermenting bacteria and yeast. It does take several days to make the starter so as with most sourdough recipes it will require some patience.  It sounds gross, but there is definitely a method to the madness because sourdough is amazing in all forms. This bread was the perfect vehicle for the two Ethiopian dishes I planned for it, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

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Ethiopian Chickpea and Cauliflower Stew with Preserved Lemons

To go along my Ethiopian Lentil Curry I chose another Ethiopian-style curry with chickpeas and cauliflower.  One of my favorite things about curry is that both of these dishes can be called a “curry” yet they are both so different and complimentary at the same time.  This stew is a yellow curry seasoned with turmeric, cumin, cardamom, coriander and paprika.  It is more loosely based on Ethiopian chickpea and vegetable stews because I thought it would be fun to embellish it a bit.  I don’t think preserved lemons are found too much in Ethiopian food but they really added amazing flavor to this dish.  The preparation was easy and the result was so tasty! It tasted great with the lentils as well as the Injera bread.

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Ethiopian Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry

A few years ago I went to an Ethiopian restaurant and was completely taken with the food. I couldn’t remember all of the curries that I tried but I do remember the bread they served with the main course: injera. I wanted to recreate that meal at home so I set out researching Ethiopian curries. It turns out that the injera is served as the “plate” to place a variety of tasty curries. I settled on this red lentil and yam curry which I thought would go nicely on top of the injera. A spice blend of cumin, cinnamon, ginger, paprika and allspice flavor the curry. The sweet potato and lentils went together so well and provided an element of sweetness that balanced the spices. It was a really simple dish that tasted great with the injera.

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Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes

One of my favorite summer dishes is caprese salad. Sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and balsamic vinegar offer the perfect combination of flavors. It also turns out these ingredients are a perfect grilled cheese in the making! The one issue was the balsamic vinegar–how to incorporate a liquid ingredient on a sandwich that isn’t a dressing? My solution was to simply roast the tomatoes in balsamic vinegar in the oven which infused the flavor of the balsamic into the tomato. I chose sourdough for the bread which worked nicely with the other ingredients. The sandwich was really tasty and not hard to make at all. It was a great way to turn a caprese salad appetizer into the main course!

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Korean Kalbi Beef Tacos with Cilantro Lime Salsa

Since Korean food works great with Tex-mex I wanted to try Korean-style tacos again! Usually “kalbi” refers to Korean BBQ short ribs but I really wanted to try the kalbi marinade on skirt steak since it’s a great meat for tacos. The marinade consists of ginger, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and asian pears so it was really easy to throw together.  If you can’t find asian pears I think it would be alright to substitute in regular pears.  I marinated the steak for about an hour before grilling. I used a flat pan to saute the beef at a high temperature, but I’m sure grilling the beef would be a great way to get extra flavor.  The tacos were really tasty! I loved the sear on the beef along with the flavors of the kalbi marinade.  I really enjoyed the sweet and savory kalbi beef with the tangy sesame soy dressing. I topped the tacos with chopped tomatoes, a cilantro lime salsa and sesame soy sauce dressing.

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I’ve come across quite a few recipes for chocolate zucchini bread and I’ve always been intrigued by this recipe. I had two leftover zucchini wasting away in my refrigerator so I thought I would give this a shot. Turns out you can’t taste the zucchini at all! I’m not really sure why but chocolate and zucchini can both be a little bit bitter so maybe the flavors complimented each other.  The bread uses two blocks of unsweetened baker’s chocolate which gives it a very rich chocolate flavor.  I used plain yogurt to give it an extra bit of creaminess.  The result was a really moist, chocolatey bread with the added benefit of 2 cups of veggies! Plus the kitchen smelled amazing while the bread baked so I look forward to making this again.

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