Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spice Hunter - March 2009

Diva: Ashley

Drinks: Mariah
Pink Basil Rising

¼ blood orange section
½ pint loosely packed basil leaves
2oz distilled water
½ oz. squeezed lime juice
½ oz simple syrup

Muddle blood orange and basil leaves add water, lime, simple syrup – shake for several seconds. Stain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with basil sprig.
Add white wine or tequila for a little zip.

Experiment with different herbs and spices like:
Cilantro, sage or rosemary

Appetizer: Lovina
Red Lentil Rice Cakes

5 c water, divided
1 c dried small red lentils
½ c uncooked basmati rice
2 T olive oil, divided
½ c finely chopped zucchini
½ c finely chopped red onion
½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ c (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
¼ c dry breadcrumbs
1 T chopped fresh basil
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tsp garam masala
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

Bring 4 cups water and lentils to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Place lentils in a large bowl.
Combine remaining 1 cup water and rice in pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool 10 minutes. Add rice to lentils.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, fennel seeds, and garlic to pan; saute 2 minutes or until tender. Cool 10 minutes. Add to rice mixture. Add mozzarella cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring until well combined. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Spoon half of rice mixture by 1/3-cupfuls into pan, spreading to form 6 (3-inch) circles; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully turn cakes over; cook 5 minutes on other side. Remove cakes from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining rice mixture. Serve with salsa.

(Cooking Light)

Apricot Mango Chutney

Dried Turkish apricots
Dried mangoes
brown sugar
chili pepper
orange marmalade
papay-orange juice

Salad: Bonnie
Chickpea Salad

¼ c fresh lemon juice
¼ c olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 (16-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 serrano peppers, grilled, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 large yellow bell pepper, grilled, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
¼ c finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ c finely chopped chives

Whisk together the lemon juice, oil, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Transfer the salad to a large serving platter, cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours before serving.

Red Pepper-Tahini Vinaigrette:

Pinch saffron

¼ c hot water
¼ c sherry vinegar
2 red bell peppers, grilled, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T tahini
2 tsp honey
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ c olive oil

Steep saffron in a hot water for 5 minutes to bloom.

Transfer saffron mixture to a blender and add the sherry, red pepper, garlic, tahini, honey, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil and blend until emulsified. The vinaigrette can be made up to 4 hours in advance, covered and kept refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.

(Bobby Flay,

Soup: Tina (sub for Colleen)
Scandinavian Sweet Soup

5 c water
½ c dried apples, finely chopped
½ c raisins or currents
½ c dried apricots, finely chopped
½ c pitted prunes, finely chopped
1 heaping T pearl tapioca
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise (optional)
1 c fruit juice (apple or cranberry or lingonberry, if you can get it)

Bring water to a steady boil. Stir in dried fruit, pearl tapioca, cinnamon stick, and star anise, reduce heat to medium, and maintain at a low simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in fruit juice and heat for a final 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon and star anise.

Sweet soup can be served either warm or cold, as a dessert or snack or breakfast selection.


Entree: Stacey
Seared Pork Chops with Cherry Reduction Sauce

4 porkchops-thick center-cut chops
salt, pepper, herbs d' Provence spice mixture
2 T olive oil

Sauce ingredients:
3 T butter
2 T flour
½ c red wine
1 c beef stock
½ c cherry preserves
salt and pepper

Season one side of pork chops with salt, pepper, sprinkle of Herbs d' Provence. Heat skillet to very hot, add olive oil, and sear chops (seasoned side down) for 4 mins. on each side. DO NOT move the chops around once you set them down, except to turn over after 4 mins. Season on other side. Transfer chops to a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 mins. to finish them off.

Sauce: Melt 3 T. butter in pork chop skillet over medium high heat. Whisk in flour, then red wine, then beef stock, then cherry preserves, whisking well after adding each ingredient. Sauce should start to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You may need to add more flour or beef stock--keep tasting. Drizzle over pork chops and serve with mashed potatoes or stuffing. Enjoy!!

Side Dish: Erin
Cauliflower, Potato and Pea Curry

¼ c cooking oil

1 T ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp dried red-pepper flakes

1 medium head cauliflower (about 1 pound), cut into large florets (about 4 cups)

1 ½ pounds boiling potatoes (about 4), peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 c canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree

½ c chopped cilantro

½ cup water

1 tsp salt

1 c frozen petite peas

In a large deep frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and red-pepper flakes and stir. Add the cauliflower and potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, ¼ cup of the cilantro, the water, and the salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the peas and the remaining ¼ cup cilantro and cook, covered, until the peas are tender, about 2 minutes longer.

Variation: If you like, you can add three tablespoons dried unsweetened coconut to the curry. Put it in at the same time as the peas.

Dessert: Sara
Tropical Fruit Tartlets

1/3 c Coconut Cream (full fat) at room temperature--put a can in the fridge for an hour. When opening be careful not to jostle or shake. Spoon out the top portion leaving the liquid.
1/3 c Dark Brown Packed Sugar
1 ¼ c Rice Flour

Whisk or blend the coconut cream until smooth, add sugar and stir until blended. Stir in the rice flour to make a thick, firm, dough that can be rolled in to a ball. Divide dough into 5 or 6 pieces and press with finger into tart pans. Bake at 400-425 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-20 minutes. Cool completely, remove from pans.

Vanilla Cream:
1/3 c rice flour
1 c Rice Milk
2 T Raw Cane Sugar
½ Vanilla Bean*

Combine rice flour and rice milk in a saucepan. Place over medium to low heat and stir consistently until thickened. add sugar and stir until melted and cream is quite thick. Remove from heat. Split vanilla bean in pod in half and remove the seeds with a knife and add to cream mixture.

*Due to the lack of vanilla beans and the high price as well, I used a Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract as a replacement.

Fruit Topping:
3-4 Kiwi Fruits
Tropical Fruits of Choice:

Spread warm cream on the bottom of the tartlet crusts. Before serving, peel and thinly slice kiwi and other fruits, and arrange on top of cream.

(Gluten Free Gourmet)

Wild Card: Tamara
Ginger Themed Care Packages

Chai Spice Packets

Packet contains:
1 stick cinnamon
1 pod cardamom
2 whole cloves
4 peppercorns
¼ tsp ground ginger

To brew Chai:
Add contents of spice package to 2 ½ c water and bring to a low boil.
Turn down the heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Add 2/3 c of your milk of choice and 4 tsp sugar and bring to a heavy simmer.
Take off heat and add 3 T of loose black tea or 3 tea bags. Steep for at least 3 minutes.
Mix in ¼ tsp vanilla extract. (1 packet for 2 servings)

(The Joy of Vegan Baking)

Sparkled Ginger Cookies

4 T tubinado or demerrara sugar (regular sugar will work but coarse is best)
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ c canola oil
¼ c soy milk
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two cookie sheets. Place the turbinado sugar in a small bowl.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. In a separate large mixing bowl, mix together the oil, molasses, soy milk, sugar and vanilla. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and combine well. Roll into 1-inch balls, flatten into 1½-inch-diameter disk, press the cookie tops into the turbinado sugar and place 1 inch apart, sugar side up on cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, let cool on cookie sheets for 3-5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

(Vegan with a Vengeance)

Spiced Banana Chips

2 T vegetable oil
2 T light brown sugar
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
½ tsp chili powder
2 c dried banana chips
1 c pecan halves

Preheat oven to 325 line baking sheet with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.

Whisk together oil, brown sugar, five-spice powder, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, salt and chili powder in medium bowl.

Add banana chips and pecans halves and toss to coat with spice mixture.

Spread banana chips in single layer on prepared baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes, shaking pan to toss mixture at least once during baking. Cool in pan completely before serving. Store up to 1 week in airtight container.

(Vegetarian Times)

Lottery: Aven

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