April 18, 2010

Smoky Ribollita

Ribollita ("twice boiled" from Italian) is a Tuscan classic made from reheated minestrone. I found this delicious soup recipe  in "Food and Wine" magazine and could not pass. It is pretty much like the minestrone with an addition of sweet smoked paprika, that makes the soup much more fragrant and tasty.
Adapted from "Food And Wine" magazine
  • 3 strips bacon, finely cut
  • 3 large celery ribs, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 cups cannelloni beans, soaked and boiled
  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale, deveined and chopped
  • 1 bunch red chard, deveined and chopped
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 thyme springs, the leafs finely chopped
  • 1 rosemary spring, the leafs finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp pimenton
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp good quality olive oil
In a large pot cook the bacon. Add the celery, carrot and onions. Cook them until softened. Stir in the garlic, paprika, and crushed red pepper.

Add the tomatoes, greens, thyme, and rosemary, and cook stirring occasionally, until the tomato juices are evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Add the stock and beans to the pot. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

At the end stir in the vinegar, and the olive oil. Serve with Parmesan and crusty bread.

April 17, 2010

April 11, 2010

Everyday Yellow Dal and Tangy Shredded Cabbage Salad

It was all Indian at our place yesterday. We had yellow split peas dal and a green cabbage salad. Both dishes are very easy to cook and delicious to eat. You just need to stock up with those gazillion Indian spices and use them in moderation.

Yellow Split Pea Dal
Adapted from Ruta Kahate
  • 2 cup yellow split peas, soaked in cold water for 1 hour
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and cut into wedges. I guess canned tomatoes would work too.
  • 4 tbsp cup sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 big red onion, finely chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne, or use you best judgment
  • 1 bunch chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • salt to taste

Simmer the soaked split peas and the tomatoes in a large saucepan with 4 cups of water for about an hour. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over high heat and add the cumin seeds. After the  the seeds have stopped sputtering, add the onion and saute over medium heat. About 6 minutes later, add the garlic and saute until most of the onion has turned dark brown. Add the coriander, turmeric and cayenne, stir and pour mixture over the dal. Add the cilantro, butter and salt to the dal and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve hot with basmatti rice or nan.

Per serving: 465 calories, 21 g protein, 58 g carbohydrate, 18 g fat (3 g saturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 545 mg sodium, 22 g fiber. Total of 8 servings, rice not included.

Tangy Shredded Cabbage Salad
Adapted from Ruta Kahate
  • 1/2 medium head of shredded green cabbage (use the large holes of the grater)
  • 2 small Serrano chilies, seeded and mince
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more as needed. I added 1 tbsp of rice vinegar.
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds 
In a medium bowl, toss together the cabbage, chilies, lemon juice,vinegar, salt and sugar. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You are looking for a well-balanced, sweet and sour taste.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the mustard seeds, covering the pan with a lid or splatter screen. When seeds top popping, immediately pour the oil over the cabbage salad and toss well. Let the salad sit for at least 15 minutes before serving, to allow the flavors to blossom.
Serve cold or at room temperature.
I do not have a picture of the finished salad. It was gone before I managed to take one. :)
Per serving: 50 calories, 1 g protein, g 4 carbohydrate, 4 g fat (0 saturated), 0 cholesterol, 540 mg sodium, 1 g fiber. 8 servings total.
The nutrition facts are approximate and are according the original posts.

April 09, 2010

My Grandma Chicken Soup

I have cooked and eaten this soup since my childhood. At first my grandma cooked it for us with home grown chickens. The taste of these chicken cannot be compared to the chicken we buy from the grocery stores, or even to the most expensive super organic versions one can find on the market. Nowadays, when I go back to Bulgaria, my mom cooks this soup for me and it still tastes amazing, the same as the one from my childhood memories.

Here is my version:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 carrots, cut in small pieces, or shredded
  • 1 cup, shredded celery head
  • 1-2 potatoes cut in small pieces, or shredded
  • 2 cubes chicken broth. Home-made chicken broth would be the best.
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • salt, black pepper, cumin to taste
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1/2 cup parsley


Cover the chicken with water and boil it. Use a large spoon to remove residue floating on surface. This residue  will occur at first boil and decrease after you skim it for the first 15 minutes.   If you are bored to do this, just strain the broth to get a clean liquid.

Add the broth, salt, black pepper, cumin, a little bit olive oil. When it comes to boil add the celery and the carrots. You can change the quantity depending on your pot size and how thick you like the soup.

After the carrots get softer, add the potatoes. Take out the meat and cut it into bites.
Add the meat back to the soup, and add the rice.
When the rice and the potatoes are done turn off the heat and wait for the soup to cool off a little bit, for max 1/2 hour.
Meanwhile whisk the eggs with the vinegar. Slowly add soup liquid to the eggs mix and whisk. If you do this fast the soup will loose its smooth texture.
At the and add the parsley. You can add some fresh black pepper before serving.

Good appetite!

April 04, 2010

Aloo Gobi-liciousness (North Indian style)


A few years ago my brother MM discovered a great source for Indian food recipes - chef Vah Reh Vah's easy to follow (and entertaining, check them out!) YouTube videos. A couple of days ago, when my cravings for spicy and comforting food struck, I knew I shouldn't waste time pouring over dozens and dozens of recipes but instead should head straight for Chef Vah's website. I followed his recipe almost exactly but pre-cooked the potatoes and cauliflower separately and only simmered them with the sauce for a few seconds. 

In addition, I made a quick raita for cooling of the spicy aloo:
-  half a cucumber, chopped
-  thinly sliced green garlic
-  black pepper
-  salt
- yogurt

For added flavor, I moistened the jasmine (yes, I cooked jasmine rice by mistake instead of basmati) rice with some coconut butter.
P.S. Here is a link to Chef Vah's aloo gobi video.