Mangoes & Curry Leaves

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Here’s a winter recipe to keep you warm from Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent. This is one of my all time favorite things to make, it’s simple but does require almost 2 hours of simmering.

Simmered Kashmiri Paneer

2 lbs very ripe tomatoes or 3 cups crushed canned (I use San Marzo from the Earthfare)
1 lb paneer (Store bought is fine here, but making your own is super easy)
2/3 c ghee
1/2 c minced garlic
3 tbsp minced ginger
3 cups chopped onion
3-4 cups water
2 tbsp minced green cayanne chile (or other green hot chile)
3-5 cardamom pods smashed
2 cloves
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp Spanish pimenton or 1/2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp salt

If using fresh tomatoes, peel them by bringing a large pot of water to a boil and submerging tomatoes 1-2 minutes so skin will peel off. Crush tomatoes and set aside.

Slice the paneer in to 1/2 inch thick rectangles and about 1 by 2 inches. Set aside.

Fill a wide heavy skillet or wok with just over 1/4 inch of ghee or oil. Heat over medium-low heat, then add only as many paneer slices as will fit int the pan without overlapping and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides. 4-5 minutes per batch. Lift out and let drain on a plate with a paper towel. Repeat until all the paneer is browned.

Measure out 1/3 cup ghee from the pan and pour into a large heavy bottomed nonreactive saucepan (I usually just use the same pan I’ve friend the ghee in.) Heat over medium-high heat then add the garlic and ginger, lower the heat to medium, and stir-fry for about a minute. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and pale honey in color but not caramelized to brown, 10-12 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and stir, then add 3 cups of water. the mixture should be very liquid; if your tomatoes are not juicy add up to 1 more cup of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the green chile, cardamom, cloves, tumeric, pimenton, and salt. Lower the heat to maintaina  steady simmer and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. As it thickens lower the heat to prevent burning and sticking.

Add the paneer to the sauce and simmer for another 45 minutes.


In the end you will have a fairly thick tomato sauce that is amazing with broiled or steamed fish, served over rice, served the next day with scrambled eggs, or with grilled lamb chops.

House Cured Bacon

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

More bacon at Mockingbird Headquarters!

Over the holidays I had a really exquisite appetizer that was house cured bacon and a fried egg. The bacon was thick and spicy, full of flavor.

I’ve always wanted to cure my own so I did a little research:

Hopefully I’ll get some going soon. Has anyone cured their own meat before?


Friday, January 1st, 2010

For the past five or six years I’ve cooked a big dinner for New Year’s Eve instead of going out. We’re generally in Colorado and going out on New Year’s is expensive at best, but generally over priced and under whelming. Last year in an effort to up the interactiveness we decided to have a cooking competition. Last year there were 3 mousses. I lost by 1/2 a point to my brother. This year the category was bread pudding, I triumphed.

Below is the recipe courtesy of Gourmet via Epicurious. I altered it a bit. Added 1 lb of sliced mushrooms to the egg, cheese mixture and put uncooked pancetta on top of the entire dish before putting it on the oven.

  • 3 pounds plum tomatoes such as Roma, halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 head garlic, left whole
  • 10 cups cubed (1-inch) country-style Italian bread (1 pound)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups coarsely grated chilled Italian Fontina (9 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter a 3-quart shallow baking dish (about 13 by 9 inches).

Toss tomatoes in a bowl with herbes de Provence, 1 tablespoon oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, in a large heavy 4-sided sheet pan.

Cut off and discard 1/4 inch from top of garlic head to expose cloves, then put on a sheet of foil and drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil. Wrap garlic in foil and roast in pan with tomatoes until tomatoes are browned but still juicy and garlic is soft, 50 to 60 minutes. (Leave oven on.) Cool garlic to warm, then force through a medium-mesh sieve with a rubber spatula, discarding skins. Reserve purée

While garlic cooks, toss bread cubes in a large bowl with remaining oil until coated, then spread out in a large 4-sided sheet pan and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, garlic purée, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir in cheeses. Transfer bread to baking dish, then pour egg mixture over bread and add tomatoes, pushing some down between bread cubes. Bake until firm to the touch and golden brown in spots, 50 to 60 minutes.

Mint Chutney

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Mint Chutney recipe from Street Food via Mangoes and Curry Leaves, a cookbook I can’t say enough good things about. The recipes are amazing. Ignore the seemingly unedited editorials…

2 cups packed mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons coriander leaves
3 tablespoons of shallots or yellow onion
2 teaspoons of green cayenne chile
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor for about 15 seconds, until almost pureed. For the best flavor serve immediately.

Samosas Recipe

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Here’s the recipe for the Samosas served at Street Food via Charlotte Pence via the Frugal Gourmet. For the wrappers I used pre-made empanada wrappers from the Holy Land on Sutherland.

To quote the Frugal Gourmet, this recipe makes 48 small treasures. If you use the pre-made empanada wrappers and cut them in half the filling will make 60 small treasures.

2 tablespoons of ghee
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 in dice
4 gloves of garlic
1 cup peeled and finely chopped yellow onion
1 teaspoons grated ginger
2 teaspoons Garam Masala (I used store bought and put in a little extra)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
Pinch of cayenne (I put in way more than a pinch)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup frozen peas

Heat the ghee in a large frying pan, add potatoes, garlic, onion, and ginger. Cover and cook until the potatoes for 15 minutes. Stir a few times. Add the remaining ingredients and continue cooking until the potatoes and peas are tender. Set aside to cool. Fill wrappers with filling and fry or bake.

Carmel Apple

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

This is a recipe from Robert Birkholz, an illustrious Mockingbird bartender and amazing chef. The drink is THE perfect fall/winter cocktail.

Carmel Apple

Apple-sorghum soda

210g (7oz) fresh apple juice (about 4 medium size apples)
54g (1.5 oz) sorghum
2 CO2 cartridges

Juice apples and strain. whisk sorghum into juice. Fill seltzer bottle 3/4 full. Charge with two CO2 cartridges.

Whiskey Worms

25g water
25g powdered gelatin
75g bourbon
50g brown sugar

Combine water, gelatin and sugar in a small saucepan. Place the pan on medium heat. as soon as the sugar and gelatin have dissolved whisk in bourbon and pour into desired mold. Refridgerate until set.

To serve
Fill an 8oz glass with ice, add 1.5 oz Woodford Reserve or comprable bourbon whiskey and top off the glass with apple soda. Stir and garnish with a whiskey worm.