ASPARAGUS WITH GUNPOWDER MASALA

Impossible to ignore the Indian vibes in our kitchen lately. Of all cuisines, I believe that is the one bringing the most out of veggies. This recipe will blow your mind, and I am certain of it. The gunpowder masala is nutty, with the perfect level of heat and complex mixture of flavors. As my friend Joanne said in her blog post, it will be good on pretty much anything. I urge you to make it, even if finding curry leaves could be a bit tricky.

BLISTERED ASPARAGUS WITH GUNPOWDER MASALA
(from Joanne’s blog Eats well with Others)

for the Masala:
100 g raw cashews
35 g raw pepitas
30 g dried red chilies de arbol (or to taste)
20-25 fresh curry leaves (I used 10 dried leaves)
2 tbsp white or black sesame seeds (I used a mixture)
½ tsp asafetida

for the asparagus:
4 tbsp olive oil
1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
sea salt flakes
1-2 tbsp gunpowder masala (or to taste)

Make the masala: Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the cashews, pepitas, dried chilies, curry leaves, and sesame seeds. Toast them, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are starting to brown. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Once cool, grind in a food processor or blender along with the asafetida to a coarse powder. Pour into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Make the asparagus: Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. In a large bowl or on a sheet pan, toss the asparagus with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally, until blistered on at least 2 sides. Transfer the cooked asparagus to a serving platter. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and lime juice. Sprinkle with the salt flakes and gunpowder masala. Serve immediately, and swoon!

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The other day I was part of a conversation about food blogging and how tiring it is the over-use of certain adjectives to describe a dish. Life-changing, fantastic, mind-blowing (guilty as charged)… So let’s stop going there. This is a great masala that I can see being paired with many veggies and even animal protein. I envision a beautiful piece of salmon, grilled to perfection and topped with this crunchy concoction, with a nice squeeze of lemon juice. It does need a bit of moisture to shine, so that final drizzle of oil and citric juice is a must.

If you cannot find curry leaves, I’d say make it without. It does have enough going on, and it will still be mighty tasty. The recipe makes more than you’ll need, so keep it in the fridge and find new uses for it. Just yesterday I paired it with sweet potatoes and garbanzo beans, drizzled with a tahini-yogurt sauce.

Joanne, thank you for yet another perfect recipe that will go into our regular rotation for sure!

ONE YEAR AGO: The Home Bakers Collective, April Project

TWO YEARS AGO: Asian-Style Eggplant Meatballs

THREE YEAR AGO: Uzbek Flatbread

FOUR YEARS AGO: First Monday Favorite – Black Sesame FOUR

FIVE YEARS AGO: Chocolate Orange Mini-Cakes

SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, May 2015

SEVEN YEARS AGO: P90X3, a Review of Tony Horton’s Latest Fitness Program 

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Pasta and Mussels in Saffron Broth

NINE YEARS AGO: Triple Chocolate Brownies

TEN YEARS AGO: Shanghai Soup Dumplings

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Bite-sized Chocolate Pleasure

ASPARAGUS AND SNOW PEAS WITH WALNUT CRUMBS

Do you follow Lisa is Cooking? She writes cookbook reviews and is the person I blame for quite a few of my acquisitions, which are usually Kindle versions, so I feel less guilty. Her latest post centered on a book called East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing, by Meera Sodha. I ordered it within minutes of reading the blog post. I modified one of the recipes quite a bit, and share my version with you today.

ASPARAGUS AND SNOW PEAS WITH WALNUT CRUMBS
(adapted from Meera Sodha’s East)

1 bunch thin asparagus, tough ends trimmed
Snow peas (about 1/4 pound)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil, divided
1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely ground
1/2 cup bread crumbs, preferably homemade (Panko works too)
1 Serrano pepper, very finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
zest and juice of 1 lemon (I used Meyer Lemon)

Start by making the crumb component. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet and add the walnuts and Serrano pepper, season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir-fry for a minute or two, add the bread crumbs, cook until fragrant and getting toasted. Immediately squirt the juice of 1/2 lemon, mix well and transfer to a bowl. Reserve.

Add one tablespoon of oil to the skillet, and cook the asparagus, making sure they form a single layer in the pan with not much overlapping. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook in high heat for a couple of minutes, cover the pan, reduce the heat and allow it to cook in its own steam for another minute or so. Transfer to a bowl, and add a little more oil to the skillet. Now add the snow peas and cook in high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the asparagus and the reserved crumbs to the skillet, warm everything together moving it often. Squirt the juice of the remaining half of the lemon, adjust seasoning, and serve.

ENJOY!


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you need inspiration to prepare vegetables in creative, unusual ways, this book is a must-have. But Lisa reviewed it in the best possible way, so just jump to her blog for details. I made the original version of this recipe that used peanuts and quite a bit more of the crumb component, but to my taste it was a bit much. I toned it down and also liked it better using walnuts in place of peanuts. I think a drizzle of walnut oil to finish the dish could be excellent, and I am kicking myself because I did not try it, as I do have walnut oil in the fridge. Best laid plans.

The book is full vegetarian and vegan, but I will use it mainly as a source for side-dishes. This delicious salad (she calls it a salad, although it is served warm), was enjoyed with juicy grilled chicken breasts, a recipe that quickly became a regular in our kitchen. It was a bonus recipe featured in this post from my recent past.


ONE YEAR AGO:
Yin and Yang Viennoise Bread

TWO YEARS AGO: Extreme Chocolate Cupcakes

THREE YEARS AGO: Sunflower Seed Kamut Sourdough

FOUR YEARS AGO: The Joys of Grating Squash

FIVE YEARS AGO: Auberge Pecan-Walnut Bread

SIX YEARS AGO:Gluten-free and Vegan Raspberry Bars
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SEVEN YEARS AGO:Lasserre, a French Classic
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EIGHT YEARS AGO:Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Dates
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NINE YEARS AGO:Braised Brisket with Bourbon-Apricot Glaze
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TEN YEARS AGO: The Real Vodka Sauce
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ELEVEN YEARS AGO:Pork Tenderloin and Blue Cheese

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & CHICKPEAS WITH MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE

A long time ago I decided that a blog cannot have too many cauliflower recipes. Once I made peace with that decision, bringing yet another version to this virtual spot became easier and easier. So here I am. Playing with one of my favorite veggies once again.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER AND CHICKPEAS WITH MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
(from thebrookcook)

14 oz can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and dried
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
coarse salt or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain seeded mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Set a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400ºF, preferably on convection roast.

Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower florets together on a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet or in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper, or to taste. While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I bet you are wondering why two kinds of mustard, and what if you only have one kind? Use what you have. I happen to have both because we love mustard. I imagine that if you use full whole-grain it could be a bit too harsh. But whatever you choose to do, this is a real keeper of a side dish. Both chickpeas and cauliflower have that earthy, almost funky nature, and the acidity of the vinaigrette does a beautiful job tying them together. Leftovers were great two days later, barely warmed in the microwave.

Josette always shares amazing recipes in her blog, so I invite you to visit her site and browse around. I made this one just a few days after she published it, and repeated it the following week because we loved it so much.

ONE YEAR AGO: Great American Baking Show, Spice Episode (insert bucket of tears here)

TWO YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin Roulade with Pumpkin and Pecans

THREE YEARS AGO: White-Chocolate Peppermint Macarons

FOUR YEARS AGO: Shrubs, a fun alternative to alcoholic drinks

FIVE YEARS AGO: Date Truffles 

SIX YEARS AGO: Mascarpone Mousse from Baking Chez Moi

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Brigadeiros

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Espresso Loaf

NINE YEARS AGO: Caramelized Carrot Soup

TEN YEARS AGO: Miso-Grilled Shrimp

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: A Special Holiday Fruitcake