Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Butter

I love love love artichokes! Awhile ago, we started grilling them and we haven't had them any other way since. They are so deliciously amazing, once you try them this way, you'll do the same! It's also fun changing up the butter flavors too. A classic combo is lemon and butter to which I added Cottage Blend to. The celery seed and thyme pull out the lemony flavors in the artichoke and create a nice crust on the inside of the artichoke.

Nothing crazy going on here, prep wise, simply cut the bottom stem off rinsed artichokes.

Clip the sharp tips off with some kitchen shears. This is save you some pain while your trying to enjoy your meal later!

And cut the top of the artichoke off, leaving a flat surface to be steamed on.

Lay artichokes upside down in a steam pot with about an 1" of water. Put the lid on and steam until stalk is tender when you insert a sharp knife, about 35 minutes. Remove from pot and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Using a very sharp knife, cut artichokes in half and remove the center "fir" and small leaves.

Drizzle open side of cut artichokes with olive oil.

Season with Cottage Blend.

Stand artichoke up and season in between the leaves with the Cottage Blend.

And sprinkle a little salt on them.

You can lay these directly on the grill, but we use a grill pan, its just easier and they don't stick. Place grill pan directly on hot grill and cook with the lid open, for about 8-10 minutes or until edges turn light golden brown.

MMMMMMMM...just like this! 

To make the lemon butter, simply melt butter with lemon juice and add a pinch of Cottage Blend. See the crust that the seasonings made on the edges of the artichoke? Oh man, sooooooo yummy!

Ahhh, the best part, the heart, drenched in all that lemony butter. Are you drooling yet??

 

RECIPE

GRILLED ARTICHOKES WITH LEMON BUTTER

Prep Time: 5 Minutes  Cook Time: 45 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Directions:

To prep artichokes, cut the bottom stem off, trim sharp ends of leaves and cut top off to make flat surface.

Steam in 1" of water for about 35 minutes or until stem is tender when fork is inserted. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Using a sharp knife, cut artichokes in half and remove hairy choke and small leaves.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle open face and in between leaves with Cottage Blend and salt and place in grill pan, heart side down.

Place grill pan on hot grill and cook for about 10 minutes until edges are golden brown.

In small bowls, melt 2 tablespoons butter with a dash of lemon juice and sprinkle of Cottage Blend.

Garlic & Parsley Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to pasta, its simple and healthy and there are so many ways to make it. This simple recipe is made with sauteed garlic and parsley and was the perfect side kick to my Smoky Pork Ragu.
Most spaghetti squash are an average size of 2-3 pounds and can be prepped 2 different ways. You can leave it whole or attempt to cut it in half and bake it until fork tender. 
I chose to cut in half, which will bake faster. Its large oval shape makes it tough to cut, so carefully and slowly, cut it in half with a sharp knife. 
Like any squash you need to scoop out the seeds from the center. You can clean the seeds and bake them too, just like pumpkin seeds.
Place face side down in a baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before handling it.
While the squash is resting, saute some garlic in butter.
Add to it some fresh chopped Italian parsley and saute until garlic is light golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using a fork, scrape the squash out of the shells and add to garlic and parsley.
Looks like spaghetti noodles!
Stir together with all that delicious garlic and parsley.
Add about a 1/2 teaspoon of House Blend.
And a teaspoon of Super Tuscan Blend.
The squash has a sweet taste to it along with the toasted garlic and a pop of fresh parsley, it was the perfect bite with this Smoky Pork Ragu.
RECIPE
GARLIC & PARSLEY SPAGHETTI SQUASH
Prep Time: 10 Minutes  Cook Time: 55 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees(f).

Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds from center.

Place face side down in baking dish and bake for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Heat butter and garlic and saute, then add parsley and cook until garlic is light golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

Using a fork, scrape out squash from shells and add to garlic and parsley.

Stir in House Blend and Super Tuscan Blend.

Toasted Cauliflower Wedges

I absolutely love oven roasted cauliflower. This toasted version in the skillet is just as delicious. When eaten raw, cauliflower doesn't have much flavor, but as soon as it gets some golden color on it, its delicious nuttiness comes out. This dish took less than 20 minutes to make and was the perfect side kick to my pork chops.

Start with a head of cauliflower, cut into large wedges. Be sure to keep the stem intact, otherwise it will fall apart.

Drop the wedges into some boiling water.

Blanche the cauliflower for about 4 minutes, just until its tender.

Carefully lay the wedges down on some paper towel to drain the excess water.

Sprinkle one side with House Blend and heat a skillet with some olive oil.

Place wedges into hot skillet and saute until they turn dark golden brown, about 5 minutes. Season other side with House Blend.

Oh yummmm........continue to cook on second side for another 5-7 minutes or until dark golden brown.

Deliciously golden and nutty, caramelized to perfection.

These Toasted Cauliflower Wedges were a delightful addition to my pork chops and Favorite Fried Brown Rice.

 

RECIPE

TOASTED CAULIFLOWER WEDGES

Prep Time: 5 minutes  Cook Time: 20 minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Directions:

Cut cauliflower into 6 large wedges, keeping stem intact so cauliflower doesn't fall apart.

Blanche wedges in boiling water for about 4 minutes, then drain on paper towel.

Sprinkle one side with House Blend.

Drizzle olive oil in hot skillet and place wedges in on one side until dark brown, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle second side with House Blend and flip wedges over. Continue to cook until browned on second side, about another 5-6 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve.

Cheddar & Parsley Biscuits

Cheesy, herby, buttery, flaky......you get it, these biscuits were dee-lish-ious!! Turn a plain biscuit into something fabulous just by adding a few key ingredients. Make 'em savory or make 'em sweet, either way, they're sure to please everyone.

By starting with this basic recipe, you can add your favorite ingredients to make them savory or sweet. Start with all-purpose flour and add baking powder, which helps the dough to rise.

A pinch of salt......

And some cream of tartar, which helps activate the baking powder and the rising of the dough. If you don't have this in your pantry, don't worry, you can just omit it. Mix together the dry ingredients.

Add about 1/3 cup of shortening. This will make the biscuits nice and flaky.

Incorporate the shortening into the flour mixture until it looks like small peas.

Here is where you want to add your savory or sweet ingredients. Since we are making savory biscuits, I'm adding about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

And some fresh chopped flat leaf parsley. Any fresh herb would be great in this, so add whatever you have! Combine well into the flour mixture. For a sweet twist, you could add some brown sugar and Pumpkin Pie Blend.

Next add about 1 1/4 cups buttermilk or sour milk (just add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup regular milk and let sit for 5 minutes). Mix together until soft dough forms. If dough is dry, add a little more milk until it comes together.

Drop dough onto a floured surface and start kneading it to create layers within the dough.

Fold the dough over and over a few times, adding a little flour if dough is too sticky.

Then form into a soft ball. You only have to give it a few folds, don't over work it.

You can use a rolling pin or just use your hands like I did to create a flat disc about 1" thick. Look at all the yummy herbs and cheese running throughout the dough!

If you have a biscuit cutter, that's awesome, I think a glass works just as well :) This one is about 3" in diameter. Cut out biscuits and place on a lined baking sheet. This should make between 9-10 biscuits, depending on the size of your cutter.

Brush a little melted butter on the tops of the biscuits. This will give them a beautiful golden color when they're done.

And sprinkle a little coarse kosher salt over the tops. This gives it a nice little salty crunch.

Oh man, these are gonna be soooooo good!!!! Pop them in a 450 degree(f) oven for 12-15 minutes or until they are puffy and golden brown.

Ahhhhhhhh.....like this!

Still steaming....and ready for some butter!!

Look at the herbs and cheese!!!!

Soft, buttery, flaky, cheesy and herby, these biscuits are the perfect side kick for any meal!

 

RECIPE

CHEDDAR & PARSLEY BISCUITS

Prep Time: 15 Minutes  Cook Time: 15 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 10 Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt, plus some for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tarter (optional)
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk (1 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees(f).

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, pinch of salt and cream of tarter.

Cut shortening into flour until its the size of small peas.

Stir in shredded cheese and parsley.

Stir in buttermilk and combine until soft dough forms. Add additional milk if dough is to dry.

Turn dough out onto floured surface. Fold and knead dough over a few times and form a flat disc about 1" thick.

Using a biscuit cutter or the end of a glass, cut out biscuits and place on lined baking pan.

Brush melted butter over tops of biscuits and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until biscuits are puffed up and golden brown.

My Favorite Fried Brown Rice

This is my favorite way to make rice these days. It's funny, I've never really liked plain rice, unless it had some kind of sauce on it. So I started making it this way and now I love it. Brown rice is much better for you than white rice, so now I make it with brown rice. Simple and healthy, it makes the perfect side kick to any dish by using the same spice blends and fresh herbs as you did in the main dish. This one is great, by using our House Blend, it goes with pretty much any dish you put it with.

Start by sauteing an onion and some garlic until it starts to turn light golden in color. The more caramelized, the better, you get the sweet flavors of the onions and garlic will be a great match the nuttiness of the brown rice.

Throw in some fresh herbs, I'm using flat leaf parsley and thyme here. If you were making say a Mexican inspired dish, you would add fresh cilantro.

Add cooked brown rice to the pan.

Incorporate the onion and herbs into the rice, leaving the heat on medium high to get a light crisp onto the rice.

Sprinkle in some House Blend and cook another couple minutes. For the Mexican Fried Rice, you would use our South O' the Border Blend and a pinch of salt.

See how simple that was? Look at those caramelized onions and all the fresh herbs! Light, fresh and healthy. So many options too, you can add any of your favorite herbs, spice blend and kick it up even more and throw some bacon in there!

 

RECIPE

FRIED RICE

Prep Time: 5 Minutes  Cook Time: 12 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • pinch of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • SplenDishes House Blend

Directions:

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until lightly golden brown. Add fresh herbs, cooked brown rice and House Blend.

Combine and cook about 4-5 minutes until rice is slightly golden and crispy.

Cauliflower Fritters

These cauliflower fritters were amazing! If you're not a fan of cauliflower, I urge you to try these and they will change your mind! I admit, I do not like raw or steamed cauliflower, but I LOVE it roasted, which brings out an intense nutty flavor. Ironically, the cauliflower is initially steamed in this recipe, but look at all that golden brown caramelized crust on the outside of each fritter! They very much reminded me of a potato latke, even similar in taste.

Start with sauteing 1 chopped shallot and some garlic.

Throw in some chopped parsley and saute until the garlic starts to turn a light golden color. Remove from heat.

Steam 1/2 head of chopped cauliflower, toss in a bowl and mash with a potato masher. I like to leave it somewhat chunky so there's some good texture in the fritters.

Add the sauteed shallots mixture and 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour. You could also use all-purpose flour or bread crumbs.

Add about 1/4 cup of shredded Italian blend cheese.

Add about 1/2 teaspoon House Blend and mix together. I didn't use an egg (because I ran out), so they were a little fragile, but once they had the golden crust on them, they were fine. You could always add an egg to give them a little more stability. But I figured, they were fine without it.

Heat a saute pan with some oil on medium high heat. Using an ice cream scoop, drop 4 scoops into hot pan.

Flatten each scoop with a spatula to about 1/4" thickness. Saute for about 5-6 minutes or until a dark golden crust forms.

Flip fritters over and saute another 5-6 minutes. Look at that beautiful color! Preheat your oven to 400 degrees(f). Place fritters on baking sheet and continue with another batch.

Once the fritters are done on the stove, bake at 400 degrees(f) for about 10 minutes. This will help firm up the insides and give it a little more golden crust on the outside.

While the fritters are in the oven, you can prepare the dipping sauce. Combine 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, juice from 1/2 lime and some chopped scallions.

Season with House Blend and set in fridge until ready to use.

The fritters are out of the oven and it's time to plate!

Place 2-3 fritters on a plate, overlapping each other. Spoon the yogurt sauce over top and garnish with scallions.

 

RECIPE

CAULIFLOWER FRITTERS

Prep Time: 20 Minutes  Cook Time: 25 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 8 Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped and steamed
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 1 teaspoon SplenDishes House Blend
  • Yogurt Sauce: 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 lime (juice), 1 tablespoon chopped scallion, 1/2 teaspoon House Blend

Directions:

In a bowl, using a potato masher, mash the cauliflower, leaving somewhat chunky to add texture.

Saute shallot, garlic and parsley in olive oil until garlic is light golden brown. Remove heat and add to mashed cauliflower. 

Add whole wheat flour, cheese and House Blend and mix well.

Heat saute pan on medium high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the pan generously.

Using an ice cream scoop, drop scoops into hot pan. Flatten with spatula.

Cook 5-6 minutes on each side until dark golden crust forms.

Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

To make yogurt sauce, combine, yogurt, lime juice, scallions and House Blend. 

Top fritters with yogurt sauce and garnish with scallions.

February 27, 2014

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Poori's (fried Indian bread)

Poori's are my favorite part of eating Indian food. They are a rare item at Indian restaurants, but at Mom's, we always ask her to make extra when she's making us an Indian food feast. They're light and airy and make the perfect vehicle for getting all that delicious food into your mouth. The "proper" way to eat them, is to fill the poori with a little of each item, wrap it up and eat it (like you would with a tortilla).  They taste very much like a whole wheat tortilla, but 1000 times better! It's always better to have extra, because then you warm it in the microwave and sprinkle a little bit of sugar and roll it up like a cigar and eat it, oh my goodness they are SOOOOOO good that way!

Tradition has always been in my family that when one of us brought a date home, that they would have to roll and fry a poori. It was quite the daunting task for those poor individuals. Nether the less, they all did and made it through!

The dough is fairly simple. It's an equal blend of fine whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt.

Add about 1/4 cup of shortening.

Cut the shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or 2 knives (or your fingers!).

Until you have little beads the size of peas.

Next, we're going to add water. The amount usually varies and believe it or not depends on the weather. If its really dry out, you may need more water, if its really humid, then maybe less. That makes it sound complicated, but its really not. 

Start with a half a cup, start mixing and continue adding until a soft dough forms.

Like this! The consistency you are looking for is a non-sticky bread dough or a flour tortilla dough. It needs to be pliable so you can kneed it for 5 minutes.

Once you've kneaded the dough for 5 grueling minutes, set it in the bowl.

Cover it with a clean, dry towel and let it sit in a dry place (on the kitchen counter is fine) for at least 30 minutes.

This is when the help comes in handy. Pull off 1 1/2" balls and using both hands pressed together, roll smooth rounded balls out. 

Place the balls back into a covered bowl until your ready to roll them out. The more hands you have to help, the faster this goes!

Pull out some baking sheets. On a smooth, dry surface, using a rolling pin, roll each ball out to about 1/16" of an inch thickness. The way I gauge it is, by just being able to see the counter under the dough. It should be about the same thickness as a tortilla would be.

Place each rolled out poori, slightly overlapping each other onto baking sheets and cover with towels until your ready to fry them.

When you're ready to fry, which should be after all your dishes are completely cooked and are warming up. Heat some vegetable oil in a small wok like pan. The smaller the wok, the less oil you have to use, which is better. You want the oil to be between 350-375 degrees. If the poori doesn't immediately start frying then its not hot enough.

These only take a few seconds to fry, so its best to do them one at a time. Get a few large bowls ready, lined with paper towel. Carefully, drop the poori into the hot oil (dropping away from you so you don't get splashed).

The poori should sink for a second and immediately pop back up. Using a slotted spoon, lightly push the poori around in the oil.

As your pushing it around, you'll see it starting to puff up. 

Ahh I get excited every time they puff up!!! Once its puffed, which is literally just a few seconds, carefully flip it over to cook the other side.

Check it out!!! The second side is just a few seconds, remove it with the slotted spoon and set it into the paper towel lined bowl to drain the excess oil off.

And here they are! Its hard to resist snacking on one as your frying, so why not, you're doing manual labor, you deserve one!

Once you've made these and had them with Ma's Chicken Curry and Curried Vegetables, you'll be making them every time, they're addicting.

 

RECIPE

POORI'S

Prep Time: 5 Minutes  Cook Time: 30 Minutes Difficulty: Medium Servings: 35 Poori's

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fine whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • pinch of salt
  • approximately 1 cup water
  • vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

Combine both flours and salt. Cut in shortening and blend to the size of small beads or peas.

Gradually add water, starting with 1/2 cup until soft, non-sticky dough forms.

Knead dough for 5 minutes, then let sit in a covered bowl for at least 30 minutes.

Using both hands pressed together, form 1 1/2" smooth, rounded balls. Place back in covered bowl, until ready to roll out.

Using a rolling pin and a flat, smooth surface, roll each ball out into a flat circle with an approximate 1/16" thickness (like a flour tortilla). Place slightly overlapped onto a baking sheet and cover with towels until ready to fry.

Heat vegetable oil in small wok to 350-375 degrees(f).

Carefully, drop poori, facing away from you, into hot oil. Using a slotted spoon, lightly push poori around in the oil as it begins to puff up.

Flip over and cook just a few seconds more. Drain from oil and set in paper towel lined bowls, lining in between layers to drain excess oil.

Serve with Ma's Chicken Curry, Curried Vegetables, Rice, Raita and Tomato Chutney.

All of these recipes and more can be found in Shonal's Kitchen, the Eclectic Home Chef.