Jack is Cooking Hurricane Curry

Well Hello Internet!

Last night as Hurricane Irene bore down upon new york city, we hunkered down and made some curry!  It was the perfect thing to eat while eagerly waiting for the storm.

Otherwise known as a Navratan Korma, this was my own twist on a delicious creamy vegetable curry.
as always with my curry recipes i will divide the spices into groups depending on when they need to be added.  This particular curry has lots of separate steps to take in order to prepare your mis-en-place, but otherwise the actual steps taken are quite simple.

Heres what you will need:

Spice Group A:
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

Spice Group B
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon asafetida
1/2 teaspoon salt

The Rest of the Ingredients:
1 potato cut into 1 cm cubes
2 large carrots sliced
1/2 cup green peas
1 large head of broccoli (with as much stalk as you can get) cubed

1/2 lb paneer (cubed)
2 tomatoes (cubed)
1 onion (grated)
2 cloves of garlic (finely grated)
1.5 inches of ginger (finely grated)
1 can of coconut milk
2 tablespoons ghee
olive oil.

The Preparation:

1.  Prepare your spice bowls.
2. Cut all vegetables to equal sized pieces and parboil them.  these will be cooked more later, so don’t overdo it now.  strain and set aside in a colander.
3. Cube the tomatoes, grate the onion, grate the ginger and the garlic.
4. Heat the ghee and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan.  fry the paneer until it is golden brown on all sides.   pour the paneer with ghee and all over the vegetables in the colander.  While its still hot sprinkle some garam masala over them and toss.

Boiled Veggies and Paneer sprinkled with Garam Masala

Now that everything is prepared we can get onto the cooking of the actual curry.

1.  In a medium sized pot, heat some olive oil, and add in Spice Group A.  fry for about 30 seconds, and then add in the onions.  fry these together for about 4-5 minutes.  Add the Ginger and the Garlic, and fry for 30 more seconds.
2.  throw in Spice Group B and fry together for about a minute.  add the chopped tomatoes, and fry for 3-4 more minutes:
Spices and Tomatoes

3.  Add the vegetables and paneer, and toss until they are all nice and coated in the spice-tomato mixture.

4.  Add the can of coconut milk, bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are just tender.
simmering curry
Serve with rice, and sprinkle a little cilantro on top for added effect! 
and that’s about it!  you can make this during a hurricane no problem, as long as your gas stays on…. or you can make it any other day and its just as good!
mmmm mmmm delicious!

Jack is Cooking Endives au Jambon

Well Hello Internet!

I was in the store the other day (the kind that sells food), and although it is not endive season the endives looked particularly delicious.  So i thought i would make Endives Au Jambon, which is a classic french dish (i presume) comprised of Endives wrapped in Ham, bathed in béchamel and topped with cheese baked in an oven.  There are two ways to do this – the quickest way to do it is to just blanche the Endives, before wrapping them in ham and baking them.  The Second way is to butter braise them which takes a little longer but is extra especially delicious – in a buttery Julia Child kind of way.  So i suggest the latter.  It’s very easy to do, and all you need are endives, ham, cheese, flour, milk, and butter.  oh and some lemon juice.  and some salt and pepper.  and some nutmeg…

Heres exactly what you will need:

5 or 6 Endives (2 per person)
5 or 6 slices of ham (1 per endive)

4 tablespoons of butter
juice of one half lemon
3 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of milk
salt and pepper
a pinch of ground nutmeg
1/4 cup water

1/2 pound gruyere cheese (grated)

You will also need 1 heavy bottomed pot, 1 small pot, and a casserole dish.

The First thing to do is to butter braise the Endives.  To do this we can follow Julia Child’s recipe which is this:
(preheat oven to 325°)

Rub 2 tablespoons of butter in the bottom of a heavy pan (like a Creuset).  Take the Endives (which have been washed) and place them in the pan.  I like to rub them around in the pan to get them coated in the butter.  add some salt and pepper, the lemon juice, and the 1/4 cup of water.  Cover the pot and on the stove slowly boil for 10 minutes.

Endives Braising in Butter

After 10 minutes, uncover the pot and turn the heat all the way up and boil for another 10 minutes – until there is only 1 – 2 tablespoons of liquid left in the pot.  At this point take some waxed paper, and put on top of the endives – this will keep them from burning in the oven.  Place them in the oven for 30 minutes.

After about 20 minutes it is time to
make the Bechamel for the next stage.  To make the béchamel place 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan on the stove.  When the butter melts add in 3
tablespoons of flour.  you will have a yellowish paste.  with whisk in hand add the milk in slowly – 1/4 cup at a time – continuously whisking.  You don’t want to have any lumps, so make sure that all the lumps disappear before you add the next 1/4 cup of milk.  (NEVER STOP WHISKING!) once all the milk is in, and it has come to a boil you will have a nice thick sauce.  at this point add the salt and pepper, and a generous pinch of nutmeg.

By this point the Endives will be Ready so take them out of the oven.  Turn the oven up to 450°

After Coming out of the Oven

Get your casserole dish out, and pour some of the béchamel into the bottom of it.  (about half).
Next with some tongs, carefully take each Endive and roll it up in a piece of ham
Ready to Roll

After rolling, place each roll into the casserole dish on top of the béchamel sauce.  once you have all of the rolled up Endives in the dish, pour the rest of the béchamel over them and top with the gruyere cheese.

After Cheesing

Place back in the oven at 450° for 30 minutes and cook until the cheese has gone all bubbly and brown.  If you want you can also place it in the broiler at the very end to give the cheese a nice browning.

Here it is after emerging from the oven:

Nice gooey melted Cheese


And that’s about it!  its good served with a green vegetable of your choice!  i used sautéed mustard greens. 

Jack is Cooking Mattar Batata… Or something Similar

Well Hello Internet!

as part of my continuing experimentation in learning to cook indian food, i made a tomato based curry with potatoes and green beans.  The Recipe i started with called it Mattar Batata, and was made with potatoes and green peas (Green Peas are called Mattar).  However i didn’t have any green peas, and instead i had beans.  So the name Mattar Batata is not really correct and this should really be called something else, probably with the name Aloo in it (Aloo is potatoes).

Anyhow its very easy to make.

Heres what i used in my made up curry based off of Mattar Batata.  As with my other recipes for indian food i will divide the spices into groups, for when they need to be added to the mix.

3 Tbspns Olive Oil

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 dried red chillies (broken)
1/2 teaspoon asafetida

1 lb Potatoes (cut into one inch cubes)
2 Carrots (diced)
1/2 an onion (diced)
1 clove garlic (diced)

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon sugar

A Handful of green beans (put your two hands together and however many beans fit in there.  thats how many you need!! )

1 tomato (finely diced)
1 80z can crushed tomatoes

So first!

Organize your Spices into two bowls, and have them ready.

Heat up the oil in a medium sized pot, and add in Spice Group A:


 Cook for about 10 seconds, and then add in the onions, garlic, and carrots.  stir and cook until the onions are a little wilted, and then add the potatoes.  fry the potatoes until they start going brown.  don’t worry if they are sticking, let them stick.  This will add to the flavor!

Once the Potatoes are browned add in Spice Group B:


Stir them together and then add half a cup of water (it won’t cover it completely).  Bring to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes (or until the potatoes are soft).  The water will mostly boil off at this point, but some should remain.

At this point you can add in the beans, the tomato, and the crushed tomatoes, and simmer for a further 5-7 minutes – or until the beans are tender, but still a little crunchy (As good beans should be!)
Everything in the Pot

and that’s it!  Serve it with some Rice.