Kate in the Kitchen

Food talk, delicious ramblings and the evocative fare of a passionate cook

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Time to move on......

I applaud those who make blogger.com work for them, but I have found WordPress to be more user friendly. Please visit my site there, for all the stuff you see here, and more!!! Still the same kitchen talk, foodie revelations and recipes to make you go "Mmmmmm"


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Night time food fastasies

Now, now…..before you get all jazzed up over that word ‘fantasies’, I’m talkin’ about dreams! Dreams! The kind you have at night, all jacked out on Percocet and lying in one position for a long period of time.

Recovery is going as good as expected. I am sore over the entire area between my hip bones and unable to roll over or sleep on my side. So when I lay down at night, I am basically in that postion until morning, with some turning a little from one cheek to the other; turning my leg out instead of straight and trying to shift my shoulders. It’s not bad, but I can’t wait until I can curl up on my side, draped over my body pillow, snoring like a hog in the pen. (ok, well I don’t snore that loud!) The Percocet is reserved for night time use, as it makes me quite dizzy, loopy and takes control over my tongue so I say stupid and often maudlin things. It’s best to be under it’s influence while I am dead with sleep.

The last two nights I have had vivid and strong dreams about food. I am not much of a dreamer. I find I dream more when I am troubled, stressed, anxious or worried, and when I am fine with the world, my night times are more peaceful. So now, with my body on the mend and my activities severely limited for now, I am dreaming like mad. About food. Food I can’t eat, for the most part, because I simply can’t summon up the energy to make it. One night I dreamt about Quesadillas. I make fabulous quesadillas, made even more delicious by cooking them on the grill. They are truly a taste treat to devour, and a bit time consuming to make so they are out of the question right now. I am dreaming about pizza. I am craving pizza too, might have to make a request of the hubby to toss a few Boboli crusts together to get me over this urge. The dream about pizza was a pie-eater’s delight. A long table full of every kind of imagineable pizza, from pizzeria style stand-by’s to a gourmet feasters all-out extravaganza of any ingredient ever put on a crust. And wine to boot, bottle after bottle of oakey reds, spicy shiraz and pinot noirs. I was in dream heaven, eating slice after slice and sipping down more wine than I have had in ages. Then I awoke. I wanted to cry. More because I can hardly move without pretty deep pain right away in the morning, and also because the pizza and wine was a dream; a cruel, twisted dream. I also have dreamt of banquets of food, table upon table laden with all types of foods; appetizers galore, hot foods of every kind and ethnicity, breads to drive you mad, side dishes that made you swoon, desserts for rendering one comatose. It was wonderful, overwhelming and delicious looking. It was a dream. Another cruel, twisted dream where I could smell everything as if I was hovering over it all absolutely mad with hunger. I could see the textures, the meats and vegetables, the grains in the bread and the swirls on the desserts. I could smell spice, herb and nuttiness. Maybe I am nutty.

It is said that our dreams speak of the true desires of our hearts, or our deepest fears. I am thinkin’ that these are about the former, not the latter. *deep sigh* Someday soon enough I will be able to indulge again. And I can tell you something…..it’s gonna be GOOD!

Home again, home again

(((FYI.....I underwent major surgery on August 3rd....this is my first post surgical post)))


One word sums up the last 4 days. It really wasn’t as bad as I expected, but there were some moments it was all I had been terrified it would be. Getting outta bed, sitting down, getting up, trying to clear my throat, coughing…..(THE WORST!) and of course the host of bodily functions that you need to do in order to be sent home. I never figured I would meet so many grownups with advanced medical degrees who were so absorbed in how much you pee….go figure! I have so many vague memories, I wonder what I actually experienced and what I truly hallucinated. But everyone was wonderful, a great staff. Not that I want to ever go back, but if I do I hope I have the option of going there.

No good food experiences at all, of course, when I wanted to eat there was nothing note-worthy. When I was still doped up on the IV of Dilaudid I found oatmeal to be absolutely fascinating, incredible! The texture, the scent, the co-mingling of butter and brown sugar and the smooth and chewy kernels of oat! Wonderful!!! Hey, that’s the drugs talking!! But then, the next day when it was just me and the monster gas pains with the IV taken out, oatmeal once again became something pretty benign, especially since they forgot the brown sugar! As was toast, fruit, and anything else they tried to pass off as food. For their credit, they tried. It was probably better than most, but frankly, after the surgeon sliced a 6 inch gash through my belly, I would have turned up my nose at Prime Rib. Not really thinkin’ food here! My friends plied me with popcorn, licorice and chocolate, bless their hearts. Still, nothing. Not interested. There is a lot of food in my fridge from helpful family members, and when I eat it, no matter what it is, I taste love. The love of someone who took the time to make something just for us in our time of need. I don’t care what it is, it tastes like love and I eat it because I know I need it to get strong. Once I get around to feeling like my insides won’t fall out every time I stand up I think that food will hold it’s appeal to me again. Until then, I will wax on philosophic about life in recovery and what it’s like to be taken care of…..who knows, it could be the only time it happens! I need to enjoy it and take it for everything it’s worth.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Now that's a road trip meal!

This is the fifth year we have made a pilgrimage to Pine River, MN to drop Griffin at Trout Lake Camp on the Lower Whitefish chain. Idyllic, rustic, active, well fed and free from parental rule for a week, he hangs out with other boys his age, plans his days how he wants and brings enough money to keep himself in ice cream and pop for the whole week. Our only rule on these car trips is to stop at Blackbeard’s Mini Golf in Brainerd to play a round, although today, with temps hovering around 97 degrees, I dropped the two of them off and went to Kohls to look for……anything. I didn’t care what, but I wasn’t interested in mini golf.

We spent about a half an hour at Trout Lake Camp with Griffin before succumbing to the oppresive heat and heading back to the A/C in the car. I pray for them all that the weather breaks by Tuesday as predicted. Their cabin is nice, big windows for cross breezes, but it’s still really darn hot.

I think that no trip should be done through Brainerd without stopping at Moreys Fish Market and Grille. It’s a tiny little store absolutely crammed full of gourmet foods, sauces, crackers, artisan breads, cheeses, seafood and tons of other goodies. There is an extensive counter of smoked fish, an olive bar, a herring bar, (this is Northern MN, ya know!!) a deli, a coffee counter with espresso, all the happenin’ food magazines and plenty of napkins to catch the drool. Plus tables all around for folks to enjoy any number of fish goodies. I wanted some food for the road, I was hungry and unwilling to think about eating in some roadside dive whose menu looks no different than the outfit down the street. I walked the aisles at least three times before finally making my selections; A chunk of dill Havarti cheese, a half pound smoked salmon nuggets, a chunk of smoked trout, a half pound green cerignoli olives, a fourth pound of smoked salmon spread, a bag of three grain chips from Plockys and a bag of cheese/oregano cracker strips. I grabbed two napkin with utensils rolled in them and we ran through the broiler to the car. I couldn’t even wait to get on the road and went diving into the smoked salmon nuggets while Mike filled the gas tank; their sharp, smoky bite spread out over my whole mouth, curling it’s woodsy scent into my nose; my head filling with massive and happy sighs. I spread everything out on my lap as best I could, fished Griffin’s Boy Scout knife from the back seat and we dug in. The salmon spread was out of this world, wood smoked fish just bursting with flavor, chasing a slightly sweet and tangy after taste. It was perfect with the Plockys chips and the cracker strips, which were just loaded with chunks of baked cheese and splotches of oven dried herb. The salmon, oh my…..it was divine, gloriously flavorful and perfectly cooked, leaving barely a hint of oil on my fingers and taking my senses by storm. The trout was meticulously cooked as well, it’s texture was more oily and it’s mild taste was offset by just a hint of it’s smoky exterior. I piled the trout on a cracker with a slice of cheese and handed them to Mike where they promptly disappeared. We scooped into the salmon spread and gnawed through the rich, winey and buttery flesh of the olives, scraping the pits with our teeth to get the last sensational bites. Meanwhile, the parched and desolately dry North country flew by our windows, and good music poured from the speakers. Our immediate hunger was satiated in time, and the remains of our repast were wrapped well and tucked behind the shadiest seat. The temp never fell below 95 degrees outside, and inside, the A/C hummed heartily while we sat in that glorious stupefecation that follows an amazing meal; tummies content, and our favorite person by our side. Road trip food should always be this good, shared with someone you love while God’s country, still beautiful despite all it’s burnt glory, slips by your window and the music fills your soul.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Of Terrines and picking beans

So Friday was day three in my friend Tim’s kitchen at the Yacht Club. When I came in he gave me a project that took most of the day. He wanted a terrine made, a classic Cold Food preparation of layered ingredients inside a mold that is then either poached, pressed and chilled or just pressed and chilled. I was making a cold vegetable one to be used as an appetizer, so Tim said “It needs to be about an inch, to an inch and a half, just big enough for a crostini.” There is no terrine mold made that is that small, so I had to fashion one out of a cardboard box, and duct tape. Whoever said cooking is all about the food?? Sometimes innovation matters more than cooking skills.

The box came out nicely and Tim proclaimed it fitting. Then I gathered my ingredients and had to turn the cooler upside down looking for leeks. Even Tim came in to look and found none, so out I went into the 98-degree day in my full chef whites (long black pants, socks and shoes!!) to the store for leeks. It took me well over an hour after my return to stop sweating profusely, and the kitchen was actually cooler that day than earlier in the week. The green leek leaves are blanched, then used to line the terrine mold inside plastic wrap, where the ingredients are then added in layers. This terrine had a cheese mix of goat and cream cheese with sauteed leeks, asparagus spears and roasted whole shiitake mushroom caps placed in alternate layers in the mold. After filling, the leek leaves are folded upon itself, the plastic covers it and another piece of cardboard was laid across the top and then pound blocks of butter were placed on top of that to weigh and compress it down. It then sits and chills until it’s use. It is cut thin, placed on crostini and served as an appetizer. I won’t get to see how it looks unless Tim brings a camera, then actually remembers to take a picture and send it to me. We’ll see if that happens.

The rest of the day I spent immersed in a 25# box of fresh green beans, snapping off the stem ends again and again and again……..until I could have screamed. It takes all sorts of tasks to make a professional kitchen work and someone’s gotta do it. But for ten bucks an hour and helping a friend, I would have polished floors. I would love to be able to spend a summer working for Tim, it was really fun and I think I would really love it more if I was comfortable, knew where everything was and how it all worked instead of being just a fill-in who had to ask a dozen questions to get anything done. We’ll see where I am at next spring when he opens up again.

The glory of a simple change

My husband Mike is a pretty simple man, never prone to anything that could be considered over the top. His personality won’t allow it; and he cares more about what he can do for others than what he can do for himself. He is also the most accepting and easy going guy I know. I am always asking him for meal requests, special items he would like to try, something new to eat etc. etc. and he will just smile at me and say “Everything you make is wonderful!” Ahhhhh…..be still my fluttering heart! My biggest fan in the kitchen.

His milieu in our culinary repertoire has always been the homemade tortillas we have on Burrito night. We splurged several years ago on a really nice tortilla grill, and quite often feast on fist sized fare, chock full of delicious stuff. We have experimented on the recipe of the tortillas; subbing milk for the liquid (didn’t work) and using shortening instead of oil (too heavy). Just this past week, when faced with a lack of his favorite flour, I made the suggestion that he sub in whole wheat for the regular unbleached. Ladies and gentleman, we have a WINNER! Fresh, soft, HUGE (for whatever reason, these tortillas spread out like wildfire, fulling stretching to the 10″ rim of our tortilla grill) and oh so delicious! After a lustrous meal of oooohing, ahhhing and sighing through our stuffed tummies, Mike turned to me with a twinkle in his eye and said “Do you think this is worth blogging???”


1 c. unbleached flour, 1 c. whole wheat flour, 2/3 c. water and 1/3 c. oil.

Mix flours in bowl, add oil and work into flour with hands. Pour in water, mix well to incorporate. Tear off dough and form balls with hands; cover with plastic and a wet paper towel and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes. Proceed with tortilla grill, or in saute pan. Stuff with any desired filling. We use: soy crumbles with seasoning, rice, cheese, refried beans, homemade guacamole (recipe is on this blog), chopped chipotles, salsa etc. etc. Wrap your fists around it and dig in. Delectably delightful.

Talkin' Snacks

I’m trying to remember when the last time was that we didn’t have on the A/C. We’re heading towards another weekend with temps near 100, and I know we aren’t the hotspot in the US. I am attending a pool party Saturday and needed to bring something snack-worthy. Everyone knows that I can cook, and there are expectations when I bring something anywhere that it is going to be good, so I can’t show up at a family gathering with a bunch of sacks of salty processed chips. I made Chex Mix, one of my favs, and easy, easy, easy, but I embellish the ingredients. I don’t add just pretzels, I add honey-mustard; it’s not just peanuts, it’s gourmet deluxe mixed nuts. I love rye crisps in it, and garlic bagel bites too. I toss some of this in the seasoning and some of that, but always use as the base- butter, worchestershire sauce and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. I also add garlic and onion powder, dry mustard, some cayenne if I feel feisty or maybe some of my caramel crystals that I use for making caramel corn if I feel like making it a little sweet. I bake it until it’s aromatic, crunchy and lightly browned and then I watch as the men in my life make for it with hands bared and mouths wide open. It’s like popcorn; you can’t just eat a little at a time, no way…it tastes best when you grab a handful and shove it in your mouth where all the multiple flavors can collide on your tongue in a crunching, crashing mass. While it’s wonderful right out of the oven, it’s pretty good sitting in a container on the counter for as long as it lasts. Now if I can only hold on to it until Saturday.

Chex Mix Kate’s Way

3 c. each Chex- Rice, Corn and Multi Grain (don’t use the Wheat), 1 c. mixed nuts (or your choice) 1 c. broken pieces of pretzel, 1 c. garlic bagel bites or rye crisps, break ‘em up if you want. Place all ingredients in large roasting pan and mix to combine. Use your hands, it’s fun!
Melt together 1/2 stick butter (NO margarine!) 2 T. Worch. sauce, 2 t. Lawrys Seas. Salt, 1/2 t. each garlic and onion powder, 1/4 t. dry mustard. If you combine the dry stuff in a little bowl and add to the butter slowly while stirring, it will mix better. Stir it up until the seasonings have dissolved for the most part, then drizzle it in portions over the pan, stirring to mix and pouring and stirring until it’s all over the place and your counter is covered with errant pieces of cereal and other goodies. Scoop them all back in the pan and place in a 250 degree oven, stir every 20 minutes or so, and bake for an hour or so until the house smells so good you can’t stand it. Cool it down a little and dig in.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cheese, pates and chicken, oh my!!!

I spent my second day working at the yacht club by arranging gourmet cheese and pate trays, and then making Poulet a la Provencale for their Tour de France dinner. The cheese trays were fun, as I got to sample some pretty amazing cheeses- Saint Andre, Morbier, Agour, Bleu Arvinge (sp??) and Port Salut. I adored the Saint Andre, it was much like a Brie with a sharper and more tangy taste. The Morbier was a stinky cheese, not my fav, as was the Bleu……a VERY pungent bleu. The Port Salut was pretty good, a soft texture with a slight bite. Agour was similar to a very firm Swiss style, very crumbly and sharp with little aftertaste. My chef friend gladly gave me more information than I needed to know about those cheeses; he amazes me with his brainiac food knowledge. All day long I was enjoying listening to him talk about the foods being prepared for the French dinner, and was continually amazed and awed by what came out of his mouth. That’s why he’s paid the big bucks, but you could also tell that he just LOVES the subject of food. My kinda guy. Then I made up some Pate trays, and felt like I was playing with gourmet dog food. I have tried Pate, and had some decent ones, but it’s not at the top of my list for gloriously fanatical consumption. I got through that task quickly. Then Tim gave me a recipe for a chicken dish, a huge tub of cut up chicken and said “Can you handle this?” It was actually a pretty simple production, browning off the chicken, then browning onions and garlic, adding tomato product and a multitude of fresh herbs, and a long braise in the oven. Gathering the ingredients was the most challenging since I am not very familiar with where everything is in his kitchen. I am sure by the time I am done on Friday that I will be completely knowledgeable on the layout, just in time to never be in there again. I stood over the stove browning off the equivalent of 8 cut up chickens, in the hottest part of the kitchen on a searing hot day. Man, I love the feel of sweat running down my cleavage! The dish wasn’t too hard to get together and into the oven, I just kept my fingers crossed that it turned out OK. I may never know.

It’s been fun to be in a big commercial kitchen, utilizing the skills I spent 18 months honing in school. I had it good there, I get in and get out without any of the insane and crazy stuff going on. It gave me a good dose of the reality of it, and I find myself quite torn with wanting to continue on, work and learn more, and yet also to never be a part of the chaos, stifling heat and frantic, scurrying pace. Maybe it’s good for me to get a taste of it; to be able to know that I could do it, that I can get by if I really wanted to work in a kitchen. Tim’s kitchen is amazingly organized and runs like a well honed machine. Everything is in it’s place, labeled, marked, organized, clean. I loved how it was set up, and I loved seeing him in such a different light. I would work for him in a heartbeat, and I don’t say that lightly. I guess I will see where the wind blows me in my career path.

Something more appropriate for summer

I used this delicious, smoky relish-style salad recipe in one of my culinary school final buffet platters. I served it with fresh baked white corn tortilla chips, but it would be great with any favorite tortilla chip

Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad

16 fl oz. olive oil
12 fl oz. white wine
½ oz. roasted garlic paste
½ oz. salt
1 t. coarse ground black pepper
3# 12 oz. roasted corn kernels
15 Roma tomato, concasse
2 oz. sliced green onions
3 T. chopped cilantro
3 T. chopped parsley

Blend oil, vinegar and garlic paste, season with salt and pepper. Add corn, tomato, green onions, and herbs. Toss to coat and chill. Adjust seasoning if needed before serving

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Good soup for the summertime

Beats me why I am sitting at this computer with a brand new Saveur magazine beckoning me to open it’s glossy and drool inspiring pages. If I could be dumped on a desert island with one thing to read it would be that magazine. I have been transformed into a nutcase over articles I have read, features I have paged through and recipes perused. It takes me to places I would never go and teaches me about food in a way I would never imagine.

But here I am and I am feeling the need to blog.

Most people would not associate soup with summertime, unless we are talking about classic cold soups like Gazpacho, Vichyssoise and the like, but once in a while, soup is OK for warm weather consumption. It’s easy, doesn’t take a lot of time and with a salad and some good bread it makes a simple meal that is quick and easy. Call me crazy, but soup has been on my mind, and with Minnesota corn season underway, this one is a great option.

Rosemary Corn Soup

2 c. chopped onion
½ c. diced carrot
½ c. diced celery
3 T. butter
8 c. fresh corn
6 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 T. fresh rosemary, minced
2 cloves garlic. Minced
¼ t. cayenne pepper
1 red pepper, seeded cored and diced
1 c. half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

In dutch oven, sauté onion, celery and carrot in butter until tender. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 5 cups of the corn, broth, rosemary, and cayenne and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. With immersion blender, process until smooth. In a small skillet, sauté red pepper in butter until tender, add to pureed mix with remaining corn and heat through. Stir in half and half, and season with salt and pepper.

It's hot and I want soup

How weird is that? But I keep thinking about soup, and not exactly summertime fare either, but the satisfying, tummy warming and tongue happy flavors of a good hearty soup. This one is a fav; cook the pasta separate and stir into the hot soup before eating, and top with a good spray of fresh grated parm and asiago. It’s great for all that fragrant basil in my garden

Pasta Fagioli

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, peeled and diced
1 c. fresh spinach, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded cored and diced
2 cup water
1 (16 oz) can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 pound ditalini macaroni (or other small pasta)
grated parmesan and asiago cheese
fresh basil

Saute the onion, pepper and garlic gently in dutch oven in the olive oil for 5 minutes, and then add the tomatoes and water. Let simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Add squash and drained beans, simmer for 5 minutes, add spinach, and simmer until wilted, just about 2 minutes. While simmering, in a separate pot cook the ditalini macaroni until al dente, drain and rinse quickly under cold water, set aside. Ladle soup into bowls, add 1/3 c. pasta, and top with basil and cheese.

Tying up the veggie bundles

I spent about 4 hours yesterday helping my friend Tim who is the Executive chef at a local yacht club. It wasn’t anything special, I simply sliced carrots, blanched them and a whole pan of fresh green beans, then spent the next 2 1/2 hours tying them into little bundles with blanched green onion strips. And I did it all standing next to two oven banks and a six burner stove going full throttle, with three guys rushing by me back and forth and some indeterminate hard rock blaring from the stereo on the other side of the kitchen. But it was great, good to be doing something worthwhile, good to see my friend and good to lend a hand. I heard the phrase ‘Thank you’ directed at me yesterday more times than I could count. That’s a nice feeling. I will go back on Wednesday and Friday for more. It has been since May that I have had any reason to wear long pants and socks, and it was warm, warm, warm with an air temp outside in the 90’s and humid. But it was good be useful and to feel a little fatigue, but at the same time, that is the most effort I have put out this whole summer that I was paid for, and I am truly recognizing (and in some ways relishing) my lazy days. All too soon they will come to an end.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A day in God's country with the blueberries

I wrote about my ethereal blueberry picking experiences as one of my first posts. This year marked the third of my annual day trip to Maiden Rock Wisconsin to pick berries. Some people might wonder why I will make a 1 1/2 hour car trip one way to pick fruit. Some people have never been on State Hwy 35 on the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River and seen what kind of wondrous natural beauty is present there. Maiden Rock lies on Lake Pepin, a natural widening of the St. Croix River that is considered one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the US. (I don’t know if that’s official, but it should be) The road winds, turns, climbs and falls, all the while skirting along the cliffs that are prominent along the river. Tiny little towns lie along it’s edge, almost like an afterthought, with weathered houses perched on rock overlooking a vista of amazing beauty. I have never taken this drive on anything less than a gorgeous summer day, so the sun catches the dancing ripples in the water far below me, while eagles and vultures too numerous to count ride the winds aloft on the cliff edges, suspended like kites, circling and diving. To get to the berry farm, you drive three miles up the side of one of these cliffs, eventually coming to their farm with the breathtaking view of the St. Croix valley. In any direction you look is a panorama of Midwestern life; farm land, silos, crop fields and houses all reduced to the miniature status of their distance, like toys scattered across a verdant and fertile playground. But the berries are the reason you came here, and the bushes await you, hanging their heads in bowed obedience awaiting your hands to relieve them of their delectable blushing beauty. The harvest was at a peak, brought on by the recent hot weather, and it took me about an hour to pick my first 10-pound box. One bush alone yielded enough fruit to fill my colander to the rim before I poured it’s bounty into the box. The place was crowded with people, all bent and intent on reaping the harvest. Little children swung plastic ice cream buckets, proclaiming joyfully at their finds and parents talked amongst themselves of what they would do with their fruit. I picked, picked, and picked some more until two full boxes sat by my side. It took about 2 1/2 hours, but on a picture perfect 78 degree summer day with a stiff breeze to dry the sweat on my face, it was not a chore at all. Had I not been so hungry from my labor I would have kept going. All around me were bushes absolutely toppling over with fruit, begging me to take them. Handful upon handful went into my willing mouth, their flavor bursting from the skins with it’s tantalizing, sweet - sour flesh. I gorged until I could stand it no more, but my body called for something more. I made my purchases and doused myself in the crisp and cold well water from the old fashioned pump, drinking down gulp after gulp to drive the thirst from my skin. Down the cliff I went, along the winding road where the deep canopy of trees reached out to wave me along. I drove down the road to a little diner in Stockholm, mowed through a soul and hunger satisfying burger and then slowly drove back so I could take in the beauty of Lake Pepin where sailboats dotted the waters with their pristine white sails and the sunlight drew diamond sparkles from the sky blue waters. I could have stopped and drank of it’s pure delight, leaving me in such a stupor that I would have been unable or unwilling to return to my concrete world. Now the fruit awaits….for jam, syrup and bag upon bag for the freezer to get me through the fruitless days of winter. And of course, for the multiple handfuls that will simply be stuffed into my mouth as needed to replenish me and conjure up images of pristine waters and warm, breeze filled hours in God’s country.

Palak Paneer (Spinach with Indian Cheese)

I love spinach, love it a lot. In salads, as my green on a burger, cooked into my Lo Mein etc. etc. I also love this dish in the Indian restaurants I frequent so I wanted to reproduce it at home. The cheese part was easy.(see Paneer- Indian Cheese) This dish came out good, but we thought the seasoning was off. The recipe calls for cooking the spinach to a paste, which I did not do as I love the toothsome and earthy taste of spinach that is still identifiable as such. Overall, outside of the seasoning we liked it a lot. I used sour cream as the base and will try it with real cream next time. I also may resource some different recipe options to see if we can’t perfect the flavor. This recipe calls for 2 pounds of spinach, which is an extraordinary amount. I used two 9 oz. bags and it was fine. Be sure to chop it up a little to make for easier eating. I did not de-stem it.

Palak Paneer

1 lb paneer pieces

2 lb spinach

3 tablespoon onion (chopped)

2 tablespoon tomato (chopped)

2 tablespoon any cream (alternate: sour cream)

2 teaspoon garma masala powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tablespoon ghee or oil

Heat ghee or butter and saute onion until golden. Add spinach and cook to a paste. Add cream and spices, stir to mix and cook for several minutes. Add paneer, cook for 10 minutes to allow flavor to develop