Monday, July 27, 2015

Coconut Macaroons - so easy!

I made 2 fruit tarts recently and from the process of making the tart shells, I had 4 eggs whites leftover, just enough to make a batch of coconut macaroons.  I found a recipe online, but then after buying the flaked and sweetened coconut I noticed there was a recipe on the back of the package, so I ditched the online recipe and decided to go with the recipe on the package.  I was not disappointed.  The only thing I will say is keeping your hands damp during the shaping of the macaroons will ease the stickiness factor.  I didn't dare touch anything in the kitchen until I was done shaping the macaroons.

The recipe -

Coconut Macaroons

1 package (5 1/3 cups) flaked sweetened coconut
4 eggs whites
2/3 cup sugar
6 TBSP. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional, I made mine without this and they were fine)

If you like your macaroons with a toasty coconut look, spread the coconut out on the silpat (or parchment paper) lined cookie sheet and bake in a 350F oven for 5-10 minutes until the edges are toasty.  Place the toasted coconut in a bowl and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Preheat oven to 325F.
To the coconut, add the sugar, flour  and salt.  Stir to coat the coconut with the dry ingredients.  Add the egg whites and stir to combine.  Shape tablespoons of the mixture into balls and drop onto a silpat lined cookie sheet.  This recipe will make 24-36 macaroons depending on how big you make them.  Bake in 325F oven for 20-25 minutes, until the egg white looks set and the cookies no longer have a 'shiny' look.  When done, remove the cookies from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  You may dip the cookies in chocolate for an added treat or drizzle with chocolate, that is if you can keep from eating them up.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Indian Samosas - YUM!

Yesterday, for the kayak splash and dash meeting at Cascade Lake, Michael and I made samosas.  They are little snack foods in India that are filled with any number of different fillings, from ground lamb to vegetables, and fried.  Here is the recipe along with a recipe for tomato and dried apricot chutney to serve with them.

From the cookbook "World of the East Vegetarian Cooking" by Madhur Jaffrey

For the Pastry:

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (you can use whole wheat flour if you prefer)
¼ tsp. Salt
4 TBSP butter

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.  Add the butter to the flour and rub it with your fingers until the flour resembles fine bread crumbs (you can use a pastry cutter, if you like).  Add warm water (must be warm!) a tablespoon at a time and begin to gather the flour into a ball.  It will take at least ¼ cup of water to start and then add more water as needed to form a soft ball of dough.  Knead the dough until smooth and combined.  It should be a soft pliable dough.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.  The dough can be made a day ahead and stay in the fridge.

For the Stuffing:

4 medium sized potatoes, boiled, then cooled, unpeeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
4 TBSP. Vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and minced
1 cup shelled fresh peas or 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 TBSP peeled ginger, minced
1 fresh hot green chili (I used a jalapeno, but Serrano peppers work too)
3 TBSP finely minced cilantro
1 ½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground coriander
1 tsp. Ground cumin
¼ tsp. Cayenne
1 tsp. Garam masala
2 TBSP lemon juice or 1 TBSP lemon juice and 1 TBSP amchoor powder (another option is to use tamarind paste in place of the amchoor or the lemon juice)

Oil for deep frying
Extra flour for rolling out the dough

Heat the oil in a large frying pan with a lid (at least a 12 inch skillet) over a medium flame.  Put in the onion, stirring and frying until the onion is a light brown color.  Add the peas, the ginger, green chili, cilantro and 3 TBSP of water.  Cover, lower heat and simmer very gently until the peas are cooked.  Stir every now and then and add additional water if needed.  Now put in the potatoes along with the cumin, salt, coriander, garam masala, lemon juice and amchoor.  Keep the heat on low and mix the spices with the potatoes.  Cook gently for 4 minutes stirring frequently.  Taste the mixture and add salt or lemon juice to your taste.  Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Take the dough out of the fridge and knead again to soften it.  Divide it into 12 equal sized balls.  Keep the balls covered with plastic wrap. 

Place a small bowl of water on your work table.  Lightly flour a pastry board.  Flatten a  dough ball on the pastry board.  Then roll the flatten disk to a 6 inch circle.  Cut the round in half with a sharp knife.  Pick up one half of the round and form into a cone by moistening one half of the cut edge, overlapping ½ of the cut edge over the other by ¼ inch. press together to ensure a good seal.  Hold the cone open like an ice cream cone in your left (or non-dominant) hand.  Place 1 TBSP. of filling in the cone.  Moisten the top edges of the cone and bring them together, pressing to seal them.  Fold the top edge over about ¼ inch and seal shut, again using a small bit of water to moisten the dough and seal the edge. Place the samosa on a cookie sheet, that has been lined with a well floured tea towel to prevent sticking.  Continue in this fashion to shape all the samosas.

Heat oil for deep frying in a wok (about 2 ½ inches deep) over a medium low flame.  Fry the samosas slowly (4 or 5 at a time) until they are a golden brown.  As they are done, place them on a rack or dish that has been lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. 

Samosas may be served at room temperature or they may be served warm.   They can be made a day ahead, refrigerated in a flat plastic container and then reheated on a cookie sheet in a 350F oven.  Serve with a chutney of your choice.  Traditionally they are served with a spicy chutney like a tamarind mint chutney. 

Mrs. Rama Chakravarty’s Tomato Chutney (Timator Chutney)
From the cookbook "A Taste of India" by Madhur Jaffrey

Serves 6 (makes about 2 cups)

1 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled
2 TBSP vegetable oil
½ tsp Panchphoran (a mix of fenugreek, fennel, nigella, black mustard and whole cumin seeds- available at an Indian grocery market)
2 whole hot, dried red chilies or 1/4  to 1/2 tsp cayenne
6 good sized cloves of garlic, mashed to a pulp
1 lb. tomatoes, chopped
½ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4-5 dried apricots, cut into ½ dice
2 fresh hot green chilies (serranos work well, jalapenos will be milder), chopped

Cut the ginger crosswise, into very fine slices.  Stacking several slices, cut them into very fine slivers. 

Heat oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium flame.  When hot, put in the panchphoran.  Let the spices sizzle and pop for a few seconds.  Now put in the red chilies.  Stir once and put in the ginger and garlic.  Stir for about 5 seconds.  Now put in the tomatoes, salt and sugar.  Simmer on a medium to medium-low flame until the chutney begins to thicken, about 15-20 minutes.  Add the apricots and green chilies.  Simmer and cook on a low heat for another 10-15 minutes or until the chutney is thick and has a glazed look.  Remove the whole red chilies before serving. Serve at room temperature.