ReaderWriterVille

Blog in progress

Category: recipes

Mendocino Fish Soup

Mendocino Fish Soup

This is based on a recipe which goes back decades in TheHusband’s family. Well, it’s based on two recipes. The family’s recipe was originally from the New York Times but the clipping was lost long ago. It’s a bit unusual in that it features green peppercorns, but we all like it a lot and it’s become a staple in the winter months.

With the advent of the NYT’s online archive, I decided to try and find the original recipe (I’d found my 1982 Stilton and Cheddar recipe, so why not?). I eventually found it but I couldn’t believe it was the right one, because it was so different. I could see the bones of the original recipe in my mother-in-law’s version, but there were more differences than similarities in the spicing. What follows is a hybrid of the two.

1 lb. cod or other white fish (haddock, tilapia, etc.)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and sliced into quarters lengthwise
1 medium or 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper or a mix of green, red, and/or yellow)
1 bay leaf
3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 16 oz. tinned tomatoes
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth + 1 cup water
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp green peppercorns (see note)
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 Tbsp capers, roughly chopped
2 tbsp butter
8-12 small potatoes, boiled and kept warm (optional)

Read the rest of this entry »

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer

 

I’ve made this dish off and on over the years, with frozen and fresh spinach, and with uncooked and fried paneer. I like it best with fresh, relatively mature spinach and with fried paneer. I cheat and get the frozen fried paneer available in my international grocery store. You can also fry paneer yourself; for that matter, you can make paneer from scratch, but I’m happy with the store-bought stuff.

There are many ways to make palak paneer, including using a different type of greens, such as chard or mustard greens, in which case it is more properly called saag paneer. You can cook it quickly or for a long time, use fresh or tinned tomatoes (or no tomatoes at all), and of course you can vary the spices. This version tastes pretty close to the kind you get in north Indian restaurants, but it’s not as rich or greasy, and I don’t pulverize the spinach. I find that cooking it for a longer time gives me a similar consistency and flavor without having to drag out the food processor.

1 lb. fresh spinach (not baby spinach)
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp gresh ginger
1 hot green chile
1-2 plum or vine tomatoes, peeled
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
8 oz. fried paneer
3 Tbsp full fat yogurt or cream

Read the rest of this entry »

RECIPE: Quadruple-C soup

It’s been seriously busy at Casa RWV the past couple of weeks, so I haven’t had time for much writing of any kind. But last night we made a spur of the moment soup that turned out really well. TheH insisted I write it down before I forgot it, so where better than here, where I said I would post recipes?

Both of us have had horrible head and chest colds so we’ve been craving soup. But the only things left in the fridge were a head of cabbage and some frozen chicken thighs. No carrots or celery to make chicken soup, but why not make a cabbage soup with chicken broth? We found a can of coconut milk in the pantry, and I always have garlic and ginger on hand.

You could probably substitute vegetable broth (or water) and tofu to make it vegetarian, and if you leave out the yogurt and add lemon juice you can make it vegan.

Ingredients:

3-4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 small or 1/2 large head cabbage
4-6 scallions or 1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
3-4 slices and 2 Tbsp fresh ginger
1 serrano chile
1/4 cup cilantro or 12-18 curry leaves
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
3 Tbsp canola oil
6 peppercorns
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 cup yogurt
1 can coconut milk

Read the rest of this entry »

RECIPE: Beef braised in wine

I love beef burgundy, but the original recipes take forever and have many steps. Luckily my favorite chef, Jacques Pépin, has a much simpler recipe which is delicious. I’ve tweaked a couple of things from his original directions, which you can find here. You do have to let the stew cook for a few hours, but it mostly just bubbles along by itself while you do other things. We made it many times this winter, and while we’ve mostly moved on to spring, this is perfect for those occasional cold and/or rainy days. [It’s raining as I write this, so that might be why it seemed like the perfect time to post the recipe.]

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs chuck roast or other inexpensive stew meat, cut into 2-inch chunks
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
One 750-milliliter bottle red wine
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme or 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley (with stems)
2 slices bacon (or 1 slice thick-cut bacon)
12 pearl or small cipollini onions, peeled
12 cremini mushrooms, halved
3-4 carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch rounds

Cooking Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a dutch oven or other deep, ovenproof pan. Sear meat over medium-high heat in the olive oil. Do one layer of beef at a time, sprinkling the meat with salt and pepper as you sear the cubes. Remove each layer from pan and set aside. Add chopped garlic, onion, and bacon to pan and saute on medium-low heat. When onion is translucent, add bay leaves and thyme, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.Return meat and its juices to pan and stir to combine. Sprinkle flour over meat and stir thoroughly until flour is fully integrated. Add wine gradually, stirring to mix with flour, then add broth, half the Italian parsley, and 1 tsp salt. The liquid should cover the meat. If it looks like too much, cut back the wine. If it’s too little, add water.

Read the rest of this entry »