Showing posts with label saffron. Show all posts
Showing posts with label saffron. Show all posts

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Spanish-ish Chickpea, Potato & Cauliflower Rice Soup with Saffron, Smoked Paprika & Salsa Brava for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I fully expected to be at the least without power and at most without a roof or bailing out all kinds of water from my house this weekend with Hurricane Lane looming over us. We got lucky here on Oahu, at least and the storm both weakened and was downgraded and made a sudden turn away from us. It was a pretty scary few days though. Although I've lived here since 2001, this is probably the most worrisome storm watch I have experienced. Unfortunately, although Oahu came through pretty unscathed, Maui and especially the Big Island were not so lucky and took the hit, with the Big Island getting over 4-feet on rain in some spots. Lots of flood and wind damage, so please send your thoughts and prayers to those impacted.

I didn't really plan a soup, but I was craving something with a Spanish vibe since my friend Monina brought me back saffron and a bottle of tomato salsa brava from a recent trip. She mentioned the salsa was often used for potatoes there and so I decided to make them the base, adding chickpeas a few veggies, garlic, the saffron, and plenty of smoked paprika and cumin to my soup. Since I loved my addition of cauliflower rice to this Red Curry Vegetable and Cauliflower Rice Soup, I added some to this soup and added the remainder of a jar of pimentos I had in the fridge. I saved the salsa brava to drizzle on top.

Spanish-ish Chickpea, Potato & Cauliflower Rice Soup with Saffron, Smoked Paprika & Salsa
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 6)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried parsley
4 to 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
6 cups broth (I used no-salt no-chicken vegan bouillon)
2 large potatoes, chopped
2 cans or 4 cups of cooked chickpeas
3 cups frozen cauliflower rice
2 Tbsp pimentos, drained 
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
salsa brava (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.Add the onion, carrot and celery and saute for about 6 to 7 minutes, until veggies are softened. Add the garlic and saute for another minute, then add the smoked paprika, cumin, dried parsley and thyme sprigs and cook until fragrant.

Add the broth, potatoes, chickpeas, cauliflower rice and pimentos and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes--until potatoes and veggies are tender but not mushy. Remove the thyme sprigs, pulling off any remaining leaves. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serve in bowls, drizzled with salsa brava if desired.

Notes/Results: I loved this soup--so much great flavor on its own with the saffron, garlic, smoked paprika and cumin, and it's even better with the salsa brava stirred in as the spicy pepper and vinegar in it and depth and a little kick. Filling without being heavy, this soup will be delicious in my lunches this week. I will happily make it again. 

Lets take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here.

Judy of Gluten Free A-Z Blog brought Instant Pot or Not Chilled Zucchini Corn Lime Soup and said, "Corn and zucchini are at their peak right now, and the duo are sensational in this light summer soup which can be eaten chilled or warm. Although this soup can be enjoyed warm or chilled, chilled seems to be my preference. I usually serve it warm for dinner and cold for lunch the next day. Either way it doesn't disappoint- The key ingredients for me is the fresh lime and crunchy sweet corn that I add to each soup bowl!"

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared her Chicken and Heavily Dijoned Sandwich and said, "I brought a chicken sandwich with lots of tomatoes and Dijon mustard. Typically I don't eat a sandwich for dinner but I was "inspired" by the last Frieda Klein novel when I read about this sandwich. It just made me want one. You know how that is - cravings. ... I like the Maille brand of Dijon, it has just the right amount spiciness."

Mahalo to Judee and Tina for joining in this week!
About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up her in order to be included in the weekly round-up.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Middle Eastern Couscous with Saffron, Crispy Onion-Crusted Mahi Mahi, and My Top Ten Favorite Jacques Pépin Recipes

This is our last week cooking with Jacques Pépin at I Heart Cooking Clubs--at least on a weekly basis. I'm sending him off with two recipes from his More Fast Food My Way; Middle Eastern Couscous and a Crispy Onion-Crusted Mahi Mahi.  

I first made and posted the couscous back in September 2008 and I have made it a few times since, loving the color, aroma, and flavor from the saffron. I like it as a side dish for fish and had some local mahi mahi to use up this weekend. I liked the idea of crumbing the mahi with pulverized canned or packaged french-fried onions before pan-frying it, and took that preparation from Jacques's Onion-Crusted Sole with Anchovy Butter.

It's always fun to go back and remember the recipes I have cooked with the current IHCC chef and choose the ones that stand out as my favorites. I am afraid that I did not do Jacques Pépin justice this past six months in quantity of recipes. Much of the time was  tough personally for me, I took a blogging break, and I was not in the mood to spend much time in the kitchen so I picked mostly quick and easy dishes to make. I thought I would only be able to come up with my top five recipes, but actually when I went back and looked, I had ten recipes that I really liked. Most of these are pretty simple to make and all had a masterful combination of flavors and ingredients that I have come to associate with Chef Pépin.

My Top Ten Favorite Jacques Pépin Recipes

Middle Eastern Couscous with Saffron
Adapted From Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way
(Serves 4)

2 Tbsp good olive oil
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
About 1 tsp crushed saffron pistils
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (homemade or low-salt prepared) (I used veggie stock)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh tarragon or parsley for garnish (I used fresh cilantro)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat and add the onion, pumpkin seeds and saffron. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the couscous and mix well. 

Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper, mix well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes longer to dry the grains and make them fluffy. 

Serve garnished with the herb sprigs.


Onion-Crusted Mahi Mahi
Adapted From Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way
(Makes 4 Servings)

2 large eggs
4 mahi mahi fillets (about 6 oz each), or fish of your choice
1/2 tsp salt
6-oz french-fried onions (I used garlic black pepper onions)
3 Tbsp canola or peanut oil
1 lemon, quartered

Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl until smooth and well combined. Pat the fish fillets with paper towels to dry them thoroughly. Sprinkle both sides with salt. Put the fried onions in a food processor and process until smooth and powdery. Transfer the onion mixture to a large plate. 

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Dip the fish fillets in the eggs and then into the powdered onion. Cook on each side, until well-browned and just barley cooked in the center (about 2-3 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your fish), turning carefully with a large spatula. Serve with lemon.  

Notes/Results: The couscous remains one of my go-to side dishes. It is quick and easy to make but looks elegant, exotic, and pretty on the plate. The onion coating on the mahi mahi added so much flavor (I used a package of garlic and black pepper fried onions) and the fish was moist and tender. I didn't make the anchovy butter that accompanied the fish recipe this time as I felt the couscous and fish pairing didn't need it, but I will next time. An easy dinner and a great way to end six months with Chef Pépin.

I am linking this post up at IHCC where you can see how everyone said "Au Revoir Chef
Pépin!" by checking out the picture links on the post. 

We will be spending the next six months at I Heart Cooking Clubs exploring healthy and delicious recipes with cookbook author, registered dietitian, and healthy cooking expert, Ellie Krieger--so come join us!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Ruth Reichl's (Very Comforting) Sunny Buttery Saffron Rice Pudding (Sholeh Zard) for Cook the Books: "Comfort Me With Apples"

I am hosting the February/March round of Cook The Books, our bi-monthly virtual foodie book club with Comfort Me With Apples: More Adventures at the Table by Ruth Reichl. Comfort Me With Apples covers Ruth's life from 1978 through the late 1980s and her journey from chef to food writer and restaurant critic.

It's a memoir that balances Ruth's passion for food and describing it in vivid detail, with tales of her (at times almost soap-opera-ish) life. It is her incredible food writing that pulls me into her books--although I greatly admire her ability to write so directly about her personal life and drama with such honesty--despite how it might make her come across. I was at a writing workshop last weekend and the author who instructed the afternoon creative non-fiction session said that her editor once told her that in writing her memoir, she should write "like everyone you know is dead"--as if it's 100 years from now, so you can be completely and brutally honest. That to me describes Ruth Reichl's style to a T. While never deliberately unkind to herself and others--whether reviewing a chef/restaurant or describing family or a lover, she doesn't pull any punches. Coupled with her ability to put food to words in such a way that you feel as if you are dining with her, as well as including some of the recipes most meaningful to her experiences at end of each chapter, it makes for an engrossing read.     

One would think that being the host, having selected the book ages ago and having finished (re-reading) it last month, that I could manage to be early with this Cook the Books round but no. It hasn't been an easy couple of months for a variety of reasons and time just seems to slip away, so I find myself slinking in a few days before the deadline as usual. That doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about my entry though. As I was going through the book, none of the recipes or mentions called to me particularly, or if they did, someone else had already made them. I definitely wanted comfort food. Had I not already made it last year for a book review, Ruth's Matzoh Brei would have certainly been a contender. There's also the Massaged Kale Salad with Currants, Pine Nuts & Parmesan inspired by a mention in Ruth's novel Delicious! that has become a healthy-ish comfort dish for me as I make it on a regular basis. 

Wanting to try a different Ruth recipe, I went to her blog. I get my fix of Ruth's writing by periodically cruising through Ruth's Words on her website where she reviews restaurants and talks about dinner parties, various dishes she cooks, and other foodie things. I definitely go there for her words and not the food photography which always makes me smile because well..., it just isn't great. But, do you know what? She is Ruth freaken Reichl!--her words paint the picture of what she eats better than any picture could. ;-) I found a few recipes that I intend on making someday, but it was the recipe for Persian Rice Pudding or Sholeh Zard that most called to me. I agree with Ruth that rice pudding is the ultimate in comfort food (OK, maybe right next to soup), so it seemed perfect for the book.    

Ruth's recipe serves twelve and although I have been in need of serious comfort lately, I didn't need that many servings of sweet rice pudding. I made a small batch--about three servings worth, by adjusting and (mostly) quartering the recipe quantities. I have written the recipe as I have adjusted it below. If you are feeding a crowd, follow the link to the original recipe. 

Ruth says, "Rice pudding is the chicken soup of desserts. Ultimate comfort food, it's an international dish that changes its style as it travels the world. Once again perusing my stack of Time-Life books I came upon another recipe I couldn’t resist: sholeh-zard, or Persian saffron rice pudding. A goldenrod smear on the page suggests I once made this, but I have no memory of it. Intrigued by the saffron - and the fact that this rice pudding contains no milk - I decided to try it. Unlike the two previous recipes I’ve written about here, this one was so sweet and so strongly redolent of rose water that I made a few serious modifications. Trolling around on the internet I found that sholeh-zard is traditionally incredibly sweet; one recipe I found called for three cups of sugar to one cup of rice. And the classic version is so strongly perfumed with rosewater that some recipes call for as much as a cup. But I've made this to my own taste, so it's less sweet and less perfumed. It is also, in my opinion, very delicious." 

Sunny Buttery Saffron Rice Pudding (Sholeh Zard)
Adapted from Ruth  
(Ruth's Recipe Serves 12 -- Reduced Below to Serve 3)
2 cups water
1/4 cup basmati rice, rinsed and soaked
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pinch saffron threads, pulverized with a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon, and dissolved in 1 Tbsp water
1 scant Tbsp rose water, or to taste
2 Tbsp slivered blanched almonds
1 Tbsp slivered or finely chopped unsalted pistachios
1 tsp cinnamon (garnish)

In a heavy saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Pour in the rice and salt and stir. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible point and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. The rice will still be quite watery. Stir in the sugar, then add the butter and the saffron mixture and continue stirring over low heat until the sugar has dissolved, the butter has melted, and the rice is bright yellow. 

Stir in the slivered almonds, and about 1/2 tablespoon of the pistachios and, stirring occasionally, cook for 30 minutes longer until the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape almost solidly in the spoon.

Stir in the rose water according to taste. Ladle into a bowl or several small ramekins. Let cool at room temperature, and then refrigerate for at least two hours. 

Traditionally, this pudding is decorated with lines of cinnamon and nuts laid out in your own personal design.

Notes/Results: Besides not needing the sugar, butter and calories from twelve servings of sholeh zard, I also was concerned that it might be too aromatic, sweet and floral for my tastes however, Ruth's tastes mirrored my own and I really enjoyed the flavor. It was just about right in terms of sweetness, rose and saffron flavor and is really quite delicious. A bit more "solid" and less creamy than some rice puddings I have made (the no-milk aspect, non-dairy if you use a butter alternative) and the nuts add a nice little crunch. I think some dried fruit would be great in here as well. Since it's a cold rice pudding, it would be a fabulous summer dessert--although the bright sunny color does make it warm up a dark and dreary day. Noting that Ruth said sholeh zard is traditionally decorated with lines of cinnamon and nuts in designs and patterns, I looked it up in Google Images and it was fun to see the different and very creative variations. Since I was serving mine in ramekins and I like things simple, I just made a single flower pattern to top the small bowls. A great way to use some exotic pantry items I had stocked up on, pretty, and delicious, this was a fun recipe to add to my rice pudding collection. (I think this is #7 on the blog according to the rice pudding label on my sidebar.) I will happily make it again.

I'll be rounding up all of the dishes that Comfort Me with Apples inspired shortly after the deadline on the Cook the Books site. If you missed out this round and like food, books and foodie books, consider joining us for April/May with our pick; The Feast Nearby: How I Lost my Job, Buried a Marriage, and Found My Way by Keeping Chickens, Foraging, Preserving, Bartering, and Eating Locally (All on Forty Dollars a Week) by Robin Mather, hosted by Deborah of Eliot's Eats