Dec 15, 2014

Spiced Pear Butter


Spiced Pear Butter

Happy Holidays! This year I made some pear butter to give away as gifts. I was given a jar many years ago, along with the recipe, but only lately was I brave enough to try it.

My first batch I made with the Bartlett Pears that the recipe called for, and I think I only added 7 cups of sugar instead of 7.5, and it turned out delicious. The flavor of pear along with the usual Christmas spices makes it taste like the holidays. Delicious!

For the second batch I found a good sale on the large Asian pears at Superking. Asians take their pears very seriously, as they even come with little jackets to keep them from bruising (I assume).

I admit that the reason I wanted to use huge pears is that it meant less peeling, which really was the hardest part of this recipe. I used 3!

A big difference between the types of pears is that the large Asian pears didn't get soft. I kept waiting for them to get soft near the stem, but they didn't within my time frame, so I went ahead and used them. They never got as soft as the Bartlett pears when I was boiling them down, which I see now is the whole point of the Asian pears:  They are crisp! Very crisp, and protected by the little jackets.

But when I put them in the blender they broke down easily after the boiling. I had to boil off some of the water,  and the result was just as delicious as the Bartlett pear batch. If it's possible, it tastes a little crisper!

 I hope you enjoy this recipe and the resulting treat. It makes about 9 half-pints. Happy eating!


Ingredients

7 large Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and diced to make 2 quarts.
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
7 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 (3-oz.) pouch liquid pectin

Yield: 9 cups


Directions

Combine pears in a large saucepan with lemon juice and water; heat to boiling. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until pears are soft. Uncover and cook over high heat 10 minutes longer, stirring and mashing pears as they cook.

In a blender, puree half the mixture at a time until smooth. This mixture should measure 5 cup: If it measures more, boil it down, if it measures less than 5 cups, add water.

Add sugar and spices and heat to boiling until sugar dissolves. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in pectin. Pour into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust caps. 

Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Mar 29, 2014

Lamb for Easter

In 2012 my family visited New York City for Spring Break. We stayed near Central Park

While we were there on our short stay, we noticed a longer than usual line at the food truck nearest the hotel. We walked around the city a bit (Madison Square Garden, Central Park) and didn't see another truck with such a long line. So on our way out of town, we decided to try a gyro from that particular truck and it was DELICIOUS! We speculated as to why these gyros were so delicious, and decided they must contain lamb meat.

Fast forward to last Easter, and I learned that my family was tired of ham! Imagine that. Well, that got me to thinking about Easter and what other kind of dish could I cook, when I thought about the delicious lamb in NYC. And the symbolism of lamb (of God) and Easter somehow appealed to me.

I went online and found this recipe for a lamb dish that I could make in a Dutch Oven. I'm not sure how I found this recipe, but it is credited to J.M. Hirsh, food editor for the AP, and blogger at LunchBoxBlues.com. The name pretty much says it all. It contains lamb, garbanzo beans, rosemary and tomatoes.

I was worried that I wouldn't like the garbanzo beans, as I don't usually like their consistency whole (hummus I love.) I also was afraid the rosemary would be overpowering, but it wasn't, and the garbanzo beans were not firm and waxy, but fell apart in my mouth. I used half as much lamb as the original recipe (2 lbs), but the rest was the same, and the results were tender and delightful.

This recipe is fairly easy. A little chopping, open the cans, and cook it up in about 15 minutes. The hardest part was separating and browning the lamb. Then for 2 hours you can let it cook and take in the aroma of your upcoming meal.

Enjoy!

Rosemary Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas and Tomatoes


Serves 8

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 head garlic, minced
1 lb ground lamb
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
15 oz can chopped or diced tomatoes
15 oz can chickpeas, drained
¾ cup chicken broth
salt and ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges
chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
plain Greek yogurt, to serve

Directions:

In the base of a tagine or large Dutch Oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic, then saute until tender and lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lamb and brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the rosemary, tomatoes, chickpeas and broth, then bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a bare simmer and let cook for 2 hours, or until the lamb is fork tender.

Season with salt and pepper, then divide between serving plates. Squeeze 1 or 2 lemon wedges over each serving, then top with parsley and a dollop of yogurt.

Jan 22, 2014

Chicken Cacciatore

We wanted to have our friends, Mike and Carol, over our house last weekend, so I wanted to make something really good. I decided to make one of my best recipes: Chicken Cacciatore from the Colorado Cache Cookbook, a cookbook put out by the Junior League of Denver in 1978.




It was the first cookbook I owned, I think it was a gift. I brought it with me from Denver, when I moved to Los Angeles in 1984. This dish was one of the first I tried for company, and it is just delicious! I used chicken breasts for our friends on Saturday, a package of five. I used one onion and a large can of diced tomatoes. 

Last night I made more chicken for the leftover sauce: I used half a large package of thighs - six I think, and I put the oil onto a baking sheet and cooked the chicken on high (400 F) for 10 minutes or so a side - until browned. Baked with the sauce (add a little water) 30 minutes at 350 F and another 20 with the top off.

I hope you like it. It's one of my favorite!

Chicken Cacciatore

2 broiled-fryer chickens, cut into pieces
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced (any color, really)
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
 2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 1 lb, 12 oz. can  Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, reserve liquid
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives 
Parmesan cheese

Eight servings.

Dredge chicken pieces in salt and flour. Brown chicken in mixture of oil and butter. Remove to a casserole. Sauté onion, garlic, green pepper and mushrooms.

Stir in tomatoes, bouillon cubes, parsley, seasonings, white wine and 1/2 cup reserved juice

Cook a few minutes to blend. Add to chicken in casserole. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes, or until chicken is almost tender.

Uncover, add olives and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer. Remove chicken and vegetables to a warm platter. Rapidly boil liquid until slightly reduced and thickened. Pour over chicken. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve with spaghetti.


Nov 18, 2013

Black Bean Chili with Lime Cream


I like to cook a pot of beans on Sunday. Especially in the Fall and Winter. It's so easy, it's just a matter of picking through the beans at the beginning of the process. It takes a little while to sort through the beans, basically making sure no rocks sneaked their way in, but I usually take out broken beans too. No need to really, I think I need to justify my work as a bean sorter.

I found this really great recipe that I love, as you can put it to cook for most of your day or afternoon, and it helps warm the home with the scent of food cooking. It's comforting. Then you saute the rest of the veggies with garlic and spices and cook another 20 minutes before you eat. The real star of this dish, though, is the Lime Cream, so please don't leave it out!

This recipe is modified from a great cookbook called "The Flavor of California" by Marlena Spieler. It has a lot of fresh and healthy recipes, and it has a pizza dough recipe, which is always good to keep on hand. I modified it to my preferred mix of vegetables (including using a whole bag as opposed to 8 oz. in original recipe.)

Black Bean Chili with Lime Cream

 Ingredients:

1 sm bag black beans (16 oz)
8 oz. chicken stock
16 - 23 oz diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh green chile, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp mild chile powder
hot sauce to taste
1/2 lime, zest and juice
4 oz sour cream (or yogurt)

Directions:

1. Pour beans into a large pot and cover with water. Soak overnight or bring them to a boil, then remove from the heat and allow to soak, covered, for an hour.

2. Drain the beans, then cover with fresh water and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are tender.

3. Then add the broth and tomatoes, and raise the heat to medium high. Cook until the liquid reduces and thickens, and the beans are beginning to fall apart.

4. Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the garlic, onions, and chili pepper until they soften. Then stir in the spices and cook for a short time to allow them to release their flavors.

Add this mixture to the beans and cook another 20 minutes or so, stirring now and then so beans don't stick to the bottom, and adjust the the liquid so that it is not too soupy nor too thick.

5. Stir the lime zest and juice into the sour cream and allow to sit a little while.

6. Serve the chili into bowls and top with a dollop of lime sour cream. You can also have hot sauce, cilantro, lime juice, avocado, even chips and cheese for people to add to their bowl, according to taste.


We happened to have a ripe avocado on hand when I made this last night, and I squeezed the other half of the lime over it to keep it from turning brown. It also gives the avocado a fresh, citrisy flavor that gave this dish and extra kick. You could leave out the chicken stock and it would be vegetarian. Leave out the cream and might even be vegan.

Writing this post has made me hungry! I think I'll go look for some leftovers of this soup right now.

Enjoy!


Nov 6, 2013

Poblano Mac and Cheese


Some people wonder about the name of this blog: Urban Indian. I feel like an urban Indian because of my heritage of Native American and Hisipanic (and possibly French and English), and my life in modern urban times. And trying to integrate the two.

Thus I am drawn to recipes that call for preserving foods for the winter, foods that are nutritious, and foods that use ingredients from the Southwest. Thus I was drawn to a Macaroni and Cheese recipe that included Poblano peppers, and I wondered if my family would like it.I once made regular Macaroni and cheese from scratch, making a white sauce and adding cheese and noodles, My kids were not impressed, stating they preferred the kind from the box. Probably because that's what they were used to.

So you understand my concern. I used the recipe below as a guideline. I made a white sauce and cooked a whole package of penne, using probably 80% of it. The rest we had for another meal.

I didn't have milk so I used cream, and I added more queso fresco, just because I had it and wanted to use it up. For sour cream I used a latin Crema - The Centro Americana kind. I am currently obsessed with these and have been trying different kinds to try to taste the difference. So my version was definitely more fattening.

I used 3 poblano peppers because we like a little heat. I added penne to my cheese mixture until the consistency was such that all the noodles had a good creamy coverage with sauce. I ended up putting the mixture into two shallow pans and only had enough energy to prepare one topping, so we saved one pan for another meal. The next day my family demanded it for lunch, they wanted more so badly!

Also, I baked at a high heat (400) until browned.

I hope you enjoy as much as we did!



Poblano Mac and Cheese

Ingredients 

8 oz. uncooked penne pasta
2 poblano chiles
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp.grated lime rind
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 cup 1% low-fat milk, divided
1 cup vegetable stock
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbs minced garlic
5 oz. queso-quesadilla cheese, shredded
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt
cooking spray

 Directions

1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

3. While pasta cooks, cut chiles in half lengthwise and discard  seeds and membranes.Place chile halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 6 minutes or until blackend. Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly.. Let stand 5 minutes. Peel and cut into bite-sized pieces. Peel and cut into bite-sized pieces.

4. Combine breadcrumbs, oil, rind, and red pepper in a bowl. Place1/4 cup milk, stock, flour, and garlic inasaucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in chiles, 1/4 cup milk,cheese,and next 4 ingredients until smooth. Stir in pasta. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square broiler-safe glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Broil 1 minute or until browned.







from Cooking Light Magazine, April 2013 pg. 122