Tonight we made our second recipe from October’s cookbook club selection – Indian-ish! Participating in the cookbook club has already expanded our cooking horizons and we’ve only been doing it for about 6 weeks. The first one this month was Indian-ish Chicken Breasts. We tweaked this recipe a little, but the Indian(ish) flavors are definitely still there. This side dish is definitely spicy and full of flavor. It was close to being too spicy for me, so if spice is intimidating, maybe cut down to one serrano pepper or eliminate altogether. We also cooked with chaat masala for the first time here, which is always fun! We love trying new (to us) ingredients! Selim grew up eating a lot of Indian food, but I didn’t so these were different flavors for me especially. Side note, the original recipe called for topping the potatoes with fresh chopped cilantro. We (cough, Selim) may or may not have accidentally bought parsley instead of cilantro, but we think it’s probably great here, so we left it in the recipe even though we didn’t taste it that way.*
Chaat Masala Smashed Potatoes
(Adapted from Indian-ish)
1 lb baby red potatoes
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp minced/grated fresh ginger
1/2 small onion, diced
2 Serrano peppers, diced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp chaat masala
Fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped*
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake potatoes on a cookie sheet for ~45 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the toppings. After dicing the pepper and onion, place them in a bowl and cover with the vinegar to macerate for at least 15 minutes.
Once cooked, pierce each potato with a knife and then smash each with the back of a large utensil.
Top the potatoes with a sprinkle of salt, then a dollop of yogurt on each potato, and evenly divided portions of the ginger, peppers, and onions. Then sprinkle with the chaat masala and generously top with cilantro.
I think Selim has a new favorite herb. Recently he’s been gravitating towards tarragon whenever it is a possible option to add to whatever we’re making (see our last post – Easy Herbed Ham & Cheese Quiche). So when I said I wanted to make some herby, savory stuffed dates, that’s what he suggested. I was inspired by Alia’s easy Ramadan date recipes, where she used chives in a similar manner.
Awhile back somehow we learned about the use of dates in Middle Eastern culture during pregnancy. Dates are healthy and good source of energy. But also, tradition holds that eating dates towards the end of pregnancy eases labor. The medical community has noticed – several studies have supported the idea that date consumption late in pregnancy decreases the duration of labor, lessen need for labor augmentation, and increases the likelihood of spontaneous labor. These studies are small and not randomized, so not perfect by any means. But given that there’s no harm in date consumption – we’ve decided to try to incorporate them into our diet a little more at the end of Ally’s pregnancy. Hence, we were inspired to bring a date appetizer to our family’s gathering this weekend!
Herby Stuffed Dates
~50 large pitted dates
1/2 lb feta
1 tbsp of the feta brine
5 turns of fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
Open up all the dates halfway. If you bought already pitted dates, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Stuff the feta filling into each date. We found that using a butter knife was easiest, though a piping bag would probably be even easier than that!
Have we mentioned yet how much I (Ally) love Triscuits? My obsession may be slightly unhealthy… We have to buy a box pretty much every time we go to the grocery store. And when they’re on sale… watch out! We’ll pick up like 5 or 6 boxes. Most of the time I just eat them with cheese or hummus on top. Which is delicious and probably accounts for 80% of my lunches.
But today I a) wanted some strawberries and b) was feeling fancy. So I peered into the fridge and concocted this snack. While simple, it was too good not to share. It’s so easy to throw together, you have most of the ingredients laying around anyway, it takes just a few minutes to make, and looks and tastes like you put way more effort into it than you did! This would be a great appetizer for having friends over or to take to a last minute get-together. (Or to eat for lunch every day for the next week…)
Balsamic Strawberry Triscuits
10 Triscuits (Original or Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil)
4-5 strawberries, sliced
1 tbsp plain cream cheese
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Fresh mint leaves
Mix together the cream cheese and balsamic vinegar.
Spread onto each Triscuit.
Top with a slice or two of strawberry and a piece of the fresh mint.