Potato Chowder

Ingredients:
2 stalks celery
2 russet potatoes
1 carrot
1 yellow onion
1 bunch chives
1 clove garlic
mustard seed
sweet paprika
cayenne
smoked paprika

Directions:
1. Peel the carrot; cut in half lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Small dice the celery. Peel and medium dice the potatoes. Peel and small dice the onion and garlic. Thinly slice the chives.
2. In a large pot, heat 2 tsp olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the carrot, celery, potatoes, onion, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 7 to 9 minutes, or until slightly softened.
3. Add the spices to the pot of vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add 3 1/2 cups of water; season with salt and pepper. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, 15 to 17 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Turn off the heat. Using a spoon, carefully mash the potatoes against the side of the pot to achieve your desired consistency: stir to thoroughly combine.
4. Garnish with chives.

Shakshuka

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  •  teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes with juices, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
  • 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 6 large eggs
  •  Chopped cilantro, for serving
  •  Hot sauce, for serving

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes; stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne, and cook 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in crumbled feta.
  3. Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce.

Chickpea and Artichoke Tagine

Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
salt and pepper
8 oz (1 1/2 c) dried chickpeas, picked over and rinsed
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
4 (2-inch) strips lemon zest
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 TBS all-purpose flour
3 c vegetable broth
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
9 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
1/2 c pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/2 c minced fresh cilantro

Directions:
1. Dissolve 2 TBS salt in 4 quarts water. Add chickpeas and soak at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours. Drain and rinse chickpeas.
2. Heat 1 TBS oil in pressure-cooker pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon zest, garlic, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in broth, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Stir in carrots, tomatoes, and their juice, and chickpeas.
3. Cook for 25 minutes: Lock lid in place and bring pot to high pressure over medium-high heat. As soon as indicator signals that pot has reached high pressure, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 25 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain high pressure.
4. Quick-release pressure: Remove pot from heat. Quick-release pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
5. Heat remaining 1 TBS oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add artichokes and cook until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard lemon zest from stew. Stir in olives, cilantro, and artichokes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle individual portions with extra oil before serving.

Variations:
Chickpea Tagine with Cauliflower and Almonds
Omit artichokes. Add 1/2 head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1-inch florets, to finished tagine and simmer until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds before serving.

Chickpea Tagine with Dried Apricots and Honey
Omit artichokes and substitute 1/2 cup pitted and halved green olives for kalamata olives. Add 1 cup chopped dried apricots and 2 TBS honey with olives.

Tips:
1. Soaking chickpeas in salt water the day before cooking them ensures that they cook through evenly and makes them less likely to burst open. Soaking also gives their skins a softer texture.
2. We build flavor by sauteing onions, garlic, and a few spices, and lemon zest. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in strips. avoiding the bitter white pith underneath. The zest perfumes the dish and can be easily removed before serving.
3. Since artichokes are delicate, we stir them in after cooking the chickpeas under pressure. To help bring out their flavor, we brown them first. Frozen artichokes brown more easily than canned because they are less waterlogged.

Chicken Tikka Masala

INGREDIENTS:
Chicken:
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp salt
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
1 c yogurt
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 Tbs fresh grated ginger

Masala Sauce:
3 Tbs vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 jalapenos
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs garam masala
28 oz crushed tomatoes
3 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 c heavy cream
1/4 fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp turmeric

DIRECTIONS:

FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl.Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Add the crushed garlic and ginger.Rub it on the chicken and drizzle the olive oil. Place chicken in a ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight (or several hours).Take the chicken out from the fridge and add the yoghurt. Make sure it coats the chicken well. Let marinate for another 1-2 hours. In the meantime, get all the ingredients for the masala ready.

FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, turmeric, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It is at this point that you may adjust the seasoning and add more spice if you like it spicier. Stir in cream and return to simmer.Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

While sauce simmers, grill chicken on medium heat. Make sure you coat the chicken well with the yoghurt. Also, make sure you oil the grill …as the chicken can easily stick. You can also do the chicken in the oven using the broiler. Just adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler. Dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, and serve over rice.

Tips:

If your sauce is too thick, thin it out with some more cream or milk or chicken stock before serving.

You can also grill the chicken first and keep it warm… then proceed to make the sauce…

Spicy Grilled Corn, Mumbai Style

INGREDIENTS:

2 corns, off the cob
1 Tbsp paprika
1/8th tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 lemon cut in 4 quarters

DIRECTIONS:
1.  Mix paprika, cayenne and salt, set aside.
2.  Dip 1 lemon quarter into the spice mixture and apply it on the corn on all sides.  Keep dipping and applying on all sides of the corn.
3.  Wrap corn in an aluminum foil and grill for about 15 minutes.  Set aside, remove foil.

Mercimek (Turkish Lentil Soup)

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup (about 8 ounces) red lentils, picked through and rinsed
7 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
Lemon wedges and chopped mint for serving (optional)

Directions:
In a large pot, combine lentils, broth, onion, carrot, garlic, tomato paste, cumin and cayenne and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables and very tender and lentils begin to fall apart, about 25 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to quickly blend the soup until it is creamy but not completely puréed. Or, you can blend about half the soup in a blender, but use caution when blending hot liquids: blend only in small batches, hold the lid down firmly with a kitchen towel, and begin blending on low speed. Add salt and serve with lemon wedges and a garnish of mint if desired.

Hummus Bi Tahini

Ingredients:
1 can chick peas (about 2 cups) — drained and well-rinsed
1/4 c tahini
2 cloves garlic, large
5 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about two lemons)
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 c warm water

Directions:
Place all ingredients except water in a food processor and process for about 2 minutes. Remove lid and scrape down sides. Add water and process briefly again. Scrape down sides. The mixture should be somewhat coarse and not quite runny. Add a bit more water if needed.

Refrigerate for four hours to allow flavors to meld. The consistency will thicken to a firm paste.