Good Eats (Kale Paneer)

{Good Eats #3}

Saag Paneer (w/ Kale) & Homemade Naan Bread

We love Indian food, and I do it justice fairly often. This was my first hand at Saag though. I didn’t have spinach, but thought that kale would substitute nicely. Although the texture would be different, the taste would still be divine.

I was a little nervous about Naan. I’d heard it just couldn’t be done without a Tandoori oven. (I think that’s what it’s called.) They SLAP it against the side of the super HOT pit. They took us back into the kitchen at our local Indian spot, Little Nepal (Go there. Yum.) and showed us the process. Way cool.

But with a little help from Joy of Cooking, I got a boost of confidence. Here you go:

For the Naan: Combine in a large bowl, 2 cups flour (I used a mixture of og white and wheat), 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 & 1/8 tsp active dry yeast. In another bowl, mix: 3/4 cup yogurt at room temp., 2 tbsp melted butter, 1 tsp to 1 tbsp water as needed. Add this to your flour mixture.

Mix by hand until a soft ball is formed. Knead for about 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 to 2 hours. (It won’t double like bread. Don’t worry.)

Punch down your dough and then divide it into 4 balls. Cover and let rest while you prepare your Saag.

Folk Ways Farm

Saag Paneer: Make your cheese: Bring 4 cups whole milk to 185-190 degrees, or just before a gentle boiling point, stirring often so as not to scald your pot. Remove from the heat and add 3 tbsp lemon juice. Stir gently. Let stand 5 minutes. Pour through a fine cheese cloth and set over a bowl or hang to drain. (Save your whey for future baking) When it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze as much whey out as possible, then press flat on a plate and cover with another plate. Place some weight on the top and let stand for 20 minutes.

Prepare your kale. Separate the leaves from the stems of and chop leaves into small pieces. (Chop up the stems and give them to the chickens or compost bin) and emerge them in a bowl of cold water. Drain and then do it again. This is a great way to remove soil from all greens. Drain and set aside.

The Naan Preheat over to 450 degrees. Place your oven rack on the lowest setting and if you have a pizza stone, place that in the oven now. Roll out each ball into an oval shape. Melt 1-2 tbsp butter and rub onto the top of each flat piece. Place as many ovals onto the pizza stone as will fit without touching. Bake for 6 minutes, or just beginning to golden and puff. Remove and fold in half. Wrap the bread in a towel to keep warm until the Saag is done.

Back to the Cheese: Remove the weights and the plate and cut the cheese into 1/2 inch cubes. Heat 1/4 oil in a skillet and add 1 tsp of cumin seeds, partially crushed, stir lightly for about 15 seconds. Add the cheese and toss to coat. Shake the skillet every now and then until the cubes are golden brown. About 5 minutes or so. Remove the cheese and set aside. Add 1 medium onion, thinly sliced, to the pan. Stir until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add your kale, a little at a time, until wilted, then add some more until you’ve gone through all of it. Cover until it is well wilted. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt. Cook, uncovered, until most of the water is evaporated. Fold in the fried cheese and serve hot over cooked brown rice. (I usually make 1 & 1/2 cups of dry rice to 3 cups water for this dish.) Don’t forget your Naan! Enjoy!

Folk Ways Farm

Good Eats (Granola)

Friday is for food. As I continue to try and wrap my head around this whole blogging thing, I’m working on some regular themes that are almost second nature. Filling our bellies is one of those things. It is not an after thought. Food is on the front line and nourishment is key. I’m really proud of the cook I am becoming, and I’d like to share a recipe every now and again. So Fridays are for good food. I hope you enjoy.

{Good Eats #1}

As always with my cooking, I use a handful of this, a pinch of that. Play with the recipes I offer. Never feel like you have to follow exactly. I’m certain I never do.

Granola

granolaWho isn’t a fan of good ol’ fashioned oats? I know I am. And I usually have them in abundance. The former hippie in me is also a big fan of granola. Yum. Here’s my most recent endeavor, modified from a recipe I found in The Homemade Pantry.

Preheat oven to 250*F. Position rack in the top setting.

Combine well: 10 cups old fashioned rolled oats, a handful of each (my handful is around 1/2 cup): sesame seeds, flax seeds, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, add 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1.5 tsp cinnamon.

granola3

Mix together in a small bowl, 3/4 cup of melted butter (1.5 sticks), 1 cup Grade B maple syrup, 1.5 tsp each of vanilla and almond extract. Add wet to dry and mix until well coated.

Pour onto 2 parchment covered baking sheets in a relatively even layer. Bake for 30 minutes, shuffle around and turn the trays, bake for another 30 minutes, repeat once more. Turn off the oven but leave the granola in for a couple hours (if you can bear to wait) and then enjoy with some yogurt or milk. Store extra in covered container. I doubt it will last long if you love granola as much as we do, but just in case, it stores well for about 3 weeks. If you don’t think you’ll go through it all, cut the recipe in half, or share some with your neighbor. :)

granola2

Instant Oats.

The Book

The Book

I remember the packets. Both grits and oatmeal. Just add water and those fine crumbles became instant breakfast. Wow. What were my parents thinking? Well, I’d suffice it to say they were thinking convenience. And I do appreciate convenience. Though I think in those days people were more easily swayed by media tactics for “healthy foods” and such. Maybe they still are, I don’t know. The majority of Americans are not too bright. You can argue if you like. I’m open for a discussion.

Why I do not mind the time it takes to make whole grain breakfasts, there are certain school day mornings that Daisy and I both sleep too late and there is no time to prepare. We run out of granola super fast so most of the time cereal is not an option. So I thought I’d try something that only she was likely to eat (and maybe, Leelu).

I am loving this book, The Homemade Pantry (where I got the pasta recipe). You should buy it. I definitely will be when my library decides I’ve had it too long. There is so much I want to try. (Pop Tarts?!) So anyway, I tried the instant oatmeal and it turned out alright. Not great. But definitely alright. There’s always a “next time I can do better” with the first time I try something, and this one is no exception. But it’s fun and I just like the concept of making real food more convenient.

Mama Made.

Mama Made.

Leelu Approved.

Leelu Approved.

 

Best One Yet!

So I gave up on trying to make my dough in the round and just fit it onto an oiled foil on my baking sheet. Turned out to be my best homemade pizza yet! Oh my YUM!

Spinach, tomato, garlic, feta & white cheddar.

Spinach, tomato, garlic, feta & white cheddar.

dilemma

I am having a terrible time with my menu. I sit down with my notebook and pen, to plan out this fabulous and healthy grocery list, and my mind goes blank.

Writer’s block for recipe planners.

Here’s the problem as I can figure it.

Many of the recipes I concoct have a packaged ingredient. Cheese, soy crumbles, cheese, cheese, ~wincing~ canned beans. The latter of course can be dried and soaked or fresh. That’s really not the dilemma. I think I’m just overwhelmed. I want so much to make everything from scratch, to eliminate the paper and plastic packaging, that my brain is just too full of trying to organize the chaos I have trapped inside to allow room for what I’m sure is quite simple. Ugh.

I have been making some beast fresh bread (Thanks, Jenna). Got that going for me. Too bad man cannot live on bread alone.

So what do I do?

I thought maybe that I could just focus on one veggie a week and try to make it into several different dishes. But how much would the gang stick through that before they start leaking kale out of their ears?

So maybe I’ll pick 3…