As we drive along the highway,the roads seem smooth and the bumps bare....
From afar i spot a little basket....covered in greens....and thats enough to excite an already over excited me....
Add to that a absolutely friendly sweetest farmer (and there are a few others on that stretch too ) and his daughter and u have a combination u cant help but love.....and add to that a basket of freshest produce and boy thats a HI5 all the way....
Raddishes and sweet potatoes n red veggies to begin with.....and after ages somebody who has grown the portuguese peri peri which is so delightful for goan portuguese cuisine we love....AND EVEN SHELL FISH...
And now the Okra/lady fingers are all ready and set flourishing in their fields too....
AND U'LL FIND 'EM WATERING WITH GUSTO EVERY MORNING AND EVENING....
AND RIGHT FROM THE FIELDS ........................
TO THE RUSTIC EARTHY BASKETS TO OUR KITCHENS......
Thats awhile back stori,as we were on a drive on sunday...also a day we visit a local farmer,with fields on either side of the highway and grows veggies on a small scale at this time of the year(when not ploughing away for paddy et all) and sells off a little basket right on the highway where the passing traffic picks up his stuff....and loads of 'em do......
Aubergine, eggplants...brinjals......what a beauty thats seasonal and nutures in our fields....dont we love 'em brinjals.....
Whats purple and smooth and a jewel.........
A jewel of the fields........
And i love to watch those AUBERGINES pile'd small or big in a little r biggie heap.....they are shiny and jewel colored and delicious....
And all the really sweet local viallgers ,also the owners and farmers of these fields who grow veggies till around May and then begin preparing the lush fields for the rain crops....
and the way their pile 'em all in a little basket or on a rugged mat on the muddy stony ground ,is jus so rustic and appeals...its a pleasure to buy from 'em and honestly by midmorning or around 10 ish when we land there ,loads of their fresher than fresh vegiies are almost done...
ANd with so muc of aubergine around ,what we do is put on a few on a foil lined baking tray and grill 'em good till charred ,turning once in between-we love this better than baked and love a smoky delightfull flavour too...and we toss a few salads with the same and yeah now a few more recipes come up my mind...delightful as ever...
ANd here's an absolutely delightful recipe to begin with which was actually at last months R2R and chosen by TEMPERANCE...hop by to her blog and u'll have all the fab recipes lined in a row jus for u....
•2 pounds (about 2 medium-sized) eggplant
•4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
•1 cup fresh bread crumbs, seasoned with 1/4 chopped fresh basil leaves and 1/4 cup pecorino
•2 cups Basic Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
•1 pound ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
•1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano(i used kraft and hand made parmesano)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Wash and towel dry the eggplant.
Slice the eggplant horizontally about 1/4-inch thick.
Place the slices in a large colander, sprinkle with salt and set aside to rest about 30 minutes.
Drain and rinse the eggplant and dry on towels.
In a sauté pan, heat the extra-virgin olive oil until just smoking. Press the drained eggplant pieces into the seasoned bread crumb mixture and sauté until light golden brown on both sides.
Repeat with all of the pieces.
On a cookie sheet lay out the 4 largest pieces of eggplant.
Place 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce over each piece and place a thin slice of mozzarella on top of each.
YUPPIE I CUT THE MOZZARELLA INTO HEARTS WITH MY COOKIE CUTTERS...
Sprinkle with Parmigiano and top each with the next smallest piece of eggplant, then sauce then mozzarella.
Repeat the layering process until all the ingredients have been used, finishing again with the Parmigiano.
Place the pan in the oven and bake until the top of each little stack is golden brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
THE BASIC TOMATO SAUCE
NOTES FOR THE BASIC TOMATO SAUCE
*****I LOVE CHUNKY N textured and so had a chunky tomato sauce here.
*****i increased the amount of garlic to almost 2 whole of 'em and loved the garlicky flav.
*****Tinned toms arent very common here but what i did was use fresh really ripe red tomatos and they worked super.
*****All i do in blanch 'em in boiling water,peel e'm and chop em..
No i dont really mind the seeds.:-))))
Basic Tomato Sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft.
Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often.
Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve.
This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Now with this sauce and some grilled and meat scooped aubergine ,me tossed in a delicious pasta
Fresh bread crumbs are required for the coating to stick without an egg wash.
The oil must be HOT HOT HOT or the eggplant will not cook fast enough and will be a greasy soggy mess.
The Mozzarella must be very thinly sliced or the eggplant tower will slide (it will still taste great)
***** You can begin with the sauce as soon as u cut the aubergine and stand it aside for half an hour and u should be able to finish the prep n simmering while then...then u go back to the aubergine and leave the suce simmering
*****i did grill a batch too and it was jus as good....
****i used panko instead of breadcrumbs,seasoned as the recipe.
FEB ROMANTIC DELIGHT -- MOL DELIGHT
The origin of mole poblano, the thick, rich, chocolate-tinged sauce made so famous in the colonial mountain city of Puebla, Mexico, is still disputed, and generally involves these two versions of the legend:
The first says that 16th Century nuns from the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla de los Angeles, upon learning that the Archbishop was coming for a visit, went into a panic because they had nothing to serve him. The nuns started praying desperately and an angel came to inspire them. They began chopping and grinding and roasting, mixing different types of chiles together with spices, day-old bread, nuts, a little chocolate and approximately 20 other ingredients..
This concoction boiled for hours and was reduced to the thick, sweet, rich and fragrant mole sauce we know today. To serve in the mole, they killed the only meat they had, an old turkey, and the strange sauce was poured over it. The archbishop was more than happy with his banquet and the nuns saved face. Little did they know they were creating the Mexican National dish for holidays and feasts, and that today, millions of people worldwide have at least heard of mole poblano.
The other legend states that mole came from pre-hispanic times and that Aztec king, Moctezuma, thinking the conquistadors were gods, served mole to Cortez at a banquet to receive them. This story probably gained credibility because the word mole comes from the Nahuatl word “milli” which means sauce or “concoction”. Another connection could be that chocolate was widely used in pre-columbian mexico, so people jumped to that conclusion.
CHICKEN MOLE POBLANO
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence via recipes to rival
2 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
2 dried anaheim chilies, stemmed and seeded
2 dried chipotle chilies, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns(i cut down to 1/2 tbh)
1 cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican, broken in pieces
1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 serrano peppers, stemmed and seeded
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Mexican, chopped
1 capon or large chicken, cut into 10 pieces
1 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Cooked white rice, for serving
~~~No mexican chocolate here so what i did was subbed with chocolate powder and cinnamon powder added to it.
~~~for the 3 types of chillies ,i used 3 types of the local chillies available here.
~~~for the serrano ,i used green pepper cut into cubes.
~~~i doubled the onion tom saucy mix,which i later simmered with a cinnamon stick, stock, brown sugar ,dash of vinegar and thyme added to it-a lovely chunky sauce.
~~~i seasoned the chicken ,washed with salt and lemon water ,with garlic, lime and salt...
~~~~I LOVE THE IDEA OF SIMMERING FOR HOURS COZ THATS WHAT WE REALLY DO,ITS A CUISINE I'VE GROWN ON....DELICACIES SIMMERED ON WOOD FIRES,IN EARTHERN POTS FOR HOURS.....
For the mole:
Tear the ancho, anaheim, and chipotle chiles into large pieces and toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until they change color a bit, about 2 minutes.
Put them into a bowl with the raisins and cover them with hot water.
Soak unti softened, about 30 minutes.
In the same skillet over medium heat, add the almonds, sesame seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, oregano, and thyme.
Toast for 2 minutes, grind in a spice grinder, and add the powder to a blender.
In the same skillet over medium-high heat add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and serrano.
Cook until lightly browned, then add the tomatoes. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 10 to 15 minutes, then add to the blender.
Add the chocolate and the soaked chiles and raisins to the blender along with some of the chile soaking liquid.
Puree, adding more soaking liquid as needed, to make a smooth sauce.
THEN i did simmer it for awhile before addng to the chicken.
(This makes about 4 cups sauce, the recipe uses 2 cups, the extra can be frozen).
Pour the lemon juice over the chicken and season it well with salt and pepper.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet and brown the chicken on all sides; remove the browned chicken to a plate leaving the oil in the pan.
Pour 2 cups of the mole sauce into the hot skillet and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and return the chicken pieces to the pan. Simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes.(i simmered on low fire for a longer time)
Serve over cooked white rice.I served with loads of steamed/fried potatoes and mushrooms. Garnish everything with cilantro leaves.
I realize that all palates and shopping centers are not created equal, so feel free to mix and match your peppers to suite.
You can look up how hot diffrent peppers are here (Scoville scale).
I skipped the serrrano on mine and while the sauce was good it was definitly missing something, so keep in mind it is important for your sauce to have a bit of bite.
The sauce is perfectly edible before the final step of adding the chicken broth (or veggie) so give it a taste and change it up as needed for your taste buds.
This sauce is suppose to be smooth, and barring comercial equipment, we are just not going to achive that perfectly smooth texture, so don't be afraid to blend everything.
For those not familar with Mexican chocolate, like Ibarra, it is grainy with cocoa nibs, sugar and cinnamon. While delicious it is not the same as your regular baking chocolate.
Don't forget when working with peppers use care, wash your hands well and frequently and wear gloves, pepper juice in your eye or up your nose is not fun.
SUGAR PLUM'S NOTES
~~~~THIS sauce gave me enough for 5 chicken fillets(boneless breast) and yeah tossed 2 steamed potatoes and some peas too coz makes alot of sauce....
U sure will love having leftovers.
~~~Oh yeah ,found it very spicy at first but then it did tone down and was absolutely delicious....
~~~Almost all our cooking has pinches of sugar added ,coz we have a sweeter palate but yeah we use natural brown sugar or organic sugar for the same....love the sweetness that heightens the flavours.
~~~Oh this gives loads of sauce ,so i steamed some potatoes n mushrooms and fried some too (healthy version n fried version) and tossed 'em in all the extra sauce-no leftovers here :-(((((
AND YEAH HAPPY ST.PATRICKS DAY ALL MY DEAR HAPPY PALS.........OFCOURSE I HAVE LOADS OF IRISH GOODIES COMING UP TOOO......JUS FROM ME.....TO DEAR SWEETY CUTEY U.....
AND AM LINKING THIS ONE TO A NEW SUPER SUPPER CLUB AT CHEF IN MY HEAD...FANTASTIC CLUB HERE.....