Archive | April 2016

Pesto Without Pasta – One Man’s Meal

Delicious and nutritious pesto dish that is so satisfying

Ideal for Passover or just when you want to avoid all those bread carbs

Start with one good size tomato, chopped and chunky.

When garden or farmer’s market tomatoes aren’t in season, I find it worth the upgrade to vine tomatoes.

Pesto pic 1

On goes some crumbled walnuts and about half dozen capers. In this case I added a few lupini beans and bits of peppers, taken from the olive mix that I buy at Blue Apron in Park Slope.

Steamed vegetables make up the largest part.

Cauliflower and broccoli are super nutritious, while the stalks under the florets provide a nice starchy firmness. Green and yellow summer squash (courgette/zucchini) are another staple for this dish. And I will often include some shredded kale.

Pesto pic 2

All that’s left is to add pesto.

Be it homemade, or your favorite brand name, experiment with how much to include.

Mix it all up and enjoy, as your main course or a side dish.

For those wanting to go the extra distance, this is even better if you start with some fresh garlic simmered in olive oil, black pepper, and oregano. I often used a blend that has black, red, and white pepper together in one grinder.

After about 30 seconds sizzle, add the capers for another 30 seconds, being careful not to scorch the garlic. I often will add the walnuts at the end, but they will soak up all the oil. Adding more oil works well, but it also adds that much more fat and calories.

Pour the results onto the vegetables before you add the pesto.

But if you are in a hurry, or wish to limit the fat to what is already in the nuts and pesto, it tastes great without the extra step.

Pesto pic 3

And for those who do not care about the bread carbs, this works very well with pasta too.

Please note that some freshly ground finishing salt can add a nice zing, but many pesto recipes already have plenty of salt.

Pesto pic 4

Culinary Regions of Indian Food – Monday Map

Indian food is all over the map

Where there is something for everyone

Indian food map

The Science and Math of Indian Food

In two related scientific papers, researchers at the Indian Institute for Technology at Jodhpur investigated thousands of dishes native to the Indian subcontinent before confirming their conclusions, summed up in one of papers’ titles, Spices Form the Basis of Food Pairing in Indian Cuisine.

My initial reaction was to say, “No duh!” But while that may seem obvious to anyone who enjoys great Indian food, the depth and breadth of the research presented in the paper is fascinating and at times mouthwatering.

A PDF of Spices Form the Basis of Food Pairing in Indian Cuisine is found HERE.

Analysis of Food Pairing in Regional Cuisines of India can be read at PLOS.org HERE.

Each has all sorts of tables and figures and lists of the various flavor components.

Spicy Does Not Mean Hot!

When most Americans ask a waiter “Is it spicy?” they are usually asking “Is it hot, as in chili pepper hot?”

While many Indian dishes are “spicy” in that way, there is so much more to the herbs and spices that are used to make Indian food so aromatic and so memorably delicious. The researchers found nearly 200 different spices in use among the 2,500 recipes they chose out of some 17,000 available at the culinary website http://www.tarladalal.com/.

The basics of salt, black pepper, garlic, vinegar, and ketchup that stand as the pillars of Western cooking is but a child’s watercolor set, compared to the Technicolor 3D Hi-res extravaganza that is Indian food.

But it is how they are used, and how that differs from Western cooking, which makes it all so very interesting. Where Western cooking is mainly about complementary flavors, the Indian pallet is based on juxtaposing flavors that are more in conflict than commentary. When done right, it can be dramatic as well as delightful, and oh so satisfying.

At present my favorite Indian restaurants in NYC are:

Mali Marke, on 6th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan.

http://www.malaimarke.com/

Joy, on Flatbush near 6th Avenue on the border of Park Slope in Brooklyn. Delivery is slow, but very worth it. If you call direct rather than using an on-line ordering system, they will often throw in some free appetizer or condiments – since you are saving them heafty fees to the on-line services.

http://www.joyindian.com/

 

My Uncle John Died, one the last WWII bomber pilots

One regal old eagle, my Uncle John died last night, out in California, where he and my Aunt Ruth lived for many, many years, not far from Yosemite National Park.

 

They were New Yorkers when they met, before the Second World War took him overseas as a pilot for the 15th Bombardment Squadron, part of the Twelfth Air Force. The 15th had the honor to inflict the first American bombing attack on Hitler’s Fortress Europe, during a daylight raid over Holland on the 4th of July, 1942.

They were then sent to Algeria to support the invasion of North Africa, where he flew level missions against enemy naval forces, piloting a three-man Douglas A-20 Havoc. As a stateside trainer of new crews, he flew many other famous aircraft of the WWII and post-war era.

 
His window also flew during the war, installing autopilot systems on Avenger torpedo bombers for Grumman, which had to be done in flight.
 
She joined him in Germany after the war, where he was one of the pilots on the Berlin Airlift, when Stalin blocked all land routes to West Berlin in an effort to get the other Allies to abandon the city to his forces.
 
By the time he retired from the Air Force he held the rank of Lt. Colonel, having spent many years commanding SAC’s first squadron of KC-135 in-air refueling supertankers. He then applied his management skills to various civilian occupations, including an avid golf game.
 
Four or five years ago, he hit a hole-in-one at a local course when he was 90 years old, and took home the cash jackpot that had been accumulating at the clubhouse. And until quite recently he was still piloting his own automobile.
 
A very full and useful long life among the Greatest Generation.