Archive for the 'cheese' Category

Curried Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Paneer

Brussels sprouts and paneer 1

As per my previous post, I’m currently enamoured with all things curried – and with using my masala dabba, which when I hold in my hand and dip into by the stove makes me feel like part cook, part abstract painter, and which turns out curries I didn’t realize I was capable of.

Also? I must have curry on the mind because this very weekend I’m flying to London to go to lunch at Fifteen and MEET JAMIE OLIVER. My apologies if I drive everyone crazy with my Jamiepalooza this coming Monday. (Also? I have a 5-10 minute Q&A with him – what do you want to know??)

All of which is to say I couldn’t resist another curry – I’m not even going to apologize for it, because this particular one is made with Brussels sprouts, bacon and paneer. If you’re a frequenter of Indian restaurants you may recognize peas and paneer, or spinach and paneer, but this. It’s dense and chewy and crunchy and soft, and I’d never think to add bacon to the mix, but it’s brilliant. I flipped by it in one of Vij’s books while looking for an interesting thing to do with the paneer I just made, and then kind of winged it, not really following the recipe exactly, shredding the B. sprouts rather than quartering them, and not bothering to add water, so it’s thicker and more intense.

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Paneer, if you’re not familiar with it, is a fresh curd cheese – common in Indian cooking, but essentially the same thing as ricotta – you can make it (easily!) by adding an acid like lemon juice or vinegar to warmed milk, making it split into curds and whey. You scoop out the curds into a piece of cheesecloth, sprinkle it with a bit of salt, then weigh it down under a plate to press out as much whey as possible, making it firm enough to cut into chunks. Honestly, I could nibble on squares of homemade paneer all day.

Curried Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Paneer

6-8 slices bacon, chopped
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
canola oil, for cooking, if you need it
1 lb Brussels sprouts
1 14 oz (398 mL) can pureed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch cayenne
1/2 lb paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes

Cook the bacon in a skillet set over medium-high heat until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate, leaving the drippings.

Toast the cumin seeds for a minute in the drippings in the pan – add a little oil if you like – and then add the Brussels sprouts, cooking until they’re soft and starting to brown a bit on the edges.

Add the tomatoes, coriander, cumin, turmeric, salt and cayenne and cook until bubbling and thick; tuck in the paneer and cook for another minute, coating the cheese with the tomato sauce, until everything is heated through and looking like exactly what you want to eat. (Vij instructs to pour the sauce over the paneer, if you want to serve it that way.)

Serves 4. (Or 2 for lunch.)

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May 14 2015 | cheese and vegetarian | 8 Comments »

Brie Pop Tarts

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How about a little pastry and cheese on a stick to ring out the year properly?

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These babies were inspired by a need to use up the puff pastry in my freezer and cheese in my fridge, as well as the myriad of little jars of preserves selected especially for cheese and half eaten over the holidays. Of course the idea of eating the combination off a stick came from Joy, and if I know myself (sometimes I wonder if I really do) I know I won’t be able to shake the thought until I make them come to life, as it were.

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The great thing about puff pastry (or one of many) is that you can unroll it, or roll it out, and fill it with just about anything – meltable cheese, preserves, leftovers, you name it – and it will puff up and turn flaky and golden as it bakes and look fantastic – and make you look fantastic.

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The sticks are just for fun, of course. If you have a box of Popsicle sticks in the basement because you thought you should have them on hand for spreading glue or toddler crafts that you never made use of, you could grab a few and stick them in between the layers of puff.

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Or leave them out – the little pockets are just as tasty off-stick. That way, no one gets the short end of it. Ba-dum-bum.

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They could, of course, be assembled ahead of time and kept in wait in the fridge, at the ready to slide into the oven at the exact moment your friends are expected to arrive to help ring in the new year.

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Perfect with a bottle of bubbles. Just sayin’.

Brie Pop Tarts

1 pkg. puff pastry, thawed
onion marmalade or apple, apricot or fig jam
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400F. On a lightly floured surface, unroll (or roll out) a piece of thawed puff pastry into about an 8×10-inch rectangle and cut into 12 rectangles. Place half of them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Top half of the rectangles with a small piece of Brie and a spoonful of apple, apricot, onion or fig jam. Brush the edges with beaten egg and if you like, add a Popsicle stick or wood coffee stir stick to a short end, overlapping the edge by about half an inch.

Top with the remaining pastry rectangles; press the edges with the tines of a fork to seal.
Brush the tops with egg wash and poke once or twice with a fork.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Makes as many as you like.

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December 29 2014 | appetizers and cheese | 10 Comments »

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