Greek Okra and Tomato Casserole

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Greek Okra and Tomatoes

I learned this recipe from a Greek mom years ago. I've not made it in forever! But my neighbor gifted me some okra yesterday, so I decided to break out an oldie but a goodie! You can make this without the feta, but I think it's needed to further cut the heavy tomatoes.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine greek
Keyword braised okra and tomatoes, greek okra, okra, tomatoes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Author misangela

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh okra (about 4 cups cut), cut 1/4" on bias
  • 1 16oz can crushed tomatoes or whole, crushed by hand
  • 1 small white onion, diced (about 1/2-2/3 cup)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (about 1.5 Tbl) More, if desired! This is a garlic forward dish.
  • 1/3 cup EVOO plus some for finishing
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice, 1 Tbl reserved 1 large or 2 small; about 2Tbl juice
  • S/P to taste
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried to taste
  • 2 tsp L&P worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 Tbl crumbled feta optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  • Mix together all ingredients and pour into a casserole dish sprayed with food release (PAM).
  • Sprinkle feta on top of casserole.
  • Bake for 1.5 hours and check for doneness of veg. This may take 2 hours, depending on your casserole dish depth. You are looking for all the veg to be soft and cooked through.
  • Add reserved lemon juice and a couple of turns of EVOO to casserole after you take it out of the oven.
  • Check for seasoning and serve.

Notes

I served this with meatballs and it was perfect. It would be great with dolmathes as well. 
This casserole is a little tricky to get the tomatoes balanced. Try to get the flavours of the oregano, L&P, lemon juice and S/P very close before you cook. If you're using feta, check seasoning with that since it adds some salt. 
If your casserole dish is a flat square one, the cooking time will be less. I was using a deep oblong dish, so it took a full 2 hrs. This is a braise, so don't rush it. 
The tomatoes and lemon juice should cut the slime of the okra nicely. What you should end up with is a thick casserole, but not slimy. I think this is one of the best ways to prepare okra aside from the Southern way of frying it. 

Lunette’s Zucchini

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Lunette's Zucchini

This is a side dish from a restaurant I worked in back in the day. It's an unusual pairing of flavours, but VERY savoury and delicious! This is a great recipe to have in your arsenal for when the zucchini comes in and you're swimming in them!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword dill, sauteed zucchini, worcestershire, zucchini
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author misangela

Ingredients

  • 1-2 zucchini, 1/4-1/2" slices about 2 cups
  • 1 medium onion, halved then sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbl L&P Worcestershire sauce +/- to taste
  • 2 Tbl butter
  • 1 Tbl dry dill 2Tbl fresh, to taste
  • S/P to taste
  • water as needed

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over med high heat. Add water, zucchini, onions and garlic. Bring to simmer.
  • After 3-4 minutes, add butter and dill. Cook zucchini until soft. Do not brown, drop heat to medium if the water is evaporating quickly. Add more water if needed until the zucchini and onions are cooked - about 8-10 minutes. There should be no water left in the pan.
  • Finish with L&P and check seasoning. You want a balance between the L&P and the dill, so use your judgement when finishing the dish.

Notes

Photography by Sheryl Julian from SimplyRecipes.com. 
This side is excellent with lemony chicken or fish. 

Angela’s Kadhi

I saw this soup on Bon Appétit the other day and was intrigued. The woman who wrote the recipe was very enthusiastic about it, so I wanted to try it. I made the recipe as it was written, but I really disliked all the whole spices. While the Indian woman loved chomping cumin seeds and whole peppercorns, I found the cumin very overpowering to the dish. Here is my version that is served without the seeds. I also altered some of the other ingredients. Try to find asafoetida! It is a strong spice blend, but does add umami in a very Indian way. (You can order it from Amazon.)

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Angela's Kadhi

This is an Indian turmeric yogurt soup. It is traditionally served with all the spices whole, but I found it to be unappealing to chew on cumin, black peppercorns and cloves. This is my version that is seedless.
Course Soup
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Indian yogurt soup, kadhi, yogurt turmeric soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author misangela

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk yogurt, not Greek
  • 1/3 cup chickpea flour sub a/p flour (but do try to use chickpea)
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds sub plain mustard seeds
  • 3 Tbl ghee 1.5 Tbl used in two places; sub olive oil, but ghee is preferred
  • 2 tsp fenugreek seeds 1 tsp used in two places
  • 2 tsp whole cumin seeds 1 tsp used in two places
  • 2 tsp kosher salt more if needed
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • 3 dried chiles chile de arbol is perfect
  • 1 tsp asafoetida specialty Indian spice; sub 1/2 tsp onion powder + 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne or Indian red pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar optional, I like the balance it gives
  • 4 cups water

Instructions

  • Mix together the yogurt, chickpea flour and turmeric. Add one cup water and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large soup pot over medium heat, add 1 1/2 Tbl ghee, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, mustard seeds, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds and 1 tsp cumin seeds. Cook spices in ghee until the mustard seeds pop. Turn heat down to low. Add 3 cups water and the yogurt mixture. Season with 2 tsp salt and lime zest.
  • Turn heat to med high (high if needed) and stir constantly until soup reaches a boil. When a boil is reached, turn down heat to retain a light boil. Do not stir at this point and put a long handled wooden spoon in the soup to keep it from boiling over. If it starts to boil over, reduce the heat a bit. Cook at a light boil for 10 minutes (or until desired thickness).
  • 5 minutes before the soup is done, put remaining ghee in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add remaining fenugreek and cumin seeds and toast until cumin browns a little. If you don't want so much cumin, reduce amount or omit it. Remove from heat and add chiles, asafoetida and cayenne.
  • When the soup has reduced and become creamy, take off the heat and strain out the spices. Stir in half the lime juice (or more if you like) and sugar. Check salt levels. You can serve with the spices in the ghee or strain them out. Do not eat the chiles, they are for flavoring only. For service, I swirl the spiced ghee on top of the soup as pictured, but you can stir it into the whole pot of soup if you wish.

Notes

You can serve kadhi over rice if you want a heartier dish. 
Ghee and asafoetida are specialty items, but worth tracking down if you want an authentic Indian flavor. 

Colcannon Cottage Pie

I was discussing food with a friend and he said that he likes colcannon and shepherd’s pie. So that sparked inspiration! I had a head of red cabbage that I needed to use and all the ingredients for cottage – not shepherd’s – pie, so this is what I made. Shepherd’s pie has lamb and is my preference, but I didn’t have any ground lamb on hand, so Cottage Pie it is! I used beef and pork, but all beef, all pork or all lamb is fine. I didn’t use enough cabbage, so I upped the amount in the recipe. I use things like Kitchen Bouquet and Maggi seasoning, which can be omitted, just use more soy and L&P worcestershire. ALSO, I used instant potatoes on purpose. I like that they are perfectly smooth and I can control the consistency easily. They also get a nice brown on them. You can certainly make your own creamed potatoes if you wish, just make sure they are not too loose if you plan on piping them like I did. The main recipe is for a large 9×12 casserole (8 servings), but it can be cut down to an 8×8 square (4 servings) by halving the recipe.

angelas colcannon cottage pie
Angela’s Colcannon Cottage Pie
angelas colcannon cottage pie
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Angela's Colcannon Cottage Pie

Cottage pie is shepherd's pie, but made with beef rather than lamb. Colcannon is cabbage with mashed potatoes. These two together seemed like a no brainer! Delicious!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Irish
Keyword colcannon, Irish cottage pie, shepherds pie
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author misangela

Equipment

  • 9x12 baking dish
  • Large skillet
  • medium saucepan
  • gallon plastic bag

Ingredients

  • 1 Lb 90/10 ground beef sub lamb
  • 1 Lb ground pork sub beef or lamb
  • 1 large carrot, diced about 1/2 cup
  • 2 celery stalks, diced about 1/2 cup
  • 2/3 cup frozen green peas
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced a heaping Tbl
  • 1 medium onion, diced OR one large onion, dice about 2/3 cup, slice the rest into half moons
  • 1 small onion, halved then sliced if needed
  • 6 cups red or green cabbage, sliced thinly, lightly tossed with salt to soften before cooking cut into 2" pieces; cut cabbage into quarters before slicing; a mandolin is handy if your knife cuts are not consistent
  • 3 1/2 cups instant potato flakes OR sub 2# creamed potatoes, very smooth and very stiff for use in a piping bag
  • bacon fat optional but delicious
  • butter used in several places
  • 2 Tbl flour any kind is fine
  • 2 cups cream or half n half more or less, depending on thickness of potatoes
  • 1/2 cup sour cream more or less, depending on thickness of potatoes
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 Tbl red wine or apple cider vinegar for cabbage
  • 1 Tbl Kitchen Bouquet a browning sauce, amps up flavor of meat, optional
  • 1 Tbl Maggi seasoning another brown sauce for umami, optional
  • 2 Tbl Soy sauce I use Kikkoman Light (green cap); use more if omitting browning sauces
  • 3 Tbl L&P Worcestershire sauce more, to taste if omitting browning sauces
  • 1 Tbl curry powder optional
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 1 tsp dry marjoram sub oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder optional, but gives deeper flavor
  • 1 tsp onion powder optional, but gives deeper flavor

Instructions

  • As always, prep all the ingredients first. It will make the cooking go more smoothly. Especially on a multi ingredient recipe such as this one.
  • Cook meat layer first. In a large skillet, put a Tbl of bacon fat (or olive oil) over medium high heat. When fat is hot, add carrot, celery, diced onion and 2/3 of the garlic. Turn heat down to medium and sweat (not brown) the veg until soft, about 5 mins.
  • Break up ground meat. Push veg to the sides of the pan and add meat to center. Turn heat back up to medium high. Add about 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper to the meat. Stir and continue to break up meat as it cooks for about 4-5 minutes.
  • When meat has mostly cooked, add flour and stir all veg and meat together. Turn down heat to medium and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring. If it is getting very dry, add some of the soy sauce to loosen up. You don't want to burn the veg.
  • Add all the dry spices: curry, thyme, marjoram, onion and garlic powders. Stir.
  • Add liquids: kitchen bouquet, maggi, soy and L&P. Add frozen peas. You should have a pretty tight ragout. If it is still really dry, add some water until there's just a little sauce. You don't want it too loose, this is the base of your casserole. Check for seasoning.
  • Pour meat ragout into casserole dish that has been sprayed with food release (PAM). Make an even layer.
  • Now, move on to the cabbage layer. Wipe out or rinse the skillet and add 1 Tbl bacon fat (or butter) over medium high heat.
  • When fat is hot, add in the sliced onion, wilted cabbage and the remaining garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent and cabbage is cooked. Turn heat to medium to avoid burning. If it gets too dry, add a splash of water.
  • When cooked, season cabbage with vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Make second layer over the meat in the casserole dish.
  • Now the final layer: creamed potatoes. If you've made potatoes from scratch, make sure they are seasoned to your liking (WITH sour cream) and pretty tight. They need to hold a peak. Skip this next section about how to make instant potatoes. BUT do put sour cream in the potatoes!
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Make instant potatoes. Put about 2.5 cups water into a medium (2 qt) saucepan over high heat with 4 Tbl butter. When they reach a boil, add potato flakes a little at a time, whisking as you go. Turn down heat to med. When the water is absorbed, add 2 cups of cream or half n half. Whisk in the liquid and whisk in remaining potato flakes. Remove from heat.
  • The potatoes should be very stiff. Add sour cream and whisk. You are looking for a thick consistency that will hold a peak. Adjust liquids to achieve this. Check salt level.
  • Put creamed potatoes into a gallon ziplock bag (or pastry bag if you have one). You can do this in two batches. Cut corner of bag off, making it about a 1/2 to 3/4 inch hole.
  • Pipe potatoes onto cabbage layer. I do round globs with peaks, see photo. If you want to be really fancy, you can use a pastry bag with a star tip. OR you can simply spoon on if you prefer. I like the look of the piped potatoes.
  • Spray potatoes with food release (PAM) to help them brown.
  • Bake casserole in oven for 30-40 minutes - until potatoes are browned.
  • Let rest 10 minutes before you serve it. ENJOY!

Homestyle Dal

I happened across a bag of moong dal on the sale rack at Kroger a while back, so I picked it up in order to try making dal! In the interim, I also came across a Bon Appétit In The Kitchen episode about kadhi (yogurt soup), so I am officially in an Indian phase of cooking. :) I have a cabinet full of Indian masalas and spices, so I’ll note the ones that you can easily skip or I’ll give you a substitution. This is not a traditional recipe; the use of raisins and coconut milk came from one of the many recipes I perused to get the idea for this. There are as many dal recipes as there are cooks! Make it your own!

homestyle dal
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Angela's Homestyle Dal

Perfect comfort food! I think of this as Indian mac n cheese! Make it vegan by using oil rather than ghee to toast the spices.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Keyword comfort food, dal, moong dal, red lentils
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author misangela

Equipment

  • 6 qt soup pot

Ingredients

  • 1 cup split red lentils (masoor dal) rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 cup split mung beans (moong dal) rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet peppers, diced 2-3 small ones or 1/2 large one
  • 6 scallions, sliced on the bias white and green parts
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins optional
  • 1 can 14 oz coconut milk/cream
  • 3 cups water or chicken stock if not vegetarian cover the dal by 1"
  • 1/4 cup ghee sub oil for vegan
  • 2 Tbl ginger paste OR about 2" fresh ginger microplaned
  • 3 Tbl tomato paste
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp chat masala optional
  • 2 tsp asafoetida (Indian spice blend) SUB 1 tsp each onion powder and garlic powder
  • 1 Tbl curry powder
  • 2 tsp salt TO TASTE
  • 2 Tbl cilantro, chopped
  • Rice for serving optional

Instructions

  • Thoroughly rinse the lentils and mung beans. Add to pot with diced carrot and water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the lentils start to soften. Then add peppers, 2/3 of the scallions, raisins and coconut milk. Keep at a slow simmer. Adjust water to get the consistency you like. I like mine THICK, so I let it cook down, but if you like it soupy, add more liquid.
  • In a small saucepan, melt ghee over medium heat. When hot, add the seeds and fry for a minute. Then add powdered spices and fry for another minute. Then add pastes and fry for another minute. Do not use too high of heat! The spices need to bloom, but not burn.
  • When spices have bloomed and smell fragrant, add to dal. Stir thoroughly and cook for another 5 minutes or so. The complete cook time should be anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
  • Adjust salt.
  • Serve over rice with scallions and cilantro as garnish. I also like this with a dollop of plain yogurt on the side.

Notes

To make vegetarian, use water instead of chicken stock. 
To make vegan, use water and sub oil for ghee. 
This dish is nicely complemented with yogurt! 
This recipe makes about 1.5 quarts of dal. You can freeze leftovers. 
I highly recommend finding the Indian spices. It makes all the difference.