Bismati Pullao


This Bismati pilaf would be a delicious accompaniment to many Indian meals or a side for grilled meat or fish. I used it to accompany Kashmiri Spiced Lamb (See previous recipe).

Bismati Pullao from Ismail Merchant’s Indian Cuisine

Yield: 4-6 servings (Can be doubled)


1.5 cups Basmati rice

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped

2-inch piece of cinnamon stick

4 whole cloves

1 bay leaf, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads

1/2 cup raw cashews (or pistachios)

1/2 cup seedless golden raisins

1 teaspoon Kosher salt


  1. Soak the rice in cold water to cover for about 30 minutes. Then drain well through a sieve.
  2. Heat the oil or ghee in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the onions and saute until the onion becomes translucent and softens. Add the well-drained rice, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, saffron, cashews and raisins and stir for 2 minutes, coating everything with the onions and oil or ghee.  IMG_3567
  3. Add 3 cups of cold water to the pot along with the salt. Bring to a boil, cover tightly and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and fluffy and all of the water is absorbed. (The cooking time will depend on the brand of rice and how long it soaked prior to cooking.) Stir through with a fork and serve.



Cauliflower and Peas (Ghobi Aur Matar)

Cauliflower and Edamame

I served this dish as a side to my Goan chicken (See previous recipe), but it would also be delicious over rice as part of a vegetarian or vegan meal. While it is traditionally made with peas, the fresh edamame looked so good at the store that I used them instead. This recipe came from a wonderful vegetarian Hindu cookbook that I have had for years called the Flavors of India.

Cauliflower and Peas (Ghobi Aur Matar) from the Flavors of India by Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff



1 large cauliflower

4 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Kosher salt to taste

2 cups fresh or frozen, defrosted peas or edamame

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/3 cup of water

Juice of 1/2 large lemon


  1. Separate the cauliflower into smallish florets.
  2. In a frying pan or wok, place the cumin and mustard seeds in the oil over a moderate flame. When the seeds have all started to pop, add the cauliflower, turmeric and salt. IMG_3424
  3. Saute for about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 3-5 minutes more. IMG_3428
  4. Uncover the pan and add the peas or edamame and the remaining spices. Mix well. Add the water, cover and cook for about 5-10 minutes more, depending on how tender you like your cauliflower. I tend to like my vegetables firm.
  5. Add the lemon juice, mix through and serve.

Radish Slaw with Remoulade and Pistachios

Looking for a light, refreshing summer salad? This the answer to any steak or other rich, red meat dish that needs a zesty sidekick (though this also went very nicely with salmon).screen-shot-2017-06-03-at-8-57-20-pm-e1496538875297.pngWe made this originally to pair with our steak with corn salsa, and then quickly realized it went well with an assortment main meats.



  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 tbsp coarse grain mustard
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of EVOO
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp minced chives
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp cornichons
  • 1/2 tsp liquid from canned chipotles in adobo sauce (optional but if you have the chipotles from the steak recipe then why not?)


  • 1 large daikon radish, about 8 oz, peeled and dice
  • 1 bunch red radishes, sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • (optional but good if you’re repurposing leftovers) handful of mixed greens


  1. Place the egg in boiling water for 90 seconds using a slotted spoon.
  2. Take the egg out of the water, let it cool slightly. Tap the top of the egg to peel of the top of the shell and using a small tsp, carve out the egg from the shell (think of it as a flash soft boiled egg). Add to a food processor.
  3. Add the lemon juice, mustard, salt and the pepper and pulse or blend. With the motor running, add the olive oil until it is emulsified.
  4. Add the tomato paste, parsley, chives, capers, cornichons and the chili liquid and keep processing until well mixed.
  5. Separately, combine the radishes and celery in a large bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of the remoulade to coat completely and mix. (Save the remaining remoulade for seafood dishes or sandwich condiment. We still haven’t figure out what to do with our leftovers quite yet. Mainly because we forgot about it.)
  6. After mixing thoroughly, refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  7. Prior to serving, add the pistachios and mix.

Adapted from the Wine Lover’s Cookbook.

Red Cabbage Lime Cilantro Cole Slaw

Red Cabbage Lime Cilantro Cole Slaw

So I had half of head of red cabbage leftover from my red cabbage, goat cheese and walnut salad and hated for it to go to waste. I was making some lovely grilled trout and corn on the cob for dinner and thought about what would go well alongside that would be fast, easy and didn’t require any ingredients that weren’t already in my fridge. I was able to throw this together in minutes in the morning and left it covered on my counter until dinner. I hadn’t planned on blogging about this since it seemed almost too simple. But when my husband saw how beautiful it looked he decided to take a photo. And then of course, it tasted great. So especially now that it is officially barbecue season, this is one side that goes with just about any grilled meat or fish. I don’t actually have a grill, but broiled or oven roasted foods work well too. The amounts are a guideline and can easily be doubled or tripled.

Red Cabbage Lime Cilantro Cole Slaw 

Yield: 4 servings


1/2 small head of red cabbage, cored and sliced thinly

1 medium carrot, peeled and grated with the large grate (or if you are REALLY lazy, you could use the bought julienned carrots)

Juice of 2 fresh limes

4 Tablespoons EVOO (I used a Meyer Lemon EVOO but you could use just a good quality plain EVOO)

1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 small bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped

freshly cracked black pepper to taste


Toss everything in a non-reactive bowl and cover for a few hours, tossing when you think of it.

Fruit Compote

img_2741I don’t know if it is because my parents are both now dead or if it is because the world seems like such an unsettled place these days – or simply because it is winter – but I seem to be turning more and more to simple comfort foods. I’m sure you noticed that I did not say because I am getting older! While it may seem strange, I have never been what I term a “foodie.” I have not been terribly interested in fads and eating at fancy restaurants where they mist my food in front of my nose and call it dinner. That is no place that I want to eat. I may enjoy the artistry involved in some of these creations, but it is not how I would choose to spend my money or tickle my palate.

I have been making this fruit compote for as long as I can remember and my mother made it before that. I have no idea where the recipe, such as it is, came from. It is simple to make and wonderfully versatile. It is equally good on its own as it is over a good pound cake and I have used it to stuff Rock Cornish Hens or loin of pork. It lasts a very long time in the fridge and every time I eat it, I recall my father teasing my mother about serving “ein bisschen com-putt.”

There is no magic mixture of fruit to use and you can buy packages of mixed fruit. I would recommend buying really good quality dried fruit, preferably unsulphured. I usually make sure that I have dried apples, pears, apricots or peaches, prunes and figs, but I will use what I happen to have around as I have done this time because I am too lazy to go shopping. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. This can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature or even cold from the fridge over vanilla ice cream. This humble dish will definitely brighten these dark days. Tomorrow I will post an orange currant pound cake to go well with this.

Fruit Compote

Yield: About 10 servings


1.5 pound of mixed dried fruits

3 cups of cold tap water

3 fat cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon of whole cloves

1.5 cups of granulated sugar

2 or 3 thinly sliced strips of lemon peel, yellow part only

Juice of 1/2 a lemon


  1. Soak the dried fruit in the water for 3 hours
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
  3. Drain the liquid through a sieve into a saucepan and arrange the fruit in a non-metal baking dish
  4. Add the sugar to the water and cook the mixture on medium high heat for a few minutes, stirring until the sugar is dissolved
  5. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon peel in with the fruit. Pour the sugar syrup over everything
  6. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to one hour or until the fruit is plump and tender. How firm you want your fruit is a matter of personal taste
  7. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fruit and allow it to cool. I like to store mine in a glass jar.



Harissa and Maple Roasted Carrots

img_2531Sunday was the unveiling of my mother’s gravestone and since family was in for the ceremony, we decided to host a pre-thanksgiving dinner. I took advantage of the opportunity to make some things that were not my traditional thanksgiving fare. I found this recipe for carrots that sounded incredibly easy and were also attractive. While I won’t be making them this thanksgiving, you easily could.

Harissa and Maple Roasted Carrots from Bon Appetit, November 2014 by Alison Roman

Yield: 8 to 10 servings


2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup EVOO

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 Tablespoon red harissa paste

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

2.5 pounds, rainbow carrots, peeled, trimmed, cut in half and split

1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Whisk garlic, EVOO, maple syrup,harissa , cumin seed, slat and pepper together. Pour over the carrots and sliced lemon and mix through.
  3. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 40 to 45 minutes r until the carrots are tender and the lemons are caramelized.

Note: This can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead. Allow to cool, cover and keep at room temperature. Just before you are ready to serve, warm the carrots in a 225 degree F oven until warmed through. img_2534



Ground Lamb with Potatoes and Yogurt Relish

img_2326It doesn’t take much to put me in the mood for Indian food. These recipes come from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, which Frances and Matthew sent me as a gift this past year. I like that the recipes are accessible to the home cook and yet filled with wonderful flavor. Madhur Jaffrey serves this dish with a moong dal, which I have blogged about in an earlier post. She calls this her family’s soul food. It isn’t the most visually spectacular dish, but the fragrance and flavors make it well-worth the effort. Somewhat amazingly – even to me – I only needed to buy yogurt and fresh spinach to make these three dishes.

Ground Lamb with Potatoes by Madhur Jaffrey and tweaked by me

Yield: 4 to 6 servings



3 Tablespoons canola oil or EVOO

Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks

1 medium onion finely chopped and 1 shallot

1 teaspoon finely grated, peeled fresh ginger

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 pounds ground lamb

3 Tablespoons plain yogurt (I used 2% Greek yogurt)

3 Tablespoons tomato puree plus 1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1.75 teaspoons Kosher salt

3-4 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (I used Yukon Gold)


  1. Pour the oil into a large, heavy frying pan (I like cast iron) and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the cinnamon sticks and allow them to sizzle for 10 seconds.
  2. Add the onions and stir fry until they begin to brown at the edges. Then add the ginger and garlic and stir for one more minute.
  3. Add the lamb, stirring to break up any clumps and cook until all redness disappears.
  4. Add the yogurt, tomato puree, cumin, coriander, cayenne and turmeric and stir for one minute.
  5. Add the salt, potatoes and 1.25 cups of water. (This amount of water was cut from the original 2 cups and still yielded more liquid than I felt was necessary.) Stir and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and cook gently for 30 minutes.

Yogurt Relish with Spinach

Yield: 4 servingsyogurt-relish


2 Tablespoons canola oil or EVOO

1/4 teaspoon whole brown or yellow mustard seeds

1/2 clove garlic, sliced thinly

5 ounces baby spinach leaves (If you are not using baby spinach, you will  need to remove the stems.)

Kosher salt to taste

1 cup plain yogurt (I used 2% Greek yogurt)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste


  1. Pour the oil into a small frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and as soon as they start to pop (a matter of seconds), add the garlic. Cook, stirring for a few seconds.
  2. Add the spinach and stir for about 5 minutes or until the spinach is cooked through. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and mix it through. After the spinach has cooled, I coarsely chopped it.
  3. Put the yogurt into a bowl and whisk lightly with a fork until creamy. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and the cayenne, stirring to mix.
  4. Just before eating, fold the entire contents of the frying pan into the yogurt.


Herbed Farro Salad


Farro is one of those wonderful ancient grains that is so satisfying it might just turn you into a vegetarian. I’m using an organic, whole-grain farro which I buy at You can also make this with a pearled version of farro. Since the cooking times are very different, follow the cooking instructions on the farro you buy. This salad is from Giada DeLaurentiis, slightly tweaked by me. It is a wonderful side dish to grilled fish or meat. If you add some cubed feta or Bulgarian cheese, it becomes a light meal in itself.

Herbed Farro Salad

Yield: 6 servings


1.5 cups of farro, cooked according to instructions on package

1.5 teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half if small or quarters if larger (If you can buy the small heirloom tomatoes, it makes for a very delicious and colorful salad.)

1/2 chopped sweet or red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

1 bunch chopped flat-leaf parsley or a mixture of cilantro, parsley and mint (I used a mixture this time, but have made it with just parsley as well.)

1-2 cloves of minced garlic

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Fresh cracked black pepper or Aleppo Pepper to taste

about 1/4 cup EVOO


  1. Drain the farro and allow to cool to just warm.
  2. Add the tomatoes, onion, chive and parsley and mix through.
  3. In a jar or small bowl, mix together the garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper and EVOO and add to the farro salad. Toss to coat everything.

NOTE: This salad is best eaten at room temperature so if you make it ahead of time and refrigerate it, take it out 30 minutes before serving.

Cooking Farro: There are many different methods, but the following is how I cooked it.

For whole-grain organic farro, I used these directions:

Soak farro in water for 8 hours or overnight to reduce overall cooking time. To cook whole-grain farro on the stove top, combine 3 parts liquid to one part farro. Bring the farro to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook uncovered for approximately 30-45 minutes, or until the grain is tender. It is a bit of personal taste just how chewy you like your farro.

For pearled farro, use these directions:

Use 3 parts liquid to 1 part farro. Bring water or broth to a rolling boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the farro and let it cook for 20 minutes. For a chewy texture, cook for less time. For a mushy texture, cook longer.

Fried Rice with Scallions and Kale

My co-workers and I were discussing cookbooks that we love and this one that Gwyneth Paltrow wrote came up.


To be honest, I was not thrilled with the book overall, but this recipe stood out and became a perfect base for a weeknight Salmon with Kimchi recipe that I also recently found.  It’s very easy to make, and feels incredibly nutritious.



  • 1/2 lb kale, stems discarded
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly diced
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • about 1 tbsp soy sauce


  1. Cut the kale leaves in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 1″ chunks.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan until hot, and then add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.  Toss in the kale and cook until the leaves are cooked down.
  3. Add the scallions, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the brown rice and stir everything for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the soy sauce and stir for about another minute.

Adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s My  Father’s Daughter

Wild Rice with Celery and Pecans

I was never a fan of raw celery, thinking that it had to always be boiled to a mushy consistency for it to be of any interest.  While I have great admiration for people who can sit around and nonchalantly snack on raw stalks of celery, I’ve accepted that celery is just never going to make it into my easy, healthy, pack-it-on-the-go munchies rotation.  (Which is too bad since “ants on a log” always seemed so delicious in concept.)


However, I found that celery, when finely diced, is extraordinary in this recipe where it acts as the perfect complement to the soft texture of the rice, and a nice companion to the crushed pecans.

It also just looked beautiful in the dish, with the varied colors from the black rice, the green celery and the toasted pecans.  We will definitely be reaching for this for our next dinner party!


2 cups of wild rice
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock, unsalted
3 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 cup of crushed pecans
salt and pepper to taste


Cook the wild rice according to directions on the package, substituting the water with the stock. Generally rinse the rice, and then bring the rice and chicken stock to a boil in a pot. Once boiling, set the cover on the pot, and bring it down to a simmer, or until all the liquid is absorbed.  Take the lid off the pot and fluff the rice with a fork.

Put the crushed pecans and set the pan over medium heat; cook until the pecans look lightly burnt (you’ll smell that burnt toast smell and that’s when you turn the stove off.)

In a large bowl, mix together the rice, the crushed pecans, and the celery.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from Twenty Dinners.