Monday, December 22, 2008

Tomato Garlic Starter paired with Bharat Mary

Mike from Sub Rosa Spirits sent us 2 recipes, here's the first one, paired with cocktails he makes at the distillery:

2 medium sliced Tomato
1 medium Onion [yellow, white or sweet Walla Walla is best] chopped coarsely
3-4 jalapeno. Seeded and chopped
2 cloves Garlic, crushed and sliced or diced or run through a garlic press
1/4 teaspoons - Cayenne pepper powder
2 Cardamom pods [seeds removed if you like]
4-5 Cloves
Salt as per taste
2 Tbs. Butter
2-3 Mint leaves, coarsely chopped. Chiffinod if you want to get fancy.

Here's what you do:

1) CRUSH Cardamom and cloves with a mortar and pestle. Grind to a coarse powder. I often remove the seeds from the pod, but it's not essential.

2) HEAT butter in a pan and add vegetables [tomato, onion, peppers] and fry for 5 minutes on medium flame, stirring occasionally. Take care not to break or excessively mash tomato slices.

3) ADD garlic. Let it warm and mix with the heated vegetables. Do not overcook the garlic, lest it turn bitter. Maybe 3 minutes additional time for the combined mixture.

4) ADD spices and salt and adjust the taste. Remove from flame, top with mint leaves

5) SERVE hot with roti [traditional Indian flat bread] or with a side of rice.

For a cocktail, serve with this variant on Blood Mary using Sub Rosa Saffron vodka. This Saffron vodka contains a bit of toasted cumin, coriander, ginger, galangal, cayenne pepper, black pepper and of course saffron. Very aromatic and heady. Makes a killer Bloody Marry.

Bharat Mary
2 oz. Sub Rosa Saffron vodka
3 dashes Worcestershire
1 dash Peychauds bitters [or orange bitters]
3 dashes hot sauce (or more)
Tomato juice (to fill)
Celery salt (to taste)

Stir in mixing tin with ice. Strain into a Rocks or Old Fashion glass over ice. Garnish with Indian pickled carrots and peppers. This is basically a Bloody Mary without the horseradish.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A new take on "The Real Pasta Primavera"

Earlier this year I blogged about The Real Pasta Primavera. I have heard many good things about the recipe and it was even reproduced on a site called
So I decided to experiment with that same recipe adding more vegetable variety.
This recipe is vegan.

Ingredients for 2 persons:
Fresh fettuccine, enough for 2 persons (I got mine at St. Lawrence Market, I bought the red pepper flavoured one, I would have preferred the basil flavoured but they were out).
One bunch of basil, chopped.
1 bunch rapini.
1 pound fresh small tomatoes, very finely chopped (I did not use grape or cherry tomatoes, the ones I used were slightly bigger than cherry tomatoes, like the size of a golf ball).
Baby spinach (I used about 2 cups, but note that it wilts and reduces its size).
6 cloves of super finely chopped garlic.
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced.
About 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or you can substitute salt+garlic powder for garlic salt, but I didn't have any).
Salt and pepper to taste.

Boil salted water and prepare it for the pasta, I added a little bit of cooking oil to the boiling water.
Slice rapini diagonally, use the whole thing, including both stems and flower. Pieces will be thin since they have been sliced diagonally. In a smaller pot, boil salted water. When boiling, "blanche" the rapini for 3 minutes.
Discard any tomato "juice" after chopping them, you want them on the "dry" side (non-juicy).

The following step involves "semi-heating" the sauce but not cooking it. I just didn't want the sauce to cool the pasta (as it usually happens with the pasta primavera). At low heat, combine the tomatoes, garlic, rapini, olives, spinach, basil and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and garlic powder. Heat it up for approximately 4 minutes, you don't want it to "cook" any of the ingredients, just to warm them up.

Now it's time to boil the pasta. Cook it al dente, take it out immediately, drain it and put it back in the pot (without the water). Pour the sauce on top and keep it at low heat for 2 minutes. This will distribute the heat.
Serve immediately.