Indian Cooking Classes in DC

I just backed a cool project on Kickstarter – Pansaari. The project is close to being funded, but is running out of time. It sounds pretty great.

A communal space offering food that is good for you. Sip chai, browse books, take a cooking class, buy spices, local produce, and more.

I’m especially interested in the cooking classes. As you may know, we’re mostly vegetarian here (though The Wife eats seafood and I eat pretty much anything, just not at home), and there are a ton of good vegetarian options in Indian cooking. Plus some spicy stuff. I’m on a big spicy kick these days.

Anyway, I hope they reach their goal.

Maple Syrup Old Bay Biscuits

So a little while back, The Wife made some Old Bay roasted potatoes to go along with pancakes. Delicious. And then I got a little potato in my maple syrup, and it was even better. I love the flavor contrast. Then I got this book, How to Cook Everything The Basics. It has a recipe for cheddar jalapeno biscuits that’s pretty awesome, though a bit too buttery. I made those biscuits, and got the idea to do maple syrup Old Bay biscuits. Maple Syrup Old Bay Biscuits After a good while, I finally found a basic biscuit recipe, subbed out some of the fat, and threw in some of my own ideas, and threw them in the oven. I love the result. Here’s the recipe.

Maple Syrup Old Bay Biscuits

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 8 tablespoons part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    Preheat the oven to 450. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and Old Bay in a big bowl. Mix in the shortening and ricotta with a fork until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the maple syrup. Slowly pour in the milk while stirring, until it seems like dough. The recipe I followed says “until it pulls away from the bowl”, but what does that really mean? Roll it in flour a bit until it’s not sticky, then use a rolling pin to flatten it, about a half inch thick. Use a cookie cutter or something, then throw them on an ungreased pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they brown a bit, and you have some awesome little biscuits.

Homemade Seitan

Homemade Seitan recipe If you’re in the same boat as I am, where you don’t really eat a lot of meat at home, but when you cook something like a stir-fry, you like to have meat-like lumps of protein. But you also don’t like to buy heavily processed meat substitutes. Well, you’ll like this recipe. It’s really easy to make. The vital wheat gluten flour and nutritional yeast flakes can be tough to find. I got mine from, and you can get them from Amazon, too. And you must bear in mind that this stuff looks kind of disgusting as it’s cooking – you’re basically putting a doughy blob into water and simmering it for an hour. It looks like something you’d put out at an elementary school Halloween party, telling kids it’s brains. The recipe makes a lot. It instructs you to cut the dough into three pieces before you simmer it, and each one ends up being a pretty good-sized hunk of meat substitute. I made stir-fry with one chunk, and we ate it last night, and both have lunch for today. The other two thirds are still in the fridge. And it’s quite good. I’d heard that some vegetarians/vegans won’t eat seitan because it’s too much like meat. I did not have that reaction to it. It’s probably a little more meat-like than typical store-bought extra-firm tofu (I think I have more hyphenated compound words in this post than anything I’ve ever written), but you aren’t going to sneak this in to a dish and fool meat-eaters into thinking it’s steak. According to the comments on the recipe, it sounds like you can do a lot of tweaking the recipe for different dishes. Since the seitan soaks up a lot of the broth in which it simmers, I imagine that you could play around with the flavor a lot. And I’m sure we’ll try.

You WILL like tofu and brussels sprouts

Caramelized Tofu Recipe – 101 Cookbooks

Here’s how it came together: a quick survey of my kitchen revealed tofu and a cluster of brussels sprouts. There was also a vibrant bouquet of cilantro tucked into the refrigerator door begging to be used. I scanned the cupboards and pulled down a small bag of (already toasted!) pecans and the remnants of a once full bag of my favorite sugar. Garlic? Check.

I know that a lot of people have a very strong reaction to brussels sprouts and tofu. Kind of like my reaction to Hillary Clinton. But the wife LOVES brussels sprouts, and so when I saw this recipe, I tried it out. It’s really excellent. If you don’t enjoy caramelized tofu with pecans, you’re crazy. Or allergic. And not only is it delicious, but it’s also made in only one pan (Two if you cook rice with it, which I recommend) so it’s pretty easy to clean up. Anyway, you should try it. I didn’t bother toasting the pecans this time (I did the first time I made it), and I didn’t notice a difference.

Perhaps the biggest food surprise Ive had in a while

Salsa Walnut Meat recipe at Gone Raw

When served on a (non-raw, non-vegan) organic whole wheat tortilla, this “taco meat” is fantastic.  I figured it would be edible, but this was way beyond edible.  This was good enough to request again.

I’d like to find a substitute for the walnuts so my mom can try it.  No matter how good it is, her walnut allergies would probably prevent her from enjoying it.