Thursday, April 30, 2009

Comfort Food: Kheemo

Growing up, this was one of my family's staple dishes. These days, it is still one of my favorite comfort foods and now even my husband, who didn't grow up on the stuff, often asks for a little "kheemo"-therapy. Kheemo is a pan-Indian dish, though it's often attributed to Punjab or Hyderabad. It consists of spiced ground beef cooked with tomatoes, potatoes and peas. Parsis generally serve it with khitchri, a rice dish made with red lentils and yellow split peas, and there's usually a yogurt raita and tomato or mango chutney to accompany.
Parsi Kheemo
1/2 kg. ground beef
one onion (chopped)
2 or 3 potatoes
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. turmeric
salt to taste
4 green chilis
dash Worcestershire sauce
handful fresh coriander
1/2 cup green peas (optional)

Fry onions till golden brown. Add all spices (except cumin seed). Cook gently then add meat. Add tomatoes, potatoes, chilis and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat and simmer till potatoes are cooked.

Add fresh coriander just before serving. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Please Have Deliciously

On their own, the words "cheese" and "cake" make me tingle with excitement. Together, as "cheesecake," I begin to salivate. Well, normally I do. But today I have finally met my first, totally resistible cheesecake.

It comes from Japan. Tokyo, to be exact. It purports to be made from camembert, versus the usual cream cheese. For some reason, it looks fluffy like sponge cake, not moist like cheesecake. It doesn't call to me in any way except for its packaging, which is a priceless example of the type of English often used in Asia.

"A cheesecake born in Tokyo," it proclaims. "The flavor of a cheese is very good." No argument there.

"Please have deliciously."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Leafy Seasons Greetings


The first of the season's lettuces will start appearing at farmer's markets in a couple of weeks. The tender, sweet baby leaves that many vendors carry are wonderful just drizzled with good olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

But there's also much more that can be done with a head of lettuce. I love the Asian tradition of using lettuce to wrap spicy grilled meats, for example. In China, lettuce is most often eaten cooked, which brings out a slightly bitter character in the leaves. Some French recipes call for wrapping fish fillets in lettuce and gently poaching them. Or how about a cream of lettuce soup subtly flavored with nutmeg?

According to wikipedia:
Lettuce was considered an aphrodisiac food in Ancient Egypt, and appears as such in The Contendings of Horus and Seth. Later, Ancient Greek physicians believed lettuce could act as a sleep-inducing agent. The Romans cultivated it, and it eventually made its way to France cultivated of the Papal Court at Avignon. Christopher Columbus introduced lettuce to the new world.
Just some 'food for thought' as you browse the markets in the coming weeks. If you have other brilliant uses for lettuce, please let me know!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Power of Packaging

I'm a sucker for cool packaging, and this steel wool caught my attention for some reason when I was shopping at No Frills in Burlington, Ontario, this weekend. I like the fact that it looks like it was designed in the early 20th century, and has never really changed. Kind of like this Clabber Girl baking powder package.

What food-related products do you like because of their packaging?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Canuck in the City

What happens when an oyster master from PEI spends nearly half a year setting up a restaurant in New York City?

"I found it to be the hardest five months of my life.”

John Bil, who was in town to help set up a new seafood restaurant on the Upper East Side, reflects on the experience with Frank Bruni on Diner's Journal.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Weird Cheese Man Scares Children Into Eating Their Dinners

I'm all for encouraging people to eat more cheese, but something about this commercial just freaks me out: