Bachelor Chow: Clams in Black Bean Sauce

Where has he been for the last month? Still eating, still cooking, just not taking pictures (my tablet was in the shop, there was a business trip, (“…a fire, a terrible flood, IT’S NOT MY FAULT!”). Anyway, after the disappointing Thai clams, I thought I’d go back to Cantonese basics. This recipe is based on Barbara Tropp’s “China Moon Cookbook.”

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Pasta with Morels, Chard and Gorgonzola

Morel Season Part 1: Bachelor Chow Pasta

Every year, my brother hunts morels. I can’t tell you where he finds them, he won’t even tell me. But he’ll share them… when there’s more than his household can consume, and his younger daughter is a fiend for them floured and fried.  This year, I got a couple pounds, and with Sue out for a Mothers’ Day Eve Girls Night Out, it’s back to Bachelor Chow again.

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finished dish

Bachelor Chow Weekend: Chimney-Seared Tuna

Sue’s gone for the weekend, so expect several bachelor chow posts, starting with last night’s dinner.  Saku (yellowfin) tuna was available at the newly-opened Fresh Thyme market at a decent price.

So how to prepare it? Seared tuna is somewhat passe, but the only other method that sounded interesting would be oil-poached, and I thought I should keep at least one meal this weekend light.

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Indian Stir-Fried Eggplant

Bachelor Chow Honors Class: Indian Stir-Fried Eggplant

Sue’s out for the evening again (my turn on Thursday… she’ll probably get no more imaginative than French Toast).

I had a couple eggplants I’d bought before the Iron Chef pot luck, to have in case the chosen ingredient was more Mediterranean. It’s not her favorite as a main course, so I’m more than happy to work with it again.  I thought about doing the Bulgur salad again, but kt’s too soon to repeat myself.

Strong candidates were eggplant parmesan, or something Indian. I really didn’t want to fry (I will lose some weight one of these months)… even a lot of the Indian dishes used things like half-cups of oil, coconut milk, etc.  But I found one recipe that looked light, spicy, and relatively quick.  This is a great weeknight meal that takes less time to cook than it does to make rice (especially the brown jasmine rice I put up in the rice cooker). I haven’t seen an Indian cookbook specify cooking anything in a microwave before, 1000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Baira surprised me here.

It certainly was spicy: one measly Serrano chile being stir fried and the air in the kitchen was very hard to breathe.

It would have been vegan if I didn’t dollop on some greek yogurt… which served nicely to tone down the chile.

Recipe: Indian Stir-Fried Eggplant

adapted from 1000 Indian Recipes by Naleem Baira

serves 2

1 large (1lb / 440g) eggplant
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) salt
2 tsp (10ml) oil
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) cumin seed
1/4 tsp (1.25ml) cracked black pepper
1 Serrano chile, chopped fine
about 1/3 cup (80ml) finely diced red onion
2 small cloves garlic, chopped fine
1.5 tsp (7.5ml) finely chopped fresh ginger
about 1/2 cup (120 ml) (around 10) chopped grape tomatoes
1.5 tsp (7.5ml) ground coriander
a large pinch turmeric
1/4 cup (60ml) chopped cilantro
To serve: brown jasmine rice, greek yogurt, a pinch of garam masala

  1. Cut the eggplant into bite-sized pieces (I cut it in eights lengthwise, then 1/2″ slices)
  2. Place eggplant in a microwave-safe baking dish, sprinkle with salt, cover, and microwave on high for 4 minutes.
    microwaved eggplant
  3. While your rice is cooking, prepare the rest of the mise en place, read a magazine… (brown rice takes too long to cook)
    meez
  4. In a wok, heat the oil on high. Turn on your vent hood, by all that is holy.
  5. Add the pepper and cumin seeds, stir until fragrant (3o seconds at most)
  6. Immediately add the onions, garlic, ginger and chile. (this is when it will get hard to breathe)
    aromatics
  7. Turn the heat down to medium, stir fry the aromatics until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. If the heat is too high and it’s drying out, add a little water.
  8. Add the coriander and turmeric, stir, then add tomatoes, stir for one minute
    with tomatoes
  9. Add the eggplant and cilantro and about 1/4 cup (120ml) water, stir for about 5 minutes until everything is soft.
    with eggplant
  10. Serve atop rice, with a sprinkle of garam masala and a dollop of yogurt. And a drink.
    Indian Stir-Fried Eggplant

 

chermoula eggplant with bulgur

Bachelor Chow Honors Class – Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur

It’s bachelor night again – the missus is at a professional meeting, and I had previously stocked the fridge with a couple eggplant: not sure what I’d do, but pretty sure I wasn’t going Chinese.  I was thinking miso with some fresh shiitakes, but I saw some chickpeas in the fridge, which made me think of looking at the Jerusalem cookbook by Ottolenghi and Tamimi.  The Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur looked too good not to make (although there was an eggplant soup I’m going to have to try too), and I was only short a couple ingredients: preserved lemons and fresh mint.

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Spicy Curried Mussels

Bachelor Chow Honors Class – Spicy Curried Mussels

Sunday night was bachelor night – Sue was meeting some friends, so I’d be on my own, which means I can eat things she doesn’t like. So wandering the local market, I debated fish, squid, clams (thinking about clams with miso for a future edition of Bachelor Chow Honors Class)… and settled on mussels.  I probably should have picked up another leek — I thought I had two left, but only had one, and had enough mussels in a two-pound bag to overeat for dinner and lunch today.

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