Farmer’s Plate of Nepal with Natalie Bovis @ Las Cosas

I attended a cooking class about a popular Nepalese plate at Las Cosas. I was curious about this cuisine and what it might have in common with Indian cuisine. This was a class with a guest chef.  When we have a guest chef, Chef Johnny Vee who is the regular instructor is still present, but the recipes are from the guest chef – in this case Natalie Bovis.

Class Description: Join guest teacher Natalie Bovis for a crash course in Nepalese cooking. Inspired by Natalie’s recent tour of that part of the world, the class will focus on the famed Dal Bhat Meal featuring a Vegetarian Curry, Lentil Stew, Garlic Ginger Greens, Rice, a Pickled Salad with Creamed Sesame Dressing, and a sumptuous side order of mouthwatering Chicken MoMo (dumplings). Don’t miss this exotic menu of unique wintertime comfort food. (Hands-on)

Per usual the menu items were divided up among class members. This class had a nice number of students. I think 8-10 of us. I worked with classmate Rita to make the Chicken MoMo. I do love dumplings.

Chicken MoMo

We started working on the dumpling wrappers. This consisted of flour, water, and a little bit of oil.

I had to knead it for five minutes and needed to add quite a bit of flour because it was very sticky. I rolled it into a ball and then we covered it to let it rest for five minutes.

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While we waited for the dough to rest. We started on the filling. We would be using all of the things on the tray and some cilantro and greens onions.

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Rita chopped the green onions and cilantro that we needed.

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First we heated the oil. And then added the garlic-ginger paste, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cinnamon, and soy sauce.

Then we added the ground chicken, green onions, and cilantro.

After the chicken was browned slightly, we put the filling in the refrigerator so it would cool faster. Then it was back to the dough. The dough was rolled into thin sheets.

I cut little circles out of it.

We got the filling out of the fridge and put about a teaspoon of it on the circles.

I used a press to make my dumpling shapes, but others folded by hand or folded in half and used a fork to make a pattern on the edge.

You can see the variety of folding styles here.

The dumplings then went into the bamboo steamer.

And after 20 minutes, they were ready.

Ginger Garlic Paste

Quite of few of the recipes needed garlic-ginger paste. Rita and I actually made this before starting our Chicken MoMo because our dish required it as well.

We put sesame oil, ginger, turmeric, garlic, and water into a food processor.

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This was the paste halfway through processing.

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And this was the consistency we were trying to achieve. We took the amount we needed for our Chicken MoMo and let the other groups get what they needed.

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The Other Menu Items

Salad with Chatni

  • Chatni – oil, peppercorns, tomato, turmeric, garam masala, red chili powder, green chili powder, and salt
  • Salad – cucumber, carrots, and lettuce

Greens – oil, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic-ginger paste, greens, salt and pepper

Vegetarian Curry – oil, garlic-ginger paste, onion, potatoes, green beans, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, fennel seed, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, coriander, tomato paste, and vegetable broth

Dal (Lentil Stew) – garlic-ginger paste, oil, cumin, dried red chili, lentils, onion, turmeric, cumin, oregano, garam masala, salt, pepper, tomato, tomato paste, water, and vegetable broth

Butter Rice – basmati rice, vegetable stock, water, salt, ghee, and white vinegar

The Whole Spread – Dal Baht

 

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Chocolate Mint Cream Cheese Buttons

This recipe is from Mom on Timeout. These were delicious. But my refrigerator is too small to accommodate the preparation of this recipe. I am not even sure I can accommodate half of the recipe.

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Began with the cream cheese and some of the powdered sugar my stand mixer bowl.

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Then added the green food coloring and mint extract.

Next added the rest of the powdered sugar. My mixer started having a hard time as I added more powdered sugar. The recipe indicates that you might have to take it out and work it with your hands which I did have to do.

Rolled the dough into balls and placed them on a sheet.

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I used a measuring spoon to create the dents. And then put this tray to chill in the refrigerator for one hour. This is where the size of my refrigerator presents a limit. I have precious little space to lay out a whole pan much less multiple pans in there. So this is how many mints I prepared.

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Closer to when the mints are done chilling, you can make the chocolate filling. The semi-sweet chocolate chips were mixed with the warmed heavy cream. I heated the heavy cream in a pan and then poured it in the bowl with the chips.

After stirring, the chocolate sauce is ready to go in a piping bag.

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I still needed to let it sit for a while to get a little cooler and get a bit thicker.

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Then I started filling the buttons with chocolate.

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After filling them, I still needed to put these in the refrigerator for another hour to let the chocolate set.

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Ginger Steak Salad

This recipe is from Food Network. I think it came out well and there was a kick to that salad dressing due to the jalapeño pepper. I do not usually try to pass a salad off as the entire dinner entree, but there was steak in this.

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There is some planning involved in this because you do need to marinate the steak. Here is the steak with a soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, garlic and olive oil marinade. I did this in the morning and then marinated until dinner time.

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I made the salad dressing just before cooking the steak – olive oil, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and half a diced jalapeño pepper.

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Finally I cooked the steak on a grill pan.

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While the steak was cooking, I cut the grape tomatoes in half. I also put the salad greens in a large bowl and tossed it with the dressing.

After the steak was done and rested, I sliced it up and put in on top of the greens.

Easy Wonton Soup

This recipe is from kitchn. I think it came out well, but there were some logistics issues. I only used half of the prepared filling. And 35 wontons was more than I needed. The recipe has some make ahead directions that I will need to employ. I will be having some more for lunch, but will only make the number of wontons I need.

Finding wonton wrappers here in not trivial. I thought I was going to have to make them. Luckily due to a quick trip to a different grocery store, I found some wrappers. Having to make the wrappers would have added even more time to this already time consuming effort.

The broth had sliced ginger in it. I did not like biting into piece that so I think I would minced it next time or maybe put it in a sachet.

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I broke up some ground pork into smaller pieces into a bowl.

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I cut up some green onions and minced some garlic.

The liquids – soy sauce, sherry and toasted sesame oil.

Kosher salt and sugar

I added the ingredients to the bowl with the ground pork and then mixed it with my hands.

I put one teaspoon of mixture into each wrapper.

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And folded them into triangles.

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Then folded the corners over.

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And here are all 35 of them.

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But I still had this much filling left over. I don’t think I could have put more filling in my wrappers. That would have made them too hard to fold. I put this in a smaller bowl, covered it, and put it in the refrigerator.

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But now it is time for the broth. More ginger, but sliced this time and minced garlic.

Started with toasted sesame oil in the pan. Then added the garlic and ginger to cook for about 30 seconds. Then I added the two cartons of chicken broth and soy sauce. I brought it to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 minutes.

In another pot, I boiled the wontons.

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And here are cooked ones. I should not have let them pile like that. They of course, stuck to each other. So this is another logistics error I made. If you are only making two bowls of soup, then only boil 12 wontons.

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Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Tenders With Honey-Mustard Dip

This recipe is from Weight Watchers. I think it came out okay, but I did not have enough coating for the amount of chicken the recipe called for. The recipe calls for three different coatings – flour coating, egg coating, and pretzel coating.

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These are chicken breast tenderloin strips, but I think the recipe was looking for chicken strips of equal size. I was not able to find what I needed at the grocery store so I settled for this.

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Coating #1 – Flour with salt and pepper

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Coating #2 – Beaten egg

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Coating #3 – crushed pretzel. I did this step in the food processor. And even that took some effort.

After dipping each chicken piece in each of the coatings, they are placed on a pan with a wire rack and baked for 15 minutes at 450°F.

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But wait, there’s a sauce too. It is comprised of whole grain mustard (the best I could do was the Grey Poupon), mayonnaise (it was supposed to be light mayonnaise though), honey mustard, and some water.

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After mixing those four things, I have dipping sauce. I doubled it because it seems like it wasn’t enough for the amount of chicken that I ended up with.

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The Magic of Mole @ Las Cosas

I attended The Magic of Mole class yesterday morning at Las Cosas. Shawn has recently fallen in love with mole so it seemed like an opportune time for us to learn about making it.

Class description: Today we visit the wondrous Mexican town of Oaxaca and explore its most famous dish, mole. The slow simmering of chiles, spices, nuts and other ingredients creates a sauce that is almost magical in its depth of flavor! We will create a complete menu of Mexican goodies including: Sopa de Tortilla, Great Guacamole, Salsa Verde 2-Ways, Mole Negro, Mole Coloradito, Green Rice and for dessert, Tres Leches Cake. (Hands-On)

Per usual the menu items are split up among class members. Shawn and I worked on the green rice that would accompany the chicken with mole.

Green Rice

The rice was basically made in one pan, but there was a part that required a blender.

The ingredient tray – rice, oil, salt, cilantro, chicken broth, vegetable broth. I believe we had both parsley and cilantro, but it is hard for me to tell the difference between those without smelling them.

Chopping up the poblano peppers.

Chopping up the cilantro (or parsley). Shawn chopped one and I chopped the other.

We added some garlic and onion.

Poblano chiles, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and broth are put into the blender.

The blender is expending almost no effort to puree this.

And the puree is complete.

Toasting the rice in oil.

Added the puree.

Added the remaining broth.

After simmering uncovered, simmering covered, and letting sit covered, the rice is finally ready.

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The Other Menu Items

Sopa de Tortilla – Tomatoes, chicken stock, dried red chiles, garlic, cilantro, corn tortillas, vegetable oil, avocado, and queso fresco.

Great Guacamole – Hass avocados, lime juice, kosher salt, garlic, Roma tomato, onion, jalapeño, scallions, and cilantro.

Tomatillo Salsa – Tomatillos, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, jalapeño, and habanero sauce.

Mole Coloradito – Roma tomatoes, garlic, ancho chiles, pasilla chiles, vegetable oil, day-old bread, blanched almonds, sesame seeds, cloves, peppercorns, Mexican oregano, cinnamon, sugar, and vegetable stock.

Mole Verde – pepitas, tomatillos, chicken stock, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, Mexican oregano, romaine lettuce, garlic, olive oil, and kosher salt.

Tres Leches Cake – flour, baking powder, eggs, salt, sugar, vanilla extract, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, orange liquor, and confectioners sugar.

Oven-Ready Lasagna with Ground Beef and Barilla Traditional Sauce

This recipe is from Barilla. I followed one of theirs because I was trying out the oven-ready lasagna noodles for the first time. I was skeptical so I found a simple recipe on their site to follow. It was surprising to that this worked. I think the lasagna noodles cooked well. The total dish was fine too, but it could use more cheeses. Now that I believe the noodles will work, I will try other recipes that have more cheeses in them.

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I started with these ingredients. The recipe called for Barilla Traditional Sauce, but the Mushrooom one is my favorite so I swapped that. Also I got to use my own basil!

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Here is what the oven-ready lasagna sheets look like. They are about 6 1/2 in. by 3 1/2 in. The instructions says to lay three sheets in the pan. They, of course seem too small, but it assures you that the sheets will expand during cooking.

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First I browned the ground beef with some olive oil.

Then I added the two jars of sauce and some water along with salt and pepper.

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Next I put the first round of the sauce in the greased casserole dish.

Then I added the sheets. As you can see the sheets do not go all the way to the edge of the pan. And my pan is a little large than 13 x 9 anyway. I do not have an exact 13 x 9 pan anymore. I have one pan that was too small for this. And two that were a bit too large for this. I choose the one that was only a little too large.

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The layers consist of sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil.

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And you do this four times except no cheese (yet) on the top layer. Also I ran out of prepared basil at this point.

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After baking for 35 minutes, I put the final cheese layer on and put it in the oven for about 8 minutes to get it melted. The noodles did actually expand during the first bake!

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After the second bake, I let it cool for 10 minutes and then served it.

Note: I only tried these because seven weeks ago, I managed to burn my stomach area and both feet in my attempt to drain a pot full of boiling water containing lasagna noodles. I am almost finished healing from my first and second degree burns. I will boil noodles the normal way soon enough, but for now I am being cautious.