Thursday, May 14, 2020

Covid Cafe: Indian Five-Spice Blend and Blue Cheese Dressing

Hello chefs of Covid Cafe. It's a rainy day here, hurrying spring along and intensifying the vibrancy of the green everywhere. Today we're featuring a couple of flavorful approaches you might find delicious during the days of Covid (and beyond).

Art's new weather station
(too much information?)

First, Bruce checks in with a versatile Indian spice blend...

Bruce writes: This is really good on most anything. Fenugreek has the taste of maple syrup. I think it’s the artificial maple flavor in fake maple syrup.  This spice blend is a great combination. You can probably buy it ready-made, although it will be wildly overpriced. If you like Indian flavors go ahead and buy all the ingredients in bulk as they're used in many different spice blends.
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon nigella seeds (also called black cumin or kalonji)
1½ teaspoons fenugreek seeds 
--Combine the seeds in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.
--Depending on what kind of dish you make with these seeds, they can either be fried briefly in oil or dry roasted to coax out their rich flavors.

I thought this was an oriole 
but now I'm not so sure

I've been a lifelong devotee of blue cheese dressing, but the mayo component doesn't appeal. One I found this David Liebovitz recipe, I never looked back.  It is perfect in every way and is easy to thin out or bulk up. For years I've used a thicker version as a dip for raw vegetables.

We put this dressing on everything, including tossed into yesterday's raw slaw, a melange of cabbage, apples, and onions.

David Liebovitz's Blue Cheese Dressing
If you can’t get buttermilk (ed. note--he's in France, where buttermilk is apparently scarce. I use kefir or buttermilk), mix one part milk (whole or lowfat) with one part plain yogurt (regular or lowfat) to approximate the taste. 
Any kind of blue cheese, domestic or imported, should work well. The touch of red wine vinegar gives the dressing a little extra acidity, and if you don’t mind the faint pink color, you can use that in place of the lemon juice or white wine vinegar. I like chunks of cheese in the dressing but if you want it smooth, feel free to run it through the blender or food processor.
4 ounces (115g) blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
a few turns freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1/4 cup (60g) sour cream, regular or lowfat
1/4 cup (60ml) buttermilk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
a few drops of red wine vinegar
1. In a medium bowl, mash the blue cheese with the salt and pepper with the back of a fork until the pieces of cheese are finely broken up.
2. Stir in the chives, sour cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice or wine vinegar until well mixed.
Wedge salad via DL website

Yo-Yo Ma
Going Home

Post-grocery first meal:
sole, shiitake, asparagus, leeks

Story time with the Obamas


April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night—

And I love the rain.

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