tevere: Jihae, solemn with hint of smile (Default)
[personal profile] tevere
The Boy's little brother got laid off and decided to come up for an impromptu visit, which is-- well, it's nice to see him, but we also have a small apartment and he's a large, energetically noisy young man who takes up a lot of physical and psychic space. Despite my subtle attempts to get him out of the house ("I think it would be better for me the baby if you went out now"), he's proved remarkably difficult to dislodge. I'm finding it all a bit unsatisfactory, as I get resentful about using my precious half-hour blocks of free time to socialise when I could be, you know, reading or writing or just enjoying being alone.

Last night, trying to decide what to cook for dinner, I handed him my favourite cookbook (Celia Brooks Brown's World Vegetarian Classics) and told him to pick a recipe, any recipe. His pick? Khis soko, a mushroom and egg dish from the previously unexplored Georgian section of the book. As eggs and mushrooms do not a full meal make for two large men and a breastfeeding woman, I paired it with lobio nigozit (kidney beans in a kind of walnut pesto) on a bulgar wheat pilaf, with pomegranate seeds and sour cream. The combination was terrific: sweet and savoury, nutty and substantial against the fresh crunch of fruit and the tartness of sour cream. I had the leftovers for breakfast with plain Greek yoghurt, which was possibly even better (I find sour cream a bit stodgy for my tastes, and not sour enough). Three dishes seems a lot for a weeknight, but after a bit of prep it came together quickly. If I didn't have a guest, I think plain brown rice would've been easier and gone just as well. Given that [personal profile] qian was asking recently for vegetarian recipes, and Georgian cuisine isn't widely represented in the Western foodie blogosphere, I thought I'd share:

Khis Soko (Mushrooms with Herbed Eggs)

350g/12oz mixed wild mushrooms*
3 eggs, beaten
2T chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1T chopped fresh mint
2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
30g/1oz/2T butter

(*I used a combination of white, king oyster, enoki, shiitake and shimeji, which was probably not what the Georgians envisaged, but worked well enough. I'm sure white mushrooms alone would be fine.)

Chop mushrooms finely.

Beat eggs, herbs and spring onions together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Increase the heat to high and add the mushrooms. Saute until just wilted and glossy but stop before they release too much liquid. Pour in the egg mixture and stir. Cook just until it clings to the mushrooms, about 1 minute.

Lobio Nigozit (Red Beans and Walnuts)

1T oil
1 medium onion, chopped
50g/2oz/0.5cup walnuts
Handful fresh parsley leaves
Handful fresh coriander leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2t dried thyme
1 small garlic clove
1/8t ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
1/2t dried chilli (red pepper) flakes
Sea salt
2 x 400g/14oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4T pomegranate molasses plus 4T water*
2T fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)

(*I used the substitution of 2T balsamic vinegar mixed with 1t caster sugar and 4T water)

Fry the onion in the oil over low heat until soft and translucent.

In a food processor or mortar, grind together the walnuts, herbs, garlic, spices and salt to taste, until a coarse paste results.

Stir the beans, paste, pomegranate molasses and water into the pan and stir through until heated. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chopped coriander.

Bulgar Pilaf

280g/10.5oz/1.75cups coarse bulgar wheat
2T olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2t dried basil
1/2t fresh chopped or dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
500ml/16floz/2cups hot water

To garnish (optional)
2T pine nuts
2T finely chopped fresh coriander
2T finely chopped fresh parsley

Place the bulgar in a fine sieve and rinse it under cold running water until the water runs clear. Leave to drain.

In a suacepan with a lid over medium heat, add the oil. Add the onion and fry until golden. Add the drained bulgar, dried herbs and salt and pepper. Fry for 2 minutes, then stir in the water. Bring to the boil, cover and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender.

Stir through with optional garnishes.
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