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Karela Achar Recipe (+Giveaway) Recipe

Karela Achar Recipe (+Giveaway)

12.14.11 by Jackie

Bitter melon (also known as bitter cucumber, bitter gourd or karela) is an acquired taste. That's a polite way of saying a lot of people dislike it. As the name implies, it is bitter, but when cooked properly, it can make a delicious dish. I learned this particular recipe from my husband Lulu's auntie. Sherin Auntie made achar using Indian bittermelons. What is achar you ask? Achar is to Indian cuisine what nuoc mam is to Vietnamese food. It's a popular, oil-packed Indian pickled condiment. We usually eat it with kichdi (Indian lentil rice) and raita (Indian yogurt condiment).

First, Sherin Auntie seeded the karela and cut them into small shreds. She decided to par-boil them so they'd be tender but this step is optional. She then fried them with Indian spices until it formed a chunky, thick paste and completed the process by sealing the mixture in a jar. The last bit of this recipe is time; you have to let the achar stand for a few days so the ingredients infuse and develop into a flavorful condiment. But I promise you it's so addictive, you'll keep asking for more rice so you can eat more achar.



Today’s giveaway is 4 bags each of Mary’s Gone Crackers 3 pretzel stick flavors.They come in Sea Salt, Chipotle Tomato and Curry. I got a chance to try the curry flavored “sticks & twigs” recently, and I can tell you they go really great with Cypress Grove Chevre. My father-in-law almost ate the entire pack along with the cheese, so I was lucky to get the few bites I did before they disappeared. The pretzels are earthy and the curry flavor really comes through. For a chance to win the pretzels, just enter today’s giveaway.

Make sure you're a fan of PhamFatale Facebook fan page and Mary's Gone Crackers, or follow @Phamfatalecom and tweet about this giveaway. To make it easy, you can just copy and paste this tweet if you’d like: "Mary's Gone Crackers #Giveaway from @Phamfatalecom and @GoneCrackers: http://bit.ly/sp4V7y".

Marys's Gone Crackers


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Pinquito Beans (+Giveaway) Recipe

Pinquito Beans (+Giveaway)

12.08.11 by Jackie

I'm hooked on pinquito beans. They're much more refined than the more ordinary pinto or black beans, and like all beans, they are a great source of protein. They're perfect as a side dish to a good ol' steak or  as a main course for vegetarians. 



I received Susie Q Brand's Red Gadget Box which includes her most popular products. It makes a handy gift for the holidays, ideal for toting around your favorite kitchen tools. I used Maria Valley Style Seasoning for grilling steaks and glazed them with Suzie Q's sherry citrus rib glaze. I cooked the pinquito beans included in the package the same manner that my husband's late grandma Baji taught me. I prepared them in a masala curry gravy with Indian spices. I finished the bean dish by adding a smoky flavor using a few California red oak grilling chips. There is also a jar of salsa inside the Red Gadget Box; just serve it as a starter along with tortilla chips.

Susie Q’s Brand is the original maker of artisan foods capturing the flavors of Santa Maria Style Barbeque. Even though it's winter time, you could cook everything indoors and experiment with grilling and barbeque skills. I had fun discovering the flavors and ingredients of the Santa Maria Valley, and if you want a chance to experience them yourself, just enter today's installment of the 25 Days of Giveaways for a chance to win. Susie Q's has also kindly extended a special offer to Pham Fatale readers - if you'd like to get a Susie Q product for yourself or to give as a gift, use promo code FATALE10 at www.susieqbrand.com for a 10% discount (valid till Christmas).

Make sure you're a fan of PhamFatale Facebook fan page and Susie Q Brand, or follow @Phamfatalecom and tweet about this giveaway. To make it easy, you can just copy and paste this tweet if you’d like: "Red Gadget Box #Giveaway from @Phamfatalecom and @susieqseasoning: http://bit.ly/sp4V7y".

Pinquito Bean Recipe with Picture


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French Green Beans with Baby Bella Mushrooms Recipe

This is the time of the year when haricots verts ("green beans" in English) are available everywhere. Don't be fooled by fancy-schmancy French names; the main difference from the regular kind is that these are thinner, more delicate green beans with a crisper texture. Either way, green beans are a great ally in the struggle to keep healthy (especially after days of eating heavy Thanksgiving food).

They're rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals; I think they're also a great side dish that makes you feel full without packing on the calories. I sautéed the French green beans with baby Bella mushrooms for added flavor and also incorporated caramelized onions, thyme, oregano and basil.
 

 


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How to Make a Basic Vinaigrette Recipe

How to Make a Basic Vinaigrette

11.08.11 by Jackie

I’ve often heard from readers that the vinaigrette I’ve posted id either too difficult or requires ingredients that are too expensive to purchase for only one dish. Well, fear not; the ingredients in vinaigrettes can be easily swapped out for whatever may be available in your pantry. The real key to easily creating delicious vinaigrettes is to apply the basic rules. Almost all of my vinaigrettes requires a few basic ingredients: an acid (vinegar, concentrated sour-tasting fruit juice, lemon juice), mustard (coarse grained, honey, horseradish, flavored mustard), a sweetener (very sweet concentrated juice, syrup, honey, sorghum), an oil (olive, sesame, walnut, pistachio, etc.), seasoning (salt & pepper) and a mix of herbs and spices (oregano, basil, shallots, pickled garlic, etc) of your choosing. The acidic ingredient and sweetener help balance the salad dressing. The lecithin in the mustard acts as binder and helps emulsify the oil into the mixture.

I used this blueprint to create a dressing for garlic pan-seared artichokes (I pre-cooked them) accompanied by button mushrooms, tomatoes and capers that I drizzled with lemon juice and extra-virgin oil. If you want to recreate this particular vinaigrette but don’t have an ingredient or two on hand, have fun with it! Vinaigrettes are very forgiving, making them perfect candidates for kitchen experimentation. And if you come up with something fabulous, please let me know!


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Butternut Squash Gnocchi Recipe Recipe

Butternut Squash Gnocchi Recipe

11.07.11 by Jackie

There are many new seasonal ingredients available at the market, but the one that really represents Thanksgiving season to me is butternut squash. The color of this versatile veggie embodies the fall and the flavor is sweet with a slightly nutty taste.


I love butternut squash in pasta dishes, so today I sautéed whole wheat gnocchi in butter and garlic, tossed in a molasses-roasted butternut squash and finished the gnocchi dish with store-bought butternut squash pasta sauce. This special sauce was the winner of the best pasta sauce at the New York Fancy Food Show in 2009. I received it from our friend Dave of DavesGourmet.com. This exquisite sauce is made with squash ripened in Oregon's Willamette Valley and contains fresh garlic, onions and roasted bell peppers. Dave's Gourmet is going to be part of almost $1,000-worth of giveaways to Pham Fatale readers in the month of December. I’ll introduce some of the wonderful products that await you over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!


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