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Monday, February 11, 2008

Tamarind and blood oranges

I felt like trying some new recipes, and H&D (daughter and son-in-law) were willing guinea pigs. The main event was a Vietnamese ground lamb dish - small, thin, highly spiced burgers grilled at the last minute and served over a salad of watercress, cilantro, mint, basil, and scallions. We had basmati rice alongside. The dressing, a delicious, thick and unusual tamarind vinaigrette, pulled the whole thing together. The hardest part was finding the tamarind paste, which I just KNEW I had somewhere or other and finally found, in among the extracts (vanilla, etc) - as good a place as any, if only I'd remembered.

The recipe was from Cindy Pawlcyn's newest cookbook, Big Small Plates and you can find it by following the link, then choosing "search inside" and using "tamarind" as your search term. Now that I get the idea I think I might try other versions. I'm sure, for example, that the meat could be chicken, beef, or even pork. And the salad could include thin cucumber half moons and shredded carrots as additions or substitutions. The tamarind vinaigrette is a 2-second cinch to make, once you find the tamarind paste.

I also made a blood orange sorbet from David Lebovitz . The blood oranges I found at Whole Foods were thicker skinned and a little less juicy than I expected for the weight, but the color was spectacular, and it was a nice lead-in to the family favorite cake - Mocha Torte - a coffee sponge with coffee infused whipped cream filling and topping. Yes, there was a birthday being celebrated.


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