Cooks Corner

Indian dinner series returns to Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove

Shrimp masala: As prepared by executive chef Ramesh Kaduru.
Shrimp masala: As prepared by executive chef Ramesh Kaduru. Ritz-Carlton

This lushly seasoned shrimp masala is from executive chef Ramesh Kaduru of the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove.

Kaduru once again is highlighting the food and culture of his native India for the month of October at Bizcaya, the resort’s private dining room. Each week there will be a five-course chef’s dinner ($89 a person) with Kaduru providing an explanation of each dish.

For Diwali, the ancient Hindu festival of lights, a family-style dinner ($69 for adults) will be served from 7:30 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 23.

On Oct. 26, Kaduru will demonstrate how to prepare lassi plus an appetizer and entrée, with ample tastings ($45). There is limited availability for all of the events, and reservations are required: 305-644-4680.

Casserole Bread

Q. Why didn’t you put Dilly Casserole Bread from the 1960 Pillsbury Bake-Off on your list of iconic Bake-Off recipes? My mom made it just about every Friday night when I was a teenager, to serve with homemade tomato or split pea soup.

I have been making it for at least 30 years. It is just a great-tasting bread that I am sure people would like to be reminded about, or try for the first time. I am a longtime collector of clippings from your column and of Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbooks. I actually have the booklets from every year but the first; I’ve been outbid many times trying to get that one online.

Lisa Holmes

A. I agree that this is a delicious bread — and easy enough that even people who have never made a yeast bread will have no trouble preparing. I’m glad you reminded me of this one — like you, I remember my mother making it back in the 1960s. I tried fresh dill this time around, and it was even better than I remembered.

Baguette Station

Q. I've been reading and enjoying your column for ages. In the late 1980s, my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I loved eating at a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale called Baguette Station. It was run by two women, who made the most extraordinary eggplant sandwich. I recall it had roasted or grilled eggplant, olive oil and basil.

My husband and I will be celebrating our 24 wedding anniversary this month, and I’d love to surprise him by making that sandwich for him. Any chance you could help me uncover that recipe?

Hilary

A. We can hope someone connected to the restaurant can provide some insight. In the meantime, here is a favorite recipe you could substitute. It’s from my late father, who had an Italian bread bakery and always served this grand sandwich on fresh-from-the-oven toasted hoagie rolls. The “secret” ingredient was his aioli, which he made from basic jar mayonnaise.

Sleuth’s Corner

In the late 1980s or early 1990s I cut a recipe from a magazine to make an easy pumpkin ice cream pie. I made it for Thanksgiving dinner and everyone was amazed at how good it was, since I was known for my baking disasters.

My brother recently remembered that pie and asked me to make it again this Thanksgiving, the first time our family will be all together in years. I hope someone has that recipe. I know it was a teen magazine because that is all I read at the time.

Susan B.

Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172.

Main dish

Roasted Eggplant Sandwich

3/4 cup mayonnaise

3 or 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, optional

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 large eggplant

4 Italian or Cubanelle peppers, split in half

1/4 cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced

4 Italian hoagie rolls, or 1 long baguette cut in 4 lengths

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

Make the aioli: Mix mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice and crushed pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the eggplant lengthwise 1/2 inch thick. Salt and place in a colander while the aioli is chilling. Mix together the olive oil and garlic, salt and pepper. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place wire rack on a half sheet pan or cookie sheet with sides. Coat rack with vegetable oil spray. Place eggplant slices and peppers in a single layer on the rack. Brush the vegetables liberally with the olive oil mixture. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Remove racks with vegetables from the oven. Slice the rolls or bread and brush any remaining olive oil on the cut sides. Place cut-side down in the same pan you used for roasting the vegetables, smushing about to pick up any drippings. Return to oven to crisp.

To serve: Spread aioli on the crisped bread. Add the warm eggplants and peppers, sprinkle with the basil leaves, and enjoy. Makes 4 servings (you will have leftover aioli for another use).

Per serving: 488 calories, 32 g fat (4.8 g saturated, 13.4 g monounsaturated), 9 mg cholesterol, 9 g protein, 43.6 g carbohydrate, 5.5 g fiber, 466 mg sodium.

Source: Adapted by Linda Cicero for Cook’s Corner.

Side dish

Dilly Casserole Bread

2 to 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour, divided

2 tablespoons sugar

2 to 3 teaspoons dried minced onion

2 teaspoons dill seed (or 1/4 cup fresh dill)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 envelope active dry yeast

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon margarine or butter

1 cup small curd creamed cottage cheese

1 egg

2 teaspoons margarine or butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, optional

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, onion, dill seed, 1 teaspoon salt, baking soda and yeast; mix well. In a small saucepan, heat water, 1 tablespoon margarine and cottage cheese until very warm (120 to 130 degrees). Add warm liquid and egg to flour mixture; blend at low speed until moistened. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in remaining 1 cup flour, then enough more to form a stiff batter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap coated with margarine or cooking oil spray and then a clean cloth towel. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.

Generously grease 1 1/2 or 2-quart casserole. Stir down batter to remove all air bubbles. Turn into greased casserole. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover dough. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Check after 25 minutes and if necessary, cover with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from casserole; place on wire rack. Brush loaf with melted margarine; sprinkle with coarse salt. Cool 15 minutes. Makes 18 slices.

Per serving: 100 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated, 0.7 g monounsaturated), 15 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 16 mg sodium.

Source: Adapted by Linda Cicero from a Pillsbury Bake-Off recipe by Leona Schnuelle.

Main dish

Ramesh Kaduru’s Masala Shrimp

1 pound shrimp (16 to 20 per pound size)

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon garam masala spice blend

4 curry leaves

1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium onion, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

1 medium tomato, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup green beans, blanched and sliced

Peel and devein the shrimp. Mix together the yogurt and garam masala. Add the shrimp and marinate 1 hour in refrigerator.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, toast the curry leaves and black mustard seeds until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the oil, chopped onions, ginger and garlic and sauté until golden brown. Add the tomatoes and cook about 7 minutes, until tomatoes have given off most of their juices. Stir in the remaining spices and cream. Add shrimp and the yogurt to the pan, cook 2 minutes or until the shrimp are just pinked through.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and sprinkle with cilantro. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with green beans and serve with basmati rice and naan. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 207 calories, 10.7 g fat (4.3 g saturated, 2.9 g monounsaturated), 164 mg cholesterol, 18 g protein, 9.6 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fiber, 663 mg sodium.

Source: Adapted from a recipe by Ramesh Kaduru.

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