Vegetable Moussaka

Vegetable Moussaka

This casserole is a celebration of vegetables! Look at the list of ingredients. Their variety is stunning! That’s why the complexity of this dish flavors conquers the taste buds of vegetarians and carnivores alike. Just like any other layered dish, benefits from being cooked in advance, set in a refrigerator for a few hours and reheated portioned right before serving. It helps to develop flavors and keep colorful layers presentable.

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Stuffed and Smoked Hatch Peppers

Angus Beef Stuffed Smoked Hatch

Green chile peppers are known for their tough skin. They are usually charred to peeled it away. Seeds and membranes should also be removed. Only then peppers are ready for using them in final dishes. Unfortunately, charred peppers often loose their shape and wholeness and can’t be used for stuffing with raw ingredients. In Nuevo Tex-Mex cookbook, David Garrido and Robb Walsh mention another traditional way to prep chili peppers for stuffing — softening them in hot water for 20 minutes. Some cooks go even further by adding some piloncillo (raw cane sugar), apple cider vinegar, and salt to make a hot brine for peppers. Precooking peppers in salty and acidic water helps to preserve color, lowers heat level, and makes it easier to clean seeds and membranes.

In Hatch cooking classes, we stuffed Hatch peppers with carnitas and roasted them to serve with green Mexican rice. Stuffing them with lean Angus beef and hot smoking with hickory chips seamed the next obvious step. Delicious!

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Grin for Green! Pastel de Calabaza

Pastel de Calabaza

Every time I taste this delicate and elegant dessert I can’t believe it is made of ordinary zucchini. Look at the color! The younger and smaller zucchinis you use, the higher the ratio of dark green skin and the more vivid green your soufflé is. Be patient. Just like other soufflés, this one needs to be cooled very slowly. You have to give it a lot of time to set by reducing the temperature gradually and by keeping it refrigerated for a few hours before reheating and serving.

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