Karen Schuld Photography: NYC Food Photographer

Sprouts in the Hood

Sprouts in the Hood
Exploring My Hood Through Food and Lifestyle Photography

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rice and Beans with Kale, Parsley and Olives

1.  Rice and Beans 2.  Kale, Parsley, and Olives

One of the staple foods Spanish-Caribbean cuisine is rice and beans.   Red, black, pinto and garbanzo beans are sold in every corner market in my uptown neighborhood.  Beans are healthy and make a great side dish or can be a meal in itself.

Today, I am going to prep some red beans and brown rice for a healthy, tasty, low cost meal.  I prefer using dried beans because they are more flavorful and lack the chemicals that you find in the canned.  To prep them just soak them overnight.  A pressure cooker is a very efficient way to cook beans but a pot with a lid will do.

 Preparing Beans:

1.    Clean, Rinse and Soak 1 cup of beans over night in cold water.  Rinse again.

1.  Brown Rice Blend 2.  Kale and Red Beans
1 cup brown rice
1 cup beans
2 cups liquid from beans plus added water
1 cup beans
Juice of one lime
5 leaves of chopped kale or other deep leafy green, chopped
! /4 cup Spanish olives, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tbsp of Salt
1 chili pepper, very finely chopped
1 onion, finally chopped
3 cloves garlic, finally chopped
Cooking Your Beans in a Pressure Cooker:

1.  In a pressure cooker, combine 1 part beans to 3 parts water,
2.  Cook on high heat until you hear the whistle, then turn heat to low and cook for 13 minutes
3.  Turn heat off and let beans sit in covered pressure cooker for around 15  minutes.
4.  Finally, take off the lid. The beans should get soft but not loose their shape.

Combine All ingredients together:

  1.  Wash brown rice, rinse and strain.
  2.  Saute your onions, garlic, chili and cumin.
   3.   Place in large pot with beans and their water.  Add cold water so rice and beans are    covered in 2 inches of water.
  4.  Stir in beans and their liquid. (there should be 2 cup liquid in pot}.
  5.  Add kale, parsley olives the sauteed onions, garlic, cumin and chili pepper, salt and lime juice to rice and beans.
  6.  Cover pot and cook until the rice has absorbed all the liquid (around 40 minutes).
  7.  Let rice and beans mixture sit covered for 10 minutes or so.
  8,  Serve.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

An Afternoon in Calle Ocho, Miami

When visiting South Beach, I love to visit Calle Ocho "Little Havana" because of the Cuban flavor and local charm.   One of my favorite Cuban markets is "Los Pinarenos Fruteria".  It is a family owned, open air, market on 1334 SW 8th St Miami and 13th Avenue.  Here you can sit and enjoy a Cuban coffee or a glass of
freshly squeezed juice as well as shop for some flowers, fruit and/or vegetables.

Los Pinarenos Fruteria
Local Honey at Los Pinarenos Fruteria

Street Corner

Cutting Open a Coconut

Fresh Fruit

Owner:  Mrs. Hernandez

Espresso Machine for Cuban Coffee

Fresh Coconutt

Peeling a Mango

Chopped Fresh Fruit

Front of Los Pinarenos Fruteria

Here are some photographs of a local Cuban restaurant in Calle Ocho, El Pub Restaurant, where you can experience authentic Cuban cuisine.  I could not resist an order of frijoles negro, tostones, and a Cuban sandwich.

Me with the Rooser in Front of El Pubs

El Pub's Menu

My Friend Kim at El Pubs

Counter at El Pubs

Picante Sauce at El Pubs

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tarka Dal Recipe

Recipe for Tarka Dal:

Variety of Dals at Market in Old Delhi  "Khari Baoli"

Red Lentils/Dal, Chana Beans/Dal, Mong Beans/Dal from Patels
Combining your lentils, beans and/or split peas can give your dal a special flavor.

List of Ingredients for the Dal:

1/3 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
1/3 cup split garbanzo bean (chana dal)
1/3 cup Split yellow mung beans (mong dal)
3 cups of water
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons turmeric

List of Ingredients for the Massala mixture:
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 chillies, roughly chopped
3 cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated ginger or ginger paste
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, roasted 
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion
1/3 cup crushed tomatoes (fresh in season or canned)
3 tablespoons oil

List of Ingredients for the Tarka (Tempered Spices):

1 small onion,
1-2 cloves garlic
4 chilies, fresh or dried
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed
2 tablespoons coconut, grated
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter

Step # 1:  Prepare your legumes by soaking them in water for a couple of hours and then cooking them in a pressure cooker with water, turmeric and salt.   Cook on high heat until the pressure cooker whistles, then cook for 12 minutes on low heat.  (You can use a pot, but cooking time increases to an hour or so). After 12 minutes, turn off your stove and let your dal mixture sit in the covered pressure cooker for 30 minutes.  Your dal will have a pureed consistency.  You might want to add a little water if it becomes too thick.

Step #2:  In a skillet, prepare your massala mixture by tempering the onion, garlic, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, chillies and cardamom seeds in oil.  Cook these ingredients until the oil starts to separate from this spice mixture.  Add the tomatoes and coriander then cook and toss until ingredients looks like a tomato paste.   Add a little of the lentil water at the end to thin out the mixture to your desired consistency. 

Adding Tomatoes to the Massala
Mixing Together Tomatoes and Coriander
Mixing Together All Massala Ingredients so Flavors Merge Together

Step #3:  Open up the pressure cooker and add your massala to the dal mixture, let simmer for around 30 minutes or so in the uncovered pressure cooker.  Add some water to get the mixture to your desired consistency and then stir every 5 minutes.

Step #4:  This final step in preparing the tarka right before your ready to serve.  Add chillies cumin, cardamom, brown sugar and salt into the hot skillet coated with the bubbling butter or gee. Then add finely chopped onion and garlic while tossing ingredients until lightly brown on high heat.  When the spices start crackling and an amazing aroma fills the air, stir in the grated coconut then turn off the heat.

Step #5:  Place the dal in a serving bowl, garnish with the sizzling hot tarka and some chopped coriander.  Your guests will be very impressed. They might even ask you for this recipe.


Cold Winter's day

A bowl of dal is a comfort food.  It brings warmth to a cold day, after a snowstorm, in NYC.   My friends are always asking me for this mouth-watering recipe.

A Delicious and Comforting Bowl of Dal
Dal is a split pea, lentil or bean dish cooked in a massala “spice” mixture, which creates an aromatic entre full of complex and addicting flavors.  It took me 3 trips to India to figure out how to make this special dish.   The key to making a basic North Indian dal is in how you layer spices and other ingredients.  The taste of one of my favorite dals, Tarka dal, is particularly dependent on how you layer.

Close-up of Tarka "Tempering Mixture" on Dal

The tarka is a garnish made by tempering your favorite spices in a skillet smoldering with piping hot butter or ghee.

 "Tempering" is a process where your add your favorite spices, herbs and other flavors ,one at a time, to smoking hot oil, butter, or ghee.  The oil will extract and enhance all of the sharp, spicy and sweet flavors of your selected ingredients.
Tarka:  Spices, Herbs, Onions Being Flash Cooked in Butter

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Frittata with Purple Sweet Potato

Frittata with Purple Sweet Potato
You can buy purple sweet potatoes in the vegetable markets in Chinatown, NYC.  Purple sweet potatoes get very crunch when baking them.   Here, I used them to substitute regular potatoes in my frittata.  They add nice color and texture to this recipe.


5 eggs
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 medium sweet potato, sliced
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 cup sunflower seeds, roasted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper


1.  On medium heat, saute onions and sweet potatoes in an 8 inch skillet with olive oil.
2.  Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl. Stir in the milk, grated cheese, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.
3.  Add egg and filling mixture to skillet.
4.  Cover skillet and let cook for 10 minutes on low heat.
5.  When mixture is almost firm, place under broiler until top is lightly browned.
6.  Let sit for 10 - 15 minutes.
7.  Loosen frittata from pan, then flip frittata on a platter.
8.  Garnish with roasted sunflower seeds.
9.  Serve warm or cold.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Yogurt

This simple recipe can be served as a healthy appetizer or meal.  It includes sweet (sweet potato), spicy (chipotle peppers) and cool (Greek yogurt) flavors that make a perfect taste combination.   I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients for Baked Potato Fries:

Sweet Potatoes, cut lengthwise
Oil, to coat
Smoked chipotle peppers, dried and ground
Sea Salt

Ingredients for topping:

Plain Greek yogurt
Roasted pepitas "sunflower seeds"


Wash and slice sweet potato length wise.
Coat with oil.
Sprinkle on the sea salt and ground chipotle peppers.
On a baking sheet, roast sliced potatoes with skin at 400 degrees.
Turn slices around ever 5 minutes or so until browned on all sides.
Garnish with yogurt and pepitas "sunflower seeds."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

White Sweet Potatoes "Batatas"

Mashed Batatas, White Sweet Potato
The white sweet potato, referred to as the "Batata" in my neighborhood, can be found at most Caribbean and Asian markets.  Here is a recipe that is unique and simple to prepare.

Mashed Batatas


2 medium sized sweet potatoes, white variety
1/4 of coconut or low fat milk
1 Lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon of lemon rind
1 teaspoon cardamon (optional)


1.  Cook whole potatoes in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes or cut up into pieces and boil until soft.
2.  Peel skin off with your hands while rinsing with cold water.
3.  Place in a mixing bowl.
3.  Add the coconut or milk, lemon juice, lemon rind, and cardamon to the bowl.
4.  With a hand held blender, mix all of the ingredients together, until fluffy.
5.  Serve

Sweet Potatoes in a Variety of Colors

Here is a picture of capturing the sweet potato and their range of colors.  As they are similar in their tapered shape and texture, they vary dramatically in color and  slightly in flavor.

Red/White, Brown/Purple and Orange Colored  Sweet Potatoes

Yellow/Brown Sweet Potato from Farmers Market