Thursday, June 25, 2020

Peach Salad w/Oil-free Creamy Vinaigrette

Peach Salad w/Oil-free Creamy Vinaigrette is a refreshing and luscious salad when the fragrant and juicy peaches ripen in the summer. The creamy vinaigrette pairs perfectly with the sweet peaches, buttery avocados and the fresh greens. 

Oil-free Creamy Vinaigrette is a snap to prepare and is delicious on any salad. The wholesome and mild tasting oatmeal and hemp hearts help make it creamy. This dressing is so good that we love to make daily salads just to enjoy it! The vianigrette is oil, gluten, and dairy free.

Oil-free Creamy Vinaigrette maybe prepared ahead and will stay fresh for 1 week. Use this dressing to season your favorite salads.

Spinach, Arugula, Butter/Green/Red Leaf Lettuces, Curly or Belgian Endive, etc all work well as salad greens. Readily available Spring mix consisting of baby greens is another easy option.

4 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

Vinaigrette
1/4 cup Oatmeal
1/4 cup Hemp Hearts
1 medium Shallot
2 cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Date OR 1 tsp Maple Syrup
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Water
1-2 pinches Dried Italian herbs

Salad
4 large handfuls of Salad greens
1 Carrot, shredded
1-2 large ripe Peaches, sliced
1 ripe Avocado, sliced
1 small handful fresh Basil/Mint leaves, cut into chiffonade

METHOD:

Combine all the ingredients (except the dried herbs) for the vinaigrette in the blender jar and blitz until creamy and smooth. Pour into a clean jar. Add a tablespoon or two of  water to the blender jar to gather up all the dressing clinging to it. Add to the jar along with the dried herbs. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge.

Combine salad greens and carrots in a bowl when ready to eat. Divide among 4 bowls.

Arrange the peach and avocado slices on top. Drizzle the dressing over the salad.Sprinkethe basil/mint on top and serve immediately.

Enjoy!!



Monday, June 22, 2020

Easy & Tasty Zucchini Kimchi


Zucchini Kimchi
 Easy Zucchini Kimchi is exactly that and tasty as can be. This is a fantastic recipe for a beginner's first foray into kimchi making; it goes together in minutes and the results are very impressive. Another great way to enjoy the abundant harvest especially if you grow these generous veggies or know someone who does! The tasty kimchi maybe served with any meal that needs a flavorful side.

We love fresh small batches of kimchi. I slice and salt the zucchini while preparing a meal or cooking. When the rest of the work is done, it takes a couple of minutes to finish the kimchi.

This recipe is gluten and dairy free; and oil free too if the sesame oil is not used.

Once you start making and enjoying this kimchi, you will find many ways to enjoy every morsel. I love to pile them on my avocado or peanut butter toast for a lovely savory breakfast, brunch or snack! You may like to double the recipe because it disappears very fast!

NOTES:

If Korean red pepper is not available, use about 1/4 tsp Cayenne or more to taste.

If you don't like ginger or green onions, they maybe left out. 

2-3 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 large Zucchini
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 small Onion, thinly sliced 
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 thin slices fresh Ginger, minced (optional)
1-2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp - 1 Tbsp ground Korean Red Pepper
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1/2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil (optional)
1 tsp toasted Sesame Seeds

METHOD:

Cut each zucchini lengthwise and then slice crosswise into half moons. Place zucchini in a large bowl and add in salt. Shake and stir until all zucchini pieces are  coated with salt. Let sit for approximately 25 - 30 minutes until zucchini gets wilted slightly. 

Press the zucchini firmly but gently without squeezing or breaking them to remove all the moisture; but doesn't have to be completely dry. Taste one piece to check for saltiness; if it is too salty, swirl with a little fresh water and drain thoroughly again. Blot dry with paper towels and place into large clean and dry bowl.

Add all remaining ingredients except the oil if using and the sesame seeds and stir until well to coat thoroughly.

Yay! You just made KIMCHI!

Place the kimchi in a clean, dry, sterile jar and cover with an airtight lid.

Although the kimchi is delicious to enjoy immediately, it is even better if it is allowed to ferment one or two days. To ferment, leave the jar on the counter. Shake or stir daily with a clean spoon to mix well and push all the veggies down so the liquid coats everything.  After one or two days, put kimchi in the fridge. 

Serve the fresh kimchi right away or wait one or two days. Drizzle with the sesame oil if using and sprinkle the sesame seeds just before serving. Delicious served with rice, other grains, or any way you like.

Enjoy!!
Zucchini Kimchi

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Chopped Salad With Non-Dairy Raita Dressing

Simple yet luscious Chopped Salad With Non-Dairy Raita Dressing came into being when I wanted a salad to coordinate with an Indian themed meal. The salad turned out fabulous with requests for more!
Chopped Salad With Raita Dressing
Chopped Salad With Non-Dairy Raita Dressing is a wonderful recipe good and good for you with all the pro- and pre- biotic components. The radishes and grapes add spicy crunch and cool sweetness to this wonderful and satisfying salad.

The dressing and salad (without the tomatoes) maybe prepared a day ahead and reserved in the fridge separately. Add the tomatoes and the dressing to the salad just before serving.

NOTES:

Watermelon instead of or in addition to the grapes is wonderful in this salad especially on a warm day or evening.

Spinach or other greens maybe used instead of the romaine lettuce.

4 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

Raita Dressing
1/4 cup Raw Cashews, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
1/2 cup thick non-dairy Plain Yogurt
1-2 pinches Salt
1 juicy Lime, juiced
1/2 small Red Onion, finely chopped
1 small Zucchini, shredded
2 Tbsp Fresh Coriander/Cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
1 tiny pinch Asafetida
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, finely grated
1/2 - 1 Jalapeño/Serrano Chile, cored and finely minced
2 stem fresh Curry Leaves, minced

Salad
1 Romaine heart, finely sliced
1-2 Persian type Cucumbers or 1/2 Hothouse cuke, diced
1 large Carrot, shredded
1-2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
6-8 sprigs fresh Mint
6-8 Sprigs fresh Coriander/Cilantro
1 generous Handful Roasted Cashews, coarsely chopped
1 large handful Seedless Red or Black Grapes, halved
Fresh Radish Slices (optional)

METHOD:

Raita Dressing:

Blend together the cashews, yogurt and lime juice until smooth. Spoon out the yogurt mixture into a bowl; sluice the blender with a couple of tablespoons of water to gather all of the yogurt mixture and add to the bowl.

Heat a small pan and add oil. Add the mustard seeds and cook on low heat until the seeds begin to pop. Stir in the asafetida, ginger, chile, and curry leaves and cook for a few seconds until the chiles trun bright green and soften. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute or two. Add the spiced chile mixture to the cashew-yogurt mixture in the bowl along with the onions, zucchini, coriander/cilantro, and a pinch or two of salt. Stir well, taste, and adjust seasonings.

Store the Raita Dressing in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.

Salad:

Combine the lettuce, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, and herbs in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Assembly:

Check the dressing; if it is too thick, add a little non-dairy milk or water a teaspoon at a time to get the right consistency. Adjust the seasonings if necessary with salt and lime juice.

Divide the salad among 4 bowls/plates, drizzle with dressing, sprinkle the cashews, a few grapes and slices of radish on top.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!!


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Simple and Delicious Quick Zucchini/Yellow Squash Sauté

Simple and Delicious Zucchini/Yellow Squash is a quick side dish to accompany any meal. Although fine with any meal, it is particularly wonderful served as part of Indian, Chinese, Korean type meals with warm rice, quinoa, or other grains. The sesame adds a lovely nutty crunch. Since this is a veggie dish, it is naturally gluten/dairy free and oil-free as well.

Enjoy with warm cooked rice/grains, roti or other flatbreads and dal/bean dishes such as Simple Dal, Lemony Dal, Sambar, Chole, one of the fresh veggie dishes like Raita, Salad, etc.

Delicious with warm cooked rice or other grains and with other side dishes or simply put the zucchini on top of the rice along with some sautéed tofu. 

NOTES: 

A combination of zucchini and yellow squash maybe used or only one type of veggie. 

If you like the Zucchini/Yellow Squash on the dry side without a lot of liquid, sprinkle the cut veggies with a pinch of salt and set aside until the rest of the veggies are prepared. Just before cooking, press and drain any accumulated liquid and proceed with the recipe.

Other sweet veggies like Summer or Chayote Squash also maybe prepared this way.

4 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 cloves Garlic, chopped (optional)
1/2 small Onion, thinly sliced
4-5 medium Zucchini/Yellow Squash
1 generous pinch Turmeric
Salt/Tamari, to taste
1/8 -1 tsp Ground Red Pepper (cayenne)
2-3 Green Onions, sliced
A small handful fresh Coriander/Cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp Roasted Sesame Seeds for garnish

METHOD:

Cut zucchinis/yellow squash in half or quarters lengthwise and cut into coin thick slices crosswise. If using other squashes, cut them into bite sized pieces. See note for salting the veggies for a drier result.

Place all ingredients in a wok or large skillet except sesame seeds, green onions and Cilantro.

Turn the heat up to medium high heat and stir fry for about 4-5 minutes, or until veggies are hot and done to your liking. They taste best if they still retain a bit of firmness and a little crunch. 

If the veggies were not salted and drained, there maybe some juices collected in the bottom of the wok/skillet and that is perfectly fine. If you try to evaporate the liquid, the veggies will get overcooked and turn mushy. Mushy = Not Tasty!

Turn out onto a serving plate, garnish with green onions, sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Palak Kadhi (Spinach & Besan (Chickpea flour) Non-dairy Curry)

Palak Kadhi, Spinach & Besan (Chickpea flour) Non-dairy Curry, is an easy and delicious recipe that is also naturally gluten free. I have veganized it by fermenting the besan mixture overnight thus eliminating the necessity for yogurt. But if you have old plain, unsweetened, non-dairy yogurt you want to use up on hand, about 1 cup of the yogurt maybe stirred in at the end. The final seasoned oil based on Hema's suggestions is what makes this kadhi so exceptionally tasty! I added the smoked paprika to the seasoned oil to take the flavor to another level.

Frozen spinach makes it very quick and easy to prepare this Palak Kadhi (Spinach Curry); one large bunch of fresh spinach maybe used instead of the frozen spinach if you prefer. This kadhi is similar to Non-Dairy Kadhi which has a different flavor profile and no spinach.

NOTES:

Use the larger amount of the besan (chickpea flour) for thicker curry.

Use higher amounts of the spices for the seasoned oil if you like the kadhi spicy; the lower amounts result in a mild kadhi. Increase the spices for spicier kadhi.

For extra tanginess, a little lime or lemon juice maybe added before serving.

Traditionally the kadhi is served with cooked rice (the classic combination is known as "kadhi-chawal") but kadhi maybe served with other grains or roti if desired.

4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

2-4 Tbsp Besan (chickpea flour)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1-2 dried Red Chiles
8 oz frozen Spinach

Seasoned Chile Oil
1 tsp oil
1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground Red Pepper (cayenne)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/8 - 1/4 tsp Asafetida

METHOD:

Combine besan, turmeric, 1 tsp salt and 1 cup of water in a clean jar. No worries if there are some lumps; they dissolve after soaking. Keep the besan mixture at room temperature preferrably overnight or at least 8 hours.

Cook the spinach and if it is coarsely chopped, use a food processor, blender, or a sharp knife to finely chop it.

Heat a 2-3 quart (liter) pan and add the cumin, mustard, and fenugreek seeds along with the chiles. Shake and swirl the spices for about a minute or so until the spices darken and mustard pops.

Whisk the besan slurry thoroughly and stir it into the pot; add another cup of water to the jar, stir to gather any besan left in and pour into the pot.

Bring to a boil while stirring/whisking often, reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the spinach and mix well. Add a little boiling water if you like to thin the kadhi. Remove the kadhi from heat.

Heat the oil in a small pan and add the spices; swirl or stir until spices are toasty and deepen in color slightly but do not burn.

Pour the seasoned oil over the top of the curry and immediately cover. Allow the kadhi to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Taste the kadhi and adjust the seasonings. Remove and discard the whole red chiles so no one chews on them inadvertently.

Serve the Palak Kadhi (Spinach & Non-dairy Curry) hot over warm rice or other grains.

Enjoy!!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Frijoles Negros (The Best Ever Seasoned Black Beans)

Frijoles Negros or Seasoned Black Beans are amazingly delicious; just a handful of ingredients produce lip smackingly yummy beans! With a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot, cooking beans becomes so easy and quick. Do try to cook the beans if possible rather than using canned for the wonderful and rich taste. See Ode to Beans or Basic Black Beans for more ideas on cooking beans. Any leftovers maybe used as filling for tacos/burritos/tostadas etc. or in the delicious Black Bean and Corn Casserole, BurgersCuban Black Bean Soup, or Casamiento

Black Beans belong to the superfood family of legumes; they are typically served as part of meals in Mexican, Central & South American, and other cuisines. Cooking beans is quite simple and very cost effective. Similar to most beans, black beans have negligible amounts of fat. They are a great source of protein, fiber, and thiamin. Black beans are loaded with anthocyanins and also contain good amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, manganese and folate.

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect food than beans. One cooked cupful can provide as much as 17 g fiber, which is something most people do not get very much in a typical diet in most developed countries. Beans are packed with protein and dozens of key nutrients, including calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Studies tie beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and many cancers. The latest dietary guidelines from World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research recommend that we make whole grains, vegetables, fruit and beans the major part of the diet to prevent many types of cancer as well as other diseases. So do enjoy delicious and diverse vareities of beans: pintos, mung, black, white, kidney, lentils, and numerous other ones. Use them in snacks, starters, soups/stews, casseroles, salads, as topings for baked potatoes, and for sandwich spreads.

Served with rice and/or warm corn tortillas, a bit of salsa and one's favorite hot sauce, Frijoles Negros makes a comforting and hearty meal. Besides being wonderful served simply, black beans are delicious in may recipes. The beauty of beans is that they freeze well also. Freeze the cooled beans in freezer containers for up to 3 months.

NOTES:

Chile Morita (smoked dried jalapeño chile) adds a lovely deep and smoky flavor to the beans.

Soaking is not a prerequisite; but soaked beans do cook faster and I find them tastier.

If you don't have the Mexican Seasoning Mix, a chili spice mix maybe used instead. If using a purchased spice mix, you may need to add more cumin and oregano to taste.

12 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb Black Beans
Salt for soaking
1 Chile Morita (optional)
1 Bay Leaf
1 small Onion, finely diced
1-2 Green Bell Pepper, finely diced
3-4 cloves Garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp EACH, dried Oregano and ground Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 small bunch Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
3-4 Green Onions, finely sliced
Lime Cilantro Rice or Plain rice to serve

METHOD:

Sort the beans for debris; rinse well, add 2 tsp of salt, and soak in plenty of water to cover for a few hours. 

Drain the soaked beans and place in a large pot with the bay leaf and morita chile if using. Add water to cover them; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered until very soft. Remove and discard the chile if you wish; I mash it into the beans.

Alternately, pressure cook the beans, usually they are done in less than 20 minutes using a pressure cooker or the Instant Pot!

Cook the onion, bell pepper, garlic with a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of water until the vegetables are softened.

Stir in the spices and herbs along with the beans and cooking liquid.

Mash the beans slightly with the back of the spoon and cook for a few minutes stirring often until slightly thickened.

Remove from heat and let rest for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the cilantro and green onions.

Serve hot with the Lime Cilantro, plain rice, or warm tortillas.

Buen Provecho!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Hidden Gems Buckwheat Pancakes Kerala Style with Blueberry Coulis (Geetha's Pazham Pori)

Hidden Gem Buckwheat Pancakes With Blueberry Coulis are delightfully tasty and fun with the hidden slices of fruit! They are the easy and healthy version of the fritters known as Pazham Pori, immensely popular in Kerala. Pazham Pori, typically enjoyed as tea time snacks, are made with ripe plantains dipped in batter and deep fried. I have made them as pancakes for a healthier option. These special pancakes are not only oil free, they are also naturally dairy and gluten free!

Hidden Gems Buckwheat Pancakes maybe prepared with either the plantains or regular bananas. I like adding round slices of the plantain/banana in the pancackes instead of the traditional longitudinal slices; pancakes maybe prepared with long slices if preferred. The ripe fruit adds to the sweetness and along with the coulis and the whipped topping, could very well be a dessert! This fun and great tasting recipe is perfect for a special occasion breakfast, brunch, or snack.

NOTES:

Do keep the batter slightly on the thick side to coat the fruit well. But, if unavoidably made thin, pancakes maybe folded or rolled up with the fruit inside. These pancakes taste absolutely fabulous either way.

Apples, pears, or another fruit maybe substituted for the bananas in the pancakes. Instead of the blueberries, another fruit maybe used to prepare a coulis.

Leftover pancakes maybe stored in the fridge or frozen for longer storage. Pancakes maybe reheated in the skillet or oven.

About 6 pancakes
2 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

Coulis:
1 Cup Blueberries
1 Tbsp Lime/Lemon Juice
1 pinch Salt
2-3 Tbsp Maple Syrup/Coconut Sugar

Pancakes:

1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Non-dairy Milk
1 Tbsp Cconut Sugar or other sweetener
3/4 cup Buckwheat flour
1 Tbsp Flaxseed meal
1 pinch Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 ripe Plantain OR Banana, sliced

Powdered sugar for serving
Maple Syrup for serving
Non-dairy Whipped Topping

DIRECTIONS:

Coulis:

Wash and drain the berries. Reserve a few for garnishing. Dice the rest of the berries and place them in a bowl. Mash slightly with a fork and stir in the salt, maple syrup/sugar and lemon. Mix well and if made ahead, reserve in the fridge.

Pancakes:

Whisk together the vinegar, milk and coconut sugar in a bowl. Set aside.

Combine the flour, flax seed meal, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt together in a mixing bowl.

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and gently stir together just until combined to get a thick but pourable batter. Let the batter rest for about 10-15 minutes. If batter is very thick, a little more milk or water maybe added.

Lightly coat a non-stick skillet with a little oil using a paper towel. Heat the skillet over low-medium heat.

Prepare pancakes by pouring a little less than 1/4 cup of the batter into the skillet; you can quickly spread the batter gently in a swirling motion with the back of  a spoon to desired thickness.

Place 4-5 slices of the plantain/banana quickly on top of the pancake and add a little batter to cover the fruit. It is fine if the fruit is not completely covered since this side is usually not seen when served.

Cook until bubbles appear and edges of the pancake are a little dry. Flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or so. Remove the pancake from skillet and place on platter.

Continue cooking the pancakes until all the batter is used up stacking the pancakes as they are cooked.

Plate the pancakes while still hot with some of the coulis on top. Dust the pancakes with powdered sugar and a little drizzle of maple syrup if desired. Add a dollop of whipped topping.

Serve immediately and eat.

Enjoy!!