Sunday, January 14, 2018

All American Apple Pie Muesli (Overnight Muesli With Apples & Pecans)

Of course my muesli repertoir has an All American Apple Pie Muesli! Made with delicious apples, pecans, and apple pie spices, and served a la mode, what's not to love?

This muesli isvery similar to other muesli but served warm with a little scoop of non-dairy ice cream!

2 servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 Apples, diced
1 Pinch of Salt
1-2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ginger
1 pinch Nutmeg
1 pinch Allspice
1 cup Oatmeal
1/4 cup dried Cranberries
2 cups Non-Dairy Milk, Almond, Soy, or Rice
1/4 cup Pecans, toasted

Optional Toppings
Pure Maple Syrup
Non-Dairy Vanilla or Butter Pecan "Ice Cream"
Non-Dairy Whipped Topping or Cashew Cream
Nutmeg
Extra Pecans
Extra Milk for serving if needed

METHOD:

Combine apples, salt and sugar in a pan and cook until just softened. Stir in all the spices.

Tip in the oatmeal, dried cranberries and milk and mix well; cover and let soak overnight. 

Variation: Pour the prepared muesli into individual containers such as mason jars which can withstand heat, cover with lids, and put in the fridge. Warm until steaming hot when ready to serve. Top with pecans and other toppings and serve.

Warm until steaming hot when ready to serve.

Divide into 2 bowls, top with  ice cream or other topping and the pecans. Drizzle the maple syrup and dust the top with a little freshly grated nutmeg.

Serve with more milk if desired. Enjoy!!

Barley, Wheat, & Rice Pongal (Multigrain & Mung Bean Risotto)

Happy Pongal everyone! Join in the celebration of this festival which is similar to Thanksgiving; giving thanks for the Earth, Sun, and all the bounty of the harvest. This Pongal is very similar to Basic Pongal, a wonderful comfort food, quite simple and delicious.

Trying to incorporate healthy ingredients while yet keeping food tasty is quiet a challenge; Multigrain Pongal/Risotto more than rises to it! Although similar to the barley pongal, this one is prepared without any added fat! Paired with a delicious curry of your choice, it makes an awesome meal; the complex carbohydrates, abundant fiber, and proteins from the grains and dal make it filling and satisfying.

This pongal may be made soft or fluffy depending on the amount of water used. Other dals like red lentils, toor dal, or chana dal and grains such as steel cut oats, quinoa, coarse cornmeal/polenta, millet or buckwheat may also be used to make pongal.

Since pongal is very mild, spicy and saucy dishes go well with it; try tomato chutney, one of the Gothsus like the sweet-and-sour Tangerine-Peel Gothsu, a raita, your favorite savory chutneys, or a spicy kuzhambu.

Ingredients:

1 cup yellow Mung Dal, lightly roasted
1/2 cup Barley
1/2 cup Cracked Wheat (#3 grade)
1/2 cup Basmati Rice
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1-2 tsp dry-roasted Black Peppercorns 
1 Tbsp Whole Cumin Seeds, dry-roasted

Toasted Cashews, chopped
Vegan Butter Substitute, to serve
Chutney, Raita, Gothsu, Pickles, etc to serve

Method:

Dry roast the mung dal until fragrant and lightly golden brown and fragrant; pour onto a plate (so that it does not keep browning further - it would if left in the cooking pan from the residual heat) and let cool completely.

Soak the dal, rice and barley separately for about 30 minutes.

Rinse barley and place in a large pot with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 20 minutes.

Rinse the dal and add to the pot with the turmeric and salt; bring to boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.

Rinse the rice with plenty of water and drain.

Stir in the rice and cracked wheat, bring to a boil again. Reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. If the pongal looks dry during cooking, add hot water 1/4 cup at a time unless you like a soft pongal; in which case add as much water as needed to get the right consistency you prefer.

Grind the roasted pepper and cumin in a spice mill or using a mortar and pestle.

Sprinkle the ground spices evenly over the pongal and gently mix well.  Cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Serve hot topped with a little vegan butter substitute and the cashews with gothsu, chutneys, raitas, or other curries.  Enjoy!!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Chickpea (Garbanzo Beans) Salad Spread for Sandwiches & More

Chickpea Spread is a wonderful in so many ways - not just on regular sandwiches and wraps but as a salad and filling for a cool lettuce taco or as a dip to scoop with your favorite veggies or chips! Stuff pretty little peppers, tomatoes, lettuce cups, endive, celery, etc. for a delicious and easy snack or starter.

Cook your own chickpeas or use canned; I cook a big batch so there is enough for a couple of different recipes as well as freeze a portion or two for another day as they freeze well.

Notes:
1. I do the whole thing using the food processor; if you like the veggies chunkier, the carrots and celery may be finely chopped with a knife and added at the end and pulsed once or twice just to mix.

2. Homemade or purchased vegan mayo works quite well.

3. Other herbs like basil, cilantro, chives, etc may be added instead of or in addition to the parsley.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Handful raw or roasted Almonds, around 1/4 cup
2 ribs Celery include leaves, coarsley chopped
1 carrot, coarsley chopped
1 Handful Parlsley, tough stems removed
2 cups cooked Chickpeas
1 Tbsp prepared Mustard, any kind
1/3 cup Vegan Mayonnaise
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Cayenne (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Fresh Lemon Juice, as desired

Optional Add-ons:
Kosher Dill Pickles
Sweet Pickle Reslish
Hot green Chiles, Jalapeno/Serrano, chopped
Fresh Coriander/Cilantro or other herbs
Other Nuts, roasted and finely chopped

METHOD:

If the chickpeas are freshly cooked, drain (reserve cooking broth for soups or other uses) and cool.

Place the almonds in the bowl of the foodprocessor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until the nuts are coarsely chopped or according to your preference. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

In the same bowl of the food processor, add carrots and celery; pulse a few times until coarsely chopped.

Add the parlsley and pulse again until parsley is chopped.

Tip the drained chickpeas and pulse a few of times until chopped but not pureed or to your desired constistency.

Add the rest of the ingredients and the reserved almonds; pulse a few times just until mixed well. Taste and adjust seasonings, add a little more carrots or celery, etc. Mix well.

Scoop out the Chickpea Spread into a clean container and store in the fridge until needed.

The spread is better if it is made a few hours ahead to meld the flavors. Chickpea spread may be made a couple of days ahead and reserved in the fridge until needed. The spread tastes best for 3 to 5 days.

Serve cold or cool on toast, as filling for sandwiches or wraps, or as a dip with veggies and chips.

Enjoy!!


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Autumn Muesli II (Warm & Creamy Steel-cut Oats Porridge With Fruits, Nuts, & Spices)

Autumn Muesli II
Warm and creamy Autumn Muesli II is a much loved porridge in our household; the aroma of the spices and fruit cooking with the steel-cut oats wafting through the house entices everyone out of their hibernation even on a cold and rainy day! Made with fresh cranberries, delicious apples, almonds, persimmons (when available), and wonderfully warming cardamom as well as other spices, it is indeed a delight! If you use a slow/rice cooker, a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, it is very easy to prepare!

Adjust the spices according to your taste. Any leftovers can be reserved in the fridge and warmed up for the quick comfort of a steaming bowl of muesli anytime you want one! Oats thickens upon standing; you may have to loosen it with a little almond milk.

Do try the muesli with the cardamom; it adds a bright fragrance! I like uing freshly ground  cardamom seeds; lightly crush the pods, remove the seeds, and crush/grind into a powder. 

Dried Cranberries may be used instead of the fresh. 
Mix fruits & Nuts into soaked Oats
Autumn Muesli Ready to cook
4 - 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups Boiling Water
1 cup Steelcut Oats
1/4 cup toasted unsalted Almonds, chopped
1/2 tsp Salt
1 McIntosh, Granny Smith, or a favorite Apple, finely diced
1/2 cup Fresh Cranberries, chopped
1 cup Almond Milk
1/4 tsp Ground Cardamom Seeds (about 2-3 pods)
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 pinch ground  Nutmeg
1-2 Tbsp pure Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar
Extra Almond Milk, as needed

Toppings
Toasted Pecans, Almonds, or Walnuts, chopped
Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar
Persimmon, diced
Dried Cranberries
Pomegranate arils

METHOD:

In a heat-proof bowl combine the boiling water, salt, chopped almonds, and oats; stir well, cover and let sit for a few hours or overnight.

Combine soaked oats, apples, cranberries, Almond milk, spices and brown sugar or maple syrups in a pan and bring to a boil; cook stirring until oats are cooked to your liking - about 6-8 minutes for chewy or a little longer if you like it softer. Add a little almond milk if the porridge is too thick. Stir in the spices and maple syrup/sugar.

Spoon the prepared muesli into individual bowls, top with more milk if you like, add desired toppings of fruits, nuts, etc and serve.

Any leftovers should be stored in the fridge and reheated as needed; it may need more milk or water to loosen to desired consistency.


Enjoy!!
Autumn Muesli II 


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Autumn Muesli I (No-Cook Oatmeal With Fruits, Nuts, & Spices)

Autumn Muesli
 Autumn Muesli is very much a part of my muesli repertoire; though I don't wait for autumn to enjoy it! Made with delicious apples, persimmons (when available), pecans, and warming spices, it is a delight any time. Prepared ahead of serving, it is good to go whenever you are!

This muesli is very similar to Basic Muesli but has autumn spices redolent of pumpkin pie! Adjust spices according to your taste. If you would like a steaming bowl of muesli on a cold morning, Autumn Muesli is great warmed up also!

Do try the muesli with the jewel-like and juicy pomegranate arils; I really love the bright burst in each mouthful! The muesli is sweet enough with all the fruits in it that I don't add any sweetners at all; maple syrup or brown sugar add to the fabulous taste if you like it sweeter.

2 - 4  servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 Apple, finely diced
1 Persimmon, finely diced
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
4 Dates, finely chopped
1 Pinch of Salt
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ginger
1 pinch Nutmeg
1 pinch Allspice
1 cup Regular Oatmeal (not quick or steel cut)
1-2 Tbsp Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar (optional)
2 cups Almond Milk
1/4 cup Pecans, Walnuts, or Pumpkin seeds, toasted
Extra Almond Milk, if needed

Optional Toppings
Extra Fruit - Apple, Persimmon, Cranberries
Pomegranate arils
Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar
Toasted Pecans, Almonds, or Walnuts

METHOD:

Prepare the fruits and nuts.

Combine fresh and dried fruits and salt in a bowl. Stir in all the spices and maple syrup/sugar.

Tip in the oatmeal, nuts/seeds and milk; mix well. Add a little extra milk if muesli is too dry; there should be enough milk for the oats to soak in. After trying a time or two, you'll figure out the exact amount of milk you like.

Spoon the prepared muesli into individual containers such as mason jars, cover with lids, and put in the fridge to soak overnight. Autumn Muesli will last in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Top with your favorite toppings; eat!


Enjoy!!
Autumn Muesli


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Quick Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Indian Style

Cooking Brussels Sprouts this way could not be simpler or any quicker! Easy and delicious as well; according to Keeshu: "tastes a lot better than I anticipated". Use small sprouts when possible - they cook very fast and are ever so tender; I cut them in half - the increased surface area aids in cooking faster as well as absorb all the seasonings better.

The dals add toasty flavor as well as a nice bite without being hard on teeth - they soften while the veggies cook; they may be used in smaller quantities or omitted altogether if you wish. Dals not only add taste, but also protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber too.

I often make a double batch to have enough left over; they are great warmed or cold or on salads.

Ingredients:

1 lb Brussels Sprouts
1 Tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
2 tsp Urad dal
2 tsp Chana dal
1-2 dry Red Peppers
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 pinch Asafetida
1 stem Fresh Curry Leaves, minced
1/2 tsp Turmeric

Fresh Lime wedges (optional)

Method:

Wash, trim the cut ends of the Brussels sprouts, and cut in half lengthwise (top-to-bottom so that all the leaves are attached to the stem on both pieces).

Heat the oil in a kadai/wok/skillet and add the mustard, chana, urad dal, and peppers. Stir a minute or so until mustard seeds pop.

Reduce the heat, stir in the pepper flakes if using, asafetida for a couple of seconds - I really mean seconds - otherwise it will burn and turn bitter!

Immediately add the sprouts along with the curry leaves, salt, and turmeric; stir well and cover.

Cook over medium to low heat stirring occasionally; a tablespoon of water may be sprinkled if the sprouts dry out.

When the sprouts are still bright green (about 7-11 minutes), I remove the cover and cook them on higher heat turning them occasionlly so they just caramelize but not burn.

The sprouts take just a few minutes to cook; remove from heat as soon as they are done to your liking.

Serve hot/warm with rice/roti, any dal or beans, salad etc. Pass the lime wedges.  Enjoy!!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Basic Muesli (Simple Overnight No-Cook Oatmeal)


Basic Muesli 
Whenever I make this muesli, everyone loves it and it disppears quickly without a trace! Recently this muesli got a very high compliment from a Swiss friend; she said this was the best meusli she ever had. Coming from a native daughter from the land of the original Bircher Muesli, that was high praise indeed!

Soaking grains, seeds, and nuts makes them easier to chew and digest; besides, the bonus of soaking is that they are ready to eat right away! Simply top it up with more milk/yogurt if needed and extra berries or nuts in the morning or whenever you like. With all the prep out of the way the evening before, you are good to go in the morning!

As I was familiar with oat meal from a very young age, the introduction of Bircher Muesli and the subsequent addition of it to our breakfast repertoire was a shoo-in! Over the years, I have tweaked the recipe. Another general blueprint recipe that can be adjusted to the ingredients on hand or your preference. Any fruit, berries, various nuts, etc may be added or substituted and quantities altered to suit individual tastes.

Although it is usually served cold or at room temperature, the great thing is that you can eat it hot also; especially as some of our family members who like to heat up everything! If serving the muesli, hot or warm, I often reserve the berries as toppings.

Muesli may be made ahead and reserved in the fridge for 3-4 days. The recipe below makes a good healthy amount; but increase or decrease the quantities of ingredients as you like.

Basic Muesli Ingredients
2 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Rolled Oats (not quick or steel cut) OR multigrain flakes
2 Tbsp sliced or chopped Almonds, raw or toasted (unsalted)
2 Tbsp Raisins
4 Dates, finely chopped
1- 2 Apples, finely diced or grated
1 medium Banana, diced
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 Pinch of Salt
1 - 2 cups Non-Dairy Milk, Almond, Soy, or Rice
Extra Milk for serving if needed
2 pint-sized Mason Jars (optional)

Toppings:
1/2 cup Non-Dairy Yogurt, Plain
Fruit, Berries, and extra nuts/seeds for topping
1 tsp Brown Sugar (optional)

METHOD:

Combine all the ingredients except the toppings in a mixing bowl and mix well. Alternately divide all the ingredients and place directly in jars or individual bowls. Pour into individual containers like the mason jars if you wish, cover with lids, and put in the fridge for several hours, preferably overnight.

Serve with more milk if desired and top each serving with half the yogurt, more fruit, berries, nuts, etc if you wish.

Enjoy!!
Basic Muesli Ready to go!