Saturday, December 7, 2019

Stuffed Karela (Bittermelon With Onion-Tomato Filling)

My friend EJ loves Indian food including karela or bittermelon! She asked for a good recipe for stuffed karela. Since we enjoyed the Karela Atho so much, I thought it might be fun to make it into Stuffed Karela for EJ with a few minor changes!

NOTES: I find that leaving the stem ends of the veggies intact keeps them from falling apart while cooking. Trim off only any excess or discolored stems leaving about 1/2 to 1 inch of the stem intact. Indian or Asian karela may be used to make this dish.

Zucchinis may be used instead of karela. Prepare the zucchini by trimming the blossom ends, and make a slit along the length without cutting through. Remove some of the center carefully with a little spoon or a melon baller; just enough to hold the stuffing. Save the the removed portion, chop and add to the onion mixture.

4 Servings

Ingredients

4 medium Karela
1/2 tsp Salt + 1/2 tsp Sambar/Rasam powder
1 Tbsp oil for cooking the stuffed veggies
2-3 Green Onions, with long leaves for tying the karela

Filling:
1/4 cup White/Tan Sesame seeds
1/3 cup Peanuts
1 pinch Cumin Seeds
1 large Onion
1-2 tsp grated Ginger
2 large Tomatoes
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 Tbsp ground Coriander seeds
1-2 tsp Sambar or Rasam Powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Coconut Sugar, jaggery, or Brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh Coriander/Cilantro, chopped 

2 Tbsp fresh Coriander/Cilantro, chopped for Garnish

METHOD:

Prepare Karela and green onions:
Karela: Prepare the karela by trimming blossom ends and making a slit along the length, taking care not to cut through. With your fingers or a spoon, remove the seeds and the soft innards; discard the seeds and innards. Rub the 1/2 teaspoon salt and sambar/rasam powder mixture inside each of the veggies; I find that this step seasons the veggies nicely. Steam or microwave the karela or just until softened; about  5-7 minutes for steaming or about one to two minutes for the microwave. Set aside to cool until ready to stuff.

Green Onions: Start a small pot of water to boil; turn off when boiled. Have an ice bath ready: a small bowl filled with water and some ice cubes. Separate the leaves from the green onions and dunk them in boiling water for just a minute. Remove and plunge into iced water. Take them out and keep on a paper/kitchen towel. 

Filling:
Dry roast the peanuts if raw and the sesame seeds separately; set aside to cool. Pound the sesame seeds first using a mortar and pestle; when the sesame is coarsely ground, add the peanuts and pound a bit more to crush them well. If made ahead, keep in an airtight jar or container until needed.

Heat a skillet. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook until soft and beginning to brown a little. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, coriander, and Sambar or Rasam powders. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften. Stir in the jaggery and cook for a minute to combine well. Add salt to taste,  peanuts, sesame, and coriander leaves, then turn off the heat and set aside until cool.

Assembly and finishing:
Stuff the prepared karela with the onion-tomato mixture; use one of the green onion leaves to wrap and tie them to keep the stuffing in while cooking. I seldom do the tying as I do not mind some of the stuffing escaping into the pan.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a cast-iron or non-stick skillet. Place the stuffed veggies in the skillet in a single layer and cook over low to medium heat, turning to cook all sides until lightly browned and veggies are tender, about 10 - 15 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary to avoid burning the veggies.

Let rest for 5 minutes, and sprinkle the rest of the coriander/cilantro.

Serve hot with some plain dal and rice, grains, or roti.

Enjoy!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Coleslaw 2 Ways - Cabbage Salad With Creamy OR Lemony Dressing

Coleslaw With Creamy OR Lemony Dressing is a delicious way to include nutritious cabbage in your diet. I love anti-oxidant and anthocyanin rich red cabbage for this recipe; green cabbage or a combination of red and green cabbages would be fine too. Both the lemony and creamy dressings to choose from - are utterly delicious.

NOTES:

6 cups of cabbage might seem like a lot; when salt is added it wilts and reduces to a much smaller amount!

Salting the cabbage is an important step as it removes excess moisture from the cabbage and eliminates a soggy and watery slaw.

The optional nuts/seeds boost nutrition and add a nice crunch. You may use one kind only or a combination.

4-6 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups Red Cabbage, thinly sliced
1 small Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
2 cups Carrots, shredded
3-4 Tbsp Parsley, finely chopped
2 Green Onions, finely chopped

Creamy Mayo Dressing:
1 clove Garlic, mashed
1/2- 3/4 cup Vegan Mayo
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1-2 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup/Sugar
Salt & Freshly ground Pepper to taste

Lemon dressing
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 Tbsp  olive oil
1 Tbsp prepared Mustard
2 -3 Tbsp fresh Lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt

Optional Topping:
Assorted Seeds: Pumpkin, Sunflower, Sesame, etc
Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, or pecans, chopped

METHOD:

Optional Nuts and Seeds:
Measure out your seeds and/or nuts into a small skillet. Toast over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and lightly toasted. Pour the toasted seeds/nuts into a bowl/plate and let cool.

Slaw:
In a medium serving bowl, combine the prepared cabbage and onion with the salt and sugar and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes. Gently squeeze out the accumulated juices and save to add to vegetable broth or in another recipe. It is not necessary to squeeze the cabbage dry though. This step removes excess moisture from the cabbage and eliminates a soggy and watery slaw. Add carrots, green onions, and parsley. Set aside.

Dressing: Choose Mayo or Lemon dressing:
In a small bowl, combine the  ingredients for the dressing you are using and whisk until thoroughly blended.Taste and adjust lemon, salt and pepper, etc.

Assembly:
Add enough of the dressing to the slaw and toss until all of the ingredients are coated in dressing. Taste and add an additional dressing or seasonings. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate to marinate for several hours or overnight.

Stir well before serving. Taste the salad for seasonings. Serve cold with the nuts/seeds sprinkled on top.

Enjoy!!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Fresh & Tangy Cucumber Salad With Chili-Lime Dressing

Fresh and Tangy Cucumber Salad With Chili-Lime Dressing is so delicious that even those who are not salad afficionados will enjoy it. The dressing adds sweetness, tartness, and heat; combined with crunchy fresh cucumbers, it is a match made in foodie heaven!

Cucumber Salad With Chili-Lime Dressing
Fresh and Tangy Cucumber Salad maybe served with any meal or enjoyed as a refreshing starter or snack. I love to offer it especially with Asian/Indian themed meals.

NOTES:

Use the greenhouse grown English type, Japanese , Armenian or the smaller Persian cucumbers. Regular cucumbers release a lot of moisture; but if only the regular types are available, remove the core and seeds and use. 

Fresh red chilies add a lovely flavor to the salad; if not available, soften dried chiles in warm water or use a little ground cayenne.

The salad maybe served with or without the nut/seeds.

2-4 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

Dressing:
1 clove fresh Garlic
1-2 pinches Salt
1 Tbsp Jaggery or Brown Sugar
3-4 ripe fresh Red Chilies
2-3 Tbsp fresh Coriander/Cilantro
1 Lime or Lemon, juiced

Salad:
1 Large or 4-5 small Cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 Shallot, thinly sliced

Toppings:
1 Tbsp toasted Sesame Seeds, crushed
1/4 cup roasted Peanuts, crushed
2 Green Onions, finely sliced

METHOD:

Pound and mash the garlic with the salt using a mortar and pestle; add jaggery and mash together. Stir in chilies  and Cilantro, mash a little. Add lime or lemon juice to taste.  

Combine cucumbers and shallots in a large bowl and slightly crush with the pestle with a couple smashes. Pour the dressing over the veggies. Taste and adjust salt, jaggery and lime/lemon.

Sprinkle the toppings over the salad and serve immediately.

Enjoy!!
Cucumber Salad With Chili-Lime Dressing

Pumpkins (Winter Squash) 2 ways: Thoran (Stir-Fry) & Kootu (Stew)

Pumpkins and winter squashes are versatile veggies-in-waiting which bide their time patiently to sit in the veggie basket, pantry, or cellar until needed. They last well for weeks which makes them a great veggie to keep for emergencies. Although I love them all, and give an equal opportunity to all types of winter squashes, my all-time favorites are full and sweet flavored kabocha and butternut; banana squash comes in a close second.... or is it third?!

Pumpkin or winter squash with coconut may be prepared in many ways. Here I have given two recipes: stir fry with coconut or a thick stew. Two very different tasting dishes with practically the same ingredients!

Kabocha does not need peeling as the skin is thin and cooks well. Some winter squashes need peeling as they have tough skins.

Thoran/Poriyal

1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Tbsp Urad Dal
1-2 dried Red Chiles
1 Onion, finely chopped (optional)
1 Stem fresh Curry Leaves
1/2 Medium Kabocha, Winter Squash or Pumpkin, cut into small dice
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 cup fresh or frozen grated Coconut
1 hot dry red Chile (optional)
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds

Wash and cut into small dice the Kabocha,  peel the Winter Squash or Pumpkin before dicing.

Heat the oil in a kadai/wok or skillet and add the mustard seeds, dal and chiles. 

When the mustard pops and the dal turns pinkish, add the onion if using and curry leaves.

Stir in the kabocha or squash. Sprinkle the turmeric and salt, stir well, cover and cook until tender.

While the veggies are cooking, pound together the cumin (and the optional hot red chile if you wish), and combine with coconut.

When the pumpkin is tender, stir in the coconut mixture and cook until heated through.

Serve hot with rice/roti, Sambar, any Kuzhambu and a salad or raita.

Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Kootu - Thick Stew  - Kootu maybe prepared with or without tamarind. 

Masala:
1/2 - 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1-2 dried Red Chiles
1/2 cup fresh or frozen grated Coconut

Kootu:
1 Winter Squash or Pumpkin, cut into small dice or thin slices
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1-2 Tbsp of Indian Jaggery or brown sugar (optional)
1 tsp Tamarind Concentrate (optional)
1/2 cup Toor/Mung Dal or Red Chori beans, Cooked (optional)

Thalippu/Tadka:
1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Tbsp Urad Dal
1 stem fresh Curry Leaves

Masala: Coarsely grind the coconut with the cumin with a small amount of water - about 1/2 cup (and the optional hot red chile if you wish). Set aside.

Wash and cut into small dice the Kabocha; Winter Squash or Pumpkin will need to be peeled first.

Combine the vegetables in a medium sized saucepan with half a cup of water. Sprinkle the turmeric and salt, stir well, cover and cook until tender. Add the Indian Jaggery or brown sugar and tamarind if you like the kootu sweet and tangy.

When the pumpkin is tender, stir in the ground coconut mixture along with one of the beans/dal if using and bring to a good boil; remove from heat, add the crushed curry leaves on top and cover.

Heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds, dal and chiles. 

Thalippu/Tadka: When the mustard pops and the dal turns pinkish, add the curry leaves and cook for a few seconds.

Add the mustard mixture to the pumpkin; allow the kootu to rest covered for a few minutes for the flavors to meld. 

Serve hot with rice/roti, any beans/dal, and a salad or raita.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Traditional Mor Kali (Coconut-Scented Savory Rice Cake)

Mor Kali is an old-fashioned, home-style South Indian snack. Although called mor kali, this recipe has no mor (buttermilk) in it and is a naturally vegan recipe; not does it need any since the batter is fermented and is naturally a little tart. It is another instance of our foremothers being thrifty as well as innovative with leftovers. Mor Kali was often made with leftover batter from making Verum Arisi Dosai or Adai, a rice and coconut pancake; but since most everyone loves it, it was made at other times too without waiting for leftover batter. 

When batter becomes fermented, it devolps a lovely tart taste which is highly prized in Idli/Dosa/Aappam batters.

NOTES: Although Indian Sesame oil is the best for preparing Mor Kali, any vegetable oil may be used. If Indian sesame oil is not available, a couple of drops of Chinese sesame oil may be added at the end of cooking to add aroma.

I have used green chiles instead of the dried yogurt chillies (thair or mor milagai) typically used. Leave the cores in if you like the kali to be spicy.

I love the chewy dals in the kali. Others may prefer a more homogenous kali that glides effortlessly through the throat into the stomach; so if a smoother kali is prefered, the dals may be omitted without unduly diminishing the taste.

4 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Parboiled Rice
¼ cup Coconut fresh/frozen OR 2 Tbsp dessicated
1 tsp Salt
2 tablespoon Sesame/vegetable oil
½ teaspoon Mustard seeds
1 teaspoon split white Urad dal
1 teaspoon split yellow Chana dal
2-3 hot Green Chiles, cored and minced
2 sprigs Curry leaves, chopped
1-2 pinches Asafoetida

METHOD:

Grind the dry rice into a coarse powder first; this helps to ease the grinding process after soaking.

Soak the rice in water for 24 hours; grind the rice along with coconut with a little extra water if needed. Mix in the salt and set aside to ferment in a draft free place for 24 hours.

The batter will smell sour and maybe a little foamy. Add water to dilute; it should be a thin batter, total amount should be approximately 1 liter or a little more than a quart after mixing.

Lightly oil a thali or a cake pan and keep it ready.

Heat oil in a pan and add in the mustard seeds and let it pop. Add in the urad and chana dals. Let the dals turn pinkish gold. 

Carefully add the curry leaves (they tend to spatter, so cover quickly), chiles and asafoetida. Cook briefly for a few seconds. 

Tip in the batter, cook stirring on medium heat. The batter will keep thickening. Keep stirring until it has thickened and does not stick to the pan anymore. Cover and let it steam on low heat for about 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and spread on an oiled plate. Let it cool. Cut into squares and serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Okra Curry With Roasted Coconut & Tamarind (Vendakkai Thenga Kuzhambu)

Okra Curry With Roasted Coconut & Tamarind (Vendakkai Thenga Kuzhambu) is a delicious stew typically served with rice for lunch or dinner.  Delicious over plain rice, roti or yogurt rice.

Frozen okra work very well in this recipe if fresh ones are not available. Dried unsweetened coconut maybe used instead of the fresh or frozen.

Sometimes I like to add cooked toor dal to make it hearty; half a cup of dal should work very well. When adding the dal, increase the amount of spices, salt, and tamarind.

4 Servings

INGREDIENTS: 

Masala
½ tsp whole Black pepper
2-3 Dried Red Chiles
2 tsp Chana Dal
2 tsp Coriander seeds
¼ tsp Fenugreek seeds
⅓ cup shredded Coconut, fresh/frozen

Curry:
1 lb Okra
1 Onion, slivered thickly or diced large (optional)
1 Ripe Tomato, chopped (optional)
1 tsp Oil (preferably Indian Sesame oil)
½ tsp Mustard seeds
1-2 dried Red Chiles
1 pinch Asafetida
2 stems Curry leaves, finely sliced
½ tsp Turmeric 
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1-2 tsp Tamarind concentrate

METHOD:

Dry roast all the spices and dal listed under "masala" together except coconut on low heat until fragrant. Add the fresh shredded coconut, fry for a couple of minutes until slightly golden. Let cool and grind the roasted masala with ½ a cup of water to a smooth paste. Set aside.

Wash, dry and remove excess stems; it is not necessary to discard the caps. Cut okra into two if they are long; short ones may be left whole. Prepare onion and tomato if using.

Heat oil in a saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, and the dried red chillies. When the mustard seeds pop, carefully add curry leaves and cook until they change color. Stir in the asafetida.

Tip in the onion, cook for a couple of minutes or until they are slightly softened; add the okra, tomatoes if using, turmeric, and salt. 

Add the tamarind paste, one cup of hot water, and simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Pour in the ground masala and sluice the blender with a half cup of water to gather all spice mixture and add to the stew/kuzhambu. Bring to a boil again and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve hot with rice.

Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Lentil Burgers

Lentil Burgers
Lentil Burgers are easy, delicious, economical. When you make it yourself, you know exactly what's in the food - no preservatives, conditioners, or other strange stuff! The basic mixture can be prepared in many versatile ways: as burger patties, muffins, or a loaf - take your pick. I prefer making burger patties or muffins as they are perfect for individual servings and freezing - and the bonus is that they cook faster too!

Lentil burgers maybe served with buns and the usual accompaniments or by themselves with or without a Green Chutney, Tomato Chutney or  sauce, or Homemade Gravy.

Since the burgers freeze and reheat well, it is great to make a big batch of these; freeze for upto 3 months or so.

Notes: 

Do use the old fashioned rolled oats and not the steel-cut oats.

If you like the Lentil burgers well spiced, add more of the spices to the lentil mixture.

Ingredients: About 15 Burgers

1 cup dry Lentils cooked
1 1/2 cups dry Rolled Oats (old fashioned)
1/2 cup Finely Chopped Walnuts/Pecans/Almonds (Optional)
1 Carrot, coarsely grated
1 Zucchini, coarsely  grated
1 small bunch Green Onion, finely chopped
2 ribs Celery, finely chopped
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Cumin, ground
1 small bunch Parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh Thyme leaves
1 sprig Sage, minced
3 Tbsp ground Flax Seeds
3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp Each: Black and Red Pepper
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
2 tsp Sea Salt

about 1/2 cup Cornmeal for coating

To Serve:
Burger Buns or Pita Bread
Lettuce
Sliced Tomatoes, Onions, Avocadoes
Dill Pickles
Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo

Method:

Cook the lentils with about 2 cups of water until soft; let cool. Instant Pot is great for cooking the lentils.

Prepare the veggies and herbs. The celery, garlic, and herbs maybe processed in a food processor to mince finely with a few pulses.

Combine lentils, oats, nuts, veggies and herbs in a large bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the lentils and mix well. Let rest for about 30 minutes in the fridge. This mixture can be prepared up to this point a day ahead of time and chilled until ready to bake.

When ready to bake:
Begin heating the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Form the mixture (about 1/2 cup) into burgers, coat with the cornmeal, and place on the parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the mixture is set and lightly browned on the bottom; flip the burgers and bake for 20 more minutes.

Instead of baking, the burgers maybe cooked in a lightly oiled skillet also; cook slowly over low-medium heat until both sides are browned, about 7-8 minutes total time.

Cool slightly before serving.

Serve hot with  toasted buns or pita bread.

Enjoy!!



Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Maple Roasted Carrots With Citrusy Carrot-Tops Chimichurri

Maple Roasted Carrots With Citrusy Carrot Top Chimichurri uses the carrots as well as their tops, a delicious, no waste, naturally gluten-free and vegan recipe. Multicolor carrots work really beautifully in this recipe. Maple Roasted Carrots are a perfect side for any holiday meal.

Chimichurri is a wonderful condiment for adding to anything you like, pasta, soups, stews, sandwiches, or salads. The chimichurri may be frozen; an ice cube tray is handy for this. When frozen, store the frozen cubes in a resealable freezer plastic bag or container. To thaw, remove the required amount from freezer and allow to come to room temperature. You can also use it to flavor soups and stews by dropping a cube or two in them.

Chimichurri may also be prepared using equal parts parlsley and cilantro. Also check out this recipe for carrot tops Chimichurri.

2-4 Servings

Ingredients:

Carrot-Tops Chimichurri
3 cups Carrot-tops, washed, drained and finely chopped 
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes
1/3 cup Red onions, finely chopped
1-3 cloves Garlic, minced
Sea Salt to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
2 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
Key Limes - 1-2 Tbsp freshly squeezed juice
1 tsp Key Lime zest

Maple Roasted Carrots
2 lbs Carrots, washed, dried and cut in half lengthwise if very thick
1-2 clove Garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp Maple Syrup
7-9 sprigs fresh Thyme
Sea Salt, a generous sprinkle
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

Method:

Carrot-Tops Chimichurri

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine well, scoop into a container with a well-fitting lid and set aside to allow the flavours to marry. You may use mortar and pestle to pound and mix the chimichurri into a sauce.

The chimichurri can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge. The olive oil may harden once it becomes cold. Remove from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes until it softens again and then mix well.


Maple Garlic Roasted Carrots

Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, a silicone mat or greased foil. Set aside.

Place the carrots on the baking sheet, sprinkle and drizzle the seasonings and maple syrup over the carrots. Shake the pan to mix well or use your hands to coat the carrots with all the ingredients evenly.

Roast for 15-20 minutes in the oven, watching to ensure they don't burn.

Remove and allow to cool slightly. Season with a little more salt if necessary.

If made ahead, store the carrots in an air-tight container in the fridge after they have cooled completely. They can be re-heated in the oven or the microwave.

Serve warm topped with the chimichurri.

Enjoy!!


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Kathirikai Rasavangi (Eggplant Stew With Dal & Coconut)

Eggplant Rasavangi is a traditional South Indian Stew aromatic with freshly toasted spices and coconut. This delicious tangy stew is a nice alternative to Sambar or another Kuzhambu and can be served over freshly cooked rice or grains, Idli, Dosa, etc.

Although any eggplant maybe used, the long types hold their shapes better without disintegrating. Dried unsweetened coconut maybe used - use about 2-3 tablespoons.

2-4 Servings

Ingredients

Masala - roast and grind:

11/2 tsp Channa dal
2 tsp Coriander seeds
1-3 dry Red Chiles
1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
1/2 cup grated Coconut, fresh or frozen

Rasavangi

2 long Eggplants, Japanese type preferably
1/2 cup Toor dal
1 tsp Tamarind concentrate
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 stem Curry Leaves
Salt to taste

Thalippu/Tadka:

1 tsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
11/2 tsp Urad dal
1/8 tsp Asafetida
1 Stem Curry Leaves, leaves finely chopped

Method:

Make the masala:
Toast channa dal, coriander seeds, and red chilies Cook stirring until fragrant and lightly browned in a small dry skillet. Stir in grated coconut and toast for about a minute. Pour into a bowl or plate to cool. Grind to a fine paste by adding a little water.

Make the rasavangi: 
Sort, soak the toor dal for 30 minutes in fresh water, drain and rinse. Add 1 cup of water and cook until soft, set aside. Dal maybe cooked in a pressure cooker.

Trim the ends of eggplants and cut into 3-4 pieces lengthwise; cut each section into halves or quarters  depending on size longitudinally.

Mix tamarind paste in 1/2 cup of water, and add eggplant, curry leaves, salt and turmeric. Cover the pan and let the eggplant cook in tamarind water for 10minutes on medium flame.

Add cooked toor dal, ground masala, and about 1/4 -1/2 cup water if the stew is too thick and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil.Turn off the heat.

Prepare Thalippu/Tadka: 
Heat the oil in a small pan or skillet; when its hot, add mustard seeds and cook for 30 seconds. Add urad dal and dry red chili and cook for 30 seconds or until dal turns pinkish. Add curry leaves and asafetida and let it cook for few more seconds. Add the/tadka to the eggplant/rasavangi and mix well.

Taste the rasavangi and adjust salt.

Serve hot with rice or grains, roti, etc.

Enjoy!!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Quick and Easy Spinach Salad

Quick and Easy Spinach Salad, is a pretty and tasty salad; deep emerald green spinach and gorgeous red-purple cabbage make a stunning combination! Purple radicchio maybe substituted for the red cabbage. Napa or Savoy Cabbage with their pale green and crinckly leaves make a lovely addition if red cabbage is not available. Use the dressing given here or your favorite.

2 servings

INGREDIENTS:

Salad:

4 cups Spinach (6 oz)
1 cup Red Cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Red Onions, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 cup Toasted Walnut pieces
1-2 Tbsp Fresh Herbs 

Dressing:

1-3 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 clove Garlic, mashed
1 tsp prepared Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

METHOD:

Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk until an emulsion forms; taste and adjust seasonings.

Tip spinach and the rest of the salad ingredients and mix.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat well. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Almost Bagel Spice & Seed Mix

Almost Bagel Spice & Seed Mix is a savory spice mix that can be sprinkled on just about everything for a nutty, crunchy flaovor boost. It is my version of a very popular spice mix. The toasted seeds, crisp onions and garlic add a lively and wonderful flavor to even the simplest of foods. Delicious on toast, salads, pasta, guacamolehummus, or anything at all.

Toast the seeds before mixing with the rest of the ingredients to bring out their nutty flavor. Onions and garlic maybe omitted if you like; add a couple of pinches asafetida instead along with the pepper and chile. Just like the sesame seeds, I like using a combination of black and white poppy seeds also. White poppy seeds and Asafetida are available in Indian markets.

INGREDIENTS:

3 Tbsp Poppy seeds
3 Tbsp Sesame seeds, a mixture of black and white
1 Tbsp dried minced Garlic
2 Tbsp dried minced Onion
3 Tbsp coarse Sea Salt

Optional
1- 2 tsp freshly cracked Black Pepper
1/2 - 1 tsp Cayenne or Red Chile Flakes

METHOD:

Measure out all the ingredients and keep them ready.

Heat the seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, cook, swirling the skillet and stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

If using the optional pepper and cayenne or red chile, add it at this time and cook stirring for about 30-40 seconds or so.

Stir in the garlic and onion and turn off heat. Swirl and stir the seed mixture in the hot skillet for a minute. Transfer to a heat proof bowl and stir in salt.

Let cool completely then transfer to a resealable container. Store at room temperature.

Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

VEGETARIAN BOLOGNESE SAUCE WITH VEGETABLE "PASTA"

Flavored with aromatic herbs, spices, and the mirepoix, vegan Bolognese Sauce uses borlotti or other beans for a hearty and delicious meal. Mirepoix (pronounced meer-pwah), similar to soffrito, is a melange of onion, carrot, and celery cooked slowly without browning or caramelizing is the flavorful base in many stews and soups.

The spiralized mix of green zucchini, yellow summer squash, and orange carrots makes a colorfu, healthy, fresh, and gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta. Fresh or dried pasta maybe used instead.

If Borlotti beans are unavailble, use Pinto or Kidney or Cannelini beans. In a pinch, 2 cans (`14 ounces Each) of  beans maybe used instead of the freshly cooked. 

5-6 Servings

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups dried Borlotti Beans, cooked
1 cup Onion, finely diced
1 cup Carrots, finely diced
1/2 cup Celery, finely diced
2-3 big cloves Garlic, minced finely
1 can (28 ounces)  Tomato puree
2 Bay Leaves 
1-2 teaspoons  dried Sage
1 teaspoon  Paprika
1 pinch freshly grated Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper, Crushed

Vegetable Spaghetti:
2 pounds total of yellow squash and zucchini
1 medium Carrot
1 small clove Garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground Pepper

Toppings:
Vegan Parmesan
Fresh Parsley, finely chopped

Method:

BologneseSauce:

Sort, soak, and cook the beans until soft. Reserve. Beans maybe cooked ahead and saved in the fridge or frozen.

Heat large soup pot on low heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots and celery with a pinch of salt; cook covered for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables just soften. Mirepoix might need a sprinkle of water to keep from drying out or burning.

Stir in tomatoes, bay leaves, spices and a little salt; cook and stir for about 2-3 minutes

Add beans; mashing the beans slightly with the cooking spoon.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

"Pasta":

Meanwhile, trim the ends of zucchini, yellow squash, and carrot. Cut squash into spaghetti-shaped strands using a julienne peeler or spiralizer until you reach the core. A good knife maybe used to prepare the "pasta". Reserve the squash core for another recipe.

Season "pasta" with a couple of pinches each salt, pepper and the garlic. Heat large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the veggie “spaghetti” and cook stirring gently for about 30-40 seconds or until heated through.

To serve, divide the hot "pasta" among individual serving bowls or plates and top with Bolognese sauce. Sprinkle with vegan Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Buttery Chickpeas ( Vegan Garbanzo Bean Stew)

Vegan Buttery Chickpeas is a delicious entree that works well for batch cooking, it keeps in the fridge for a week or freezes for up to 3 months. Although there is no butter nor any dairy ingrediens, the cashew cream adds the rich buttery and creamy taste. The sauce is wonderful as a base for Vegan Chik'n chunks/strips, Soy Curls, Tofu cubes, Cauliflower florets, etc also.

Vegan Buttery Chickpeas doesn't need much to complete the meal; a platter of fresh sliced veggies and hot cooked rice/grains or roti/naan will make it a feast. If you have either the chickpeas or the sauce made ahead, it goes together very quickly.

Notes:
Preparing Chiles: Core and discard it with any seeds and whitish ribs (the heat source with the most amount of Capsaicin) unless you want a spicy curry. Garam Masala, ginger, and cayenne contribute enough spice so try the recipe with cored chiles first and then decide if you want to take it up a notch with the whole chiles and/or more cayenne.

You may use 2 cans (15 oz each) of Chick peas instead of freshly cooked.

Check directions below for using Instant Pot or a regular stove-top pressure cooker.

Vegan Buttery Chickpeas
Ingredients:

Buttery Chickpeas:
1 cup dried Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans, cooked
1/4 cup Cashews, soaked in warm water
1/2 hot Green Chile (Serrano/Jalapeño), cored & sliced or minced
1-2 thin slices fresh Ginger, minced
1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Kashmiri Chili powder/Paprika
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Salt or to taste

Sauce:
3 large ripe tomatoes OR 1 can (15 oz) whole peeled tomatoes
1 Date, pitted (optional)
3-4 cloves of garlic
1/2 inch piece  ginger
1 hot green chile (Serrano/Jalapeño), cored

Finishing: 
1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
1-2 Tsp Kasoori Methi - dried Fenugreek leaves
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped 

To Serve:
Thinly sliced - Red Onions, Tomato & Cucumbers
Fine Ginger juliennes 
1 Handful Fresh Cilantro/Mint
Freshly cooked Rice/grains, Roti, Naan, etc

Method:

Sort, soak and cook chickpeas in fresh water until soft. A pressure cooker maybe used to cook. Chickpeas maybe cooked ahead of time and reserved in the fridge. Or use canned chickpeas. 

Place the drained cashews in the blender carafe blended with 1/2 cup fresh water and process until smooth; pour into a small bowl; no need to empty completely or wash the carafe.

Add the sauce ingredients to the carafe: tomatoes, date if using, garlic, ginger, and the chile (remove core and seeds for mild curry) to the carafe and process until smooth.

Tip pureed tomato mixture into a pan large enough (4 quart/liter size) for the curry. Add about 1/4 cup of water to the carafe to swirl and gather any sauce remaining and add to the pot. 

Bring to a simmer and let cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add chickpeas with the cooking liquid, sliced/chopped chile, minced ginger, spices, salt, most of the cahew cream (save a tablespoon or so for garnish). Add a little more water if too thick. Close the lid and simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat, sprinkle the garam masla and the kasoori methi (fenugreek leaves), stir in the chopped cilantro, and let rest for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Just before serving, swirl the reserved cashew cream on top.

Serve hot over rice, roti or Naan.

Top each serving with a couple of pieces of ginger juliennes if you wish. Pass the salad.

Enjoy!!

Vegan Buttery Chickpeas

Alternately, this recipe maybe cooked in an Instant Pot or a regular pressure cooker.

Instant Pot: Tip pureed tomato mixture into the cooker bowl. Add spices, salt and chickpeas. Close the lid and cook on Manual for 8 to 10 minutes Let rest for 10 minutes. Quick release after 10 minutes following the manufacturer's guidelines.  

Start the IP on saute; add the cashew cream, chopped green chile, ginger and cilantro to the chickpea mixture and bring to a boil.  Press cancel to turn off heat. Sprinkle garam masala, and fenugreek leaves, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.Taste and adjust sseasonings; add more cayenne and salt as needed.

Regular Pressure Cooker:  Tip pureed tomato mixture into the cooker. Add spices, salt and chickpeas. Close the lid and cook for 7 minutes for stove top pressure cooker after it has become pressurized. Let rest for 10 minutes. Quick release after 10 minutes following cooker manufacturer's guidelines.

Heat the contents of the pressure cooker, add the cashew cream, chopped green chile, ginger and cilantro and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Sprinkle garam masala, and fenugreek leaves, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.Taste and adjust sseasonings; add cayenne and salt as needed. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Holiday Bread Casserole, Gluten-Free

Holiday Bread Casserole, Gluten-Free  (a.k.a. dressing/stuffing), like its Indian cousin Bread Upma, can be presented as a substantial dish on its own for a light meal or snack. Toasty cubes of gluten-free regular or corn bread with succulent bits of veggies combined with delightful fragrant herbs, all this casserole needs is a little gravy.

If you want a good Bread Casserole, you have to start with good gluten-free bread - you can use homemade or purchased breads to making this fabulous treat. Although a day old or stale bread is preferable, fresh bread may be used also with a little extra care. If the bread is fresh, cut/crumble and let air dry while preparing the rest of the meal or ingredients. 

Good bread doesn't need be discarded just because it gets a little old or stale. Just slice, cube, or crumble and freeze with or without toasting. If you prefer dry bread crumbs/cubes, do the crumbling or dicing while the bread is still a little soft and not hard and dried.

Ingredients:

1 (about 1 lb) day old good Gluten Free Loaf of Bread
OR dried bread cubes from 1 loaf OR Cornbread
1 large Onion, chopped
1 small bunch Celery, chopped
1 large Carrot, diced
8 oz Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 sprig fresh Sage, minced
2-3 sprigs fresh Thyme, use leaves
1 small bunch flat leaf Parsley, chopped
Sea Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup - 2 cups Vegetable Broth Or Water

Gravy for Serving

Method:

Toast the bread until it is lightly browned. Cut the bread into small cubes or coarse crumbles; reserve. The bread maybe toasted in the oven a day or two ahead or while the veggies are getting cooked.

Cook the onions and celery with a pinch of salt and the turmeric for about 2 minutes. Add a little sprinkle of water if needed to keep from drying out.

Add the carrots, garlic, thyme, sage; cook covered until the veggies have softened - about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and set aside to cool in the pan.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F while the veggies are cooking. Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.

Add the bread, cooked veggies, with salt and pepper to taste to a large bowl and sprinkle the broth/water on top - use minimal amount of broth/water for fresh bread; you will need the larger quantity if using dried bread cubes. The bread should be moistened but not soggy.

Mix well, spread in an even layer, and bake for about 25 minutes or until the top layer is browned a little. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. 

Serve hot with the Gravy .

Enjoy!!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Bread Upma (Toasted Bread With Veggies, Indian Style)

Bread Upma is India's equivalent to the Holiday Bread Casserole - warm toasty cubes or crumbles of bread studded with assorted vegetables flavored with fragrant spices and herbs. Bread Upma could sub for the traditional Holiday Bread Casserole for the holiday meals!

We didn't eat much bread (yeasted kind) while growing up in India. These days though, bread is ubiquitious even in rural areas and little villages. Although it has become quite common as a breakfast toast for a busy morning or a quick tea time toast/sandwich, often we ended up having leftovers as most family members enjoyed other breakfast and teatime treats. So leftover bread morphed into bread upma, a quick savory dish with onions, veggies, spices and herbs. Although a great recipe to use up stale bread, fresh bread may be used to make this absolutely delicious upma.

Sometimes no one wants to eat the end slices of the loaf; those may be collected in the freezer until there is enough to prepare bread upma.

Although some people remove crusts from bread, I don't as crusts are perfectly good food to be wasted; besides we love their chewy texture.

Cornbread (gluten-free) maybe used to prepare Bread Upma.

4 servings

Ingredients

8 slices gluten-free bread, cut into small cubes or coarse crumbs
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon skinless urad dal
6-8 cashews, broken into small bits
1/2-1 fresh hot green chilies, cored and minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 pinch asafetida
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 stem curry leaves, finely sliced
1 Carrot, grated coarsely
1/2 cup Peas, fresh or frozen
3-4 Tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt

Optional Additions:
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 cup Corn kernels, fresh or frozen

Method

Toast the bread slices and cut the into small bite sized cubes or pull apart into big coarse crumbles and set aside.

Heat the oil in a kadai or skillet and when oil is hot enough, add cashews mustard, urad dal. Cook for a minute until mustard pops. Keep cooking for a few more seconds, stirring, until cashews turn golden.

Stir in the green chilies, ginger and onion with a pinch of salt. Cook covered until onions soften and begin to color.

Add asafetida, turmeric, and the curry leaves. Add garam masala if using. Cook for a few seconds.

Tip in the carrots and peas and cook until they soften.

Stir in the bread cubes or crumbles; mix well and cook covered over low-medium heat until heated through, about 5 minutes or so. Turn off heat.

Sprinkle the lemon juice and cilantro and mix well. Taste and add a little salt if needed (bread usually has plenty of salt so you may not need much salt if any).

Serve hot with green or cranberry chutney or lemon or mango pickle if you wish.

Enjoy!!

Easy 10 minute Noodles I, Italian Style

Freshly cooked sinuous pasta studded with fresh veggies and flavored with fragrant herbs is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Easy 10 minute Noodles I, Italian Style really takes only about 10 minutes to prepare especially when using fresh noodles. I use gluten free noodles; but if gluten is not a concern, any favorite noodles maybe used.

Notes:

Dried noodles maybe used to prepare this recipe but take a few of minutes longer than fresh; use 2 ounces and prepare according to package directions.

When preparing the veggies, I often chop more than I need for one recipe and save them for another day.

Using the special julienne peeler makes quick and easy work of making thin strips of carrots and zucchini. You may use a spiralizer also to make veggie strands. Or a good knife will work just fine.

1 Serving

Ingredients:

1 pkg Fresh Noodles (~ 4 oz), Gluten free
1 clove Garlic, minced or mashed
3-4 Green Onions, sliced diagonally
7-8 large fresh Basil leaves, torn
4-5 sprigs fresh Thyme, strip the leaves from the stems
2-3 sprigs of fresh Oregano Or 1/4 tsp Dried
1 small Carrot, cut into thin strips
1/2 Zucchini, cut in thin strips
1/2 Bell Pepper, any color, thin strips
4-5 Mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium Tomato, chopped
1 pinch Crushed Red Pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste

Optional Toppings:
Nutritional Yeast
Toasted Nuts/Seeds, crushed
Freshly toasted gluten-free breadcrumbs

Method:

Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

While pasta is being prepared, prep the veggies and herbs.

Warm a skillet and sprinkle the red pepper flakes; when the color changes slightly and becomes fragrant, add the garlic and veggies with a with a pinch of salt and a little sprinkle of water. Cover and cook stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes or until the veggies heat through and soften to your liking.

Tip in the drianed hot pasta, herbs, and another pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Add a little of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to moisten. Stir together to combine until warmed. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Spoon onto a warmed plate and sprinkle with your favorite toppings.

Serve hot. Eat.

Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Cranberry & Apple Chutney

Cranberries and apples combine to make delicious and beautiful chutney, a welcome addition to meals anytime but especially at the Thanksgiving table!  It is fantastic with the Thanksgiving Lentil and Otas Loaf/Muffins and the Holiday Bread Casserole aka stuffing. Long after Thanksgiving meal is a distant memory, the thokku maybe enjoyed in many ways: with DosaAdai, other snacks, and with everyday meals. The spices maybe adjusted according to your preference. Chutney maybe prepared in large batches doubling, tripling, etc. all the ingredients.

Cranberry and Apple Chutney makes a great gift too anytime especially for the holidays. Autum is the perfect time to put up this chutney when fresh crops of cranberries and apples are available. It can be prepared with frozen cranberries also.

Cranberry and Apple chutney, just like its cousin  Cran-Apple Preserves, makes for wonderful starters with your favorite snacks, vegan cheesees and flatbreads or crackers; it is also lovely served with roasted salads, cooked grains, curries, or as a condiment and in sandwiches.

Ingredients:

Combine:
2 medium Apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 cups Cranberries, fresh or frozen (~14 - 16 oz)
1 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/4-1/2 tsp ground Cayenne
1-2 Tbsp finely grated fresh Ginger

Add later: 
2 Tbsp fresh Lime/Lemon Juice
2-3 pods Cardamom, seeds finely ground
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Nutmeg

Method:

Apple does not need to be peeled; chop into small bits about the same size as the cranberries.

Combine all the ingredients (except the lime juice, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg) in a large non-reactive pan; cover and cook over low heat until the fruits are soft and jam-like. Be careful to stir well occasionally while cooking to prevent burning. 

Remove from heat, stir in the lime juice and the spices; spoon into sterilized jars and add lids.

Store in the refrigerator for a few weeks. For longer storage, process using canning jars according to the manufacturer's directions.

Serve the chutney on the same day or better yet let it rest for a day for the flavors to meld.

Enjoy!!

A Trio Of Oil-Free Daily Dressings For Every Day Salads - TAHINI, MAPLE MUSTARD, & CREAMY LEMON

These super tasty and fabulous trio of dressings are not only great for salads, they can be used as a dip/sauce for fresh, steamed or roasted vegetables and as a dressing for sandwiches. These dressings are quite easy and simple to make. Our family loves to have a couple ready to use in squeeze bottles to squeeze over their daily salads. Simply Delicious!

Tahini and Lemon dressings will stay fresh for 4-5 days as they have fresh ingredients; the Maple Mustard dressing will last a week.

Tahini Dressing:

NOTES:

Add one or all of the optional ingredients for more depth and nuanced taste. I love adding the fresh herbs as they not only make it tasty, but also add to the nutrient density. Adjust the amount of water to make a dressing: more to dress salads and less to make a spread or dip.

Tahini dressing maybe prepared without a blender; place all the ingredients in a widemouth jar with a tight-fitting lid and whisk or shake vigorously. It will take a little effort at first to mix tahini with liquid; a little warm water will make it easier and use a fork to mix together at first.

Macerate the finely minced garlic with a pinch of the salt with the flat side of the knife on a cutting board drawing back and forth; chop the herbs very finely before adding to the dressing jar. A mortar and pestle maybe used to macerate the garlic also. Beat the dressing with a fork or wire whisk. Follow the rest of the directions until the dressing is just the way you want it.

About 3/4 cup

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup Tahini
1/4 cup Water
2-3 Tbsp fresh Lime or Lemon Juice
1 handful Fresh Parsley/Cilantro, about 1/4 cup
1-2 cloves fresh Garlic
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
1-2 pinches Cayenne, or to taste


Optional Ingredients:
Other Herbs
1 Hot Green Chile, Jalapeño or Serrano,/cored for mild spice
1/2 tsp ground Cumin
1/4 tsp ground Fenugreek

METHOD:

Place all the ingredients except the water in the carafe of a blender, and blitz until smooth. Add water as needed and to make a nice smooth pourable creamy sauce. Pour into a clean jar; taste. Adjust the seasonings by adding more of the lime/lemon, salt and pepper, etc. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.

If made ahead, chill in the fridge until time to serve. The sauce thickens a bit upon standing; if the dressing thickens, add water a teaspoon at a time whisking thoroughly to get desired consistency until just right. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour into a dispenser/jar with cover and chill until needed.

Enjoy!!

Maple Mustard Dressing:
A very simple and easy dressing that is especially pleasing over roasted vegetables!

About 1/2 cup

INGREDIENTS:

2 T Maple Syrup
4 T prepared Dijon-style Mustard
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar/Balsamic Vinegar
2 T Water
Salt & Pepper

METHOD:

Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl, jar, or process using a blender. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour into a dispenser/jar with cover and chill until needed. Serve over your favorite salad.

Enjoy!!

Spicy Ginger Lemon Dressing:

INGREDIENTS:

2 slices fresh Ginger, or to taste
1/4 cup cooked White Beans/Garbanzos OR Cashews/Almonds
1 clove Garlic
1 pinch Cayenne
Salt, to taste
2-3 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 Tsp Lemon Zest, color part only - no white pith
1/4 of a small Apple OR 2 Tbsp Maple or Agave syrup
2 Tbsp Tamari/Soy sauce
2 Tbsp Water

METHOD:

If using the nuts, soak the nuts and red chile in a little warm water for 10-15 minutes. Drain, rinse and place in blender carafe.

Add rest of the ingredients except the water and blitz until smooth. Pour into a jar or dispenser.

Add the water to the blender jar, swirl to gather the dressing clinging to it and add to the dressing. Mix well, taste, and adjust the seasonings as needed. Add more water, a little at a time, to get the right consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Pour into a dispenser/jar with cover and chill until needed. Use within 4-5 days.

Enjoy!!



Sunday, November 10, 2019

Pasta With Roasted Butternut Squash & Onions

Pasta With Roasted Butternut Squash & Onions is a lovely dish to celebrate the delicious and super nutritious butternut squash. Once you have the butternut and onions roasted, the rest of the recipe goes really fast. Roasting brings out the nutty sweetness of both the butternut and onions. 

Use non-wheat pasta for a Gluten Free recipe.

Pasta With Roasted Butternut Squash & Onions
INGREDIENTS:

1 small Butternut, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
1 large Onion, cut into largish dice
1 tsp Oil
2-3 pinches Red Pepper Flakes
1 big clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp dried Thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
3-4 Green Onions, thinly sliced

4 oz dried short Pasta, cooked
2-3 Tbsp pasta cooking water
Vegan Parmesan Or chopped Toasted Nuts and Seeds, to serve

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. Place the butternut and onions in a single layer evenly. Sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper.  

Roast in the oven until the veggies brown a little and become tender. Remove from oven and reserve.

While the veggies are roasting, start cooking the pasta according to package directions. Drain when ready reserving a little of the cooking water.

Heat the oil in a skillet and add red pepper flakes. When the pepper sizzles add the garlic and cook for a few seconds more.

Stir the thyme and the  roasted veggies and mix well.

Tip in the pasta and a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Sprinkle the green onions on top.

Serve hot with a little vegan parmesan or the nuts and seeds sprinkled on top.

Enjoy!!

Roasted Butternut & Onions


Saturday, November 9, 2019

Warm Black Bean Salad With Limey Mojito Dressing

Here's lovely Warm Black Bean Salad With Limey Mojito Dressing with a Southwest flair; a delicious and filling meal in a bowl! Rich in phytonutrients of anthocyanins, antioxidants, black beans, vegetables, and the herbs provide a vitamin, mineral, and fiber rich fare. We love piling the salad into warm tortillas or Romaine leaves taco style or scooping it with chips. 

NOTES:

Instead of romaine, other greens or baby lettuce and herb mixtures maybe used.

This is an oil-free salad; if you wish you may add a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the dressing and for cooking the onion-chile mixture.

4 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

Dressing:
1 small clove Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped
Pinch of Salt
1-2 Limes, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Chili powder (the spice mix)
2-3 Tsp Maple Syrup

Salad:
1-2 Jalapeno or Serrano Chiles, deseeded, and minced
2 large Shallots OR 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cups freshly cooked Black Beans OR 1 (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn kernels, fresh from about 2 ears OR frozen
1 Red, Yellow or Orange bell pepper, diced
2 Carrots, diced small
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 small hass avocado, halved, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
1/2 head Romaine Lettuce, cut into a fine chiffonade, about 3 cups

Optional ingredients for serving:
Warm Corn Tortillas
Whole Romaine Leaves
Tortilla Chips
Hot Sauce

METHOD:

Make the dressing: 

Smash the garlic clove and chopped cilantro with a pinch of the salt using a mortar and pestle OR with the flat side of a large knife, into a coarse paste. Whisk the garlic paste, lime juice, salt, cumin, and chili powder together in a small jar or bowl. Whisk in the maple syrup. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Set aside. If made ahead, cover and reserve in the fridge.

Make the salad: 

Heat the chiles and onions with a pinch of salt in a skillet or pan; cook stirring over low-medium heat until onions are softened  and begin to color a bit.

Tip in the black beans, corn, bell pepper, and the carrots. Add half the dressing and toss to coat evenly.

Remove from the heat when the bean mixture is just warm and gently fold in the tomatoes and half the cilantro. Adjust seasoning with lime juice, salt and pepper.

Reserve about 2-3 tsp of the dressing to drizzle on top of the salad before serving.

Add the rest of the dressing to the lettuce and the remaining cilantro; divide among 4 plates.

Pile the bean mixture on top of the lettuce.

Place the avocado on top, drizzle with the reserved dressing.

Serve immediately with the warm tortillas, romaine, or chips. Pass the hot sauce.

Enjoy!!

Caldo Verde (Portuguese-style Mashed Potato Soup With Beans & Greens)

Caldo Verde is a classic Portuguese soup with luscious potatoes, hearty greens, and plump beans. I was intrigued by this soup when I saw a program where this soup was featured many years ago. It is a hearty and comforting soup to satisfy the hunger pangs with minimal ingredients and work. Although similar to Mess of Greens Soup, it is simpler and a bit different. It is a snap to prepare especially if you have leftover mashed potatoes and some cooked beans waiting in the fridge or freezer; canned kidney beans may be used as well. If you like to cook your own beans, check this post; it is quite easy, tasty, and economical!

I make two versions of Caldo Verde (at least): one with regular potatoes and another with sweet potatoes depending on what's available in my pantry! The bean choice can vary too - use any dry beans cooked until soft but not mushy. The potatoes may be left in chunks or mashed and added to the soup. I use different types of greens based on availability, variety, and taste; use your favorites - Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards, Turnip greens, etc. Hearty greens work best for this soup; depending on the greens you use, the cooking times will vary; the tougher greens will need more time to soften. If you really want to use spinach, stir it in at the last minute just to wilt.

Notes: 
  • I often roast the veggies for a robust flavored soup. Roasting may be done a day or two ahead which makes preparing the soup ever so quick. Only caveat with roasting the potatoes is that you may have to guard them from being eaten right out of the pan because they are so delicious! The roasted veggies may be stirred into the soup with or without mashing.
  • If you like a red, green and white soup with a high contrast of ingredients, use white carrots and peeled regular potatoes. Also, rinse the beans before adding to the soup to keep the soup from taking on color from the bean cooking liquid.
8 Servings

Ingredients:

1 tsp Oil (optional)
1/2 tsp Red Chile flakes
1 Onion, chopped
1/2 tsp Turmeric (optional)
1 Bay Leaf, fresh or dry
5-6 sprigs fresh Thyme
2-3 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
1 large Carrot, cut into thick coins
4-6 Potatoes, any type (about 1 1/2 lbs)
6 cups boiling Water
1 tsp Sea Salt, or to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
1 big bunch Kale or other Leafy Greens (about 1 lb)
2 Cups cooked Red Kidney Beans
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to serve
Red Chile flakes, to serve

Method:

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place whole potatoes in a baking pan and bake until done. Alternately, cut potatoes into cubes and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes or until cooked and lightly browned, stirring to cook evenly once or twice during roasting.

Alternately, the potatoes maybe cooked or steamed, cubed or mashed before adding to soup.

Prepare the greens; wash, trim, and strip the leaves off from the stems; chop the stems and leaves and keep them separate.

Heat the oil (if using) in a soup pot and add the chile flakes; when they begin to sizzle or change color, add the onions, garlic with carrots and a pinch of salt. Stir in the stems from the greens if you wish to use them. Cook covered over low heat for about 4 to 5 minutes stirring as needed with a sprinkle or two of water as needed to keep the veggies from sticking or burning.

Add the boiling water along with the herbs and increase heat so the soup is boiling.

Stir in the chopped kale or the greens of your choice, cover, reduce heat so the soup is simmering gently, and simmer until the greens are tender.

Add the beans to the greens and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the potatoes. If you like a creamy soup, mash the potatoes while still hot with a potato masher with a little of the broth from the soup. Stir it back into the soup and heat through.

Check soup for seasonings and add salt and freshly ground pepper according to your taste.

Serve hot with a drizzle of the olive oil and a sprinkle of the chile flakes if you like.

Enjoy!!