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Onion Zucchini Soup:

This is a semi ready-made dish. I used the ready made Maggi tomato soup powder. When i mixed the powder in water to remove all the lumps I found that it had a strange pink colour. I’m assuming that it has a lot of food colouring so I’d suggest that you make a tomato soup at home yourself. Let me get on with what I did.

I heated some oil in a deep bottomed vessel and sauteed some finely sliced onion and green zucchini. I then added the soup mixture and let the mixture come to a boil while stirring continuously. It tasted alright and felt healthy but I was disappointed by the food colouring in the soup mix.

Plum Preserve:

Another uniquely simple dish… I was not happy with the plums we got this time. I tried eating them fresh but they just wouldn’t go down my throat. So i decided to add some sugar and make a preserve. I had to rinse the plums multiple times and wipe them really clean. Otherwise like you can see in the picture they had a thick white layer over it…

What you will need:

Plums - deseeded and cut into 1” pieces - 4 cups

Brown sugar - 2 cups

Lime juice- 1 Tbspn

I used a heavy bottomed vessel and put the plums in it. Covered and let it cook for a bit. I then added sugar, lime juice and covered and let cook for another 15 minutes stirring occasionally. All the water from the plums will be out by now. I used a masher to evenly mash all the plums. Keep stirring on med heat for another 15 minutes. The preserve should be ready now. Test for a set by placing a little of the preserve on a cold vessel and push the blob with your finger to see if it forms a wrinkled skin. Boil for another five minutes if needed and do the set test again. Skim the top of the preserve and set to cool. Pour into clean jars and your preserve is all set…

Plum Preserve

earlier: Nectarine preserve , Golden Raspberry preserve

Eggplant soup:

Having never been a big fan of egg plant this came as a surprise to me. I really surprised myself by even trying to make this soup and trust me it takes quite a while to finish. Roasting, Slow Cooking, Blending and then Cooking again! Takes a whole 2 hours if not more. I got this recipe from Deb of Smitten Kitchen and be sure to check out her lil kid’s pics - so adorable.

What you will need:

Egg Plant - Medium sized - 1

Onion - Medium sized - 1/2

Tomato - Large - 1

Garlic - 6-7 pods

Vegetable stock - 3 Cups

Olive Oil - 1 Tbspn

Fresh Thyme - 4 sprigs

coriander powder - 2 Tspn

Cumin powder - 1 Tspn

Salt to taste

Slice the tomato and cut the egg plant and onion into big peices and drizzle with oil and roast in the oven at 400 F for about 40 minutes. Check in after the initial 20 minutes and take the garlic out if done. 40 minutes of garlic roasting would blaken it.

Heat some vegetable stock and add the roasted ingredients and fresh Thyme and boil for about another 40 minutes. Keep aside to cool for about 15 minutes and then puree into a smooth paste. Heat some oil in a heavy bottomed vessel and add the olive oil. Add cumin powder and coriander powder. Now the pureed mixture goes in and some salt. Let this mixture come to a boil… When it starts boiling your soup is ready.

Have it with some croutons and cream if you like it that way…

No cheese Basil and Asparagus pizza with a wheat base:

I was completely flattered by how the wheat base didn’t disappoint me, neither in taste wise nor in looks.

For the base:

2 Cups - Durum wheat flour

Dry yeast - 1/2 packet

Sugar - 1 Tspn

Salt - 1 pinch

Warm water - 1n 1/2 Cup or just enough to make tight dough

Olive Oil - 1 Tbspn. You might need some aside to brush the dough surface to keep it from drying.

A sprinkle or two of italian seasoning(optional) I like my pizza base to have some flavour. You can replace this with thyme if you like.

Mix the above ingredients to form a tight dough and brush the surface with oil and keep it in a warm place for rising. I just waited an hour and was pretty happy with the result. It doubled in size and I was all set to make the pizza. The place I normally use to let the dough rise is the oven with the light on(for the warmth).

Topping:

Basil - Chopped 1 Cup

Prego Italian Sauce - 1 Cup

Onion - 1/2 sliced thin

Tomato Ketchup - 1/4 Cup

Asparagus - 4 chopped to 1” size

Garlic - 3 pods chopped fine

Mix the above ingredients and keep aside while waiting for the dough to rise. Once the dough has doubled take it out of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 F.

Now divide the dough into equal parts and roll it out in any shape you like. I simply used my knuckles. I then placed it on a well-greased aluminium foil. Now spread the topping evenly on the pizza base and leave about 1” space at the circumference. Since the topping was raw it took about 10 minutes in the oven at 500 F. I had to turn my baking dish after 5 minutes to make sure I baked it evenly all over. But like I’ve said before – only you know your oven. Normally I use sautéed ingredients and so the pizza is ready in 5.

That’s it - take out and serve hot… It’s obviously very low on calories and pretty high on taste so I definitely recommend this dish. Obviously if you like yours with a lot of cheese you can use parmesan cheese mixed in the topping and then top it off with mozzarella but I didn’t and I’d advise you not to either. This was meant to be a health conscious snack so instead of all the cheese let’s think of ways to add more pizza friendly veggies – like zucchini or mushroom or green/red/yellow peppers, eggplant.

I’m assuming this is almost vegan since the only ingredient that I didn’t make myself is the Prego Italian sauce. Every other ingredient is vegan and vegelicious!

P.S: Enjoy this song as you take a bite…

Veggie Pasty

I didn’t even know what to call it till I came across a similar recipe here while I was blog hopping. On Sunday, instead of making chapati and some curry to go with it I decided to push the whole process further and make a ‘weekend project’ out of it. So its kinda like a samosa only it isn’t. Only I used crisco for the flakiness and I didn’t deep fry it in oil.

What you need:

For the shell

Durum wheat flour - 2 cups (Yes, i am trying to finish all the wheat flour)

Salt - 1/2 Tspn

Sugar - 1 Tspn

Crisco - 1 Tbspn

Ice cold water - 1 Cup

Italian seasoning - 2 sprinkles (optional - i added this to give some flavour to the dough)

Mix these ingredients to form a tight dough.

For the filling/stuffing:

Oil - 1 Tspn

Cauliflower florets - 1 cup

Carrots - 1 cup

Onion - 1 Cup

Green pepper - 1 Cup

Garlic - 3 pods

Turmeric - 1/2 Tspn

Paprika - 1 Tspn

Salt to taste

Ideally have all the veggies chopped to even 1 inch pieces. Boil the cauliflower n carrot pieces for about 10-15 minutes.

Heat some oil in a deep bottomed vessel and add the onion and garlic. Saute for a bit and then add in the remaining veggies. Add some salt, paprika and turmeric and let the veggies cook till all the water from the veggies evaporates. Green pepper is a water based vegetable and although drained the carrots and cauliflower is going to give out a little water. When the curry is dry enough remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Roll out the dough and put in the filling and snap it shut… Make a few slits in the dough and get creative with the shapes and the filling. Anything you put inside, as long as it tastes good outside is going to taste great inside.

Place it in a well oiled baking dish. If you want to make it heavy you can brush the top with some butter but I strongly suggest you don’t. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for about 25 minutes. That’s how long it took for me but it might take + or - 5 minutes. Serve hot with ketchup.

I’d have loved some paneer burji filling or an egg burji filling. But that’s for some other day :)

Thai black eyed beans gravy:

I love the Thai curry powder I got myself when I was trying to make this. I so fell in love with it that I either try to put it in every dish I make or not put it at all to save it for my next dish. Yea, I’m a little confused that way.  Right now I’m engrossed in watching old episodes of ‘Eureka’ and cooking up some delish Thai food while trying to save my carefully groomed nails from the knife. Gravy based curries are my favourite because when the different ingredients are blended together into a fine paste it gives an aroma nothing else can beat plus its easy on my teeth ;)

What you need:

Black eyed beans soaked overnight and cooked – About 2 cups

Tomatoes – 2 cups

Onion – 1 Cup

Garlic – 4 pods finely chopped (avoid this if you are using garlic salt like I did)

Green chili – 1 deseeded and cut(optional)

Paprika – 1 Tspn

Turmeric powder – ½ Tspn

Oriental Thai curry powder – 2 Tspns

Cloves – 4

Cinnamon sticks – 2

Oil – 1 Tbspn divided

Brown sugar – 1 Tspn

Fresh Coriander – 1 bunch finely chopped

Salt to taste

How you do it:

Heat ½ Tbspn oil in a pan and add garlic, onion, green chili and sauté for a few minutes till the onion turns translucent. Add the tomato and turmeric, paprika, the curry powder and sauté till the tomatoes turn soft and mushy. Take off heat and cool before you blend it into a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining oil in a heavy bottomed vessel and add the cloves and cinnamon sticks. Add the gravy and let it come to a boil. Put in the boiled black eyed beans and cover and cook on low for about 15-20 minutes. Add some brown sugar and salt to taste and garnish with fresh coriander and serve it with an elephant on the side. Or some rice… :D

Note:

  • After I tasted it I felt like I could go low on the spice level so I suggest that you don’t use the green chili.
  • If you like coconut based curries then add some coconut milk towards the end before the garnishing and bring to a boil. This way you can avoid the sugar because coconut eats up the spice quite a bit.

For me it’s sooper strange to know that some people rarely use coriander for garnishing their dishes. In fact I’ve read that it tastes like soap! For Indians, coriander is a very important ingredient for garnishing Indian Dishes. We even make coriander chutney for our sandwiches.  So if you don’t really enjoy the taste of coriander please avoid it…

My current favourite blog: Eat Live Run

Tomato Basil Fettuccine with summer veggies from Pappardelle’s Pasta

On my way back from the Grove - farmers Market, I got myself Tomato Basil Fettuccine from Pappardelle. They have such interesting blends and flavours of pasta that all you need to do it boil and season with a little salt and pepper and you’d end up with some pretty good pasta. But i’ll try not to get away with something like that for a PPN#184 entry hosted by Jennifer originally Ruth’s brain child. :D

Try this link for some recipes from Pappardelle.

The extended summer is coming to an end and the summer veggies are bidding us goodbye… What better way to bade farewell than with a summer veggie special pasta! The yellow pattypan squash and some green zucchini were my pick to go with my almost red with tomato fettuccine… And a whole lot of extra virgin olive oil ofcourse. I’d say do what you like with your ingredients - roast em, bake em, fry em, boil em, cook em but just make sure you feel what you cook. Like as I was cleaning up my pattypan squash - by the way this was the first time I was using them - i kept wondering what would be the best way to cut them so as to retain their lovely shape and yet go with the thinly sliced zucchini. I sauteed them separately in olive oil with dry basil, garlic and salt. Put in the boiled and drained pasta and voila I was all set to have some summer flavoured pasta. I tried having this pasta cold but didn’t enjoy it very much.

I’ve been wondering what to do for my 100th post(I’m at 98 right now) and i’ve still not gotten any bright ideas :( I’ll just keep hunting unless you have suggestions for me.

My previous PPN entries:   PPN183, PPN181, PPN180, PPN179 & PPN176

And the round ups: PPNR184, PPNR183, PPNR181,PPNR180, PPNR179 & PPNR176

Punjabi Kadhi

You can find a zillion recipes out there from different regions not too different from each other. Some have pakoras(deep fried onion dipped in gram flour) and some don’t. Some have palak(spinach) and some don’t. This is considered comfort food by many Indians. Hot kadhi with steaming rice accompanied with papad and a spicy pickle. It takes quite a while to prepare but the wait is worth it.  Also given that it can be stored for 3-4 days and consistency changed by adding the required amount of water makes it all the more likable.

Another thing about this is its simplicity. This recipe is closest to what I followed. In English they like to call it ’ Spinach in yogurt based sauce’. Since the main ingredient is Gram flour, I think its a pretty good entry to the MLLA event #28 hosted by Divya this month. The MLLA is originally Susan’s brain child.

What you will need :

  • Low fat yogurt - 2 cups
  • Gram flour (besan) - 4 Tbspn
  • Spinach washed & chopped
  • 1 tsp. black mustard ( rai) seeds
  • cumin (jeera) - 1 tspn
  • cloves (laung)- 2-3 
  • whole dry red chillies - 2 
  • Garlic - 4 pods finely chopped
  • Ginger - as much as garlic again finely chopped (You can substitute the above two with ready made or home made ginger garlic paste. But be sure to go light on salt)
  • Green chili - 1 finely chopped
  • Turmeric powder - 1 Tspn
  • Coriander powder - 2 Tspn
  • Paprika - 1 Tspn
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil - 1 Tbspn


Procedure :

  1. Whisk yogurt and gram flour and all dry spices(Turmeric powder,Coriander powder,Paprika) to remove all the lumps. Use a blender if you want a smooth paste. Add enough water to form a pouring consistency. Keep aside.
  2. Heat little oil in a heavy bottom vessel and add mustard seeds, cumin, whole red chillies, cloves, green chili, ginger and garlic.
  3. Add the yogurt mixture to the pan.
  4. Add around 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then set it to medium high. The gram flour takes a while to cook so let it boil for about 30 minutes. Keep stirring every few minutes else it will form a blob at the bottom of the vessel.
  5. Add the chopped spinach and let it cook for another 20 minute.
  6. Add water to keep the consistency to your liking and bring to a boil. Adjust salt to taste.
  7. Garnish with fresh coriander.

My previous MLLA entries: MLLA27, MLLA26, MLLA25

Thai Veggie Wrap with a delectable sauce:

A recipe I made outta nowhere in particular… I had got some ‘spring rolls skin’ lying around at home and I saw some fresh wrap recipes online… Though I was temped to try them out, I wasn’t really in the mood for raw food as such. So I decided to take the help of some oil, paprika and some thai chilli garlic paste to make an interesting filling, and some sauce to go with it…

Add shiitake mushrooms, carrots to make the wrap more fun… Fry the wrap if you like a crunchy exterior. I was also thinking of making some fresh buns with the potato & sauce as a filling… Some other time maybe…

What you will need:

Spring Roll Skin - 4 - I used 2 per roll since they were sooper delicate

Luke warm water to soak the spring rolls skin

For the filling:

Vermicelli roasted - 1/2 cup

Potato - 2 Cups - cut into small cubes

garlic - 2 pods - finely chopped

Paprika - 1/2 Tspn

Oil - 1 Tspn

Salt to taste

For the Sauce:

Onion - 1 Cup - chopped finely

Brown sugar - 2 Tspns

Thai Chili garlic paste - 1/2 Tspn

Soy Sauce - 2 Tspns

Vinegar - 1 Tspn

Oil - 1 Tspn

Heat some oil in a pan, add the potato and garlic and saute till the potato is well cooked. This takes about 10-15 minutes on medium heat. Add paprika and salt and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Heat some water in the microwave and add the vermicelli and microwave on high for 3 min. Check to see if the vermicelli is cooked and if not microwave for 1 more minute. Drain and keep aside to cool.

Heat oil in the pan and add the chopped onion and saute for about 3-4 mintes till it changes translucent. Then add the brown sugar and mix well. Add the vinegar and the soy sauce and bring to a boil… Let the mixture turn syrupy on low to medium heat and then the sauce is all ready!

Take some luke warm water in a big vessel and soak the spring roll skin for about 10 seconds. They are very very delicate so please handle them with care. The first one i tried nearly tore as I held it… So I decided to use 2 layers for a wrap. Place the sheet on a plate and start putting the potato, vermicelli evenly leaving enough place towards the circumference. For some extra flavour drizzle a bit of the sauce. Wrap it tightly and slice when you are ready to eat… Serve with the sauce on the side…

It’s a treat to the taste buds!

The Elephant God or Ganesha or Ganapati loves food. His body image is testimony to that. So it’s common practice to feed him what he loves on his birthday. Though I do wonder what the sugar rush must do to him with so many people offering him so many sweets!

Some of his favourites are:

Besan ke Laddu(fried gram flour sweet balls), Kaju ki Barfi(Cashew nut sweet), Modak(Steamed rice dumplings with coconut filling), Boondi Laddu(Gram flour sweet balls), Pulihora(Tamarind Rice), Rava Laddu(Semolina sweet balls)

So assuming I couldn’t really make all the items I decided to make Besan Ke laddu, Modaks, Boondi Laddu, Kaju ki Barfi, Rava Laddu and Pulihora… Waaaait… that’s everything :)

I ain’t taking any credit for the cooking - All thanks to Mom and the internet… And numerous trials before the D day…

Enjoy the pictures…