The language used in the label is ‘Telugu’, the main language spoken in the south Indian state I was born in which was recently cut up into two states thanks to greed, conflict and war. I was taught to write in this language since I was 10 and I was a reluctant learner. I don’t do justice to the language when I speak it but I understand it very well. I consider the state my birth place and it saddens me terribly to see it torn up.
Each of us deal with grief and loss in a different way. It might come as no surprise that I turn to food which is not necessarily a good thing. I decided though not to focus on the loss and instead write something about the person.
The one thing we had in common was that we loved food. I loved cooking(& eating) and he enjoyed eating. I come from a family that used to love non vegetarian food - a lot! It came as a big surprise to them when I stopped. For quite a few years after I stopped eating meat, I continued to cook it during family get togethers because people enjoyed it.
I remember making chicken fry and having it wiped clean by the lot. I remember making baked fish and my uncle insisting on checking if it was cooked every few minutes - by tasting it.
I have not cooked meat in a long while and have not eaten it either and so I decided to make a dish that we all loved eating and making regardless of the occasion. Chole, chickpeas in a tomato based gravy, eaten with rotis, puri or any form of flat bread or not, but always enjoyed by everyone.
I made a small modification and added a lot more fresh coriander than i usually would. The fresh greens added a flavor and color that was definitely a feast to the eyes and refreshing to the taste buds. This is not your typical chole and you will not find it at your local restaurant so if you’d like, give it a try. This recipe requires no finesse or knife skills but does require patience(waiting for the onion to almost caramelize for example) and ALL of the ingredients.
Garbanzo beans - 2 cups soaked overnight, cooked and drained (You could alternatively use canned garbanzo beans)
Oil - Canola or Vegetable or Coconut oil - 1 Tbsp
Onion - 1 Large roughly chopped
Tomatoes - 2 Cups roughly chopped
Garlic - 10 cloves
Ginger - same amount as the garlic roughly chopped up
Green chillis - 2
dry red chillis - 2 (Optional if you don’t prefer too much spice)
Curry leaves - 20-30 leaves
Coriander leaves - 2 bunches cleaned and separated
Salt to taste
How to go about it:
In a skillet, heat the oil and add the onion and garlic and ginger to it. Here is where the patience bit comes in. You need to cook it till the onion starts caramelizing about 15 minutes on medium high flame. (I put in a picture of how the onion should look, above)
This is when you add the tomatoes, chillis and the rest of the ingredients except one bunch of coriander leaves and coo till the tomatoes are real soft. Use the ladle to mash up the tomatoes and let the juice from the tomatoes cook everything else.
Turn off the heat and let this mixture cool just enough to put it into the grinder. Add the fresh coriander bunch that you kept aside earlier and grind to a smooth paste. You don’t want any unsightly lumps. Once the grinding is done add this to a sauce pan and add the garbanzo beans and cook covered for about 20 minutes and then uncovered for another 10 minutes. Make sure to taste and add salt if required. If you want this gravy to be a little less thick, feel free to add water.
I must advise that you be careful when this gravy starts to come to a boil because it will start spluttering quite a bit. Let it boil for a few minutes and you can turn it off and serve warm. Garnish with roasted cashews and coriander leaves.
This keeps in the fridge for upto 3 days and in the freezer for upto a week (it could keep longer but I haven’t tried longer than that)
Juicing is going strong. We meet up everyday almost at the same time and finish up in 30 minutes from prep work to clean up.
A lot of the juice buddies bring fruits from their garden. So luckily we’ve tasted guavas, persimmons, apples, grapefuits, avacados that are homegrown.
We also have adventurous juices with ingredients such as chia seeds, dragon fruit, pomegranate. Kale and beets have become a must have and we love the color they impart.
Sometimes thick, sometimes watery juicing updates are fun to share. I am slightly allergic to pineapple but I did taste it once and it was really good.
This was the drink with the persimmon in it. I loved it. The only persimmons I’ve tasted are from a long time ago and they were not really tasty. These were plump, soft and juicy perfect for juicing. I even saved up the seeds to try and grow them.
One of the simplest and healthiest dishes I’ve made. This vegetable literally takes care of itself. Olan is about simple ingredients, involves a simple cooking process and has a very rich flavor…
Cut up the winter melon, green chillies, ginger. Add curry leaves, salt, 1 tsp coconut milk and water and cook at medium heat for about 15 minutes or till it comes to a boil.
You’ll know its done when the melon pieces turn translucent. If you like taste it now and add salt if needed.
Turn off heat and stir in another tablespoon of coconut milk. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.
I wanted to share the standard list that we send out to everyone so that the base of our juice stays pretty consistent. This list is shared once a week and everyone gets their share. Some of the expensive fruit is usually split and shared by a couple of juice buddies.
APPLES (Organic) (5)
APPLES (Organic) (5)
The group has experimented with some amazing greens and vegetables and some not so amazing ones as well. For example, mint is a big NO NO as is mustard greens. Celery has been voted out by the group.
But we’ve tried sweet potato leaves, beet leaves, various varieties of sprouts - alpha alpha and pea sprouts for example. BEETS which is turning into one of my favourite vegetables - from being the one veggie I would run from(my Mom will vouch for this). I have been trying to introduce it into my daily diet in as much of a raw form as I can. Steamed beets are great too! Add some to cooked quinoa for some great color(and taste!).
Today’s blend consisted of :
1 medium sized beet, 1 whole juicy pineapple, 3 apples, 2 bananas, 3 Cups baby spinach, 4 kale leaves, a handful of sweet potato leaves, 1 cups grapes, broccoli (about 1.5 cups), 2 tomatoes, 2 lemon, quarter of a cabbage and 4 oranges!
Because of the number of ‘sweet’ fruits this blend was mostly sweet and we could hardly taste the greens in it. The days that the juice is as green as you see in one the images above, the taste is usually grassy ans sometimes on the bitter side and those are the days I usually scrunch up my face while drinking it. Those are also the days I smile more because I know I’ve done some good to my body.
Disclaimer: I am not on juicing for weight loss, nor have I seen any difference in my weight. My reason is to improve my health (which isn’t at its best). I have noticed that my digestive system has regulated itself a lot better than it has in the past. It might help everyone a little differently - some claim that their skin starts glowing, for some it might help in weight loss/maintenance.
I’ve been juicing for a while now - well if two months is ‘a while’. I juice with a bunch of juicing buddies and have been enjoying every weird drink 5 times a week. We take a break on weekends though there have been weekends when I’ve missed it so much that I make a mini version for myself!
I haven’t found one yet except maybe that you need a decent blender. We have a vitamix that makes juicing life so much easier.
Our juicing group has a few rules:
I wanted to share some of the combos that have been a hit/miss with the crowd. I’ll start with one and keep adding as we go…
Apples - 2
Avocado - 1/2
Bananas - 2
Blueberries - 1 Cup
Broccoli - 1 Cup
Carrots - 4
Flax seeds - 1 Tbsp
Kale - 3 leaves
Lime/Lemon - 2
Mango - 1
Orange - 4
Pear - 2
Spinach - 3 Cups
Sprouts - 1/2 Cup
Tomatoes - 2
Add the above in a blender and add ice if you like your drink cold. Add a little water to help with the blending/consistency and blend till smooth. Drink away! This particular blend tastes tarty, sweet and was thick because of the avocados and the bananas.
If you think that you have a group that’s interested, form one and have fun blending and juicing!
For some odd reason I don’t like any fruit or vegetable that is deemed healthy. Turns out my ‘homies’ - Mom and (R)oomie are the complete opposite. A visit to a steak house where the chef kindly served up a huge vegetarian platter to (R)oomie who was the only vegetarian in the group, turned him into an instant Brussels sprouts lover.
The next few days were spent listening to (R)oomie praise the chef and his brussels sprouts - how perfectly tender they were and how well the flavor was captured with simple ingredients. Gritting my teeth, I got out and bought some from Wholefoods, cleaned em up, blanched them for a full 6 minutes.
Let cold water run over it and drained it. Heated 1/2 a Tbsp of butter and roasted the blanched brussels sprouts with salt and pepper for another 10 minutes.
I love how blanching retains the lovely color of the veggies!
Roasted to our perfection. I even tasted some of it! At least my phobia of cooking these troublesome veggies has been conquered.
I’ve been taking it easy the past few weeks - pracastinating actually. So I’m actually making an effort to sit down and write this post. Can you imagine life for a month without cable/tv? 6 months? 1 year? We completed a year without one successfully. And I’m pushing to make it two! It’s not that I dont watch any show - I do! But it’s mostly whatever comes on hulu or youtube. I used to be addicted to netflix and had to literally use nicotine patches to get rid of that addiction and finally have been clean for 6 months now. *YAY*
Also my laptop is more like a desktop these days - can’t move it around too much which means my bathroom and bedroom are free from its clutches. I’m diverting my energy into other avenues - knitting, stitching, reading to name a few.
Also there’s a small get-together 3 weeks from now and I wanted to get something for the people I wanna meet. I’m just not sure what to get them - nothing too fancy and definitely handmade and not buttery either. Pinterest has some great DIY ideas but I’m still looking for something more feasible.
I’ve also not been cooking much of late - nothing blog worthy atleast. This weekend as a therapy I decided to make something healthy, tasty and involving hard labour(read more prep time). (R)oomie loves BK Veggie Burgers(no cheese) - it’s been his quickfix for many years now. Since I decided to go healthy for a bit - I decided on veggie patties. They are what I like to call “Veggie Energy Bars”…
Combine with with some more fresh veggies and whole grain bread and you have a complete meal. We had this for brunch and kept snacking on the patties whenever hunger struck. I tried to click a decent picture of the assembled product and royally failed.
Breakfast as they say is a very important meal of the day which is supposed to keep you on your feet most of the day. We end up eating heavy lunches and dinners(pretty late too) which again causes us to skip our breakfast (catch22? vicious circle?) and we are trying to change all of that.
I’m done with the niceties and will now get into the recipe details. For a change I put up text on my photos with the ingredient details. But being the nice person I am, I will repeat it here for you :D
What you will need:
For the Pattie:
Black beans - I soaked 1/2 cup overnight and pressure cooked it. You may want to use canned ones instead to make the job easier. I like doing the overnight thingie.
Olive oil - 1/2 Tbsp and some more for frying the patties(you can alsobake them but I didn’t this time)
Onion - Medium sized finely sliced
Green pepper - Medium sized finely chopped (as much as the onion)
Ginger - 1/2” minced/chopped finely
Garlic - 3 pods (Same as above)
Baby carrots - 5(boiled and drained and cut to 1” pieces)
Cauliflower - 1/2 cup(same as above)
Breadcrumbs - 1/2 Cup and some extra for coating
Cumin - 1/2 Tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 Tsp
Chili powder - 1/2 Tsp
Pepper - 1/4 Tsp (avoid if you prefer less spicy)
*Teriyaki Sauce - 1 Tbsp
*Soy sauce - 1/2 Tbsp
*Ketchup - 1 Tbsp
*Pesto - 1 Tbsp (I used the kirkland brand pesto that I got from Costco)
*Mix the above 4 ingredients and keep aside.
Mash the black-beans in a large mixing bowl.
Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom vessel and add the cumin. Add onion, ginger, garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes on high. Once the onion turns translucent add the green pepper, turmeric and chili powder and saute for 3-4 min. Add the *sauce to the mixture and mix for about a minute and turn off the heat. Add this mixture to the mashed black-beans and mix well. Now add the carrots and cauliflower and mash slightly and mix well. Lastly add in the breadcrumbs. Drain off as much liquid as possible while using the black-beans to avoid a runny mixture.
Prepare the patties by making them into 3/4” sized balls and flatten gently to make a disc shape. Have some of the breadcrumbs ready on a plate and gently place the flattened pattie to coat one side and then the other. Use your hands to dust a bit on the sides too. Once all the patties are ready, heat some oil on a non stick pan and slide the patties giving enough space to maneuver. Each side takes about 3-4 minutes on medium high. The breadcrumbs give the patties a crumbly exterior while being super soft as you bite into it. Serve hot or as desired.
We had some really healthy whole grain bread from Costco that was crying to be used and so I toasted it and layered some readymade coriander chutney, fresh cucumber and tomatoes with the pattie and served it for brunch.
**Surprisingly I didn’t feel the need to add any salt but if you think you need some, please make sure you add it to the pattie mix.
Do you feel the need for something sweet after all of that? Drop in at my neighbour’s for some yummy strawberry(picked fresh off the farms) cake and preserve!
I was a marshmallow lover till I got to know that it had gelatin in it. Sometimes Ignorance is Absolute Bliss. Having realized what gelatin was and so on and so forth I decided to give it up. This was a longtime ago(almost a decade). I wasn’t a very conscious vegetarian - in the sense that I never went about looking at labels on sweets to check for gelatin. Hell… I wouldn’t even know what gelatin was if it danced in front of me.
After the enlightenment I kinda felt sad that I had to give up something i really liked but it also made me painfully aware of a number of candies I had to give up on. In the recent few months I’ve been through some absolutely gorgeous sites with beautiful desserts decorated with fondant. Alas the ingredients included the dreaded gelatin. I almost gave up when I got this crazy idea of making a vegan version from scratch. But again, the procedure and the number of ingredients threw me back.
The last google I did in frustration was for vegan marshmallows and bingo - Whole Foods had it. I drove there and picked a packet and tore it open to taste it. There’s definitely a diff in taste but it’s pretty darn good. So I used it to make some Vegan Fondant. I found many videos on youtube which demonstrated how to make fondant with regular marshmallows and I simply substituted it with the vegan version. Surprise surprise, my first batch of vegan fondant :) I even managed to cover a few cookies but to be absolutely honest I did feel it was a little dry. Maybe I should mix it up more. I’m still learning and experimenting with rolling out the fondant and shaping it. I tried some roses which look very immature but are a start nonetheless and I’m only going to get better so I look forward to it.
They tasted nice and so I packed them up for the bake sale though there wasn’t any baking involved :D The white dot shaped thingies is powdered sugar that i used to roll out the fondant. Trust me - these look very immature but they are absolute fun especially when you are not sure of what you are doing!
The other thing is that there has been so much sugar usage for all the baking that I actually am revolted at the sight of sugar. Well, whom am i kidding - not really revolted, I’m keeping myself away consciously. A dear friend constantly reminds me about living and running a healthy lifestyle. That and my dearest Mom who surprises me with amazingly new things she starts up like this cabbage juice she suggested for detox, guava leaves to control sugar and I can keep on going…
Now about the above cookies - I wish I had taken a pic of the cookies when i just piped them on the silpat hoping they would retain their shape(I piped them so close to each other too!). They looked so pretty and when I put them in the oven and checked on them 10 min later and they were bubbling their way all over the silpat - I almost yelled in frustration! The first time I participated in the Daring Bakers and I was supposed to make Florentines they didn’t spread out the way they were supposed to but this time I didn’t even try and these cookies laced out pretty
darn well! These cookies have NO EGG and have cocoa, hazelnuts & almonds. They taste really buttery because of all the butter I generously used. When I got the out of the oven I had to use a pizza cutter to gently separate them out!
I had this post in my drafts waiting for find my camera’s connecting wire so that I could transfer some of the pics I managed to click on the Baking Sale(because in my excitement I forgot the memory card-silly me) hosted by Gaby. The bake sale was a huge hit at the BLD restaurant generating more than $2300 at the LA location and more than $22000 all over the country for Share Our Strength. I tasted a macaron for the first time ever and it was delish! I also got some strawberry preserve made by Kate at savour-fare which didn’t last more than a day!
Sources: My cookies are all inspired by Amanda from iambaker and iammommy and Bridget at bakeat350. They make the most exceptional cookies I have ever seen and have even put up videos at university of cookies to add to my pure delight!
I made the meringues by following the step by step procedure mentioned here(it’s in great detail). The Florentines were a trial and error recipe which I am going to work on till I get the desired shape.