For now, I'm following an essentially dairy-free diet. That's not really a drastic change for me as I've been a strict vegetarian for over 20 years now and dairy has't made up a significant portion of my daily meals for quite some time now. It's unlikely I would follow a strict vegan diet, but for digestive reasons, this seems to be the right approach for me personally for the time being.
The thing is, some of my favorites happen to be not so dairy-free. Like cheese! That's the sad part. The fun part is finding alternatives that closely mimic my favorites, while still focusing on real and nourishing food. So far, I've been quite satisfied with vegan versions of some classics such as coleslaw and Caesar salad. It's a refreshing challenge and my taste buds and body are certainly content.
When it comes to cheese, paneer is a particular weakness of mine, if you could call it that. A succulent soft and mild cheese with a high melting point, it is perfectly suited to curries as it takes on the flavors of the dish it stars in, and adds a unique chewy texture. And then I found a recipe for "chickpea tofu" from Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen. Without soy and containing only chickpea flour, some spices, and my own addition — nutritional flakes for a bit of a cheesy flavor — these cubes are not only easy to make, but delicious as a snack. I had to restrain myself from snacking too much, otherwise there wouldn't have been enough left over for this tomato-based curry that I also adapted from Richa's book.
This dish reminded me of very much of mattar paneer, one of my all time favorite North Indian classics featuring cubes of paneer simmered in a spicy tomato gravy with green peas. As an analogy to my habit of ordering mushroom dishes on those occasions when I happen to dine out to test the prowess of the chef, likewise I seem to judge the quality of Indian restaurants from the paneer dishes offered up and am always finding new ways to make it in my own kitchen.
Once again it's my turn to host No Croutons Required. This long running monthly event, alternately hosted by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes and myself, showcases vegetarian soups and salads from fellow cooks. The weather is still warm, but there is a hint of autumn in the air, so I suspect we will have a nice mixture of soups and salads as the season is in transition.
As always, it's easy to participate.
To do so, prepare a soup or salad that is suitable for vegetarians and showcase it on your blog.
Link back to this announcement and Lisa's Kitchen as I am the host for September, and also Jacqueline's blog, as she is my co-host for this event.
Add your recipe using the linky tool at the end of this post by the 28th of this month. Only one entry per blogger please.
The roundup will be posted at the end of the month.
We are very much looking forward to your inspired creations. Soups and salads are a staple all year round and those who enjoy cooking never seem to tire of finding new recipes, myself included.
Anyone who regularly frequents this space will know I adore little bites, especially when they are baked as it cuts done on oil content and time too. I have baked falafels on more than one occasion and this time I wanted to try falafel with sweet potato along with the chickpeas that are the traditional base for falafels. I surely wasn't disappointed with the result.
They were really easy to make, which is good when it's hot outside and the desire to spend a prolonged period of time in the kitchen is not the first priority. The falafels were slightly crisp on the outside with a melt-in-your-mouth interior. They can be served up as an appetizer, or for a light meal with your favorite chutney or, as I did, with a creamy and tangy yogurt and tahini sauce. I wanted a grain component to the meal and also decided to serve up some brown rice on the side. These certainly would be wonderful served in a pita pocket along with some diced tomato or anything else that suits your fancy.
Mushrooms make their appearance on the menu at least a few times a month in my kitchen, if not more. Indeed, I have well over 100 recipes posted here on the blog featuring these succulent delights. On those rare occasions when I dine out, I always sample a few of the mushroom recipes and find myself judging the skill of the chef based on their preparation. Though not difficult to cook with, mushrooms ought to be treated with respect.
The earthy and meaty texture of shrooms is magical. They are such a versatile ingredient that takes on the flavor of the dishes they feature in while shining in their own right. With so many varieties to choose from, mushroom aficionados will never get bored. Perfect in soups and stews, salads, casseroles, toppings for breads, stuffed, baked, sautéed and, in this case, marinated, the possibilities are endless.
My most recent exploration in the kitchen was an appetizer with Italian seasoning that nearly spoiled my dinner because these little bites are so highly addictive. Not that there is anything wrong with eating just these for dinner. And I could, often. It's the mushrooms that matter here, in all of their glory. Dressed up with olive oil, herbs and vinegar, the mushrooms are vibrant with a bit of zest to accent the earthiness of the mushrooms.