Holler will be hosting the July edition of No Croutons Required. The challenge this month is to make a soup or a salad showcasing your favourite herb or one you haven't experimented with yet.
Toasted Fresh Coconut and Tomato Chutney
3 tablespoons of raw cashews
1 cup of coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
3 hot green chilies, chopped
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of salt
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 cup of yogurt
2 tablespoons of fresh coriander
2 tablespoons of fresh mint
3 tablespoons of oil or butter
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
In a frying pan, dry-roast the cashews over moderately low heat until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the coconut, cumin seeds and chilies to the pan and dry-roast until the coconut darkens a few shades. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
In a food processor, grind the cashews to a powder. Now add half of the coconut mixture and process until the coconut is also reduced to a powder. Now add the remaining coconut, process until it is reduced to a powder and then add the maple syrup, salt, tomato, yogurt and herbs. Continue to process until well combined. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat the butter or oil in a small frying pan or saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the mustard seeds and fry until they turn gray and begin to pop. Pour the seasoning into the chutney and stir to combine. Serve at room temperature. This chutney will keep for a few days if you store it in the refrigerator in a covered container.
Makes roughly 1 1/2 cups.
I'm sending this along to Jasmine for her event celebrating Canadian foods. Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess is covering the sweet side of Canada, while Jasmine is looking for more savory creations. What is Canadian food, you might rightly ask. Well, whatever you can cook up in your kitchen with ingredients available to you, complete with requisite imagination. But I recall that maple syrup is an abundant luxury here, and that the birth of Nanaimo Bars and Butter Tarts are patriotic fodder for us Canucks.
Almost old-fashioned baked beans
2 cups dried white beans
2 medium onions, chopped
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper
Soak the beans overnight in water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft but not falling apart. Remove from heat and drain, saving a little of the cooking liquid.
Preheat the oven at 350°. Combine the beans with all the other ingredients in a large baking or casserole dish with a lid. Cover and bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the beans have reached the desired thickness, stirring every half an hour or so. Add a teaspoon or so of the reserved cooking liquid if the beans become too dry.
Serves 6 to 8.
This recipe comes from Yamuna's Table, by Yamuna Devi. This alluring collection of more than 200 thoughtful and unique recipes from a proven master of traditional Indian cuisine has occupied my attention of late. Inspired by the flavours of India, Ms. Devi experiments with ingredients common to North America and beyond. All of the selections are straightforward, but her elegant serving suggestions make this an essential cookbook for wowing dinner guests, yet perfectly suited as a book for everyday cooking.
I've been tempted by Quinoa Macaroni and Cheese with Vegetables, Pine Nut and Orange Wild Rice, Cheesy Corn-Stuffed Crepes with Ancho Chili-Tomato Sauce, Chickpea-Red Pepper Cutlets with Mustard Cream Sauce, Gingered Pumpkin Soup with Cranberry Chutney, Stuffed Pepper Pastries with Yellow Pepper Sauce, Blackberry-Filled Baked Apples with Saffron Pastry Cream and the list goes on and on until I sample each and every idea from this prize winning book.
A big fat post-it-note has been attached to this recipe for the past few weeks. Savory treats are most decidedly a weakness of mine, so I made a choice and nibbled on it with pleasure too.
Slightly adapted from the original recipe to suit my cheesier, zestier preferences, I substituted heavy cream for skim milk, increased the amount of lime juice and cayenne and added a dash of cumin besides.
Lime Biscuit Thins
1/3 cup of heavy cream
juice from one small lime
1 cup of unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of grated lime zest
1/4 cup of cold butter, cut into chunks
Combine the cream and lime juice in a small bowl and let sit for about 15 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cayenne, cumin and lime zest. Add the butter to the bowl, and using a fork or pastry cutter, cut in the butter until it is reduced to small pieces. Pour the cream and lime into the bowl and mix with a fork until a soft dough is formed. Add a few sprinkles of water if necessary.
Divide the dough into two equal portions. Take one portion and place it between two pieces of lightly floured plastic wrap. Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 1 1/2 - 2 inch circles with a cookie cutter. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with second portion of dough. Reroll the scraps, and repeat.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are nicely browned. Cool on wire racks. These little thins will keep for over a week if kept in a tightly covered container.
Yields 24 - 30 biscuits.
Although I had already been aware of this aspect of many traditional Indian diets, I was struck by the general taboo against using onions and garlic that she placed on her cooking. This proscription, it was explained to me, is maintained by many Indians for the purpose of avoiding impurities that affect the body's balance and hence spiritual meditation. I am not Hindu of course, but I was not altogether surprised by this explanation after a bit of reflection, for as much as I enjoy the flavours of onions and garlic, there is a quality to them that I feel compelled to avoid for a while after eating too many. And as much as I enjoy eggs and cheese, I similarly feel the need to eat a mostly vegan diet for a few days if I've overindulged.
… Which got me to thinking. I found that my sweetie was skeptical on the subject, but then I should not have been surprised — he has that typical male aptitude for being internally insensitive, for all his other fine qualities. Still, I decided that there could be no harm in following some Indian sensibilities at least when it comes to Indian food, and resolved that I would make more of an effort to substitute onions and garlic with asafoetida or hing as do many Indian vegetarians. A very potent and pungent powder made from the dried resin of the stem and roots of a giant fennel plant that grows in Iran, Afghanistan and the Kashmir region of India, asafoetida is a staple in many Indian kitchens for its alleged anti-flatulent properties and for the flavours of onion and garlic that it imparts to food when fried quickly in hot oil or ghee. So strong it is that a pinch will do for any recipe, so a tin will last you ages. Every Indian grocery will carry it. I'll still use onions and garlic in other cuisines like Mediterranean where it would be unthinkable to do without, and will continue to use them in my Indian dishes, but Indian dal and vegetable cooking is perfectly suited to using asafoetida, and I will continue to adjust recipes accordingly.
As it turned out, I had already planned on making this curried black-eyed pea soup with onions and garlic when the thought came to me, and it was but a matter of moments to make the substitution. A very light, fragrant and colourful soup perfect for lunches or small dinners, I did not miss the onions and garlic at all — in fact, I'm convinced that the asafoetida is what made it perfect.
Black-eyed peas in an Indian curried soup
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Rinse the black-eyed peas and soak overnight in a large saucepan in 4 cups of water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Bring to a boil, skimming off the foam. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beans are plump and tender, about 30-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast the ground coriander and cumin in a small frying pan without oil over medium-low heat until the spices darken a couple of shades and acquire a smoky fragrance. Remove from heat and set aside.
When the black-eyed peas are cooked, stir in the toasted spices along with the tomatoes, turmeric and cayenne. Bring to a boil again, then reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered for 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice.
Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the black mustard seeds and asafoetida and quickly stir until the seeds begin to turn grey and splutter, a few seconds. Quickly remove from heat and mix into the soup.
Let the soup simmer for a couple more minutes to let the flavours mingle, then stir in the fresh coriander and salt to taste.
Serve hot in warmed bowls with hot white rice and fresh greens on the side. Serves 4 to 6.
“Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did”
~ William Allen Butler
Very true, but what use are kind words spoken about strawberries if one is not eating them? The summer's first pint of local strawberries finally arrived in my home this week and it was with no delay that I paid my own tribute which, while not as lyrical as Butler's, would taste that much sweeter.
This recipe was copied from a cookbook years ago, long before I thought to start a food blog and became concerned with proper attributions, and so I've entirely forgotten what book it may have been except that I recall it had belonged to someone's Jewish grandmother. I apologize to whomever wrote the book, but at least the reputation of Jewish grandmothers will not suffer. Ridiculously simple and with little added sugar to let the natural sweetness of fresh strawberries shine, these baked pancakes are soft and creamy and slightly chewy inside with just the finest lightly crisp exterior, rather like a baked custard. Do not spoil with syrup, they are absolutely perfect as they are!
Although these are strawberry pancakes by right and parentage, I had a few fresh apricots left in the kitchen and couldn't help turning one of the two pancakes the recipe makes into an apricot-and-strawberry version with a few slices of apricot. I'm sure the strawberries didn't mind — I know that I didn't!
|Baked Strawberry Pancakes|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on June 23, 2008
Soft, light and creamy, and with a fine lightly crisped golden exterior, these baked strawberry pancakes are one of my most popular recipes
Print this recipe
This goes to Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook for her sweet and savory event, Pancakes on Parade.
Emboldened by the memory of my successful wine-inspired spicy popcorn, it occurred to me to make some wine-inspired homemade tortilla chips to go along with some delicious homemade salsa I received from my friend Reg. I confess, I didn't make my own corn tortillas from scratch to transform into some spicy chips, but no matter, as these homemade tortilla chips trump your typical overly crisp, excessively seasoned packaged varieties. I saved some for the next day, just to be sure. These come highly recommended from my kitchen. A coating of lime and olive oil is essential, but feel free to cut down on or increase the amount of spice sprinkled over top to please your palette. Serve with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or any other fresh combination that suits your fancy.
|Spicy Baked Tortilla Chips|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on June 22, 2008
Homemade spicy baked tortilla chips — a great snack on their own or served with salsa or sour cream
Print this recipe
The early bird this month is Ivy of Kopiaste, with her Beans al Pesto. Inspired by some leftover Cardamom and Rocket Pesto, she got creative with a staple white bean dish and came up with a eclectic bean salad comprised of cherry tomatoes, olives, veggies, herbs and some of that pesto. I can't prevent the idea of feta from popping into my head. A versatile recipe indeed. (Athens, Greece)
Suganya of Tasty Palettes prepares a healthy but satisfying warm Lentil Fattoush Salad. Lebanese in origin, this delightful combination of brown lentils, cucumber, lettuce, and peppers is dressed with a tangy mint and parsley dressing and garnished with caramelized onions, scallions and cheese. (United States)
Mansi whips up a filling Sprouted Bean and Lentil Salad that is just perfect for the summer months. The beans are combined with tomato, cucumber and herbs and dressed with a tangy dressing consisting of tamarind, lemon juice and chat masala. Next time you overindulge in ice cream, consider serving this salad up for dinner to compensate. (California, United States)
Deeba may be Passionate About Baking, but that doesn't stop her from coming up with healthy dishes, like this Sprouted Mung Dal Salad with fresh vegetables, mint and a splash of lime. Deeba eats sprouts on a regular basis, and provides some other serving suggestions in addition to her delightful salad. (New Delhi, India)
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe gets creative with this Asian-style Shitake and Star Anise Split Pea Soup that is packed full of flavours. This thick and warming soup contains not only one of my favorites, dried shitakes, but also watercress, ginger, onion, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Chewier than traditional split pea soups, this sounds like one interesting soup. (Melbourne, Australia)
Salty Girl tries to beat the heat with this Salad with Chickpeas, Couscous and Soft Boiled Egg. Mixed greens, radish, apple, and red pepper are tossed with a Dijon vinaigrette, topped with chickpeas, onion, couscous and soft boiled egg. A satisfying and balanced choice for a hot summer day, but no doubt a fine choice for any season. (Washington, DC, United States)
Siri sets her sights on the ever popular chickpea and comes up with this mouthwatering, slightly spicy pureed Garlic, Chickpea and Spinach Soup. This unique soup is easy to prepare but just bursting with legume and veggie goodness. Serve with some Naan or crusty bread for a satisfying lunch or light dinner. (North Carolina, United States)
Mindful of reliable staples, Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs makes a Classic Three Bean Salad. Another good choice for hot temperatures, this colourful combination of red kidney beans, chickpeas, Great Northern beans, red pepper and onion are dressed with a pungent dressing of fresh mint, tarragon, cilantro, red wine vinegar, olive oil and garlic. A good choice for a buffet, but the addition of fresh herbs makes this fit for the finest of tables. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Ashley of Eat me, Delicious has missed the last few months of No Croutons Required, but she managed to find the time to come up with a stunning Beet, Barely and Black Bean Soup for June. This balanced meal in a bowl takes the idea of Borscht to new heights. The black beans and intense beets are highlighted by onion, garlic, tarragon, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and lots of dill. Beet lovers are sure to rejoice. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Sunita comes up with a bean lovers delight with her Mixed Beans and Lentil Broth. Much more than a broth, an assortment of beans and pearl barley is cooked risotto-style along with arborio rice, carrots and mixed with a bit of paneer and a spicy tomato garlic paste. This one-pot meal is a perfect way to use up quantities of beans that have been hanging around in your cupboard for while. (United Kingdom)
Inspired by our event, Petra of Food Freak makes this refreshing Citrus Curry Lentil Soup that she has been meaning to try for a while now. An interesting twist on an old classic, the lentils, along with a few veggies, are cooked in a broth flavoured with spices and a blend of fresh grapefruit, lemon and lime juice. Top with a bit of agave syrup, or perhaps some sour cream or yogurt if desired. (Hamburg, Germany)
Allie of Yum and Tum takes some time out from her studies to prepare this Appaloosa Bean Salad. Bored with her usual southwestern-style bean salad, Allie pairs appaloosa beans with celery, cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes and hard boiled eggs and dresses the whole delightful combination with some mustard, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and some fresh mint. Serve warm or chilled. (Houston, Texas, United States)
Next up is Hetal of Isha's Kitchen with a tempting Sprouted Green Gram Salad that she makes regularly. Also known as mung beans, Hetal tosses one of my very favorite legumes with some tomato, peppers, onion, lime juice, chili powder and fresh cilantro. Easily adaptable to a variety of tastes, and simple to make besides, this is sure to become a classic in many a household. (Houston, Texas, United States)
Kittie, the winner of the May challenge, submits a bright and colourful Bean Salad with Capers & Oregano that is a perfect solution for a quick yet healthy dinner after work before heading out for some fun. Lightly steamed green beans, kidney beans, capers and tomatoes are seasoned with red chili and garlic and smothered with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. (East Sussex, United Kingdom)
This Puy Lentil, Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Salad is my entry for this month. Feta cheese marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and mint is then combined with roasted red peppers and sturdy puy lentils that have a remarkable ability to hold their shape. Easy to make, but bursting with flavour, this salad is sure to please feta lovers like myself. (London, Ontario, Canada)
Our next entry also features the extremely popular lentil. Arundathi often prepares this Quick and Easy Lentil Salad consisting of sprouted lentils, cucumber, tomatoes and lemon juice for breakfast. For the dressing, she makes a chutney from chilies, cilantro and gram dal. A quick and healthy way to start the day, you can't go wrong with classics like this one. (India)
Rachel of Tangerine's Kitchen also submits a sprouted salad, but her Zesty Sprouts Salad features homemade mung bean sprouts rather than lentil sprouts. For this salad, sprouts and tomatoes are dressed with oil, vinegar, a wee bit of sugar, garlic, mustard and chili powder. Ready in no time, this colourful salad is a perfect accompaniment to any meal. (India)
Maybelle's Mom submits this tasty sounding French Lentil Salad with Roasted Garlic Lavendar Vinaigrette. Grilled asparagus and radicchio, radish, carrots and a few cherry tomatoes mingle with the lentils. The whole delightful combination is tossed with a vinaigrette of olive oil, mustard, cider vinegar and a few lavender leaves. An elevated experience indeed. (Ohio, United States)
With the help of her mother-in-law, my co-host Holler of Tinned Tomatoes brings together some of my favourites in this Balsamic Beetroot & Chickpea Salad with Mint. Even though she is on vacation, Holler couldn't resist the fresh beetroot available to her, and I'm very glad of this. Serve this tempting salad with some pita breads and hummus - preferably outdoors says Holler - for a very enjoyable culinary experience. (Scotland, United Kingdom)
Fellow chili fiend, Nora of Life's Smorgasborg, makes a spicy Savoury Chickpea Salad with red pepper, onion, and spice. Originally she included some extremely hot peppers that she bought without knowing that they were a variety of Habanaros, one of the hottest peppers on the planet. Luckily, she managed to save her salad by picking out most of the fiery bits. (Sydney, Australia)
Cooking Panda of Flexitarian Menu enjoys breaking the laws of culinary traditions and accordingly comes up with this unique Apricot Lentil Salad with Beets and Mint that turned out to be better than expected. A meal in itself, brown and green lentils are combined with apricots, barley, onion, some vinegar and olive oil and topped with roasted beets and a dollop or two of spicy mint yogurt. (Brooklyn, New York, United States)
Wendy of A Wee Bit of Cooking couldn't resist picking some fresh rocket from her garden for this simple, yet tempting Rocket and Chickpea Salad. Tossed with a light dressing of lemon, olive oil and a wee bit of garlic, this is an ideal salad for a hot summer day. Wendy tells us it was nutty, fresh and delicious. (Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom)
Inspired by Mark Bittman, Jen of Little Bird Eats prepares "a mouth-puckeringly tart" Lemony Lentil Salad. Jen tells us this staple combination of lentils, capers, two lemons, garlic and chives is also good the next day, albeit a bit mellower. This versatile salad can be enjoyed all year around with a great variety of dishes. (Ireland)
With so many different kinds of beans available, it's easy to incorporate more beans into your diet without growing bored, especially if you mix a whole bunch together like Hippolyra did for her Mixed Bean and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. Rocket and spinach is topped with spring onion and beans, followed by squash roasted with rosemary. Garnish with some sprouts and cherry tomatoes for a lunch that will drive your co-workers green with envy. (United Kingdom)
Rasmus from Sweden writes his very first post in English so he could submit this colourful Cool But Hot Tomato Soup to No Croutons Required. This inviting bowl of pureed tomatoes, cannelini beans, carrot, celery and spices will refresh you on a hot day, while tantalizing your tongue. (Stockholm, Sweden)
Lysy submits a delightful Sprouts and Bulghar Salad that she made after picking up an organic sprout mix at the market. The crunchy sprouts are paired with bulghar wheat soaked in stock, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and chives. Dress with oil and lemon juice for a fine and healthy lunch. Lysy says it is her new favorite salad. (Warwickshire, United Kingdom)
The Budding Cook has lately begun to explore salads, and she comes up with this Bean Salad that is every bit as elegant as it is hearty and filling. Roman beans, corn, cucumber and scallions are all dressed up with olive oil, lemon, Dijon mustard and ready to eat. (United States)
Kevin of Closet Cooking uses one of my very favorite grains, quinoa, as a base for this texmex style Mango and Black Bean Quinoa Salad that I would need an iron will to resist. Complete with jalapenos, cumin, lime and cilantro, this creamy salad can be served warm or cold for a perfectly balanced vegetarian meal. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Anna of Morsels and Musings makes this lovely Indian Tamarind and Peppercorn Rasam. Toor dal is here ground into a powder, combined with pureed tamarind, tomatoes and lots of spices, resulting in a thick, brothy bowl of bliss. Serve with rice and Indian flatbread for a light, but decidedly satisfying meal. (Sydney, Australia)
Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once makes a gorgeous Spicy Chickpea and Onion Soup that is likely to become a staple in many a household. Tomatoes serve as a base for this thick soup of chickpeas, caramelized red onions, harissa, and rocket and spinach leaves. Haalo served this bowl of yumminess with cheese and rocket filled pita breads toasted into a sandwich. Dinner doesn't get much better than this. (Melbourne, Australia)
Last but not least, from Michelle of Greedy Gourmet here we have a classic Creamy Pea Soup. Consisting of only two ingredients, not counting the seasoning and the parsley garnish, this simple yet impressive blend of peas and crème fraîche is ready in ten minutes. A busy schedule is no reason to sacrifice good taste or nutrition. (United Kingdom)
Holler will be hosting the July edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the end of the month for the theme and this month's winner.