The challenge for March was to come up with a raw soup or salad. All of the submissions were mouthwatering, but we do have to crown a winner. Congratulations to Ingrid of Kitchen Tales of Sugar and Spice who entered this month with an elegant and unique Ajo Blanco. I'm certainly looking forward to trying a raw version of a Spanish classic.
Jacqueline will be hosting the April 2013 edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the beginning of the month for the theme.
Hearty chunks of moist delicious oyster mushrooms embellish this simple, delicious and vegan-friendly Asian-style risotto cooked in an earthy miso and vegetable stock and seasoned with just a little cayenne and rice vinegar to give it a wonderful little kick. Delighted by such a gourmet risotto experience, your guests will never guess just how easy it is to make.
There is yet another new addition to my extensive cookbook collection and this one has quickly become one of those must-recommend books to my readers who are interested in Indian cooking. After reading an extensive review of the book by Sia of Monsoon Spice, I promptly ordered a copy and already I've been inspired to make a few dishes from the book.
Prashad — Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Kaushy Patel is the result of a lifelong journey of passionate cooking by the author. Focusing on Gujarati food, Ms. Patel moved to England as a young woman and soon after got into the food business beginning with a deli specializing in Indian street food that eventually blossomed into a restaurant that received high praise and recognition from Chef Gordon Ramsay — that's saying something because he is no vegetarian and his standards at times are nearly impossible to meet. Come to think of it, I do recall the episode of the Best Restaurant series when Ms. Patel and her family's business was featured and was quite charmed. Sia was blessed to eat at the restaurant in Bradford, England and I must confess I am burning with envy.
"None of the curries we ordered tasted the same or had just one ingredient overpowering the other. The food was hot, fresh, vibrant, and delicately spiced with different textures and flavours making it clear that none of the food served here was mass produced or doused in ready to use spice mixes or sauces."Contained within the covers are recipes ranging from starters and street snacks, mains, rice dishes and breads, soups and sides and desserts and sweets. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook, you will find plenty of inspiration for your own cooking experiences. Many of the recipes are Indian classics with a fresh look, and we are treated to some treasured creations that Ms. Patel has crafted, shared and served up to eager family and customers with great success. Plenty of vegan recipes are offered up too along with onion and garlic free delights.
Sia had done an excellent job discussing and reviewing the book, so do check out her review. I'll have more to say about this wonderful book as I continue to explore.
The key to this wonderfully flavorful dish is to cook the cauliflower until just tender and have a rather gentle hand with the spicing, though you will want some Indian heat.
On the rare occasions that I go to a diner for breakfast, I'll most often order a Greek omelette … in part that's because it's usually one of the few omelettes in diners that doesn't have meat, but mostly because I love Feta cheese with eggs. Of course a Greek omelette from a diner doesn't usually seem to contain much more than onions, peppers and cheap salty cow's milk Feta. So when my husband suggested a trip to the diner on a cold winter morning that didn't make going outside very appealing, I thought that a homemade Greek omelette could be so much nicer and keep me indoors as well. So off to the refrigerator and cupboards to find the ingredients for a simple but terrific home cooked Greek omelette with a fair bit more of the ingredients and flair that you'd expect to find in Greek food — spinach, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, oregano, and of course some delicious imported sheep's milk Feta from the local delicatessen.
This colorful and delicious four-egg omelette easily filled both of us up — it could really have fed three people — and left us wanting to make our own Greek omelette again soon. It's also quite simple too. If I keep spoiling us with homemade omelettes, the local diners won't be seeing very much of us in the future.
Our first entry is this gorgeous Mango Gazpacho from Janet of The Taste Space. This chilled soup with summer salsa flavors certainly has me craving warm weather months. A Thai-fusion twist on a classic, here mango is combined with tomato, onion, cilantro, red pepper, garlic, chili flakes, fresh lime juice, chili powder, cayenne and parsley. The delightful concoction is then partially whizzed up in a blender and chilled. Surely a cleansing and purifying soup. Do check out Janet's menu selections to go along with this dish. Heavenly.
Next up is Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen with this stunning Persimmon and Paneer Salad with an Orange-Honey Dressing. Fuyu persimmon shines here along with ripe pear, tomato, orange, crumbled paneer, green onions, spinach, cranberries and cashews. Then to make the whole salad even more impressive, it is dressed with honey, orange juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes and fresh herbs. I never can resist paneer and adding it to a fresh fruit and vegetable salad would have made a fine birthday dinner - this a brilliant creation and from a woman who says she is not overly fond of raw salads. I feel healthier just looking at this dish.
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe is back again this month with a refreshing and tangy Tomato Pomegranate Vinaigratte made of red wine vinegar, basil infused olive oil, pomegranate molasses, tomato, spring onion and garlic. The first night, it was used to dress up corn, snow peas, red pepper, feta and carrot - the second night, spinach, red capsicum, mushroom, raw corn, carrot sticks. This is surely a fine way to encourage us to eat more raw salads and as with most dressings, a snap to whip up. I'd enjoy this anytime of year, but especially when blazing hot temperatures hit as they did where Johanna lives.
My contribution this month is a Classic Greek Salad. Though it's been a rough and cold winter, I still require a frequent intake of fresh vegetables and this favorite of mine never fails to please. I've mixed things up here and loaded of the salad bowl with Belgian endives, radicchio, 3 kinds of peppers, leaf lettuce, cucumber, red onion, feta cheese and kalamata olives. All this goodness is then gently tossed and coated with a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice and dried herbs. Greek salads from grocery stores and restaurants are always a disappointment as the vegetables never seem fresh enough and you get only a sprinkling of olives with pits and scant amounts of overly salty feta. Making your own at home truly takes this classic to a whole new level.
Lata of Flavours and Tastes treats us to this nutrient packed Sprout and Mixed Vegetable Salad. I adore sprouts, especially when sprouted at home and here they mingle with papaya, carrot, Chinese cucumber, tomato and fresh herbs. This cheering and colourful salad is then dressed with home set yogurt, dried herbs and seasoning. This refreshing dish would not last long at my house and just look at that cute presentation and her menu suggestions to go along with it, though it indeed is a meal in itself.
From Hetal who posts at Gujarati Zaika and specializes in Gujarati recipes, we have a colorful and refreshing Carrot and Pomegranate Salad. This raw delight will come together in no time at all especially if the seeds are already removed from the fruit. All you do is whisk together some olive oil, lemon juice, chili powder and then add some grated carrot, the pomegranate seeds, chopped tomato, toss well and garnish with some fresh cilantro. Seems like a fine way to enjoy the benefits of raw carrots and the goodness of pomegranate.
Ingrid of Kitchen Tales of Sugar and Spice has my mouth watering with this elegant Ajo Blanco. This is a raw version of a Spanish classic. Inspired by the challenge and then inspired further by a raw cookbook, the soup is made up of peeled almonds, almond milk, garlic, olive oil and sherry vinegar. After these ingredients are blended and chilled, the soup is served garnished with some halved white grapes and fresh chives. I have a fondness for fruit in soups and with the menu suggestions, or even without, I'd be a happy and healthy diner indeed.
Shruti of Part Time Chef enters this graceful Cabbage and Carrot Salad with Coconut Milk and a Chili Dressing. This inspired Indo-Asian dish is described as spicy, sweet, creamy, tangy and crunchy. An additional benefit is it's also easy to whip up and a pretty and healthy addition to your table. Julienne carrots and cabbage are dressed up with coconut milk, fresh lime juice, a bit of cane sugar and Thai red chilies and then garnished with roasted peanuts, fresh coriander, cherry tomatoes and some lime wedges. Now how refreshing and rejuvenating is that?
From my dear friend Jacqueline and co-host of No Croutons Required we have this luscious Avocado, Apple and Hazelnut Salad. Mixed salad leaves are topped with grated courgette and apple dosed with a bit of lemon juice, then some avocado, red grapes and hazelnuts. This powerhouse of goodness is then drizzled with a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, apple juice, dill and lots of freshly cracked black pepper. A gorgeous presentation and a fun contrast of flavours and textures that won't tax your waistline either.
And that concludes the March roundup. Jacqueline will be hosting the April edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the beginning of the month for the theme.
For someone as enamored of Mexican food as myself, it's rather surprising I suppose that I've seriously acquainted myself with chipotle peppers only this past year. Sure, I've used canned chipotles in adobo sauce on an occasion or two, but the adobo sauce quite overwhelmed any appreciation I might have gained for the pepper on its own. After receiving some chipotle spice blend and also finding the dried whole chipotles in the market, I am quite taken with the smoky heat and depth that these smoke-dried jalapeños bring to food. I expect that chipotles will find their way into many of my Mexican-style recipes from hereon…
…such as in this thick, smoky and spicy chili. Loaded with black beans, quinoa and plenty of vegetables, this simple and full-flavored chili is a complete, nourishing and filling meal in one pot. And it makes enough to feed a family or, in my case, to send a husband off to work with lunch for a few days. A slice of two of homemade cornbread on the side makes this chili a terrific meal.
It's not all that often that I cook pasta, but when I do it surely is a comfort. Coming as it does in so many shapes and sizes and varieties, the possibilities for pasta are endless, and if you are extra ambitious you may want to make your own fresh pasta at home. I rather cheated here I suppose because I used fresh pasta from the grocery store down the street. No matter, as it didn't spoil the dish in the least. And it's green too and thus a timely post for an easy St. Patrick's Day meal.
Opting out of a tomato based sauce, I went for this fresh pesto sauce with peas and basil. Keep this one in mind for summer when you have an overabundance of fresh basil growing in your herb garden and fresh peas on hand at your local market. The depth of flavors goes so well with sautéed mushrooms, which are pretty much a must for me when I think of pasta for dinner.
Readers will certainly want to try this incredible curried rice and cauliflower dish that I often make for special occasions. Certainly underrated, cauliflower just happens to be a winter vegetable that will enhance your dining experience and it's plenty good for you too. I think the reason vegetables are often absent from the dining table is because many of us grew up with vegetables that were either frozen, canned or cooked into submission so they ended up reaching the plate bland and soggy. The key to this dish is not to overcook the cauliflower. You will want the vegetable to have a just tender texture. Both the cauliflower and rice are a perfect platform for the spices that make this dish extra special.
I have adapted this from Yamuna Devi's Indian bible of authentic dishes entitled Lord Krishna's Cuisine. My regular readers will know that this book was my earliest introduction to Indian cooking shortly after becoming a vegetarian and there was no going back after that.
The recipes are easy adaptable for cooks outside of India and you will find plenty of elegant ideas to grace your breakfast, lunch and dinner tables. If you are new to Indian cooking, this is a most valuable resource, complete with tips and an extensive chapter devoted to general information about basics and important elements of Indian cuisine.
Covered in the book are all the essentials that make up the rich culture of Indian cooking. Dals, breads, vegetable dishes, dairy based dishes, chutneys, sauces and relishes, savories, snacks, sweets and beverages. This is my favorite gift to give if I think my recipient is keen on Indian food and wanting to learn how to make some wonderful dishes in their own kitchen. Perfect for novices and experienced cooks alike, how can you resist over 500 recipes complete with tips and serving ideas.
I've been making my own Greek salad for years. The ones I have tried from most restaurants rarely satisfy. There is just no comparison to homemade versions. First, you typically only get about 4 olives, the Feta is not good quality and tends to be overly salty, and the vegetables are not as fresh as I would like, nor is iceberg lettuce of much use in terms of taste and nutritional value — it adds some crunch, but that's about it.
From my kitchen, you get a loaded up fairly classic version, with lots of good quality olives that are pitted just before being added to the salad and a decent quantity of delicious Greek sheep milk Feta. In addition to peppers, red onion and cucumber, I've added some slightly bitter endives, radicchio and some fresh leaf lettuce. For best flavor, mix your salad up ahead of time, seal tightly and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving to blend the loveliness.
This recipe is adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, and I think my readers will know by now that this is one of the most treasured books on my shelf. It's all vegetarian too. I dare say that Ottolenghi, who is not himself a vegetarian, produces more vibrant, yet straightforward, vegetarian recipes than many of us vegetarians. I've had my eye on these pancakes every since I cracked open the covers and can't believe I didn't get to making them until now. Savory pancakes are a weakness of mine, especially when you want to make things a bit more decadent by slathering on some freshly made zesty lime butter. Elegance awaits you and Ottolenghi never disappoints — such a masterful and fresh approach to accessible and familiar staples.
You'll have plenty of lime butter leftover that will keep in the refrigerator and can be used to enhance the flavor of steamed or roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or any other foods that strike your fancy.
|Spinach Pancakes with Lime Butter|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes From London's Ottolenghi
Published on March 10, 2013
Colorful, fragrant and delicious lightly spiced spinach pancakes served with a zesty homemade lime butter
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More saovry pancakes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Vietnamese Pancakes with Vegetables, Herbs and a Fragrant Dipping Sauce (Bánh Xèo)
Spicy Potato Pancakes
Vanilla Oat Pancakes
Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Pudla) with Crushed Peas, Ginger, Chilies and Cilantro
On the top of the reading stack: notes
Audio Accompaniment: Erot
Sharing this with Jac's Bookmarked Recipes event.
Most cooks and diners with even a rudimentary knowledge of Indian cuisine are familiar with chapatis, a soft whole wheat, slightly puffy unleavened flatbread that is pan fried in a dry skillet or griddle. A staple for many meals served throughout the day in Indian households, chapatis pretty much go with any sort of Indian — or non-traditional Indian for that matter — meal that you can imagine. I adore them … the accompaniment possibilities are endless and they are an ideal way to fill out and dress up your meals. Here I have spiced up the basic batter with some fenugreek and seasoning for some extra flair.
Needless to say, these chapatis go well with any soup or dal curry, may be served much the same way you would a corn or wheat tortilla stuffed with your choice of fillings, are great for scooping up your favorite dips and chutneys, and are an excellent choice as a mini flatbread to showcase a mouthwatering array of toppings.
What are these you ask?
They are baked shells made with leftover quinoa, cornmeal and quinoa flour. Essentially they are healthy little cups to be served as an appetizer with the stuffing of your choosing. In this case, I went with a Mexican theme and stuffed them with my classic vegetarian refried beans. Other options you may wish to consider are dips, quacamole or salsas, cheese (think of your favorite nacho toppings or cracker spreads), or anything else that strikes your fancy. You may even wish to go with something sweet. They make for a cute presentation too should you have your mind on entertaining.
|Savory Quinoa Corn Cups|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from Cooking with Quinoa For Dummies
Published on March 5, 2013
Simple, savory and crunchy baked quinoa and corn cups — perfect for filling with dips, cheeses or salsas for an attractive and unique appetizer
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More little bites from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen you are sure to enjoy:
Fiery Deviled Eggs
Eggplant Quinoa Bites with Pesto
Olive Cheese Balls
Indian-Style Poppy Seed Wafers
On the top of the reading stack: various piles
Audio Accompaniment: Amok - Atoms for Peace
Let's get started with some starters and sides.
Lentil Fritters/Urad Dal Vada
from Princy of Spicy Foood. A tea time snack with a healthy dose of legumes. Serve as a starter with your meal or as a tempting side.
Red Lentil and Shallot Velluteè with Curry and Cumin
courtesy of Brii of briggishome. A nourishing lunch not to be missed and a welcome addition to the dinner table.
Edamame and Garlic Spread
courtesy of Soma of eCurry. If you need a satisfying snack, then pair this mouthwatering lemony and nutty hummus spread with some rustic bread.
How about some snacks and desserts?
And now for our winner - congratulations to Rose of Magpie's Recipes. She will receive both the book and Hurst bean prize.
Our guest host for March is PJ of Seduce your Tastebuds ... Please forward your legume recipe to her and see her announcement. For all things MLLA, visit the ongoing archive.