Cherry Pudding Cake

cherry pudding

This warm, soft pudding cake dessert has been an old and favorite stand-by in my family for years. It's perfect for assembling when you want to make a treat on short notice, without too much thought or preparation — if you have fresh or frozen fruit on hand, all the other ingredients are almost certainly to be staples in your pantry, and it's so ridiculously easy to put together that even people who don't bake can make this one. Soft, spongy and with a delicate golden-brown sugar crust, the pudding cake is surrounded by warm, bubbling fruit juices and smells just heavenly.

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Corn and Green Pea Tomato Curry


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
corn and pea tomato curry

I've grown tomatoes in planters in the backyard for the past several years, but this year the plants are yielding the most abundant crop yet. This of course means that I currently have an excess of tomatoes, so I am trying to focus on them when making meal plans. I may just have to dry them or preserve them in jars for the winter if they keep coming off the vine as fast as they have been lately.

In the meantime, my husband enjoys cutting the juicy fruits into slices and eating them sprinkled with sea salt and a little freshly cracked black pepper. And I have been adding tomatoes to salads, curries, salsas and dips and include them whenever in anything I can where they might be appropriate. The night that I made this simple vegetable curry was an oppressively hot and humid day when all I wanted was a light refreshing meal — especially after having eaten a rather large and heavy brunch. The occasion of having some beautiful local fresh sweet corn and garden peas was just the inspiration I needed to, for a light but zesty and extraordinarily flavorful dinner. The lovely contrasts in color are matched by the layers of sweet, tangy and spicy flavors and the pop-in-your-mouth bites of fresh corn and peas in a smooth and zesty tomato sauce.

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Southern-Style Pinto Beans with Rice and Fried Eggplant

southern-style pinto beans with eggplant

Simmered in a rich, zesty and tangy spiced sun-dried tomato sauce seasoned with a little liquid hickory smoke, these pinto beans are so hearty and packed with rich barbecue flavor that even your most barbecue-crazy carnivorous friends won't miss the meat on the grill with this dish. They won't even miss the grill at all, as it's all done on the stove-top. They'll probably be amazed that it's not only vegetarian, but vegan too.

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Roasted Fruit Salad with Creamy Goat Cheese Dressing

The dying days of summer are bittersweet, but patio dining is not yet finished and the fruits of the growing season are vying for attention. A late summer heat wave got me in the mood for light suppers and what better way to celebrate local fruits than with a vibrant fruit and mixed green salad dressed with a tangy goat cheese dressing, complete with a sprinkle of earthy crunchy nuts. The combination of textures and flavors here won't leave you wanting, especially if served with some rustic crusty bread. Salads never need to be humble and easily take on the shining role.

Roasted Fruit Salad with Creamy Goat Cheese Dressing

I've come across more than a few recipes for grilled or roasted late summer fruit salads dressed with goat cheese dressing lately. After some consideration, I went gourmet with this dressing as I happen to have some high quality vinegars in my pantry, but feel free to substitute whatever you have on hand, such as rice vinegar, white vinegar, a little splash of dark balsamic vinegar in place of the white, or some apple cider vinegar if you please. If you are sparing with the vinegars, this dressing won't fail to please. If you have a barbeque, do consider grilling the fruit, though I was pleased with the roasted peaches and plums.

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Spicy Urad Dal with Cauliflower and Peas


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
urad dal with cauliflower and peas

Split dals are a fast and simple way to deliver nourishing and easily digestible proteins to vegetarians, and split skinned urad dal is among the fastest and simplest. These little white pearls — also known as black gram for the dark skin which is usually hulled — cook quickly, and their uniquely mild and floury taste is a wonderful vehicle for tangy flavors, aromatic seeds and hot spices. I always have a large bag on hand for when I need to come up with a quick meal without much planning. You can find urad dal at any Indian or Asian grocer.

This simple but very flavorful dal is cooked with tangy tomato and seasoned with warming seeds and spices, with cauliflower and peas added near the end to preserve texture and nourishment. It's a complete and satisfying meal served with hot fresh cooked rice, and it's vegan-friendly too if you use oil instead of ghee.

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Potato, Pepper and Zucchini Skillet Hash with Pinto Beans

Potato, Pepper and Zucchini Skillet Hash with Pinto Beans

Hashes are a great way to use up vegetables that are about to expire for want of any other use, and they're a marvelously simple solution to breakfast, lunch or dinner in the absence of any other plans. Fried potatoes are a blank canvas upon which any number of different foods and flavors can be tossed with almost without reserve — vegetables, greens, beans, eggs, cheese, herbs, spices, etc. Here local vegetables shine and you may want to include some fresh corn.

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Blackberry Quinoa Muffins

blackberry quinoa muffins

I'm not one to fuss over breakfast, unless I have some time on the weekend when I am not home alone in the morning because it is always best to have someone special to share with. Still, breakfast is an important meal, even if not enjoyed until the "brunching" hour and even if a light one. Savory grain-based muffins make for a quick morning or mid-day meal or snack when you just want to grab something on the go, or supplement your take-to-work lunch. Heck, they are good anytime of day. Leftover grains never go to waste in my kitchen.

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Aloo Palak Paneer Pie


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
aloo palak paneer pie

Pies seem to be the rage recently and I've noticed lots of cookbooks lately featuring both savory and sweet pies, sometimes mini ones and others fitting the more traditional standard. This one is adapted from a cookbook that I received to look over and I was immediately drawn to a unique take on aloo palak that incorporates the potato component of this classic Indian potato and spinach curry into a delightful crust. To make it even more interesting, I added some crumbled paneer cheese and some of my favorite spices that are always eager to greet me when I open the cupboard door.

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French Lentil and Roasted Sweet Corn Summer Salad

lentil and corn salad

Lentil salads contain all the ingredients for great summer dining — quick, fuss-free, fresh, light, colorful, nourishing, tasty and easy to transport to the sunny outdoors. The recipe for making an inviting summer lentil salad is simply assembling contrasting but complementary colors, textures and flavors in your salad bowl. This is an especially appealing endeavor when fresh local produce hits the markets, as it has lately here in southwestern Ontario with the arrival of stunning local tomatoes, bright yellow sweet corn and vibrant fresh green onions among other beautiful vegetables and fruits.

lentil salad

I've made the best of these fresh ingredients by combining them with tender, earthy and peppery French lentils, sweet fresh garden herbs and salty Greek Kalamata olives and Feta cheese, and tossing them altogether with a refreshing, vibrant and zesty lime and cayenne dressing. Absolutely delicious and gone in no time at all, this is my favorite summer lentil salad until the next salad inspiration comes along!

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Baked Chickpea Kofta Tacos with Avocado and Harissa

kofta tacos

These heavenly little chickpea cakes served as a taco topping are rather a cross between a kofta and a falafel. Essentially a fusion dish, India, the Middle East and Mexico all embrace the flavors that I enjoy most, so why not mix them all together to create one stunning dish that is especially suited to summer weather and patio dining. These taco delights are spicy, especially with a zesty but fresh-tasting green herb harissa, but the heat is all balanced nicely by cooling avocado, tomatoes and corn, and a scoop of yogurt if you please.

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Chunky Cashew Tamarind Chutney


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
tamarind chutney

Chutneys are always a pleasure to have on hand and they are relatively easy to make at home and keep for a while in the refrigerator if stored properly. A wonderful and nourishing accompaniment to your favorite flatbreads, rice and pretty much any Indian savory you can think of, this is my newest experiment that I cooked up to serve with some savory lentil and rice pancakes. Slightly sweet due to the addition of tamarind, textured, a bit nutty and not overly spicy, I am sure you will find this a welcome staple to have on hand in your own kitchen.

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