Roasted Eggplant Tomato Curry (Baingan Bharta)

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roasted eggplant tomato curry

Eggplant is one vegetable that I never really used to enjoy at all until I learned how to appreciate its finer qualities. Despite having little flavor in itself, it does take on the flavors of the other components of dishes it appears in and very much acts like a sponge to soak up spices and seasonings as it does in this curry. Although it is the star ingredient, consider serving this one up to those who think they don't enjoy eggplant because the textural element it adds here combined with the tomato, peas and seasonings makes for an ideal side and you might not even guess that eggplant is what brings everything together.

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Rich Chocolate Bundt Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze

chocolate cake

As much as I enjoy baking, it's not often that I make decadent dessert cakes because, in the first place, I am much more of a savory girl, and secondly, a whole cake is too much for my husband and I to finish up, though I imagine my husband could probably polish off most of it — not that he should of course, but left to his own devices he would probably enjoy some for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

bundt cake

This easy chocolate cake is, however, an ideal choice for special occasions and gatherings. The recent occasion of Father's Day was the perfect opportunity to serve up this rich and moist bundt cake that practically melts in your mouth. It has been too many years since I have been home for Father's Day, and I wanted to treat my own special dad. What better way to express your love and appreciation than to create something in the kitchen with your own two hands?

Chocolate fans take note: rich and moist, almost fudge-like in texture, this cake is so rich you really only need a small piece, meaning there is lots to go around and plenty left for the next day too. Needless to say, this cake was well received and those present for the occasion had to exercise great restraint to stop at only one piece after a satisfying dinner. In my opinion, the temptation to eat a large portion is the only drawback here.

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Roasted Jalapeño Soup

jalapeno soup

One of the best aspects of summer is growing your own vegetables and herbs. It's much too early for my jalapeño peppers to be ready for eating yet, but I eat them all year around even if not homegrown, and soups are also enjoyed year-round, so this dish is sure to be making several appearances on my table once my plants do bear plenty of fruit. Roasting the peppers helps cut the heat, so 6 jalapeños is really not that much, especially when combined with coconut milk and some almond milk for a bit of nuttiness and a smooth creamy texture. However, depending on how hot your peppers are, use less or even more if you please.

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Roasted Asparagus and Mushroom Quesadillas with Goat Cheese

asparagus and mushroom quesadillas

Little bites I adore, and that is especially true when I can transform local asparagus into something special. Although I can enjoy this treasured vegetable with little adornment, such as with butter and some salt and pepper, as it shines just as is, asparagus can dress up any dish with some imagination. Pair it with mushrooms and some fine goat cheese and Fontina and you have a plate that is heavenly. An ideal appetizer or a light meal served up with a simple yogurt lemon sauce and some leafy greens, this has to be one of my favorite early summer meals. Oh, and there was some jalapeño soup served up for dinner too and a fine olive loaf. This was one menu that took sometime to plan and cook, and was of course devoured in less than 20 minutes, but worth every bite.

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Aloo Gobi with Chickpeas - A Twist on a Classic

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aloo gobi with chickpeas

While my usual version of aloo gobi needs little adornment, I couldn't resist adding some chickpeas to this traditional dish for a protein boost. An additional bonus is it helped fill out the meal resulting in less cooking when I was feeling a bit sluggish and lazy.

Not that you would ever know that laziness motivated the creation of this vibrant dish that went so well with a side grain dish and some leftover soup as a starter. Full of spicy zest and substance from the vegetables and the legume, complement the meal even further with some homemade dosa or other preferred Indian flat bread for a veritable feast if you have the time, although if served with basmati rice you will still have a perfectly balanced and nourishing meal.

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal

peanut butter oatmeal

Lately I've been craving peanut butter — a lot! Almost every day and all day, it seems. I don't know whether my body is telling to fill up on proteins after stirring from the long winter slumber, but fortunately peanut butter is a delicious way to get protein.

Inspired both by the craving itself and by the recent success of adding peanut butter to rice cooking water for a simple and tasty side dish, this quick and easy oatmeal is cooked in coconut milk and water with natural peanut butter and a little cinnamon and nutmeg. The result is a warm, creamy and wonderfully "peanutty" porridge that adds a little protein kick to your breakfast to help start the day.

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Avocado Brownies

eggless avocado brownies

My favorite brownies are those that most resemble fudge in texture and flavor and these moist brownies with creamy avocado are likely some of the best I have tried for a good long while. Moist, fudgy and not too sweet, these brownies are also eggless. The creaminess comes from the mashed avocado. Let your friends and family try these and see if they can guess the secret ingredient.

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Paneer Cheese in an Aromatic Cashew Coconut Gravy (Paneer Korma)

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paneer korma

Paneer cheese has a mild flavor and a soft texture with a high melting point, making it the perfect vehicle to capture and carry spices and seasonings. Chunks of paneer cheese adds character and substance to curries, and this one was no exception. Following along with my obsession with all things coconut lately, I couldn't resist raiding a block of paneer cheese from my stock in the freezer and giving it the coconut treatment.

Here the multitude of vibrant spices is nicely tempered and somewhat muted by nutty cashews, soothing coconut and luscious cheese. The paneer is gently simmered in an aromatic cashew and tomato gravy with coconut milk with some extra creaminess from rich Greek yogurt added near the end of the cooking time. The play of taste sensations is one you won't soon forget, and your kitchen will smell heavenly hours after dinner has been enjoyed.

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