Friday, June 10, 2011

Cucumber Peanut Salad

It's been so hot here for thepast few days (no, I am NOT complaining! - I like the heat). But, I have not felt like eating much in this heat. I saw this recipe for Cucumber Peanut Salad some weeks ago and it looked really interesting. Did not seem like any Indian food that I had ever tasted, but so refreshing and simple. That's what I love about is the simplicity of the cooking. In spite of how simple everything was to make, there was a complexity to the taste with the sugar, salt and lemon juice mixing with the spice.

It was such a good salad and so simple - took me 20 minutes after I got home from work. The changes I made were -

-No toasted coconut. Just did not have it and did not want to wait till I got a chance to buy it.

-Added a handful of cooked garbanzo beans to the mix.

-Used oil instead of ghee for tempering (or roasting the mustard seeds and cumin).

I'm making this dish (again!) for a potluck this weekend and may add some red pepper for more color :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Peanut butter and chocolate balls

How can anything bad come out of peanut butter and chocolate with very little else. We were having a party a few weeks ago and this was a great idea for a vegan treat. I was searching on vegweb and found this recipe. It was a very simple recipe. But I did not add the sugar because most cereals tend to have a lot of sugar in them already. I chose frosted flakes, now you know why I did not need more sugar in my recipe :)
I made this again, recently. When V was training for a half marathon, this seemed like a perfect little snack. But, it's yummy even when not training for a half-marathon :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Roasted chickpeas

One of my 'strengths' while cooking is to ensure balance in our meals. I don't obsess about it (anymore?), but all our meals contain a vegetable, some starch and adequate protein. That is one of the biggest 'criticisms' of a vegetarian meal - is the lack of protein. So, I make sure that we get enough in each meal. But, snacks are not so easy. V has an absolute dislike for yogurt (can't believe he is a Tamilian!!) and even the soy yogurts I have won't work. I have been trying to find a variety of quick snacks that have a high protein content. That search brought to 'roasted chick peas'. I did not follow any recipe....I just decided to roast chickpeas.

I took 1 can of chickpeas, dried them out on paper towels and left them out for a few more minutes.
Spread them on a cookie sheet (either line with parchment paper or use a Silpat). I sprayed Olive Oil (Trader Joe's version of Pam), added paprika and salt.
Placed it in a preheated oven (at 400 degrees) for 40 minutes.

It was yummy. Definitely NOT as crunchy as I would have liked it. So for extra crunch (and protein), I added some dry roasted peanuts. It was a great snack and very filling.
I could see adding raisins for a different flavor, but I was looking for a pure protein punch.
Any other ideas for protein snacks??

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Banana peanut butter and jelly muffins

I'm sitting in a hospital room while a very close friend of mine is recovering from surgery. She had an accident while riding her bike earlier today and needed surgery for a broken ankle. Her first surgery ever. While waiting, I started looking through my files of photos and noticed this photo. I made this a few weeks ago - on a whim. Another friend was over at our home helping us decorate little V's room with vinyl clings. The room looks even more adorable and the wait is even harder (wow, how many topics can I cover in one paragraph!). After we were done decorating the room, I decided to try these muffins. We ate them hot from the oven and they were yummy!!
I started off with this recipe and decided to add a little jelly to the middle. It tasted like our breakfast - peanut butter on whole wheat bread, with jelly and bananas!! Of course, I reduced the sugar in the recipe - I reduce the sugar in most of my recipes. And I changed the recipe to muffins. So, I filled half the muffin tin with dough, added a spoonful of jelly and then topped it with more dough.

I loved being able to use the peanut flour for another recipe. And it tasted like there was peanut butter in there, not just peanut flour! Sad that Trader Joe's has discontinued it. I wonder why....


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Brussel Sprouts, Roasted!

Raise your hands if you hated brussel sprouts at some point in your life! I have heard that most people did not like them. I can't remember ever eating this vegetable growing up in India, but I am sure if I did, I did not enjoy it either. My mother never roasted anything.
Last year, over Thanksgiving, our cousin made a very tasty roasted Brussel Sprout dish. One batch with bacon and the other without. I don't think much of the dish actually reached the dinner table. It was mostly eaten with oohs and aahs as part of the 'tasting' by everyone! I tried to recreate that dish (without bacon, of course). I served it with the pasta featured here.

This is really really simple version of roasted brussel sprouts. There are so many things that can be done to make it fancier.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut sprouts in half and place in a baking pan. Add chopped garlic cloves (4)
Separately, mix 2 T olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.
Coat vegetables and garlic with olive oil mix.
Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the sprouts and bake for 10-15 more minutes.

V likes them browned, so I baked them for 35-40 minutes.
These were such a hit that I tried a modification that I found here with 'honey' dijon mustard. It was too mustard-y and tangy for me. But, V adds mustard to most everything and he really liked it. I made a quick mixed rice with broccoli, day-old rice, cajun spice and some morning star grillers and served both with Trader Joe's Three Pepper Salsa - a favorite around here!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


My potter-audiologist friend is trying to be gluten-free (they are already a vegetarian family). I was thinking about my food habits and realized that other than breakfast (peanut butter and jelly most mornings), our other meals often don't have any wheat or gluten.
I ate Mujadarah at a local Middle Eastern restaurant (Blue Nile). It was a good meal. But, it felt really oily. I saw this recipe a few months ago and wanted to try it.
When I decided to try it, I was not sure what we would think. It seemed too simple. Not spicy enough. Not enough spices. I did not know what I would think of it. V loves caramelized onions. I'm not sure that I enjoy them quite so much as he does. But, I liked them a LOT in this recipe. And I LOVED the recipe. It was simple but really tasty.
I used medium-grained white rice, not Basmati. I also used green lentils rather than sprouted brown lentils.
Definitely something I will make again!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chickpea Tagine with carrots

Now that Em is back, so am I :)
I have been cooking regularly, but just been lazy to write about it.

I made this dish a few weeks ago when it was colder. Although the Tagine looks solid in the photo, it can be made into a stew or served over a grain.
I subscribe to Vegetarian Times regularly. I read each magazine I get, pull out recipes that I want to try and file them away. I never really get back to them. Now, I subscribe to the weekly recipe from Vegetarian Times. When I see a recipe online, I save it and make it. I am sure if I went back to my file of ripped out Vegetarian Times recipes, I would find the one I decided to try. I wonder what it is about the online version of recipes that makes it easier for me to try. It is the same thing with blogs. I am more likely to try a recipe from a blog than a cookbook. I bought a couple of vegan cookbooks because I read a recipe I really enjoyed on a blog. Since that first week, though, I have not really gone back to the cookbooks. Any suggestions to reduce this over-reliance on the internet? I love reading the cookbooks and the magazine - it just does not translate to action.
With that story, this Chickpea Tagine with Carrots also came to me through an email. Changes I made -
1. Dried cranberries instead of currants
2. Agave nectar instead of honey
3. No yogurt
4. Added vegan sausage pieces towards the end of the boiling
5. Added dry roasted peanuts at the end
6. And you probably already know this - Cilantro instead of parsley. I am such a huge fan of cilantro and don't really like the taste of parsley..

And I served it over brown rice. It was a really good, hearty meal!!