Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera
Here is a quick weeknight meal idea - Pasta Primavera - which I adapted from the Alouette Cheese website.

Here's how I made this creamy Pasta Primavera:

Handful of linguine - cook to al dente per package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the water. Coat the pasta with 2 tsp olive oil. Set aside.

Sauce - Heat 1 tsp olive oil. Add handful of chopped green onions, 1 finely chopped clove of garlic, handful of chopped baby carrots and handful of chopped tomatoes. Fry on medium heat for 5 mins. Ad reserved pasta water and 1/4 cup vegetable stock. Add 2 to 3 tbsp of Alouette Cheese spread (I had Garlic and Herb flavor on hand). Add salt, pepper to taste and 2 tsp of Italian seasoning mix. Stir well and simmer on low till cheese melts.

Add the cooked pasta. Stir well to coat the pasta with the sauce. Heat for 2 mins. Serve warm.

We had this with a spinach salad for a satisfying super quick weeknight meal.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Vangyache Bharith (with yogurt)

Vangyache bharit (Eggplant yogurt dip)

I've posted couple types of Baingan Bharta earlier - one with tomatoes and another with pumpkin. Today's recipe is a third variation of this.

Here's how I make Vangyache Bharith (with yogurt):

Wash and dry 1 big eggplant. Apply 1 tsp oil to coat it evenly. Make 3 to 4 lengthwise slits in the eggplant and insert 1 clove of garlic (peeled) in each slit. Bake in 450F oven for 1 hour, turning around every 15-20 mins. It will soften nicely by then. Cool slightly and peel the skin off. Discard the garlic. Mash eggplant (without skin) with fork.

Tempering - Heat 2 tsp ghee, add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of hing, few torn curry leaves, 2 green chillies (finely chopped) and 2 cloves garlic. Fry on medium heat for 4-5 mins.

Pour over mashed eggplant. Add 1 tsp salt or to taste and pinch of sugar. Add 1 tbsp peanuts pwd or roughly chopped peanuts. Add sufficient yogurt to make into thick sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serve at room temperature or cold with roti, rice or as a dip with chips.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Chickpea Minestrone

Chickpea Minestrone
This recipe is adapted from the Vegetarian Times magazine. It was really easy to put together and made for a very satisfying warm bowl of comfort during this winter season.

Here's how I made Chickpea Minestrone:

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2 cloves garlic - minced
1/2 cup mixed frozen veggies (I used Trader Joes vegetable melange)
1/4 cup chopped frozen spinach
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chickpeas
2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup small pasta (I used whole grain shell pasta)
Seasonings - 1 tsp salt or to taste, pinch of sugar, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp dried sage, 1/2 tsp dried basil
Garnish - red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a pot and saute the onions on medium heat for 5 mins or until soft. Add the garlic and saute 2-3 mins. Add the frozen mixed veggies and frozen spinach. Save 1/4 cup each of the tomatoes and chickpeas. Add the rest to the pot along with the broth and the seasonings.

Blend the reserved tomatoes and chickpeas roughly and add to the pot. Mix well and bring to a boil. Then add the pasta and cook for 10 mins stirring occasionally. Add more broth or water if needed to get consistency desired

Serve hot garnished with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese if desired.

This bowl of Chickpea Minestrone goes to the MLLA # 79 event at Lisa's Kitchen. This event was started by Susan.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pistachio Shortbread

Pistachio Shortbread
This recipe is adapted from Relish magazine that occasionally comes with our newspaper.

Here's how I made these Pistachio Shortbread:

1 stick butter thawed
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Zest of 1 large lemon
pinch of salt
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup chopped toasted shelled pistachio
handful of white and semi-sweet chocolate chips

Microwave butter for 30 sec. Mix the butter and sugar in a large bowl.

Whisk vigorously for 5 mins until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla essence, salt and lemon zest. Mix well. Add the flour, pistachios and chocolate chips. 

Mix gently until just combined, do not over mix.

Roll out into 1/4 inch thick disc. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheet.


Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 20 to 25 mins until edges turn slightly brown.


I had made these shortbread cookies over the 2 week winter break for the first time. Today I made them again for my daughter and took the above pictures.

Sending this recipe to Kid's delight hosted my My Cooking Journey.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Crockpot Coconut Veggie Curry

Crockpot Coconut Veggie Curry
This is the first recipe I tried in my new crockpot. It can ofcourse be made in a regular pot on the stove top, but slow cooking this flavorful curry in the crockpot for 4 hours spread an amazing aroma that made the mouth water right on entering home.

Here's how I made this Crockpot Coconut Veggie Curry:

1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped potatoes
1/2 cup cauliflower flowerets
1/2 cut chopped carrots
1/2 cup chickpeas (I used the canned ones, well drained and rinsed)
1 can coconut milk
2 cloves garlic - minced
1/2 cup frozen peas (added after 3.5 hrs)
Seasonings added at the beginning - 2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1 tsp cumin pwd, 1 tsp coriander pwd, 1 tsp garam masala pwd, 1 tsp kitchen king masala, 1/2 tsp red chilli pwd, 1 tbsp crushed kasuri methi
Seasoning added at the end - 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

I threw in all the ingredients (except those marked as added later) at 2:30 PM, set the slow cooker on high and tried very hard to resist the temptation to open the pot for the next 2 hrs. Thereafter I did give the curry a stir or 2.

I added the peas at around 6 PM

By 6:30 PM the curry was ready. I added the soy sauce and lemon juice at that time. We had it with Dhakai Paratha and also with rice.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Vegetable Upma

Vegetable Upma
Upma is a breakfast staple - quick to make and well loved.

Here's how I make Vegetable Upma:

Tempering - 2 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp udad dal, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pinch hing (asafoetida), 1 green chilli - chopped, 1 red chilli - broken, 1tsp grated ginger, few curry leaves, handful of peanuts

1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

1 cup roasted upma rava

3 cups water

1 tsp ghee

2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar

Lemon slices, shredded coconut and cilantro for garnish

Make the tempering by heating oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add the other ingredients and fry 2 mins. Then add the onions and fry till softened. Add the peas, carrots and tomatoes. Cook 5 mins. Add 3 cups water, increase heat to medium high. Add salt and sugar. Mix well. When the water starts boiling, reduce heat to medium and slowly add the rava, stirring with one hand. Mix the rava well, cover and cook on medium low heat for about 5 mins. Add 1 tsp ghee, mix well and cook another 5 mins.

Serve Upma garnished with shredded fresh coconut and cilantro, with a wedge of lemon on the side.

This Vegetable Upma goes to the Breakfast Event at Cooking 4 all Seasons.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mushroom Pulav

Mushroom Pulav

Mushroom Pulav is a mild rice variety in which mushrooms are well sauteed and minimum seasonings are used to bring out the fragrance and richness of mushrooms. I usually use baby bella mushrooms.

Here's how I make Mushroom Pulav:

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup roughly chopped baby bella mushrooms
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup cooked rice (I have used brown rice+quinoa mix)
Seasonings - Salt and pepper
Handful of frozen peas
1 -2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onions and mushrooms.

Saute on medium high heat, stirring often till mushrooms become dry and well brown. Then reduce heat to medium and add the garlic. Saute 2 mins.

Add the cooked rice, salt, pepper and peas. Mix gently. Let it heat thru.

Take off heat, squeeze lemon juice and again mix gently. Serve warm. This Mushroom Pulav does not need any accompaniments.

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