Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Green Lentils with Mixed Vegetables and Feta

Last week I was very surprised to find that I had not posted any green lentil recipe in this space. Green lentils in my opinion are the most flavorful of the lot. I use green lentils frequently and usually in a simple preparation like the one I am sharing today. The day I cooked this my husband had lunch and dinner plans at work and I was cooking for one. I had bought some green lentils during the weekend grocery shopping and decided to make this recipe. It is a one pot meal.

I have used feta cheese in all three recipes this week. I rarely use feta cheese though we all like it a lot. Crumbled feta is usually available in tubs and 1-2 tablespoons of it goes a long way. Once you get a tub you have a couple weeks to finish it so I use it as garnish on everything.

I always keep a small stock of green lentils in the pantry. In fact I usually have all varieties, yellow, green, orange and black in the pantry as we like them all. If you have not tried the green lentils yet you should try this simple green lentils with mixed vegetable and feta. Lentils taste best the day they are cooked. Green lentils take longer to cook than the orange ones but they do not have to be pressure cooked. I usually soak them in a little hot water and they soften up. I then cook them with the rest of the ingredients in a pan on the stove top.

You will need (2 large servings)
1 cup dry green lentils
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup carrots, finely diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1 large handful spinach or arugula or kale, diced
2 tsp. oil (I used olive oil, any vegetable oil will do)
2 tbsp. feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. paprika (adjust to taste)
1 tsp cumin coriander powder (optional)
1/2 cup warm water + 2 cups water to soak lentils

Wash and rinse the lentils. Boil 2 cups of water in the microwave in a microwave safe cup. I use the large measuring cups. Add the water to the lentils and let them soak for about 15 minutes while you prep the vegetables as indicated in the ingredient list.

Heat oil in a pan and add all the vegetables. Saute for a couple of minutes and add the lentils. Add the warm water and let the lentils cook covered on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste, paprika and cumin coriander powder. Turn off the heat after another couple minutes.



This is my entry for week one, day three of BM #97 for the theme Gluten free, Vegan or Paleo. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#97

Monday, February 4, 2019

Roasted Winter Vegetables

I frequently bake a medley of vegetables as a snack or a side. Most combinations do not make it to the blog. This is a very rustic flavorful mix so I wanted to record it. I made it on a weekend when my daughter was visiting and we all enjoyed it a lot. Next time you see these vegetables at the grocery try roasted winter vegetables.

It is said you should try to eat five different colors everyday. This one vegetable mix will suffice to provide all the colorful foods for a day. I had leftovers so I used it in a winter warm salad with chickpeas. A little lime juice and paprika is all that it needed. That was my very filling lunch.

This combination tastes great on its own as a snack. You could add it to noodles as I have done here with a different set of vegetables. Except for the yellow squash which I added for color the other vegetables all take a while to cook. Make sure all the chunks are on the sheet in a single layer.

You will need
An assortment of vegetables. I used
Red and Purple mini potatoes
Orange Sweet Potato
A Fuji Apple
A bunch of Green Beans
A Yellow Squash
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Chop the vegetables into chunks. Combine with oil, salt and pepper and spread in a single year on a baking sheet.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender.



This is my entry for week one, day two of BM #97 for the theme Gluten free, Vegan or Paleo. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#97

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Black Bean, Avocado and Egg Breakfast

I like to make something different for breakfast as often as I can. This combination evolved over time. It is one of the endless combinations I make with beans of some kind, vegetables, eggs and greens. My family loves vegetables and enjoys dishes that showcase them.You can mix in zucchini, broccoli or green bell peppers. You can use any green leafy vegetable as the base and you can skip the egg altogether. You could make guacamole instead of sliced avocado or make a simple salsa to flavor the beans. You could use any kind of cheese but I usually stick to feta or skip the cheese.

This breakfast takes you through the morning until lunch. It is one of my favorites for the weekend. But if you chop all the vegetables over the weekend, you can easily make it on busy weekday mornings too.

You will need (for 3 servings)
1 can black beans
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped onion (optional, I use it sometimes)
1 cup spinach, kale or arugula, chopped
1-3 eggs (one per serving, my daughter skipped the eggs)
1 avocado, remove seed, skin and slice
3 tbsp. feta cheese
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp lime juice

Rinse and drain the black beans, keep aside. Heat the oil in a small pan for the eggs. Heat a 1/8th cup water in a second pan. Simultaneously cook the veggies and the egg.

Pan 1: Eggs - crack the eggs in the pan with the oil. Sprinkle salt to taste and let them cook. Flip over if you like them done on both sides. Turn off heat.

Pan 2: Add the veggies and let them cook until soft but not mushy. Add the beans, salt and pepper. Add the lime juice and turn off heat.

To assemble: Place a bed of greens on the plate. Spread the black bean mixture over the top. Place the egg over it and sprinkle the feta cheese. Place the sliced avocado to one side.



This is my entry for week one, day one of BM #97 for the theme Gluten free, Vegan or Paleo. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#97

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Chocolate Raisin Chewy Cookies

My daughter is home for the long weekend as we have Monday off - Martin Luther King day. She will leave for school some time tomorrow and I am packing all kinds of goodies for her. I may have to make a second batch of these if there are not enough left by tomorrow.

I do not make cookies often but there are a couple of recipes we like and when I do make the cookies I stick to those recipes. Today I wanted to bake cookies but wanted to try something different. I had cocoa but no chocolate chips. I had raisins so I tried these Chocolate and Raisin chewy cookies using the base cookie recipe I follow. The batter is gooey and sticky from the cocoa powder but on the thicker side. The cookies do not spread much in the oven. The trick is to take them out when they are still soft so you get that soft chewy cookie we all love.

You will need (about 18)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup cane sugar (use any granulated sugar you have on hand)
1 egg
1/2 cup flour (all purpose or whole wheat)
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
~1/8 sparse tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Cream the softened butter in a bowl. Mix in the sugar. Now break an egg in the bowl and beat until the mixture is well combined. Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and the salt. Mix everything together. Finally mix in the raisins.

On a baking sheet drop a tablespoon on cookie batter at a time 2 inches apart. You may use a parchment paper or directly place the batter on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes. The cookies should be soft when they are taken out of the oven. Cool and a rack.



This is my entry for week three, day three of BM #96 for the theme How about Elevenses. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#96

Friday, January 18, 2019

Oatmeal Chia Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Today I am posting a recipe with a combination of flavors mixed into a small ball. Rolled oats and chia seeds combined with peanut butter, coconut flakes and honey make a delicious snack. This recipe is quick to put together and is the perfect mid morning snack. Just one of these energy balls and you are good to go for a couple of hours. Energy balls have been on my list of recipes for the blog for a long time. I am glad I was finally able to post it. 

When my daughter came home for winter break she brought home leftover jars of honey and peanut butter. The raw unfiltered honey had turned to a soft solid mass as the temperature had dropped. And unlike the processed peanut butter with loads of additives, the organic peanut butter she had was just peanut paste with very little salt. I had the rest of the ingredients on hand. The oatmeal chia peanut butter energy balls were ready in no time.

You will need (for 16 balls)
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup dry coconut flakes
2-3 tbsp. chia seeds
3 tbsp. raw unfiltered honey
3 tbsp. organic peanut butter
1 tsp salt

Lightly roast the oats and coconut until warmed. Run through a food processor to break down into small pieces. Do not blend to a powder.

Combine with all the ingredients in a bowl. Adjust honey and peanut butter if needed. Take about a small lime size ball of the mixture and using your palm form into a ball. Repeat for the rest of the mixture. You can store it for a week or two in the refrigerator.



This is my entry for week three, day two of BM #96 for the theme How about Elevenses. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#96

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Millet, Chickpea and Buckwheat Flour Crackers

I buy whole millets, buck wheat groats, oats and anything else that catches my eye in the Whole Foods bulk bins. I lightly roast, cool and grind each one to a fine powder in my Vitamix dry grinder. I combine all the flours and use as needed mostly for crepes/dhirdi. Lately I have used it to make crackers. When I started experimenting with different flours for crackers this mixed flour seemed like a good candidate. Last month I posted the recipe for Besan or Bengal gram flour crackers and Semolina crackers. This post was supposed to be the third of that series but for some reason I forgot to schedule it to post. So I am posting it today.

I blog with a group of fellow bloggers for a monthly event called Blogging Marathon. Posts are based on themes and one of the themes I picked this month is Elevenses. A quick google search says Elevenses is a meal from the Lord of the Rings. I have read all the books but I could not remember Elevenses. Luckily for me I now have the books on Kindle and there is a search option. The only reference was to the 'expected party' but even that was so vague I wondered why the series show up in a google search for Elevenses. Then I found it has to do with the movies and not the books. As I am a fan of the books let us leave it at that.

So what is Elevenses? Is it food eaten at eleven? The answer is yes and no. If you lived and followed the meal pattern of the country in which Elevenses originated then food you ate at eleven would be Elevenses. This would include a very light snack with a drink like tea or coffee. So would it be okay to have this meal at ten? Of course! Elevenses is really a light mid morning snack. A snack that keeps you going till lunch but is light enough to not ruin your appetite for lunch. This week I will post some light snacks.

You will need (45 crackers)
1 cup flour (I used combination of millets, buckwheat and oats)
1 cup sourdough starter 100%
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp. dried basil or any combination of dried herbs
2 tbsp. oil (I used olive oil)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and knead into a ball of dough. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. On a piece of parchment paper roll out the dough into a think sheet. Using a pizza cutter or a specialized roller cut into the desired size. I cut the dough into rectangles.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack.



This is my entry for week three, day one of BM #96 for the theme How about Elevenses. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#96

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Spicy Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is a very popular recipe with a lot of variations. I have one posted in this space here. A few years back I made Mexican Fudge. It is one of our favorite dessert recipes from my blog. A hint of cayenne pepper/paprika in the chocolate enhances the flavor. I don't make hot chocolate often but I wanted to try that chili pepper with hot chocolate and hence this recipe. I made two cups, one for my daughter and one for me. To my cup I also added a pinch of cinnamon. It was the perfect drink for a cold winter afternoon.

Before posting this recipe I checked what I already had on the blog. My first Hot Chocolate post has an intro about snuggling with a blanket, book and cat, except my cat would never cooperate. That year was 2014 and we had a new 3 year old rescue Buttercup who refused to sit on our lap for more than a few seconds. Interestingly four years with us has changed her completely. She is now a lap cat who calls me to sit on the couch so she can nap on my lap. Now on a cold or rainy day I can say I snuggle under a blanket with this hot chocolate, a book and my cat.

I added chocolate chips as well as cocoa powder to enhance the flavor because I happened to have both at home. You could add a touch of cream to get a creamier chocolate.

You will need (for 2 cups)
2 tbsp. mini chocolate chips (I used semi sweet)
2 tbsp. sparingly filled cocoa powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. paprika (adjust based on your heat tolerance)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tbsp. cream (optional)
1 pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a pan. Heat the pan on medium heat whisking to ensure the chocolate and milk are thoroughly combined and do not burn. When the milk is heated through but not boiling turn off the heat.



Also sending this to Kid's Delight an event started by Srivalli and hosted this month by PJ who blogs at Seduce your taste buds for the theme Winter Warmers.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Creamy Tomato Soup

When the mercury drops soup and bisque make their way to the dinner table. With the winter storm keeping temperatures in the 30s for the last few days, I decided we needed thick creamy Tomato Bisque, the old family favorite. This soup never fails to provide comfort on a cold or rainy day. We all love the strong garlic flavor in the soup. Serve it with a savory scone or bread. We enjoyed it with fresh baked dinner rolls/pav that I had made for vada pav. A very hearty meal.

I was surprised to find that I did not have a tomato soup in the blog especially as this is one of our favorites. This soup has a rich creamy texture and a lovely orange color. I used to make it with canned plum tomatoes for their delicious citrus flavor until I found organic tomatoes that provide the same taste. The regular grocery store tomatoes taste very bland.

I used cream as I happened to have some heavy cream in the house. My daughter wanted me to make baked gulab jamoon, the only dessert she likes. And cream is a must have ingredient in my recipe. You can skip the cream and the bisque will taste just as delicious.

You will need
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 pods garlic, minced
3 large Plum Tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tbsp. heavy cream

Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onions. Saute for a few minutes until they are cooked. Add the minced garlic and saute for a few minutes. In the meantime chop the tomatoes and them to the pan. Add the sugar, salt and paprika. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked and thickened. Take off heat and blend to a puree. Return to the pan and simmer for about 3-4 minutes. Turn down the heat and add the cream. Turn off the heat after another minute. Optionally garnish with cream.

Serve hot with bread or savory scones. Enjoy!


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#96

Also sending this to Kid's Delight an event started by Srivalli and hosted this month by PJ who blogs at Seduce your taste buds for the theme Winter Warmers.