With the CSA share being heavy on greens for the past couple of weeks, my meals have mostly consisted of salads. But with family visiting us this week, I had to up my game and whip up some deliciousness. I wanted something quick and not messy. After all, why would I spend time cleaning up when I could spend it catching up and chatting!!!
The answer was obvious- my easy breezy spinach curry. This has been my favorite comfort food when I need healthy and am short of time.
The reason why this recipe is easy-breezy is because of the limited prep time the recipe calls for. I throw everything in a pan roughly chopped, and then the blender does all the work while pureeing the mixture.
This curry can be supplemented with any of your favorite veggies or meats. I like to add Corn or Grilled Chicken to this curry for a quick and hearty meal. I served this with brown rice, however, it goes well with bread, naan or pita as well.
1 Bunch Spinach
2 Small Onions
2 Plum Tomatoes
2 Garlic Cloves
3 Cups Broth (or 2 cups broth and 1 cup milk for richer curry)
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
Salt and Pepper to taste
Roughly chop and throw together all the ingredients except seasonings into a sauce pan, cover and cook on medium heat untill the spinach has wilted. Puree the mixture in a blender and return the pureed mixture to the saucepan. Heat over medium flame until ingredients are completely cooked (about 20-30 minutes). When the curry turns a deep green color- it is your cue that its cooked. Add the seasonings after removing from heat. Overcooking this curry is not a concern, all it really impacts is the texture, the taste is still amazing. Once done, add in cooked grilled chicken or boiled veggies for a heartier curry. If you are feeling generous, add a spot of butter on the curry for a rich rich feel!!! I have to warn you, this may be addictive.
Yes, I admit it…the title of this post really doesn’t sound like anything I would ever say. However, this is the only way I can describe this flavorful and versatile sauce. Its not a traditional tomato sauce. The not- so-secret ingredient that adds a kick and tons of flavor to this sauce is Polblano Peppers. These peppers remind me of Green Peppers back home (or as they call it in India- Capsicum). If you don’t have an appetite for spicy food, be sure to carefully remove all the seeds from the peppers, or even substitute it with regular green peppers. However, I dont think any substitute can replicate the taste of Poblano Peppers or Capsicums.
To make the sauce (about 2 cups)-
5 Plum tomatoes
3 Poblano Peppers or capsicums
3 large cloves of garlic
2 tbsp Olive Oil
4 tbsp Parsley (or replace with Cilantro)
2 cups water
Salt to taste
Roughly chop all the ingredients, add to a pot (except olive oil and salt) and cook until the water has evaporated (about 30 minutes). Add the olive oil and salt to the mixture when removing from the heat. Use a food processor to puree the sauce and voila, you have yourself a gourmet creation.
I made this sauce this morning, and this is how I have already used it as a filling for bread. I also plan to mix the sauce with cheese to make quesadillas for dinner tonight. This really is a versatile sauce that can add a zing to your regular recipes for pastas, pizzas, topping for grilled meats, the list is endless…I will leave you with a photograph of the bread I baked with this sauce as the filling…(sigh! I made it for a friend…only time will tell if it will actually reach her )
I love supermarkets. I go through each aisle, inspect every single product, discover new ingredients… its a like a mini food wonderland for me. However, when it comes to picking up some hummus, I always face an eternal dilemma. Which kind of hummus to pick? I love garlic, I adore red peppers, I crave Jalapenos…how can anyone decide which hummus flavor to pick? The only obvious solution to this dilemma is to figure out a way to make DIY Hummus with EVERYTHING in it!!! That’s the recipe I am about to share
1 large clove garlic or 2 small ones
1 can garbanzo beans or chickpeas, half the liquid reserved
2 tsp lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small Onion
1/2 red pepper
1 Jalapeno or Green chili (optinal)
In a blender, Puree all ingredients except olive oil. Transfer the mixture to a container. Add olive oil, lightly mix in the hummus mixture and you have the world’s best hummus.
Yesterday, for lunch I made myself a whole wheat hummus and pepper sandwich. Today, i got the hummus with some crackers as a snack. As I said, its a healthy, high protien snack or a great ingredient to dress up the main course.
The best thing I ever ate was a Porcini Parpadelle in a small Italian bistro in NYC. The nutty flavor of Porcini mushrooms over pasta, drowned in Truffle oil was an exquisite combination, a revelation really. This is my attempt to recreate the magic in my own kitchen with fraction of the calories.
1/2 cup Dried Porcini Mushrooms (fresh are harder to get, but if you find them, definitely use fresh)
1/2 cup Button Mushrooms
1/2 packet Whole Wheat Spaghetti or any other pasta of your choice
6 oz White Wine
2 cloves Garlic
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock (or replace with bouillon)
3 tbsp Truffle oil, or substitute with 2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt to taste
Parmesan cheese shavings and Parsley for garnish
Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions
Reconstitute the dried mushrooms by cooking in 4 cups of semi-boiling water for 30 minutes. This will not only cook the mushroom but also yield a beautiful broth that will deepen the flavors in this dish.
Add 1/2 cup of the broth from the reconstituted mushrooms in a pan, add the wine and the chicken or vegetable stock. Add Mushrooms, (reconstituted porcini and the white button mushrooms) and garlic to the mixture. Cook until the liquid is reduced to 1/3rd. Add the spaghetti to the pan and cook until the liquid is incorporated in the pasta. Toss the pasta with truffle oil. Add salt to taste. Garnish with Parsley and Parmesan cheese shavings.
Malbec is a heavenly wine pairing with this pasta. If you prefer white, I would recommend Chardonnay. Take a bit of the pasta, sip on a bit of wine, close your eyes and remember what a beautiful world it is! Thats what I call a good life!!!
I would like to take the opportunity this week, to discuss a topic I feel passionately about- Supporting Local Organic Farmers. I recently joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. As I was talking to my friends about it, I realized how so few people knew about these programs. And some people who did know about it thought it would be super expensive. Well, here I am- Divya- the myth buster busting myths and sharing this great information.
For those of you who are not familiar with these programs, what CSA offers is essentially a farm opening a certain number of “shares” to the public. The most basic concept of “shares” is simply a box of vegetables and herbs, but there may be add on shares available, such as fruits, local coffee, other farm products. Customers can subscribe to this service and get weekly shares of farm fresh vegetables each week throughout the farming season.
This is a great way of supporting local organic farms, at the same time saving money buying super fresh vegetables picked from the farms simply hours before they reach you! However, what excites me the most is the idea of getting exposed to new vegetables and be adventurous in the kitchen trying out new recipes.
However, I do have to say, what makes this community supported agriculture is the shared risk. For example, if this year, the farm for some reason isnt able to produce the expected quality or quantity of produce, the members share the risk with the farmer. Of all the farms in US, usually 2-3 farms every year do suffer with issues. To make sure you have realistic expectations on what CSAs have to offer, read up- http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
Most local farms opened their registrations last week, so check out the website to see if this is something that suits your budget and can help maintain of improve your lifestyle. Its a small way of helping these farms not just survive but thrive. The way I see it, if more of us support organic local farms and help them thrive, demand increases, and in return the prices fall for organic local fruits and vegetables due to increased consumption. A win win all around.
I am excited for my CSA program to kick in and for my first share in June. My vegetable share will be a huge inspiration for palate pleaser this summer. I can’t wait to get started and share the inspiration with you.
What I look forward to the most every month is our tradition of pizza and movie night. Its a time when Akash and I catch up, joke around, argue over which movie to watch, discuss vacation plans, dreams, aspirations…all the while working together to create a masterpiece of a dinner- homemade pizza. I make the dough, he picks the toppings. It really is a wonderful time. And cooking doesn’t feel like work.
In order to make your own whole wheat pizza, this is what you need-
(makes 4 medium thin crust pizzas, or 2-3 regular crust medium pizzas)
2.25 cup 100% whole wheat flour
0.25 cups Vital Wheat Gluten
In case you dont want to invest in Vital Wheat Gluten (the protein in wheat) you can substitute the above mentioned ingredients with 2 cups of 100% whole wheat flour, and 1 cup of regular flour. The reason why I prefer the whole wheat and vital wheat gluten is because this mixture provides more fiber, protein and less carbs.
1 packet Active Yeast
1.5 cups warm water
2 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp Olive Oil
In order to make the dough, add the honey to warm water, mix well. Add the yeast and let it sit for about 30 seconds.
Add rest of the ingredients and knead until the dough is formed. Cover the dough with a moist paper towel and let it sit in a dark, preferably warm place for about 20 minutes. Your dough should have doubled in size.
Knead the dough to remove any air, for about 1-2 minutes. If you have time give it another rise by letting it sit for another 20 minutes and repeat the process. if not, then go ahead to the next step, rolling the dough.
Roll out your dough. I love making thin crust pizzas, but you are the artist here, so roll it out to the desired thickness. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Once the desired temperature is reached, cook the dough in the oven for about 5-7 minutes without any toppings. Remove the semi cooked dough from the oven and add your toppings and bake the pizza for another 20 minutes or more if you like your crust crispy. This is one dinner you can customize to your liking, anything goes, there are no rules. Here is a picture of the pizza we had this past Sunday It was a veggie pizza with chipotle marinara sauce…so amazing!!!
Store any left over dough in the refrigerator, and make amazing garlic knots the next day. shape the dough, the way you like, and apply olive oil and garlic. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. and serve with salad, soup, or other healthy options. Below is the salad and garlic bread we had yesterday, made from the left over dough from Sunday! so delicious and easy yet healthy!