Thursday, January 14, 2016

Yellow pepper spread

Packing school lunches: I don't do it anymore. Hooray! I have somehow successfully managed to pawn it off on the husband (pat self on the back, feeling very proud of it). I have to admire him - he lovingly packs them a sandwich every day of the week. Not any ordinary sandwich; it is chock full of veggies; each of them artistically cut and chosen carefully for flavor and texture. The carrots are julienned, the cukes cut lengthwise, sunflower seeds and sprouts added for crunch, lettuce or savoy cabbage leaves added for cool. The sandwich is beautiful to look at; if you cut it in half you can see the layers arranged neatly.  And if I ask nicely, I get a sandwich sometimes to take to work too.

The only school lunch chore that is assigned to me is to make sure that there are sandwich spreads ready for the week. So far it has been a rotation of hummus, muhummara, muktabal, harissa, The yellow bell peppers needed to be used up and I came up with this spread. Great as a sandwich spread or as a dip for crudites.

Yellow bell pepper dip ( makes enough to fill a 8oz and a 4 oz mason jar_
by me

1 huge yellow bell pepper (roughly 2 cups chopped)
4 cloves garlic 
3 small jalapeños
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted 
Couple of glugs of red wine vinegar 

Chop the peppers and the garlic coarsely. Add the olive oil to a small sauce pan. Add all the peppers and the garlic. Add salt on cook on a low flame. You want the peppers to sweat in the olive oil; not get charred on high heat. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes until the peppers have softened. Turn of the heat and leave the peppers to infuse into the oil.
While the peppers are cooking toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet. You want them to just color ever so lightly.
Put the pepper mixture along with any remaining olive oil and the sesame seeds  in a blender jar. Add a couple of glugs (2 tbsp) of red wine vinegar and bled to a smooth paste. Taste and adjust - you might need a dash more salt or vinegar.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Favorite banana bread

I have written about my obsession for banana bread before. I don't know about you, but I get bored following the same old recipe much to the alarm of the family. "Why do you have to mess with it?" is a common refrain in our house.

This time thankfully, someone else did the tinkering. A banana bread full of seeds. I am so glad I tried it. It has healthy fats from nuts and you will feel so virtuous eating a slice for breakfast.


Seeded banana bread  veganized from Vanilla Garlic

3 bananas mashed
3/4 c sugar in the raw
1/4 c oil
1 tbsp peanut butter (original recipe calls for 1/4 c tahini)

1/2 c sunflower seeds toasted
1/2 c pumpkin seeds toasted
1/4 c white poppy seeds toasted
1/4 c sesame seeds toasted
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
11/2 c whole wheat flour

Oven temp 350 deg F


If you have a microwave, cheat like me and use it to toast the seeds. Spread each seed in a single layer on a kitchen paper towel and nuke for a minute. If the seeds need to toast longer, do it in 20 second bursts. Dump into a bowl and allow to cool. Toast the other seeds separately and dump into the same bowl. Otherwise toast the seeds(separately) in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly and watch they don't burn.

Preheat oven to 350 deg and grease a loaf pan. Line the bottom of the bowl with parchment

Measure the sugar into a large mixing bowl.Mash the bananas into the bowl with a fork(after peeling of course). Mush the bananas and sugar until there are (almost) no lumps (or when you have had enough). Add the oil and the peanut butter and mix well. Measure the flour into the bowl. Make a couple of indentations on the surface of the flour and put the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Smooth with a fork and fold into the banana mixture. Fold in the toasted nuts.

Bake @350 in the loaf pan for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 mins and then on a rack. Keeps well at room temperature for a couple of days.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Pumpkin seed pate'

Thanksgiving has to be my favorite holiday. People curiously ask me if I do a traditional Thanksgiving. I don't know how to answer that question with a straight face. I tell them there is going to be yams, potatoes,cranberries,Brussels sprouts and pumpkin pie. But ...
the yams are not candied, the potatoes are not mashed, the Brussels sprouts have an Agave ginger glaze and the main dish is not a turkey. I have started referring to this version as the heathen Thanksgiving. My friends with whom we celebrate the holiday refereed to it as the "Indian Thanksgiving" and that had me in splits.

This year we had Biriyani, stir fried yams and parsnips, green beans, rosemary roasted potatoes and cranberry relish.Everything on the table was in these warm earth shades. the pumpkin pate stood out because of its vibrant green color. I made this with ingredients that I had in my pantry and am noting it in hopes that I will remember to make it again. 

2015 has so far been a year with ups and downs, a wedding and a funeral. There is so much to be thankful for - the love of family and friends, teenage boys that are growing up with a sense of humor, a 11 year old dog that keeps me active..
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 


Pumpkin seed pate' 
1 cup hulled pumpkin seeds(Pepitas) soaked in 2 cups of water
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon kasuri methi
salt to taste(1/4 tsp or more)
Olive oil
Aleppo pepper for garnishing

Soak the pumpkin seeds in water for at least 2 hours( or overnight). Drain the seeds well. Put the drained seeds, garlic and kasuri methi in a blender or food processor. Pulse until the seeds breakdown. Stop the machine, scrape down the sides and repeat. Pulse until the seeds start to release oil. At this point add about a tablespoon of olive oil and a 1/4 tsp of salt. Pulse again. The mixture should come together. Empty into a serving bowl and garnish with some Aleppo pepper. Serve with crackers and veggies.






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