Thursday, October 19, 2017

Walnut+sun dried tomatoes

A long time ago the Oregonian had a recipe for this thing called Walnut Crema. I don't have the original source for the recipe but what I remember is that the walnuts were boiled to remove bitterness.Onions were caramelized and the 2 ground together.  I remember making it and thinking to myself it was a little too bland.

Here is the zippy version of that

Walnut ans Sun dried tomato dip

A creamy spicy dip with the tang of tomatoes.

1 cup walnuts

6 sun dried tomato halves (dry, if you use oil packed, drain first and use the oil for cooking the garlic and the peppers)

3 cloves garlic

2 tsp dried Pepin peppers (the small round kind )

Olive oil about 2 tbsps

Cover the walnuts with water in a saucepan or microwave safe dish. Boil the walnuts in water until tender. The water will turn brown and gunky.  Rinse and drain.

Heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add the chillies, peeled garlic and the sun dried tomato.
 Cook until the garlic begins to  smell fragrant. Now reduce to the lowest possible flame and cook some more until the sun dried tomatoes infuse into the oil.

Transfer the walnuts and the chiili, garlic, sun dried tomato mixture along with the olive oil. Blend to a smooth paste. Add salt to taste.. If necessary add more olive oil for the mixture to come together.

Use as a sandwich spread,  Pasta sauce (thinned with pasta cooking water) , crostini, crudites

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Diwali and Jyoti aunty's Tomato chutney

Happy Diwali everyone. May the year ahead be filled with light and joy. Hope you have a wonderful time cooking, eating and celebrating with your loved ones.

I went on a small cooking bender this weekend.

Chakli - made from a MTR mix
Ribbon Pakoda  - from Mitho Limdo
Badami Halwa - verbal recipe handed down by my aunt.

What have you all been cooking?

And then some Chimichuri and a LOT of tomato chutney.  One with green tomatoes

And one with red tomatoes

And here  is the recipe I followed for the red tomato chutney. This is from Jyoti Aunty, lovingly written into an email.

1kg  tomatoes ,chopped  ( works out to be about 9 or 10 Roma tomatoes or 3 Beefsteak when I weighed it out)
2-3 green chillies ,slit length wise
1/4-1/2 tsp roasted methi powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric,
pinch of hing
3-4 cloves of garlic crushed(optional)
1-2 tsps sugar 
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan,add half tsp mustard, when it crackles,lower heat,add green chillies ,turmeric,hing ,methi powder ,chilli powder,chopped tomatoes (and garlic) and salt to taste. Cook until tomatoes get mushy and simmer until raw flavour disappears,and chutney thickens. Check taste,add a dash (1tbsp)of lime and 1-2 tsps of sugar. Chutney is ready. 
Love and best wishes to  the boys and you both.
Ps. If you don't like  tomato skin, blanch in hot water and then chop them up. Also depending on the sweet- sourness of tomatoes, quantity of lemon juice and sugar has to be adjusted to your taste. As well as the spiciness. You may even have a better version of this chutney!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Amma's Oat and nut energy balls

Amma makes all kinds of sweets with dry fruits and nuts that she sweepingly classifies as energy balls. Her version with condensed milk and Jaggery is to die for. It is also a calorie bomb of a dessert. The high schoolers wanted a high energy snack to tide them over running practice. The stipulations were consistency, nutrition and not too sweet. The first criteria is hard to achieve, it feels boring to make the same thing week after week. I find myself negotiating what changes they will tolerate - no luck so far.

Amma of course gave me no proportions - it was chooru swalpa variety.She adds chocolate but I keep it out.

Ammas Oat and nut energy balls
(proportions adapted from Minimalist Baker)

1.5 cups rolled oats toasted
1 cup almonds toasted and chopped
1/2 c sesame seeds toasted
1 cup chopped dates or date paste (baking dates)
1/4 cup liquid sweetener (maple, agave)
1/4 c nut butter(almond, peanut)

To toast oats and nuts
- Put in a large wok and toast on medium flame constantly stirring . The raw smell should disappear and the oats will start to smell nutty
- Or use that microwave. Spread on a paper towel, put  directly on the microwave plate and cook in 30 second bursts. In between bursts, run a spoon through to distribute evenly.

Put all ingredients up to the dates in a large bowl. Measure the nut butter and the sweetener in a microwave safe liquid measuring cup. Microwave  for 30 sec to 1 min.. and stir to blend.
Pour over dry ingredients and mix with a spoon. It will be moist..
Roll into balls.- Makes about 18

- substitute other nuts for the almonds
-Use baking dates or dried Apricots
-Crush the dry ingredients in a blender .. Makes it easy to roll.
And I leave you with an image of the Mejjer Sculpture Gardens in Grand Rapids

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