Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fresh shelling beans in tomato broth

Hope you are all having a lovely summer. Portlanders have been groaning about the unprecedented heat wave. I listened and commiserated, but then was forced to admit: I rather enjoy the heat; it reminded me of home.
And at home, when the weather is hot, you keep cool by eating and drinking hot foods. Totally contradictory but it works; hot tea quenches your thirst and a bowl of hot sambar or rasam makes your tummy happy. 

This is the perfect dish for a summers day when you don't want a salad but something warm but still light. 
You start with some shelling beans, pull up a chair, listen to some music, free the tender beans and feel zen. 

Enjoy the recipe and I will post again soon with our adventures in India.

Shelling beans like fresh Garbanzo or cranberry beans- as much as you are willing to shell. 
I had about a couple of cups.
Bay leaf- 1
Garlic- 1clove roughly smashed 
Tomatoes -a couple 
Chilly powder - 1/2 to 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Olive oil to garnish

Cover the beans with water by half a inch. Add the garlic and the bay leaf, cover the pot partially and bring to a boil. Simmer till the beans are  just tender. It doesn't take long, just 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, chilly powder and salt to taste and cook till the tomatoes break down and the beans are fully cooked. Serve hot garnished with a little olive oil.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pasta with a summer sauce

Memorial day weekend has come and gone. It heralds with the start of the summer and in Oregon it is usually associated with clouds and if you are lucky a brief burst of sunshine. Except this year - It has been unusually warm this year. We hardly had a winter and then the flowers bloomed early and when I checked yesterday, the apple tree had tiny fruits on it. It is scary - this is what global warming does. The weekend was all the more memorable because we had long awaited guests.. I finally got my cousin, uncle and aunt to visit Oregon after having been here for 15 years.There was a lot of eating, walking and laughing.   A lot of eating - I am actually considering an alternate career as a vegan/vegetarian food tour guide in Portland.
And I received the coolest gift ever. My Aunt gave me this doll(that her mother made) to add to my dusserah collection.

Listening this week -
The music of Bombay Velvet -  A hindi jazz album
Dahikkunu Bhagini  - A poem by Malayalam poet Kumaranasan. With the current climate in India an the politics of the beef ban - a dialog worth revisiting. This poem tells the story of a Buddhist monk, on a hot summer's day who begs for water from a woman. The woman is afraid to give him water because she is of a lower caste. This poem is the story of their dialog.

Reading this week
 Fire monks: Zen meets wildfire - a book that has me planning my study time in Tessajara

And for the recipe. This is pasta with a no cook sauce. You gather all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and toss it with cooked and drained pasta.

Tomatoes 5 (4 roma + 1 beefsteak) or any combination
1 garlic clove minced with salt
1 tsp capers rinsed and chopped
2 ears of corn shucked
1 tsp of preserved limes/lemons prepped
1/4 c olive oil
generous splash of red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kashmiri mirch or paprika or cayenne pepper

1 lb of short pasta.

Bring water to boil for the pasta. While the water is boiling:
Find a large bowl that will hold the pasta
Dice tomato and put into the bowl
Peel the corn. Stand it on the flat edge in the bowl and use a sharp knife to shuck the corn into the bowl.
Smash the garlic with the flat side of the knife on the cutting board. Sprinkle some salt on it and mince it fine and add that to the bowl..
Rinse the capers (brine packed) and chop it into the bowl.
Now about the preserved limes.. I used flesh and skin. If your preserved lemons/limes are very salty, rinse briefly and chop into the bowl.
Add the olive oil,vinegar and chili powder. Taste and adjust for balance. You want a spicy and tart salad.
Let this salad sits while the pasta is cooking.
Once the water comes to boil; salt generously (until it tastes like the sea) and cook pasta al dente. Drain and toss in bowl with veggies. Serve warm or cold.


Corn not yet in season? toss is some Arugula leaves. Too much Zucchini in your garden? Cut your zucchini into matchsticks and use it in the sauce. And do you have some fresh basil,dill or parsley around? toss it in

Monday, April 20, 2015

Vegan thumbprint cookies

I first read about the life changing vegan cookies on One Hot Stove.  And I knew I had to try it. How can you resist? Forgiving recipe, and half of it was toasted nuts. So I mixed up a batch of dough and baked them.  And so glad I did - They are hearty; not too sweet  and the marmalade thumbprint in the middle feels like a nice surprise. They are made with wholesome ingredients so you could even have a couple for breakfast with a cup of tea and still feel good about it.

I deviated from the original recipe a little. I toasted all the ingredients first. I also reduced the oil a little and used white whole wheat flour. I skipped the salt because I used salted and toasted pistachios. 

Vegan thumbprint cookies (barely adapted from the kitchn)
4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 c bulgur
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 cups  nuts toasted ( I used almonds, cashews, pistachios, sunflower seeds)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 c white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oil
1 cup agave nectar
Jam or marmalade for the thumbprints

Oven temperature = 350 deg F
Baking time  is around 15 mintues

Dump 4 cups of oats, the bulgur and the poppy seeds into a large wok or skillet and toast on a medium flame.  It is done when the oats will start smelling nutty and turn a very light brown. Turn off the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool lightly.
I toasted the nuts in the microwave - quicker and easier. Spread the nuts out on a paper towel, place in microwave and toast in bursts. 60 second bursts for the almonds; 30 second bursts for the smaller nuts.
Pulse the nuts and the oats in the food processor.  Put it in a mixing bowl and add the hemp seeds,oil and the agave. Mix with a wooden spoon. Add the flour and mix again. The dough should come together. It will look sticky and wet.  You can refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes to firm it up. Add more flour a couple of tablespoons at a time if the dough is too sticky even after the resting time.
Roll into balls the size of a whole walnut and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Make an indentation in each ball with the back of a 1/2 tsp measure and fill with about 1/2 a teaspoon of jam. I filled the cookies with orange and grapefruit-cranberry marmalades and some peach ginger jam.
Bake the cookies until they are slightly browned (about 15 minutes). Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Keeps for about 3 days at room temperature

Notes to experiment: Use roasted apricot puree instead of jam. Use a combination of oil and applesauce as suggested by commenter. Reduce agave to 3/4 cup. Use a combination of oats, quick cooking barley and millet for a different flavor
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