Monday, July 28, 2014

Mint Pea Soup - quick after school snack

Do you need a five minute healthy snack for your Kodak look no further than this recipe using frozen peas and fresh mint.


1 cup frozen peas
1 handful rinsed, fresh mint
1 tbsp butter
Black pepper
Salt (to taste)

Rinse tour peas to remove any ice. Cover with fresh water (filtered if you are in India).

Bring almost to a boil and add mint and butter

Use an immersion blender to make to a soup.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Alternatively you can refrain putting in the butter and pour off the water. Mash the peas and add butter salt and pepper.

Serve with bread or mini breadsticks.  Of course a spoon can also be used!

Garnish with cheddar or other cheese if you wish.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Infusing vegetables into your pasta water

The difference between plain water and a vegetable stock for your pasta can be powerful. There are very few calories but it increases nutritional value and taste.

Tips for cooking vegetables

Trace minerals from vegetables aren't lost when you use the vegetables. If you have a picky eater, this will help them "taste" the vegetables and maybe even desensitize them to the taste over time.

Simply add vegetables that you will use in your sauce or as a side vegetable and add it to your pasta water. Some vegetables fall apart with a lot of boiling so you may add the vegetables with the pasta. This will blanch the vegetables as well as give taste to your pasta.

In addition, remember to keep the pot covered to keep the nutrients from floating off into the air.

Don't waste the water!

Additionally, if you don't use the water for future broth, you can at least cool it and add it to your plants, rather than plain water. Reduce, re-use, recycle.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Vegetarian Pasty Recipe - Yooper inspired

Pasties are a staple of any Yooper cuisine. Whether you purchase them in bulk at a pasty sale and freeze for later use, you make them at home, or just pick them up from IGA, a pasty is something most yoopers eat at least once a month. Having moved from the UP 10 years ago, I don't get a pasty very often, but sometimes I crave a pasty. Living in India, I won't find any nearby, so I decided to make my own vegetarian pasties.

Pasty Crust Recipe

Similar to a pie crust, this is buttery and smooth.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup COLD butter
1/2 cup cold water
1 egg

  • Divide the butter by cutting it. 
  • Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, or stand mixer. 
  • Add egg and mix gently.
  • Add butter and slowly combine until it begins to ball up.
  • Add water slowly (you may not need it all).
  • It will become a ball.
  • Roll out and place in fridge to keep it cold.
    • If you don't, you'll have a crust that may break a bit, but it will still be okay. Especially if you're making a pasty pie and not just individual pasties, this will be perfectly fine.

Vegetarian Pasty Pie "inside" ingredients

Mushroom and potato make up the majority of the pie inners. The pasty pie traditionally is a mix of ground meat, but this is a vegetarian version.

4 medium sized potatoes, diced
2 carrots, diced 
1 rutabaga, diced
2 white onions, diced
2 tbsp Worcester sauce
8-12 oz mushrooms (mix if you have access to a variety)

Boil the potato, rutabaga and carrot until slightly soft. Add salt and a bit of pepper. You may add herbs of your choice as well.

While that is boiling, saute the mushrooms and onions with the Worcester sauce.

Layer the mushrooms and mixed vegetables in the crust. If you are making pie, and not traditional pasty forms, then you'll wnat to prebake the bottom crust so you don't burn the top like I did. Of course, I'm cooking with a toaster oven, but keep in mind the size of your oven.

Season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes, or until the pasty is cooked.

Eat with ketchup, or gravy if you're that kind (I'm not!)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cooking tip: Sweat your eggplants

Wonderful eggplants! 

I am one of those people who LOVE eggplants. I don't think I had an eggplant before college (not even eggplant Parmesan!) and honestly they are so versatile and healthy.

Cooking tip: Sweating eggplants 

So I'm ghatstly behind getting 30 posts up for the month of January, so I'm doing my best to find ways to help with cooking and baking, even if I can't get full recipes up.

eggplants in a market in India
A selection of eggplant at a local market bhaji-wala stand in India.

Tips for cooking eggplants

First, pick a good eggplant. Eggplants come in a variety of colors and shapes. Overall, look for an eggplant that is uniformly firm and shiny.

Next, for storage, the fridge isn't necessarily best. If you store it in out for a day they will actually turn out better than if they sweat in the fridge due to moisture.

Bitter eggplants have your tongue?

Next, to get rid of the bitterness of some eggplants, slice it in rings (like large coins) and lay flat. Sprinkle salt on the slices of eggplant and let the eggplant sit out for a half hour or an hour before you cook.

Sweat eggplants and get rid of bitterness by adding salt and letting them sit before cooking. Then wipe.
Sweat out bitter eggplants by sprinkling with salt and letting them sit.

When you go to cook, dab the "brown" that comes out with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. 

Buttermilk your eggplant

If you are avoiding excess salt, you can also soak the sliced eggplant in butter milk before cooking and then rinse the eggplant before cooking.

Another option is to cut the seeds out, though to some, the seeds bring flavor and you lose a good portion of eggplant if the eggplant is small like the Indian or Thai ones.

Please check out related posts on eggplants here - TONS of ways to cook your eggplant outside of "eggplant parmesan" :)

Indian Eggplant Recipes
Thai-inspired eggplant recipes
Vegan eggplant recipes!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Simple Cinnamon Rolls - 3 bites

Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Simple 3 bite cinnamon rolls! These are quick and easy and since we don't let them to double rise, you can have them after dinner if you make them after lunch!
Simple Cinnamon Roll recipe - easy to follow and customize.
Easy Cinnamon Roll Ingredients

Ingredients in Cinnamon Roll Dough:

1/4-ounce package yeast (In India they're in balls, they die quickly too)
1/2 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 c warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Cinnamon Roll Filling:

1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan if you don't have spray for the pan
 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional
1/4 cup nutella

Ingredients for Cinnamon Roll Glaze:
5 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 6 tablespoons hot water

Directions for making cinnamon rolls

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar and set aside. If the water is too hot, you will kill your yeast!
  • Next, in a separate bowl, mix your milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add half the flour, mix until smooth
  • Add the yeast
  • Slowly add int he rest of the flour, mixing until smooth.
  • Place dough on a floured work surface and hand kneed. 
  • Put into a greased bowl and cover to allow it to rise (1-2 hours is fine)
  • When doubled, press down dough. 
  • Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. 
  • Spread melted butter all over dough (I like to use the butter wrapping)
  • Spread nutella along the 15'' side.
  • Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough, using a sieve so you don't have chunks.
  • Sprinkle toppics, such as walnuts, pecans, or raisins.
  • Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. 
  • Cut into approximately 1'' slices (you'll get around 12-15).
  • Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter or cooking spray. 
  • Sprinkle the bottom with more sugar and cinnamon. 
  • Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let sit for 10 minutes or more (up to 45 minutes)
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Make the glaze while this is baking. 
Mix melted butter and powdered sugar with vanilla. Slowly  add water until it is smooth.
Spread over still hot cinnamon rolls. Spoon extra on top as you eat them.
This is not low carb or low calorie!


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Potato Peanut Poha Pohe Recipe

It is Sunday  morning and there's time to cook since I overslept my attempt to make it to mass today. Thus, my decision to make my son's favorite breakfast: yellow poha. There are a variety of poha types, including by color and by thickness. He prefers the white thin poha that, when you add turmeric, is yellow. Hence, "yellow poha."

I am told that when a Maharashtra woman was (is?) in the "viewing" stage, she'd serve this to potential suiters to show her talents. Well, for some, their mother's or maid's talents, but it is a "must know how" to cook breakfast.

What is poha?

Poha is an unhusked flattened rice. This make it gluten free. It is found in many Indian cuisines, and also in Nepal and Bangladesh.

Recipe for Poha

There are a variety of recipes, but this is a simple-ish ones. You can choose to leave out the peanuts or potatoes. I've also had it with green peas.

2 cups flattened rice
1 red onion, sliced and diced
3-4 small potatoes, boiled (peeled if you prefer, but i used thin skin potatoes and scrubbed them)
hand full curry leaves
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp hing
1 green chili
1 tsp white sugar
2 tbsp peanuts
2 tbsp oil (high heating point is good, we use coconut oil, peanut oil is also recommended)
dash of red chili powder
1 tbsp turmeric
salt to taste
1 lemon
fresh coriander for garnish
coconut powder (if you have it, or fresh coconut is fine)
diced and seeded tomatoes (if you like, I didn't this time)

Instructions for making poha or making pohe

Rinse your poha and drain the water. Sprinkle turmeric and red chili powder on to the poha. Set aside. If you like sweet. Add a dash of sugar here too. I add the coconut powder here if I don't have fresh coconut. Otherwise, you can add fresh coconut at the end as a garnish.

Make poha - On the rinsed poha, add turmeric,
chili and coconut powder

Heat your oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add in the black mustard seeds, stir and add hing. Add in curry leaves and diced onion.
Add peanuts.
When onion is translucent,  add the green chili and white sugar.
Fry up the onion, peanuts and spices

Add poha to the pan and stir well. Be sure to not let too much stick, but, it will :)

Cook 3-5 minutes. Turn off the flame and let it steam to finish cooking.

Add garnish and serve hot!

Serve poha (pohe) hot! Squeeze lime and garnish.
Buy Poha on Amazon #affiliate

What do you think of this recipe?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Simple Strawberry Rhubarb crumble

A simple strawberry rhubarb crumble recipe

The tangynesss of strawberry and a slightly sour rhubarb with a bit of sugar and oatmeal and you've basically made a nice crumble. But for those who want it slightly more exact, I have a simple and yummy recipe for you below.

Recipe Strawberry - Rhubarb Crumble

1 cup sliced strawberries
2 cups cut up rhubarb (you can used canned or frozen).
  • If you are using fresh, you can poach them in water with a dash of sugar before hand if you don't want them to be slighly crunchy
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 c butter, melted
1/2 c sugar (raw sugar works nice, but white if that's what you have also can be used)
1/4 c brown sugar 

Simple strawberry rhubarb crumble directions

Combine the melted butter and strawberry and rhubarb. Sprinkle in the raw/white sugar. Toss nicely. Add in the oatmeal.

Put the mixture into a greased baking pan.
Sprinkle on the brown sugar.
Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until bubbly.

In addition, I added a bit of a butter crust in the shape of "fish" per my son's request on top. See the recipe for the crust here.

Note, you can make a pie with this as well.

Parting question: Do you like rhubarb?