Tag Archives: Vegetables (sides)

Aloo Gobi (Indian Spiced Potatoes and Cauliflower)

Since knowing Piyush and his family, I have eaten–and grown to love–foods I swore I didn’t like.  Foods I absolutely, positively hated.   Foods like: cucumbers, chilies,tomatoes (unless they were served in a bottle clearly marked HEINZ–I love ketchup) and the oh-so-dreaded cauliflower!

On the (very) rare occasions that my mom prepared this unpopular–at least in my household–white vegetable, it was either served raw with ranch dressing (I hate ranch!) or boiled until it turned to mush.  It smelled funny; and I didn’t like it.

I had completely banished cauliflower from my life.

That is, until I tasted aloo gobi.

Aloo Gobi: Indian Spiced Potatoes and Cauliflower

I don’t quite remember the first time I tried this dish, it was so long ago; but I can tell you that it changed my life.

It taught me that vegetables could–and do–have flavor.   This simple–yet complex– vegetarian dish also helped me to realize that vegetables don’t have to be mindlessly tossed on my plate alongside a giant hunk of chicken.

Instead, they can shine on their own; as a flavorful and filling meal.

Aloo Gobi is an easy, and very inexpensive, dish to make on a busy evening.  In it’s simplest form, it consists of potatoes, cauliflower and Indian spices.  But Indians are very innovative, so you’ll find that every part of the country–and practically every household–has their own version; sometimes adding tomatoes, peas, curry leaves, or even a few squeezes of lime juice.

This is my basic version, but feel free to make the recipe your own.  Add what you have on hand.  Do you have some forgotten carrots in the back of your fridge?  Are they sprouting little roots?  Peel them, and toss them in!  Personally, I think crushed peanuts would be a pleasant addition.  Anything goes!…well, almost.

Toss in some slit chilies!

Aloo Gobi ( Spiced Potato and Cauliflower)

Serves 4

This recipe will yield an incredibly delicious, but rather dry dish.  If you would like to make this dish more like a curry, add a little water and some chopped tomato (about 1 roma tomato would be just fine).  Aloo Gobi is delicious served with naan or rotis, and makes an excellent side dish!

Ingredients:
  • 1 small head of cauliflower (or 1/2 regular-sized)- cut into small pieces
  • 2 medium sized potatoes- peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 jalapenos- seeded and diced (leave the seeds in for extra heat)
  • thai or serano chilies- leave whole, but slice 2 or 3 slits in the chili (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • salt- to taste
  • black pepper- to taste
  • 1/4 corriander (cilantro)- chopped, extra to garnish
Directions:
  • Prepare all vegetables and keep them near.  Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  • Once the seeds begin to pop and crackle, add the cauliflower, potatoes, chilies, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin and garam masala.  Stir everything to combine.
  • Continue to stir/fry for about 10-15 minutes, until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked to your liking.
  • Once the vegetables are properly cooked, season with salt and pepper and add the chopped corriander.
  • Serve, garnished with additional chopped corriander.

Indian spiced potatoes and cauliflower: Aloo Gobi

Tonight, because Piyush wanted something more than just the aloo gobi, I served it with some vegetarian momos.  Momos are incredible, and if you haven’t tried them, you must!  You can learn more about them, and find my recipe HERE.

Aloo Gobi with Vegetarian Momos

And now, because I’ve been talking about vegetables, I thought I’d share a few shots of stuff from my garden.  This heat-wave we’re currently experiencing is causing my plants to struggle a little, but overall they’re doing pretty good.

…and I have to admit, no vegetable tastes better than one you’ve grown yourself.  I feel so excited when I pull something out of the dirt!  And so proud!  🙂

This shallot became an awesome raspberry vinaigrette! I’ll share the recipe soon!

Heirloom Amish Paste Tomatoes. This plant was almost dead, but it’s been coaxed back to life!

Basil! I have a giant basil plant as the centerpiece on my outdoor table. It’s thriving, and smells so good!

And because it really is amazing….

It deserves a close-up! 🙂

Bengali-Inspired Raw Vegetable Salad

My days have been quite busy, and my nights have been so short; I feel like time just flies!  For this reason, I’ve not been blogging quite so much; and instead I’ve been relying on quick, easy and nutritious dinners.  Mostly vegetarian.

The other night I made this incredible salad:

It is very similar to something I had tasted–and fell madly in love with–all over West Bengal, India.  It’s so simple and healthy, but it’s also incredibly addictive.  Even more-so than chocolate.  Yes.  I said it.  This vegetable salad is more addictive than chocolate.

I swear, Bengalis sure can cook!

I raided my fridge and grabbed some cucumber, jalapenos, ginger, tomatoes (which apparently are not supposed to be kept in the fridge, but I do anyway…) and cilantro.  I opened a couple cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans, also called chana), diced up an onion and juiced/zested a lime.  The salad was done.  It was that simple!

When I was served this salad in India, it usually contained boiled potatoes.  Sometimes there would be other vegetables too.  No matter the ingredients, it was always delicious! …and I always wanted more!

Because I wanted a really light dinner, I didn’t make anything else to accompany the vegetable salad.  Usually I’ll serve it alongside a spicy curry or roasted chicken.  Instead, I tossed a few blue corn chips (these are Food Should Taste Good brand chips, and they are amazing!) on the plate…and called it dinner.

This might just end up on my weekly menu rotation this summer.  It’s absolutely perfect when the weather is hot and the there’s not enough time to fuss over anything fancy.  …And it’s so healthy and colorful, how could you not want to eat it?

Printer Friendly Recipe




Food has been on my mind constantly, but not in the obvious “I’m hungry and I want to eat” sort of way.  Instead I’ve been busy picking fruits, making jam and desperately trying to keep my tomato plants alive (so far, so good!).

freshly picked strawberries: Annapolis variety

I’ve got a very awesome strawberry jam to share!  Hopefully I’ll get it all finished soon so I can get it posted!

 

Asparagus Soup with Tarragon and Chèvre

It’s no secret that I love chèvre (goat cheese).  I’m always looking for ways to sneak goat cheese into my recipes…whether it be in a salad, a sauce or a soup.  It’s even the “secret” ingredient to my mashed potatoes.  Yum!

The other night I was trying to decide what to make for supper.  I didn’t really want to cook a whole lot, but I didn’t want to eat out.  I looked in the fridge and saw the beautiful asparagus I purchased at the farmer’s market last Saturday.  I wanted something vegetarian…and I wanted to make it a main-course.

Soup was the perfect (delicious) solution!

I accompanied the soup with some black garlic toasts.

Baguette slices, smothered with a black garlic goat’s butter,ccccc and toasted

To make the toasts, I simply sliced a baguette.  I chopped some black garlic and mixed it with some goat’s butter.

black garlic cloves

Goat Butter (this butter has a lower melting point than regular cow’s milk butter–therefore it’s not really all that awesome for baking cookies or things like that)

I melted the mixture and brushed it over the slices and laid them on a baking sheet–lined with parchment paper.  Then I popped the baguette slices in my oven that was set to broil.  I let them bake until they became golden and crispy—and delicious!

The soup was equally simple to prepare, and only took about 15 minutes.

cooking the shallots and asparagus with some tarragon

I simply sauteed shallots, asparagus and tarragon in some butter.  Then I added some goat cheese and veggie stock and blended everything until it was smooth.  I added a little dairy…and it was done!

asparagus soup with tarragon and goat cheese –served with black garlic toasts

Easy…and so, so good!

printer-friendly recipe

**note: sorry, I forgot to link the recipe to the printer icon.  It’s all fixed now!**

This soup would be super easy to freeze as well.  Just be sure to leave out the milk and half&half before freezing.  Once you’re ready to use it, allow it to thaw and then add the dairy at that point.

Wild Mushroom and Marjoram Chicken

I started my morning off with a trip to the dentist.   It’s not the most pleasant way to begin the day and truthfully I had no idea that I even had an appointment.  There was some sort of a mix up at the office—they thought Piyush had an appointment at 7am, so they called to remind him about it.  He said he didn’t make the appointment, so they thought maybe it was me.  They called me and I had no idea that I made an appointment either (especially at 7!  on my day off!).   Since I was free for the day, they convinced me to go in and get my pearly whites cleaned and checked out.  Unfortunately, Dr. Watkins gave me some bad news…

This princess is getting a new crown!  I’ve never had a crown before—actually I’ve never really had any dental work, aside from some cavities filled.  Sadly it’s because of one of those cavities (mostly the really bad job my prior dentist did filling it) that I now need this crown.  Ok, and it might also be that I drank too much soda as a kid…and too much hard liquor as a college student, but there’s nothing I can do to change that now.  The damage has been done, my friends.

I was out of the dentist’s office in about an hour, and since I was already awake—and functioning—I decided I might as well check out the thrift store and see if I could find anything neat.  Today was a bust.  I didn’t find anything super exciting, but I did get a new book to read, a shirt for Piyush, some canning jars, a terra cotta garlic roaster and a cake platter.  Total spent?  Around 10 bucks.

There was a big dresser that matched the one I bought for my entry way, it was obviously from the same set.  I thought it’d make an awesome buffet for our dining room (with a little elbow grease and repurposing), but the price tag said $50.  That’s about 30 dollars too much, in my opinion.  So I passed.

When I got bored of thifting, I grabbed a few groceries and headed home to a sink full of dirty dishes.  At home, I was quickly reminded that it was winter and I needed to put on boots and stop wearing my totally awesome crocs:

click photo to go to the crocs website

Seriously, I never thought I’d be a croc kind of girl…but I love these shoes!  They’re slide ons—so they’re quick.  They’re durable, comfy and rubber (or something like that…I don’t really know what they’re made from, actually).  I hate wet feet, so these do a good job of keeping them dry.   I wore them everyday in India—even when we were climbing the steep hills of Darjeeling (I have really high arches and walk more on the sides of my feet. Even without my custom insoles these shoes give me no pain.)  Basically, I love this shoe.  But sadly, they have no traction…and are terrible on ice!  Lucky for me, I am a very graceful faller.  Like, really graceful.  You should have seen it.  I slipped on the ice, went into a perfect lunge—didn’t even crack my knee on the ground—and slid back up, all in one motion.  It was like some sort of weird ice ballet.  I bet it looked awesome.

After shimmying my way down to the mailbox, trying to avoid the ice…and back up to the house, I decided to make Piyush a nice dinner.  I had some chicken breasts, so I knew that was going to be the base.

I eventually settled on seasoning the chicken breasts with marjoram, making a simple pan sauce and serving it all with mushrooms and roasted purple potatoes.  I was worried he wouldn’t like it.  But it turned out really delicious and he scarfed it down…no complaints.  He even told me the recipe was a “keeper.”  Yay.

Marjoram Chicken Breast with Mushrooms and Roasted Purple Potatoes

The purple potatoes were amazing!  I’ve never had them before so I had to try them out.  They taste really similar to red potatoes…but they’re such a beautiful color!

I cut them in half (or quarters, if they were big), drizzed them with some olive oil, seasoned with salt/pepper, added some chopped rosemary and smashed garlic and then roasted in the oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Simple.  Easy. Fast.

While they roasted away, I got to work on the chicken.

Marjoram Chicken with Mushrooms and Marsala Pan Sauce

(recipe inspired by Bon Appetit)

  • 4  skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 6 teaspoons dried marjoram (use fresh if you have it!), divided
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 10 ounces assorted wild mushrooms (I bought a frozen bag at the co-op…and they were awesome!)
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth (make your own!)
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 tsp. flour
  • 3 tablespoons dry Marsala
  • Salt/Pepper

Directions:

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then 2 teaspoons marjoram (I didn’t really measure—just sprinkled liberally).

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1/2 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet and sauté until just cooked through. Transfer chicken to plate; tent with foil to keep warm.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with1/2 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add mushrooms, shallots, and 2 teaspoons marjoram. Sauté until mushrooms are brown and tender, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl.

Combine broth, cream, Marsala, rosemary and remaining 2 teaspoons marjoram in same skillet; boil until thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Divide mushrooms among 4 plates. Top mushrooms with chicken. Spoon sauce over and serve.

This meal came in at around 650 calories for my portion (pictured above).  It’s not something I’d eat all that often, because it’s so rich.  But it’s definitely something I’ll make again!  It had a lot of flavors and they all worked extremely well with one another.  The original recipe didn’t call for rosemary but I thought it’d be a good addition…and I was right!

If you’re looking to impress someone (Valentine’s Day is around the corner….I’m just sayin’), this will do it.  This meal is seriously restaurant quality…and I’m not talking “Olive Garden” or “Applebees” kind of restaurants.  This tasted like something I’d expect from a really fancy place.  It was that good!

Now that I have a full belly, Teen Mom is over, and my face has been cleansed…it’s off to bed!  I have a long day tomorrow!

Indian Dinner in an Hour!

Today I woke up craving Indian food.  It’s been awhile since I’ve had a really amazing, homemade Indian dinner.  Too long, actually.  As good as the Indian restaurant can be, it never really hits the spot entirely.  Last time we were there, all I wanted was lamb curry; and that’s what we ordered.  But what we got was overcooked lamb in a so-so gravy.  Not at all amazing.   Piyush and I left with full tummies but we were both a little lot disappointed.  Sometimes I just don’t want to cook though…and most of the time I regret it. Continue reading

Craving something Indian

I’m looking more and more forward to my trip to India everyday!  I can’t believe it’s under a month away now. I have so many gifts to buy for people, so many things to pack for Piyush and I (note to self: don’t forget the toilet paper), and not a lot of time to brush up on my Indian cooking.  My in-laws love that I can cook their cuisine and they boast that their American daughter-in-law can cook things like aloo posto, prawn malai curry, and ladoos.  I just love that I can make them happy and we can bond over cooking.  I really believe that food has helped bridge some of the cultural differences between us.  Food is very important to my husband’s family.  Infact, when I hear from Maa or Baba (my in-laws) they usually ask what I made for dinner before they ask how I’m doing.  …And that’s alright with me!

Today was a little cold outside.  We’ve been eating leftover Bouillabaisse lately,

and although I think it tastes wonderful, I’ve had enough.  I wanted something warm, something spicy, something Indian.  I love Indian food on cold days, infact, I crave it.  It warms up the body, fills you up nicely, and makes your house smell absolutely lovely!  This is one of first recipes I learned, and its one of the easiest.  I made it for my in-laws when they were here and they told me that they felt like they were back in India!  That’s right…it’s that good!  It’s also incredibly simple!

How cute are Maa and Baba?!?

If you’re looking for the creamy, fatty, melt in your mouth type aloo matar you would recieve in a restaurant, you might want to keep looking.  There’s no heavy cream.  Not any half and half.  I didn’t even use coconut milk! I cut all that out of this recipe because not only did I think it would taste better without all the milkiness, but it’d be extremely more healthy as well.  I promise, you won’t even miss the cream!

The Recipe
1 1/2 lbs. potatoes: peeled, diced & boiled
1 c. green peas (I usually blanch these before using them.)
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 tbsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. garlic paste
2 roma tomatoes, finely chopped (peeled if you want to get fancy about it)
1 pinch of tumeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 pinch white sugar
1/2 tsp or more garam masala (I usually use a more, to taste)
1 tbsp. oil
green chile, chopped- to your taste
salt, to taste
chopped coriander (cilantro) for garnish
Directions:
  • Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan or frypan with deep sides.  Add the cumin seeds.
  • When the cumin seeds begin to pop, add the onions and green chiles.  Saute until they are translucent.
  • Add the ginger paste, garlic paste and tomatoes.  Simmer until the tomatoes are cooked are are like a smooth sauce.  Once they begin to break down I usually grab a potatao masher and just mash everything together.  I tell myself it just helps the tomatoes to break down quicker, but really I’m super impatient!   At this point I sometimes throw everything in my VitaMix and puree it until it’s nice and smooth.
  • Add the turmeric powder, chili powder, garam masala, green peas and potatoes and cook for some time.
  • Add about 1 1/2 cups of water and salt to taste.  Allow it to come to a boil, turn the heat down and let simmer for a good 20 minutes or until the gravy thickens to your liking.  The longer you let the curry simmer, the better it will taste.  Add some finely diced corriander, and you’re done!

If you think your gravy is too thin or that you added too much water, mash a few pieces of the potatoes into it.  This will thicken it up nicely.

Who knew peas could taste so good?!

You wouldn’t need to serve this with rice, infact a chapati or roti would be the better choice.  My husband, being Bengali, LOVES rice and has to eat it at almost every meal.  I also served this with Indian spiced chicken legs.  Basically I just marinated chicken legs with a bunch of spices, and it was wonderful!  I’ll post that the next time I make it because really I didn’t write down what I threw in the marinade.